This is a topic that could cover the pages of a book, but I will focus on some of the key elements in a multi-part series starting with this one.
If you want to be a champion in life, know the difference between your goals and your motivation.
Any confusion about this will lead to failure at any endeavour you set your mind to.
From personal experience, there is no feeling like having your hand raised and a world championship belt being strapped around your waist.
A fan may look at my career and believe that moment is what motivates me.
It is the fairytale ending to many childhood dreams, and as an avid sports fan growing up, I too believed it was those moments that motivated great athletes.
However, if you rely on a material object and a single moment of time for motivation, that moment will not hold enough value to carry you through all the moments it took to accomplish that goal.
It takes more than a single moment of victory (and a belt) to motivate me through the early morning cold weather runs, the extra rounds of conditioning or film breakdown after a long day of training when you would rather be home.
Although that belt was my goal, it was never my motivation.
Your goal is a byproduct of your motivation. A goal is what you will earn, while motivation is why you do what you do.
I am often asked what I believe is my career highlight and the expected answer is the night I won the belt or some highlight reel knockout victory.
My dad came to watch my first title defence in Las Vegas and the night before the fight we had dinner together.
After being upset that I walked away from a teaching career, he told me how proud he was of the decision I had made to pursue my dream.
There is no material object, amount of money or moment of accomplishment in my career that could ever trump what he said to me that night.
Keep your focus on why you do what you do, rather than what you will earn. If not, the finish line will be a disappointment... that is, if you ever see it!