In golf, there are major champions, and there are the very, very special major champions.
To me, Phil Mickelson has always been one of the later, and my favorite golfer since Jack Nicklaus, because of what he has done on and off the course. His stunning and historic victory in the PGA Championship this past weekend – at age fifty – gave him six major titles and moved him into a different category of champions. What he does off the course – making his family a priority and giving back to others – makes him a special major champion.
When you hear the word champion who do you think of? What characteristics made them champions?
There is more to every champion than just skill and strength. There is something inside each champion that drives his or her skill and strength to make him a success.
Attitude is the key to the development as a champion. Champions share many characteristics, none of which are determined by their talents.
A champion has the courage to risk failure, knowing that setbacks are lessons to learn.
A champion uses an event to gain greater self-knowledge as well as feedback for improvement.
A champion trains thought processes as well as the body to produce a total approach to performance.
A champion understands weaknesses and trains to strengthen them.
A champion actively creates a life of balance, moderation and simplicity – values that help improve the quality of life.
A champion views competitors as partners who provide challenge and the chance to learn and improve.
A champion understands performances are like a roller coaster, with many ups and downs, and that you have to accept both the good and the bad.
A champion has vision. A champion dreams of things that haven’t been and believes they are possible. A champion says “I can.”
To be a true champion you have to have desire, dedication and determination. You have to want it. What do you want people to say about you? How strong is your desire to be a champion?
Dedication begins with a goal; without goals, you are not dedicated to anything. The average person does not achieve greatness because he or she is dedicated to goals that are too low, or no goals at all.
Abraham Lincoln embraced the goal of becoming the President of the United States – but he had 23 personal and political failures before doing so, being defeated in election after election, until he succeeded.
Thomas Edison’s goal was to invent the incandescent light; if he had quit after his 200th failure, he would not have succeeded.
A goal is useless without a strategy to accomplish the goal.
The biggest mistake you can make is thinking: “Decisions I make today won’t affect my tomorrow.”
Determination is measured by how well we respond to set backs, disappointments and failures.
Tommy Lasorda, who led the Los Angeles Dodgers to eight division titles and two world championships said: “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.”
Mickey Mantle, one of the great major league players of all time said: “During my 18 years I came to bat almost 10,000 times. I struck out about 1,700 times and walked maybe 1,800 times. You figure a ballplayer will average about 500 at bats a season. That means I played seven years of my career without even hitting the ball.” One characteristic that makes or breaks a potential champion is not strength or skill, but staying power – the ability to stick it out when things get tough. That’s determination.
How many of the statements above can you truly say describe you and your life? The quest to becoming a champion is, just like life – a journey. We just have to keep finding the courage to keep the momentum moving foreard.
The ten qualities of a champion . . .
1. A champion knows his talents and successes are God-given, not self-developed or endowed by others. It’s called FAITH.
2. A champion gives his all no matter what the score. It’s called EXCELLENCE.
3. A champion sees every challenge as an opportunity. It’s called OVERCOMING ADVERSITY.
4. A champion is one who makes all those around him better.It’s called LEADERSHIP.
5. A champion dedicates himself to prepare for success. It’s called DISCIPLINE.
6. A champion may fail, but he never quits. It’s called COMMITMENT.
7. A champion puts the success of others above individual achievement. It’s called TEAMWORK.
8. A champion lives by a higher standard and stands firm when others around him fall. It’s called CONVICTION.
9. A champion is one who lays down his own desires for the benefit of others. It’s called SACRIFICE.
10. A champion gets up one more time than he’s been knocked down. It’s called PERSEVERANCE.
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