“recognize certain traits that seem to be in every champion: passion, commitment, confidence, pride in performance, high standards of excellence, relentlessness, perseverance, and the ability to perform in adverse circumstances.” ― Nick Saban
As the football season in America formerly kicks-off, many fans, coaches, and pundits will be talking about winning championships when in reality only a handful of teams have a chance to secure the top trophy.
Going back to 1998 in the NFL, only twelve teams have won the Super Bowl, and five of those teams won multiple championships.
It is even worse in college football where 130 schools compete in the first division. Consider in the last twenty years the national championship has gone to only twelve schools, with five schools claiming multiple national championships.
Across the pond in England and Wales, only six clubs have won the Premier League since its inception in 1992.
See the pattern?
Lots of football games played, but only a handful of champions.
Most of the teams playing this weekend have no chance of winning a championship and frankly are already eliminated from hoisting the silverware.
Yes, the Detroit Lions or the Miami Dolphins could win the next Super Bowl, but it is highly unlikely.
And sure, across decades of contests, a team like Leicester City FC (the club won the 2015–16 Premier League with preseason odds of 5000 to 1) will win a major title, but it is more of a magical carpet-ride fluke than a pattern.
So why do thousands of football players suit-up, put on the pads, tie-up the cleats knowing that won't win a championship?
It is more important for them to be a champion than to win a championship.
As the famed golden-headed Fighting Irish of Notre Dame enter their football stadium in South Bend, they are reminded to "play like a champion today."
They are reminded not to win a championship, but to play like a champion.
Steven Pressfield calls this mindset turning pro - or moving from amateur to professional. Moving from the gratification of winning a championship to the satisfaction of being an intentional and consistent champion.
When we decide to play like a champion and be a pro we find our real power and focus.
Winning a championship is impacted by numerous factors, events, situations, and outcomes, that we cannot fully control.
Being a champion and a pro consistently is something we can fully control.
Being a champion and a pro allows us to become who we always were intended to be.
Make the mind-shift this week to embrace professionalism and to live out as a champion.
Lose yourself in your work and in the moment.
Be a champion.
-Marc A. Ross | Brigadoon Founder + TLC
Marc A. Ross is the founder of Brigadoon and specializes in thought leader communications and event production. Working with doers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders, Marc helps them create compelling communications, winning commerce, and powerful connections.