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How You Can Achieve Anything (RWC, Hockey Ireland)

“We have so many problems in our country but a team like this, we come from different backgrounds, different races but we came together with one goal and we wanted to achieve it.

I really hope we’ve done that for South Africa. Just shows that we can pull together if we want to achieve something.”

“We can achieve anything if we work together as one.”

– Siya Kolisi, Captain of the South African Rugby Team 2019

Last week, my weekly post referred to the English rugby team and the power of mindset.

They met their match over the weekend when they ran into the South African Springboks, who won the final by 32-12.

Their captain Siya Kolisi is the first black man to captain the Springboks and also the first to lift the Webb Ellis trophy.

His words after the game were very inspiring and humble and his team is the first to win the tournament, despite losing a game in the pool stages. A definite win for resilience.

His own story is incredible – coming from a disadvantaged background, his journey in overcoming adversity to lead his nation to the summit of the game is something special.

When SA last won the World Cup in 2007, he had to walk 7 miles to see the game on the nearest television.

Ultimately in achieving any goal, luck is a factor. But most of the time it comes down to the H word…

Hunger.

Not the kind Kolisi experienced as a child, when he often didn’t know where his next meal would come from, but the inner steel kind of hunger that is completely 1-directional.

Which drives a very specific kind of mindset.

Indeed it’s probably not something that can be trained because it’s deep within someone. But it can be unlocked.

For South Africa, it seems that one of the ways the coach unlocked the hunger was to connect the players to a bigger purpose.

They spoke about playing for the people back home. To help unite their country.

And listening to their captain speaking after the game, it was clear that this purpose resonated deeply.

It’s worth thinking about.

When you genuinely play for others, it brings a different type of energy to the pitch.

Who, why and what are you playing for?

Best,

Shane

PS – A big nod goes to the Irish Women’s Hockey Team who defeated Canada in a dramatic penalty shoot out last night to become the first Irish team to ever qualify for the Olympics. A truly great achievement that has been decades in the making.

I was fortunate to meet some of the players a few weeks ago at a private lunch held by one of their sponsors, Saba Restaurants. Again, my take-away was the immense hunger and commitment that the players had for their sport and their goals. Truly inspiring.

PPS – You can watch Kolisi’s post-match interview here.

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