#36: Transforming teen struggles into super success (Interview with England goalkeeper Tom Heaton)
I’m thrilled to bring you a brilliant guest in this episode of The Unstoppable Teen Podcast. If you follow sports, you probably already know of Tom Heaton, the Premier League goalkeeper and captain of the Burnley Football Club who also plays for the England national team. I first met Tom during his teenage years, and I still remember feeling struck by his personal presence, professional standards, and phenomenal manners. He’s managed to maintain all of those qualities across the years despite some pretty dramatic setbacks and personal success, which he talks about during this conversation. It’s rare to have such an open and forthright conversation with a superstar, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did! Even more importantly, though, I hope you’ll learn from the conversation. Tom has some amazing insight into what it takes to live your dreams, and the kind of attitude you need to overcome the inevitable challenges you’ll encounter along the way. His words of wisdom aren’t only for those who want to be professional sports players. They’re for people who want to be good at anything. One final note: Tom was in a hotel room in Germany when we had this conversation, and the internet cut out a few times. Please be patient with the occasional sound quality issues; I promise the content is well worth it! “The flame that burns inside of you has to burn bright because it will dampen at times, and you’ve got to keep that fire ignited.” Tom Heaton – England Goalkeeper & Captain of Burnley Football Club You will learn: Where Tom grew up and what his childhood was like. He also talks about his passion for football and how it has endured over the years. (4:08) How Tom got his first big break in pro soccer when he was 11 years old. (7:17) The words of wisdom that Tom’s dad shared with him when he got this big break. (9:35) To what extent money and fame are motivators for Tom (hint: they mattered much less than you might think). (12:15) Why it’s important to find your passion in life. (13:52) The importance of getting outside guidance from mentors and coaches. (15:19) That there isn’t a “one size fits all” path to success. Tom shares the story of one of his friends who got started much later in life. (16:41) One of the major setbacks that Tom experienced in his career, and how it turned out to be a good thing. (19:07) A second major setback in Tom’s career, this time when he was 19 years old, and the lesson he learned from the experience. (21:45) The strengths you need to develop if you want to reach the top in the world of professional sports. (25:12) Tom’s third major setback and how he turned it around. (28:33) What happened when Manchester United wanted to extend Tom’s contract when he was 24 years old. (31:33) How things can go wrong when employment contracts aren’t dealt with properly, and what happened to Tom after a contractual disaster. (36:01) How Tom responded to relegation and what he did to get to the Premier League. (39:11) Tom talks about being a captain, helping others, and identifies the vital qualities of a good leader. (40:30) What makes a great team. (44:43) Tom’s thoughts on why some people make it to the England national football team and why others don’t. (49:43) What Tom believes it takes to be unstoppable. (51:30) Click here to view this content on the Unstoppable Teen website >> “When you suffer setbacks you can either sulk and chuck the towel in, or you can man-up and do something about it.” Tom Heaton – England Goalkeeper & Captain of Burnley Football Club Stay in touch with Tom Heaton by following him on Twitter @TomHeatonGK You may also like these episodes: #25: Dealing with adversity (Interview with football legend Stuart Pearce) #6: 3 performance hacks from Beyoncé #4: What Olympic gold medal winners can teach us about success Please help us inspire more teens, parents and teachers It’s so important to believe in your own dreams, no matter how many struggles you encounter. Tom Heaton is a perfect example of this. We hope his life story will inspire you to keep believing in yourself. Please share this interview with anyone you know who might be struggling to overcome setbacks right now. This conversation with Tom may be exactly what’s needed to remind a teen (or parent, or educator) how vital it is to keep that fire inside burning strong. It can offer a burst of belief to push forward and keep going when times seem tough. Let us know what problems you’re facing and what questions you’d like answering in future episodes. We are here to help you, so contact us anytime via our social media channels or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening!