13 Dec 2010
December 13, 2010

Champion’s Way

December 13, 2010 Blog Category 2 1 Comment

To become a champ you must learn to both see & change the water in which you swim. In this analogy, water is the thinking and chemistry that runs around and thru you.

This is a long read. Too bad. It is a challenging concept to grasp, and demands a lifetime of practice. Run with it and your career (and life) trajectory can be lifted to any height. If you are truly committed to being a stand-out leader, print this, ponder it, ask questions, and engage others in your inquiry about it.


Great leaders offer people what they need to perform like champions. Although not commonly understood, mastery of context is the non-negotiable component. Champions live in contexts that empower greatness, no matter the circumstances. Most others make excuses, exercise futile force, and try to fix what they think has them struggle — all the while not seeing the contexts in which they live that subtly feed their fears. Over-focus on gaps and dwelling on mistakes is a common pitfall. Although high standards are vital — dwelling on them feeds fear and increases the synapses that pump survival chemistry thru your system. This feeds fear and struggle, not championship play.


Champions focus primarily on their strengths, and the next focused action to deliver upon their vision. In this, they develop the practice of being unstoppable, and their visions have life breathed into them.

Great leaders coach ways to level-up in ways that are distinct from standard improvement methods (often centered on content). Information acquisition is a booby prize that still has too many people dazed for too long. This is because most “coaches” are trainers, not really coaches or leaders. The are walking encyclopedia. Leadership, (with its embedded contextual coaching) is distinct from knowledge transfer in many ways. It inspires and changes a player on and off the “field” (organization). An easy way to know if you have a coach (leader) or just a trainer (or manager) is whether you are seeing a shift in effectiveness in all areas of life. You see whether the culture of the team is shifting, or just incremental growth.

Contextual coaches move you toward championship performance in a way that most certification or technique adjustments programs don’t. Powerful context creates a capacity to apply and expand what you know, maximizing application of resources This is the real stuff behind accountability, empowerment and access to potential. All leaders can add these contextual skills to their tool bag — but it isn’t learned. It is experientially-kiln fired into the core of your being through action. Sometimes successful, sometimes not, but always weighed.

Context adds the critical dimension to relationships: the one that gets to the heart connection, trust, and visionary outcomes.

A linear mapping of this method is this: context shows how you relate to everything, and thus determines all actions that you see available. The action gives you the ‘player you are’ on the field — which determines your results. This access to effectiveness wins or loses all kinds of games. If you can train the members of your team to spot and acknowledge disempowered states of mind/being, then you can reinvent powerful contexts for themselves and for the team as needed. With this, your team has what it needs to perform and win consistently.

A great way to consider facilitative (knowing/having/doing) approaches that lack a broad contextual component is to consider a sports analogy. Take two teams, standing side by side, each with fundamentally equal content (people, knowledge, practice regimen, training facilities, equipment). In highly competitive environments, you have only the best players, training, and equipment. Knowing/having/doing a bit more is not enough to create dominance on the field.

Consider a season during which these two seemingly similar teams end up with completely different results. One does not make the playoffs and the other plays in the championship. This story happens regularly. Why?

The teams have similar everything. Both work hard. What makes one of these teams that is normally “in the pack” become unstoppable? What makes a championship run happen? Know this and you can make any team competitive? And any well-equipped team a contender.

If content determined champions, the Yankees would win the World Series every year. Fortune magazine recently ran an article showing the most successful people are generally not the smartest or those with the best ideas; they are people who move relentlessly toward their dreams. People beat seemingly superior competitors every day with contexts that will not be denied. Now that context has been identified as the unique component of success, isn’t it simple to see how this is the case in sports, business, and anywhere people strive for greatness? Are you ready to develop mastery of context and deliver upon your vision? Become masterful with context.

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