Could you be a Champion?
Sales & Marketing for Professional Services & Sales Tips

Could you be a Champion?

June 12, 2015

by Tony Vidler

I did a little thinking this week…a bit unusual perhaps, but it happens sometimes.

I got thinking about “what makes a champion?” following a discussion about one of the financial services worlds highlights, the upcoming MDRT conference.  It was put to me that this is “the conference of champions”, and I began wondering.  I mean no disrespect to MDRT or its members and attendees in questioning this of course, as I admire much of what I see MDRT delivering.

In professional services people often talk about focus, technical expertise, sales skills, work ethic or activity levels and marketing nous as being some of the key areas that make for an elite, or champion, adviser.  Those things go into building a fabulous practice or being a very successful practitioner of course, but is that the same as becoming a “champion”?

A champion, in professional terms, isn’t necessarily the person with the best practice or business.  That might be true, but it isn’t necessarily so.  Being “a” champion is almost by definition an individual achievement of undisputed excellence in one’s chosen field isn’t it?  So I wondered, what characteristics and traits are common amongst champions in highly competitive fields where the challenge is absolutely personal?  Where it is “you” versus the best the world can throw at you.  And is that the same as being an elite adviser?

I don’t think it is now that I’ve done some digging around to see what separates Olympic champions from those who are “only” the best in the world.  At the Olympics it is all about the elite competing with the elite…the best on the planet challenging each other…and many of these elite athletes simply do not go on to become champions.  Here are the psychological traits which separate the champions from their elite competitors:

Characteristics of Championsusain-bolt

  • An ability to cope with and control anxiety
  • Confidence
  • Mental toughness/resiliency
  • An ability to focus and block distractions
  • Competitiveness
  • A hard-work ethic
  • An ability to set and achieve goals
  • Coachability
  • High levels of dispositional hope
  • Optimism
  • Adaptive perfectionism

Source: Psychological characteristics and their development in Olympic champions.  Gould, D., Diffenback, K., & Moffett, A.  Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 14, 172-204.

As a checklist for areas of personal development I cannot think of anything better than this if one did want to become a true champion.

There is one thing I would add to the list though:

“Prepared to Pay the Price”

That is perhaps the differentiator between those who become champions, and the rest of us.

You may also find this post useful: The difference between being “good” or “Elite”

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