Finding Purpose, Hope & Belief from Personal Hardship

There’s no need to elaborate here on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected our collective mental health. What we have experienced and continue to experience is something no one needs a reminder about – the isolation, adversity, exhaustion, and despair of these past couple of years have touched all of us.

In the midst of it all, however, there’s one thing to be hopeful about. Although we have a long way to go before mental health is truly destigmatized, it seems that we’re becoming more willing to discuss it openly. The trend of professional athletes to focus on mental health is quite apparent now, with the likes of Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles leading the way. It also seems like everyone is suddenly talking about the need to set mental health as a priority.

Kansas City Coaches Convention Soccer Resilience®

Roadblocks still persist, no doubt, we see it in our business everyday with Soccer Resilience®. But we remain hopeful and optimistic as we live out our mission to train the most underutilized competitive edge in sports, the mind, transforming the mindset and elevating the wellbeing of players, coaches and parents! 

There’s no doubt that we need to change the way we view mental health as a society and within our own communities. Personally, I learned this the hard way over this past year when I got blindsided by the continual struggle of life, which ultimately led me to seek professional help. 

Mental health is something everyone has. And the sooner we understand how to care for our mental health and destigmatize it, the better off everyone will be.

I wrote the below email to my business partners last November. It’s my hope that my vulnerability about sharing my struggles with you will encourage you, give you hope, and empower you to believe that help and healing are possible! 

Email: Tue, Nov 9, 2021, 11:02 AM
To: Wells Thompson, Brad Miller, Jessica McDonald, Matt Spear

Good Morning,

 I wanted to fill you in a little on what’s going on with me. On Wednesday of last week I felt really sick. Thought it was just normal sickness (virus) and pushed through our game on Thursday and then on Friday had a mental crash. Complete mental breakdown. Yesterday I went to my doctor and after talking for a good long while discovered that I am battling with a little depression and anxiety. 

During Covid, I lost both grandparents. They were basically my parents all the way through my high school years. Due to covid and a hectic work schedule and sports, I never fully got to grieve. My dad has also come back into the picture after not being around for years, and I think the pressures of teaching have been mounting. On Saturday I could barely function. 

I have never experienced anything like this but feel like it is not fair for you to not know what’s going on. My doctor wants me to take a few days away from school and other obligations to rest and try to refocus. This is a process and I have to get my mind right.  

What we are doing is so important, and now I believe this more than ever. I have found myself using lots of the strategies we teach over the last couple of days and they have truly helped. I will talk with you soon. So thankful for each of you.

Thanks for understanding,
John Blake

*UPDATE: Over the last 3 months I have been doing so much better. I have established a new routine at the recommendation of an online therapist that has helped me move forward. My morning routine is as follows:

  • Wake up and take my daughter to school (Quality Time)

  • Once I get to work I make sure to get my morning cup of coffee, and journal for 10-15 minutes

  • While I write I play soft music (whatever I’m in the mood for)

  • Each day I reflect on the previous day and write down 3 things I am grateful for and one area I would like to grow in

  • I then make sure I am drinking water and plan out my day with a quick priority list.

I have found that this 15 minute routine every morning has allowed me to start my day in a more positive and grateful way, resulting in a happier and healthier life.

I think the best medicine has been coaching. I have surrounded myself with my players and made it my mission to coach their mental health as much as I coach their physical, technical and tactical abilities.

Train your brain, transform your game… AND life!


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