• nicole calder

humans need structure. we need purpose. without either, we end up meandering through life, searching and seeking but never finding.

as i enter this new phase of my life where i am not working, not volunteering, not doing anything other than playing soccer, i find myself struggling. it's not that i don't have purpose, i do. the big-picture purpose of this time is to write my book, a book that i hope will add value to others' lives. the other purpose is to focus on my business. a business that i also believe will add value to others' lives. i have purpose, but i don't have structure.

every day, i have hours upon hours to write. i have what many others dream of having: an abundance of time. but it's this abundance of time that has become crippling. crippling because there's no urgency. no deadline. and no sense of achievement when i do write. see, my purpose is infinite; it's long-term. but humans need to feel purpose in their daily lives. we need to feel like the work we're doing is of value. is of meaning. we need reinforcement. checkpoints. we need to feel like we're contributing to something bigger than ourselves. i find myself writing 10 pages in a day, only to dread reading what i've written. writing a book is not like writing an instagram post. a book is lengthy. it requires edits upon edits upon edits. it requires patience. it requires structure. it requires things i've never really been good at.

when i write these posts, they're short and succinct. they have a point. everything is summed up neatly. a book, however, doesn't follow this structure. someone can read 200 pages and only remember one thing you've written. a book requires a commitment to the purpose without reinforcement along the way.

and it's this lack of reinforcement, this lack of contributing to something bigger than myself, this lack of structure that i'm struggling with. this experience is making me appreciate all the books i have read - we only ever see the finished product. we don't see the struggle. we don't see the journey. we don't see the torment. we don't see how eerily close someone was to giving up. something i find myself battling with every day.

humans need structure. we need a sense of purpose. we need validation along the way. without them, we end up feeling unfulfilled. unproductive. we end up questioning ourselves, our decisions, our lives. it's in this space i currently reside.

a space i'm trying not to succumb to. this book, my business, perhaps they're too much. too out of reach.

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  • nicole calder

"people do well when they can do well, not just when they want to do well."

i've used this phrase frequently over the years as it's allowed me to be more compassionate towards others when mistakes occur or when they don't do something i might otherwise expect them to do. it suggests that people lack the skill, not the will, to perform particular behaviours. and although this phrase is true in many instances, there's also other forces at play when it comes to behaviour and changing behaviour.

what incentive does the individual have to change?

have you ever witnessed someone participating in behaviours that are knowingly harmful to their body, only for them to suddenly give it up when they have a health scare? or perhaps you've had a partner who, on multiple occasions had caused you upset, but failed to change their behaviour until you finally decided to leave?

these individuals did not lack the knowledge - they knew what they were doing was causing pain. they didn't lack the means either - these changes were readily available and accessible. what they lacked was the incentive. the reason. the 'why'.

what i've found is that behavioural change often requires a crisis to instigate it. why? a crisis forces us to see how things aren't working; it forces us to change. how then, can we initiate change without a crisis? we need an incentive. and the incentive has to be real, it has to be significant, and it has to be meaningful.

so think back to your own life - when have you made the most significant changes to your life? what prompted that change? was it a health scare? was it the fear of losing someone close to you? what is it that is meaningful to you? and how can you use this as an incentive in your own life to change the things you've been unable to change?

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  • nicole calder

"many people are afraid to heal because their entire identity is centred around the trauma they've experienced. they have no idea who they are outside of trauma and that can be terrifying." @eboneedavis

for the past three years i've spoken about finding an agent for soccer so i can pursue some of my childhood dreams of playing w-league and a more recent dream of playing in italy. in 2019, i spent the entire year and countless hours re-watching games, cropping highlights, and writing individualised cover letters to w-league coaches. i asked my S&C coach at the time to please help me - he had contacts and had offered this service to others so i didn't think it was a stretch to ask him to help me. i had a fantastic season - i performed well and my highlight video looked pretty good. but, i had no interest.

i had no interest, but i also had no advocate. there was no incentive for my S&C coach to help me - i wasn't a rising star, i wasn't a super talented individual, but what i had above talent, youth, and speed were character, a work ethic, and experience. three things you can't teach. but things not many coaches seem to care about when winning and losing is all that matters.

in 2020, i was just excited to be playing again. after re-tearing my acl in late 2019, i was forced to let go of my dreams. i became grateful for every minute i got to play because it was a minute more than i thought i would get again. but in 2021, i had another fantastic season. with both my team and on an individual level. my coach backed me - believed i could be playing w-league. but again, nothing came to fruition. instead, i am seeing girls i played with 10 years ago, girls who can't even play in their local wnpl, playing for other w league teams.

"i need an agent."

i've been saying this for the past six months. it's the hot trend at the moment too. everyone has an agent. i asked my coach if he knew of any agents and he said yes. but i didn't ask more. i've asked friends if they know of any agents and they've given me a name, but i haven't sent that message. so, what's stopping me?

fear. fear on a multitude of different levels. i'm afraid of putting myself through what i've been through so many times before - of holding on to hope, only to be disappointed by the system. i'm afraid that i might be given an opportunity, only to be deemed not good enough, or not fast enough. i'm afraid of the work that is involved in playing at that level. i'm afraid of going down that path; the path of commitment and politics. and i think on some subconscious level, i'm afraid to let go of the story i've been telling myself.

for the past 10 years i've been overlooked by the system. these experiences have been the foundation of so much of my writing and life philosophies - my "unsuccess story". but what if i finally achieve what i've wanted to achieve? does that invalidate all that i've written and believed? does that make me just like everyone else who's writing from a position of having 'made it'? am i intentionally sabotaging myself, by being passive rather than active, just to validate this internal schema i've developed?

in life, we regret more of what we don't do than what we do do. if i don't try now, i will become too old. i have a small window to make something happen. so, it's time i sent that message. it's time i stopped being passive. it's time i started to re-write this story i've been telling myself.

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