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No greatness comes from the comfort zone: instilling a positive champion mindset

As an ex-professional athlete and now corporate professional and exercise coach, how do I apply my life experiences and knowledge effectively to help me in my most important job: being Dad.

Wanting the absolute best for your children is easy and normally comes naturally as a parent, but effectively transferring your knowledge and advising them as best you can, as you support them in being their best, can be tricky.

It is all too easy to focus on the ‘just enjoy what you do’ aspect and move on, avoiding/ignoring all the challenges and important learnings that come with challenging oneself and building a positive “champion mindset". Mediocrity, a state of being average or ordinary without outstanding qualities or achievements, while not inherently wrong, can instill a dangerous mindset where we avoid risk at all cost..

Why is this mindset dangerous? It can have several negative consequences:

  1. Stagnation and lack of growth: Embracing mediocrity can lead to a lack of motivation to improve or challenge oneself. When individuals settle for mediocrity, they can stop striving for excellence or personal growth, resulting in stagnation skills, knowledge, and abilities.

  2. Missed opportunities: Mediocrity can lead to individuals missing out on valuable opportunities for advancement and success. Whether it's in education, career, relationships, or personal pursuits, settling for mediocrity might prevent individuals from reaching their full potential and achieving their goals.

  3. Reduced self-esteem: Constantly accepting mediocrity may negatively impact self-esteem and self-worth. Feeling that one is not capable of achieving greatness or being exceptional can lead to a sense of inadequacy and low self-confidence.

  4. Lack of fulfillment: Striving for excellence and setting high standards can bring a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction when goals are achieved. In contrast, settling for mediocrity can leave individuals feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied with their accomplishments.

  5. Impact on creativity and innovation: Mediocrity often discourages risk-taking and thinking outside the box. It can stifle creativity and hinder the development of innovative ideas, which are crucial for progress and advancement in various fields.

  6. Negative influence on others: Embracing mediocrity can have a ripple effect on others around you. When individuals settle for average standards, it can discourage others from pushing their own boundaries and striving for excellence (toxic relationships).

  7. Professional setbacks: In the workplace, settling for mediocrity can hinder career growth and limit opportunities for advancement. Employers and organizations often seek individuals who show initiative, ambition, and a drive to excel.

  8. Impact on society: When a significant portion of the population accepts mediocrity, it can have broader societal implications. Progress, innovation, and positive change are often driven by individuals and groups that strive for excellence and refuse to settle for the status quo.

It's important to emphasize that mediocrity is not synonymous with contentment or a balanced life. Striving for excellence in every aspect of life can be exhausting and unrealistic. It's okay to have areas in life where one is content with being average, as long as it doesn't hinder personal growth or limit one's potential in other important aspects.

The bridge between mediocrity and greatness is risk. Risk is all around us and an important lesson in life is managing risk, it is something every parent starts to teach early; looking left and right before crossing the road, putting a helmet on before cycling, putting on a jumper to avoid getting cold..

We have to learn how to embrace risk, manage it and handle situations where risk outweighs the benefit and where risk has not been properly accessed and things have gone wrong.

Instilling a champion mindset in my kids is vital to me and involves cultivating a set of attitudes, beliefs, and habits that empower them to reach their full potential and excel in their endeavors. Whether they want to succeed in sports, academics, career, or any other aspect of their life. It will help them with:

  1. Setting clear and ambitious goals. Champions have a clear vision of what they want to achieve. They learn how to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. They know how to break them down into smaller milestones and create a roadmap to track progress.

  2. Instilling a growth mindset. They will learn that their abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort and dedication. Embracing a growth mindset allows them to see challenges as opportunities for learning and improvement, rather than as roadblocks.

  3. Developing resilience. Champions, like everyone, face setbacks and failures but bounce back stronger. Developing resilience by reframing failures as learning experiences, staying persistent, and maintaining a positive outlook is how we grow.

  4. Cultivating self-discipline. Practicing self-discipline to stay focused on goals, even when distractions arise, creates daily routines and habits that support progress and avoid procrastination. Motivation will help set you on your chosen path, discipline is what gets you there.

  5. Visualizing success. Using visualization techniques to see oneself achieving goals, imagining the steps needed to take and the effort required, can enhance discipline, motivation and boost self-confidence.

  6. Surrounding themselves with positive influences. Building a support network of like-minded individuals who share ambitions or who have already achieved success in their field will bring valuable guidance and motivation.

  7. Learning from mentors and role models. Seeking guidance from mentors and studying the paths of successful individuals who have achieved greatness in their field can help them learn from their mentor’s experiences and apply the insights to their own journey.

  8. Practicing mindfulness and self-awareness. Being aware of their thoughts, emotions, and actions will allow them to better manage stress, focus on the present moment, and make purposeful decisions.

  9. Embracing competition and challenge. Champions welcome competition as an opportunity to grow and improve, seeing challenges as stepping stones rather than obstacles and competing with themselves to continually raise the bar.

  10. Taking calculated risks. Champions know that calculated risks can lead to great rewards and learn how to be comfortable outside their comfort zone and take strategic risks to advance.

  11. Developing a strong work ethic. Putting in the time and effort required to succeed. Champions are dedicated and disciplined in their pursuits, consistently work hard to improve and achieve objectives.

  12. Celebrating small victories: Acknowledge and celebrate progress made, even if it's incremental. Recognizing their achievements will fuel motivation and reinforce their commitment to the journey.

Remember that instilling a champion mindset is a continuous process, and it requires dedication, patience and effort, but I believe it will help build children into resilient, positive leaders of the future.

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