Visit any maternity ward and what will you see? Infants, tiny humans, potential champions. Yes, some of those infants will have advantages. Some will be born into wealthy families, some will have natural talents, etc. But none of them receive the title ‘champion’ simply by being born. Growing up my Dad told me many times, “Life isn’t fair.” He’s right. Life is not fair. But a champion doesn’t let unfairness hold them back. Check out the film “Unstoppables” about Paralympic cyclists who train and compete with only one leg. A good plan, perseverance, and perspiration will pay off.
1. Define. The first step in becoming the champion you are meant to be is to determine what your success looks like. Do you want to earn a degree, win a triathlon, write a book, or bake the best cupcakes anyone has ever tasted? There are many opportunities for championship in this world. Which opportunity aligns with your passion? Once you identify the field, closely define what your success looks like. Will you win first place or earn a credential? Define why this goal is important to you.
2. Research. What are the steps you need to take to reach your goal? If you desire to lose twenty pounds, how will you do it? Read books, research credible sources on the Internet, and talk to people who have achieved the same goal. Weight loss is not achieved in one day or even one week. It is a steady application of healthy eating + exercise + sufficient sleep. How will you incorporate changes for success into your lifestyle?
3. Begin. Your someday is today. Get started. Enroll in classes. Put your tennis shoes on and go for a walk around the block. Smoke one fewer cigarette than the day before. Study for a test. Practice your skill. Block time in your busy schedule to dedicate to your goal and begin achieving today.
“Eighty percent of success is just showing up.” – Woody Allen
4. Persist. At the beginning of your journey, stepping outside of your comfort zone is fresh and exciting. But after a while practicing the same action can become dull and unappealing. Go back to step 1 – why is this goal important to you? Think about a 21-year-old person on their first day of work. They are excited to get out of bed that morning and get started! When that person turns 35, after 14 years of working, they may not be as eager to rise, but they think about why it is important – work that they enjoy, their contribution to the world, or even making money to pay the bills. However, when that person turns 65 do they look back and say, “Oh, I got out of bed and went to work 11,440 times.”? No, they look back over 44 years of service and what they accomplished when they showed up.
5. Support. Comrades, teachers, coaches, and friends will be important. Invalidators and bullies will pop up and try to convince you to abandon your goal. The bad boss will de-motivate your work. The chocolate cake will tempt the dieter. Hectic schedules will keep a weekend athlete from training. Your “support” group will encourage you to keep going. Think about the people who are cheering at the 24th mile of a marathon when the runners are tired. Be that person for someone else and someone will show up when you need cheering on.
It is not easy – becoming a champion. It is demanding work, which only you can do. No one can do it for you. Remember the steps:
When you have achieved your goal and made yourself into the champion you are meant to be, remember to celebrate!