I have been writing a regular column in the local Greenock Telegraph for 6 months now. This talks primarily about my thoughts on football related matters and I felt a recent insert was very relevant to how i came to decide on my 24 mile Loch Lomond swim as a key challenge in my life. Therefore please find a slightly “de-footballed” version which were published in the paper on Wednesday 11th Sept 2013
I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to achieve some great successes throughout my life, both inside and outside of football. A few of these have been what I call ‘life goals’. I was lucky enough to achieve my boyhood ambition of playing at Wembley in an FA Cup Final at the age of 21.
But for years thereafter I never had a burning desire to complete any one specific ambition or goal. It was more a desire and a need to be successful, one that is still with me today. A desire to give 100 per cent in everything I do; to make the most of every opportunity. However, I found at the age of 40 that I now had a second life goal that I NEEDED to achieve.
I had developed an insane desire to complete an Ironman [2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run]. After managing to achieve that particular goal, I have to admit that I struggled psychologically with a ‘what next?’ scenario.
I had developed a need to set new targets. I know that I constantly need to have a new life goal, and when I don’t have one I can be an absolute nightmare to live with.
The Ironman experience gave me so much strength and made me realise that life is too short to sit about waiting for things to happen. You have to make them happen.
To everyone out there, ask yourself is there something that you really want to achieve or experience in life but never seem to get round to it?
I know your football team winning the Scottish Cup would be up there, but I’m really referring to something that is within your own personal control. Would you like to run a 10K? Complete a triathlon? Travel the world? Write a book? Skydive? Learn to fly? Or even mend a broken relationship with a loved one?
Do it! Don’t wait until next week, next month or next year. Make the time and start out on the road today and achieve that one thing which will help fulfil you.
In football, I have experienced a lot of wonderful talent lost to the game because the individuals didn’t have the correct application and attitude. That unbending desire to achieve their life goals. I have lost count of the number of people who approached me over the years sneering that they were a much better player than x, y or z professional footballer. But these guys were often sitting in a pub with a beer belly. The reason they didn’t make it was obvious. They might’ve had all the talent in the world but none of the commitment.
Attitude, commitment and desire to succeed are the biggest attributes anyone can have in life. I have seen so many average players make a fantastic living out of football due to having an at times unhealthy desire and single-minded focus to achieve their dreams.
Ambitions can come in all shapes and sizes – focusing on your ambition is key.
Your ambitions are not out of your reach. Far from it in fact. If you have the correct attitude anything is possible!
You can achieve a life goal; something you have dreamed about doing but never really thought possible. All you have to do is commit to it and make that first step TODAY!
In my case it isn’t so much as a first step but a dive! 11 months and counting!