Definitionally, a “mindset” is an established set of attitudes held by an individual. Two of the strongest mindsets we see in athletes and leaders today that hinder their optimization include (a) the purpose of adversity, and (b) what it means to “fail.”

Any successful person understands that adversity and failure are key ingredients to success. In fact, it is the actual wrestle with challenge and adversity that develops hard-wired skill at the neurological level. The purpose of adversity is not to derail you, but rather, to build within you the essence of sustainable, long-term success: grit.

Once an individual develops the mindset that adversity has purpose that actually aligns with his or her goals, one must transform his or her thinking around what it means to “fail.”


This simply means First Attempt In Learning. And it is learning that leads one to innovation, growth, and ultimately, success.

A former NFL wide receiver once told me that the way he knows whether or not an individual ever played at the professional level is how he or she deals with failure. Pros understand that failure is a part of the game, and that it does not define them as a man or as an athlete: if something went wrong, it is not because he is bad but rather, because something went wrong in the process. So they review the process, identify the error, make an adjustment, and then come out the next game and execute.

If you want to be a pro, you have to do the things a pro does, the way a pro does them. Although we never welcome the error, we always welcome the opportunity that the error presents us.

One’s “established set of attitudes” around adversity and failure are key distinguishers in an athlete’s and leader’s ability to fully engage, connect, and optimize his or her raw talent. Despite anything going on around them or within them, can they win anyway? This is the Championship Mindset around adversity and failure.


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