I absolutely hate running. That may sound a bit strange, because playing soccer requires A LOT of it. In fact, it is a testament to the MSL and the strength of my principles that I keep on running, even though it’s an activity I detest. Day in and out, I keep doing the things I know I need to do to achieve my goals. Running is just a small part of that.
So, what are these principles I’m talking about? How can they help us achieve our goals?
A principle is something unwavering, a core value that remains regardless of the state of the environment in which we find ourselves.
Often, outside forces threaten to change our principles. Sometimes we even allow this to happen. The environment we find ourselves in, or, the state of mind of individuals who are currently occupying the space around us, can pull us away from our principles; but only if we let it!
By establishing strong principles (and mindset), we ensure that we will be able to stick to them, no matter what. We need to ask ourselves:
- What do I stand for?
- Why do I stand for it?
- Am I willing to stand for it when no one else will?
Over the years I’ve developed my own mental game, the MSL, and my own set of principles, which are now the core values of Perfect Soccer:
- Growth Oriented
- Attention to Details
By staying true to my principles, I’ve been able to play at the professional level for 11 years and build a life I’m passionate about.
Playing Professional Soccer is Mostly Boring
95% of professional soccer is boring. The majority of the work you need to put in to play at this level just isn’t too exciting. And if you are not prepared and willing to do this work, you won’t get to the professional level or stay here very long if you do manage to get here. This is why having the right mindset in place and strong principles is critical to success.
You Always Want to be Water
You may not be the best IN your field, but you want to be the best at WHAT YOU DO in your field.
The smallest thing can allow someone to get the advantage over you, in professional soccer, or in any other profession. To succeed, you need to be more dedicated to figuring out ways to gain an edge and committed to becoming hyper-efficient at what YOU do best so that no one else can compete with you. By doing so, you are creating your opportunity to be successful in your field
How do you do this?
- Establish your brand by adhering to your principles. You want to be known for something.
- Find a system that needs you. Not a system that wants you, a system that NEEDS you.
- Become a necessary piece for that system.
The reason I say that you want to be like water is because water is NECESSARY. Water may not be the first thing we reach for, we may want something else, but in the end, we NEED water to survive. Be that necessary piece in your field!
Building Credibility (By Adhering to Our Principles)
Saying you will do something is always much easier than actually doing it.
If you want to establish credibility in your field, you need to back up what you say with action! I do believe it is possible to speak things into existence, but only if you are willing to do the work necessary.
When you are young or inexperienced, it’s simple to say you want to do or accomplish something without realizing the work required. Our inexperience is the gap that exists between our words and the actions we take to achieve results.
The real issue emerges when someone is older and experienced and is still making the same mistake. We all know one of these people, they say they will do something, but rarely (if ever) follow through. Through their inaction, we come to expect that they simply won’t follow through on what they say.
Maybe you have been one of these individuals in the past. You can change this! By establishing strong principles and staying consistent, you will be able to prove your credibility (and reliability) to those around you but realize you will now have to work harder for an extended time to do so. I make it a point to be very careful of what I say I will do for this reason.
The reason WHY
When we want to accomplish a goal, our reason WHY has to be bigger than our WHY NOT. When our purpose for achieving a goal is infinitely more important than our reasons not to, the frustrations and difficulties we encounter along the way seem tiny in comparison to the value of the end product.
By sticking to our principles as we set out to accomplish our goals, we can make sacrifices, and suffer through the short-term discomforts with our focus on the long term rewards. We are also able to avoid others holding us back, something they often do out of fear of losing us.
When we achieve the success we want, we then have the power to maintain what we have built for ourselves because of our principles.
Life is Work
I firmly believe that life is work. But, our work should be our passion. If we follow our principles and do the work we are passionate about (that we would do whether we were paid or praised, or not) we can live a life full of meaning; and a lot of fun!