Champions have a way of seeing things differently. Their unique perspective provides a clear vision for who they are and who they can become. That perspective clarifies what really matters, and it uncovers opportunities they can use to learn, grow, and succeed. A champion’s perspective separates them from everyone else. The famous early-American philosopher Henry David Thoreau said, “It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see.” For the champion, in sports and in life, that’s so true. Everyone may be looking at the same stuff, but the champion sees things differently.

Need proof? Look no further than this week’s Super Bowl MVP, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. He just completed one of the greatest post-season runs in NFL history, including a stellar performance in Philadelphia’s 41-33 Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots. He completed 28 of 42 passes for 373 yards, threw for three touchdowns and even caught one more. This week, on the biggest stage in football, Nick Foles reached the pinnacle of professional success. It may seem ironic, then, that he spent his Super Bowl MVP press conference discussing his perspective on adversity. Of course, everyone has to look challenge, struggle, and failure in the eye at some point, even the Super Bowl MVP. Needless to say, in this area, Nick Foles sees what a champion sees.

This is a one-minute clip that every young athlete – and every young athlete’s parent – should watch:


Nick Foles proved in Super Bowl LII that he knows a thing or two about success, but he’s also developed a champion’s perspective on challenge, struggle, and failure. A Pro Bowl quarterback in 2013, he spent the last three years bouncing from team to team, looking for an opportunity to play. In fact, even this year, he signed with Philadelphia as a back-up and didn’t see any action until an injury to the starter just before the playoffs. Struggles have been part of the journey for Foles, and, as he notes in his interview, continue even today. His perspective is simple: the challenges in life haven’t defined him – they’ve refined him. They’re actually part of the reason his success has been possible. “I wouldn’t be up here,” he said in the interview, “if I hadn’t fallen thousands of times.”

You see, Foles didn’t achieve his success as a Super Bowl MVP and then suddenly adopt this powerful perspective. That’s not how it works. In fact, just the opposite is true. A champion’s perspective isn’t a by-product of his success; instead, his success is a by-product of his perspective. The same will be true for you, sports parent, and for the champion athlete and person you’re working to raise and develop, too. Real, authentic success starts with what you see. What you think and ultimately what you decide to do resonate from there.  

A champion’s perspective isn’t a by-product of his success; instead, his success is a by-product of his perspective.

It’s worth stopping to consider how clearly your child has developed the proper perspective. When he looks at challenge, failure, and struggle, does he see what Nick Foles sees, that:

“Failure is a part of life. That’s a part of building character and growing.”

“We all have daily struggles.”

“When you look at a struggle in your life, just know that’s an opportunity for your character to grow.”

“If something’s going on in your life and you’re struggling, embrace it. Because you’re growing.”

This is the daily commitment you make as a champion sports parent – helping your child develop a champion’s perspective. Of course, it’s hard to develop in someone else what you’ve failed to develop first in yourself. With the right perspective, your influence can help shape the way your young athlete sees themselves – including a clear vision for who they are and who they can become, clarity on what really matters in life, and the ability to recognize opportunities to learn, grow, and succeed. You can use the powerful examples of other athletes – like Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles – to clarify for your child what it is a champion sees. And, most importantly, you can lead by example, seeing things clearly in your own life, and living like a champion yourself.

Of course, this important work you’re doing isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would do it. You have a critical role in who your child becomes, and achieving success along this journey will require that you overcome your own share of challenges, struggles, and failures. When adversity comes, your own perspective will be put to the test. Hopefully you’ll be able to see what Nick Foles sees, that failure is a part of life and a part of building your character. That if you’re struggling to raise a champion, you should embrace it. And that what’s difficult actually helps you grow, improve, and become your very best.

Don’t forget the way it works. You’re not going to achieve success raising a champion, and then suddenly adopt a champion’s perspective. In fact, just the opposite is true. Your perspective isn't a by-product of your success; instead, your success – as a sports parent, or in any other important area of life – is a by-product of your perspective. It is for you – I hope today – as it is for Nick Foles, the simple truth…that it all starts with what we see. Champions, after all, have a way of seeing things differently.

P.S. - Here's a great article about the Super Bowl MVP's press conference you might consider printing off and giving to your child. His powerful example can serve as a resource for teaching, training, and preparing the emerging champion in your own life.


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