Champions never hurry. They know they do not become champions at the end of a race or game. They become champions by the choices they make every day. They create their future.
Julio Franco, former National League batting champion, once told me “It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.” The difference between a champion and second place is three things: attitude, preparation and execution.
The Champion attitude is built by remembering that what you speak you will eventually believe. Champions speak the language of winning. They are not deterred by setbacks. They say “I will” not “I hope”. As Yoda aptly put it “Do or do not. There is no try.” They do not try to be better than someone else. They try to better themselves. Every day presents opportunities; choices. Every day the champion makes wise choices to build an impenetrable attitude.
Champions prepare themselves off the court. They are consumed by the passion for what they do. They know everything about their sport. They practice the skills required, strive to minimize their weakness and exploit their strengths. They spend hours practicing and rehearsing to create automatic and nearly reflexive responses. They seek out the best and learn from them. Preparation develops skill. As skill improves, confidence rises.
While many have the attitude and the preparation, few can execute when it matters. John Wooden, former head basketball coach at UCLA and the winner of an unmatched 10 NCAA titles with 7 in row, rarely left the bench during the game. He never shouted at referees or berated his players. His opinion was at game time, the only thing that mattered was execution. Yelling and screaming will not improve execution. What improves execution is focus. Focus on the basics; on what you know you know. Do not deviate. Have faith in yourself. Be patient. Most men and women fail from fractured focus. They have the skill but under pressure they gravitate away from the very things that brought them to the pinnacle. They try to do or be something they cannot. They fail.
Champions are all around you. Would you like to be a builder of champions? Who needs you today?
Change the World.