On December 21, 2014 I was carried off the field after helping my Australian team win the championship game. This was my final professional soccer game before hanging up my boots for good.
Fast-forward 453 days and my alarm goes off at 4:45am – time to train. Not myself, but our first group of clients at Ambitious Athletics.
It has been a whirlwind of a year, one filled with a ton of new experiences and lessons. The biggest lesson has been the transition from an athlete’s mindset to a coach’s mindset.
Now after a year under my belt as a full time coach I thought there was no better time to reflect on some of the lessons I’ve come to understand. I realized that many of the life lessons I learned from soccer are the same lessons that I’ve applied in my first year as a coach.
I wanted to share them with you because it’s easy to see that life lessons learned in one place can directly translate to another.
So without further ado, here are 4 of the hundred life lessons that I learned from soccer and am still applying today.
1.) Trust the process
Listen, I’m just like you, I too want results immediately but… as a player there is a lot that is out of your control and it’s important to remember that the work you’re putting in, whether it’s on the field or in the weight room will pay off. Have faith. This wasn’t always easy for me, I had to learn to enjoy the process. But the difference maker was, I knew I wanted to be, a Hollywood actress professional soccer player.
Even with such a vivid vision the lack of reward or attention can easily cause us to venture off course. Focus on the areas you can control and trust that effort is enough.
As a coach I’m reminded of this everyday. Similar to my soccer career I’m eager to become a better coach but I often have to take a step back and realize that I can only do my absolute best with what I have in the current moment. I know that over time, because I’m dedicated, that my best will get better. The coach in me must also be like the player in me, keep grinding, keep practicing, keep learning, fail, fall, get back up, walk the same path, and disregard the distractions that may take me off course. The journey or the process must include a vision or destination. Trust the process.
2.) Be in the moment
I really didn’t understand this concept until the start of our second professional league in the U.S. One league had already come and gone and my national team career at this point consisted of tumultuous ups and downs. It was during this time that it occurred to me how fleeting professional sports careers can be. The length of a professional athletes career in the whole scheme of things really isn’t that long so it’s important to remember to “soak it up”. This lesson isn’t easy to grasp and even though I was reminded of it often – I started to pay attention more to the finer details. During the national anthem before each game I would remind myself of how fortunate I am – this became a ritual of mine to bring me back to the moment. This definitely takes practice, as it is easy to get caught up in your next goal or project and lose sight of the small triumphs.
Without question everyone always asks what I miss most about playing, and although I miss the “big” games and the competition that comes with that, what I miss the most are the daily interactions and relationships with my teammates, our shenanigans, practice, and camaraderie. It is these shared experiences that always brought me back to the moment.
Experiences make moments; therefore it’s important for me to build lasting relationships with my clients and athletes beyond the field and weight room. Because it is experiences and moments that create stories, and stories create lasting memories. Be in the moment.
3.) Embrace the struggle
Sometimes I think there is a misconception that the path to success is linear. That all of a sudden you just wind up on the U.S women’s national team or playing professional soccer. But as someone who was told “No” or “not yet”, just as many times I was told “yes” by coaches I can tell you that linear is the furthest from reality. As cliché as it may sound it’s the truth, we learn the most from our losses, not our wins. And, it was the “no’s” and “not yet’s” that fueled me to continue to grow and improve my game. Besides coaching on a daily basis, I have created LoriLindsey.us because I want to help as many people achieve success by sharing my experiences on and off the field.
Here’s my struggle, I haven’t had to put pen to paper on a daily basis since college… that was 2002. It’s been a challenge for me to share my stories through penmanship rather than interviews, I know, not life altering, but hey, we all struggle differently. Did I mention a new career? I have had to embrace the struggle of navigating whole new territory and accepting the challenges that come with growth
4.) From a “me” to “we” mentality
For thirty years everything I was doing was preparing myself to play at the highest level. How can I become a better teammate? How can I become a better athlete? What is going to set me apart from other players? All of my work was put in to me to maximize my athletic potential. Sure, it was also for the greater good of the team and for the team to be successful, but without me, the team went on.
Now as a coach, I find that if I focus on myself being healthy and training everyday, I’m a better coach. At the same time I’m realizing that it’s not about me – it’s about my clients and athletes successes. I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to play and live at such a high level, and now it’s time to pay it forward. As a coach, it’s about the athlete with dreams of becoming a better athlete and making the roster to inspiring women who are motivated to live a healthier and stronger life. It’s about empowered women empowering women. No longer me, but we.