Sunday, February 16, 2003

The mark of Champion.
Everyone loves to be a champion. But not everyone knows how to be one. In every endeavor we all say we’ll be THE NUMBER 1. But when asked how, we say, “I’ll use my lucky charm!”.

Most achievers will answer, “Luck has very little to do with it.” Being Number 1 takes much more than luck. It takes inspiration, persistence, and faith. Luck is a “nice-to-have.”

I had the privilege to surf thru' the speech of Tom Hopkins (been bitten by this B-School reading bug these days) that he had given at a Boot camp.Tom Hopkins is the world’s leading sales trainer and motivational speaker. He says that a professional adheres to 4 P's. I will share with you these four P's and if you have what it takes, I’ll be the first to congratulate you for being a champion.

1. PRE-PLAN : Set goals. Devise strategies. Set your course of action, with specific tasks and corresponding deadlines. The only way you can reach what for you is the Number 1 position is to have a clear picture of that top slot and whatever path leads to it.

Your plans must be realistic, though -- achievable. You can’t plan on being the country’s representative to the swimming Olympics if you’re 40 pounds overweight and the elimination is just a month away -- unless you starve, but that wouldn’t be a good idea. So, plan smart. Put your goals in writing to add commitment. Some planning takes a little time. It’s all right. A good plan is the first step up the ladder to Number 1.

2. PRACTICE : Now, with a good scheme in hand, your next step is to work on it. How? Practice, practice, practice. No one becomes a champion swimmer overnight. Not even ten overnights! It takes months of serious training, dedicated practice.

And what did Tom Hopkins say? “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect
practice makes perfect.” In other words, there’s no sense practicing
something that doesn’t work or that doesn’t lead you to success. If your swing is self-taught, and your batting average is so-so, you need professional help. Then, using the professional, correct, and proven techniques, you practice, practice, practice, until it becomes second nature.

3. PERFECT : This is something that goes beyond practice. This P is shooting for perfection. Some call it fine-tuning. After you’ve practiced long and hard to learn, understand, and rationalize the techniques and skills… after you’ve done it a hundred, a thousand times… after you’ve acquired “muscle memory” and you can actually do it with your eyes closed… it’s then time to cross the line to perfection. Do not stop practicing until the motion becomes flawless. Until you can do it flawlessly, every time.

Imagine the magicians who get away with card tricks using slight-of-hand. They start learning a trick in slow motion, and practice until they can perform it faster and smoother. And when they can do it flawlessly with their eyes closed, every time, they move on to perfecting the move until they become confident enough to...

4. PERFORM : This is the test. The moment that will tell you that you have succeeded. Everything you planned, practiced, and perfected, will find fulfillment during the performance. Show your mastery – your skill. Let other people marvel at your specialty. Make them appreciate your effort and excellence in the task you have chosen.

You step up to the plate, you come up the stage, or you face your client, and with full confidence and mastery of skill, you give it all you’ve got. Just as you’ve planned it, exactly as you’ve visualized it, you smoothly move from start to finish, and you deliver it flawlessly. The mark of a winner and true champion.

Many professionals push on to improve on their performance. Every performance becomes an opportunity to practice, and become even better – and be the take-off point for bigger tasks and loftier goals. A professional never ceases to enrich and refine himself. A professional always sees himself as a winner and a champion. And a winner is a winner and will continue to win because he’s a champion who doesn’t quit.

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