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Who Are Your Champions?

By Ben Baker

September 21, 2021

width=262Everyone needs a hero in life, someone to learn from and emulate. That is how we grow as people and become leaders in our own right.

Unfortunately, most of us never actively seek out people who can guide us and teach us what we do not know. Instead, we have an overwhelming desire to be independent and not rely on others, to our own detriment.

Why?

Why do we take the more challenging path and become the worst obstacles in our path to success? Why are we unwilling to acknowledge that others have been down the path that we are embarking on and can provide insights and guidance that could make our lives easier? Why are we unable to say, “I am not sure” and ask for advice from those who would be happy to provide it, if they were only asked?

Is it pride? Possibly. Is it not wanting to look foolish in front of people we consider to be authority figures? Probably. Is it a culture of self-dependence in which we rely on the wisdom of Google and YouTube rather than ask for help from those we know and trust? Most likely!

The challenge is that when we rely on Google and YouTube and base our search patterns solely on the questions we know how to ask, we only make decisions synonymous with our preconceived view of reality. We do not know what we do not know, and because of this, our discovery is limited by our blind spots. We possess the inability to formulate the right questions or discover answers that will lead us to a broader view of the world.

For this reason, all of us need champions in our lives—people who can help us become the best version of ourselves; those who can challenge our sense of reality and provide perspectives that are outside our comfort zone. This is how we grow, and this is how we become more valuable members of society.

So, who are your champions? Who are the people you can turn to who enable you to move beyond your comfort zone? Who are those you trust enough to allow you to be vulnerable without being exposed? Who are those who will allow you to broaden your viewpoints, become a better version of yourself, and become more valuable to those around you?

These people may not be who you think of first. They are not necessarily your boss or your boss’s boss. They may not even work in the same company or industry as you. They may not live in the same city, state, or country. However, they are out there, and it is up to you to find them.

How?

First, understand what you need and why you need it. Each of us has to look internally and decide who we are and who we want to be. (A free chapter of my book, Powerful Personal Brands: A Hands-On Guide to Understanding Yours, is available at www.yourbrandmarketing.com/ebooks—it may help.) We need to understand our wants, needs, goals, desires, and fears. We need to know what we do well and what we do not, and why. (This discovery tool may help, too: whyinstitute.com/discover-your-why; use code “BenBaker”

to get a discount—no affiliate fee provided to me.)

From there, we need to determine what is keeping us from achieving our goals. Do we require insights, strategies, or skills, or a combination of all three? Then we must look first to our network. Who has the skills and expertise that we lack, which keep us from succeeding on our terms? Those people are your first conversations. Those are people you know, like, and trust, and you believe that they have your best interests at heart.

Ask them for help. This is a sign of strength and not weakness! Tell them your goals and your challenges, and ask them what they think. Now is the most crucial part of the exercise. Be quiet and listen! Do not interject. Do not try to show how smart you are, and most importantly, do not take what they say as attacks on your character; they are there to help. All of these will be to your detriment.

Your goal is to find not one champion, but many. A number of people can help you with specificand sometimes you need more than one for the same problem. Take what they have to say and incorporate it into your own set of beliefs; contemplate, think, test, evaluate, and then go back and ask more questions.

This is not easy and may be a little uncomfortable, and it is meant to be both. This is how we grow. This is how we get better. Communication is far more about understanding and internalizing than it is speaking.

Oh, one last thing: Someday, someone will come up to you and ask you to be a champion for them. Do not take this lightly; it is an important step in both your and their growth.


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Ben Baker is president and CEO of Your Brand Marketing, an employee engagement consultancy designed to help you communicate your brand’s value effectively inside your organization. He is the author of two books: Powerful Personal Brands: A Hands-On Guide to Understanding Yours (2018) and Leading Beyond a Crisis: A Conversation About What’s Next (2020). Ben also hosts the iHeartRadio and Spotify syndicated YourLIVINGBrand.live show with more than 265 episodes. How can Your Brand Marketing help you achieve your goals? Book a free 30-minute conversation at bit.ly/3e5bbo3.