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Are you a professional sport person, in the public eye or organisation with mental health on their agenda?

It’s time to take steps forward in the battle to tackle mental health.

After in depth research and experience, it’s time to look at mental health from a new perspective.

If you’re struggling with mental health or want to address mental health as part of your agenda, then this video is a must watch!

I invite you to leave your thoughts and ideas to create discussion around this topic

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Become who you want to be

Tell me what’s going on in your head

The issue and topic of mental health is one that needs constant attention because there are some people that have yet to understand what they can do to help.

In this short video, I talk about some ideas that can be implemented immediately to help those who are suffering.

Please comment and share with your community because sometimes there are people who hide their struggles well, and this may help them reach out.

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The phrase you need to learn if you’re in the public eye

There are times in my life when I really don’t give a fuck!

Thinking about others, doing things for others and spending energy others can be very draining at times.

So sometimes I say to myself ‘Fuck it! I’m doing something for me!”

Now if you’re in the public eye or play professional sports, I know you’ve had these thoughts or something similar and I applaud you for having those thoughts.

Part of you will be thinking of self-preservation, while part of you will be thinking of your career and not wanting to piss certain people off…just in case.

Self-preservation or self-compassion is an act that is often overlooked as you get caught up in the expectations others put on you.

Public appearances, interviews, guest speaking, media sessions etc can all take their toll on you.

Yes, you will have obligations through certain sponsors, and agreements but you also have an obligation to look after yourself because when you aren’t operating at a level that gets the best out of you, others will begin to judge you negatively and when that happens, it can be a slippery slope to something much worse.

You can also get caught up in pleasing others, because you feel your livelihood is in their hands.

If you’re struggling to create a balance between self-compassion and the obligations you have, then perhaps it’s time to sit back and say ‘fuck it!’ while you take stock of what’s important to you and your values.

A wise man once said…

“A selfish mind is only the perception of those who treat you as an asset.”

Perhaps you need to realign your values and what you currently have on your plate.

Perhaps you aren’t giving enough?

Perhaps you are giving too much?

Perhaps it’s just time for a little break?

Whatever it is you need to do to find a balance in your life, I urge you to take action so you can continue to be the best you can for yourself and those important in your life.

Do you need to find a balance?

Is there something you need help with?

Please message me privately if you want things to change.

Take it easy

Mike

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Two great pieces of advice from young footballers any youngster should pay attention to

Over the past few days I was honoured to connect with a couple of young football players as they had been reading my blog posts and found some value in the content.

These eager players gave me their permission to ask them a variety of questions and I want to bring your attention to the answers they gave to three questions.

These three questions cover three major aspects of football,

  • Highlights
  • Problems
  • How to succeed

The intention of this blog post is to help younger players understand the ups and downs of football so they can make adjustments where needed and live a life they deserve.

Question 1 What is your highlight of your career?

Player 1 said – “When I played against Barcelona, Villareal, Celtics, Bristol City lots of more”

Player 2 said – “My highlights was playing in cameroon ligue 1 in 2015/2016 seeing the strong level of players there and also played with the cameroon world cup legends of 1990/1994/1998.
Another highlight is winning the mongolian cup and league runner up in 2012.”

The answers to the next question got my attention.

Question 2 Do you know of any struggling professional players?

Player 1 said – “Yeah I’ve seen it and I’ve talk to few of them which also helped my mentality in my young age.”

Player 2 said – “Yes there are many pro players who are struggling and it affects their mental health as well. Football can be a cruel game and many people /fans dont see the other side of it.”

I’m very aware of the mental health issues players have and for a young player to understand this, tells me he’s got a caring nature and an observant attitude.

The final question that I’ll share the answers to was great to read and really gives me an idea of their mindsets when it comes to success.

Question 3 – If you could give advice to younger players, what would it be?

Player 1 said – “No matter if you play football or do anything else that can guide you to your future in good way and that’ll benefit you and your family, make sure you keep working hard, getting support from people around you also from yourself. Never never think to give up, set back and start thinking about solutions that’ll come from yourself, big commitments, high dedication, be positive and patience and confidence enough to keep moving forward as when things are against you and remember to not lose your smile”

Player 2 said – “My advice for youngsters is to keep having a positive mindset and the desire to be better and train harder. In football there is always someone training harder than u so to be better and keep up the food chain, you have to keep fighting. End of the day, its how badly you want it at all costs.”

Thank you to the two players that shared their thoughts and I know they are working hard and striving to improve.

Are you a player with some value to share?

Perhaps you want to improve your situation?

Please drop me a message and let’s see what we can do.

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WHY YOU SHOULD LEARN TO SAY ‘NO’

Here’s a quick challenge for you.

Next time you’re alone say the word ‘no’ out loud.

You’ll find even the thought of saying it out loud with no-one around feels simple and easy.

Why?

Because there’s no potential consequence.

But what happens when you think there’s a consequence?

Saying this little word, becomes a challenge or even impossible!

I worked with an actress a few years ago who had a friend she’d pick up and attend auditions together but it was always her friend that got the part!

She felt she wanted to start going alone so she could practice on her own but was fearful of telling her friend she couldn’t pick her up.

On this particular day during our session, she told me she was due to pick her friend up but she wanted to say no to her.

I listened to her concerns and like anyone she was worried her friend would fall out with her, she would despise her, they would fall out and where would that leave their friendship…

We sat down and worked out a couple of sentences she would use in the phone call to her friend. The call was to plan a time to pick her up.

But this time, it was a call to say she couldn’t pick her up.

My client was nervous and clearly had the weight of the world on her shoulders, but we made a plan.

I can see her now, picking the phone up, dialling and waiting.

When her friend picked up the phone, she exchanged pleasantries before uttering the sentence we had planned.

Guess what happened?

As soon as my client hung up the phone, the relief was clear to see. Her body language was relaxed and she was smiling. She’d made a huge step forward in her personal development and gained back control of her life.

She got a part not too long afterwards.

Saying ‘no’ isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of courage and self-compassion.

Is there someone you want to say ‘no’ to?

Is there a part of your life your want to get back?

Comment below or contact me and let’s create a plan for you

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IF YOU’RE IN A RELEGATION POSITION IN THE EFL, YOU MUST READ THIS

PREMIER LEAGUE – RELEGATION SPOTS AT THE TIME OF WRITING 21.43 SUNDAY 1ST DECEMBER.

SOUTHAMPTON

NORWICH

WATFORD

CHAMPIONSHIP LEAGUE – RELEGATION SPOTS AT THE TIME OF WRITING 21.43 SUNDAY 1ST DECEMBER.

WIGAN

STOKE

BARNSLEY

LEAGUE ONE – RELEGATION SPOTS AT THE TIME OF WRITING 21.43 SUNDAY 1ST DECEMBER.

MK DONS

SOUTHEND

BOLTON

LEAGUE TWO – RELEGATION SPOTS AT THE TIME OF WRITING 21.44 SUNDAY 1ST DECEMBER.

MORECAMBE


Now is the time to take four steps to give yourself the best possible chance to survive.

Decide on your vision. Do you want to avoid relegation, finish mid-table or something else?

Once you have decided your vision, you need to look at and accept your reality.

You do this by taking these steps

  • Create a safe, non-judgemental environment in which the coaches can openly discuss their ideas their concerns and what they can do differently from this moment forward.
  • Create the same environment for players and coaches, and allow each player, one by one, to express their ideas, concerns and examples of what can be done differently from this moment forward.

When you have your reality, you consider all the options and implement those that will fit best to support the journey towards your vision.

When you decide what options fit best, you implement them and so the journey up the table begins.

Many players, coaches and teams fail, not because they don’t have the quality players, but the players aren’t encouraged or treated like humans.

The thing is, when we are treated with respect and value, we find motivation to do well.

If we are treated poorly, we become defensive and lack the motivation needed to hope the team and help ourselves.

By simply listening to others then making change, great things can happen.

You don’t need a superstar to win, because any player can become a superstar with the right guidance and opportunity.

If you’re in a relegation spot, provide your players with these opportunities.

As a specialist in mindsets, I would invite you to connect and talk about your concerns and ideas as a player or coach and help you form your plan.

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THE REAL REASON FOOTBALL PLAYERS GO BANKRUPT AND SUFFER NEGATIVE MENTAL HEALTH

There are two staggering stats I’ve come across recently:-

In an article written by Sid Lowe of The Guardian on 16th November 2019 he wrote…

“research suggested that two fifths of footballers were bankrupt within five years and a third had divorced inside a year.”

https://amp.theguardian.com/football/blog/2019/nov/16/preparing-footballers-for-life-after-final-game

The article goes on to highlight issues around mental health and the reasons why players experience these downfalls. The article touches upon the darker side of football but for good reason.

I, like you, know that becoming bankrupt and divorce are things we would want to avoid, yet so many players fall into these behaviours.

For these stats to be true, there are certain behaviours and actions the players are taking that are detrimental to their mental health and finances.

But no-one sets out to become bankrupt or divorce!

Logically, it doesn’t make sense!

But us humans rarely make decision based on logic.

We make decisions based on our emotions

A thought, leads to an emotion that leads to a behaviour.

Let me demonstrate…

Think of your favourite holiday destination.

Close your eyes if that helps and imagine everything you see, everything you hear and everything you feel.

Really absorb yourself in that place.

You’ll be feeling lifted, elated, excited, happy and you may break out with a smile.

A thought, led to emotions, led to an action.

When your thoughts are driven by a tough situation you find yourself in, you’ll experience emotions of fear, frustration, possible anger and revenge or even sadness.

From these emotions come actions and it’s these actions that lead to making decisions that are wrong for your mental health, finances and life.

Players like material things like cars, big houses, the flash clothes etc but for what reason?

In the article, the writer compares these behaviours to ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, yet happiness is never created from having external material wealth but it comes from creating your internal self-worth.

But professional football players find it difficult to connect with their self-worth when they are judged on their performance and value on the market.

So what’s the solution to lower the numbers of players going bankrupt and divorcing?

Discover and connect with their inner self-worth!

When a player realises they are a commodity and should maximise their value right now, this gives them a new perspective of what should be valued in their lives.

Players can have all the material wealth in the world and be unhappy because there is something missing. That something is their feeling of self-worth, often seeking solace in spending a large amount of money either gambling or something else.

I urge players to understand this perspective because your career can end in a moment.

I urge players to find a way to accept their true value lies within, and the amount of money, the pressure, the fame, the attention, doesn’t matter when it comes to being happy with yourself.

PLAN NOW FOR THE FUTURE!

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Become who you want to be

How do you remove those feelings of doubt to get what you want?

What is doubt?

One winters day, in a secluded village, an old lady looked out of the window. Through the blizzard, she could just make out a shape in the distance. She strained her eyes and smiled. Yes. It was still there, a little blurred but it was there.

She took one more sip of her warm beverage, took her sheepskin coat off the peg along with her scarf and wrapped up warm, knowing she had to keep the cold out.

she slowly put on her hat and was ready.

Hearing the wind blowing around the wooden hut, she stopped for a moment.

Then she ventured out into the cold.

A few minutes later, she returned.

Happy and content, she sat down in front of the crackling fire and smiled.

Doubt is just a fleeting thought.

But it is often our immediate actions that prevent us from achieving and getting what we want.

Any time you have doubt, remind yourself that without that thought, you won’t be human and to be human is to connect with our fears.

Our fears are there to be conquered.

Our fears are there to be overcome!

What is it you want to overcome and what are you going to do about it?

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WHY DO SO MANY FOOTBALLERS SUFFER FROM MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES?

Mental health is something we all experience, either positive, negative or a balance but it’s when a person is stuck in a negative mental health state, that their mental health suffers and can lead to anxiety, depression or worse.

Life is never a straight line. Never is it easy or difficult, but we live in a life in constant flux and experience many emotions as we react to the environment around us.

WHEN YOU’RE STUCK IN A NEGATIVE MENTAL HEALTH STATE, THAT’S WHEN THE PROBLEMS START

I suffered from depression a few years ago. I was stuck in a cycle of self-destruction as I lost my job and struggled to find motivation to do something about it. I began to wake up late, stay up late and find anything to remove the boredom. I had no focus and hoped something would happen.

But guess what, nothing did happen.

I was losing fitness, I was losing my self-worth and I was spending money I didn’t have.

The doctor offered me anti-depressants but I had heard how they numb the brain so immediately, I turned down that option. I valued my clarity and thinking.

I understand what it’s like to feel depressed, but I also know how to find a solution that changes the mindset.

Any player can change their mindset and can experience the highs and the lows, from winning the league, to losing on the last day of the season and getting relegated.

One player I spoke to has a family member in the premier league and after a transfer, he sat in his bedroom all day with the curtains closed and only left his room to train and play.

A player will begin to suffer from negative mental health when they can’t find the answer or solution to a problem that’s occurred.

THE SOLUTION EXISTS, YOU JUST NEED TO KNOW WHICH DIRECTION TO LOOK IN

The mind is a tricky little thing and can trick players into focusing on a wave of negative emotions and thoughts like blame, embarrassment, guilt, fear, anger, and anger.

The other issue they face is two-fold. Can I talk to someone and are they willing to listen?

There are some great campaigns out encouraging players to talk and I applaud these campaigns.

However, encouraging someone to talk, will go nowhere if there isn’t anyone they trust enough to open up to; and then there is the concern of will they actually listen without judgement or will they tell the boss, take the p!ss or tell you to ‘man-up’?

When concerns are held in the mind, they begin to manifest and morph into thoughts and feelings that can drag even the most skilled player to a place of darkness.

Check these worrying stats!

  • 60% of footballers go bankrupt within five years of leaving the game
  •  In 2016, 165 members of the PFA were referred for counselling
  • in 2017, more than three times the amount of players reaching out were recorded by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) than in 2015 and 2016. The number of former players requiring support has also doubled.

So what’s the solution?

Talking and advising players what to do and how to cope with the world of professional football is great on one level.

But there is another level that needs addressing

When a person understands their self-worth and mental health, doesn’t have to revolve around football, a new perspective is discovered that can strengthen the individuals’ resilience and ability to move quickly from negative mental health, to finding a balanced or positive state of mind.

A balanced or positive state of mind, allows the individual to thrive in an otherwise hostile and very critical environment.

Football players can perceive opening up as a weakness, something that only others do, yet opening is can be perceived as a courageous and intelligent act.

I urge players to find someone who is willing to listen without judgement or criticism and open up. I guarantee when this happens, the problems they thought they had, won’t be as problematic as they think.

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The importance of investing in yourself as a professional football player

Just read these real life situations of where life has taken a turn for the worse for these former players…

In 2014 a study by the Professional Players’ Federation found footballers are three times more likely to have gambling issues than the average population – Source https://www.moneynest.co.uk/bankrupt-footballers/

Eidur Gudjohnsen said he lost £400,000 over five months after boredom crept in following an injury – Source https://www.moneynest.co.uk/bankrupt-footballers/

Dean Windass – Former Hull City Striker declared bankrupcy following HMRC tax bills of £164,000 based on an investment he made which never paid him a penny – Source https://www.moneynest.co.uk/bankrupt-footballers/

Rio Ferdinand, Andy Cole, Robbie Savage, Martin Keown and Danny Murphy were also rumored to have invested in investments schemes by Kingsbridge Asset Management which earned millions in commissions before turning sour — Source https://www.moneynest.co.uk/bankrupt-footballers/

A footballer who played for three of the game’s biggest clubs sobs after learning he’ll soon be made bankrupt. The chairman of a Premier League outfit sighs, before granting his captain an advance on his wages for the last time following another costly defeat at the roulette table. Inside a court, a player pleads with a judge to reduce his child maintenance payments after frittering away his fortune. – Source – https://www.fourfourtwo.com/features/why-do-so-many-footballers-end-broke-fourfourtwo-investigates#jUalUL8BDkKmTrIk.99 

More than a quarter of professional footballers suffer from depression or anxiety problems, according to a new study carried out by the international players’ union FIFPro. The research showed that 26 per cent of players reported the mental health problems with that figure rising to 39 per cent among retired players. – Source https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/10739111/One-in-four-footballers-suffer-depression-study-reveals.html

What is happening! Why does such a brilliant opportunity, to play football and be paid handsomely for it, create so much pain and self-abuse?

Quite simply there is a reason and I’ll explain it the best I can.

Football gives players an identity. It gives them a sense of purpose and self-worth and confidence and can bring plenty of extrinsic rewards.

Some football players falsely assume extrinsic rewards will help them meet their needs. The more money, followers and attention they have, the more their needs are met.

BUT…

Football, falsely gives players a solution to their needs.

People go wrong when they try to get external things like money to meet their intrinsic needs.

Some footballers wrongly assume if their extrinsic needs are met, this equates to happiness and fulfilment.

But in reality it’s their intrinsic needs that need to be addresses first and this is where the gap in development sits.

IT WOULD BE WISE TO INVEST IN SELF – DEVELOPMENT SO AS NOT TO FALL FOUL OF THESE FACTORS

If a player’s self-confidence and self-worth is at a low, or they are in unfamiliar territory, their intrinsic needs aren’t being met. They turn to extrinsic factors to help them deal with the imbalance. Gambling, drink, spending money on expensive toys, etc.

These actions only hinder and drag down the player, not just mentally but in performance.

Sooner or later they will crash and burn.

Their identity as a football player will be and can be lost in an instance!

And this isn’t right and it doesn’t sit right with me.

Being involved in sports, I knew of a player that committed suicide and also spoken to people in sports who know of players that have suffered and are suffering.

Life is about giving back to those who can benefit from your knowledge and through giving back, some of your intrinsic needs are met.

Some players set up foundations and trusts as did Jamie Carragher and his charity is doing great things. Find out more here https://jamiecarragher23.com

The service I established helps professional football players understand and improve their value and performance so they can maximise their revenue while they are playing but also plan ahead for the future, therefore tackling the two main issues around football today.

If you would like to know more about what and how I help footballers, please get in touch.

Take it easy

Mike