Life Lessons

7 Little Life Lessons a footballer can teach You about FOCUS

Lesson #1 | Focus on one thing until you see it through to completion.

Daniel’s (my husband’s) life is immersed in football. For over ten years, he has focused on football and nothing else. For example, his schedule is to personal train at 4 AM for half an hour to an hour. Between rest and nutrition, he reviews football matches (the majority of the time the same matches), highlights on Instagram, and listens to football commentary on his radio app. Normally, team training takes place in the evening from 5 PM to 7 PM. Then he’s back home to look at more matches until bedtime. I envy his focus.

Team training
Lesson #2 | Learn from the best and put it to the test.

Secondly, it helps to actually DO what you’re focusing on. The daily immersion of football via various media outlets is not purely entertainment but his way of studying football. On Instagram, he reviews highlights of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, learning from the best in the game. He incorporates the moves from these players and others into his matches. Daniel explained to me there is a difference between training fitness and match fitness. Personal and team training is necessary but he has to play matches to test his true level of fitness.

Lesson #3 | Take rest, you’ll perform better.

It’s important for you to get proper rest so you can perform at an optimal level. A chunk of Daniel’s day consists of rest and recovery. Insufficient rest can hinder his performance. In addition, overtraining can actually result in an injury. He’s attuned to his body. His body advises him when to skip a personal training session and sleep in. In today’s society, oftentimes we take the opposite approach. Instead, we ignore inherent signals from our bodies that we need rest. We overwork our mind and body leading to exhaustion and resulting in various illnesses.

Lesson #4 | Drown out the naysayers. Everyone can’t handle your ambition.

There are always going to be people that think they have your best interest at heart but can’t believe at your level. Be careful not to confide in these people. They can tarnish your inner spirit, distract you from your focus, and have you doubting yourself. People close to Daniel pleaded for him to come home and get a “regular job.” Thank goodness he persevered and followed his passion. You may have people in your life that think they know what’s best for you. The truth of the matter is they are not going after their dreams. Once things start to happen for you, they develop amnesia about discouraging you from following your dreams. 

Lesson #5 | Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. 

Connecting with people that share your passion is monumental. Everyone he talks to is affiliated with football in some form or fashion. They are either past and present footballers, agents, coaches, or managers. Associating himself with people that share his interests has provided leads for teams and positions on teams. These individuals are aware of his position, skill, and dedication to the game. When an opportunity has arisen in the past, they have personally vouched on his behalf. Maintain healthy relationships with individuals that have similar interests to help you reach your goals.

A fan of Daniel
Lesson #6 | Stay humble, recognition will come in due time. 

Sometimes you have to play second fiddle. During our three-month holiday vacation in Ghana, everywhere we went someone shouted: “striker” (from cars, in the grocery store, the mall, restaurants, and the South African embassy) to greet Daniel. Before coming to the UAE, he played for four professional teams in Ghana as a striker. Not only did his position change from striker to right-back but he no longer played professional but amateur for five consecutive years. Despite the demotion, he was grateful for the opportunity to play overseas. He says often, “God’s timing is the best time.”

Lesson #7 | Don’t quit, take suffering in stride.

It’s going to get worse before it gets better. That’s a guarantee! It’s important that you always remember your WHY. Daniel has countless stories about the adversity he has faced trying to pursue his passion as a footballer. He traveled back and forth from Ghana to the UAE on three occasions unsuccessfully signing with a team. Two of the three times he arrived in the UAE with no money in his pocket. He had two intangible resources work ethic and determination. Those two resources sustained him until he signed his first professional contract in the UAE in July 2018 and another in January 2019 and another in August 2019.

Daniel has taught me:

You get what you FOCUS on, so FOCUS on what you want.


Expert Advice

In “The Success Principles, How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be“, author Jack Canfield advises on how to manage your day appropriately and improve your focus:

“spend at least 80% of your operating in your core genius, or primary area of expertise–interacting with people or processes that give you the highest payoffs for the time you invest.”

Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul coauthor

He recommends “The Entrepreneurial Time System” by Dan Sullivan in which you divvy up your time into three kinds of days: Focus, Buffer, and Free Days. On a Buffer Day, you can plan your Focus or Free Days, attend training, network, or do any activities outside of your core genius. A Free Day is from midnight to midnight doing non-work related stuff.

If you work a typical 5-day work week, 4 days (4 x 80%) will be spent on your core genius, 1 day will be a planning day, then you would have one full day for fun. I assume you will dedicate one day to chores and errands.

I prefer using hours. If you work a typical 40-hour week, 32 hours (40 x 80%) will be spent on your core genius, 8 hours (40 – 32) will be dedicated to planning and other activities, then one full day for leisure activities.


Personally, I prefer using hours. I really enjoy what I do (writing and speaking) so I don’t mind working for an extended time in my core genius especially if there is a flow. In addition, I really enjoy my leisure time (reading and relaxing). Taking Mr. Canfield’s advice, this is how I arranged my schedule to optimize my performance:

  • Monday
    • unplugged or digital detox day.
  • Tuesdays & Wednesdays
    • Work in my core genius (Focus Day)
    • 12 hours each day (7 AM-7 PM)
  • Thursdays
    • Work in my core genius (Focus Day)
    • 8 hours (7 AM-3 PM)
  • Friday and Saturday
    • Plan the upcoming week, learn skills, and meetings (Buffer Day)
    • 4 hours each day (11 AM – 3 PM)
  • Sunday
    • Free Day (enjoy the pool, sauna, reading, & church service)

Do you think my schedule is doable? Join the AWAKENED REALM Facebook Group and I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

How do you stay focused? What’s your current schedule?

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Don’t forget to print the iT.H.R.I.V.E. one-pager and keep it visible next to your bed or workspace for encouragement.

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