Simplify everything and get your dreams back on track…

written by john c ashworth

Simply everything, play the way you’re facing, pick your spot, and explode into that space.

Growing up I had the opportunity to play for one of the top club soccer clubs in the nation. The San Diego Nomads. Back then, we were known as the La Jolla Nomads. That’s where the club’s founders were from. Those individuals had the kind of vision necessary to cultivate a lasting legacy and a club today that develops some of the best talent you can find.

One of the most important decisions they made early on was in hiring Derek Armstrong, who still runs the club today, more than thirty years later.

Derek taught me many important things about the game, about life, and about what it means to be a champion. We had a tremendous amount of success while I was there. We played the kind of game people didn’t even recognize or understand at that time here in the United States, and in fact, we dominated many or our opponents and won many championships.

Our success included two runs at the national championship where we finished second and fourth in the country. A truly amazing and bitter sweet experience. Still, it would be a lot better story if I could tell you we had achieved a national championship.

Here’s my point today, though. Derek used to have a phrase he liked to use often. In many ways, this mantra has fit nicely into many other parts of my life, both day to day, and as I’ve weathered some very tough storms in my career.

“Play the way you’re facing.”

Simple. Straight-forward. Impossible to mis-interpret, and guaranteed to simplify the game you’re playing by simply picking up your head, looking around, and moving the ball in the direction you’re facing right now.

Don’t try to get cute and cut the ball back, and attempt some fancy move that sends you in the opposite direction, hopefully in possession of the ball, and now moving with an entirely different purpose. Sure, there will always be time for that. It will be needed. But for the moment, what might happen in your life, career, or relationships if you simply started focusing on playing in the direction you’re facing right now?

Starting right now, simplify your life. Focus on playing in the direction you face, and keeping your head-up, and your vision keen. For the direction you face still holds a very wide field of view with many opportunities.

When you do this, and you abandon unnecessary complexities and frivolous ideas – especially the stuff that’s holding you back, and the ideas and dreams that don’t seem to be moving ahead – you will create the space you need to open your game in a way that allows you to more clearly and confidently pick your spot and move toward your truest and most important and fulfilling dreams.

What might those be?

I look forward to hearing about them.


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Saturday at the ash flash

Here’s to The Heartache and Exaltation of fatherhood…

Saturday at the ash flash

written by john c Ashworth

I spent just about all day today pondering a meaningful way to express my respect for my own Dad, and devoted Dads everywhere.

And I happened to have some time this afternoon to begin digging in to some of the old memorabilia my Mom dropped here last month. Some really great stuff. Thanks for keeping this stuff safe all these years, Mom! 🙂

I believe my own patience and my Mom’s efforts have led me this evening to an inspiring insight for all of us…

The picture I shared above (and below) represents some of the years of hard work that went into my career as a youth soccer player. A pinnacle time of development for me as a young athlete and a young man.

Of course both my parents provided vital support during this time. Especially my Dad, who booked a lot of miles driving me where I needed to be and who helped shape my incredibly successful soccer career in very important ways.

The medals you see in the photo represent a second place and fourth place finish in the DJ Niotis National Championship in two consecutive years as an Under 16 center forward for the San Diego Nomads.

The older photo of me along with the team photo for Mr. G’s pizza are much older and grant a quick glimpse of the commitment to playing the game that was solidified long before those national championships were ever played.

My Dad led the way as a Coach, president of the Pacific Youth Soccer League and my own personal guide on my quest to develop my full potential as a player learning to harness his unique gifts.

I was thinking today that my father’s commitment to me as his son in this arena has led me to many great things in my life, including my own serendipitous journey into fatherhood.

A journey that is not always smooth but is always filled with a poignant sense of truth, legacy and love that only a true Dad can understand.

Happy Father’s Day Dad, and to all the brotherhood who stand tall at this gateway, and commit to the heartache and exaltation that demand everything from you along the way.

Godspeed to all of you…