Working with the NRL in retirement has enabled me to be involved in some really exciting programs run primarily by the One Community branch of our game. Our most recent and I think the most rewarding for our players to present to children is 'Dream Believe Achieve'.
'Dream Believe Achieve' is aimed at school children and junior rugby league players to help them think outside the square and let their minds run free to help them reach their potential in life and sport. It is a teaching resource that has been made part of the high school curriculum.
At each session the One Community team presents a 25-minute DVD starring our current great players. The players talk about how, as children, they aspired to be rugby league players and dreamt about one day playing First Grade in the NRL and playing for Australia.
This is where it all starts. I think it's fantastic for our children to have dreams, whether it be in sport, to become a doctor, a teacher, a fireman ... whatever. We should be encouraging our young people to dream and have great aspirations in life ... why not?
It pains me to hear some children being told that they can't do this, they can't do that, you're not smart enough to do that, you're too slow to be a footballer or a soccer player. These
limitations have a profound effect on how we think and can stop us achieving what we are truly capable of.
This is why this DVD is so good. To hear Jarryd Hayne talk about the 'dream' and how hard he worked to get where he is today is and should inspire all who watches it. The players talk from the heart and with passion about what it takes to become the best, how they got there and importantly how they stay at the top.
Belief in yourself is so important. Being told you can't achieve something should make us stronger and more determined to prove the knockers wrong. In football, confidence and belief in your ability is paramount. Not everything is going to go your way and you are the only one who can be strong enough to move on and get back on track. When we overcome these setbacks it makes a good result feel even better and instills a confidence in us that you can overcome anything.
I got a lot of pleasure presenting 'Dream, Believe, Achieve' to our NRL All Stars and Indigenous U18 teams at the Gold Coast this year. To sit there and watch these young men in awe of what they were seeing was great.
You could almost feel the emotion in these children as their minds ticked over and they thought: "Hey, this is what I want to be and no one is going to stop me". They walked out of the room truly feeling great about the future and willing to do anything to achieve their dreams, just like Hayne, Josh Dugan and Jason Ryles pointed out on the DVD.
As I said earlier, it's not just aimed at rugby league ... it applies to life. If the DVD can capture the imagination of one child in each class, well, it's a success. Who knows, he or she could be our next Prime Minister! Who are we to tell them they can't be?