Nothing Wrong With The Grey Area
Social stigma is the disapproval of, or discrimination against, an individual or group based on perceived characteristics that serve to distinguish them from other members of a society.
It's very rare in this modern day and age you find somebody who just has one out and out hobby or interest but as a society we love to channel people into
"They usually are healthy I probably shouldn't offer them a drink"
"They did mention they didn't like that song before I wont ask if they had heard Sam Smith's new song UNHOLY" (ABSOLUTE BANGER!)
"They like rugby I must ask them if they know my cousin from South Africa he plays rugby"
If I was to describe me with one word answers I wouldn't know where to begin to be honest because I enjoy doing, seeing, experiencing so many different things.
I feel over the past few years there has been a greater significant pressure in society to;
"Pick your lane"
"Choose your path"
"Follow your values"
( all based off my own opinion, THIS IS A BLOG POST ;) )
Although I would deem myself as a value orientated, passionate, path following individual, I have experienced quite polar opposite journeys in my short life to date. The problem I have with these statements is that picking your lane so early and being so black and white with what it is you think is the right path for you and being too detailed in life too early (which I did!) doesn't allow you to be open minded to potential opportunities, different pathways, that will allow you to have a different perspective on what it is life has to offer.
You can still pick very strong core values in life (which I am a firm believer in).
You can still set goals to achieve whatever it is in life you want to go and achieve
(in fact it's not done enough in my opinion) but, what I find happening a lot is,
The pressures of 'not knowing 'what it is you want exactly from life,
the 'not knowing' distracts so many of us.
The fear of not knowing where it is your life is going is too great for you to allow yourself to think big, dream big and be big (whatever being big means to you).
The societal stigmas of these professional titles make you feel comfortable. They make you think that once signed up this is going to solve everything and make you feel steady having a comforting environment and security.
The reason I suppose why I am writing this is because I worried so much about the journey I chose, what others thought of me and what path I was choosing. Trying to tell career guidance teachers and other friends parents that I was going to be a rugby player was challenging to say the least. My previous experience in rugby (which is not exactly a lengthy career path or a career path at all for many) you are constantly being analysed and you are constantly analysing yourself and your performance and tracking how it is.
It definitely took a hit to my mental health at times but on the plus side it definitely equipped me with how to deal with difficult and real life scenarios. It made me realise that focusing on a plan, sticking to your values and being committed is what gets you to places.
I had been described and compared to an "opened packet of meat" before, shipped off back home from abroad when trying to secure a professional contract to make it in the game that I love and what was my reaction,
1) Write out what you felt and what needs to be fixed.
2) Go write out a plan.
3) Commit to it.
Some will read this and say that's not a healthy way to deal with such a trauma at such a young age (21) but I honestly wouldn't change it. The skill in being able to take out a notebook and write exactly what you are feeling in a chaotic emotional rollercoaster moment is transferable to any scenario you find yourself in.
Being comfortable in chaos is a slogan I have lived by since introduced to me by my many amazing coaches I have had the pleasure to work for and with.
I got to get back and get focused on something to improve on.
I got to fight.
I got a shoulder reconstruction surgery, I got my rehab with some of the best in the industry globally and went on a life changing journey to the heart of rugby in
New Zealand to fall back in love with the game I love.
I came back to Ireland secured my senior contracts and fulfilled my boyhood dreams and aspirations.
The interesting thing that I found from all of this tho was although it was my boyhood dream at the time, I was obsessive, black and white in everyday scenarios with what is a good choice and what is a bad choice in terms of making me a better athlete.
-"Will going for a walk with my friends help me recover?"
-"Sorry can't go"
I had changed, my priorities had changed. I had seen glimpses of life outside of rugby. Still playing rugby at a very high standard but it wasn't consuming the entirety of my life out in New Zealand as it was just seen as a way of life more so than a sport.
I all of a sudden was not willing to sacrifice what life had to offer. I was not ok with not being selected anymore when I know I had proven my worth through training and match performances. I was seeing everything differently. I was shocked how I started reacting to the knocks and how I was not accepting the answers. I started rebelling with poor decisions, challenging coaches unnecessarily, acting out and I knew there was something wrong.
I realised my priorities had changed and my passion was now with starting this lifestyle brand. I wanted to help people. I wanted people to experience what I deemed as ;
I find it fascinating from people's initial reactions when I speak about what it is I do for a living now in comparison to my previous profession.
There's very few occasions and scenarios you can hide your true expressions from when you initially hear or see something for the first time especially when you catch people off guard about you telling them you run a sauna business.
When I speak about my journey from being a professional rugby player and trying to make it in that industry and speak to people that I encounter now on my day to day running my own sauna company , I get quite a mixed set of reactions to say the least!.
"I never would've put you down as a rugby player!"
"You just don't seem like that kind of person who would want to rip my head off"
"You just seem so calm. I couldn't imagine you getting angry".
On the other side of the fence where I would've encountered in my previous environments on and off the rugby field,
"Jesus how the hell did you get into that!?"
"That's bizarre enough! How is it going?"
"You really have gone a different route haven't you?"
I know the journeys I have been on are definitely a road less travelled.
What I cannot seem to get across to people is how similar these paths are, how similar the people you meet are and the need for these stigmas to be demolished are!
I truly believe we are all hybrids in this day and age and you don't have to be so black and white with what it is you like, take part in, work as or find fascinating.
I believe the more you expose yourself to unknown territories the more you learn, the more you grow the more you begin to see.
I am lucky I am able to shape the environment I am in now to what me and my team want it to be in Fad Saoil Saunas.
Rugby in a professional environment is probably as structured, as intense and as professional an industry can get. Just because I decided I wanted to leave this environment did not mean I didn't want to bring what I had learned over the past 8 years of playing at professional level onto my next dream chase in creating this Lifestyle brand.
Cause of this experience I cannot unsee these things. I have lived and breathed high standards. I know what it is like to sacrifice things to get results I know what it is like to not have things go your way and how to deal with tough scenarios.
Starting my own business has literally taken ;
Living Values,Being Committed, Being Vulnerable and open to Learn.
Learn from like minded people. Learn from polar opposite people. Listen to what a different viewpoint looks like. That's my favourite part of my job. I get to find the time of day to speak to anybody that comes to our studios. I get to speak to all walks of life because a sauna room is for everyone and anyone.
There are no titles, no hierarchies, no egos. We are all down to our most vulnerable states in there. This is why whenever you have a chat or encounter in the sauna room it rarely leaves your memory because its naturally starting off from a deeper layer of connection. The topic of conversation will forever vary. No sauna session will ever be the same which is quite literally the beauty of this practice. This is what helps me decide and try in what it is I think I like doing and what I may try next.
This is why there is nothing wrong with living in the grey area.
So I leave you with this,
-Put the time aside to focus on values as a human being
-Go try, test, taste, experience as much as possible by putting yourself out there
-Stick with whatever it is you choose to do until it doesn't feel right, not cause it gets hard but until it does not sit well with your gut that's when you go back and reassess .