Champions stand out by their ability to hit shots under pressure with ease and calm. How can you see if you are in the champion zone? There’s only one way. You have to test yourself. Not everyone will put himself to the test.
Testing creates pressure. Pressure reveals where you stand on the champ-o-meter scale.
Last week I decided to test myself. I entered a tournament that was bigger than my current state of play. I knew it. I did it anyway. It was an intentional choice. Why? I wanted to test myself to see where I stood in my training for my big championship down the road. I could have waited until I was more fully prepared. I chose a different strategy. I decided to test myself to see what I needed to do to prepare. The pressure in the test would reveal those things to me.
My test revealed four things: a champion spirit, a champion character, a childhood wound, and a backslidden golf swing–the good, the bad, and the ugly. Because a tournament places a demand on every part of my being, every part of my being revealed itself. From what was hidden even to myself to what was obvious, I located myself. Now I know what I need to work on to fully engage for my upcoming championship.
My backslidden golf swing was a result of changing the pacing of my swing. When I reverted back to a slower pace, my new swing appeared the very next day. Lesson: perfect my pacing under pressure. The childhood wound was addressed by an opportunity to give to others the very thing I did not receive myself. Lesson: impart more of what I gained from that experience to others. Those lessons go beyond my head. They reach a cellular level. When your preparations reach a cellular level, you are on the road to championship.
One of the reasons King David was a champion was that he invited testing. While a king, a warrior, a worshipper, and a man after God’s heart, he wasn’t afraid to be tested. “Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind, for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth” (Psalm 26:2).
What comes out of you when you are tested? What does pressure produce in you? Do you remain the calm and relaxed person under pressure as you are without the pressure? Who do you become? If you are the same person—hitting your shots under pressure with calm and ease, welcome to the champion zone. If not, examine what the pressure reveals to you and work on your game along with me.