Layers That Bury Champions

“After reading all your blogs, my wife thinks that she’s a certified therapist! She says that the reason I don’t care about her feelings (or our kids’ feelings) is that the good part of me is buried under ‘stuff’. She says that the good part of me is this Champion. And the layers are all of the crap I went through in my childhood. If you’ll just tell me she’s crazy about all this…I’ll pay you and we can call it a day.” All said as he was chuckling!

First of all, I left off all of his adjectives, and he didn’t call what was burying his Champion ‘crap’?

Smiling, I asked him: “Do I know your wife?”

He barked out his response: “I hope the hell not!”

With a mischievous grin, I responded to the question I’d ignored: “Well could you please introduce us, because I’m thinking about hiring her! She sounds like an amazing Coach!”

“Oh shoot!” (Actually, he shared the…OH BLEEP…word)!

As I giggled I said, “Well…You’re welcome to pay me and call it a day… But I can’t and won’t tell you she’s crazy.”

I left it right there and let him ponder for a moment. He asked a question which he regretted for the next 30 minutes. But, I honestly believe he would tell you today he was grateful…after months of work.

“So, what the hell is this Champion thing? And what are these layers all about? It all sounds a bit too cute…,” he said in a “no nonsense good ole boy way.”

I’m willing to bet that you’ve asked yourself similar questions. And if you haven’t, ask them now (And get ready! Get ready! GET READY!) … Because here are the answers!

Today I was listening to a graduation speech by Oprah. She said something so very interesting:

“We are all alike in this way. We’re all longing to find the truest and highest expression of ourselves. And to create the highest and grandest vision possible for our lives.”

Oprah was basically speaking of our Champion within. The Champion in me. The Champion in you. In order to find that truest and highest expression of ourselves, we must revive and resurrect that Champion in us!

I’ve been addressing this for months. But still I’m often asked:

  • What is the Champion?
  • Where is the Champion?
  • Why is it buried?

Excellent questions…And I’ll spend the rest of my life doing my very best to assist people in finding these answers! And in reviving, resurrecting, and mentoring their Champion!

What is a Champion?

Your Champion is the you … you were born to be: a priceless, precious, innocent dreamer…buried beneath the pain, the shame, messaging, and beliefs about you and your life…installed on the hard-drive of your mind, heart, and spirit. Those things on your hard drive that appeared to have silenced the wonder of the Champion within.

There’s truly a Champion inside each of us, ever keeping us from settling for less than becoming the unique ‘birthright’ version of ourselves. I’m here to help you, not settle for “ok”, but RESURRECT that Champion in you…in its purest form. That, my friend, is WHO you were/are meant to be!

Where’s the Champion? Within you!

YES! Whether you know it, believe it, or you’re not sure … There IS a Champion in YOU!

And why is it buried? That’s why I’m here this week. To help you to see why your Champion got buried and the layers that it’s buried beneath.

Our Champion is buried from any harmful, hurtful, disappointing, destructive or traumatic moments or experiences we’ve had in life.

I’ve been working for years with people to dig through the layers…And that’s what my heart’s desire is for you this week.

Here are the layers that I most often find that inner Champion buried beneath. 


What is your hard drive?

It’s everything imprinted on your heart and in your brain that controls everything you do, don’t do, say, don’t say, decide, don’t decide. It contains your belief system, your ‘should’s’ and the way you’re to live your life moment by moment. Basically, it’s your destiny shaper.


It’s a lot like what’s on the hard drive of your computer. If you’re like me, you simply turn on your Mac or your PC, double click on the icon that will serve your purpose and get busy with the task before you. Never considering the drives that make it all work.

Your hard drive is completely installed and functioning by the time you are five, six, or seven years old.

Where does it come from?

It comes from parents, extended family, significant caregivers, coaches, teachers, etc. It contains their worldview, their beliefs, their ways of managing life.

We all have a fully loaded hard drive. The question is…

Does it serve you well?

Does it propel you to purposeful living?

Does it create an extraordinary life?

My client, who longed to hear that his wife was crazy so he could tuck away this whole notion of a Champion, was amazed when we took a look at his hard drive.

These were just a few of the things we identified very early on. Since he had wanted to believe that his wife was crazy, we examined what his hard drive said about women:

Here’s what we discovered:

  • Whatever they are, they can’t control their feelings, they’re all over the place and practically good for nothing. 

His dad, said that to him, about his mother on a-regular basis. I asked him if he said other things about her…I waited. I could tell this question instantly disarmed his strut. 

With a slight look of embarrassment and tinge of ‘unwarranted’ looking guilt he admitted,

  • “Well…I guess he said she was crazy all the time.”

We continued digging and these were the other things that were installed on his hard drive:

  • The only way to get ahead in life is through blood, sweat, and tears!
  • Office jobs are for wusses.
  • Raise your voice, speak disrespectfully, and you can control other people.
  • Don’t get all intrigued with any of that happy horseshit (I had to laugh out loud on that one, because that’s what my Dad said about psychology and counseling! So … my Dad was sure disappointed when I got graduate degrees in both!)
  • Keep your feelings to yourself. They’re a sign of weakness.
  • Women throw the word love around. It’s only manipulation.
  • You won’t amount to much, so just keep your head down and work hard.

As I do with all my clients, I tried to get him to identify at least one positive thing on his hard drive.

This is the first that he identified:

  • Do what the good Lord tells you and you’ll stay out of trouble.

It didn’t take me long to understand why his wife (who was reading my blogs) sent him to me.

I believed (and later she confirmed when I met her) that she could see the Champion in him. But she also knew the layers the Champion was buried under were thick and deep. 

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to see why he spoke harshly to his wife and kids. Why he spoke to her in a demeaning way. Why he worked long, hard physical labor hours, when he longed to coach his kids in soccer and baseball.

Remember (usually) no harm was intended in what was installed on your hard drive. But once it’s installed? It continues to run in the background directing your life. A kind of white noise we just consider our “normal.”

And in this man’s case, running his marriage into the ground. Stifling any rich relationship with his children. Preventing him from dreaming and fulfilling his deepest longings.

What about you? What’s on your hard drive? It’s critical that you learn what’s on there. I bet you’re saying, But I’m not sure where or how to start?

I’ve given my life to help you know and see what your next right step is … to the next right thing to do … so we can totally untangle you and release that Champion in you!

Here are a few questions you can begin to ask yourself to identify what’s there.

  • What did marriage look like in your family?
  • What did you learn about husbands?
  • Wives?
  • Kids?
  • How was conflict handled?
  • What about love?
  • How was it shown?
  • What about anger?
  • How was that handled?
  • What did you learn about spirituality?
  • What did you learn about your potential?
  • What were you told your strengths were?
  • How about your weaknesses?

Once you identify them, like a 33 1/3 LP record … scratch them up and get rid of them and then create and install new empowering groove entries, that will call yourself forward to the very best you … the you that you were meant to be.

That’s what the Champion in you holds in their hands.

Don’t be a pawn to the famous Henry David Thoreau quote:

“Most men/women live lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with their song (their dreams, their gifts, their Champion) still in them.”

How many lives will go untouched and unfulfilled because your dreams, your gifts, your Champion was never given its fullest and highest expression?

Don’t let that happen to you, my friend. There’s great value in what’s within you!

Don’t allow this layer to seal off the Champion, your dreams, and your gifts deep within you.


WAIT! Before you skip over this one, please read this definition of trauma:

“Any experience that has affected us in any way that diminishes who we are, dulling our gifts and talents, and makes life more difficult than it would have otherwise been.”

Perhaps you were not held hostage in a basement like someone I worked with was. Yes, that was heinous abuse. Not only did she heal from it, but she found ways to work with children of trauma.

Anything that affected you adversely is considered trauma.

In my coach training certification course earlier this year, I worked with a man who has struggled with addiction, anger issues, and difficulties in connecting (along with difficulty being “present” in any situation).

As we were working through the layers of trauma, he said there was a little something that happened in his childhood years that was “no big deal.” (That’s always my clue that I’m getting ready to hear about trauma).

He began describing an event when he was a little boy. He and his dad were supposed to carve and make a little mini-soapbox Derby car for a big Cub Scout event. 

The mission was to help build dad/son relationships. They were to work together carving the rectangular wood ‘partial car block’ into a more defined ‘car form’ for the big race.

His dad traveled with work and did not help him with his derby car until the last minute. He said that his little Derby car… “was a piece of shit!” He lived two days in fear knowing he’d have to stand in front of the other parents and scouts at the event, and tell everyone how he and dad spent quality time connecting. All the while knowing his little Derby car was inferior and “half finished”.

The evening finally came.

His dad was leaning against the back wall with a scowl, when he was asked about how his dad helped him with his Derby car.

In a moment of horrified embarrassment, this little boy now a man, had to make a big decision. Much too big a decision for a boy just 7 years old.

Was he going to expose his dad and say he hadn’t really helped him and that he really didn’t want to? Or lie to protect his dad’s reputation, while drowning in his shame of the moment having to choose between telling truth or a lie.

In a horrible dilemma, he began to tremble and cry with his Derby in his hands. He saw his dad roll his eyes in embarrassment.

At that moment, he experienced shame, embarrassment, fear. Caught between the truth and the lie…rejected by his dad who he’d just protected!? His own Father now…embarrassed…that his little boy was crying over having to protect or expose him!

No wonder a life of medicating with alcohol, of dodging any connection that could result in rejection, of struggling with anger…all became his survival mode.

That’s trauma. It WAS a big deal.

I asked my client (who had hoped I would proclaim his wife “crazy”) if he had experienced any trauma, and like most, he said no. I asked a few questions and learned that his dad yelled that demeaning entry on his hard drive, about “never amounting to anything” as he lashed him with a razor strap … regularly.

When I told him that was trauma he said, “Not really. I just learned to numb out and stop feeling. To be honest, I did my best to scream loud enough to drown out his words and to make him think it was a horrible experience for me, so he’d stop.”

I could tell, by his facial looks, that he was starting to ponder, well … “everything” about his life.

Trauma (lashing with a razor strap) caused the message “you’ll never amount to anything” to become set in concrete in his heart and mind.

Although he chose to discipline his children differently, he did often yell at them that they would never amount to anything.

(This is a sidenote, but later his wife told me that not long after that session, he was out in the back field, playing soccer with the kids. She saw that they’d all sat down under a shade tree together.

She’d never seen that happen before. So, she decided to prepare some lemonade and take it out to them.

His back was to her and as she neared, she heard him telling all of them, “How wonderful they were and how wrong he was to have told them that they would never amount to anything. That they could become anything they wanted to be!”)

She watched as tears flowed down all three of their sweet faces. She remained quiet and still because as she said, “I felt like I’d stepped onto sacred ground.” A moment she would never forget. And neither will they!

What trauma have you experienced in your life?  

Our trauma buries our dreams, buries our gifts, buries our Champion.

But acknowledging the trauma opens a world of light and color for the Champion in us. And makes a way for our dreams and our gifts to pour forth and give us a hope to guide and follow! It really is a “just do it” calling!


Any moments of significant pain that you’ve experienced, whether you stuffed it or felt it BIG…Create layers that bury our Champion.

Recently, I was working with an amazing woman who lost her mom before she was even a teenager.

All these years later, she could not hold back the tears as she spoke about learning her mom was gone when she got home from school one day.

No one really comforted her. Her dad was stoic. Her brother and sister were now adults. She couldn’t even take a breath. 

Almost every day, for the rest of the school year she’d tell herself, throughout her day, that her mom would be back when she got home from school. She’d hop off the school bus and run home as fast as her legs would carry her, certain, her Momma would be there.

She wasn’t. She never was.

The pain of that loss had created layers. Her hopes, her dreams, her gifts were all buried under them.

And now she was married to a man who was even more stoic than her dad … and could not understand her struggle.

I am certain that we will resurrect her Champion. 

Her pain was much easier to access than the client who hoped his wife was crazy about all the Champion “stuff”.

In typical macho man style, when I asked him of any pain he might have experienced, particularly early on in his life…He shrugged.

“I don’t remember any pain.”

If this is your story, follow with me so you’ll know ‘how’ to double check yourself. (And by the way it’s not only men who deny their pain and not only women who can sob over their pain. Plenty of women stuff pain and plenty of men emote).

I didn’t ask him to think hard about things that might’ve been painful… instead, I asked him this:

“If I had a DVD of every moment of your life, and I watched it, would I say there was no pain?”

He looked at me with a little boy grin and I just knew what he was going to say. So, I said it for him: “You’re wanting to say that of course I’d think there was some pain because after all I’m a woman and I’m crazy!”

He ‘belly’ laughed in amazement that I had read his mind.

Although I failed Mind Reading 101, I know that “look” on people’s faces that say they don’t remember any pain when there’s truly pain there.

After a good laugh, I asked him: “So if this crazy woman therapist were to choose an event or two out of your DVD of your life…And I had said to you: (I think you should’ve had pain over this or that event) which would I choose?”

In true form, he never hesitated. He said, “Well I’m fairly sure that you would make a big deal out of the time that my dad made me quit the football team right after I’d been selected as the quarterback.”

I quietly asked, “Why did he make you quit?”

I could see ‘tough guy’ rising in him as he took a deep breath and then in his best nonchalant voice said, “Because he said that I didn’t need to get the big head and he needed my help on the farm.”

His head immediately dropped and his eyes fell to the floor to hide any evidence of pain…but you can’t hide or from tears from deep in your soul.

“I couldn’t face the coach or the team, so I quit school. Never went back.”

My heart broke for him. Because he’d been broken. He had carried that pain all of these years.

He held his breath as long as he could until the soul grunts began to pour out with the tears. I sat quietly, silently saying a prayer, I knew the dreams along with the Champion were emerging.

After he gathered himself, he took a deep breath, wiped away any ‘moisture’ on his face with a shirt sleeve and chuckled with: “I didn’t come here to make a fool out of myself!”

I quietly commented, “You didn’t make a fool of yourself, my friend. You’re resurrecting the Champion!“

What about you?

What are some of your painful moments? Don’t be afraid of the tears if they come…tears are the soul’s release valve and with them go the weight of shameful pain.  

Acknowledge those painful moments.

If you have a safe place, share them. It’ll be your beginning of breaking free and rising to a new life with new feelings all wrapped up in new desires!

Doing so, may not move heaven and earth right away. But it will move the layers that have trapped your hopes, your dreams, your gifts, your Champion for far too long… WE CAN DO THIS!


Shame. I could write a book about the layers that shame creates.

Many years ago, I had the privilege of working with Dr. John Bradshaw, author of the book and the PBS special called: “Healing The Shame That Binds You.”

I want to help you move the layers of shame that bury your Champion.

I, too, was once buried beneath tremendous layers of shame.

  • Shame about being a girl (my dad who had wanted two boys did his best to turn his second daughter into a son, an athlete, a fishing buddy) … so for many years I was actually raised like a boy
  • Shame about incest (not my dad, an extended family member)
  • Shame about being stupid (I had an undiagnosed reading disorder)
  • Shame about my fear, my panic, my anxiety, my terror (I was scared to death of life and suffered night terrors and anxiety, that paralyzed me through most of my childhood, adolescence and on into my young adult life)
  • Shame about who I was (not good enough, unlovable)
  • The list of shame went on and on

In working with Dr. Bradshaw (Yes…I had the rare honor of working one on one, when he was already famous and no longer seeing or taking new clients, with ‘THE’ Dr. John Bradshaw, as my personal therapist). It was with him I found healing for the shame that literally bound me. And after my liberation, I then committed the rest of my life to helping others do the same.

It’s the core of my practice now, the core theme of what I write about, and my core prayer each and every day. 

What shame buries you?

I asked my client about his shame.

He pushed both hands toward me as if blocking me on a football field.

He said, “Don’t tackle me again! I know you think there’s some there or you wouldn’t have asked.”

I read the definition of shame to get him started.

Here’s what Dr. John Bradshaw says about shame:

“To be shame-bound means that whenever you feel any feeling, need or drive, you immediately feel ashamed. The dynamic core of your human life is grounded in your feelings, needs and drives. When these are bound by shame, you are shamed to the core.” 

As do most, he sat motionless…I kept on.

“The most paradoxical aspect of shame is that it’s the core motivator of the super-achieved and the underachieved, the star and the scapegoat, the righteous and the wretched, the powerful and the pathetic.” 

I thought to myself as I read this out loud…wow! I could tell my client was wowing inside too! The freedom to read on was in the air. So, I did.

“Toxically shamed people tend to become more and more stagnant as life goes on. They live in a guarded, secretive, and defensive way. They try to be more than human (perfect and controlling) or less than human (losing interest in life or stagnated in some addictive behavior).” 

Took a minute for us both to breathe and I shared one more.

“Our healthy shame is essential as the foundation of our spirituality. By reminding us of our essential limitations, our healthy shame lets us know that we are not God. Our healthy shame points us in the direction of some larger meaning. Our healthy shame is the psychological ground of our humility.” 

He pondered, then responded: “I would’ve never called this shame, but I guess it is:”

  • “I was ashamed of how I looked. I guess I still am. All these freckles and a big nose…”
  • “I’m not the brightest star in the sky. And…” He cleared his tearful sounding throat and said, “I’m pretty ashamed when my kids ask me for help with their homework. I have good common sense but that’s about it.”
  • “I am ashamed that I never graduated from school and ashamed when I talk to my kids about making good grades and doing their homework,” He was crying now, I handed him a tissue.
  • He straightened, “I was ashamed that we didn’t have any savings. No fancy jeans or nice tennis shoes. And I guess I’m ashamed now that I can’t always afford those for my kids.”
  • Clearing his throat staring ahead he continued, with tissue in hand, in a slight stronger tone of voice, “I’m ashamed that I haven’t amounted to much and that I’ve told my kids the same thing.”
  • “I was ashamed that my dad was the town drunk. And I guess it’s no big surprise.” Biting his lower lip as the tears flowed, he said looking right at me, “I too, am ashamed I drink too much now.”

He caught my eye just long enough to say, “Is that enough?”

I’m sure he was hoping I would say it was, but afraid I was going to say no. 

I did neither. Instead, I answered his question with a question: “I don’t know, is it?”

“You’re gonna make me tell it all, aren’t you?” I remained silent.

“OK. I’ve been holding this for years and I might as well tell it now.”

His voice broke as he started, and I could tell it caught him by surprise (and it did me too).

“My dad really didn’t need help on the farm. Because he was drunk by noon every day. Our land went untended. That’s why I couldn’t play sports. Because if I didn’t work the farm there’d be no money,” he said holding the visible anger beneath his tears.

“But long before that, we really didn’t have anything. Sometimes I got half a piece of dry toast going out the door for breakfast. No lunch. No lunch money. I was hungry!” He began to sob, begging me to believe him.

“I mean I was really hungry. So, I stole apples or chips from kid’s lunch bags. I stole money from the teacher’s desk. When I went to the store, I would steal anything to eat that would fit in my pocket.”

It’s happened many times. But I never feel less honored or get used to these sacred moments as a therapist when they happen. When the soul of a person’s Champion buried within, breaks into the light for the very first time!

When anyone trusts me with that kind of brokenness, a grateful humbling wow goes off in me … every time!

I waited for him.

“I got good at it. I felt so ashamed that I figured I’d go to jail even though I was just a little boy.”

He adjusted himself in his chair and sat up and forced a small smirk of a smile.

“Finally, when Pa made me quit football to work for him, I realize that I really could farm. I could make sure my Momma had food to eat. Make sure I had food to eat. I promised the Lord that if he’d made my crops good that I’d never steal again.”

His eyes brightened, then he assured me, “By the way. I’ve kept that promise. I didn’t even steal one piece of candy out of your waiting room.”

After a little laugh, I could tell something else was coming up. He tried to stuff it down. He tried to fight it off.

Finally, it poured out: “If I was really a good man, I would tell my wife, wouldn’t I?”

I assured him that I was not going to tell her and that it was 100% his choice. But I was fairly sure if he shared the story, it would create great connection. And instead of losing respect, she might just fall in love with him again.

Later, with no nudging from me, he chose to share the story in my office. That moment, a new love story began.

The Champion began to emerge. The dreams caught a new breath of life.

What about you?

What are the layers of shame that your Champion is buried under?

There’s a great and wise truth found in the ancient scriptures of the Bible. A truth as relevant today, as it was thousands of years ago. It declares, “If we confess our faults/our shames one to another we’ll be healed.” I’ve witnessed this truth countless glorious times!

I’ve yet to meet a shining, thriving Champion, who at one time or another, hadn’t found their path to the healing they needed over the shames of yesterday! I’ve watched their entire sensory system, that was once held captive in limbo, be transformed into the freedom to follow their hearts!    

Set your Champion free by acknowledging these things…WE CAN DO THIS!!


You may wonder what the difference between these things (distressing life events) and trauma is.

Not much. But these are things that happen more in your young adult and adult lives, that have an affect on you.

It could be anything that distressed you:

  • Death of someone you loved
  • Loss of a job
  • Financial crisis
  • Gossip (untruths being shared about you)
  • Harsh words from someone you love
  • Divorce
  • Being abandoned
  • Rejection
  • Heartbreaks of any kind
  • Illness or injuries
  • Anything that has affected you as a young adult or adult.

As I assured my client that this was the last of layers that we would need to look at, he sighed with relief.

Without hesitation he said, “Is this where I have to look at how poorly I have treated my wife?”

I explained that certainly that’s not what I was looking for, but if coming to that realization had been one of his great life disappointments, we certainly needed to look at it.

He said, “Have you ever heard that country song “Hard to Love?”

I told him I had.

I’m insensitive

I have a tendency
To pay more attention

To the things that I need
Sometimes I drink too much,
Sometimes I test your trust,
Sometimes I don’t know

Why you stay with me?
I’m hard to love, hard to love,

Oh, I don’t make it easy
And I couldn’t do it if

I stood where you stood
I’m hard to love, hard to love

And you say that you need me
I don’t deserve it, but I love

That you love me good

He said, “I don’t even know who wrote that song, but I’m pretty sure they wrote it about me.”

I smiled and he continued.

“However, these past few months, I realize how she’s suffered silently. She’s not crazy, she’s a good woman.”

His guard was down. I sat there, grateful and humbled by his honesty. I continued to smile as he chose each word with care.

“She would occasionally call me out and I thought that was too much. But now that I see who I’ve been and what I’ve done, I realize that she could’ve easily called me out hundreds of times a day!”

He paused and was slightly emotional. 

“She really loves me. She’s always seen the best in me.” Shaking his head slightly then asking reflectively, “What kind of man would’ve spoken harshly to that?”

I waited.

“What kind of man would see her as good for nothing when she gave me life?”

I waited.

“What kind of man would push her away again and again?”

I waited.

“I am deeply disturbed and disappointed about the man I’ve been.”

I was in tears over his vulnerability and deep love and care for what he’d done to his wife. 

I asked him if this was a conversation, he was ready to have with her. With tears and the comment that he’d become a “big baby” …He said,
“It’s time. I’m ready. I just hope it isn’t too late?”

Then like a scared a little boy he looked at me with pleading eyes and asked, “Will you help me do it? And will you tell her not to give up on me or leave me?”

Although I don’t cry often in sessions, I could not choke back or blink back the tears that leaked out.

I assured him that it would be my honor to do so. And then said I was certain that she wouldn’t give up on him or leave him.

Just because I don’t wanna leave you hanging, let me just say it was one of the most touching and intimate moments that I’ve been privileged to experience in my office. Right before my eyes, I saw love reborn. A new connection stronger than superglue. Two hearts melded into one … I saw a miracle.

What about you?

What life disappointments have put a final layer over your Champion?

Over your hopes?

Over your gifts?

Over your dreams?

Speak about them. Write about them. 

You’ve come this far and reaching down within you, with a hand of love, tenderness, and compassion, to the hand of your Champion. Take that hand and hold it! And let new life begin to direct your steps!

Like my client, let this honest heart’s cry within you, be the desire you follow. Let it be a new foundation you begin to build on. Let it change your world view as the Champion attitude leads your growth towards change and victory! 

There’s a new life with your Champion at the helm to pour out dreams, hopes, gifts, talents, and MORE!

It’s the life you’ve wanted. And the life you deserve!

We only go back for her. We only go back for him. We only go back through layers that have broken us … For one reason! So we can go on! And there exchange all the inner babble and white noise, for peaceful resolve and inner trust for the truest and highest version of ourselves. To be robed in a new belief that what we’ve always wanted to do and become … we can!

That’s what Champion do!