Excellent article written by Ross Bernstein. Ross will be speaking at our speakers showcase on August 23rd. Don’t miss his 15 minute version of this very popular topic.


The difference between an athlete and a champion is the “code” that they choose to live by. Ross spent five years researching and interviewing more than 500 professional athletes, coaches, referees, umpires and media personalities for his nationally best-selling series of “Code” books, which chronicle the unwritten rules in sports, and he uses that wealth of information to educate, enlighten and entertain his audiences — challenging them to question their own personal and professional principles and values. In his program, Ross identifies more than 100 unique characteristics and traits that are common among champions, which he then ties into both poignant as well as hilarious stories and life lessons from the world of sports. From there, Ross encourages his audience members to create their own code — or mission statement — which they can take back to the office and start using immediately — in order to be more productive, creative and accountable.  The DNA of a champion is rare indeed and the code of honor that they choose to live by is truly unique. Champions win with integrity and without taking short-cuts or compromising their standards. They know that anybody can win on any given day, but to win consistently over time requires a special work ethic and outlook on life. Their standards and expectations are higher, which is what makes them “true professionals,” or the best of the best. They know how to make critical decisions and to stay focused, even under pressure. They respect the game, they respect the opposition, and they respect figures of authority. Champions view ethics differently too. They know that winning “at all costs” is fleeting, whereas winning with integrity is meaningful and everlasting. They also understand that there is a fine line between cheating and gamesmanship, and they know where that line is at all times. You see, the unspoken code of honor in professional sports allows the players to police themselves. If a player cheats or purposely shows-up or disrespects an opponent out on the ice, diamond or gridiron — then they will have to be held accountable — or else be prepared to suffer the consequences.

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