What Truly Makes A Champion?


By Morag Barrett on April 30, 2013

Posted by Morag Barrett | April 30, 2013What Truly Makes A Champion?In Matthew Syed’s book, Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice, he takes a look at what forces need to come together to make a champion. It may seem counter intuitive but Syed argues that natural talent in a successful person is actually of pretty low importance. This seems to go against what so many of us believe, or want to believe, that the people who succeed in organized events such as sports or even in business, must have an extreme amount of inherent talent. That seems like the obvious answer and is an easy thing to tell ourselves but it may just be an excuse.Syed argues that to succeed to a high degree in sports, just like in any venture, it takes an extreme amount of purposeful practice and that’s what truly separates a champion from the pack. The end result of this practice is what we seem to mistake for natural talent. In order for someone to get themselves to the level of “champion” it takes disciplined practice and a willingness to work harder than most of us want to.Later in the book, Syed discusses the importance of mindset in parenting and how it is important to praise effort rather than talent. As a mother, this struck a chord with me and ending up being a key takeaway.This absorbing and thoughtful book made me question whether I was putting “disciplined practice” into the areas where I wanted to succeed?I regularly refer to the world of work being the biggest team sport that any of us will participate in.  This book takes the learning from sport and is analogous to so many activities in business in which we participate. There is no telling what we are capable of when we put our minds to it and choose to build our capabilities through deliberate focused practice.Related ArticlesPractice Makes Perfect...In a previous post I talked about the knowing vs doing gap and gave an example that occurs each time in our coaching program.  Here I want to explore what happens after a workshop (or event in the workplace) and the importance of practice. We all know that practice helps…February 12, 2012In "High Performing Teams"The Key to Leadership SuccessIn my experience soft-skills are the “secret sauce” to leadership. However, when I talk to leaders in companies around the nation, those “soft skills” are often overlooked as a priority when organizations focus on the development of future leaders. If these skills are the “secret sauce”, why are they so…May 19, 2015In "Emotional Intelligence"The Future of Work is Today.Look out! In workplaces across the globe, conventional wisdom is being thrown out the window. Everything around us seems to be in flux—from how we conduct ourselves to how we manage others. In my work with business leaders and teams around the world, I see too many companies missing out—still…March 14, 2017In "Future-Proof Workplace"Tags »Best Leadership BookscoachingEmotional IntelligenceHigh Performing Teamleadership development denverteam building denver Share
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