What does it take to create the heart of a champion? Yesterday, I went to my son's first power-lifting competition. He had decided to compete in this one as a trial run, and ironically, he won 3rd in the Open session and in his weight class. I have a feeling he was more surprised than anyone, but as I watched him, I could see the heart of a champion developing. So, what does it take to create the heart of a champion?
- Desire - A truly successful competitor must want to win. I watched one competitor yesterday that failed at three lifts in a row. He was over confident and a bit arrogant, and he lost. When he failed in the first competition, he packed up and went home. He skipped out the second round. Why? His heart wasn't in it. Lack of desire is a handicap from the beginning.
- Focus - Jon went into power-lifting with a great deal of focus. He avoided the distractions of all the people who wanted to tell him how to do it. He read books first to silence the noise of the masses, and then he went to the next step.
- Training - He found good solid people to train with. It's important that your training be specific and focused. In any endeavor, experts will come out of the woodwork to assist you, but there are the truly gifted and talented teachers and there are the "also-rans". Training must be specific and focused. You can waste a lot of time with trainers who are not the pros you need to get you to the next level. Make sure that whoever you link up with is the right person to get you where you want to go.
- Practice - Jon has a very specific schedule of training that he rarely deviates from. It's important to stay in the process if you're going to succeed. You can't afford to have large gaps between sessions. He injured his knee a while ago, and it was difficult for him to avoid training during that time. I could see the struggle he was going through everyday. I'm not a big fan of the saying, "Practice makes perfect." If you practice incorrectly, you will lose. I'd rather say, "Perfect practice makes perfect."
- Vision - Vision gives you the road map of where you're going to go. You can train and practice all you want, but if you have no destination you'll only become frustrated. Your vision will give you each milestone along the way. Most start out with an idea that finally contributes to a vision, but vision directs the path.
- Determination - Determination is desire on steroids. It is the driving force that keeps you in the game when your mind tells you to stop. Determination is the fuel your mind and body need when adversary tells you to quite, when obstacles block your path, when your task seems impossible.
- Execution - All the training in the world means very little if you never put it into practice. Even in failure, you must return to execute again. Everything you've done to this point has given you the tools to try. Failure is simply an indicator that you need to modify your training. If you were out-matched because a competitor trained harder, then you train harder. If you fail because you didn't stay focused, then you learn to stay focused. You will never know where you are weak until you execute. If you succeed, then you ask yourself, "Where can I improve?"
- Improvement - Every endeavor is evolving. You must constantly stay in a mode of evolving as well. If you don't improve, that competitor who has been nipping at your heels will overtake you.
Every champion prepares himself for the competition. In business, we're in competition with every other professional in our field. Those who succeed don't do so by happenstance. Maybe a few stumble upon success, but the really superb performers create their success, and so can you.
What does it take to create the heart of a champion?