Gold Medal form
So, I was studying the medals table at the ongoing London 2012 Olympic Games, and some surprising names turned up in the Top 20 – in equally unusual positions.

Kazakhstan, ahead of Australia?

Italy and Hungary, ahead of Australia?
(Sorry, Aus; nothing personal)

Team Great Britain, in third place?

What is going on, here?

New Olympic world powers are finding new ways to win.

Which set me to thinking:

What exactly does it take, to be or become a winner?

Inspiration, then Perspiration
It can begin with a feeling. The belief that you can achieve something extraordinary – far in excess of what you have done, at present.

Or a commitment, to continually improve.

That’s where the hard work begins.

Because, for Olympic athletes – and, by extension, for would-be winners, in general – it’s all about pushing your limits. And having the courage to reach your potential – by doing disciplined work.

Without discipline, you’ll never achieve your goals. And your dreams will remain just that.

So, the winning athlete trains – hard – to an established routine, for a certain number of hours per day.

This training is monitored. He or she typically keeps a daily log, which can include details as arcane as the number of hours of sleep the previous night, their current heart rate, and their actual (or not) desire to train.

For the person (That’s you or me) who wants to become a champion in everyday life, this translates to something like:

1. Setting a goal
2. Outlining a program of activities to achieve it, and
3. Monitoring your progress toward the objective.

Eyes On The Prize. NOT The Competition
The race (or whatever) isn’t about you, versus them.

It’s about you, versus you.

Your ability to win the inner battles: fear of failure, negative associations from the past, or the urge to compare yourself to others in the game (or whatever), is key.

Remember: You can control or influence your own performance. Not (necessarily; there’s always cheating, I suppose) anyone else’s. So that’s what you need to focus on; you. And yourself, in relation to your goal.

It Ain’t Over, Till It’s Over
And there’s no such thing as an easy win; a sure thing. Or a pushover opponent.
Just ask the Aussies (Sorry).

For the true champion, every race is a big race – every game, a big game.

So, establish a mindset in line with this.

A sense of mental toughness will pull you through the rough patches – or give you the strength to persevere, when you’re down.

Winning Isn’t Everything
But, it helps.

Seriously, though. Achieving the aura and status of a winner is as much about the way you comport yourself while pursuing your goal, as it is about accomplishing the goal itself.

You can become a champion, simply in the way you go about becoming one.

Seriously cryptic. But, think about it.

Sports psychologist Jerry Lynch contends that: “The true champion is selfless. He/she naturally puts himself last. This individual manifests an “unconditional willingness to put the team or group before any of his/her individual or self needs.” In sum, the true champion serves others.”

So, it’s not just about fame, statistics, and money.

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Because you’re going to have to, if you expect to succeed.

Following your dream, indulging your passion, and taking responsibility for success isn’t “safe”.
There are risks involved: failure, ridicule, rejection, or whatever.

But the champion’s way is always to trust in him / herself – regardless of the potential negative outcomes, or the reactions of others.

Not safe.

But, it’s a higher level of achievement. The pinnacle, for the Olympians.

If you’re ready for that, then go for it. With my blessing.