Recognizing A Champion
by Shirlee Whitcomb

You are in the presence of a true competitor when you observe that he or she is indeed getting the most joy out of the most difficult circumstances. The real competitors love a tough situation. Thatís when they focus better and function better. At moments of maximum pressure, they want the opportunity to meet the challenge. You begin to see it as time goes by. Not immediately, but gradually you see that real competitors relish the challenge, the bigger the better. The more difficult the competition, the more they improve.

True competitors derive their greatest pleasure out of playing against the very best opponents, even though they may be outscored. The difficult challenge provides the rare opportunity to be their best. Often great competitors donít quite have the physical skills of more gifted players, but they get more out of what they have at moments of great pressure. Thus base your judgment not on just what they had, but how they used it. To what extent did they attempt to bring forth their abilities? To what extent did they accomplish that under maximum pressure?

This is how to identify competitors who have greatness within.

Making the total effort is everything and thatís all you can ever want and all you can ever ask from your performers or yourself.

THE FINAL SCORE

The Ďfinal scoreí is not the final score. The final score is how prepared you were to execute near your own particular level of competence, both individually and as a team. There is nothing wrong with that other group being better than you are, as long as you did everything you possibly could to prepare yourself for the competition. That is all you have control over. That is all you should concern yourself with. It may be that the other groupís level of competency is simply higher than yours at the moment. That too can change.

CRITICISM AND PRAISE

Take criticism with a grain of salt. Tell your performers, ďyouíre going to receive criticism. Some of it will be deserved and some of it will be undeserved. Either way, youíre not going to like it. Youíre also going to receive praise on occasion. Some of it will be deserved and some of it will be undeserved. Either way, deserved or undeserved, youíre going to like it. However, your strength as an individual and as a group depends on how you respond to both criticism and praise. If you let either one have any special effect on you, itís going to hurt us. Whether its criticism or praise, deserved or undeserved, it makes no difference. If we let it affect us, it hurts us.Ē If you get caught up in things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect those things over which you have control. You have little control over what criticism or praise outsiders send your way. Take it all with a grain of salt. Let other competitors get all caught up in other peopleís opinions. But donít you do it.

Success is peace of mind that is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.
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