Practice Your Habit

“It’s the only way to reach excellence” Caleb Porter says

If anybody would know how to reach excellence at the highest level, it would be Caleb

Having coached college Soccer at Akron Ohio where he went on to build one of the most elite soccer programs and introduced the MLS to players such as Darlington Nagbe, Teal Bunbury, and of course Steve Zakuani

I’m in Caleb’s house to interview him for the 500 Days documentary 

He lives in a very affluent neighbourhood in Portland but outside his house is a ‘ For Sale’ sign, a clear signal that the man is moving on after mutually parting ways with the Portland Timbers recently as their head coach

His five year old daughter is the first to greet us when we knock on the door, she’s polite and waits for her mom to arrive before they both welcome us in, Caleb’s wife immediately offers us something to drink and declares “the house is yours to do as you please, Caleb will be down shortly” – I instantly notice Caleb’s home office to the left of the hallway landing and I ask “can we do the interview in here?”

“yeah that’s perfect, i’m sure he’ll like it done in there” she replies before leaving us to it and getting on with the rest of her day

I’m studying his collection of books, mainly focused on sports and looking at the wall filled with various accomplishments Caleb has achieved to date, I notice a picture of him amongst a group of people standing next to a beaming George W Bush at the White, again, I am reminded that this documentary features many high profile people, high achievers in their own right

“how was your flight?” a booming voice interrupts my thoughts

I turn to find a smiling Caleb standing by the door way of his office, his posture alone screams discipline. He stands upright and makes unflinching eye contact. His hand shake is firm and steady but his aura is very warm and receptive

I tell him what we need and how I intend for the filming to go, he’s okay with everything and patiently waits as Davies, my camera operator turned friend sets up the cameras and sound

The conversation doesn’t stray too far from sports or personal development, both of which are pillars I sense hold this mans full attention

Through out the entire time we’re with him, he’s very personable, insightful and displays a rare level of self awareness and humility for someone of his success and stature. He beams with pride when discussing Steve, there’s an unspoken paternal pride about the way he discusses witnessing Zakuani’s journey

Developing young boys and transitioning them to manhood is at the core of his belief system and mission. This is more than just a job for him, he doesn’t need to say it for me to feel it, I now understand why he hardly ever breaks eye contact – he’s all about connection.

When you have his attention, you sense it, you feel it and I can only imagine that if he were my coach, I’d go the extra mile just to keep that attention he so easily bestows

“you have to practice your habits” he continues after the interview has already concluded and we’re packing up, in a rush not to miss our flight back to Seattle

“if you don’t practice them then how can you declare them as habits? every little action counts. These days I’m trying to be more balanced, I made so much mistakes because of how passionate I can be but I’m learning….I’m definitely learning….there passions still there though”

I don’t doubt it and he doesn’t even have to say it

Some people just have a way about them that speaks much louder than their words and Caleb’s one of those people

His actions will always do the talking for him

As we Uber it back, I think back on his words, he said a lot, gave a lot to the interview out of his clear love and affection for Steve

Do I practice my desired habits consistently enough?

Do my actions speak louder than my words ever could?

These and other similar thoughts run through my mind as we journey back

I vow to myself that I will practice my habits as often as possible as I sit on the plane, waiting for take off




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