What it Takes to be a Champion

I attended the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) Inspire Roadshow, which focuses on what we can do to support and encourage more female financial planners to our industry, and to encourage women to seek financial advice.

We were privileged to hear from Jacqui Cooper, the 5-time Olympic Aerial Skier, on what it takes to be a champion. With an incredible track record to back up her insight, she explained to us what it took.

Even at age 16 Jackie acted and spoke like a champion. She had never done aerial skiing before, and yet her coach saw the potential in her watching her bouncing on a trampoline.

Together, she and her coach created a 10 year plan, and by the tenth year, Jacqui’s coach said she would be a world champion aerial skier. All this at age 16! However, her coach said she should always keep this goal at arm’s length, and read through her plan every day, at least ten times, every day for the next ten years. He said remembering her goals would keep her “inspired and on track”.

Ten years later, Jacqui achieved a world record score of 198.7 points, and won the world championship. It goes to show that you will only arrive at your destination if you stay on track, and Jacqui never took her eye off her roadmap.

Her journey was not without obstacles. Jacqui suffered a total of 25 surgeries for knee, shoulder and elbow reconstruction, and breaking almost every major bone over the years. She loved these challenges, because each one taught her more about herself, and reinforced her pursuit of her goal – becoming the world champion.

After one particular injury, Jacqui was required to sit out of training for three weeks, to allow the muscle around her hip time to heal. This was during the lead up to her last Olympics, and the only thing she could do to train was visualise herself skiing, tricking her mind into believing she was training. Jacqui made it through her last Olympics with no training since her injury, and secured 5th place.

The 4 key qualities Jacqui recognises as the makers of a champion are:

  1. Self-belief.
  2. A Champion Attitude.
  3. Commitment.
  4. Confidence.

With these qualities, anyone can become a champion.

P.S Jacqui left us with her inside tip to keep your self-belief:

‘If you get that little voice in your head stopping you, talking yourself down, then you must ignore it. Don’t give it energy, not even one minute, and think positive. You need to use a “sh*t shield” – let it bounce back.’


For more on Jacqui Cooper, see http://jacquicooper.com/profile

For more about the AFA and Inspire, see https://www.afa.asn.au/interest-group/afa-inspire

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May 23, 2018