The champion’s mindset


I went running with a friend on the Tri-County Triangle trail last week. It was post “Bomb-cyclone,” and the path was covered with snow drifts for a lot of our run. A lot of people I know would simply look at it as a mess and turn around.

We looked at it as a challenge and had fun running through the snow like little kids. It turned out better than we could have imagined and a great workout.

With the New Year upon us it’s a time of renewal. It’s time to let go of the old and allow room for what’s in store for us in the future.

Along the run, my friend and I breezed through conversation to pass the time without getting too exhausted from the drifts. We got into the discussion of coaching or training people in regards to fitness.

He used to coach runners and mentioned the insight that you want to begin with what they are capable of. The outcome is that, from the get-go, you want people to feel like a champion.

This deeply resonated with me and I’ve put considerable thought into it. What makes people feel like a Champion?

Is it winning? Winning can display a champion’s mentality, but many people have more fear of losing than a drive to win. It’s not that they care to win, they simply don’t know how to lose. Which isn’t a mark of a champion.

Is it an achievement? Personally, I’ve achieved a lot. At the end of the day it doesn’t accumulate value beyond a medal or reward of some sort. Which doesn’t always click. If the achievement comes from a false pretense of strength we mask our true intentions. That’s not a champion, either.

A champion is someone who is empowered to take on what is in front of them. A challenge. A circumstance. The day itself. Their aim is to muster as much strength towards an end goal for the purpose of fulfillment. They know what they want and how to go about that journey until completion.

Everybody should feel like a champion. Professionally, I’ve come into this pattern of trying to build up someone’s self-esteem. It’s often that people come at themselves, in their own thoughts about themselves, as highly critical or with a sense of sarcasm.

It seems like we’re in a default setting of feeling defeated or extremely guarded. And to what regards? Our own well-being!

For myself, I want to wake up looking forward to the events the day brings me. I can recall this from childhood. I lived each day for itself not knowing what was beyond that. There is remarkable joy here. It’s a natural state that we simply lose connection with, but can easily claim remembrance of.

To go about this I center, or ground, myself to the people I love in my life. Close family. Cherished friendships. And this centeredness is not on the basis of what they’ve done for me lately, so much as a recall or remembrance of the intrinsic bond we share.

This gives me the spark. Then I am inspired. Then I know how to be motivated. That’s the champion mindset.

I want to bring this to the community through my work and craft at Horizon Athletic. It is a training space to help people achieve their highest potential. Whether I am working with a sport-specific athlete or an adult juggling a work-life balance. The goal is to make people feel like a champion inside.

Trey Tompkins is a local resident who writes fitness columns for the Record-Herald.

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