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  • Writer's pictureEmmanuel Adu-Awuku

The Power of a Champion's Mindset

Updated: Mar 30



What does it take to build a champion’s mindset?


A champion's mindset can be formed by many different inspirations, motivations, personalities, and character, but mostly a burning desire to turn purpose into action of some form - be it athletics, art, consulting, science, and all the possible skills that exist.


But not just action in a simple, mediocre form - it’s action at its peak, at its greatest. It’s pushing the boundaries of your purpose.


But that’s not the complete picture on how to form a champion’s mindset. Every individual presents with so many variations of context, background, and interests that it's not simple to distil the essence and conditions that support the forming of a championship mindset. There are common themes that emerge when comparing all the variations of context, background, and other differences of individuals. For example, nature vs nurture - an age old debate. Your ability, your personality, your preferences will be influenced by your natural state as well as your upbringing, location of your upbringing, and whoever raised you. Nature vs nurture - which one should be more responsible for greatness?


Before I answer, there's a third common component we rarely reference - YOU as an individual, in the nature/nurture dynamic. Now, let's distil all the individual characteristics of champions past and current - what foundational character traits do they possess that gives them an elite mindset, a champion’s mindset? Is it possible to pinpoint foundational characteristics that can be learnt and practised, to also take us to the next level of peak performance - not only in a sporting environment, but more importantly in our day-to-day lives.


 

The answer is YES.


Including myself in this elite group (include yourself in this group - you’re here because there is already greatness in you), the five skills I narrowed down on were selected from understanding the development of highly competent athletes (professional and otherwise), extensive research, as well as my personal experiences of learning and practising skills and mindsets top athletes use to stay in peak performance.


The five skills can be bucketed into two groups - forming and setting. Forming skills focus on the basics and practise of how to form a championship mindset, while Setting skills take it one step further to get you competent in practising and using a championship mindset in your everyday life. At the end of it all, the practice and use of a champion mindset is the goal, and can only be built on the foundations of forming skills.


Grouping the five foundational skills:

  • Forming skills - Courage, Curiosity, and Dedication.

  • Setting skills - Consistency and Adaptability & Resilience.

 

Ok let's get into the details to understand how these five skills can impact honing your champion mindset. Let’s start with forming skills.


1. Courage (talent)


The initial spark, the initial feeling to be different, to move differently, to try different things.


Courage can flow from an internal or external source of motivation. The accumulation of courage translates into a form of intent, ready to take the leap into action.


Courage in abundance is such a beautiful thing, it's seeking new possibilities, it's searching and finding intent, it is TALENT itself. And with talent, mastery comes more easily and opens up new curiosities to explore.


Courage manifests internally, and honing it at the right time, with the right intensity can manifest outward as confidence though talent.


How to practice (not an exhaustive list):


  • Change requires courage. Change one detail of your daily routine for a week, recording how you feel about the change. This could be a new way to work, trying new foods, or hanging out in a new circle.

  • Go onto your preferred social media. Share one detail people don’t immediately know about you onto your feed. Do this repeatedly once, every other day. Take note of how you feel and whether different details invoke different thoughts and reactions.

  • As a variation to bullet number two, share one detail to two of your closest friends, or simply write it down in your diary or notebook and reflect on how that detail became a part of you.

  • Overcoming your fears is one way to build courage. With the help of Tim Ferriss’ “Why you should define your fears instead of your goals” TED Talk, define your fears and create a plan to overcome them.

 

2. Curiosity (confidence)


Curiosity is all about exploring the new (or the familiar), and using your talent to build confidence in exploring new possibilities.


In these new explorations, you start to learn new skills, you gain new thoughts, and you learn new ways of being. As you get comfortable in your new habits, your confidence takes shape and starts to become present.


A cycle is initiated - new explorations create confidence, and confidence pushes the boundaries of new explorations, leading to more confidence. Talent reinforces the exploration/confidence cycle and where possible, shortens the cycle time needed to gain a competent level of confidence.


Once the right blend of talent and confidence is achieved, dedication (and effort) makes the transformation tangible.


How to practice (not an exhaustive list):


  • Watch a minimum of ten minutes of YouTube (or any other media form) on a course that’s on the other spectrum of your university major, for example commerce and engineering. Were you focused throughout the video? How did you confront the knowledge gap?

  • Spend a minimum of two hours away from your phone on a weekend. How did you fill your time? Where did you get ideas from? If you’re short on ideas, ask someone you wouldn’t usually ask about hobbies. See what suggestions they come up with.

  • Pick two or three of your role models. Watch a minimum of two hours of YouTube (or any other media form) on what makes them tick. Compare their personalities, noting similarities and differences. Choose three similarities to imitate in the next week. Repeat this habit for a month, then move on to new role models.

  • As a bonus, explore the differences between your role models and decide which traits will be beneficial for you to practice and learn.

 

3. Dedication (effort)


Also known as the grind, the hustle, the come up. Dedication is all about your self-belief and your ability to make a difference in your craft. Whether it's in dance, sports, work, or content creation, being dedicated to your craft is your PURPOSE...and your PURPOSE powers you through the journey to achieving and practising a champion’s mindset.


Dedication naturally flows from purpose. If you identify a purpose that is true, you move steadily and you move without doubt, knowing the end goal is in fulfilment of your purpose. Dedication is the third element that specifically focuses on forming a championship mindset.


When applied correctly, dedication improves the quality of your craft. If the wrong type of dedication and intensity is applied, the resulting output might make staying on the journey difficult.


Dedication is important for the initial forming of a championship mindset. From there, consistency keeps everything going on, bringing longevity into focus.


How to practice (not an exhaustive list):


  • Through practising courage and curiosity, you will gain a perspective of what your purpose is. Interrogate this feeling to have confidence that you know what your purpose is.

  • Revisit How to practice courage and curiosity if you feel you have no direction on your purpose. Don’t be discouraged, stay patient, remember the outcome you’re seeking, and trust the process.

  • Put thought to paper. Draw out a plan to feed your purpose and strengthen your dedication. What goals do you want to achieve? Write them down, making sure they’re SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound)

  • Execute your plan gradually, increasing the difficulty as you become competent. Don’t try to skip or hack the process. There is a risk that you’ll end up back in square one if you progress your journey quicker than your talent can handle.

 

4. Consistency


The first of the setting skills. Consistency is stringing the progress together without breaking the pattern. Consistency is dedication built up over time. Consistency is where dedication meets longevity and energy. There is motion, there is a flow. And with continuous flow and motion, consistency starts to form - taking you from striving for top performance to peak performance, and eventually a rare level of performance, attained through mastery and balance of longevity and energy.


But don't be fooled, consistency demands a heavy price, paid countless times in full before any withdrawals can be made. At this stage of the game where the days tick by, the consistency gets difficult to maintain, and you doubt why you started, remembering your purpose will help with recentering yourself, as you dig deep and push once more. Even if it's just one more rep, five more minutes, or one more kilometre, IT WILL ALL COUNT towards your consistency.


Consistency is the easy part. Staying adaptable and resilient takes it to a whole other level. It's the difference between experiencing a blip and coming back mentally stronger, or turning your back on the talent, confidence, and dedication you’ve invested in your purpose.


How to practice (not an exhaustive list):


  • Use tools and techniques to help you remain consistent and accountable to your execution plan by:

    • Setting daily reminders to prime your mind to stick to the plan.

    • Adjust your environment to help you stay on your path to your purpose. This can be placing your gym shoes and clothes by your bedside so that it’s the first thing you see; this could also be removing certain foods from your sight to avoid breaking your diet.

  • Lean on your power circle (support structure) to keep you motivated. Your power circle can help you remain accountable to your goals by enquiring on your progress, supporting your journey through participation, or purely motivating you.

  • Don’t be afraid of a break in consistency. It can happen due to so many reasons so focus on what can help you get back to being consistent. Do this by practising the setting skills discussed above. This way, your mind remains strong and your effort knows what is required to get back to being consistent.

  • As a stretch activity, revisit all the practice tasks of Courage, Confidence, and Dedication (as well as the practice tasks of Consistency and Adaptability & Resilience). Increase the difficulty of the practice tasks as you build consistency in your craft. For example, instead of spending just two hours away from your phone, spend four hours away from your phone - and eventually six or eight hours. Always think about goal progression when you pick a practice task.

 

5. Adaptability & Resilience


Adaptability & Resilience - a packaged deal. This is because the two components feed each other in tandem. When you’re adaptable, you’re more resilient to your environment; and when you’re resilient, you have more leverage to become adaptable. Likewise, the relationship still holds in the absence of adaptability or resilience; if there is no adaptability present, there is no way you can be resilient in any way.


Adaptability & Resilience are literally the glue to sustaining a champion mindset. Being adaptable and resilient is a nod to your environment - you're literally saying to your environment "throw whatever you can, I will finesse the obstacles and still move steadily in my purpose. It's a mindset of acceptance and patience.


Adaptability & Resilience considers your courage, are you gonna face this turbulence head on?! It brings your curiosity into question, what are you going to do when your confidence isn't enough or aren't pushing your boundaries hard enough? It can erode your will to dedicate the required effort to your craft, and can destroy the competence you’ve built through being consistent.


If practising forming skills doesn't survive past the daily doubts, distractions, and challenges that can creep up, you will never get to the setting phase. Being adaptable and resilient helps with the setting phase by maintaining dedication and effort during turbulent times. Additionally, being adaptable and resilient isn't just for bad times. Sometimes, keeping and letting the good times roll is important and keeps the cycle of consistency going.


Without dedication, there can be no action or effort. And without adaptability and resilience, changes, challenges, and turbulent times won't be met and overcome with confidence and unwavering doubt. In the end, it's all a state of being, and being a champion is about mindset. Honing your mindset can't be neglected, and must be an intentional act on a day-to-day basis.


How to practice (not an exhaustive list):


  • Create a routine that incorporates recovery routines, when turbulent times come. This strengthens consistency.

  • Focus on any form of exercise, including meditation to strengthen your mind body soul connection, to keep your health in good shape, and to keep yourself present.

  • Keep your power circle strong. Invest in your power circle as much as they invest in you when they support you and keep you motivated.

  • Keep an open mind as much as possible. This will keep your mind present and excited, reducing the passive moments you experience.

  • Always check in with yourself. Like I mentioned earlier, it isn’t just nature vs nurture. It’s YOU as well. Check in with how you’re feeling, always remembering to have empathy for yourself. This also improves your awareness and creates a feedback loop to your craft and purpose.

  • Avoid your triggers and pitfalls that will reduce your effectiveness in achieving your purpose. Shift your perspective to focus on positive energy - this will eventually add to your adaptability and resilience.


Explore more elements of being adaptable and resilient here on Championship Mode Collective's YouTube channel and Instagram page. Additionally, check out the Instagram reel of the power of a champion's mindset.


 

What’s next now that we know the five skills to form a championship mindset?


Although I present a finite list here. This is just a fraction of the picture. Every variation of an individual's context sets different challenges, different advantages that an individual possesses, different development areas to round off. As each journey differs, strengths and characters will develop accordingly. In the end, in the pursuit of a championship mindset, the journey is what matters most.


We're all in reach of our own brand of being a champion. What stops us is the fear, hesitations, and doubts we've accumulated throughout our lives. Well I say there's no better time than today to be great, there's no better time than today to live your purpose, there's no better time than today to write your champion story.


It starts with building and practising a champion’s mindset that you can apply in your daily life.


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