YOU ARE A CHAMPION WHEN YOU ARE BEING YOU
There are going to be times in your life when you’re not going to be able to do the things you want to. This might make you feel trapped, and that might hurt for you. It’s never a great feeling being on the sidelines and watching other people do the things you really want to do in life, and when you feel stuck your mind might start to wander, and you’ll think about how things could be different. How situations could be different. Sometimes you might start to think about the ways YOU could be different.
There are seven billion people in this world and no one is going to have the same fingerprints and hands as you. So rather than use your hands to point at other people and think ‘I want what they have!’, you can point to yourself and go, ‘I am completely unique and special, and if I work hard and stay true to myself, I can do amazing things.’
When you start being you, as proudly as you can be, so many things are possible. When you work on figuring out who you are, what you are good at and where you can improve, that version of you gets stronger, and stronger, and stronger, and stronger.
And remember that there is so much more to you than what you do.
DARE TO DREAM
It’s hard to know what is possible until you start. You have to be able to dream big and be prepared to work towards your dreams.
The thing is, sometimes the picture you’re working on won’t make sense until after you’ve put all the pieces together. But what’s important is that you never stop working towards your dreams. THE PICTURE MAY CHANGE AND THE PARTS YOU NEED TO GET THERE MAY NEED TWEAKING, BUT YOU SHOULD NEVER STOP AIMING FOR WHAT YOU WANT.
When you dream big, you unlock all of this potential inside you. There’s no limit on your imagination – your brain can come up with special effects and things way more amazing than any Hollywood film. When you start imagining amazing things happening for yourself, you unlock all these different paths inside of you.
So try to paint the most amazing picture that you can for yourself – and then break it up into loads of small, achievable goals. Look at all of the different ways the world around you and the things you have in life now can work to make that big picture. Not everything is going to happen the way you want, or at the time you want, and things might change along the way, but you should never lose sight of what’s important to you.
PRACTISE LIKE A CHAMPION
YOU HAVE TO DREAM BIG AND THINK LONG TERM WHEN SETTING YOUR GOALS, BUT YOU ALSO HAVE TO HAVE THAT DRIVE TO GO OUT THERE AND CHASE IT
There’s a saying that LUCK IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR PREPARATION MEETS THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITY – the longer you spend practising and working hard towards your goals, the luckier you’ll end up being.
There will be setbacks, rough patches and times when you want to quit, tear it all up and start again. Sometimes you’ll get stuck, or run out of time, or you might get to what you think is your big moment but it doesn’t work out the way you’d planned. But that’s OK.
WHEN YOU COME UP SHORT IN A CHALLENGE, IT’S IMPORTANT NOT TO GIVE UP AND JUST STOP THERE, BUT TO LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED AND THINK ABOUT HOW YOU COULD OVERCOME A SIMILAR PROBLEM IN THE FUTURE. Think of all the hundreds and thousands of successful people in the world – they have all had to work really hard for what they want, but they have also failed a lot on their way.
BUILD YOUR CONFIDENCE
Even if you try something new and it doesn’t go so well, you have to keep your chin up. Everyone is bad at something the first time they try it, but the people who are GREAT are there because they kept trying, so don’t be put off if your first attempt doesn’t go smoothly. If you want to be confident, it helps if you have experience; so if you end up out of your comfort zone every now and again, it might be useful to stay there for a bit and practise until the uncomfortable becomes comfortable.
BEING NERVOUS IS NATURAL, SO DON’T GET WORRIED WHEN YOU FEEL THAT WAY. IT’S GOOD TO TRY NEW THINGS, BUT REMEMBER THAT WHEN YOU DO GET NERVOUS YOU DON’T HAVE TO DIVE IN HEAD-FIRST. IT’S FINE TO TAKE SMALL STEPS OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE UNTIL YOU START TO FEEL COMFORTABLE AGAIN, AND THEN GIVE IT YOUR ALL WHEN YOU’RE READY.
If you’ve ever been to a swimming pool, think of it like how you get into the water. Some people dive in, while others prefer to get in slowly. It’s OK if you’re one of those people who prefer to dip your toe in to test the water – what’s most important is you get into the pool eventually.
What you’ll find is that the more you practise, the more you get used to the water. Bit by bit you’ll go from one of those people who dips their toe in, to one of those people who can dive in no problem.
Sometimes the best way to deal with a setback is by getting back up, dusting yourself off and then immediately going back to the situation with more effort. Sometimes you need to take a break to come up with a new plan so you can return to it later. Other times you might need help to get back up, or to dust yourself off. Sometimes the best thing you can do is say ‘Well done’ to the person who beat you.
RIGHT NOW is the best time for you to learn; your brain is a sponge and you will pick things up quickly, but that also means you’re going to make a lot of mistakes as you figure everything out. You’re going to learn all about what I like to call ‘the good mistakes’, which are mistakes we make on the road to getting good at something.
FIND YOUR TEAM
WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING IN LIFE, NO MATTER WHERE YOU MIGHT END UP, IT’S GOOD TO HAVE SOMEONE YOU CAN TRUST ALONGSIDE YOU. SOMEONE WHO YOU KNOW BELIEVES IN YOU. THAT PERSON MIGHT BE YOUR MUM, YOUR DAD, YOUR GUARDIAN, A TEACHER, OR A DIFFERENT ADULT. IT COULD BE A SIBLING, OR IT COULD BE A FRIEND. IT COULD BE ANYONE. WHAT MATTERS IS THAT THERE IS SOMEONE OUT THERE WHO IS ROOTING FOR YOU AND WHO WANTS EVERYTHING TO WORK OUT FOR YOU.
Your friends, your family, everyone who’s important to you – they all have a massive part to play in your life and can help form the foundation of the person you want to be. Your life is your own journey, but make sure you always pay attention to those who help you along the way – through good times as well as the bad – and be thankful for that help. Appreciate the people who are there for you, and try to be there for them in return. When we build strong connections with people like that, amazing things can happen.
USE YOUR VOICE
There are always going to be people out there who will try to stop you using your voice. They might think that your opinion doesn’t count because of your age, the colour of your skin, where you come from or how much money you have
If you see something that bothers you, remember that you’re allowed to say ‘this bothers me’. If you see a situation where you think you can help, then why not try to help? Your voice can make a difference, and I think you might be surprised by what happens next.
If you’re reading this and thinking about using your voice to help others, then why not look into changes you can make in your local area, where you’re in a familiar place and know how things work already. Maybe there’s a local river or a field that could do with cleaning up, or there might be a way you can get more people outside playing sports. Maybe the change could be to do with food, or you could go around the area fundraising for charity
It doesn’t have to be anything big, but if you look into making small changes that can improve the environment around you, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll bump into other people who want to do the same thing. All of a sudden you could have two, ten, twenty or one hundred people who are wanting to help out. The first step is often the hardest, but you might surprise yourself with what is possible once you start exploring. Start small and gradually get bigger.
NEVER STOP LEARNING
WHEN YOU APPROACH YOUR EDUCATION, IT’S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT SCHOOL ISN’T THE BEGINNING OR THE END OF IT. SCHOOL IS SO IMPORTANT TO GIVE YOU THE BEST POSSIBLE START IN LIFE, BUT THERE’S SO MUCH OUT THERE IN THE WORLD FOR YOU TO LEARN.
Think of all the things you’d learned before you even set foot in a classroom – like how to talk, how to walk, how to make friends, and so much more! Think of all the things you learn outside of school, too, like your favourite music, what you find funny and what your favourite foods are. You don’t stop learning when you’re on school holidays – the person you were at the end of year five was just a little bit different compared to the person you were when you started year six. School is an important building block in how you learn, but it’s important to keep building on it, constantly.
Not just things that help you improve and be productive, but also soft skills, stuff that goes into your personality, even during times when you might not be enjoying yourself. You’re listening, learning and applying skills every single day. So I want you to keep your eyes and ears open for new experiences and to try to experiment wherever possible. You’ve probably done this loads of times already without even noticing.