We all have champion qualities. For example, the book Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin clearly shows that genius is due more to deliberate practice than natural gifts. He persuasively argues with data that even superstars and child prodigies became great due to relentless practice and hard work. His main argument is this insight gives us less excuses to why we cannot be great. The two things he says you need to be a total champion is you need to know what you want. In other words, the only way you are going to be committed is to know exactly what you want. It is not a maybe but a clear set goals for which you are totally committed to. Once that is determined you need to decide if you believe you have a say in it. This means do you really believe that if you put in the practice you will attain the goals. If you do then as per the research with practice it is attainable.
Here are the qualities I identified to be a total champion in all areas of your life. I have expanded each letter of the word CHAMPION to explain this.
Courage — This is not the type of courage that Winston Churchill talks about. Though I do appreciate that as well. Here I mean the courage to believe in your potential. The only person who must decide what you need in your life is you. So, we need to believe in our potential. We need to see the winning before we win. We need to see ourselves where we want to be well before the actual victory. This takes a lot of courage.
Honesty — Once you have the courage to believe in your potential you need to be totally honest with yourself. You need to a skills assessment and determine where you truly are now with respect to where you want to be. As Jim Collins say be brutally honest with yourself. If you are totally honest with yourself you will take the necessary action to move to the next level.
Attitude — If as the research says it takes 10000 hours of effort to reach expert level that is a lot of years. If we are going to persist that long to reach our own form of greatness we need to have a great attitude. Attitude is the only thing in our control. The events that happen in our lives is totally out of our control or at least some of it. It is how we react to the inevitable setbacks we face during our journey to our own super bowl that will determine if we do last the distance. Writing in a journal is a great way to maintain a good attitude. Also associating with positive people keeps your attitude in tip top shape. Finally the 10000 hour rule is more an average for violinists who put in that much effort before they were called great. Some of them achieved with lesser hours and some by putting more hours. Irrespective it does take a lot of effort to win big in anything.
Mastery — This is all about focus and concentration. Decide exactly what you want and then determine what you need to learn to reach that level of excellence. Of course, if it is a sport it is much easier to know what the next steps are. However, if you are in a leadership position it is not a straightforward route to practice. However, some of the ways you can do practice is identify the experts in your field, read their blogs, read their books, connect with them, listen to their podcasts, take certifications, document what you learn and share what you learn. We will never reach mastery but we should always strive for it.
Passion — I know even Cal Newport wrote that don’t follow your passion. However, I do think all champions in general are passionate about what they do. For example, we can’t imagine if Roger Federer would have made it without passion for tennis. Yes, there are some people who put in so much effort to overcome lack of passion but as it has been well documented will power never lasts. One of the other keys to passion is the ability to switch off from the main work and have a hobby to commit to. If your hobby is your profession then you need to find another hobby because doing just one thing all 7 days can lead to burnout.
Inspiration — Stay inspired in whatever way that works for you. It may be reading a great book or listening to a TED talk. It may also be visiting an art gallery or watching a great movie. There are so many ways to stay inspired. Listening to music also helps. Staying inspired can help us through the tough times.
Optimism — Optimism is the number one skill that all champions possess. For example, Federer can lose a set 6–0 to Nadal in the French open but in the next 2 weeks he can come back and win Wimbledon. This can be achieved only if you know how to leave the past behind and focus on future. There is nothing we can do about the past but we can focus on the future. Optimism is also the key to resilience. Champions do find a way to always look for the good in every setback.
Never give up — Finally never give up. This is obvious but I would like to give a distinction here. As Seth Godin eloquently wrote in the Dip you must quit some things that are truly not working. If I am learning the piano for example and I find it painful I should subordinate my ego and quit it as I am not making any progress. However, if there is something that truly can help my work then in those instances I should never give up as it is something that truly will help me. Winners do quit but they quit the areas where they cannot be the best in. Focus on your area of excellence and never give up in those areas.
There you have it the 8 ways you can unleash the inner champion. I hope you enjoyed reading this article.
The views expressed in this article are my own and do not represent my organization. Thanks for reading this post.