“This Champion thing seems a little bit corny to me. I’ve been in therapy for years, and I’m highly successful in what I do. Yea, I know there’s something missing. My closest friend of many years happened upon some of the blogs you’ve been writing and believes it’s my Champion that’s the problem.”
I nodded with understanding. But I could tell she hadn’t yet unloaded all her disbelief. I leaned in as she continued.
“I’ve been dedicated to my personal growth and my spiritual growth for many years. I’ve followed all the fads, done most of the crazy workshops, read all the books, you know, all the ‘stuff’ and ‘so called experts’ that seem to think they have all the answers.”
I nodded with a smile, because I was pretty sure she was getting ready to add what I’ve been writing about to that list.
“I’ve even been a professional strategist and consultant to many of the recovery and rehab programs out there. So, I’m pretty savvy in this field, although, I’m obviously not a psychologist. But could we just cut to the chase, and you tell me about this fad so I can tell my friend I know all about it and move on?” (BINGO! What I do was officially labeled “a fad”!)
I responded with respect and admiration as I said, “I hear that you’ve been deeply dedicated to personal, professional, and spiritual growth for many years. That is very admirable!”
The skeptical look on her face remained unchanged. It felt as if she was bracing herself for a sales job from me.
But the death of personal/continuous renewal, is akin to us losing the wonder and innocent desire of any process, that continues to ignite these life altering virtues in us:
Champions seek changes that Champion us onward.
So, I continued carefully.
“I’m not sure if what I do will add to your growth or not. I can see why it might sound like ‘finding your Champion’ could be a fad.”
I continued more carefully.
“I’ve been doing what I do for over 25 years and have only begun to refer to it as ‘resurrecting the Champion in you’ for about a year now.”
I paused … taking my time … grateful she was beginning to listen.
“I suppose you could say that the new phrase I’ve coined, is a bit faddish! But what I do is based on solid research and many years of clinical experience. If you’d like to hear about it, I’d be more than glad to give you an overview.”
With visible impatience, she responded: “That would be good. Go ahead.”
I smiled and told her that to describe the entire concept and all the research would take quite some time. And that I realized we only had about 45 minutes. I told her I’d like to send her a link to some of the research, and some of the things that I’d written through the years.
Her nod and half smile confirmed what I thought…she’d like to review the research on her own.
“To use our time wisely, I think sharing with you a few of the things people I’ve followed up with for up over the past 15 years have reported to me as a result of this process, might be eye opening for you.” Then I asked, “Does that resonate with you as good use of our session time?”
With a bit of a restless squirm, a glance at her watch, a small sigh, she responded: “Perhaps.” It was all the permission I needed!
There was a time in my earlier years when this appointment with “the queen of skepticism” might have deflated me. But I knew that deep within, there was a Champion in her waiting for truths to confront and ignite her ‘undefined’ desires for something more!
I didn’t know if the Champion within her was tucked away for the purposes of this appointment, whether it had once been alive and had been buried again, or if she’d never met her Champion.
My commitment in my heart was to introduce her to her Champion, and I knew that I likely only had our remaining 40 minutes to accomplish that.
(That’s my commitment with every person I encounter. Whether a client, a friend, or a family member.)
In case this is a new concept to you, I’ll begin by defining what I mean by a Champion, which is how I started with her…
Your Champion is the one you were born to be: a priceless, precious, innocent dreamer…buried beneath the pain, the shame, and 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 and I’m here to help you RESURRECT that Champion in you…in its purest, truest, surest form. That my friend, IS WHO you’re meant to be!
1. MOVING FROM SURVIVING, TO – FULLY ALIVE THRIVING
You’ll likely relate to this. Most of us spend our lives living from one or more of these places:
- From paycheck to paycheck
- From bad break to bad break
- From relationship argument to relationship argument
- From depressing moment to depressing moment
- From anxiety attack…to staving off an anxiety attack
- From switching addictions to switching to another new addiction
- From New Year’s resolution Sprint to New Year’s resolution Stall OUT
- From healthy diet to scale busting cave-in cravings
- From ad nauseum to ad nauseum
You know the drill.
It doesn’t necessarily mean life’s bad, by any means. It just means we’re in a reoccurring cycle that we don’t like. That leaves us wanting and yearning for more. And we don’t know quite how to change it. (It’s like someone said…it’s life in a continuous rut…which is a grave with both ends kicked out!)
But always remember!
Transformation from survival to Champion living (and thriving), starts with this simple heart-pull towards this ‘desire’ you have as you’re reading this! That, I KNOW, together … we can transform into life-lifting habits, using the discoveries of the ‘real-truth’ we’ll uncover about you!
With this desire, coupled with these truths, we’ll disrupt the cycle within you that’ll help create new thoughts, new inner voices, creating new choices you were always meant to know, to hear, to follow! Your Champion within will become your mentor and affirmer of every aha moment for life!
Back to my wonderful/curious client!
“Well at least you didn’t mention mine…” My client retorted as I went through the list above … “So, I guess I’m OK there!”
I laughed and inquired: “What were you relieved that I didn’t list?”
She quickly retorted with not much expression.
“Going from relationship to relationship hoping the next one would be the right one.”
As I was writing on my iPad, she asked, (or demanded): “What are you writing?”
With a mischievous grin, after I finished writing it, I commented: “That was a great one and I wanted to add it to my list for next time! But since I didn’t have it written here let’s just say you’re off the hook for this one!”
The truth is, we’ve all had moments, but hopefully not a lifetime of … barely getting by. Settling. Surviving.
Honestly, that’s not what any of us truly wants.
To be honest, I started my graduate school journey in counseling to figure out how to do more than just survive.
I don’t think I knew that at the time, but I did know that I was hoping that I could find the real secrets to life … the real secrets to a rich relationship … and the real secrets to fulfillment.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find those answers in any of my 5 degrees. But my commitment to finding the answers, led me to studying with masters in various fields and putting the pieces together that indeed made my life rich and fulfilling.
I’ve spent years assimilating and researching further what I’ve learned so I could share it with others.
I have a core belief after 25+ years of helping people accomplish these things that we were created to thrive. AND that we all can!
I’ve never had a person come in my office and say I have a rich life of success, amazing relationships, my finances are in order, I love my job, I know and live my purpose. But I would like for you to help me find a way to just survive.
Quite the contrary!
I knew that a great life was out there because I saw it in my mother sometimes. I kept hoping it was in my genetics so I could somehow just let it happen and be so for me.
My grandmother talked about it and called it “abundant life.”
I would spend my summers with Mamaw, and in the mornings when we would go out and pick beans, tomatoes, purple hull peas, tomatoes, strawberries, dig up potatoes, chop corn off the stalks…she’d talk about how rich the soil was her native Arkansas.
She said, “Because the soil was rich, we have an abundant harvest every year. And God wants us to all have an abundant life that’s just as delicious as the fruits and vegetables we get from our garden.”
Then at night, we would sit out under the stars, and she’d openly express gratitude for the beauty of creation, pointing to the moon, the stars in the sky, all the trees, even the baaaa-ing goats on the other side of the fence. She gloated, if you will, with a deep heartfelt merriment on all of God’s creation.
Then she’d say with a God-like twinkle in her eyes, “We’re all supposed to have beautiful lives just like creation…an abundant life!”
All I know is when Mamaw would talk to me, I felt peace inside, outside, every side. I had great hope. I had an excitement about life.
It wasn’t until many years later that I realized that that’s what I was searching for in graduate school. That’s what I was searching for in studying with masters. That’s what I now call thriving … being fully alive.
As I’ve worked with thousands and thousands of clients through my treatment centers, my practice, and in training settings with other therapists and coaches, I realized we all longed for the same thing.
And helping them dig deep beneath the layers, they have all found that thriving and fulfillment as they have resurrected their Champion.
After sharing all of that with her, I was planning to move right on. But my client leaned towards me in her first moment of curiosity and asked, “Do you believe that the Champion in me is the part of me that knows how to do relationships right? And make good choices in them? That I could thrive in a relationship? That I could actually … (she gathered and reeled in emotion before she finished) … have a rich experience?”
So as not to throw her off track I said, “I’d love to think that would be possible for you. Let’s move on.” (I knew any other response would risk her misinterpreting it as a sales move on my part)!
Whatever you long for in your life, whatever arena you yearn to thrive in, whatever you hope could happen in any area of your life … There’s a great possibility you’ll find it in resurrecting your Champion. That one move that begins our journey towards forever … nullifying all of life’s “what if’s”!
Remember? The biggest step any of us will ever take is the first one.
And as simple and childlike as it sounds, it starts with recognizing that this deep unceasing desire that’s followed you, called to you all these weeks, months, years … is worth you finally pursuing and answering. The abundant life of the Champion is calling. Longing for you/me/us to know and live our truth. I remember someone saying … that truth will set us free!?
Your Champion is calling…we can do this! Just like my Mamaw declared about creation…we can thrive and be fully alive!
2. EQUIPING YOUR PASSION = DEFINING YOUR PURPOSE
About 10 years ago, there was a movement where people were reading about, talking about, searching for … their life’s mission, purpose, call, cause … Whatever you choose to call it.
I developed a program called ‘The Power of Purpose’ which I shared, literally, around the world. Interestingly enough, I still receive emails, Facebook messages, texts, and even birthday cards telling me stories from around the globe (from the many who discovered their true purpose). About how it forever changed their lives!
It seems the movement at large died out. But not the people who’d been in my programs. But I had large numbers of new clients saying things to me like, “Yes, I did that whole ‘purpose search thing’ and it didn’t work for me.”
When I would inquire about their journey, what I discovered was they never really found their purpose or perhaps they had idea of it…but had somehow lost it.
Because I already had the concept of the Champion within, I built into the program ways of digging through the layers that had their Champion buried, even though I used none of that verbiage.
The other clients and people who’d gone on the journey but had not found their purpose would describe to me a process of getting close, but not quite getting there. I realized it was because they’d not dug through to that place deep within them that was designed in my program.
“Oh my God!” My client declared loudly with a bit of disgust as I shared all of that.
“I cannot tell you how many purpose and mission books I’ve read! How many workshops I have been to! And you mean to tell me I never found the answer because I never unearthed my Champion?”
I knew to respond with caution.
“I’m certainly not familiar with all the books you’ve read or all of the programs you’ve attended. I’m sure that they were all good because you said you felt like you got close…several times. But I do know this one thing… until you reach that wonderful part of you, the Champion in you, you’ll never be able to hold onto a purpose, a mission, or a vision for great things … living, thriving in great peace.”
Perhaps you too have gotten glimpses of your mission, your purpose, your vision, or your cause. Or perhaps you identified it clearly but couldn’t seem to hold onto it or move forward with it … or in it.
I can assure you of this, whether you’ve not been able to grasp it and embrace it, whether you’ve never even tried, or whether you know definitively what it is but can’t seem to move forward…The Champion in you is the part of you that’ll take it to the limit and way beyond the finish line!
This new pause in you, this new desire in you is the beginning of digging deep within to remove all the yesterday “chatter” and “cant’s” that continually shift you into neutral and/or dismay.
That alone, my friend, is worth…resurrecting your Champion!
3. THE AMAZING PARTS OF YOU BECOME … YOUR “NEW NORMAL”
For me, there was a definitive moment when I reached in and grasped the hand of the Champion deep inside me.
That night I did something I hadn’t done in many years. I went and found a swing in a park. I swung/swang for hours, which was something I’d done often as a child. Thankfully, there in the desert of Arizona, an amazing purple, orange, pink painted tapestry appeared across the sundown sky.
It reminded me of all the nights I’d spent outdoors with my Mamaw listening to her talk to me about the beauty of creation. I can’t tell you exactly what happened to me that night, but I do know I was different the next day and parts of me that I never dreamed possible began to come forth … setting a new normal!
I was asked to speak to a group of people the next day about my experience. Standing in front of the group was not something I ever believed possible. But before I could tell myself to shut up, I’d already said, “Sure! I’d love to do that!”
And I did it! Without trembling. Without nausea. There was a boldness I’d longed for that met my heart as I shared.
Shortly after that, I took my first bold professional move that I never dreamed possible. In partnership with a respected colleague, I opened an outpatient and inpatient treatment center. I was the most risk adverse person I’ve ever known in my life! But I stepped out without hesitation.
I could go on and on, but perhaps one of the greatest things that came forward in me was a huge wave of compassion for those who were hurt and traumatized. All the judgment that I’d been steeped in … washed away. I could literally see the Champion in those, sitting before me. And I had great compassion for what they were missing, and deep dedication to helping them find all they didn’t know was buried deep within!
For those and many other things that came forward in me, I remained and remain … deeply and sincerely grateful.
I began following up with clients, workshop attendees, and trainees to research this process. What I found across the board was that gifts and an amazing awesomeness of themselves they’d never known …had poured out … establishing their new normal. Much to their surprise … and totally to their delight!
My client asked a bit timidly, which seemed out of character for her, “Do you think that the tender and feminine part of me might emerge?”
I was touched by the vulnerability of her question. In our few moments together, I had witnessed a beautiful femininity in her. In the way she was dressed, in her mannerisms, in the way she phrased things. But clearly, she didn’t see it.
I gently asked, “Is that something that’s important to you?”
She nodded affirmatively and made this quiet comment, “I guess I was always a tomboy, and I got into the corporate world early on. I guess I’ve never felt like my femininity developed appropriately and so I guess I knowingly shifted to the survival mode that felt comfortable and a little aggressive.”
I smiled at her and commented, “Interesting … because I see some delightful femininity in you. But if that’s a part of you that you long for, perhaps it’s buried with your Champion spirit.” (My first reference to her Champion was well received!)
If there’s parts of you you’ve caught glimpses of or hoped for or secretly wished you could portray and be, perhaps they’re reflections of your inner Champion.
Isn’t it worth checking into…since your heart’s desire is wanting/needing this life shift?
I believe it is!
4. YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WILL BE RICHER
The moment I spoke this fourth item aloud, she responded: “Do we have to go there? I just don’t believe it’s possible for me anymore.”
I assured her that my agenda was not to build her hope in another new relationship, but that I believed without a doubt that her relationships could become richer. That it often takes a team … to make a dream.
I asked her if there were other relationships outside of intimate relationships in her life that were important to her?
She responded that her relationship with her dear friend who referred her was important to her, and that she had siblings that were also very important to her. Other family members as well, but particularly one of her favorite cousins.
I said that I was sure that those were all great relationships, but I asked if she might like it if they were richer and fuller?
I got my first laugh out of her when she said, “My brothers and I are pretty good, but my sister is difficult. I don’t want it to be that way. So, if that could get richer that would be a good start.”
The research that I have read through the years helped me to understand why relationships become richer.
First, our sense of what relationships are, and what we hope they’ll be (or not be in some cases) are set in us early on by our exposure to relationships as children growing up.
Research says that our expectations are set, and our beliefs about how relationships will go are quite firmly installed in us by the time we’re in elementary school. YES! Elementary school!
Depending on how well we’ve been nurtured or how deeply we’ve been hurt and what we have witnessed in key relationships…We’ll either bury our vulnerabilities and desire to connect, or wear them on our sleeve hoping somebody, almost anybody, will latch on to us. Or somewhere in between those two.
I believe the Champion part of us knows and feels the potential richness in relationship. That doesn’t mean there’s no disagreements or challenges. Because ‘true intimacy’ is discovered in the face of challenges.
But the Champion in us extends our best and expects the best in others. The Champion takes difficult situations and turns them into intimate connection. It pulls us toward our newfound giftings when we express our trust in our resurrected intuitions…moving us towards our new normal.
My client asked with a mix of skepticism and hopefulness, “Are you just saying this because you know it’s how to get my attention? Or does this really happen?”
I told her that all I could do was send her the research and share a few stories with her. She was actually eager to hear:
- A man who had been deeply hurt in his marriage and had been single for 17 years, in and out of one disastrous relationship after the other…then did some powerful work on his Champion. A few months later, he ran into one of the relationship partners that he’d called a disaster. They reconnected and laughed about their immaturity at the time they were seeing one another. They’re now happily married, living on the beach in Florida. Something neither of them ever dreamed possible in their lives.
- A former minister who’d been estranged from his family for many years came through one of my programs. To be honest, when he discovered his Champion, he looked 10 years younger! He found a level of confidence and an ability to forgive which led to a powerful reconnection with his family. He and his brother have opened a retreat center that serves ministers and their families. The two of them, along with their wives, make a greater difference than they ever dreamed possible in the lives of families serving in ministry.
I’d intended to share one more, but my client interrupted with, “So what do I do to sign up for whatever this is?”
I chuckled and told her I had one more to share, and there was really nothing for her to sign up for, but if she thought this might be helpful to her, we could talk about a path forward that might work for her.
Quite a change in the few moments we had spent together.
I think that even those who have fulfilling, rich, happy marriages long for even greater connection in their relationships. In their marriages, with their kids, with those important in their lives.
Once again, it’s the Champion that sees the best in others, gives the best to others, and anticipates the best from them. There’s simply no way to prevent relationships from growing and improving from a state like that.
Do you have relationships that you’d like to become richer? Your Champion is an expert at that!
5. YOU WILL EXPERIENCE FULFILLMENT IN WAYS, YOU’VE NEVER KNOWN IT BEFORE
This point doesn’t need much explanation. In my follow ups with my clients, my workshop participants, my trainees…This is simply a summary of a statement that shows up almost 100% of the time in their feedback.
I believe there’s nothing quite like putting your head on your pillow at night and feeling fulfilled.
I love what Oprah says about fulfillment: “Making the shift from self to service brings joy and also a deep sense of fulfillment to our jobs, relationships and the vision we create of our best life.”
It almost sounds contradictory to say before we can really care, serve, love, and know our purpose in life, the focus must be on us first. Because once we untangle our inner Champion and rise to clarity of heart, mind, and spirit, we’ll find a new liberty to choose and know when we do choose … that “this feels right!” … And everyone in our path benefits! That’s truly when all things work together for our good!
There’s indeed an element of serving others that comes with our connection to our Champion. Serving is the heart, soul, and spirit of every Champion.
My client smiled as I completed the 5th point. She said, “My dad was a wise man. Just before he passed away, he said to me: ‘Will you do one thing for me? Will you figure out what brings you fulfillment and do that? That would give me great peace.’ I promised him I would do that. Let’s just say I will do this process to honor him!”
I was happy to accept any reason for her to engage and find the Champion within her.
She did do the process. Very well. Her Champion has risen…her new relationship is budding, and she’s turned the focus of her strategic business to serving.
What about you?
You deserve all of these things too!
Fulfillment is perhaps one of the greatest gifts that comes with our Champion!
As Dr. John Bradshaw says: ““Three striking things that occur when we do our inner work…the speed with which people change when they do this work, the depth of the change, and the power and creativity that emerge.”
Let’s do this! Your Champion is calling!!
Your Champion is the one you were born to be…a priceless, precious, innocent dreamer…buried beneath the pain, the shame, the 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 that Champion within you!
May the wonder of the Champion in you rise and sing proudly!