A Sporting Life: Self-Belief of Champions

Dave Sanford/NHLI via Getty Images

If you’re a sports fan, you have watched this scene numerous times over the years. The final seconds tick off the game clock, it hits zero, and the team on one of the sidelines starts to jump around, hugging each other. They have just won a championship.

Within seconds of shaking hands with the vanquished opponent, the winning team’s star quarterback, point guard, or shortstop is being interviewed by the sideline reporter. The player inevitably says the reason they are champions is the team never lost belief in their ability to win it all, even when so many others doubted them.

All championships start with self-belief. Self-belief is often the difference between the woman who makes the all-star team, and her equally talented teammate, who sits on the bench, rarely getting any playing time – or the wide salary gap between the top salesman in a company and the one struggling just to make his numbers.

But what about the team that lost the championship game? Did they lose their belief with that loss? It’s easy to believe when you’re winning, but what about when you’re losing?

Here’s the thing; if there are 32 teams in a league, there’s only one champion. Does that make the players on the other 31 teams losers? If your belief in yourself or your team is built completely on winning, does it go away when you lose a game, or worse yet, a lot of games? Self-belief is not only believing in yourself when you are on a winning streak, it is keeping your belief when all others have seemingly given up hope.

Your self-belief can’t only be validated by the trophies you win or the validation of others. It has to come from within. People with true self-belief don’t waver when they are defeated, but instead they choose to learn from their failures so that they can grow and get better. A common trait of champions is the ability to acknowledge losses, but then get up, get stronger, and continue working to be the best they can be.

We are all inspired by stories of underdogs that climb out of the gutter and overcome all odds to somehow become champions. It is why Rocky is such a popular movie. Many of us might see ourselves in the guy from the wrong side of the tracks, who has had nothing but a series of disappointments in life, only to finally get his shot, and rise to the occasion. It makes us feel good because it gives us hope, and makes us believe, if only for a moment, that we can one day achieve greatness ourselves.

If we are being perfectly honest with ourselves, the warm glow of inspiration that we feel from other people’s Rocky moments quickly fades and we soon slide back into the comfortable numbness of our daily lives. We believe that great things can happen — just not for us.

Greatness is not only for others. It is something everyone can achieve. We all have amazing gifts within us to share with the world. Miracles can happen — and all miracles start with the belief that our unique set of talents can be used to make the world a better place.

As you go through life, belief will play a massive role in determining the life you live. Having purpose attached to the belief leads to the joy we all seek when entering the arena because the best kind of belief comes from knowing that we will use our victories to help others.

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