How to be a Champion

SO excited!

I woke up today excited about an opportunity and when I showed up, early, I was completely blown off.  I don’t want to get into the specifics just yet as to what happened but I do want to go over my reaction and ultimately why this post is making it to the blog under my “fumbles” column.

Be a Champion when no one else is looking

The Reaction:

At first, I got mad.  This person not only blew me off, but spoke down to me. I tend to get mad when people waste my time or disrespect me.  I’m not sure why, but it’s just one of those things I don’t like.  Let’s just say I have definitely fumbled by reacting in total anger before. I’ve had a “well I don’t need you then”  attitude that has totally hurt me.  But thankfully, I’ve learned over the years not to react and instead vent my anger later in a healthy way.

Second, I got discouraged.  I felt like doors were closing now and I felt like giving up.  Again, I’ve made this mistake a million times.  I’ve let other people define and ultimately squash my dreams.  Not cool.

What I did next:

This is something that used to take me a lot longer to get to, but today it happened super quickly.  I decided not to let them win.  I decided not to let someone else define me or affect my attitude and goals.

Instead, I took a break (I did have an hour to kill before work after all) and I gave myself a pep talk.  And this, this is why I decided to write this post.  We’ve all heard the phrase, “you can’t win em all” but you really can’t.  So how you get through those losses and get yourself back and ready is so important.

I pictured LeBron James, probably the best player in the NBA right now, waking up this same exact morning, down 2-0 in the NBA Finals.  What’s he doing? My best guess, is that he’s not sitting around letting his anger discourage him, he’s probably plotting and planning and preparing for the next win.  That’s what I needed to do this morning.  Now I wanted to share with you, how I give myself a pep talk and get ready for the next game.

  1. I identify what it is I’m angry about.  Today, I felt disrespected by the way the person spoke to me and for wasting an hour of my time as if my time isn’t valuable. In sports, I’ve been angry because we lost but really maybe I was upset with how I played or even how a teammate underperformed.  It’s important to know where the pain and anger comes from for me so that I know what is in my control and what is not.
  2. I let it go.  This has taken me 32 years and I’m still not great at letting things go right away.  But I’ve learned that holding on to pain and anger is like drinking poison.  It’s far better to release it and head to step 3. If you can’t let things go easily try this trick: be super nice to someone.  There’s something about doing an act of kindness or changing your attitude to be gracious for another person that, then, starts a chain reaction inside you.  Trust me, it really works.
  3. The pep talk.  I’m not one for revenge but I’m absolutely competitive.  If someone tells me I can’t, I want to prove to them 100 times more that I can.  So that’s where my pep talk starts.  I can do whatever I put my mind to.  I’m smart, I’m capable, I can do it.  I will not allow someone else to define my life and my goals.  Often times, when I’m really in pain, I’ll look in the mirror and repeat my goals/intentions.  Today, it was work related, so I looked in the mirror and said to myself exactly what I want and that I will get to my goal. You can pep talk anyway you want, but keep it positive and keep it about you.
  4. I write a list.  I just finished reading Shoe Dog by Nike creator Phil Knight.  I can’t help but identify with him at parts, and one key thing he and I have in common are lists.  I operate by lists.  It’s the only way to clear my head.  So in the case of today, I wrote down all the things I could do that would keep me on the right path toward my goals, despite this person providing a road block.  And look, I was able to put out this blog post.
  5. Revisit a past victory.  When I was playing soccer, we had a rival team (as anyone does in sports).  Sometimes we would win and sometimes they would.  I hated it.  There was this time when we annihilated them, 4-1 and that was the third time we’d beat them in a row.  When we were preparing to play them again, I kept going over the line up, what I ate, how we’d prepared, field conditions, everything so that I could have the blueprint to win again.  I do this same thing in my life.  Let’s again look at today.  I got blown off.  A crucial step in my career was supposed to happen and completely did not and I wasn’t given a time to come back and do it.  So I revisited the last time this had happened and how I was able to get through the obstacle.  Now I have a blueprint to manage this as best I can.
  6. Laugh at a past “failure.” When all else fails, know that set backs, obstacles, doors closing are all for a purpose.  I love to look back on break ups where I was heartbroken, thinking my life was over.  I’m so happy they all ended, I just didn’t know it in the moment.  Seeing where those led me help me to remember that we must learn and grow through this life so and to always enjoy the journey, no matter how frustrating.

I’m hoping this helps some of you.  If nothing else, it helped ground me to get going on the rest of my work for the day.  We’re all going to face this stuff but don’t ever dim your fire.  My favorite quote from my childhood hero, Mia Hamm, is ” the vision of a champion is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when nobody else is looking.” Just because someone doesn’t see the victory, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.  Don’t let anyone stop you from being a champion. I sure as heck won’t.

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