Recently ESPN has been playing reruns of old sporting events, keeping their viewers nostalgic for the good ol’ days. Personally, I think that’s a genius idea, watching greatness in any form is the exact reminder people around the world need right now. My husband is a fan of boxing so he’s been tuning into the Muhammad Ali matches. Although growing up I heard his name all the time I never saw him in action until now.
So for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been able to witness him in his prime, strong, focused, confident, and a true champion. Although I’m not much of a boxing fan even I can appreciate his effort, his talent, and his overall greatness. It’s incredibly inspiring to get wrapped up in, truthfully. And that got me thinking about what it means to be a champion.
Sure maybe some people are born with an undeniable purpose to fill the shoes of greatness, but being a champion is also a set of qualities or traits one can adopt. While this historical 1st of 3 fights between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier played in the background all I could think was
“How does it look to be a champion outside of sports?
How does it feel to be a champion in your own life?
What’s it like to believe in yourself so devoutly that you don’t accept the possibility that anything could stop you?”
A few answers began to surface. Champions never quit because their mind doesn’t see that as an option. There are even some scenarios where an athlete’s body has suddenly quit on them and they somehow, miraculously push forward laser-focused on their mission to win. Champions are built to keep going so their mind is programmed to always find a way to the end goal, always adapting and improving.
Imagine the powerful shift this attitude would create for the pursuit of YOUR aspirations and desires, approaching the road ahead as a champion. Not ever thinking that it’s too late for anything, always giving everything you have inside, and keeping faith in the outcome even when your chances are slim.
How miraculous would your life be if you became the champion of it?
A Champion Lifestyle
All of the greats in sports like boxing, basketball, and football are known for their obsessive training. They view each day as the perfect opportunity to improve their skill set. They are excellent at prioritizing their time to hone in on their craft, reflecting on how they’ve improved, and setting high standards and even more scrupulous goals along the way.
A champion’s attention to detail is fine-tuned because it’s a mental muscle they use often, it’s their job to anticipate and prepare themselves for all scenarios without losing sight of the winning outcome.
Once becoming a recognized champion, each person receives an entire team of people to help them achieve their goals. A fitness trainer provides a wellness strategy, a specialized coach to build up their weaknesses, and a person scheduling their practices and real-life matches or games. Although champions naturally keep themselves accountable with their internal drive for more they still have someone nudging them along with wisdom and guidance.
All of these structures hold in place the intricacy of their routines, finding balance and coordination in their training and their life. But there once was a time when this individual had to show up and do that work on their own.
Champions are made, not born. Even if someone has breathtaking talent from the moment they arrive earth-side, mere talent alone doesn’t win championships. There are a myriad of habits that must be cultivated, discipline that must be learned, a passion that must be fueled, and, of course, the time to develop the talent to championship level. If every champion waited for the coach to show up and the trainer to push them, the world would have a shortage of clips recalling greatness.
Champions worked for it even when no one else could see the end goal. They fueled their faith muscles and shrunk their doubts, moving forward with the best plans they could create until they learned to improve. Champions worked hard when no one was watching so they could prevail for all to see.
So, what makes a champion?
Environment (what/who you surround yourself with, by)
The people and places you are surrounded by are going to have an incredible impact on the person you become. Circumstances shape a person, and even if you can’t cut certain people out of your life or move your location right now, you always have choices. Champions choose to practice over party, to work hard over being lazy, to get back up after the entire world knocks them down.
Having the ability to create a specific outcome in your mind’s eye is a significant part of training in a champion’s life. They have their eye on the prize even when the odds are stacked up against them and this comes with practice. Focus, in an instant gratification world, is a tall order but it’s just as possible for you as it is for a boxing champion. It’s all about what you continue putting your attention on.
Champions know the importance of cutting out distractions and being aware of when they’ve become distracted. Each time their mind wanders is another opportunity to train in focus, bringing themselves back to the vision they’ve painted of success, winning, and overcoming.
Persistence(never giving up)
Champions have any talents and traits that lead the way to their greatness, persistence may be the strongest one. To have a quality that doesn’t allow you to quit on yourself or your dreams means you will get there. It may look different from how you picture it, it may be harder than you planned, but as long as you never stop going after it there’s always a chance.
Persistence is so strong because it’s a combination of knowing who you are and what you’re capable of, mixed with your mindset and mind’s eye goals. If you can think it you can become it, champions know this at their core and will persist until the end of time.
Structure (prioritize your time and energy)
Having a solid structure throughout a champion’s life is the glue that holds the entire operation together. It may not be one of the more sexy traits but it’s absolutely essential to have a schedule. In an athlete’s season, and yours too, there are times for rest and time for work, times to refuel your energy and time’s to explode with it.
The conditions of your life will continue fluctuating, your structure while strong will also need to be flexible for the changes you find yourself facing. Extra time cannot be found so it’s important to use each moment appropriately and to plan ahead for things that may unfold. Energy is generated within you, so it can always be replenished but only when you’re away from depletion.
The structure is more than just setting goals and making them happen, it’s about tuning into what’s best for you right now and adjusting accordingly.
Attention to detail (caring about the big and small stuff alike)
Although some aspects of life may be seen as more significant than others, nothing is seen as unimportant in a champion’s lifestyle. From the way they eat and the clothes, they train in, to the music they listen to and the times they complete their routines. Each of these things serves a purpose and is chosen particularly with conscious attention and effort.
Champions leave nothing for chance, whether their decision comes from within or they seek outside counsel for insight because they know the importance of being decisive and attentive. Making their way to their desired outcome won’t happen if anything is left to probability or coincidence, they understand the importance of input and don’t hesitate to apply it.
Balance (enjoy and execute)
When Muhammad Ali said, “float like a butterfly sting like a bee” he simplified the beauty of balance, gentleness, and confidence, be light yet strong, smart yet forceful, knowing when to align and when to take action.
This way of living, fighting, playing, and being is cultivated over time and consistent practice. Learning when to push and when to pull, applying all of the traits and habits that make a champion, witnessing how they unfold, knowing when to go along for the ride and when to take the wheel.
Experiencing balance originates in the mind, being able to find a confident and calm stillness within you is the first step to allowing balance to surround you. You’ll know it when you feel it, and even more so when you don’t.
Be The Greatest
Whatever your calling in life or purpose on this planet, choose to be the greatest at it. Being the greatest in this case doesn’t mean comparing your success to the levels of anyone else, in fact, you are your only competition. The person you were at the beginning of this venture is who you’re competing with, proving it to, making you proud, and using as an example that anything is possible for you.
Showing up as your best self is going to look different for every person, in every changing season of life. Muhammad Ali as a 20-year-old is an incredible athletic machine, while years down the line his greatness took a different form. He grew mentally and physically, so it was important that his craft adapted to those changes. Whatever youth took from him physically he replaced with the wisdom and experience of being in the ring all these years.
Each of us has an innate wisdom that will help carry into our desired outcomes, along with a set of champion-lie traits. This means you have the capability to become the champion of your life today just by applying a champion mindset to your life. Become aware of your environment and how it’s shaping you, continue fueling your vision by practicing holding your focus on what matters most, and never ever quit on what you believe in because it’s always possible to achieve. I
t’s important to have a structure that holds all of this together, making sure you’re managing your time and energy efficiently, giving complete attention to detail, and never overlooking one bit of where your time goes. Finding balance will come in time, the more you practice tuning into your experiences, feelings, and results, the deeper you’ll get to know internal struggles. When peace is found within nothing outside can rock you.
Imagine how powerful the shift in your life would be if you decided to tackle all roads with the mindset and determination of a champion. All that’s left is to decide which part of your life have you not been showing up as the champion of.
Start taking stock of which traits have you been allowed to slip through the cracks over the years, or maybe always struggled with. Begin to visualize what being a champion looks like in your personal and professional life, think about who would benefit and the ripple effect of goodness shared. The best place to start is by dreaming big without limits, begin visualizing what greatness feels like to you, and never stop seeking clarity on it.
Remember all champions have to start somewhere, so start here, today.
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