“Running down the wing… The Egyptian king” is one of the chants you probably came across as you follow the success of the Egyptian soccer player Mohamed Salah. However, Salah didn’t only run the wing to score; he had run a long journey to be where he is now.

Mo Salah’s story is one of the fantastic stories to tell. Because it is not a fairy tale, it is a story to learn from and reflect on your career. Scroll down to learn from the king.

Everybody starts a baby: the very first step

Believe it or not, Mo Salah was once a junior too. He took his first step into the world of football at the age of 14 when he joined the junior team of the Arab Contractors (al-Mokawloon) club. Not knowing what the future would bring him, Mo Salah worked passionately during these first years. He had to travel from his village Negrig to Cairo every single day, and he only received a few pounds in return.

Lesson to learn:

At this phase, you’ve just started to crawl into the business. At the beginning of your career, you pay your dues and barely get a valuable return. Don’t look for money now, because it is the perfect time to assess your passion. Is it really worth it? Should I go on or Should I look for a different career?


“When you do more than you’re paid for, eventually you’ll be paid for more than you do.”  Zig Ziglar

Time to leave the cradle

During your baby phase, you try, explore, and experience things for the first time. If you are not developing anymore, you cannot settle here.  

When Salah decided it’s time to leave The Arab Contractors, he was rejected by Zamalek, but soon after he received an offer from Switzerland’s Basel in 2012. It sounded a great opportunity, but it was far from easy.  

Mo was only 20 years old when he made it to Switzerland. He was all alone in a country, where grabbing a bite to eat was a challenge as he didn’t speak the language. Gradually, Salah started to adapt to the new environment and became the Swiss League Player of the Year in 2013.

Lesson to learn:

To grow, you need to get out of the womb or the so-called comfort zone. It’s never easy. However, the discomfort of the outer zone will solidify you. It will help you better adapt to tough situations and obstacles you will encounter along the way.


“It’s not about the end goal, it’s about whom you become by consistently pushing to the edge of your limits.” Robin Sharma

Disappointments are “Part of the Deal”

When Salah made it to Chelsea to play alongside the likes of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, John Terry, and others, he probably thought he was going to live the dream. However, the dream soon turned into a nightmare.

Mo Salah had his worst career moments at Chelsea. He spent his season on the bench. He was criticized for being uselessly fast. Didier Drogba said that Mo Salah used to text him “I don’t score. And, I don’t know why” back then.

A few months earlier, Salah had one of the worst National team matches when Egypt failed again to qualify to the 2014 World Cup, after losing 6-1 to Ghana.

Lesson to learn:

Things don’t always work the way we plan for them. However, no impressive career that doesn’t have moments of disappointments and failures. They are tough enough to make you tougher. After all, it’s time to question yourself “What went wrong?”


“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Martin Luther King

Bouncing back is the only valid answer

Our inner demons feed on those moments of failure. We start to question if we are on the right track and sometimes we might lose faith in our potentials. However, disappointments are not necessarily any signs to stop. They can be motivators to go further. This is how the king Mo responded to his frustrations.

When he was loaned to Fiorentina, everybody thought it is a step backward, but Salah was smart enough to know that developing his potential is more important than playing for a big club.

As he played for Fiorentina and then Roma, Salah developed his attacking style. In two years, Salah evolved from “the guy who cannot finish” to the guy who scored 29 goals and assisted 17 others in one of the toughest and most defensive leagues in the world.

Lesson to learn:

As is the case in the football world, no one will pamper you in the business world. You will face criticism and disappointments. Don’t fall for them. Don’t play the victim either. Identify your weaknesses and find in yourself the power to turn them into strengths.


“We need to make certain that the labels we put on ourselves are not limits but enhancements.” Toni Robbins

Go after the Challenge

Mo Salah was so comfortable in Roma, but moving to Liverpool was the challenge he needed to grow further, especially when his potential to succeed in the EPL (English Premier League) was questioned. Mo Salah’s only response to all doubting him: “I came here to show my football,” and his real reply was in the pitch as he scored 43 goals for Liverpool in his debut season.

Lesson to learn:

Once you gain the confidence you need, turn this into more bold steady steps in your career. Don’t settle in a new comfort zone.


“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  Martin Luther King

There comes the peak you always worked for

Don’t you ever dare to think that all the trophies Mo Salah collected and was nominated for now are luck-made! It took him more than ten years of hard work to be the Best African Player, Best EPL player, and nominated for Best Fifa Men’s Player of the year.

Lesson to learn:

Don’t rush the results. Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone’s got their own pace. Do what it takes, and one day you will reach your peak.


“Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!” Toni Robbins

The “What’s next?” dilemma

As for Salah, he mustn’t stop here. Mo Salah should not settle for being a one season wonder. He should search for a new peak, so do you!

Once you reach your peak, start to enlarge your objectives and work even harder to maintain this position; otherwise, you may fall behind.

Lesson to learn:

Esteem yourself well, but it is important to stay humble and let your work speak for you, just like Mo.


“Be someone that can be looked up to, not someone that looks down on others.” Lewis Howes

It’s true that everybody’s got their own success path. But we all almost use the same map for our different destinations. We all have to go through the learning, disappointment, doubting, hard-working, and listen-to-the-voice-within phases to reach our own peak. Start your own journey and let the words of the king echo in your mind and heart: 

“Football was an impossible dream… but for an Egyptian like me, to have entered into the world of professional football, it just means nothing is impossible.” Mo Salah



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