In my experience, no great career is made without a “champion”. A champion is a person, behind the scenes, who takes to someone and makes them their project to mentor, guide, support, challenge, put in the good word, and go out on their own personal reputation stake to ensure that the person gets extra opportunities. While at PepsiCo, I had a champion. This person, who was a senior executive at the time, selected me out of working in a field organization, brought me to headquarters and then taught me how to do his job by allowing me to work along side him and be in a support role for him. He pushed me, he exposed me to topics and discussions that were well beyond my pay-grade and he made sure that I got put into jobs that were good for me, even if I didn’t like them at the time. He grew me and I knew that as long as I did my job as well as I could and I tried as hard as I could to never let him down, that he would have my back. I remember once when he called me into his office and had me sit down across from his desk. He then picked up the phone and proceeded to have an hour long conversation with the CEO of the company. I just sat there listening for an hour to one side of the conversation. I can’t remember the topic now but I listened as he artfully and skillfully influenced the CEO off of a point of view to what my champion thought the position should be. At the end of the hour, he hung up the phone and he looked at me and asked me what I had learned. To my surprise I was able to repeat some of the ways that he made his points known and how he had balanced the conversation so well between pushing and talking to listening and be quiet. It also reminded me of a time when my Father told me that he wanted me to watch how he worked on a piece of equipment as I could learn as much by watching as doing. Having a champion inside of your business is an important ingredient to career success. If you do not have one , be thinking today about how to seek out and cultivate a champion for you. It is also important that you consider that you need God as a champion as well. God wants to be the champion of champions for each of us. In the book of 1 Samuel we are told the story of how David thought he had a champion in Saul and then loses him, but God steps in and makes sure that all goes to plan for David. In 1 Samuel 18:14 we read; “David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the Lord was with him.”. What a great verse to reinforce the champion that God is for us. So, today, ask yourself do you have both a human champion and the championing of God in your work? Also, are you a human champion of someone else who you can then introduce the championing of God? We all need champions and we all need to call on the champion of champions to be with us in our lives and our work.
Reference: 1 Samuel 18:14 (New Living Testament)