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5 Ways to Think Like a Champion


“If you even dream of beating me, you’d better wake up and apologize”Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was known for shocking the world with his confidence, and the belief that he was better than everyone else. He not only believed that he was the best, but he also didn’t want his opponent to even imagine that they could beat him!

You don’t have to be an athlete to be a champion. Everyone has the potential to be a champion with any goal they set for themselves. The champion’s secret is the way the individual thinks about themself, the obstacles faced, and even the failures that have fueled their success.

Champions aren’t crowned because they happen to have more points at the end of the championship game or at the end of one big event. Champions are crowned because of the preparation, commitment, culture, and consistency that they operate in on a daily basis. Champions understand that the lessons learned throughout the “process” is more important than the “product”. 

Here are 5 Ways to Think Like a Champion

Failure is not an option.

Legendary Coach Joe Paterno taught his players that there is a moment in every game where one team will accept defeat as an option. This is especially true for teams that don’t have a winning culture. Remember, failure begins at the moment that the thought of failure is acceptable. When things go the wrong way or begin to get hard, losing teams will allow the situation to dictate the potential of their outcome.

This is true not only in games, but in life as well. Take a moment and reflect on times in both your personal or professional life when things were not going well. There was probably a moment where failure, breaking up, or quitting became an acceptable option. Being a champion doesn’t mean you will go undefeated. Being a champion means you never accept defeat…you simply ran out of time.

Process over Product

Think of success like a fruit tree. What would your success look and taste like? I’m sure you would want fruit that is plump and juicy, not withered and rotten on the inside. The only way to produce healthy fruit is to have a healthy tree. A healthy tree must be planted in great soil that gives it the proper nutrients to grow.

Champions honor the process of growth, realize the value of being healthy, and do not take personal or professional shortcuts. They understand that in order to produce the results they want, they must get the proper support from people around them to help develop them. They also understand that the process of growth is a slow one that allows for successes sustained over time, rather than sporadic victories.

The Score Doesn’t Dictate Performance

A common mistake people make is to let the score of their game, life, business, or marriage dictate how they perform. The score should never dictate the amount of effort you give. The 2017 Super Bowl was a perfect example of one team who played based on the scoreboard, and the other team who played with all-out effort consistently regardless of the score.

Your consistency of effort often proves to be the deciding factor between success and failure. Assess whether or not you are consistent and still giving the same level of effort to reach your personal and professional goals as when you first began. You will see a pattern of behavior in those areas that correspond to the degree of success you experience. 

Surround Yourself With Winners

When things get rough (and at some point they will), the difference between winning and losing can be based on the type of teammates or support you have around you. The people around you must have the same positive mentality you do. Otherwise, you not only have to manage your emotions, but you also have to manage the emotions of those around you.

I remember recently talking to Cleveland Browns Cornerback, Tremon Williams. I asked him what was the biggest difference in playing for the Browns versus the Green Bay Packers. He said, “The biggest difference is the mentality of the players when the other team scores. In Green Bay, if the other team scores, we want the ball back to answer their score. Here, when the other team scores the guys are like ‘here we go again’.”

Assess your team around you. Will they be the reason why you are successful, or will they be the reason why you won’t be?

Get a Great Coach

Everyone needs a coach if they want to grow and develop. If you want to think like a champion, then you will also need to find someone who can help pull greatness out of you. It must be someone you will respect, and who has permission to speak truth into your life. It’s easy to find people who will tell you what you want to hear. Champions find people who will tell them what they need to hear.

Champions are prepared, committed to the goal, plant themselves in a positive culture, and are consistent in spite of how it looks. Honor the process and you will come out a champion every time.  

If you are here because you want to think like a champion, Unlock the Champion offers groundbreaking and insightful support every step of the way. Our executive coaches and leadership development speakers can help unlock your inner drive to succeed, working with you to utilize all of the tools and potential that you already have. We strive to think and act like champions, and we’re ready to help you on your path to success. Contact us today to learn more or to speak with our staff!