“It’s not the shit we face that defines us, it’s how we deal with it.” Ahmed Mostafa
Reminding Myself Of The Pain
I started this journey more than a year ago after learning of the frustrations, bullshit and pain professional football players face and it didn’t sit right with me and began to build connections within football around the topic of mental health and how rife negative mental health is in football.
I’ve heard stories of players thinking about suicide, leaving the game and families breaking up and if football is the cause of these outcomes, then something else has to be done. It is something else that has to be done, that I’m driving forward so with that in mind, let’s learn what to do when shit happens, because shit happens a lot in professional football and you need to know how to deal with it.
When shit happens
When shit happens, there’s nothing you can do to change what happened. It happened and you can’t change it no matter how hard you try.
Mental health issues begin when a person tries to justify the event, push it under the carpet or blame someone or something else.
These are the worse things you can do!
What Should You Do When Shit Happens?
The very first thing you should do is accept it happened. Don’t retaliate, don’t make a harsh decision, just let it be for a while.
Don’t ask the question, ‘why?’ for the question Why invites thoughts and scenarios that will drive you crazy as you try to search for an answer that doesn’t exist.
When shit happens you learn from it. You tell yourself it’s a learning curve and to ask yourself ‘what can I do now to move on from this?’ The answer to this question is, play the game and focus!
Let’s say you scored an own goal. In that moment, shit happened! But there’s still a game going on! You can’t stop playing so you put it to the side of your mind and carry on playing.
Some players allow that mistake to hang around in their minds, distracting them and toying with them and when a player is distracted even further, more mistakes can be made. Even when the game has finished, the player can revisit the mistake and play it over and over again in their mind but for what purpose? To feel guilt, to feel a loser, to change it?
They lose sleep, perhaps turn to the bottle in an attempt to numb the mind and even gamble in an attempt to distract themselves for while. These choices are never great!
Playing mistakes over in your mind doesn’t make sense, mentally or otherwise, meaning the most effective, purposeful act you can do after you make a mistake is to let it go.
This may seem like you’re avoiding responsibility but on the contrary, you’re taking responsibility for improving so the mistake is less likely to happen again, and you’re being responsible for your mental health.
Now I’ve covered what to do when shit happens, let me share what happened to me last night and it has nothing to do with shit happening.
Last night I was scrolling through LinkedIn and saw a post that Emile Heskey had written, something about feeling nervous when talking in front of ten people and being the person I am, I contributed my thoughts on how to overcome this issue and was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of comments telling me my post was great.
This led to a conversation and a connection and an invite to a podcast in the future!
I believe when someone takes an interest in my work, I have to explore the possibility of it leading somewhere and after a few exchanging of messages, this person had some value he could offer me and perhaps I can do the same for him.
We’re due to chat early next week but it led to me thinking, there are other ways I can help others, succeed, not just football players, for I understand the workings of the mind, and how to change your thinking for improved results in sports, but the principles work in business and life.
Perhaps there’s an opportunity for me to give back to his community in some way? Time will tell.
Roll on Sunday when it’s Father’s Day and I can have a couple of beers as a celebration!