How to learn focus from a footy star

How to learn focus from a footy star

Vanessa Stoykov

It’s been a huge advantage for me over the years to have access to some incredibly talented and successful individuals and to be able to interview them for programming we have created.

Once you dig below the surface of celebrity, it’s fascinating to identify the insights that are the real indicators of how they got to where they are, and what they had to do to achieve it.

It also has shown me the cost of that achievement – which is something our celebrity culture, with magazines and movies showing the most glamorous sides of celebrity lives (or the train wrecks and salacious parts of their lives), fails to do most of the time.

One person I learnt a lot from speaking with was Anthony Minichiello, ex-captain of the Sydney Roosters rugby league team.

Now anybody who knows me well will tell you that I am not exactly a sports fanatic. In fact, there was an embarrassing moment in this conversation where I told Anthony he must have scored a lot of goals in his career (which he was very graceful about). While I am not someone who wants to sit and watch the football, I can certainly appreciate and respect the dedication and focus a professional football player needs to stay at the top of their game.

So when I identified focus as something many people need to unlearn about money, I began to see the rewards that come from a long-term focus that someone like Anthony has mastered.

For a start, when he was in his teens, he was focussed on being the best in his field. He joined the club with his eye fixed firmly on playing A-grade football. Many of us as teenagers are lucky to focus on the opposite sex and the latest fad.

Once he did reach that level, he kept focussing. And he started to realise that his focus needed to incorporate bringing other people along on the journey with him. These were other players who needed to tap into his focus and work ethic to reach their own potential.

He then experienced serious injuries, which he initially struggled to come back from, before he was able to regain his focus to overcome them and continue to play.

When he because team captain his focus sharpened again to incorporate the strategies he had learned to push those around him to greater heights.

After having his family with wife Terry Biviano, Anthony’s focus expanded to include his family and their future. But he never took his eye off the ball. He talked a lot about what choices he made on a daily basis – which were made easier for him because of his focus on a bigger end goal. Did he have a glass of wine or water? Did he go out or go to bed at 8.30pm? Did he control his diet or eat what he wanted? The discipline and focus of athletes at this level is a real testament to holding onto a strong and motivated end point.

Some lessons around focus I took from my time with Anthony included:

  1. Have a clearly defined end goal and make every decision with that in mind
  2. Don’t think that little decisions won’t affect the end goal – every decision you make, not matter how small, changes the outcome
  3. Be prepared for the pain – getting what you want is not meant to be easy

Now, as an ambassador for the club, he is equally focussed on what he can do to add value, and he is currently helping Aussie school kids get fit through is fitness initiative for schools, Mini Fit.

Along the way Anthony amassed wealth via investing in property, as to him that was what he felt comfortable with. However, his wife has also invested significantly in her own fashion business, so they are diversified in that way.

Defining a focus may not come as clearly to all of us as it did to Anthony. But there are lessons to learn from his dedication that have helped me understand that getting to a bigger goal or vision is all about the little decisions we make along the way.

To watch my conversation with Anthony, click here.

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