In Becoming Your Own Champion, Duane Martinz teaches readers how to achieve success by creating their own rules to play by. His energetic cry is to declare your own championship season and then do whatever works for you to become a champion.
Early in the book, Martinz talks about how too many people sarcastically say when asked how they are, that they are “living the dream.” They act like life is a sentence they are serving rather than a gift they can enjoy, and they fail to seek out opportunities to improve their situations and live life on their own terms.
Martinz knows the reason that holds most people back is a negative attitude and a failure to believe they can succeed. Rather than focusing on the bad things that happen and using those as our excuses for not moving forward, he suggests: “How about claiming that everything that happens to you is for a great reason — to move you forward and closer and closer to your goal and the person you want to be. Think like W. Clement Stone. Everyone is out to help you and do you good.”
Martinz knows it is hard to believe that success and personal fulfillment are possible. We all have fears, but we need to have enough faith in ourselves to take the first step. We don’t have to succeed overnight. We just have to say yes to the opportunity. As he states, “That’s how we all start—scared, nervous, but finally we say yes! We say yes to success, and then we stress.”
Yes, all this advice is easier said than done, but Martinz has taken his own advice many times. He has repeatedly overcome the obstacles, fears, and negative thinking that have held him back. What I love about this book is that he also uses very realistic examples we can all relate to. He’s not a professional athlete or a multimillionaire, but a guy just like most of us.
Because he has not let fear stop him, he has become a successful public speaker, husband, and parent. Nor did he have the easiest upbringing. He came from a large family that didn’t have a lot of money. Some of his family members tended to party or get in trouble, which made people think less of him by association. He didn’t do great in school, and yet, he decided one day he would be the first in his family to go to college.
One of Martinz’s practical examples concerns his college experience. He had previously always told himself he wasn’t good at math. It was like a refrain running through his head, “I’m not good at math.” But when he got to college, he had to take math. Fortunately, he was determined to succeed, and as hard as math was for him, he found a mentor who helped him to change his thinking and he also started reading positive thinking self-help books.
Once he started to think, “I can do math,” he ended up getting the highest grade in his math class. I love how Duane sums up this situation and negative thinking in general. He says, “Don’t drink from the toilet bowl.” In other words, don’t fill yourself with nasty and self-defeating thoughts.
Becoming Your Own Champion is filled with numerous other inspiring stories. One of my favorites is about Duane’s son who had to wear hearing aids. This story does involve a professional athlete — NBA player Mark Madsen – who came to the Martinz family’s rescue. Duane uses the story to show how you have to walk your talk.
Another great story is about avoiding knee-jerk reactions and not letting frustration overcome you. Actually, there are a couple of stories on this topic. One of them involves how Martinz got a world class speaker to endorse him, and another relates a rather comical episode at Disneyland.
One of Martinz’s great catch phrases is “More is caught than taught.” In other words, we need to lead by example. Again, Duane uses a common example to illustrate his point. He talks about how if you’re going to be a leader, you have to walk your talk because people are watching you and will catch your example. He draws on a story from Zig Ziglar to illustrate this point:
I owned lots of programs from Zig Ziglar. I remember listening to Zig talk about the conflict of teaching our kids to obey the law on several occasions. Zig would say, ‘You have to obey the law; you’ve got to obey the law. Now, the reason I use a fuzz buster, son is…. You have got to outsmart the police.’ You feel the tension? Guess what I was doing on my 208-mile commute? I was using a fuzz buster! The really bad thing was I was then, and I am still (fortunately) married to a law enforcement officer. Do you see the conflict? Fortunately, my kids were very young at the time and did not recognize what was going on. Even more fortunate was the fact that Ziglar came along and straightened me out before I led my family into hypocrisy by preaching one thing and living another. Therefore, like Albert Schweitzer said, ‘Lead by example.’ If my kids should not do it, then neither should I.
There’s a lot more in this book that will help you become your own champion. There are chapters on how gratitude will enrich your life, how to do the right thing, the importance of finishing what you start, how to create a routine of daily discipline to accomplish your goals, and how to determine and direct the outcome you want in a situation.
Before it’s over, Martinz will even jump out of a plane for your benefit. Seriously, he has a fabulous skydiving story as an example of how not to let fear control you.
I loved Martinz’s down-to-earth tone, his sense of humor, and his positive attitude. He takes to heart W. Clement Stone’s advice to be a reverse paranoid—to believe the universe is conspiring to bring about good for you. I’ve never read Stone, but I am paranoid a lot of the time. Now I will instead cultivate being a reverse paranoid so I can be my own champion. I do believe, like Duane, that if we declare our own championship season, things will fall into place to make our dreams come true. Now it’s time for you to test it for yourself. Start by reading this book.
For more information about Duane Martinz and Becoming Your Own Champion, visit the author’s website.