Let me start this article with one of my favorite quotes, when it comes to people telling you, you can’t do something. It is also the sentence I thought about several times while writing down Mitchell Paige’s story.
“If somebody tells you, you can’t do something – do it twice and take pictures.”
The title picture to this article was taken and is owned by Robert Michael.
1. Mitchell Paige was told No countless times
1.1. Actionable Advice
2. Mitchell had to create his own path to the big stages
2.1. Actionable Advice
3. Mitchell Paige bursts onto the College Scene and into the Chargers 90-players Roster
3.1. Actionable Advice
4. Setting Records in the GFL
4.1. Actionable Advice
5. 5 more tips for your personal Journey
5.1. Find your Why
5.2. Enjoy the Process
5.3. Be patient
5.4. Focus when you need to perform
5.5. Mitchells Top Advice for young players
6. Special Thanks from Mitchell
7. Finally – A Special Word to the Dresden Monarchs Fans
Mitchell Paige was told No countless times
Mitchell Paige wasn’t always the high flying, record shattering wide receiver that the GFL got to see in 2018. Let me take you on a little journey back to Mitchells high school days 👇🏽
Mitchell had made a name for himself in Indiana High School Football playing for Guerin Catholic High School. Not enormously big, but just big enough that Colleges started showing interest. One of these colleges was Purdue and they had sent coaching members to have a talk with him. This was the moment he had worked for and had finally earned the chance to introduce himself to them.
As he walks towards that interview, which is hopefully set to change the path of his career, he passes by a window. A glance through that window is apparently all they need. They get out of their seats and leave the premises without ever talking to him.
“They don’t know anything about me. Never met me. Coach talks highly of me. They like my numbers, which is why they came in the first place and you see me through a window and you’re gone?!”
They didn’t even have the dignity to say hello. Now for a young person that is dreaming about the big stages, this is heart shattering. I think a lot of sports careers would’ve ended right then and there. Mitchell however was built differently and he kept pursuing his dreams.
“I was knocked down pretty hard by it the first time and I think that changed me.”
Yes you are reading that quote correctly – this didn’t happen only once. Most certainly they all walked out on him because Mitchell wasn’t really born into a prototype NFL WR frame meassuring just 5’7”.
You can not let yourself be told what you can and can’t do. There are a lot of nay-sayers out there. Most of the times somebody tells you, you can’t do something, it stems from their own insecurities and to be quite frank is just a form of bullying. In psychology this is called “psychological projection” and speaking of our example has the following definition. “Despite the fact that a bully’s typically denigrating activities are aimed at the bully’s targets, the true source of such negativity is ultimately almost always found in the bully’s own sense of personal insecurity or vulnerability.”
Okay so now you know, that is has nothing to do with you when somebody tells you 👉🏽 You can’t.
I find it easier to cope with such statements knowing that it has nothing to do with me but rather their own problems. It almost makes me feel compassionate at times for these people and their destroyed dreams.
Don’t let anyone put you down, keep believing in yourself and keep pursuing your dreams – no matter what anyone says.
Mitchell had a more practical way of dealing with his doubters, but more on that later.
Mitchell had to create his own path to the big stages
When recruiting was all said and done and more coaches had walked out on him – there were a few offers from smaller schools. But Mitchell wasn’t gonna take a step back from where he believed he needed to be. He wanted the big stadiums and the big games.
“[…]but I wanted to be in the biggest league I could possibly be in. I wanted to play on tv. I wanted to play the best players. I wanted to play in the games that really meant something to a lot of people.”
He walks on to the Indiana Hoosiers. 85 out of 105 players on that team are on a scholarship, and he’s paying to be one of the remaining 20. It wasn’t easy.
He didn’t really play for 3 full seasons – I want to skip out of the story here for a brief moment and address a few of you out there – Mitchell Paige didn’t play for 3 whole years. A lot of you have contacted me after the “How to become a GFL Starter” article complaining about your time on the bench. But when I ask you how long you have been in the GFL, most of you say one season or even just half a season. It takes time to develop your craft, but the resource young people have the most of is time. Be patient, work on your skills, enjoy the process and the progress, your time will come.
So let that sink in 👉🏽 Mitchell Paige sat on the bench for 3 full years and yet ended up posting over 2000 receiving yards in the GFL in 2018 – back to the story.
Within those 3 years Mitchell had been told a lot of things. “You are just here to fill a spot.” – “We need you in practice, that’s all.” But he didn’t listen, kept showing up and kept believing. This was about him. Luckily there were a few positive voices to remind him of that.
“I had great mentors that always reminded me that I’m the only thing that matters. I’m the only one that determined my own success.”
With the positive voices behind him and the stubbornness to keep walking his own path despite all the doubters – he made it into his 4th season and into a starting role.
“In the 4th year it finally paid off. It felt like I had always been here. And all just because I didn’t listen. I think I probably got a little further than I was supposed to.”
Apart from highlighting again how you can’t let yourself be told “No” by anyone – up there 👆🏽I promised you Mitchells personal method how to deal with the vocal non-believers and here it is.
Mitchell kept a small note book with him. Whenever somebody told him that he wasn’t gonna make it, that he’s not good enough, too small, too weak or anything else negative – he would put that statement and the persons name into his notebook. In times of doubt or when a little boost in motivation was necessary he would take out the book to remind himself of all the people he still had to prove wrong.
Let me analyze and explain to you what this book probably did for Mitchell. It really is a way to establish a strong connection between your psychological and physical world. 1 👉🏽 whenever he was confronted with negativity towards him he had a chance to write it down and literally get it “out of his head”. 2 👉🏽 He established a physical realm for all the doubts and anxiety that he could easily “put away” in case it ever got too overwhelming. 3 👉🏽 He created a database of people that he wanted to prove wrong – this can be a very strong source of motivation for some people.
Creating a notebook like this can be very helpful but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. There might be a person out there who is more likely to end up lingering over the negativity within his notebook and manifest it even more that way.
So you will have to find out for yourself if this has the possibility to help you the way it helped Mitchell. I know I would’ve gotten a lot of benefit from such a notebook.
Mitchell Paige bursts onto the College Scene and into the Chargers 90-players roster
So after he had finally made it into a starting position there was no more stopping him. In his first season as a full starter he led his team the Indiana Hoosiers with 6 touchdowns (tied for 6th in the BIG10), finished second with 57 receptions (tied 10th) and third with 684 yards (16th). This earned him the team’s Howard Brown “Dedication to IU Football” Award.
The second season as a full time starter he led the team in all three of these categories with 58 receptions, 646 yards and 4 touchdowns. This ranked him fifth in the BIG10 in catches and 12th in yardage. Additionally he threw for a 5-yard touchdown. He earned Honorable mention All-Big Ten (coaches and media), team captain and the team’s Ted Verlihay “Mental Attitude” Award among others.
These are some impressive numbers from a player who in his first season was told he’s just here “to fill a spot and needed at practice.” The back then in San Diego located Chargers thought the same and gave him a shot on the 90-man roster. Unfortunately the NFL and the Chargers didn’t work out for Mitchell as he was told he simply doesn’t play enough positions to be kept on the roster at the time (he played WR and Return Specialist).
As you can see the name of the game for Mitchell Paige was patience and persistence. So what made this success ultimately possible? Well, spoken in a metaphor I recently came up with myself I would say 👉🏽 He was a “door knocker” rather than a “window opener”.
Let me explain these two ominous terms. Mitchell could’ve decided for himself to be a “window opener” when he was given the chance to play on a scholarship for a smaller school.
The “window opener” looks through a window and sees the possible outcome. He then decides to open that window and go through it. No surprises, no mystery – but also not that great of an outcome.
Instead Mitchell decided to take his chances and be a “door knocker”.
The “door knocker” stands in front of a closed door not knowing what awaits him behind that door or if it will ever open at all. But he keeps persistently knocking and knocking. Eventually that door opens and more often than not the outcome behind that door would’ve been unimaginable beforehand.
Mitchell had his own little metaphor on persistence and why he kept going. He had gotten it from a coach back in the day 👇🏽.
“You are the smallest person with the smallest hammer. And you’re hitting a rock. Wont be the first time, wont be the 1000 time but it will break eventually.”
Setting Records in the GFL
After being cut by the Chargers Mitchell Paige wasn’t done with football just yet. He had offers to play in Europe from different teams and had a few hopes that this might open some new doors. Eventually the offer from the Dresden Monarchs to get him and Trenton Norvell (QB) as a package deal was just too good to decline.
Together the tandem went on a tear within the GFL and connected for 136 catches, good for 2070yd and 26 touchdowns. Mitchell added 3 touchdowns in Punt and Kick Returns. The combined 29 touchdowns led the GFL. Silas Nacita ranked 2nd with 21.
To highlight how impressive the number of 2070 receiving yards is 👉🏽 the 2nd place came in at “just” 1368.
How do you get to such outstanding numbers, one might ask. Well Mitchell had a very simple answer for that, when I asked him this question 👇🏽
“I just got cut by the chargers so I thought I belonged in the NFL, I felt like I needed to prove that to myself and everybody else. I was solely focused on me.”
Do you see the simple answer Mitchell gave, when I asked him, what he thinks where that success in the GFL came from? We went deeper into his beliefs system later on and you will get to read that very soon of course, but I really wanted to put and emphasis on this.
I myself am quite the overthinking kind of person. But things don’t always have to be that complicated. Focusing solely on yourself can go quite the way. Get into game day mode, shut everything else out and be the player you want to be. Mitchell phrased it like this 👇🏽.
5 More tips for your personal Journey
During the interview with Mitchell Paige we came up with a lot more interesting things that I think might be of tremendous value to you, but they don’t quite fit into the story structure and actionable advice parts. So here are 5 more tips and advice.
1. Find your Why
Finding your Why is probably one of the most crucial things to do, no matter what you’re doing. If you don’t know why you are doing something – how are you going to stick with it when things get tough? When you find yourself in the drudgery of working and working without the immediate results you were hoping for?
Well your Why is what will keep you going. Your Why will get you out of bed in the morning and through the pain.
How do you find your why? 👉🏽 There is a very simple but powerful way of doing that. Sit down with a pen and a notebook and write down your ultimate goal – for instance – I want to be a starter this season! Next ask yourself – Why do I want that? – Your answer could be – I want to feel the thrill of competing – Why do I want to feel that?
I think you get it. Keep asking Why until you can’t get any deeper and have reached your final WHY?. Take your time with this and it will be a very powerful research into your own personality and emotions.
Part of Mitchells Why answers are these👇🏽.
“Why am I here? Cause I want to prove I can be. It’s not about proving somebody wrong. Yes I had the notebook. But this is about me, I can do it, I will do it, and no one is gonna stop me.”
“I want to be the guy that makes the play…not because I want to be on instagram with a nice picture…just because that’s what I do. That’s why I get up in the morning.”
2. Enjoy the Process
This might sound a bit counterintuitive in our performance driven society, where everybody just wants to go somewhere. But I say that from my heart – enjoy the process, enjoy the journey – you only get to do this once. Football is fun. It’s one amazing sport and you’re probably in it because you fell in love with it. Don’t forget that fun and love while pursuing your goals! One day it will be over and you will miss it – I guarantee.
You aren’t a starter yet? Well, you still get to hang out with all your friends at practice.
The point I’m trying to make 👉🏽 wherever you are in your journey, there is always at least one reason to be happy it. Life goes by so fast, and if you don’t stop and turn around once in a while to reflect on it – you might just miss it.
Mitchell put his process into the following words and to me this sounds exciting and accelerating. Just imagine this would only say 👉🏽 I played starter in College and had a great season in germany afterwards.
“All I knew was sports, I wanted to be best athlete on my street, then the best in the neighborhood, then in the city – it just grew and grew and grew – and suddenly I wanted to be the best player in the country.”
3. Be patient
Do you remember how Mitchell sat on the bench for three full seasons in college? We wouldn’t have this article, if he hadn’t been patient. He would’ve never finished his 5th season as the leading receiver of the Indiana Hoosiers.
There really isn’t more to say about patience. I know it is frustrating not to be where you want to be. I know it can sometimes feel like you’re going nowhere and it’s all just because you are not getting the chances you should be getting. It can seem as if the universe conspires against you. Still, be patient, do all you can and need to do, and the chance will come to you. Good things happen to those who are willing to work and wait for it.
“I put in a lot of time because I care. I know all defenses, it took a lot of time and care. But that what sets me apart from other guys and players. “
Time is the single one asset that young people have in abundance but don’t seem to realize – Be patient. Good things will come to you. Also remember to enjoy the process. Because time is also the asset that can not be restored or manufactured.
4. Focus when you need to perform
When you need to perform, you need to find a way to focus. Get into game mode. Get into the flow- or whatever you want to call it. Mitchell had quite a few words to say about that and I just want to leave it at that, as this would otherwise outgrow the article. How to focus is an entire book itself – maybe even 20.
“When it was time to perform. I’m just like blinders and mussels – lets go do this.
If you have to do it all yourself, fine go and do it all yourself. Want to be the guy!!! […]In college we called it closing the gap between practice and game. To be able to block everything out….whatever problems you had during the week. Block it out, and it goes away, THIS is what I’m doing right now, and im doing it to the best of my possibilities, and I’m doing it for me. In that Mindset it is a lot easier to delete everything else and just go perform.
“You have to get into a different mindset, where you are not playing a game anymore. It’s my job, its my purpose to be there when called upon.”
If you need help with your performance and you feel like you’re suffering from psychological barriers from getting where you want to go 👉🏽 contact me on any platform linked over there 👉🏽 on the sidebar if your on desktop or all the way at the bottom 👇🏽 if your on mobile. You can also write me an email with your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Mitchells Top Advice for young players
“Best advice to get on special teams. Be the best gunner on punt or something. Most impressive thing about AJ Wentland that no one talks about. Is him on kickoff, knowing that he has to play every single down on defense. He’s always the first guy down the line on kickoff.”
If AJ Wentland isn’t a name to you, you might want to read this about him.
Special Thanks from Mitchell
I wanted to present Mitchell the chance to give thanks to the people he thought were most influential on his sports career at the end of this article and he happily accepted it.
Mitchell likes to thank his parents for helping him believe in himself when no one else would and for never missing a single game. (Germany excluded)
He also wants to thank his high school coach and mentor Rene Couto for pushing him to chase big dreams and always having a passion for his success.
Finally – A Special Word to the Dresden Monarchs Fans
Mitchell said this and it was just too precious to not share this with you guys. In my opinion you are the heart and the soul of the Dresden Monarchs. So here is what Mitchell said about you.
“I played in front of 110.000 in Ohio State when they won the national championship. The fans in germany were at least as good as or better than those people. There was 110000 But The vibe when we were winning at our games in Dresden were way louder and way more into it than anybody else in any other stadium I’ve ever seen.
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I hope you had a successful day wherever you might be out there in the big wide world,
Medical Student, future Psychiatrist, Semiprofessional American Football Player and Surfer.
Did you know, that if you improved 1% every day for a year, you would end up 37 times better than you have been, when you started.
I truly believe we can all be a better version of ourselves – getting there together is more efficient and a lot more fun.