You are either in the late stages of education or now a dropout, maybe working a 9-5 or still in search of something proper that pays and your best friends are busy on their own beat while your family is too far to reach.
To play the game or to be someone in the game, that dream has been with you longer than the birth of your youngest sibling. You are an aspiring professional with a dream to make it big. Your daydream is interrupted by a telephone call. It’s your mother on the line. “Are you making any money yet. Why don’t you get a job,” your mother asks? “Yes, mammy, I am still training and waiting on my break”. She responds, “Why don’t you get a real job? There’s no money in sport unless you playing T20 cricket for a big side or playing football in Europe.”
Does this describe an interaction that you’ve had with people when you tell them you are an athlete or better yet, a footballer, a cricketer or a working member of staff in a sporting organization in Trinidad and Tobago? How does it make you feel when your support system doesn’t support you?
I’ve been there before. Standing in front of family members, friends and even former girlfriends feeling persecuted for following my heart. Standing there, knowing where my heart lies and knowing what I’ve been putting out over all these years and facing the disappointment of those around me, whether it be fellow workers or potential partners who might have let me down or not strong enough to believe in something bigger than the current scenario at the time.
When Dwight Yorke reached out to me last week to assist in putting out a note of condolence for him on the passing of Neil Wilson, his former personal manager since his early days at Aston Villa, the conversation reminded me of several factors that contribute to a successful professional. Dwight, as we all know, had that drive instilled in him from a tender age. But as we always recount in our conversations, while he got the break when being spotted by Graham Taylor in the late 1980s and had someone such as Bertille St Clair always sticking on his case, he didn’t always have the kind of support one would wake up every morning and go “Things are great and I know I can rely on so many people when things aren’t going my way.” He had to work his socks off but found a way to find the right balance and persons like Neil Wilson stuck it out with him, offering guidance and support when and where it mattered.
There are three main areas of focus that can help you realise your dreams when the support system isn’t always there. For you to thrive without a support system, you need to have a vision. It’s called crystalising your dream, Vision is loosely defined as the act or power of anticipation. What are you focused on? What do you like to do? What do your dreams look like? Answers these questions so you can truly understand the things you are passionate about. When family members and friends try to squash your dreams, think about your vision. Remember your vision is powerful and inspiring. Just ask Dwight, Russell Latapy, Brian Lara, Dennis Lawrence, Stern John or Kieron Pollard. Matter of fact even the school principal and the store manager had a vision.
The other thing is ensuring there is faith. Faith in your God and faith in yourself. Your vision motivates you to activate your faith.
You already worked on strengthening your vision and your faith. The next thing you need to work on is speaking your dream into real-time. “Speak” your dream into existence. Utilize positive self-talk every time your family members or friends try to minimize or cut down your dreams.
There are moments however when we can talk about dreams all day but then things keep popping up that seem intent on killing those dreams. From poor management, lack of compensation, unsuitable facilities and infrastructure to corrupt or bias practices and you're thinking "Why on earth am I even bothering with this?" Have the strength to remember your vision. Every push-up, every shooting practice, every training session and every team meeting pushes you one step closer to your dream. None of this is new but it's all tested and has turned out true with many able to testify over time.
Will Smith once said, "Our thoughts, our feelings, our dreams, our ideas are physical in the universe, that if we dream something if we picture something, it adds a physical thrust towards the realization that we can put into the universe."
Be like Smith and maintain that will in pursuit of your dreams.
Shaun Fuentes is the head of TTFA Media. He is a former FIFA Media Officer at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and currently a CONCACAF Competitions Media Officer. The views expressed are solely his and not a representation of any organisation.