"There's no perfect place you want to get to as your perspective and ambitions change, says Dublin senior footballer Bernard Brogan. "When I was a young lad, all I cared about was playing for Dublin, trying to get an All-Ireland and eventually we got there and then I want two, then it's if I got three I match my dad, and then you want more."
A person's ambitions are always tied to where they are now, and while Brogan's success with the Dublin team is evident of that, he's flexible enough to know that this can change in different ways. Some of which he's already experiencing after the birth of twin boys but he's not giving up the blue jersey just yet.
"Your ambition always changes and that's what a sportsperson [does] if you want to keep coming back and being successful," he said. "[My wife had] twin boys during the summer so my perspective in life changes now. It's now it's spending some family time and spending time with them as well but still hoping to hang around with the Dubs for one more year.
Having a strong commitment is a sobering fact of high performance teams and their successes, it's down to hard work. There's no shortcuts, no secret sauce. The goal or the point is the product of the 10,000 kicks before that point. @bernardbrogan #PendulumSummit pic.twitter.com/7pMM2USdxc— Pendulum Summit (@PendulumSummit) January 10, 2019
The demands of senior county football have never been higher and while a great deal of commitment and dedication is put in by every player, Brogan says how important it is to strike a balance in life.
"Some people get over-consumed by the sport but something I learnt throughout my years is [while] you have to be totally focused and put a lot of time into your sport... [you need] balance, family time," he said. "If it's work or study or whatever you're at in your life, if you don't have that balance in your home life or studies you can't perform on the pitch.
"You probably put a lot more time in the sport but if you have the ability to be present when you're at home, to have a good environment and a work, that you're ambitious, that you're driving on, that you're successful all these things feed into the individual being a successful person."
These are the lads you go to the well with. The winning is a bonus. It's amazing but it only lasts a short time. It's the journey – training, bonding, building resilience, creating a shared purpose - and the camaraderie that makes it work. @bernardbrogan #PendulumSummit pic.twitter.com/75whSCmtTS— Pendulum Summit (@PendulumSummit) January 10, 2019
One of the big benefits of being part of the team is that the workload is shared. Winning the game isn't down to one single person to pull off but a collective effort from everyone and knowing that you're not on your own.
Such an approach can be applied to mental health as well, an area of huge importance for Brogan.
"It's about sharing the burden [and] understanding that you don't have to be a silo or an island," he said. "If there's a challenge - and there'll always be challenging times even if it looks perfect from the outside.
"I do a lot of work with Aware and say it's ok to not be ok and the stigmas of mental health have been broken down by people talking about it... especially with young males who are the most vulnerable.
[For] sports people, we can be vulnerable and we can open up and I think that helps the wider community because in a certain sense, when we're on TV, we're role model to kids and to young males and other people
so when I talk about mental health [and say] it's ok not to be ok, that might help someone along the way."
1/2 Culture is not about the three words on the wall. It's about everyone on your team or company. At the end of every single @DubGAAOfficial game we do something we learned from the @AllBlacks called 'cleaning the sheds' that shows our team culture @bernardbrogan #PendulumSummit— Pendulum Summit (@PendulumSummit) January 10, 2019
2/2 We literally clean the dressing room after each game. When we get in, Stephen Cluxton goes to the press and takes out out the sweeping brushes. It's a sign of humility. No job is above any individual. @bernardbrogan #PendulumSummit— Pendulum Summit (@PendulumSummit) January 10, 2019
We spoke with Bernard Brogan at the Pendulum Summit which is running in Dublin's Convention Centre on January 9th & 10th 2019.