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Managing Internal Champs and Chumps

Your success in your chosen entrepreneurial venture or role within a business will be heavily dependent on how well you control your internal champs and chumps.  It is inevitable that you are guided by a self-talk and self-image that you may not even be consciously aware is occurring inside of you each time you consider taking a risk or making an important decision.  That self-talk may be helpful and encourage you to move forward, and it may be equally helpful to advise caution and to reassess your actions before you commit to an action that you may regret.  On the other hand, it also may be harmful in preventing you from doing something that would have a positive impact on your future.  Other times, your self-image may have conflicting messages you are having to moderate (I am smart and capable, BUT I am also prone to acting rashly without thinking through the consequences) and determine what to give more weighting to in your decision-making. I was first exposed to this idea in a training session conducted by Melinda Cohan of Coaches Console.  She uses the phrases, Superpowers and Villains to describe the way we tend to think about our own default assumptions on our competencies. I have taken her concept and morphed it into different description titles, but similar content – Champs and Chumps.


As we are greeted by new challenges, we immediately form an opinion on the likelihood of our success. Often, we recall a previous experience or similar challenge from the past where we did not succeed.  Perhaps it is even something from our childhood that instantly is brought forth in our memory and causes us to pause (you may be a completely competent and capable person able to navigate through complex interpersonal issues – but you are still paralyzed by your 4th grade failure to turn a decimal into a fraction and you therefore now see yourself as, “bad at math.”).  Any transaction that requires a computation you now defer to others or avoid.  This self-talk hinders your ability to move forward in your personal life (I won’t try to refinance  my home mortgage, that is too complex), or your business dealings (charging interest for late payment, knowing the impact of discounting, setting a price, etc.) are seen as activities that you will just fail at, so why even try?

While the example above is just one of many, others include:

  • not taking an action until everything is EXACTLY as it needs to be to be perfect.  Rather than seeking progressive performance and always improving, this mindset leads to postponing taking the steps as you wait for an even better way or more perfect way to achieve something
  • feeling that you are not worthy of being seen as (fill in the blank – seen as an expert, seen as worth the high fees or cost, seen as able to be hired for a new job or promotion worthy, etc.)
  • viewing your efforts in relation or comparison to others and determining you are not “as good” as the other person, so therefore not worth attempting something.  In essence, defeating yourself before you even start – and with no real opponent working against you!
Business man with super powers

Let your super powers lead your efforts.


On the other hand, we can also use our impressions or perceived capabilities of our own strengths to overcome challenges.  When confronted by a situation that may be unfamiliar or viewed as difficult, we may rely on our successes in previous experiences where we succeeded.  Using our confidence in our ability to overcome difficult situations, or believing in our ability to achieve can often provide the boost we need to remain focused on solving the current issue.

For instance, viewing your actions taken in the face of an unusual or challenging circumstance can be seen as simply doing research.  It does not have to be right, good, or accurate.  It is helping you get closer to the right answer or approach.  Rather than putting pressure on ourselves to be right the first time, it helps facilitate the momentum toward the right answer if we reframe the situation as steps we are taking to get at insight or to build our direction. Even a previously seen or viewed as, “bad outcome” is still positive in that we learned what NOT to do or repeat.

Other potential resources we may want to rely upon are: 

  • confidence that we can take a problem and chunk it or pull apart elements or pieces of the issue and resolve them one by one rather than being overwhelmed by the entirety of a larger issue
  • being able to recognize that you are not in competition with others and that you have a unique set of skills or offerings to provide that are not comparable to someone else.  You have value to extend to a situation and can play to your strengths
  • extreme focus on the expertise you have to offer and what the limits are of that expertise.  Where you are most effective and where you are comfortable seeking the assistance of others to complete a task.

This is a quick overview of the impact our own internal dialogue has on our efforts and ultimate outcomes.  For many of us, we begin any challenge with a self-imposed handicap of our mindset.  For others, we leverage the positive experiences or outlook we have built over time and eagerly apply those to any new situation.

What are your Champs and Chumps that either propel you to success or hold you back from achieving all that you might otherwise be able to accomplish?


David Zahn