A Champion Has-Been

For many of my adult years, I felt like a Champion Has-Been. Growing up, all I wanted to do was play volleyball, and I was very successful at it. My junior year we won a state championship at Sanderson High School in Raleigh, North Carolina. I was going to play volleyball in college. I was going to be an Olympian and play doubles on the circuit (yes, I dreamed big).

In that championship season, my coach Nancy Walker said I was the hardest middle hitter to ever walk the halls of Sanderson High School. Since Coach Walker had won several state championships that was high praise from someone who offered little praise. She expected us to show up, be great, and do what we did with little interference from her. I also won all conference honors on our way to the state championship victory. My volleyball career was taking off.

Then, fate intervened with its different ideas for my life trajectory. My senior year of high school, I injured my knee, effectively ending any idea of a larger volleyball career. Just like that, my chance to be a Champion was gone with the wind. This had a big effect on me, and I didn’t realize it for a long time.

It wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I truly mourned my knee injury and the life trajectory that was lost to me because of it. Up to that point I hadn’t realized how much energy I was directing into that hidden grief. Like many people, I was caught up in the story that Champions can only exist in sport. My view of being a Champion was too narrow though. Once I let go of that belief, I freed up energy to rewrite what a Champion looks like for me.

Shortly before my 41st birthday, I earned a Ph.D. in Leadership and Organizational Change. It was this life trajectory that led me to write a new story about myself and come to a different conclusion about Champions; a trajectory that allowed me to see each of us is a Champion in our own right.

All of us can still be Champions if we allow it. Champions exist in every realm of life.  All it takes to live the Champion lifestyle is to do the following:

1.       Discover what you are really good at (if you are unsure of how to do that, check out my latest book What’s Your Superpower? written under the pen name Tomi Llama).

2.       Embody what you are best at, which means aligning word, thought, and deed with what you are best at.

3.       Use the right measuring stick by focusing inward not outward. In other words, compete with no one but yourself – are you better at being you today then you were yesterday?

I promise you doing so will make you a remarkable Champion in your own right.

Until next time, busy seeing the Champion in you.

Dr. Tomi