"But this [I say], He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall also reap bountifully." 2 Corinthians 9:6
Sir Winston Churchill famously stated, "The price of greatness is responsibility." Every champion, in whatever field of endeavor, instinctively knows the truth of Churchill's famous quotation. Bottom line - Champions take responsibility! No Excuses Allowed!
Welcome to the latest in our Championship Series of blog posts. The capacity to take personal responsibility is one of the foundational characteristics of every champion. And responsibility is the subject of today's post.
President Harry S. Truman kept a sign on his desk in the Oval Office which read, "The Buck Stops Here!" It's meaning derives from the expression of 'passing the buck', which means passing responsibility on to someone else. President Truman said, "You know, its easy for the Monday morning quarterback to say what the coach should have done after the game is over. But when the decision is up before you - and on my desk I have a motto which says 'the buck stops here' - the decision has to be made."
Champions are by definition leaders. One of the basic qualities of leadership is the assumption and acceptance of responsibility. Legendary NBA Hall of Famer, Michael Jordan always wanted the ball in those clutch moments when the game was on the line. MJ was the quintessential champion! Champions don't pass the buck, nor make excuses. They want the responsibility to take that winning shot, to make the decisive call. They understand Churchill completely - no responsibility, no greatness!
College Basketball Coaching Legend, Dean Smith, kept an "Excuses Jar" on the desk in his office. Before meeting with him, each player had to put all their excuses in the jar. That was just one way Coach Smith taught his players the lesson of responsibility. One of those players who put excuses in the jar was future Hall of Famer, Michael Jordan. Moral of the story: you are responsible for your own life, for what you do and say, for how you spend your time, for who you associate with, for how you conduct yourself, for the decisions in life you make. We all have the free will to make our own choices. (See Joshua 24:15; Deuteronomy 30:19; Isaiah 7:15; and Proverbs 8:10.)
Success on any major level requires that you accept responsibility. Champions clearly understand it is their, and only their, responsibility to strive to improve themselves athletically, intellectually, financially, morally, and spiritually. It is a process of continuous improvement. Champions are always under construction, always striving to grow, to improve, to be better today than they were yesterday. It is their responsibility!
As leaders, champions also take responsibility for their teams. On one occasion, during a period when the Chicago Bulls were not playing their best ball, Coach Phil Jackson gave the team a practice day off. Michael Jordan led several players to Coach Jackson and requested a practice be scheduled because the Bulls were not a sufficiently good team to skip practices. The practice was not only scheduled, but lasted longer than usual, and marked a significant turning point in the Bulls' improvement that season. MJ believed, "The best players have to be the caretakers of the team." And he was the caretaker of the Bulls, leading them triumphantly to multiple NBA championships.
Champions know that if they are to grow and acheive their dreams, they have a responsibility to not only learn, but totally master their craft. Legendary UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden taught his players four laws of learning: 1) explanation, 2) demonstration, 3) imitation, and 4) repetition. The goal was to create a correct habit that could be produced instinctively under great pressure. Coach Wooden put great emphasis on #4) repetition, and more repetition, and more repetition after that. His method was often difficult for the players, but the results were truly phenomenal!
The ability to learn is a critical skill of champions, even when it is difficult. Legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow stated, "Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts." Champions can definitely relate to the truth in Mr. Murrow's statement. Difficulty is not an excuse for champions. If what they did was easy, everyone would be a champion! You get out of any situation exactly what you put into it. (See 2 Corinthians 9:6.)
Champions go on to embrace the next level in the chain of responsibility. Once they have acquired new skills, information, and knowledge, they become accountable for the ways they utilize them. They take personal responsibility for maintaining a winning vision, correctly applying their new skills and knowledge, for performing at levels never seen before, and for dreaming beyond limitations!
In the final analysis, the one quality that champions share in common is a major capacity to remain steadfast in taking personal responsibility for getting the work done! (See 1 Corinthians 15:58.)
What examples can you give of how taking responsibilty has helped you to achieve your goals/ dreams?
Until next time,
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
Persevere, v., To persist in a purpose, an idea, or a task in the face of obstacles or discouragement. [Latin > perseverus, very serious]
Failue is not an option for true champions. NFL Hall of Fame Coach, Vince Lombardi, famously said, "Winners never quit, and quitters never win." Champions possess that 'never quit', 'always striving', 'Yes, I can' attitude. And they are very serious about it. For champions, perseverance, is no joke. It is part of their DNA. It's who they are!
This latest installment in our Championship Series explores the indispensable trait which all champions have in common - perseverance.
Champions realize the road to success is seldom, if ever, an easy one. In the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, there are always two options: 1) throw in the towel, or 2) use the towel to wipe the sweat off your face and keep going. Champions always choose option #2!
Allow me to illustrate my point with the following examples:
Beethoven (composer) was deaf. Albert Einstein (scientist) had a learning disabilty. James Earl Jones (actor) was a stutterer. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (U.S. President) was paralyzed from polio. Vincent Van Gogh (artist) was mentally ill. Ray Charles (musician) was blind. Helen Keller (author) was both deaf and blind.
Yet, these true champions refused to let these very formidable obstacles stop them from achieving their goals and dreams. They possessed that indispensable quality - perseverance!
Napoleon Bonaparte stated, "Victory belongs to the most persevering." Champions generally encounter many heartbreaking failures and setbacks before they triumph. Yet, they refuse to become discouraged. They don't quit because it is hard. They never give in, and certainly, never give up. They persevere!
Thomas Edison experimented with over 2,000 different materials before discovering the correct type for the filament of the electric light bulb. NBA Championship Coach, Chuck Daly, had no NBA coaching success until he was 52. The Beatles were rejected for a record label audition. Vince Lombardi didn't become an NFL Coach until he was 47. Leo Tolstoy flunked out of college. A producer once advised Lucille Ball to get out of acting, and "try another profession. Any other profession!" Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because of a "lack of ideas." Yet, they refused to give up. They had their minds made up to succeed. They all persevered, and all achieved spectacular successes in their chosen fields of endeavor!
But where does perseverance come from? Why do some persevere, while others opt to throw in the towel? The path to perseverance lies in self-discipline and faith. Basketball "Coaching Legend", Dean Smith, said, "The disciplined guy can do anything." Champions realize that nothing is accomplished without the capacity to push through hardships, to deny the smaller yearnings for the sake of the larger goal.' Julius "Dr. J" Erving II, NBA Hall of Famer, stated, "Being a professional means doing all the things you love to do, even on the days you don't feel like doing them."
Champions are very familiar with "The Grind", that period when the work gets extremely difficult, when the aches and pains get so bad you don't even feel like getting out of bed in the morning. Yet, champions have the capacity to 'grind', even at their weakest points. And that ability to 'grind', in spite of aches, pain, and weariness is the product of self-discipline, of will, of faith, of the capacity to push oneself beyond old limits and to new limits.
NBA Legendary Hall of Famer, Michael Jordan, played at various times with a broken cheekbone, an infected foot, back spasms so severe he had to be carried off the bus, and the flu so bad he had to be given an IV at halftime. Yet MJ never gave up, never gave in, and completed every game, usually as the high scorer! Now, that's perseverance!
But why is perseverance so critical to champions? Perseverance teaches champions a wisdom impossible to learn by any other means. It teaches them crucial lessons that ease and comfort have no clue about. (See Romans 5:3-5.) Champions don't persist just for the sake of persisitng. They persist for a specific purpose, a well-defined goal, a definite hope. Perseverance produces character, and character produces hope - hope/ faith in the coming victory and ultimate triumph!
Champions possess an inner reserve of faith, a hidden strength, that they can call upon and tap into at the most critical times, which often propels them beyond anything that even they themselves dreamed was possible!
How have you persevered to achieve any of your goals? As a result of your experience, what advice can you offer to others?
Until next time,
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the LORD, rather than for people." Colossians 3:23
Passion has been called the secret ingredient to success. For champions it is truly an indispensable ingredient. Ralph Waldo Emerson famously stated, "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
Welcome to the latest post in our Championship Series. Today's topic is passion. As you know, passion has always been associated with the heart. The heart of a champion beats with passion!
And a true champion has the rare ability to transform that passion into incredible action!
Webster defines passion, aka enthusiasm, as a powerful emotion; a great excitement for or interest in a subject or a cause. Enthusiasm is one of the deepest human emotions. Most people are enthusiastic about something - be it sports, music, or food. Champions have great heart. They have a deep love for what they do, and they pursue their success with a burning passion. For true champions, what they do is not just a vocation - it is a calling!
Michael Jordan, iconic champion and NBA Hall of Famer, had an intense passion for the game of basketball. Champions in any field of endeavor really love what they do. Michael Jordan stated, "I play for the love of the game, not for the love of money." And it showed throughout his spectacular career, resulting in MJ receiving seven (7) NBA Championship rings!
Chris Gardner, former homeless man turned millionaire stockbroker, portrayed by Will Smith in the movie 'The Pursuit of Happiness' observed, "The secret to success is to find something you love so much, you can't wait for the sun to rise to do it all over again." Now, that's an excellent definiton of passion!
True champions are among those fortunate human beings who have found what they love, and pour their whole heart into it. Long before the start of his NBA career, Michael Jordan had an uncommon passion for the game of basketball.
MJ's love for the game was evident even in the Chicago Bulls' practices. He was the first to show up and the last to leave. MJ would dive for loose balls, would skin his knees, and contest every single rebound. Former teammate, Ed Nealy said they should have charged admission just to see MJ practice. You would have seen more from Michael during practice than in the game!
Brendan Malone, former NBA assistant coach, studied hours and hours of MJ on tape. Michael never relented for one second, never took a play off. He gave 100 percent every minute of every game. His passion generated unbelievable energy and drive. MJ's relentless dedication and remarkable talent left his opponents incredulous. And his inspirational example made all of his teammates better!
George Lucas, acclaimed movie director of 'Star Wars' fame, stated that to be successful you have to find something you love enough to be able to take risks, jump over hurdles, and break through the brick walls that are going to be thrown in front of you. If you don't have that kind of passion/ inspiration/enthusiasm you'll stop at the first hurdle you encounter.
When you combine that kind of passion with your true purpose you have the makings of a real champion. The more passion you have for what you do, the more inclined you are to work harder to attain your goals, and to overcome whatever obstacles may stand in the way of achieving your dreams. It is that kind of passion that spells the difference between being good at what you do, and being great! That heart, that passion, is what separates champions from the rest of the field.
Famed Historian David McCullough observed, "I would pay to do what I do. People say, 'Take a vacation.' How could I have a better time than what I am doing?"
Hockey great Wayne Gretzky started watching hockey games at three years old. He loved the game so much that he would cry when the game ended.
A recent survey of 241 executives revealed that 80% listed "enthusiasm" as the one trait that most helped workers to become successful. "Can-do attitude" came in second at 63%.
Indeed, the Bible tells us, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the LORD, rather than for people." Colossians 3:23. Work with enthusiasm. Work with passion. Work with all your heart, and you will be successful in your chosen field of endeavor.
What is your passion? Do you have the heart of a champion? How are you using your passion to make the world a better place?
Inspirational Quotes on Enthusiasm
Successful People Know the Power of Passion
Until next time,
Lead - er
1. The person who leads or commands a group, organization or country
2. A person followed by others
Synonyms - chief, head, conductor, guide, director, captain
Welcome to the newest blog post in our Championship Series. Today's topic is virtually synonymous with championship - leadership.
Joe Montana, NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback, once said, "It's impossible to have any success as a QB without being a leader, since all eyes in the huddle are on you. If you're uncertain your teammates will know!"
Kevin "KG" Garnett, star NBA Celtic power forward and center, once told of how Michael Jordan, NBA Hall of Famer, believed in the absolute necessity of demonstrating leadership early by setting the tone at the start of each and every game. "Both offensively and defensively, you have to be ready. Be aggressive, and if the team's not following you, you have to be the leader and push the team over the hump."
Champions are natural leaders. And great champions like great leaders share a number of distinctive leadership qualities in common. These key qualities include the following seven: 1) character, 2) vision, 3) communications skills, 4) people skills, 5) competence, 6) boldness, and 7) the willingness to serve.
1. Character. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, "There is only one kind of strength which is lasting - character." Indeed, the main ingredient of outstanding leadership is outstanding character - honesty, integrity, humility: someone whose word can absolutely be trusted. All true champions possess genuine character. Without it, they are champions in name only, not in substance. "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold." Proverbs 22:1.
2. Vision. Champions like leaders are visionaries. They have an instinct for the future. You almost believe they can see around corners. Visionaries are born to lead. Others become focused around their plans and goals, and are fueled to complete the leader's vision, even when times get extremely tight.
3. Communications Skills. Champions inspire others. They lead by example. In a 1996 NBA playoff game against the Orlando Magic, the Bulls were trailing at halftime. The team seemed disheartened, out of sync. Michael Jordan stood up in the locker room and said, "Trust in me. Climb on my back and let me carry you. I'll take care of the rest.." The atmosphere in the room suddenly shifted. Everyone felt the goosebumps. The Bulls went on to, not only win the game, but sweep the series!
4. People Skills. There is a Liberian saying, "If the townspeople are happy look for the chief." Phil Jackson, Hall of Fame NBA Coach, exercised compassionate leadership with the teams he coached. Phil treated people with the same respect and care you'd give yourself, using authority sparingly, and allowing room for humor. He allowed players to be their own people, but within a defined structure. Mark Twain once famously said, "Most of us can run pretty well all day on one compliment." Phil Jackson understood precisely the meaning of Twain's comment, and indeed, handled his teams like a Liberian chief.
5. Competence. Champions, in whatever field they're in, are true masters of their crafts. They have done their homework exceedingly well, and put in the time. Michael Jordan had that rare knack of a great champion. He just outworked everyone else! He'd be the first and last one in the weight room, on the basketball court, it didn't matter. Jordan consistently amazed with both his offensive and defensive prowess on the court. He had a totally complete game in every sense of the word. MJ was determined to just flat outwork everybody. And he did!
6. Boldness. Goethe once stated that boldness has "genius", and "power" in it. Champions are willing to take decisive action exactly when it is required. They are never victims of the aim-aim-aim syndrome. They stay ready to confidently take the shot. Whenever the game was on the line, Michael Jordan, like all true champions, always wanted the ball!
7. Willingness to Serve. No one will ever be a great leader or champion who wants to do it all himself or herself, or to take all the credit. In the army, officers eat last. Taking care of your soldiers is an act of stewardship. Jesus Christ was the perfect example of the Servant Leader. He voluntarily washed the feet of his followers. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45. Service to others is the true hallmark of a real leader and a true champion.
Being a champion, just like being a leader, is more about what you do than about what you say. Ralph Waldo Emerson once famously said, "What you do speaks so loudly that I can't hear what you say." It's impossible to truly lead unless you are very demanding of yourself. You can't demand anything of others until you've shown that you're willing to do it yourself. A true champion will demand more of himself, or herself, than of anyone else. Real champions, indeed, lead by example!
Do your actions speak louder than your words? How much are you willing to demand of yourself? How willing are you to serve others, and give back to the community?
For more on the vital subject of leadership see the following links:
21 Indispensible Qualities of a Leader - John C. Maxwell
John Maxwell on Leadership
Leadership - Wikipedia
Leadership at the Open Directory Project
A Theory of Leadership Effectiveness, Fred E. Fiedler, McGraw Hill: Harper and Row, 1967
Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Macro Level, Katherine Van Wormer, Fred Besthorn, Thomas Keefe, Oxford University Press, 2007
Leadership Without Easy Answers, Ronald Heifetz, Harvard University Press, 1994
The Maxwell Leadership Bible, Lessons in Leadership from the Word of God, John C. Maxwell, Thomas Nelson, 2007
Until next time,
"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold." Proverbs 22:1
Welcome to the latest in our Championship Series of blog posts concerning the qualities of a true champion. This is the week of Super Bowl XLVII. What better time to talk about what makes a real champion than right now? Today's champion topic is Influence.
Champions are by definiton leaders. A champion is a leader in his or her chosen field of endeavor, whether it be sports, finance or media. And the best one-word definition of leadership is influence!
Webster defines influence as the power to affect, sway, or modify. True champions affect, sway, or modify the way individuals train, perform, conduct themselves, and manage their personal brands. Influence is why champions are so highly sought after, and so highly paid, by companies to endorse their products.
Michael Jordan wore a suit everyday, even when going from the team bus to the locker room because he knew people were watching him. MJ always wanted to look dignified in the eyes of his fans. He played every game as if it were his last because he didn't want to disappoint his fans.
Jordan's influence has been truly phenomenal. The list of those he has influenced, who view him as a role model, is beyond extensive, both inside and outside of sports. It reads like a Who's Who. Steve Lavin, then UCLA basketball coach, adopted 23 principles of excellence for his team in honor of MJ's uniform number 23. Indeed, champions are the role models' role model!
Michael Jordan had tireless practice habits and a relentless work ethic. When your best player puts everything on the line day in and day out, night in and night out, his teammates can't cut corners and not give their very best. It's called leading by example! That's what Jordan did for Chicago and that's why the Bulls won so many NBA championships. Champions lead by example, and in the process they exert a powerful influence on all those around them, propelling them to higher levels.
People follow champions because they admire them. Champions do extraordinary things, far above the everyday, mundane, and mediocre. They do heroic things. People love heroes and love winners. They aspire to be heroic and winners, themselves! That's why they identify with champions, and why some even go so far as to live vicariously through them!
The greatest example of a true hero, a real leader can be found in the person of Jesus Christ, who was without sin, and selflessly sacrified himself for the benefit of others. It can be said that Jesus Christ is the most influential person who has ever lived! When you Google Jesus over 600,000,000 results are returned! His example has influenced countless numbers of individuals around the globe over time to live better, more fulfilled lives by faithfully seeking to follow his manner of living, and living by his words.
Jesus gave the world a new definition of leadership - service! He modeled the Servant Leader. Jesus stated, "whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant." Matthew 20:26. Indeed, understanding and applying the concept of service is the key to truly influencing others on a deep level. Serving others is, in fact, the true mark of a real leader. Jesus laid down his life so that we might be freed from captivity to sin, and to live life more abundantly!
To be a true champion you must first understand and then skillfully apply the concept of service to others. And the source of that sincere desire to serve others is found in love - the desire to love one's neighbor, one's fellowman! That is the key to real influence. That is the mark of a true leader, the mark of a real champion!
What examples of a "Servant Leader" can you give?
5 Tools That Help Measure Your Social Media Influence - Social Media Examiner
A Closer Look at Servant-Leadership - Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary
Beyond Klout: Better Ways to Measure Social Media Influence - ReadWrite
Rediscovering Servant Leadership - Enrichment Journal
Social Influence - Wikipedia
Sport Celebrity Endorsements - Celebrity Endorsement Ads
Ten Characteristics of a Servant-Leader - Expert Project Management
Until next time,
As 2012 rapidly draws to a close, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago during this special season of giving. And we are reminded that Jesus is truly the real reason for the season - the greatest gift of all!
During this season of giving we are blessed with the opportunity to extend compassion, kindness, and prayers to those who stand in need, particularly those affected by Hurricane Sandy, and the Newtown, CT school shooting. We pray for acts of kindness and generosity. And we pray that acts of violence will end across the world. Let love, goodwill, and peace abound!
At especially difficult times, we can draw consolation and comfort from the words and example of Christ. He walks along with us to comfort and console us through every step of all our griefs and sorrows. He will never leave nor forsake us.
During this special season, we are inspired by the priceless gift of Christ's simple but powerful message - love God, and love thy neighbor as thyself! At the very center of His timeless message is LOVE. This Christmas and beyond, let His LOVE fill our hearts that we might share it as a gift with others.
Christmas is a time to gather together with family, friends, and loved ones - to spend quality time with those we love most. This is a wonderful opportunity to let them know just how much they mean to us, and how much we appreciate and love each and every one of them.
"Joy to the world!" This Christmas let us embrace the joys and peace of homecoming, giving, and serving. To God be the Glory for the great things He has done!
Finally, I pray you and your family will have a Happy, Prosperous, and Blessed New Year! May the presence of God continue to be with you, and may He smile upon you in 2013. May the LORD be Gracious unto you and grant you His Wonderful Peace. God's Richest Blessings to You!
What the Bible Says About Love - 90 Verses
Until next time,
December 25, 2012
'Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the LORD, not for men" Colossians 3:23
It's been famously stated that the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. There's certainly a lot to be said for talent. However, the question is whether or not talent alone has been overrated?
Hard work is one of the key characteristics that separates champions from other individuals in their respective fields. Indeed, champions have peerless work ethics. That simply means they work harder than everybody else! Just reading the daily practice routines of the likes of Roger Federer and Allyson Felix is enough to tire you out. And the benefits of hard work don't only apply to athletic or team performances. They apply to virtually every field of endeavor. To quote Colin Powell, "There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."
No player worked harder than legendary basketball great Michael Jordan. MJ was a gifted athlete who had the rare capacity to aspire to constantly upgrade his already remarkable talents and skills. When he first entered the NBA, MJ felt that his jump shot was not up to the high standards of the best players in the league. So, he spent his off seasons doing hundreds of jump shots each day until he mastered it.
MJ devoted tremendous amounts of time, energy, and effort to improving portions of his game that he felt were lacking, so he could more readily play through fatigue, pain, or illness. Former coach Phil Jackson said, "Michael was always trying to turn his weaknesses into strengths." MJ lifted weights to be able to handle bigger opponents in the low post. When he found out that teammate Scottie Pippin could dunk with his left hand, MJ learned to do it, too! And even though he was best known for his incredible offensive prowess, MJ became a perennial member of the NBA All Defensive First Team.
However, Michael Jordan realized, as did many other champions, that you have to not only work harder than everybody else, but also work smarter. So, how do you work smarter? One of the keys is to incorporate S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) goals into your training routine. Another key is what is known as deliberate practice.
Practice is the act of rehearsing a behavior or activity over and over for the purpose of improving or mastering it. Champions practice and train longer and harder than they perform or play in the actual game. So, the game performance often becomes easier than the many long, grueling hours of practice!
Deliberate practice is a type of practice which, when successfully applied, leads to very high levels of performance. However, for deliberate practice to deliver the best results, the following factors must be present: 1) the activity must be frequently repeated; 2) feedback/coaching for improvement must be continuously provided; 3) the activity must be demanding; 4) the activity must be repeated at more challenging levels with the intention of mastering it.
The vital personal skills that champions learn from deliberate practice include: 1) planning (organizing work in a structured way); 2) concentration/ dedication (achieving a higher attention span); 3) repetition/ revision (developing a strong tendency to practice); and 4) study style/ self-reflection (acquiring the tendency to self-regulate learning.)
In addition, deliberate practice yields the following invaluable benefits: 1) the ability to anticipate better (because you have more experience); 2) the ability to see indicators that others may miss; and 3) greater confidence and creativity!
Champions also know that skill fades with non-use. If you don't use it, you lose it! So, they continue to train and deliberately practice on a regular basis to stay in shape, and keep their skills and abilities honed.
Training and deliberate practice can be a relentless, grueling grind, requiring long hours, strict discipline and frequent sacrifice. Chances are you are not always going to feel like doing it. However, as Proverbs 14:23 says, "All hard work brings profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty." And so we profit from any activity in proportion to the effort we put into it.
Remember, it is through grace (unmerited favor) that God has blessed each of us with our individual talents and gifts, including the remarkable gifts that many champions possess! For these gifts we should, certainly, be very grateful! What we do with our God-given gifts is our privilege. And it is, also, our responsibility. So, always strive to use your gifts wisely! And, definitely, don't forget to always give God the praise!
Finally, we can be encouraged that the hard work that we pour into achieving our goals is not only for our own personal fulfillment and satisfaction, but rather, also, for a larger goal - to the glory of God! "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven." Matthew 5:16
So, how do you practice and train to achieve your best possible performance in your field of endeavor? What do you view as your ultimate goal?
For more on hardwork and champions check out the following links:
A Gold Medal-Worthy Workout - Train Like Olympian Allyson Felix - Self
Usain Bolt Workout Routine and Diet Plan - Squidoo
A Comprehensive Roger Federer Training Routine - Optimum Tennis
LeBron James' Workout Routine - HubPages
Practice Makes Perfect - And Not Just for Jocks and Musicians - Wall Street Journal
Practice (Learning Method) - Wikipedia
Deliberate Practice and the Acquisition of Expert Performance - Ericcson, K.A., R.T. Krampe, et al, Rensselaer
The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acqusition of Expert Performance - Ericcson, K.A., R.T. Krampe, et al, Psychological Review (1993), American Psychological Association
Manny Pacquiao's Training Program - StrengthSpeedAgility
19 Bible Verses About Hard Work - OpenBible.info
Fellowship of Christian Athletes - FCA
Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, Geoff Colvin
The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How, Daniel Coyle
Until next time,
Be All You Can Be!
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
"In the Zone!" That's how champions are described when they are focused like a laser during competition or a performance. Indeed, focus is one of the key characteristics that champions share in common.
In this, our fifth post in the Championship Series, we examine the critical role that focus plays in the making of a champion.
Focus can best be defined as concentration. It involves directing attention to a specific point or task. Champions have the uncanny ability to tune out distracting "background noise" and focus exclusively on the task at hand. And that focus is sharpened even more when the task at hand is aligned with his/her overall vison/ purpose/ goals.
The champion's intense focus is so important because of the huge payoff it delivers. Focus leads to enhanced performance and better results, precisely when the stakes are the highest. Indeed, champions don't allow themselves to get sidetracked or distracted, particularly during critical times. They stay laser-focused and keep their eyes on the prize! (Case in point - Michael Jordan's performance peaked, especially, during NBA Playoff and Championship games!)
Champions possess the ability to "zone in" on what is most important at a particular point in time, while filtering out environmental factors that might cause distractions. And if they are temporarily distracted, they have the unique ability to refocus quickly.
This raises the following interesting question: "Can focus be managed or improved? And if so, how?"
Concentrating, paying attention for an extended period of time, can be managed by the average individual. Sports psychologists have long used a number of techniques and protocols that, among other things, help atheletes and others, to improve their focus. These techniques include goal setting, imagery, performance routines, and self-talk.
However, the following are a few basic tips for getting started on managing or improving focus:
1. Select your number one priority task and perform that first.
2. Once you select your task, stick with it until it's completed, even if you have to take periodic breaks in the process.
3. Eliminate as many distractions from your environment as possible (e.g., close unnecessary computer screens or programs if you are working online).
4. Reward yourself after completing a difficult task (e.g., your favorite tea, latte, or chocolate).
5. Practice interval training (e.g., the Pomodora technique) to increase the duration of your concentration.
Remember, researchers say it takes about 21 days to change any habit. So, give yourself time to see results.
People of faith understand the concept and importance of focus better than many. In the Biblical story where Peter was bidden by the LORD to join him on the water, Peter only began to falter and sink when he became distracted and took his focus off Jesus. Moral of this story - Keep your eyes focused on Christ in all your endeavors!
For more on the key trait of focus check out the following links:
How to Stay Focused to Complete Tasks - About.com
How to Get Organized and Concentrate on Your Work - WikiHow
Sport Psychology - Wikipedia
Duration of Pre-Performance Routines of Divers and Performance Outcomes - The Sport Journal
Competitive Greatness Defined
The Pomodoro Technique
51 Bible Verses About Staying Focused - OpenBible.info
How are you staying focused to achieve your goals?
Until next time,
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize!
Fall has arrived – my favorite time of year! The brilliant reds and golds of autumn boldy announce the unmistakable changing of the seasons!
There are seasons of change in our lives, as well. Indeed, there is “a time and a season for every purpose under heaven.” And now is a great time to embark on a new season of personal change, growth, and development – a time to begin the process of becoming your best self - all that you can be!
For the past several months we have been doing a “championship series” examining just what it means, and what it takes, to become a champion from a faith perspective. I believe everyone has a champion lying dormant inside him or herself. Jesus said, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:5. When you connect with Jesus, and begin to tap into that deep reservoir of untapped potential inside of yourself, you begin to experience life more abundantly and become all that God created you to be!
The foundation of becoming a true champion is found in character - a character anchored in faith. And btw, the term champion, as we are using it here, is interchangeable with the word leader, for a champion is, first and foremost, a leader!
Character has been defined as moral or ethical strength. It is a combination of qualities that distinguishes a person. There are seven fundamental keys to good character: 1) Honesty, 2) Integrity, 3) Faith, 4) Humility, 5) Caring, 6) Respect, and 7) Responsibility.
Are you honest? Can you be trusted? That is the fundamental question. If you can answer in the affirmative, then you are very likely championship material!
Why is character so important, especially for a champion? Good character supersedes power, wealth, and fame. It sets the standard for others to follow. True champions posses a soundness of moral character and honesty. Champions are the role models’ role models. They take the matter of character very seriously. One’s character becomes one’s reputation. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1.
People of good character can be trusted because they keep their word, regardless of the cost. People only follow those they trust. A person of good character holds steadfastly to his or her moral values and convictions. You can count on a person of good character to do what’s right, even when it’s tough to do so!
Without good character you can easily succumb to excuses, compromises, and self-indulgent motives. It seems that not a day goes by that we don't hear of great achievers in their chosen fields fall because of a failure of moral character. Ironically, adversity actually develops character. You see, adversity and crises are crossroads that force an individual to choose one of two paths: character or compromise. Every time you choose character you become stronger!
Finally, there is a blessing in having good character. ”The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and He delighteth in his way.” Psalm 37:23. Believers are given an additional boost of confidence, for the Bible says, the LORD will never leave nor forsake you. People of good character always have an added advantage over their competitors, regardless of the field of endeavor, be it sports, finance, or technology – they have the favor of God!
What steps are you taking to further build and develop your good character? Remember, you are a champion!
For more on the crucial importance of character check out the following links:
Building Character - Character Council
What does the Bible say about Christian Character?
What is Christian Character?
The Maxwell Leadership Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers
Quiet Strength - The Principles, Practices, & Priorities of a Winning Life, Tony Dungy
Be All You Can Be - A Challenge To Stretch Your God-Given Potential, John C. Maxwell
Produced by Faith, Devon Franklin
Until next time,
Be All You Can Be!
Recently, we've been doing a series on what it takes to make a champion. Hard work. Focus. Passion. And the Biblical principles that can help make you a champion, too!
However, champions also need rest and relaxation! Constant hard work can drain and wear you down. Stress can lead to health problems like exhaustion, high blood pressure, and increased risk of heart attack. Studies have shown that with proper rest, not only are you rejuvenated, but your performance improves, as well!
Taking a vacation allows you time to kick back, reflect, and think strategically, rather than tactically - something champions do very well! And what better place to relax, refresh, and recharge than the lovely Caribbean isle of Jamaica!
Oh, by the way, it's my birthday, too! That may have just a little to do with the subject of this blog post. So grab your flipflops, swimsuit, and sun shades as we travel to the sun splashed tropical island, champions! Be sure to follow Jamaica's twitter and Jamaica's Facebook pages so you'll know exactly what's trending on the island right now! (Try not to respond to any work related emails, though. Remember, this is a vacay!)
By way of introduction, Jamaica is an island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. It's a very popular tourist destination with all the amenities seasoned travellers expect and demand. Who knows? You just might run into Usain Bolt, Olympic gold medalist, "The World's Fastest Man", and native Jamaican!
Click on the following links to start your virtual visit to lovely Jamaica! Hope you enjoy your trip, Mon!
Jamaica Vacations - Trip Advisors
Jamaica Travel Guide - Fodors's Travel
Jamaican Cuisine - Wikipedia
For more on Jamaica check out the following links:
Jamaica Internet Radio Stations
Jamaica Television Online
Jamaica Observer News Online
The Gleaner News Online
Jamaica Council of Churches
Hope you enjoyed the visit to Jamaica! Check back here for trips to other amazing destinations.
Until next time,
Hi! I'm Kenneth Lillard, author, ordained minister, and motivational speaker. This blog is an expression of some of my thoughts and opinions. I'm glad you stopped by. Hope you'll share some of your comments while you're here. Be Blessed!