Abby Wambach is one of the most decorated athletes of all time, having scored more international soccer goals than any other man or woman, a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and FIFA World Cup champion. Abby and soccer have been inextricably linked since she was a young girl.
In her book Wolfpack, she shares the scary feeling of losing her identity as a soccer player when she played her last game. “Without soccer: Who was I?” she wondered.
I think it’s a feeling that many confront at some point in their lives. Politicians are reluctant to retire because their identity is so entwined with being a politician. Those who are laid off suffer not only financial challenges but struggles to define who they are without being an ________. People who get divorced or widowed need to adopt a new mindset as they take on a new identity as a single person.
But Abby came to discover that what was special about her wasn’t just her talent on the field. Her strength was inside of her and she carries it with her today even without touching a ball. Her wife told her: “Soccer didn’t make you special — you made soccer special. You have lost nothing. You take it all with you.”
It’s a good lesson for everyone to learn. You aren’t your job, your relationship, your volunteer position, or any other label. All the character and goodness inside you can be shared whether you’re a CEO or a cat lady at home in her rocking chair. You make your own magic.
Source: Wolfpack by Abby Wambach, 2019.