As 2017 comes to a close, I now have time to sit down and gather my thoughts on the experiences of the past 12 months and then to plan for the New Year ahead.
Firstly, It was a year of huge decisions.
It was a year in which I grew hugely as a person and experienced things both professionally and personally that I will never forget.
“It was also another year in football that I feel extremely fortunate to have lived”
My highlights of the year include
- Working for Sao Paulo FC
- Experiencing the passion for football in Brazil (Thank you SPFC Fans for this)
- Living in Brazil and learning about the beautiful culture
- Learning a new language (the most fulfilling journey I have experienced)
- Playing against River Plate, Santos, Corinthians, Palmeiras
- Making lifelong friendships
- Returning to Liverpool FC academy (A special feeling to be back at my home in football)
- Working with really young players again has been hugely rewarding
- Staring the Pro Licence course
- Coaching in Argentina, Brazil, Qatar, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, USA, Scotland.
I have always been a person that likes to make plans and have aims to achieve. This process enables me to concentrate on what is important to me in life and then ensuring that I focus on making sure those things are being ticked off or completed.
In short – It’s a list of things that get me out of bed in the morning!!
I use 6 categories to plan for the year
- Development – Personal development
- Work – Working aims and targets
- Family – Activities with my wife and two boys
- Health – So important, but always the one I’m most disappointed with
- Finance – Planning for my families future
- Fun – To ensure life doesn’t become too serious
Under each one, I write down what I would like to achieve or experience in the New Year. I don’t mind sharing that the second language has been on the list for many years and only this year did I make a significant development in that area. This will still be on the list again this year as a reminder to continue reading and studying.
“Like most people that work in football, I have two periods of “New year resolutions” with the second coming in June on my summer holidays. This works perfectly as a review point or mini half time assessment of how I am doing”
Of course, there are things that you cannot always plan for,
For me, having 8 weeks out of work allowed me to be a “full time” dad at the same time that my children were on the summer holidays from school. This was something that I didn’t plan for (and that I wouldn’t have wanted to plan for either), but it was fantastic to have that quality time with my boys. This period showed me the things I miss at home when working in a sport that I am obsessed with.
Life is short, and having lost one or two friends this year and also observing from a distance as one or two others have a tough time in their own careers, It’s a clear reminder that you have to constantly move forward and believe in yourself.
It is also important that you give this confidence to children or young people on their way up in the world.
Teaching them that YOU vs YOURSELF is a fantastic way to attack life and that they should be constantly trying to improve and impress themselves.
We all have our own unique journey in life. As coaches, we must educate children to only look sideways for inspiration and never to compare. Its my opinion that becoming a better person and improving each day is the ultimate definition of winning!!
And…… Winning is a word that we must promote more. We just need to give this clarity to the term winning in order to transform it from being seen as an ugly word in sports/schools to a beautiful word.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your families
Get planning for the best year ever in 2018!