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Who’s Your Champion?

Focusing Your Lens
By Vickie Swann
Who’s Your Champion?

(Photo Source: Author) 

Aspirational lens, who do you want to be for yourself and others

Pause for a moment and think about someone who rejuvenates and inspires you; someone who makes you feel valued, empowered, and strong; that special someone who brings you laughter and joy, but also gives you a gentle nudge when you’re feeling deflated or disheartened. No, seriously, pause and think….

As I’m sure is the case for many, it can be difficult to narrow it down to just one person, but there are a few that immediately come to mind: my husband, parents and sister, coaches, and mentors, and forever friends, to name a few. Which leads me to the title of this post, “Who is YOUR Champion?”

Though these special ones have entered my life in a variety of ways over my lifetime, the one common thread among them all is this: I can count on them to be my Champion. I’m sure many of you have seen Rita Peterson’s, Every Child Needs a Champion, TedTalk where she shares a few anecdotes about the importance of being a champion for our students. However, I’m a strong believer that every adult needs one too.

In our daily hustle and bustle, champions may not be as apparent as we hope. Difficult conversations or circumstances, student safety and well-being, ensuring academic rigor, and community pressures can blur our lens. What steps can we take to recognize who our champions are, how can we be a champion for others, and how we can be our own champion? Let’s take a look at a few questions to consider to help us zoom in and refocus.

Who’s Your Champion?

Go back to the person(s) you thought about earlier. I thought about a recent family FaceTime call where we were catching up on life’s happenings. I was sharing about an upcoming project I’m working on, and that’s when my champions naturally intervened. My parents gave me words of encouragement while my older sister jokingly teased me about all the ways it could go wrong, followed by my husband giving me a reassuring hug to remind me that all would go great! No, this is nothing extraordinary, but what it accomplished was. It left me laughing at my sister’s sarcasm, feeling energized by my parents' faith, and empowered by my husband’s support. So, who is YOUR champion?      

  • What champion-like characteristics do you recognize in the person(s) you thought of earlier?
  • What support do you most often need when things just aren't going as planned?
  • Who do you have access to and can count on to provide this support?

Who Can You be a Champion For?

In a recent conversation, an experienced teacher was feeling less than confident with how a unit was going. He was second-guessing every move - assessments, unit development, instructional practice - the newness of the curriculum was just taking its toll. That’s when we took a moment to step away from the current situation and reflect, asking, “what are some of your greatest strengths as a teacher? What are you proud of as a teacher? How can we transfer these strengths and successes to your current situation?” After talking it through, I wrapped up the conversation by saying, “I believe in you, and I’ve got your back!” The teacher’s entire demeanor changed for the better. He left feeling confident, capable, and supported. Again, this was not an extraordinary act, just timely and with compassion and kindness. So, who can YOU be a champion FOR? 

  • Is there a colleague or friend that could use a little extra encouragement?
  • Is there an area you are particularly gifted in that you could offer to another?
  • Are there opportunities for you to tell someone, “I believe in you, and I’ve got your back!”?

How Can You be Your Own Champion?

Last, but certainly not least, I encourage you to prioritize ways to be your own champion. In Brene Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, she discusses the need for us to D.I.G. Deep, to “get Deliberate, Inspired, and Going“(Brown 4) while maintaining balance and sanity. As I read through the book, I appreciated how she gives the reader permission to center our actions around personal passions and values; to provide time and space to embrace the challenges while also acknowledging successes; to use positive self-talk and find joy in ourselves and our surroundings. Sure, I have days I totally knock this out of the park, while other days I need to hunt down my champion for a pep talk.  However, if we commit to being compassionate, humble, and empathetic of our own struggles and successes, we can be our OWN champion.

  • If you were to make a list of 10 things you were grateful for, what would it include?
  • What three positive words would friends and/or colleagues use to describe you?
  • If you could give one of your personal qualities to the entire human race, which would it be?

At times, we may have an unrealistic idea about what it takes to be a champion, however, a champion is someone who inspires, is mindful of potential, and uses support to ensure the best version of themselves. A champion’s gestures can be small or grandiose, internal or external, physical or emotional, public or private. In the end, the important thing to keep in mind is to recognize your champions, make an effort to champion others, and give yourself the time and space to recognize all the positive and beautiful differences you make each day.

So, in the days and weeks ahead, Pause…Reflect…Question…and know your Champions!

Brown Brene´. (2022). The gifts of imperfection: Let go of who you think you're supposed to be and embrace who you are. Hazelden Publishing.

Vickie Swann is a professional educator that has worked with teachers, students, and families in the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America. She is passionate about environmental sustainability, empowering others, advancing competency-based skills throughout the curriculum, and developing compassionate humans. 

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04/29/2022 - Julie, woman in business, friend, and sister
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