Being a Champion is in your DNA


Talent is always up for debate. Read a handful of articles, listen to some podcasts, sit back and reflect – You’ll see that the concept of talent and what talent is, is always being contested by someone. 

The truth? Some people are born with talent. It’s a higher potential that’s found in genetic trails. But, there’s one thing not always talked about. That talent alone is not enough. 


“Talent is best thought of as any package of personal characteristics that accelerates the acquisition of expertise or enhances performance given a certain amount of expertise” (source)


Intrigued? Me too. So let’s dive into this. 

Team GB Coach and elite corporate trainer, Sir Clive Woodward, delivers a course for SIA that guides individuals through a journey of exploration from individual contributor through to champion. Achieving success and diving into the characteristics of the winner’s persona. 

Within this course, Sir Clive kicks off with the statement that talent alone is not enough. He couldn’t be more right if he tried.


“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill” – Muhammad Ali 


Putting it bluntly, your talent is what got you your job, got that foot in the door, or helped you get that LinkedIn request. But that same talent isn’t what proves your ability, nor the successful mentality that helps you meet your goals. You have to look inside yourself at your dreams, and design a vision that helps you achieve everything you hope to in life. 

Champions make a plan to get there and succeed. Others, don’t.

So you want to be a champion. What 5 steps will help you become one?



Firstly, read. Just like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it. Reading is like taking your brain to the gym. Exercising your ideas improves your concentration and motivates you to step forward. Without reading you lose all of that. 

If you don’t read, I’ve probably already lost you, but bear with me. It doesn’t have to suck or bore you, or whatever else your excuse is. Try setting yourself small goals to properly test reading out – for real this time. 

Carrying a bag is like a superpower. If you have a bag, pop a book in it to enable yourself. Pick it up and try to read one chapter per day whether it’s on the train, in the park or just before bed. One chapter a day and then you’ll see that in no time your new habit is quite enjoyable. 

Did you know that Bill Gates recommends – and actively does – reading 50 books each year, and credits it as one of the main ways he learns?


Taking time back to rest, reset and reflect is equally as important. According to the HCPC reflection is the key to identifying and appreciating your experiences. Whether they’re better or worse, you give yourself the opportunity to pull yourself out of the scenario and decide what impact that event will have on your life. 

Granted, sometimes you’ll want to throw an experience straight in the bin, but that emotion is exactly what you need to reflect on in order to be a champion. 

If you try to consume too much information and don’t reflect on your reactions and emotions, you allow yourself to get overwhelmed and overlook your own personal development. It’s important to block time out for reflection. Even if it’s a 10-minute walk after you log off for the day, or putting your headphones in and thinking on the bus, it’s crucial. 

Top tip: Lots of people like to reflect on their experiences by journaling. Documenting your thoughts not only familiarizes you with reading (do you see how this works yet?!) but gives you the chance to think about the lessons logically and document your ideas for the future. 


Ok, so we all know how important this is. We learned in high school that you don’t invent truths. You have to test, see what works, and what doesn’t, and make an informed decision based on the results. 

It’s an essential part of life if you want to progress. 

We strongly encourage all of our team to test, iterate and grow. Try setting some time aside each week to work on your new theories. Sometimes it’ll be a matter of building your idea, other times it’ll be your opportunity to test. Either way champions always take time to innovate! 

Some of the best innovators in the world thought their ideas were, well… a little crazy. But here we are today having traded up from horses to cars. So, you know, never give up.




Now we all love to say we’re cognizant of everything that’s going on around us. It’s almost a buzzword that we love to say in SaaS. But how cognizant are you really?

Don’t confuse working with learning, even if it is really easy to do. Working long weeks can make us feel like we’re gradually learning and growing, but we’re sorry to say that just isn’t the case. 

Staying focused on your average day-to-day problem-solving isn’t allotting time for your personal growth and development. You’re not getting fresh ideas until you hear from someone else’s perspective. 

Don’t leave this to your employer. Although it would be great if every employer equipped their teams with continuous learning, try setting yourself some personal learning goals and enough time to achieve them. I guarantee if you block time to learn on a productive timeline, you’ll see vast amounts of improvements in your knowledge and performance. 


Productivity doesn’t equal success. Lots of people think it does, but unfortunately, they’re incorrect. Productivity for sure plays a role, but it doesn’t mean anything if it’s not paired with continuous learning. If you’re always 100% focussed on your current work and development, rather than a longer-term plan for where you want to be in the future, your development will be capped and limited to the now.

It can be hard to allow yourself the time in your week to accomplish all of these 5 things, but it’s not something that should scare you off. Grouping these activities together will give you the foundations to drive some real personal success and be perceived by peers, friends, employers, and everyone, as a champion. Don’t always chase the immediate reward, and you’ll thank yourself in the long run. 

Sir Clive Woodward dives into these topics in more detail, along with decision-making skills, leadership, management of self, the 5-hour rule, alignment and more in DNA of a Champion. Members can enroll on this course here


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