Everything in life can be challenging, whether you are a business leader or a professional athlete. Encountering difficult situations is inevitable. Some might deal with it by bemoaning their misfortune. Others might find themselves thinking they cannot overcome these problems.
On the other hand, there are people who can conquer these situations and succeed in what they do. These highly successful people were able to rise above the challenge and go on to have great careers. One might wonder, what makes these people so different? What does it take to succeed like them?
Paul McVeigh believes the game-changer is your mindset. A keynote speaker and former professional football player from Belfast, Paul shares his thoughts on the key to succeeding in whatever you choose to do in life. He also talks about how the three Ds — drive, dedication, and determination — have helped him take on any situations he faced. Paul also shares why taking full responsibility is the best thing to do.
Paul is the author of the book The Stupid Footballer Is Dead, which talks about how professional football players need more than natural talent now. They need to have intelligence, resilience, and a winner’s mindset to prosper. He takes all his learnings from the football pitch to the corporate world and shows how these strategies can be applied by organizations and individuals from various industries to achieve success.
Resilience in the Face of Adversity
You do not have control over all the situations that happen to you. How do you deal with this?
The answer is resilience — having this ability to adapt to anything that comes your way makes all the difference. Without it, many would not have been able to survive otherwise.
Growing up at a time of civil unrest in Belfast, you might think Paul would not look back at the experience so positively. Paul, however, grew used to how things were as a kid. He was still dead set on playing football and was even able to sign on with Tottenham Hotspur at 14 years old.
For Paul, his childhood helped him “have an appreciation and gratitude for the good things in life.” He added, “It undoubtedly toughened me up and gave me an inner resilience.”
He credits Robbie Walker, the scout of the Tottenham Hotspur, for influencing how he understood psychology and viewed mindset. Robbie told Paul that he might be a decent player, but what would truly set him apart was the three Ds:
1. Drive – having the motivation and patience to work on your goals
2. Dedication – committing time and effort toward your goals
3. Determination – having a clear idea of what you want and being firm about achieving this
Even if Paul thought of himself as a decent player, Robbie reminded him that he would also be joining other players of the same level at the professional football clubs. He’s not the only decent player out there. These three Ds would determine whether or not someone like Paul had a decent long-term career ahead of him.
Having this mindset also applies in the workplace. Sometimes, you might find yourself stumped by a major problem that will test your capabilities as a professional. How would you go about resolving this issue?
Will you fold and concede defeat? Or will you persevere until you find a solution fit for the situation?
With drive, dedication, and determination, you can go beyond perceived limitations.
Believing in Yourself
What you choose to believe in makes a significant difference.
Paul did not always see things the way he does now. As a teenager who had just signed on with the Spurs, he was thrust into the world of professional football. It was a world replete with competitiveness, ruthlessness, and expectations of elite performance.
Paul started training beside world-renowned athletes and legends in football. He found himself believing that he had no chance to be like these people.
What changed his mind?
At 17, Paul’s friend recommended a book by Tony Robbins. It was called Awaken the Giant Within, and it completely changed his viewpoint and led him to a different trajectory for his career path.
There are several lessons to pick up from that book, but Paul’s main takeaway was this: “Stop looking outside yourself, because everything you need in life, you’ve already got within.”
It is as powerful of a message today as it was for Paul decades ago when that lesson first widened his horizons. Instead of believing he could never hope to be as good as the likes of Jürgen Klinsmann, he found himself asking questions like the following:
• What is that belief about?
• Why do I have this belief?
• Can I change this belief?
• What kind of beliefs should I be creating?
• What kind of aspirations do I want to start working toward?
Paul was able to figure out what he wanted in life because of the many things he learned at that point. Before that, his only aspiration was to be a professional football player, and he found himself struggling to go beyond the doubts he had about himself.
After experiencing this shift in mindset, Paul started setting more goals for himself. He wanted to be a long-term professional football player, leave after two decades without any injuries, have enough money in the bank, and more.
Paul also challenged the beliefs he held and sought to find ways to achieve his goals rather than letting himself get stuck in the errant belief that he could not make it — because he could, and he did!
Looking back, Paul noted he was an open-minded kid and realized that it was his father’s enthusiasm as a life-long learner that inspired him. Being open to shifting and expanding your knowledge base is an important part of growing as a person.
This perspective and the questions that Paul asked himself can also apply to anyone in the workplace.
At work, you might find yourself thinking something is too difficult; however, giving up is far from your only available choice of action. Often, it is not even an option.
Instead of thinking that you cannot do something, ask yourself the same questions Paul asked.
If you are still at a loss, it might also be good to think of the following steps:
- Challenge the belief that it is impossible.
- Look at the problem from different angles.
- Find ways to get things done.
You might surprise yourself with the solutions you end up using.
The Role of Personal Responsibility
In all walks of life, there are “moaners.” These individuals tend to maintain a negative mentality — never taking responsibility for their actions, always blaming other people, and often playing the victim.
The biggest lesson Paul would like to impart comes from his journey of training to be a keynote speaker and learning about the psychology of performance.
For you to be at the top of any sport or field you dedicate yourself to, you need to improve not only your technique and physique but also your mindset. As Paul said, “You have to be willing to do things other people wouldn’t.”
To improve your mindset, you need to take accountability and personal responsibility. Doing so can help improve how you think and behave during these situations.
Paul found that when he takes full responsibility and holds himself accountable not just for what he does, but how he reacts and how he thinks about situations he finds himself in, he is able to do his best and contribute to whatever team he is in.
You might recognize “moaners” in the workplace. These tend to be people with an attitude of not taking 100% responsibility for their actions. They instead focus their energy on talking about other people, having a pity party, or always shifting the blame to everyone but themselves.
“Winners don’t do that,” Paul noted. All the people he has met who were the most successful in their respective fields always took full responsibility for themselves and understood how their actions impact others.
Whether you are in the pitch or the office, you are likely to be part of a team. It is important to do your job to the best of your abilities so that the goals of the team are accomplished. This will not only allow you to achieve individual success. It will also allow you to become a better coworker.
As the saying goes, the team is only as strong as its weakest link. If someone on the team doubts their abilities, is unwilling to put in the effort, or drags other people down, the team will inevitably fail.
The key to success is having this understanding and self-awareness of your role, even as an individual. As Paul says, “It is absolutely imperative that I did my job to the best of my abilities.”
One of the first ways you can accomplish this is to take full, personal responsibility for everything you think, say, and do.