Despite them going out of the World Cup semi-finals last night, I could not be any more proud of the England team. Looking more deeply into the team, there are definitely a few life lessons that you can learn from the players and apply to every aspect of your life – whether you’re a football fan or not.
1. Put in the work behind the scenes
England entered the World Cup with no expectations from anyone. Previous teams had not delivered and England have a track record of disappointment in big tournaments. However, what was clear to see from England’s performance was that the work had certainly been put in behind the scenes. Their mentality was different, their set plays and tactics were noticeably improved and they began to make people feel excited about the national team again. What can you learn from this? Put in the hard work when no one is watching. People don’t have to be watching or noticing for you to be succeeding. You don’t need that immediate validation that you’re doing something right or well. Always do your best and eventually your hard work and progress will be noticed and praised.
2. Pressure is okay
For many years people would say that there was too much pressure on the England to perform. This year, the expectations were nil… but as they started to progress, the excitement and pressure began to grow. Pressure and stress is only negative if you believe it is. Pressure allows you to challenge yourself and succeed in ways you never thought you could! It gives you a target to surpass and can give you the drive and push you need to really excel.
3. Keep a cool head
If you watched any of the England matches, we came up against some teams that did not show the most sportsmanship or play the cleanest game. Take a leaf out of England’s book and stay calm. You will come up against people in life who will want to get a rise out of you. Adjust your mind set and keep your focus. Ultimately, you can’t control or influence everyone’s behaviour, so just accept how things are and carry on forward. If you want to get really English about it, keep calm and carry on.
4. Exceed expectations
Go further than anyone ever thought you would. Proving people wrong is the best feeling! Show them what you’re made of! Take every opportunity to exceed people’s expectations, whether it be in the work place or in your relationship. Go that extra mile!
5. Always believe in yourself
Back yourself – even when no one else does! You know what you’re capable of, but chances are you are capable of a hell of a lot more. You don’t need the belief of anyone else but yourself to succeed.
6. Success doesn’t mean winning
When looking back on this tournament, this will be considered a massive success for the team. We got much further than we thought, but the success goes much deeper than that. The national unity that had been so lacking since Brexit finally returned and got the nation excited once again. Success is completely relative and personal. If you have a feeling of pride as a result of your actions, or have improved in an area of your life, then that is success.
7. Be gracious in defeat
As painful as it was to see us go out of the World Cup, the boys handled themselves 100% with dignity. In life, not everything will go your way regardless of how hard you try or how badly you want it. Hold your head high and know that you’ve done your absolute best. Take forward what you’ve learnt into the next arena and smash it next time. There WILL be a next time. Dust yourself off, pick yourself up and get ready to go again.
Whether you’re an England fan or not, I think anyone would be able to appreciate the qualities that our lads have shown this World Cup. We may have gone out, but if there’s one thing that is true is that England fans never stop dreaming and believing in their team. Always have that faith.