How Champions Stay the Course When the Going Gets Tough

“I guess you could call me an imposter or a hypocrite. Here I am, someone who strategizes with large corporations about staying the course through ups and down in the marketplace. And me? I’m having trouble staying the course with my marriage.”

Because she was a Champion who’d gone through my Coach Training & Certification years ago, my heart sunk as I saw her dismay.

“I’ve been so committed to helping others with staying the course, I guess I’m at a loss at how I even got here.”

I nodded with deep empathy and knew that her words were so very true! 

But I also knew she was not alone. So many people show up in my office with very similar concerns. If you find that you’re ready to throw in the towel in some areas of your life, I hope this will be helpful to you too.

Whether you call it giving up, throwing in the towel, giving up the fight…it’s something more common than not.

Research tells us:

  • 90% of people quit going to the gym within the first 3 months of joining
  • 95% of people quit their diet before reaching their weight loss goal
  • 33% of people quit their jobs in the first 30 to 60 days
  • 4.2 million Americans quit their jobs in August 2022
  • 92% of people give up on their goals in the first 6 weeks
  • 50% of Pastors report they’d leave the ministry if they had another way to replace their income (research by The Barna Group)
  • 12.2 million Americans seriously considered suicide in 2020
  • 3.2 million planned a suicide attempt
  • 1.2 million attempted suicide

Tough times come to all of us. Whether it be a small financial challenge, a horrendous divorce, the loss of a loved one, an undesired break up, losing a job, or shutting down a business due to lack of funds, or any other challenge. And of course, sometimes we all have those down days where the blues just seem to creep in, and we feel inadequate or exhausted to the bone.

Research reveals that people who’ve done the deep inner work (the resurrecting of the Champion within) are far more likely to stay the course and to refuse the temptation to give up, throw in the towel, or call it quits.

When people speak to me about this concept, they assume that it’s weakness on their part that leads them to wanting to give up.

However, rarely…if ever…is that the case.

The truth is, there’s a reason that Champions fare better at staying the course. They develop habits, practices and life routines, that help them go the distance.

Going the distance begets going the distance that begets going the distance, etc. At some point, going the distance becomes the reward, in and of itself. A positive feedback loop in action! Instead of living a life on loop mode.

No one ever said that going the distance was easy, or without challenge. But once going the distance is the reward in and of itself, giving up is rarely even a consideration that comes to mind.

Since my client had been through my program quite some time ago, I asked her if she’d like to hear what I’ve learned from Champions about their secrets to going the distance.

With visible excitement she said, “I just love it that hope springs eternal in you. Here I expected you to question me about what had gone wrong in my marriage and help me come to a tough decision. But instead, you’ve just assumed that if I knew how…I’d go the distance.  And I can’t tell you how much that means to me.”

The truth is it means a lot to everyone. Because in our heart of hearts, none of us wants to quit or give up, we just don’t know how to begin to untangle us, to go the distance.

Hopefully these truths from great Champions will help you: 

1. Champions know and live their purpose.

What is meant by purpose?

  • The reason you are here!
  • It’s been defined as “an abiding attention to living, being, doing something both personally meaningful, while making a positive mark on the world”

Champions not only know their own purpose, but in addition, in both their marriages and their families, they find and nurture purpose.

The reason that purpose helps Champions go the distance is this:

A purpose is not a destination!

It’s a journey.

It’s a becoming.

A being.

A daily doing.

It’s a practice of purposeful living, with priority, on a moment by moment basis.

Therefore, a difference is made at some level every single day. Champions do something that moves them ‘forward’ every day. They know surrender is the birthplace of spirit. The unseen that defines the seen.

This daily reward of becoming, being, and living ensures that Champions go the distance.

My client was curious as she leaned forward and said, “I know my purpose. I found it in your Power of Purpose workshop, that we did, during Coach Training. It’s made all the difference in the world in my daily life.”

She paused to gather thought and continued.

“But I’d never considered having a purpose with my husband. Can you tell me about that?”

I explained that Drs. John and Julie Gottman, who’ve done the greatest amount of research on marriages point to this as a very important part of a marriage.

Dr. Gottman says, “As you begin your life together it’ll be important and fun to establish things together that will give purpose and meaning to your relationship.”

Having a shared purpose, shared values, and a culture rich in legacy forms a deep bond. It’s important to incorporate each other’s desires and dreams into the purpose.

Research has clearly shown that when this exists, that conflict occurs less often, is less intense, and there are few gridlock situations in the marriage.

The same research also reveals significantly increased levels of intimacy.

There’s not much surprise, that break ups and divorces, are significantly fewer when this purpose and shared meaning are present as a focal point of the relationship.

“I love that idea and it makes total sense, but I have no idea where to start,” my client asked with curiosity and a look of hope? 

I told her that I had couples start by asking some key questions that’ll help begin the search for purpose together:

  • What would we really like our marriage to look like?
  • How might that help our children (young or adults)?
  • Our community?
  • What would we like to contribute to make our family even better than it is?
  • What would we like to contribute to make our community even better than it is?
  • How would we like to influence others together?
  • How could we make a difference together?

After you/I/we explore these things, we all can choose one or two that we

can do to make our marriages even richer. And then 2 or 3 things we as couples could do together to contribute or make a difference in our community or our world, hand-in-hand-together.

With a tinge of hopeful excitement she said, “You know … I think just having those conversations would do us a world of good!”

My client was showing more signs of hope as she ask, “But could you give me an example of something another couple has done?”

I told her the story of a couple who desired to do something significant in the community for the homeless.

They enlisted a host of volunteers and spent months organizing their dream. Long story short, on Christmas morning, in sleet and rain, I had the privilege of serving ‘in’ their dream.

We provided gifts and fed hundreds of people inside the homeless shelter and set up tents and served those on the streets outside. Providing each of them with warm sleeping bags.

It was a pivotal moment for their marriage that took the focus off them for them to gain new focus for each other.

Remember…. “If you give your life away, you’ll find your life.”

Jesus Christ… The All-Time Best-Selling Author

And it continues. Just a few weeks ago they did a toy drive for families who couldn’t afford Christmas. Through difficult times, purpose has kept their marriage strong, and they found what binds them in moments of peace to a life of peace. 

What about you?

Is there a purpose at the center of your marriage? If not, hopefully you’ll take time to begin to answer questions and create meaning for your marriage.

It is the best insurance against throwing in the towel.


Part of staying the course is about taking charge of your life and your brain… and that starts with deciding and then letting the power in surrender begin the change that discovers ‘all that you are’ that leads to ‘all you will be’.  

From the moment you wake up in the morning, to your last thought before drifting into fulfilled and sweet rest you must make powerful decisions about who you wish to be, and how you desire to influence your world.

Research has revealed that the morning routine is very key to each of our lives…

To our fulfillment.

To our success.

To our connection.

How we start our day,

is how we respond to our day,

and how we end the day.

Here are the additional things that research has shown about having an intentional morning routine:

  • People who do this are better prepared for the rest of the day
  • Those who do this are far more productive
  • Those who do this feel like they’re in charge of their lives and not drifting
  • It’s been shown to lower stress levels
  • It significantly improves relationships
  • It creates higher energy levels
  • It boosts our memories and makes our cognitive processes clearer
  • It boosts our energy levels significantly
  • It creates more flexibility

Champions are intent on harnessing all these benefits. It’s the beginning of the evolution of heart and soul creating hope that changes everything.

Without this, we’re more prone to awaken and let our brains tell us what our days will be like. And direct our lives to the place of “settling”. Living life in loop mode.

But becoming very intentional about those first moments and hours of our day can dramatically change our lives.

What we all are wanting is to create a new daily ‘faith-cry/mindset’, by starting the day saying…I will happen to life…life doesn’t happen to me…for this day I know…life will happen for me…not to me!

Dr. JP Pawliw-Fry, a New York Times best seller shares research about our morning hours:


“What do most of us do first thing upon waking? We pick up our phones and start scrolling through news feeds, emails, and texts. How could this be good for our brain?


It’s not! Research shows us that it spikes our cortisol levels, puts us on high alert, and doesn’t prepare us for the day ahead, which may include tough decisions or challenging conversations… 


No wonder many of us are feeling burnt out these days.

Instead of looking at our phone, we need to intentionally use a morning routine that sets the tone for the day. And decide – purposefully – what to first expose our brains and bodies to, rather than, turning to whatever article comes scrolling across our social media feed or that random email from a colleague.”

Champions are very intentional about their morning routine and know that it sets them up for success. Because (yes it sounds too simple) they’ve embraced and harnessed their body and their brain’s ability to align with their positive neuron desires! Here are some key things they do:

  • They pre-determine what their first thoughts for the day will be. Long before they ask themselves what hurts or aches, or what stressful things must they handle for the day…they’ve already decided what their first thoughts and actions will be.
  • For example, I have a power word I select annually, and the moment the alarm goes off, I stretch my body and say my power word out loud as I get up and turn off the alarm. INSPIRE! That’s the word I say aloud as I get out of bed, and I begin to recite the words and phrases that I use to describe what INSPIRE means to me:
    • I… incredible healing partnership
    • N… ever ending favor
    • S… spirit filled membership site
    • P… prosperity in health and finances
    • I … invincible Champions
    • R… redeeming love
    • E… energy, enthusiasm, fun, and laughter
  • Next Champions are very intentional about doing things that fill them up. For me that includes reciting my power proclamation aloud. For others it might be listening to something inspiring while brushing their teeth and washing their face. Here’s a portion of my daily power proclamation:
    • Resiliency rules my world. I may get knocked down, but I refuse to stay down. I will rise again, master my emotions, engage my focus, and fire up determination as I move forward in full force!
  • As I embrace my gifts and callings, I will launch a membership site that calls forth Champions. I prosper greatly in contribution, health, love, and finances.
  • I am hands outstretched and upward, in anticipation of the bountiful, beautiful blessings God, pouring out upon me and I will pay it forward from a grateful, awe inspired heart 
  • Thirdly, Champions look forward with ‘vision focus’ reviewing their purpose and their goals. I read my purpose statement aloud. Followed by my goals. Then I include gratitude as part of the step.
  • Finally, Champions consider the most important relationships in their lives, and set their reticular activating systems (RAS) to expecting the best from and giving their best to themselves, their spouses, their children, their coworkers, or employees. They envision positive influence, encouragement, and kindness that they can bestow on the important people in their lives.

Talk about taking charge of your life and determining your truth that builds confidence!

  • When possible, at least a few moments of cardio movement are added to their morning routine. It has incredible proven researched benefits. When possible, I do my power proclamation and my gratitude while doing cardio. Whether that be dancing to instrumental music as I do my proclaiming or spending a little bit of time on my climber.
  • Research on fasting morning cardio reveals:
    • Your motor meta-metabolism stays elevated for at least several hours afterwards new line
    • It releases mood enhancing endorphins, such as dopamine, that give you a great start for the day
    • It also creates energy that lasts throughout the day
    • It regulates appetite
    • It affects your circadian rhythms to an easier wake up daily
    • It increases fat burning
    • It promotes weight loss
    • It ignites our neurocognitive abilities, overriding any grogginess or brain fog

“I had never thought of making my partner an important part of my morning routine.” My client confessed and continued.

“If I’m totally honest, I think now of how his mood might be, and wonder how I might avoid him.”

I smiled and nodded because I understand that dynamic and I explained to her, “However, setting our RAS (reticular activating system) for awesome things in our marriage, in our life, in our daily activities is powerful, and totally programmable.  Our reticular activating system (our brain’s Google search engine) will help us look for what we type in the search bar and download.”

Isn’t it amazing! Inside us, is the power to shift our lives into autopilot mode. That can unify our hearts, our minds, our bodies towards our-‘purposeful’!

IF, we’re willing to pay attention, to the way we process thoughts … and life!

It’s not who we are, it’s who we’ve become. And with most of us, if not all of us, it’s not our fault. We started with genuine rightful needs that we stressed to get met as babies and children … and didn’t get them met in a healthy way.

As a result, the beginning of our tangled selves launched us into a life of hoping to find our truth that’s left us wondering what that is!

But, don’t be overwhelmed. Overwhelm will become ‘your’ prisoner just by doing one thing daily, just one thing, that moves you forward every day. Reset your RAS…you have the power!

Like, shifting a poor-me outlook, to a grateful one! Or to … all I have is now and … I’m ok right now!

Resetting our attitudes starts the process of flipping on this internal/eternal power switch, the autopilot of the heart. A power just waiting to partner with our intuitions and build our day-by-day hope! And hope…is the universal currency dreamers and Champions live on!

What about you? What do you type in your Google search engine each morning? 

Recently, a depressed man told me that when he awakened in the morning, his mind would immediately turn to how awful his divorce had been and how he wished he’d done things differently.

-Followed by an inventory of his aches and pains, then while dragging himself out of bed, he began considering all the stress set before him for the day.

-HE set his RAS into considering negative memories, noticing his aches and pains, and being stressed out. And his RAS was delivering and his can-do autopilot, was flatlined.

What about you? What are you setting your brain for each day? We now know, in the neuropsychology world, your mind/soul will absolutely, concretely, emphatically follow the course you set in motion in your brain day-by-day.  

Research shows that from the waking moment to the end of your first hour, you’re setting your ship’s sails, its course, and the MPH of your wind for the day. And that ship will go wherever you command it to go!

It’s a progression. It takes time. It starts with the most important step; the first one…which is!? Start!  

Don’t re-bury yourself over and over again … by letting the overwhelm of getting to the finish line … keep you at the starting line. Everyone that’s been where you are, had almost the exact same feelings … just a different storyline.

The difference?

Are ready?

Rocket science 101…they started…Profound?!…DUH!?

But they continued to do something that moved them forward every day not looking towards or contemplating the finish line but re-creating a daily starting line for just – the next step.

They let their attempts find what works, what needs changed, what worked best. They discovered this is how vision is defined, focused, purposed…and then…what do you know!?

They looked up one day…and they’d created a life! An AMAZING life! No more life in loop mode!

Again…it’s not who you are, but who you’ve become.

Surrender is always a solo journey.

But surrender ALWAYS delivers the relationships, the connections, the revenues along the journey, to continue the journey! It’s the true spirit of a Champion…ONLY surrender brings lasting peace, enduring hope, and grateful abundance!

You’re reading this because you want change that matters. I’ve lived this, watched this, encouraged this, become this, and watched countless others do the same. The most powerful person in the world is-you! In YOUR world…you’re the Champion!

Set a power routine for the first hour of your day that’ll set sail to an awesome destination! And it’ll always go the distance!

It’s a free attitude beyond abundance … just by changing the way you think and finding what you believe…step by step!

Jesus was matter of fact in giving great tips: “Embrace this life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance, just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or hemming and hawing—and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this life, and you’ll get God’s everything.” 


Time is one thing that is allotted to every human being in the same quantity. The only difference between all of us is how we use that time.

Champions see each moment as valuable and use their time with great integrity…to create that value.

Before you go off thinking I’m going to say that Champions never take breaks, never do vacations, never have fun, and never allow themselves one second of downtime…WRONG!

Champions see the value in all of that, but you’ll not find them “wasting time.” What’s “wasted time?”

  • To procrastinate
  • To avoid doing something
  • Especially by engaging in some frivolous or diversionary activity
  • Devoting minutes or hours to useless activity
  • Use of moments or energy that bring no value

“When you kill time, remember, that’s not a resurrection commodity.” A.W. Tozer

Research tells us astounding truths about how we waste time daily:

Champions practice time integrity because they know that every moment matters. They always shift ONE thing of importance, to be their next move or decision, by using a ‘one next step at a time’ style of thinking.

Champions learn and know that’s the starting point to the cancellation process of each ‘overwhelming’ emotion and feeling that try to hold them at the starting line in limbo!

They know that every moment they take a step forward purposefully, that time used well keeps them staying the course and know that’s what creates and defines their course.

They know that every moment in time is an opportunity to make a difference for others that’ll make a difference in themselves. When that process becomes your new normal, the Champion in you is coming alive!

They know that every moment in time is another reason to live their purpose. And they know that the doing, becomes their defining, of the next right thing to do…purpose begats purpose that begats purpose!

They know that every moment of time spent with their partner or spouse building the relationship and deepening their intimacy, will provide the support they need to stay the course.

Life happens for them, not to them.

Time matters.

How we spend our time determines how much wind is in our sails. This kind of wind is born through a simple determination that we can trust our brains and bodies…to ‘fall in line’ with that determination.

AND… all the new neuroscience says…YES and AMEN!

“So, I think that you’re saying that because my husband and I don’t prioritize spending any time together, that could be why the wind is out of the sails of our marriage?”

Great question asked by my client!

I laughed heartily as I responded, “Well, that sounds so great and makes so much sense that I wish I could tell you that’s exactly what I was saying! But instead, all I can probably say truthfully is that you pulled that gem from what I did share…And I will be using it from now on!”

There’s only one thing we can never get back…TIME!

Time integrity!

Time should be invested well, and that’s high priority for Champions.  Just as you would consistently invest money into a company that you believe was contributing value to the world, wouldn’t you want to invest your time in a relationship that could contribute great value to your life?

Time integrity keeps us on track, ensuring that we’ll go the distance. Gold is not the goal…but it’s the pursuit our giftings and our serving … then we’ll see that the gold will take care of itself!

The abundant life, that my Mamaw told me about, is not an amount…but the joy of our grateful pursuit of it, that has the power to define our gifts to the knowing of our purpose…that, over time, is transformed into our ‘daily bread’…and that becomes abundant!

All of us will experience challenges and difficulties in our lives, in our marriages, in our families, in our businesses, in our finances. The goal, the resolve we need to pursue, is for us to embrace this inner Champion desire and call. To trade out one old habitual thought, daily, for one new one to install on our hard drive.

That will eventually eliminate “overwhelm mode”, one surrender at a time … for the next right step towards change. And soon, the abundant life will become our new inner loop mode!

In order for you/me to stay the course, can I suggest that you invest yourself in doing what Champions do? Those who’ve stayed the course through many years and many challenges … will you do what they have done?

They practice intentionally (I’m present) style living in their lives, and their marriages, and their families. Being present is to focus on others and not inward for just that moment. Those we love will notice.

As I heard someone say recently, that the reason Dale Carnegie’s book, How To Win and Influence People keeps selling through the years, is because its focus is not on how interesting we can be, but how interested we are in others.

Now that’s being PRESENT!

Champions embrace each morning with brand-new-day-attitude! Filled with new mercies, they seize their first waking moments as opportunity to establish a daily determination with powerful morning meditations and routines.

Brain armor/brain virtue for each day!

They practice time integrity, knowing that every moment matters! That living in the moment establishes the truth they’ll need for the pursuit for abundance.

My client took these things to heart. She worked through the considerations with her husband, and they created meaning and purpose. It included practicing gratitude for one another aloud daily and becoming involved in mentoring youth in their community through sports and play.

She developed her morning routine, and her marriage became front and center in that routine. Setting her RAS (Reticular Activating System) for searching for the best in him and deciding to deliver her best to him.

They began investing time together doing some exercises I gave them to connect for at least 20 minutes daily, devoting time to a date night weekly, and blocking off time for a weekend getaway every quarter.

Not only is her sail set for going the distance in her professional ventures, but she and her husband are staying the course in their marriage.

Staying the course speaks of individuals, marriages, and families of high character and great determination.

Harnessing the power of taking charge of the purposeful winds in their lives, they sail into great fulfillment while going the distance.

One ship sails East, and another West, 

By the self-same winds that blow. 

It’s the set of the sails, and not the gales,

that tells the way we go. 

Like the winds of the sea
Are the 
waves of time,
As we 
journey along through life,
‘Tis the set of the soul,
determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife. 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Texas Sized Hugs!

Dr. Neecie