Heart of A Champion: What I Learned from The Pope Family by Kirsten Farris

Many of us were touched by the passing of Stone Pope, and it is nice to see the equine community put aside the occasional petty and self centered behavior and come forward with an outpouring of love, support and compassion for a family that many of us have not personally met. I am amazed at the emotions that I have felt over the last few days, and writing a trivial article on How to Get The Perfect Horse Show Booty In 6 Easy Steps didn’t feel right and I thought it might by more appropriate to look at the traits of the Heart of a Champion.

A Champion Accepts What Is

Sometimes things in life seem harsh, unfair and cruel, and when things happen that we don’t like we have two choices; we can go kicking and screaming trying to change what is, or we can accept the hand we have been dealt and move forward with our heads held high. None of us can control what happens, but we do control how we respond to our given circumstances.

A Champion Never Asks Why

We all want answers, but quite frankly, the big “Why” questions that we have in life rarely have them. Instead of asking Why, a true champion asks useful questions that start with What or How. Just try it. The next time you find yourself Why-ning about something (that means asking why over and over) ask yourself, “What can I do about this?” or “How can I move forward in this particular situation?”   When you stop looking for the cause and begin seeking a solution, you are not only accepting what is, you are now proactively driving your own bus toward a solution.

A Champion Shows Up With A Smile – A Genuine One

Yes, we can all put a smile on our face, or even make an attempt to turn our frown upside down. But that isn’t a genuine smile. A genuine smile doesn’t come from your mouth, it comes from your heart. When you are truly excited about life in general and come from a place of happiness and gratitude, you are learning to enjoy life for what it is, no matter the circumstances.

A Champion Gives 100%

If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing your best. If you are going to get in the game, then get in there and give it your all. When we don’t give something our best effort, then we have cheated ourselves and those around us as well. Most of us would admit that the accomplishments that we are most proud of weren’t exactly easy but we played at 100%, and that is what made the difference.

A Champion Finds The Good In Every Situation

Even in the darkest moments, there is always a glimmer of hope if you take time to recognize it. When you can feel two completely opposite emotions at the same time, you have just experienced the bittersweet stuff that poets write about, and artists try to portray in paintings. When you allow yourself to experience the scope of emotions you are feeling in a certain circumstance, you are also creating emotional flexibility that will allow you to put things in perspective and find the good in every situation that you encounter.

A Champion Has Faith

One of the definitions of faith is that it is a “Firm belief in something for which there is no proof”.   Whether it is belief in yourself, a higher power, or both, a champion has an inner knowing that something is possible, and then they follow through by taking action to make that possibility a reality regardless of the odds, experts and nay-sayers.

A Champion Inspires People

To me, there is a difference between a winner and a champion. A winner has a lot of trophies and titles to their name, but that is where their story ends. A champion touches people’s lives and inspires them to be a better person because of how they live their life inside and outside of the arena.

A Champion Comes From Champions

Some people say Champions aren’t born, they are made, and in the best of circumstances, they aren’t told how to be a champion, they learn by watching the actions of those around them, and they become one.

 The Heart of Stone Fund has been set up to help the Pope Family during this difficult time in their lives. Click here to learn more on how you can help. 

Kirsten Farris is a regular contributor to GoHorseShow.com and a Certified Sport Consultant, Certified Equestrian Fitness Trainer, and the Author of The Workbook for the Equestrian Athlete – A Guide to Showring Success. Kirsten and her horse, Lyles Al Lie, were the 2012 and 2013 AQHA Select World Champion in Hunter Under Saddle and Reserve World Champions in 2014. For more information contact her at: kirsten@equestrianathlete.com © 2014