Being a Champion in Business and Life

It is common to use the word “leader” when we talk about a person who has a compelling vision for the future and that inspires others to accomplish great things in our companies, organizations, communities and families. But what about the word “champion”? When I hear “champion”, I immediately think of sports teams and Olympic athletes that are crowned the best amongst their peers. Webster’s dictionary defines “champion” as: a fighter, warrior; an advocate or defender; one that does battle for another’s rights; a winner….

I just finished reading the book, The Way of the Champion, by Jerry Lynch, Ph.D. In his book, Dr. Lynch explores in depth, what it takes to be a champion – not only in sports but in life. He writes that it is “the heart and the head that make the champion.” A champion “demonstrates courage, tenacity, fearlessness, and the willingness to suffer pain.” The way of the champion “demands high self-esteem, self-awareness, integrity, and the ability to take the risks to improve while using failure as a teacher on the road to self-discovery.” Dr. Lynch goes on to say that “champions fully grasp the difference between what they can and can’t control and choose to focus on the former.”

A champion knows their strengths and weaknesses as well as those of the competition. They understand that their greatest adversary is themselves – those inner “demons” of fear, fatigue, frustration, failure and self doubt. A champion focuses on what is possible and on becoming the best person he/she can be. They know that “perfection” is an illusion but have an undying commitment toward the pursuit of “excellence” in all that they think, say and do. A champion surrenders their self interests in order that the team wins.

During this holiday season, take a moment and reflect on the “champions” in your life – past and present. What are (or were) the principals they live(d) life by? What qualities do (or did) they exhibit while being a champion in your life and the lives of others?

Over the past two years it has been painfully evident that our world, our country, our businesses and organizations, and our families are in dire need of true warrior champions to battle for the less fortunate and to fearlessly defend that which is right. I encourage all of us to embrace the way of the champion as we head into the new year.