How to overcome every challenge with the heart of a champion

Right before my last book came out, I asked Mr. Universe … the body-building champion of the world … Lee Labrada … my friend and respected business colleague … if he would write the forward to my book.  He graciously agreed.

I asked Labrada because he epitomizes a champion in every sense of the word.

Of course, you might be asking, “What is a champion?”

The dictionary defines a champion as “someone who wins first place or first prize in a competition.”

I disagree. That’s the definition of a winner. A champion is so much more than a person who comes in first place.

Labrada says, “A champion is somebody you become through a process of self-improvement, sacrifice, service, and yes, the attainment of goals normally out of reach of all except those willing to pay the price.”

Did you get that?  A champion is something you become.  At home.  On the job.  Everywhere.  And there’s a process for becoming a champion.

That’s why I’ve written hundreds of articles.  And that’s why I’ve delivered more than 3000 presentations.  Because I believe that everyone can become a champion.  And that includes you.

The problem is most people don’t understand the process of becoming a champion.

For starters, it takes seven little strategies.


   √ 1. A champion takes action.

Many people think about what they’d like to get out of life or where they’d like to go in their careers, but that’s all they do … think and think and think.  They never DO anything to make sure their dreams come true.

Sunita Singh from the New York Hospital Queens decided to DO something.  She and her son attended my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program.  Later she told me how the Journey made their dreams come true.

Sunita wrote, “After 10 years of contemplating an MBA degree, your Journey got me going.  Now I’m taking and finishing classes and well on my way to getting my MBA.  And your Journey gave my son the tools and confidence he needed to pursue his dream – to attend the NASCAR Technical Institute — and venture out on his own.”

If you’d like to attend my next Journey program which will be in Kansas City on April 19-20, 2018, and save $400 at the same time, go to

Champions take action.  As Conrad Hilton, the founder of the Hilton Hotel chain said, “Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving.”

And if you’re not terribly motivated, just remember this.  You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.


√ 2. A champion does what needs to be done.

One of the main reasons a champion is a champion is he does what most people don’t feel like doing. He does the things that need to be done, whether or not he feels like it.

Many years ago, my coach asked me, “Alan, do you like pleasing habits or pleasing results?”  I squirmed in my chair because I suddenly realized I had been doing it all wrong. I was doing what pleased me, what I felt like doing, when I felt like doing it … and then complained about how things never seemed to work out for me.

A few moments later, I answered, “I like pleasing results.” From that day on, my life changed. I began to do the things that needed to be done … whether or not I felt like it.


√3. A champion has a positive attitude. 

She knows a good attitude brings good results and a bad attitude brings bad results.

What about you? Do you have a positive attitude towards your company, your products, your services, your job, your family, and your goals? Many people don’t. Many people are dead at 30 but don’t get buried until they’re 75.

If you want to know how to get and keep a more positive attitude, you’ll love the interview I just did with Dr. Gayle Carson on the SOB (Spunky Old Broad) Radio Network.  Go to


√ 4. A champion overcomes obstacles.

He knows there are very few, if any, “overnight successes.” Instead, he perseveres. He relentlessly pursues his goals, endures hardships, walks away from distractions, avoids temptations, and doggedly maintains his focus on the things he desires.

Booker T. Washington, a former slave and later a prominent educator, knew about that. He wrote, “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed.”

I’ve been through many trials in life. But I’ve learned that success is not how high and fast you reach the top … but how high and fast you bounce back when you hit the bottom.


√ 5. A champion does it now.

Physician and athlete George Sheehan noted, “There are those of us who are always about to live. We are waiting until things change, until there is more time, until we are less tired, until we get a promotion, until we settle down — until, until, until. It always seems as if there is some major event that must occur in our lives before we begin living.”

By contrast, champions do it now. They know some moments are better than others for action, but there is never a perfect moment. So they do it … NOW … if at all possible … and if at all sensible.


√ 6. A champion holds himself accountable.

When he wins, he gives himself credit for his successes. And when he loses, he takes responsibility for his failures.

The champion doesn’t blame others for his shortcomings and he doesn’t make excuses for his setbacks. Instead, he looks inside himself for ways to improve … learning from his failures.

Lee Labrada even takes it a step further … saying champions are accountable to the world, not just themselves. In no uncertain terms, Labrada declares, “A champion lives his life correctly, knowing that others will be watching and emulating him. The world is full of superstar athletes that live lives of debauchery and excess. They are not to be confused for champions. If it weren’t for their God-given talent, they would be losers.”

Being a champion has nothing to do with winning an athletic contest. Being a champion has everything to do with how you approach life and work.


√ 7. A champion likes herself.

She has inner peace and self-respect.  Not because she has accumulated a lot of stuff, like bigger houses, nicer cars, and more money.

No.  She likes herself because she has actually accomplished something worthwhile.  As Labrada puts it, “To be a champion, you must achieve something of value. Unfortunately the world is full of men and women who have achieved fame and fortune, yet are bankrupt as human beings.”

Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 926 – How to overcome every challenge with the heart of a champion