As my high school history teacher Tom “Moto” Pile used to challenge we students: He used to goad…
Do you have what it takes? Do you have MOX….ie?!
Are you gonna suck it up, or are you too LA…zy!?
You gotta have GUMP…shun! You gotta want it!
In re-telling, he sounds mean. But, it was actually good, tough love.
Moto taught history class the same way he coached his winning baseball teams at Edwardsville High School… With energy, moxie, and pushing students further than they knew they could. Moto knew some of us had it in us.
These were some of my early lessons about being a champion. Not just a “winner” kind of champion, but someone who champions projects, ideas, and their own lives.
I’m then reminded of the more recent lessons shared with us by Seth Godin in his book “Free Prize Inside.”
Seth says the same stuff. “It is up to you!” he writes as he introduces the section of the book on becoming a champion. On the cover of the book Seth wrote, “Make Something Happen.”
If you read between the lines, what Moto and Seth are saying is that we can be the 1% who does care and who can make a difference.
Many find twisted satisfaction in griping. Having something to bellyache about is a pastime… It’s what helps to fill a 40-hour workweek.
We love to rail… “They don’t know what they’re doing. How they’re mucking it up again. How this meeting is another waste of time.”
WE are the THEY.
No, it is not easy. Perhaps the task is “out of your pay grade.” And, yes, it would be simpler to just do your job and hope to a) quit, b) get fired, or c) transfer to a place where you don’t have to deal with what’s broken.
The beauty is, not everyone has the moxie to be a champion. To suck it up and have the gumption to make a change.
Seizing opportunities like these are the training camps for leaders.
Once you’ve set your sights on a project to champion, Seth recommends leveraging three key aspects… a fulcrum ensuring it is doable, worth doing, and can be done by me.
Is it going to be successful? While it may be nearly impossible to predict, Seth writes… “Proceeding with confidence and as more than a wild notion, you’re far more likely to get the support you need.”
Being a champion means “figuring out who wants what – and then playing it back to them.” And look for those small pockets of power within your organization.
Am I able to champion the project? Perhaps you know you can… But sometimes others may not perceive you as such. Seth suggests building your reputation as a champion with small, easy-win tasks. Gradually increase the size and importance as others gain confidence.
While I can’t recall what Moto taught me about the details of the Civil War battle of Chancellorville… I do remember what it means to be a champion.
So… I ask you… do YOU have what it takes? Do you have MOX…ie?!