The Way of the Champion

Summary Written by Parin Patel
"You see, a champion is never something you become… ever. It starts now by acting as a champion, committing yourself to practicing the habits and ways of a champion, choosing to engage in a lifestyle that demonstrates such qualities and characteristics on a consistent daily basis."

- The Way of the Champion, page i

The Big Idea

Focus Your Energy On What You Can Control

"Champions fully grasp the difference between what they can and can’t control in an event or life situation, and choose to focus on the former."- The Way of the Champion, page vi

As you learn about the mental habits and practices of The Champion, there is one key principle to keep in mind: Focus Your Energy on What You Can Control.

It’s easy to get caught up with results and outcomes.
With winning or losing. With hitting that “million dollar” sales mark.

But it’s crucial to understand that once you’ve set your goal, your focus needs to shift to the process of achieving that goal. Your focus needs to shift to the things you can control to help achieve that goal.

“Focus away from the results and more on the process. Focusing on the results creates anxiety,
stress, and a good deal of tension. Focusing on the process allows you to relax and
feel confident in what you can do.”

You truly cannot guarantee the specific outcome or result of any event in life.
But you can control how you think, act and behave on a daily basis at any given moment.

Here are two methods to help sharpen your focus.

Insight #1

Find Your Still Point

"To fulfill the advice of this Tao wisdom, I help all of my athletes and clients to practice MINDFULNESS, a way or system to help quiet the mind (meditate), calm the body, and marinate the nervous system in positive images and self-talk."- The Way of the Champion, page 61

Knowing you should be focusing on the things you can control is one thing, and actually doing it is another. With all the distractions we have in this day and age, it’s easy to forget about what we “should be doing”; what with our constantly ringing cell phones, updating social media streams, and wanting to squeeze more out of every minute.

This is where the Tao state of mind, the still point, comes in. It’s a practice that’s been used by champion athletes such as Tiger Woods and championship teams such as the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.

Do the following with eyes closed to find your still point:

1. Breathe in slowly through your nostrils, and as you do, feel the coolness of the air coming as it fills your lungs. Imagine the breath going to all parts of the body.

2. When your lungs are filled to capacity, hold or suspend your breath for five seconds.

3. Slowly exhale through the nostrils, and as you do, feel the warmth of the air as it exits the body.

4. Repeat this process seven or eight times, focusing on the alternating cool/warm temperatures of the breath. Notice how, with each breathe, you begin to get more deeply relaxed.

5. In this relaxed state, introduce images of success along with words, phrases, and affirmations that positively nurture, reinforce, encourage, and support who you are and what you do and where you desire to go. Be sure to focus on the process – on the things you can control – rather than purely the end results and outcomes.

6. The whole process takes only seven to ten minutes each day.

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Insight #2

Practice Your I.P.R. (Instant Positive Response)

"I train athletes to do this by using their meditation technique to visualize, each day, circumstances that cause negative reactions, and to ‘feel’ themselves responding in positive ways."- The Way of the Champion, page 68

Whenever we’re faced with challenging times or blind-sided by an unexpected event, it’s easy to get caught up in the external circumstances, and forget about the things that are in our control. It’s easy to get caught up in how “bad” the situation seems to be.

But, as Jerry explains in The Way of the Champion, it’s important to practice our I.P.R. (Instant Positive Response) during these times.

Whenever you experience a mistake, error, setback or failure, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are still in control of your thoughts, actions and behaviors in that moment. And then shift focus to what you can do, in that moment, to learn from, and face the challenges and bounce back from the perceived setback.

In fact, Jerry takes this one step further by recommending a daily meditative practice where you visualize the circumstances that cause negative reactions, and to feel yourself responding in positive ways. You can use the steps explained above to find your still point for this practice as well – just replace step 5 with the IPR practice.

The Way of the Champion is more than a personal development and leadership book – it’s a personal guide on your journey as a Champion.

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Jerry Lynch

DR. LYNCH HAS BEEN A SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY CONSULTANT for the past 33 years TO OVER 25 INTERNATIONAL AND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS at the professional and NCAA collegiate levels. In one survey,he has been recognized as one of the top five in his profession nationwide.He is the former Sports Psychologist for men’s and women’s Basketball, Lacrosse and Soccer teams at the universities of North Carolina,Duke, Maryland, California and Stanford and continues to work with several teams nationally. He has been involved with athletes at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado, helping them to overcome fears, blocks and slumps, and to perform up to their potential. Several of his clients have participated in various summer and winter Olympic games. Aside from sports, Dr. Lynch has worked with performing artists and corporate executives.

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