When you think of Lebron James, one of the greatest athletes of all time, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
What about the global icon, Oprah Winfrey?
What about one of the worlds most influential people, Barrack Obama?
Or, one of the most celebrated individuals to have ever lived, Muhammad Ali?
All four of these legends are considered leaders, changemakers, visionaries, and linchpins. When I think of them, the first word that comes to my mind is “champion”.
And over the past few weeks I’ve been spending a lot of time contemplating what goes into the character of a champion. What do they have that I’m missing? What do they believe that most people don’t believe? How do they think about their goals, their lives, and the world that we tend to look past?
Naturally I started to create a vision of how I could get around these types of people. Thinking if only I was close to them, they would rub off on me and I could choose the qualities I felt I was missing and apply them into my own life. But, I ran into a friend last week that completely shifted my thinking.
Happie, one of our most valued members at Toastmasters, asked me to meet up late at night before he left for his trip across Canada. He needed to leave the supplies bag for our group and I was happy to pick it up for the next meeting. We met, and he started bombarding me with questions! I had just spend the last two weeks at an entrepreneurial training camp (VFC), designed to prepare some of the top graduates across Canada to work in innovative, high growth startups. When I told him that out of over 2000 applicants and an acceptance of only sixty, he wanted to know what we did, who I met, and what I learned.
At this point, I didn’t have that much of an opportunity to reflect on the experience. Thinking fast I told him it was incredible. I learned about sales and marketing, conflict management and negotiation, and how to be an asset to my startup employer. I also recognized that there were about fifty graduates there. Each of them were enthusiastic, and intelligent and hard working and an inspiration to me. It finally hit me, they were all there for a reason, they were there because they’re all champions.
Clearly, we’re not yet at the status of Lebron James, Oprah Winfrey, Barrack Obama, or Muhammad Ali. But, I know deep down in my gut that this group has the potential to change the world. I’m only now realizing what a privilege it was for me to be with that group. VFC training camp has been unquestionably the most impactful experience I’ve had over the last twelve months. All of which I credit to the quality of character, of the staff and fellows I was learning and growing from. This group is an example for youth, for young adults, and for Canada, of what it takes to one day become world class.
It turns out, I’ve been missing what was in front of my eyes the whole time. We don’t need to seek out Lebron James to have a chance to achieve at that level. All we need to do is get good at identifying what qualities of character make the leaders around us so powerful. In one of my first posts I described a philosophy I embody daily called “be like Frankenstein”. Being like Frankenstein means stealing qualities you admire in others and blending them into your own life. Mimic those characteristics, mimic the profile of a champion, and in due time through years of repetition we’ll become who we want to become and make our small dent on this universe.
Over the next half a dozen posts I’ll be sharing what I’ve identified as the profile of a champion. Before that, I want to challenge you to make your own list. In your opinion, based on what you’ve observed from the leaders and champions in your life, what are the five to ten characteristics that go into your unique profile of a champion? Leave a comment below and we’ll see how ours match up!
Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change your direction.”