“The attitudes, attributes and behaviours you adopt to succeed in business are the same as those of an elite athlete.” - Dame Kelly Holmes

I can’t say I’m glad I got injured. That would be taking things too far. In the immediate aftermath, it was terrible. My whole world was knocked for six and the future that had been mapped out for me? Blown right off course.

What I can say, however, is – as it’s turned out – the injury was not the end of the world for me. Far from it. Why so? Because I’ve managed to make a successful transition from professional sport and now run a thriving luxury watch business. And did I mention that I’m passionate about what I do?

It’s all about attitude

So yes, the football career was indeed blown off course. Big time. But the things I learnt from a very young age at the Manchester United Academy – and which I honed as a professional player at both United and Liverpool – stood me in good stead. They helped me transition – and much more than I realised at the time. If you think about it, to succeed in elite sport, especially football, you need to have:

- Determination
From day one, you’re expected to work extremely hard and push yourself.
- Resilience
It doesn’t always go your way. You need come back from disappointment and take criticism, plenty of it.
- Ambition
You’re in competition with your peers all the time and you have to shine, win the approval of the manager and your team-mates.
- Discipline
Once you’ve set yourself a goal, you need to stick to your strategy for achieving it. No matter what.

A New Beginning

Apart from pure footballing ability, the talent scouts are also looking for kids with the potential to develop attributes like these – and the training and nurturing you receive is just as much about honing them as it is about learning the football skills themselves. So, when disaster struck and ended my footballing career just when it was getting interesting, it wasn’t the end for me. It was just a new beginning. I was able to channel what I’d learnt into a different direction – owning my own business

I was determined. I put my back into learning all I needed to know, becoming a recognised expert in the luxury watch business – and I keep learning all the time. I made mistakes, but picked myself up and learnt from the experience – and I still do. I knew I needed to be the best at what I do to win the respect of clients and competitors alike – it’s something I work on constantly. And finally, I know what I want to achieve.