There are plenty of qualities that separate the champion – in sports and in life – from everyone else. Champions give their very best. They overcome challenges and adversity. They get better and help those around them get better, too. They are unique and uncommon in the work they do and in how they go about doing it. There are countless ways to differentiate those at the top from everyone else. Here’s one of the most important: champions finish.
The truth is, just about anyone can start. Every day ideas are born, responsibilities are accepted, and commitments are made. You have ideas and responsibilities and commitments in your life, I’m sure, and your young athlete is probably starting to have some in his life, too. Unfortunately, every day there are people abandoning the important ideas, responsibilities, and commitments they have in life – despite their value or meaning – because things have started to get tough. It’s important for each of us to see (and as champion sports parents, to help our kids see, too) that if something important in life will be accomplished, then it will almost undoubtedly require overcoming some challenges to do it. For too many people today, it’s easier to walk away from a difficult job half done than it is to finish what they started.
But the ability to finish – and not just finish, but finish strong – is one thing that separates the very best from all the rest. We could be talking about the very best in any area. In sports or in parenting. In marriage, or work, or friendship. When things get tough, champions are able to keep their eye on the prize, dig deep, and push themselves forward to success. Champions get the job done.
When things get tough, champions are able to keep their eye on the prize, dig deep, and push themselves forward to success. Champions get the job done.
If your child is an athlete at any level, then you have a great opportunity to help him develop a champion’s mindset when it comes to finishing. If he's serious about pursuing success, in sports or any area of life, then there will undoubtedly be roadblocks, challenges, and struggles along the way. At some point your child may be tempted to walk away from a difficult job that’s half done, instead of finishing what he started.
If that day comes, I hope you’ll see the important role you have in helping your child develop his ability to finish. When things get tough, your support and encouragement will be critical in helping him keep his eye on the prize, dig deep, and push himself forward to success. As a sports parent, it's important to remember that what you choose to emphasize is what your child will learn to value. You should constantly be aware of the opportunities you have to celebrate your child's strong, courageous finish. In doing so, you positively reinforce this simple yet significant message: that anyone can start, but that champions finish. And that you, my child, are a champion.
Just as importantly, I hope you’ll see that the best way to teach your child how to finish strong in his life is to model what it looks like to finish strong in your own life. Remember, champions breed champions. That means that if you want your child to have the toughness not just to have important ideas and responsibilities and commitments in his life, but to see them through to completion, then you’ve got to have the toughness to see those things through in your own life, too. At your job, as a parent, in your marriage and in your friendships – despite the long, busy days you’re facing – don’t stop short of the finish line. At work and at home, don't just crawl to the end, push through it! Separate yourself from everyone else. After all, anyone can start, but champions like you finish!
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