Perspective is everything. Hindsight is certainly 20/20. Clarity is no doubt the key to breakthrough. Have you ever gone through something and wondered why the hell you are going through it? Im sure you have. When you are going through it, it seems to be the worst thing that could happen. However after a certain period of time you realize it was the best thing that could have happened.
This summer was exactly that for me. It was a challenging summer to say the least. I have had a similar summer when I was 19 years old out in Erie PA when I played for a semi-pro soccer team. I woke up at 5:30am everyday to drive an hour to work in a factory on an assembly line for eight straight hours. Then drove an hour home to eat, go straight to the gym for an hour, then went to training from 7-8:30 and most days I would stay after training to get extra fitness in. I did that everyday and didn’t see the field for one minute the entire season. I only dressed for one game. All of my roommates and teammates were playing every game, didn’t have to work, often were up till 1-2am watching tv or playing video games. The townhouse I was in was paper thin so oftentimes I would go out and sleep in my car just to get a few hours of good sleep before having to wake up at 5:30 and go to work. It was an awful summer but the greatest summer I could have ever asked for because of the person I became through it.
This summer was similar. Im going back to play my last college soccer season this fall as a 26 year old. Ive put my career on hold to make this happen. Since I am 26 I have a lot of bills I need to pay, so this summer I had to find a way to make seven months worth of expenses in two months. It was a tough task that left me stressed more than I would have liked. I knew I had to make this money through my own business and being entrepreneurial because most summer jobs pay just enough to meet my expenses let alone more than triple.
This left me with having to focus almost completely on private soccer coaching and at the beginning of the summer NO ONE was signing up. Everyone was on vacation, had other obligations, camps, etc. It honestly looked like I wasn’t going to make it. All the while, two months prior I badly sprained my ankle in my first game back in five and a half years. My ankle wasn’t recovering at a rate that gave me the confidence that I could be healthy and fit enough to play by preseason. This made me question EVERYTHING I was doing.
Is this even going to be worth it? Am I doing the right thing here? Maybe I should quit, go back to coaching in the fall, get my book published, build my podcast/YouTube show, and focus solely on getting this online business started that I’ve wanted to start for a little while? My back was against the wall and I had a choice to make. Quit and move on with my life, or fight through it and have the faith that things will work out.
I chose the ladder and I will tell you I am glad I did. I have never been a quitter. I have failed at a lot of things in life but I have never quit something without giving it everything I had. I had made a decision to play my last year of college soccer eight months prior and I have worked my ass off to get to this point, and I decided I wasn’t going to quit now. I buckled down, figured things out, got entrepreneurial, asked a lot of people for help, and a week before pre-season I have made the money I needed to make, my ankle is getting healthier, and I haven’t been this fit since I was 19 years old.
I stayed consistent everyday in everything. I wrote my goals down everyday. I prayed over them. I went in and got treatment consistently when I could, ran for fitness 5-6 times a week, sometimes coached for 12 hours in a day outside in the sun, and things have worked out. What most of you don’t know is throughout this whole process I had a mental breakdown where I just lost it. I had never been that low in my life. I felt really alone because I was so busy under the stress of trying to figure things out that I wasn’t really able to spend a lot of time with family and friends and get things off my chest that I was going through.
It caused me to feel really depressed for a couple of weeks and that feeling just snowballed to a mental breakdown that I really needed. I needed the breakdown because being that low really forced me to seek the clarity, help, and perspective I needed to come out of it stronger than I ever have been before. I realized that what I had done this summer was incredible. The amount of things I juggled, making 7/10ths of my income through my own business, the work I put in, taught me one thing. It taught me that I am better than what I thought I was, smarter than I what I thought I was, and stronger than what I thought I was.
It taught me that if I can do what I did this summer, then I can achieve my long term goals and dreams that honestly scare the living s*** out of me. (Side note: if your dreams don’t scare you, you need new dreams). I have become much more confident in myself because of this summer. I don’t know exactly what the future holds but I know I am much more prepared for it because I chose not to quit and have pushed through the walls of uncertainty.
I also learned that its ok to struggle and to ask for help. That its not weakness to struggle but rather its weakness if you quit in the middle of the struggle. For me I just kept going. I just kept punching even when I didn’t want to. I just kept showing up and giving it my best. Many times you need to just show up and give it your all. I am the guy who just keeps showing up even when it gets really hard. Ive learned that by being the person who just keeps showing up, you gain a confidence about you that gives you an unshakeable belief. There is something that grows in you when you do what it takes over a long period of time, stay consistent, and just continue to show up day in and day out no matter what is going on in your life emotionally, mentally, or circumstantially.
Its crazy to think that the process for me to go back and play one last year of college soccer would be what gave me the confidence that I can become who I believe I was put on this earth to become. Whatever you are going through. Whatever adversity you are experience. There is a reason and blessing in it. Its hard to see that blessing and reason when you are in the middle of it but remember perspective is everything, hindsight is 20/20 and clarity is the key to breakthrough.
Perspective comes when you keep pushing and you get out the other side, hindsight takes time, and clarity only happens when you seek it out. If you want the perspective you must choose to push through and allow yourself to fully experience that adversity. When you push through you will no doubt gain the perspective of why you had to go through that particular time in your life and recognize a new level of strength in your spirit that you didn’t know existed.
So cheers to the best/worst summer ever. Its been terrible but great at the same time. I don’t know what my soccer future holds, thats the crazy thing in life, as much as you want to have 100% complete control, you don’t. You have control over two things, your actions and your attitude. No matter what happens the next three to four months in my last EVER soccer season (I can promise you it will be my last) I am incredibly grateful for the process that its taken me to get where I am at.