When I was a kid, U.S. soccer was…well…kind of a joke. Alexi Lalas was an athletic Carrot Top and took a second job as an underwhelming rock musician. Cobi Jones was like the cute little alien from Space Jam version of Jermaine Jones (same number and everything). Still they were the stars I looked up to in ranks with Brian McBride, Kasey Keller, Eddie Pope, and Eric Wynalda. Through the years, however, U.S. soccer has improved tremendously and has finally started to earn the attention of the entire nation. Certainly, Clint Dempsey has had a part in that.
The 34-year-old from Texas is the second top scorer in the history of U.S. soccer, has captained both the national team and the Seattle Sounders FC, and continues to show up as a dependable workhorse striker. All this achievement and more without a single smile. He is the definition of hard-ass.
I watched a Youtube video entitled “All 50 Of Clint Dempsey’s Goals With Seattle Sounders FC.” Drooling over my laptop, I noticed that he is no Wayne Rooney who blasts the ball like a rocket from half pitch. He’s a Clint Dempsey who seems to consistently position himself in the right place at the right time, and then stop at nothing to get the ball in the back of the net.
I saw him score with his knee once. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t pretty; it still went in.
Regarding men with mental illness, we can learn a lesson from the great Clint Dempsey. Success doesn’t always have to look pretty or amazing. Sometimes success is just setting yourself up well, making sure you are in the right place at the right time and then mustering that final burst of grit needed to succeed.
So, recognize your objective, and worry less about accomplishing it and more about setting yourself up well. Where do you need to be and what can help you achieve your goal? Call together a team, focus on the little steps that just get you in front of the net, and when the opportunity comes stop at nothing to score. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It just needs to happen.