Everyone experiences emotions in whatever they do – we all feel happy, sad, thrilled, upset, disheartened. Up to this point in my footballing career there have been many great moments, but there have also been some lows which is all part of the journey. What is important is how you deal with your emotions.
Success is different in everyone’s eyes. To me, it is knowing that I have given all that I can towards achieving goals that I have set for myself, and celebrating those milestones as they happen. I set myself a goal of wanting to sign a football deal, so getting my first contract at the Newcastle Jets and then with Millwall Lions Football Club was great. Be proud of all the little things that you achieve along the way – scoring that goal on the weekend, being able to improve on the number of juggles that you did this week, getting results against a hard team or opponent. Success isn’t just one big moment that happens – it’s all the hard work and little achievements along the way that have gotten you to that point.
The feeling of being turned down is never a good one. When I experienced it, I went through stages of questioning why? Why did this happen to me? What could I have done differently?
When I left home in July 2017, I always knew that it was going to be a tough journey. I was told to expect rejection, but it can hit you harder than you think it will.
The first time I had experienced this type of disappointment was when I first arrived in England trialing with the Premier League side Watford FC. I was told I was going to be trialing for one week. One week turned into three so I was feeling pretty confident, only to get to the last day of my trial and be told I didn’t make the cut. All I can remember was feeling upset, angry and frustrated. It was the first real “no” I had experienced. I was on my own on the other side of the world and I very quickly learnt that this was a part of the highs and lows of football. I was going to have to organize those emotions in my head in order to be ready to move onto the next possible opportunity.
Appreciate the Little Things
Appreciate what you have and not what you don’t have. I am to blame for always wanting more, something better, but I need to constantly remind myself that things take time. What I have experienced in the last year-and-a-half of football is nothing short of the best adventure I could have asked for. At times I have lost sight of what I am trying to achieve. I sometimes get too far ahead of myself. That’s when I have to take a step back and appreciate the little (and big) things that I’ve achieved along the way and use these milestones to keep me chasing my football dream here in Sweden.
Never Give Up
Your mind can always play tricks on you. It is always asking questions of you: “Are you cut out for this? Are you good enough? It happens to the best of us, but it’s normal. Rejection and setbacks hurt, but it is what you do afterwards that is going to define who you are. I admire the quote from the film Rocky when Sylvester Stallone says, “It ain’t about how hard you can hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward? That’s how winning is done.”
Sure, people may not believe in you, and say that you aren’t good enough. But what people think is up to them, because at the end of the day if you really believe in yourself, you will prove them wrong and keep chasing your goals and dreams.
Highs and lows are a part of life, and are very much of a part of being a professional footballer. The most successful people fail more often than not, but learning from your mistakes and failures, and working hard is what makes you successful.