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The Champion’s Mindset

By Jimmy Page, Fellowship of Christian Athletes

“Nothing is impossible for God.”
– Luke 1:37 (CEB)

The Champion’s MindsetIn 2012, Nike launched an advertising campaign called “Find Your Greatness.” It was a series of short video clips featuring people of all shapes and sizes, and the goal was to inspire everyday people to aspire to greatness. “Greatness is not some rare DNA strand,” one particular commercial said. “It’s not some precious thing. Greatness is no more unique to us than breathing. We’re all capable of it. All of us.”

The messages had a consistent theme: Greatness can be found in overcoming insurmountable adversity or challenges. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s scary, but in the end “we’re all capable of it.”

If Nike’s advertising campaign was around when I was a kid, I would have auditioned for it because I wanted to be great at basketball. My ultimate goal was to play in the NBA. Nike could have captured me shoveling snow off the driveway all winter long to clear just enough space to play ball, or using the light from the telephone pole across the street to help me shoot late into the night. (I wouldn’t quit until a neighbor yelled, “Go to bed!”)

While I fell a little short of my NBA dream, I was pursuing greatness, and I learned a lot about the power of mental desire, focus and toughness. To truly maximize potential, every athlete needs to develop a “champion’s mindset.” Rarely is physical talent enough. They need to be able to control their thoughts and emotions as well.

Developing the champion’s mindset starts with two things – how you see it and what you believe.

You have to see it to believe it.
Our vision is a picture of our desired future. It has to be clear, big and wide. You have to be able to describe it in detail, painting the picture in your mind. It should be big enough that you have to stretch to get it. The bigger the “why” behind your “what,” the more challenges you can overcome along the way. Finally, it has to be wide enough to involve others. Selfish pursuits never fully satisfy. The best visions involve making others better, too.

In sports, visualization is an extremely powerful tool that can lead to high performance, and that was never proven better than by Dr. Judd Biasiotto at the University of Chicago in 1996. Biasiotto had a random group of students shoot some free throws, tallied the results, and then split them up into three groups and asked them to perform separate tasks over the next 30 days.

The first group couldn’t touch a basketball; no practicing allowed.
The second group had to practice shooting free throws for a half-hour per day.
The third group had to come to the gym every day and spend that same half-hour with their eyes closed, visualizing hitting every free throw.

After 30 days, all three groups came back and took the same number of free throws. The results:

The first group of students who did not practice at all showed no improvement.
The second group had practiced every day and showed a 24-percent improvement.
The third group, which had simply visualized successful free throws without even touching a basketball, showed a 23-percent improvement.

Think about the implications these results have on the power of our minds! Vision and visualization are key components of a champion’s mindset. Champions have a very clear and compelling vision of their goal.

You have to believe it to see it.
Sometimes you have to believe something can happen before you see it. If you listen to all the naysayers, eventually you’ll give up. But the champion’s belief in their vision propels them to overcome incredible obstacles and disappointments. They are able to maintain optimism and hope in the midst of setbacks. What you believe about your situation always affects how you see it.

“Nothing is impossible for God.” – Luke 1:37 (CEB)
Those with the mind of a champion train their brain to reject doubt, discouragement and defeat. They “take out the trash” and “take in the truth.” They keep their eyes on the prize and the goal in their minds. They reject negative thinking and refuse to make excuses.

“Do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Romans 12:2
Faith overcomes fear. Unwavering belief separates champions from all the rest. The combination of a clear and compelling vision and unwavering faith form the foundation of a champion’s mindset. And it’s necessary for every aspect of life.

If you’re not where you want to be with your health, create a clear picture of what you will look like, how you’ll feel and the energy you’ll have. You’ll need enough faith to believe your vision is possible before you actually see it happen. Remind yourself how far you’ve come instead of how far you have to go. Focus on what’s possible instead of being discouraged by past failures.

Develop a champion’s mindset, and get on the road to extraordinary health. You can do this!

What is your vision for your health?
How do you look and feel?

What is preventing you from believing that good health is possible?

About the Author
Jimmy Page serves as the Mid-Atlantic Vice President of Field Ministry for FCA. As a 20-year medical fitness leader and former National Director of FCA Health and Fitness, he hosts Fit Fridays on 95.1 SHINE FM. Jimmy is an author of several best-selling books: True Competitor, WisdomWalks, and One Word That Will Change Your Life. He and his wife, Ivelisse, started a cancer foundation called believebig.org following her victory over cancer. They reside in Maryland with their four children. You can email Jimmy at jpage@fca.org.

FCA in Kansas City
Interested in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes? For local ministry opportunities and events, visit Metro Kansas City FCA at kcfca.org or call (816) 892-1137 or contact the National Support Center at (816) 289-0909 or (800) 289-0909.

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