I love the Olympics! This morning as I recovered from my little one hour run, complete with a sprained ankle, I watched the Australian women floor exercises. How is it possible for a mere child to leave the earth and do two laid out flips and land on their feet, balanced, coordinated, and beautiful? What marks a champion like this? Three characteristics caught my eye.
1. Focus – is a characteristic of all champions.
It was spooky to look into the eyes of a focused tiny 15 year old girl ready to begin a routine. These girls are doing superhuman feats that require perfect timing and coordination, other distracting events are going on all around them. They don’t see or hear any of it.
I watched an Australian gymnast begin her routine just as another competitor fell from the balance beam within her field of vision. The crowd gasped. She never flinched. Didn’t blink. She was focused on her routine and would not be distracted.
“SQUIRREL!!!!” Nope! Wouldn’t work with this girl, a focused Champion!
2. Determination – marks a champion.
Last night our entire family watched one of the American Gymnasts fall from the high bar attempting the most difficult element of his routine. He slammed into the mat and was visibly shaken.
Within thirty seconds he was back on the bar where he completed the maneuver to perfection. He didn’t give up. His score wouldn’t be perfect but he knew every point counted and he was determined to keep trying till he got it right!
“GIVE UP” Never! Not for this champion
3. Dedication – is foundational to a champion
Dedication is the key that opened the door of opportunity for each of these amazing athletes. When their friends were at parties they were practicing. When their peers were eating ice-cream sundaes they were following a strict diet.
In their beginning years it was their dedication to a goal that brought them the focus and determination that would make them Champions.
All of us are not equipped to be Olympic Champions. In my book “Fully Alive” I tell of my friend Roger Mateer who has faced daunting challenges in every area of his life. He spends much of his time in a wheel chair but lives with the Focus and Determination many of us long for. Roger IS a champion. Even if we don’t have an athletic bone in our bodies, we can be a champion IF……..
we FOCUS, and refuse to be distracted..
we press with DETERMINATION and refuse to give up..
we REDEDICATE ourselves to being everything we were created to be.
What is your goal? What steps do you need to take to be a champion where you are right now?
Life has no winners circle or gold medals but it has a finish line. It is so sweet to cross that line when you have run…. like a champion!
Our fall SCORRE conference for men and women who are determined to be champion speakers is filling quickly. Michael Hyatt, our amazing team of coaches and I would love to see you there. Register here today!
My 7 year old granddaughter climbed 1000 feet with me to Harvard Lakes in Colorado. Talk about determination.
What a wonderful post, Ken. It kind of reminded me of this great book I’m studying right now. Maybe you’ve heard of it, its called “Nehemiah” 🙂 I am doing a study by Kelly Minter (with Beth Moore’s on line Summer Siesta Study) called “Nehemiah: A Heart that can be Broken”…your point is VERY much the exact place I am now at in the study…Nehemiah is facing alsorts of distraction techniques from the enemy — fear, intimidation, mocking, lies, slander, threats,conciliatory “looking” offers, temptations to sin to look after himself — anything to get him “off track”and away from the call of God on in his life in this mission of his at the time. I too am facing some serious attempts of the enemy to get me “distracted” from the truth God has called me to live in and the application of it in a very challenging area. Do you suppose that the timing of your post has been an inspiration from God to encourage me, remind me and equip me????! Thank you Ken.
I think God has an amazing way using every circumstance in our life to move us toward His good purpose. I am grateful that he chose to use my writing to encourage you.
Amen to that brother! I think I am pretty good at the focus, determined, and dedicated part; but I dwell on the past failures, times Ive quit on others and most of all God, and wasted time, money, resources, gifts. etc etc. Dwelling on the past I think itkeeps me grom being a champion for Christ. I know I am too hard on my self and God has blessed me and used me; I just dwell on the what ifs and it holds me back from being all He created me to be and do for Him.
Marty, Imagine if these athletes focused on every fall, every failure. Paul said, Forgetting what is behind, I press toward the mark of Christ’s calling. Paul had murdered Christians, but now his focus was on living every day in the power of His resurrection. Keep moving forward Marty and thank you for your honest comment.
Thanks Ken! And you are right. Just feel like I am struggling to just do 2nd best of what God had originally planned. I know that’s not the right additude just lost my joy the last couple years. People say I encourage others so much but beat myself up. I know I need to lean on God more and seek Him and absorb His word. Also your book is just in time! I just read the first chapter and will continue tonight. Thanks again Ken!
I am in your corner, Marty.
Oh sure. I have the mark of a champion. Actually, today I counted 28 marks in the form of skin slashes from my cat deciding to disembowel my left ankle. But I stayed “Focused.” I focused on screaming in pain. Then I was “Determined.” Determined to make the cat pay me back in the form of an apology. He declined and disemboweled my right arm. Then I was “Dedicated.” Dedicated to finding a doctor who would prescribe antibiotics and pain relievers over the internet without me even seeing him. Now I truly feel “Fully Alive.” (But so does the cat. Uh oh …)
I’m at a loss for words. I’m reading words like inspiration and champion. I don’t knkow how to be a champion or an inspiration, all I know is that I try to do the best with what God gave me and I try to show people that what I have been given to work with is indeed a GIFT from God.
I do have to tell you a piece of advice my grampa gave me. He said, ” When you grow up be an example to everybody.” he would alway follow that up with, “Remember, bad is still an example.”
I’m not a champion as in athletics but I am a champion when it comes to being a wife and mother. I try to give all areas of my life 100 percent, thinking positive helps the most but it is hard when you are surrounded by negative people,. They zap your energy. So I exercise. I pray ACTS as I run, walk, bike , Adoration-praise God, Confess my sins, Thank God and Supplication-pray for other I just ran 2 miles, took just over 30 minute, I had to stop a couple times but it felt good today. I was able to lengthen my strides. At age 55 I’m not going to grow old gracefully, I’m going out “Fully Alive” No regrets. Now to find the time to start writing that book. Thanks Ken
Start today. Write! Forget about perfection, just write every day. You will have plenty of time to make corrections later. Just write something every day. Two books I recommend.
Ann Lamott’s book Bird by Bird and an old classic called “On writing well” I encourage you to write the first words TODAY and then keep on writing. Send me a copy of your book when it is done. Because if you start writing today… It will get done. (-;
Great post, Ken. the difference between champions and wannabes is persistence. We will fall down. The question is, “Will you get up and try again?”
Thanks for your comment Terry
Thanks again Ken! As I probably mentioned before I am a truck driver. And so I am reading your book Fully Alive on my cell phone when I have down time unloading my truck. Technology wow! Its a blessing when used to glorify God. I am reading it slowly and very much enjoying it. I am meditating on Phil. 3:10 “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection” And like you say I want to know that power too! I pray I can become fully alive and glorify God more with my life. I sure wish we could have coffee together someday. I am thankful for your humor and wisdom and most of all your message from God’s word. Thanks Ken!
Got to tell you, Ken, that a one-hour run doesn’t qualify as “little” for most people. That is inspiring to me as someone who is getting back into running after a LONG time off.