Think of the celebrities and professionals you love so much on ABC‘s Dancing with the Stars. Well, Italian-born Riccardo Cocchi is THE six-time World Professional Latin Dance Champion and inspiration for my upcoming book, The Dance of the Business Mind. Riccardo’s dancing is incredible and dreamy (like him), but what really makes him a champion is how he behaves off the dance floor.
How he carries himself is what sets him apart. You, too, can learn and display these 13 actionable characteristics in your everyday life:
- Amiable – A champion doesn’t sweat the small stuff, because he knows there’s more to life. Riccardo is friendly and flexible, and doesn’t need to be in control of every situation. He simply goes with the flow, knowing when to delegate and when to take charge.
- Humble – Because of his popularity, many people want to get close to him. Instead of closing himself off, he is humble, open and always smiling, showing his Italian charm.
- Generous with time – Riccardo personally delivered an 8 hour-long workshop where he was focused, engaged and attentive throughout (even during breaks). Post workshop, he summarized, answered questions, and stayed for as long as it took to offer one on one time. He really wants people to gain the most they possibly can from his time. Compared to observed behaviors of other celebrity professionals in his field who cut corners on the time spent with paying students, Riccardo is a true giver.
- Curious – Riccardo genuinely wants students to challenge him. As much as he wants to teach, he also wants to learn. His attitude makes others feel valued.
- Honest – Riccardo is not afraid to state his opinion when something does not feel ethical or right. Many look to Riccardo for guidance and support, which he gives whole-heartedly and with conscious integrity.
- Doesn’t tolerate excuses – Riccardo is not interested in excuses for poor performance, like not having time or the right teacher (or even the right shoes). These can be easily remedied. He respects those that push themselves to give their best – with no excuses.
- Grateful – Riccardo lives each day with gratitude for the support, opportunities, and possibilities he receives. He is content because he is clear about his priorities and potential. Riccardo is not happy because he is a world champion; he is a world champion because he is happy!
- Motivational – A champion pushes others and himself. Towards the end of a workshop with Riccardo, students are exhausted. At the moment he sees someone about to give up, he switches things up to squeeze that last bit of juice out of them.
- Uplifts Others – Due to an unforeseen event, Riccardo and his partner, Yulia Zagoruychenko, were unable to perform. World Amateur Latin Champions, Troels Bager and Ina Jeliazkova jumped in to support and take their place in the show-dance. As they performed their lengthy sequence, Riccardo remained standing and cheering the entire time, like a true gentleman with class and etiquette.
- Challenging – Riccardo’s positive attitude towards a challenge is very refreshing. He goes full force, focuses on the matter at hand, and gives his best. He expects the same out of others.
- Respectful – Riccardo speaks of competitors and peers with great respect. He values not only their hard work, but also the art reflected in their individuality and uniqueness.
- Creative – Riccardo values creativity, and his can-do attitude inspires others. He encourages uniqueness, innovation, and veering outside the norm to stand out.
- Good sport – We are now seeing many world leaders like Canadian Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau, Prince Harry, and President and Mrs. Obama making light of themselves for a good cause, like the Invictus Games, which support wounded veterans. Same with Riccardo; he is willing to laugh and be casual with his students. Laugh, it is great for you!
Now compare this list with other finalists or idols that have come so close to winning it all, but have not earned a championship title. What is missing? You’ll find that there are some key characteristics that may be lacking. Be a world champion in your everyday life. It’s easier than you think! To start, you just need to be mindful of it.
Valeh Nazemoff is the international bestselling author of The Four Intelligences of the Business Mind, as well as an executive coach, business consultant, and co-owner of Acolyst. She is founder of the Transformational Executive Retreat Workshop.