As you begin your walk over to the starting line you go over everything that you have worked on up to this point. From the importance of your release to making sure you keep your stride strong and in check. The race will be over in less than 10 seconds and there is little room for error. There is nothing bigger than this stage and you know it. Win or go home. Can you beat Usain Bolt?
Start Strong, End Strong
As you wait at the starting block you can feel the tension build. With what seems like every photo lens, spectator, and fan locked in on your every move, you can’t help but feel nervous, excited, and focused all at the same time. As you look to your left and to your right you see the faces of those you are competing with. While they offer little clues as to what they are thinking you already know what is on their mind: start strong, end strong.
In the game of life, you must start strong and end strong. In any competition, whether it be a sports match or a spelling bee, it is important that right from the start you are giving it your all. If you’re not giving it your all, then you are not giving 100%, and in the game of life if you’re not giving 100%, you can bet your ‘competition’ is.
As the gun goes off, you must zone everything out and focus. You must not let little things get in the way of your success. Every step counts, every move matters. A race can be won and lost if you take your mind of the prize for just one second. While the race may only last 10 seconds or less, it seems like an eternity. Months and years of preparation have come down to your ability to execute everything you have worked on and practiced.
The hardest part about focusing is learning to shut out the distractions. The distractions don’t start when the ‘race’ does, but earlier than that. From the first day of training you must identify distractions and eliminate them. Coaches and mentors will stress to you the importance of this, but in the end you will decide how focused you will be. If you look at Usain Bolt, when it comes to race time, he defines focus. Although many may argue that his attitude is unsportsmanlike at times, I would counter that by saying that sometimes emotions are so strong that we can’t keep them in. The beating of his chest and his now iconic ‘Bolt’ pose are the result of his ability to focus in on the race and execute.
How Bad Do You Want It
After about 80m into a 100m race, this is where you have to ask yourself “how bad do you want it.” Is the burn you are now beginning to feel worth it? If you slow down, the pain will go away, but so will your chances of winning. Win or go home. That is the focus. Silver is nice, but no one remembers who gets second place.
In whatever you do, you have to make a choice. Nothing in life comes easy and this is the reality of things. At the end of a sprint what do you see? Hunched over, hands on their knees, you see a group of individuals that have made a choice: give it their all and go for gold.
Beating The World’s Fastest Man
He is the world’s fastest man. In a world dominated by numbers, Usain Bolt has become synonymous with 9.58 seconds. So how do you beat a man that doesn’t even need a first name? While changing your last name to Thunder or Lightning may be a start, it still doesn’t change much. You may not have the god given talent that he has nor the ‘too cool to be true’ last name, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try.
In life you meet Usain Bolt everyday. At work, walking to your car, playing sports; Usain Bolt is symbol of what you are chasing down. You want the gold medal, the praise of your peers, and the feeling of winning. Bolt serves as not only a benchmark, but also as a motivator. He motivates you to become better and to always stay competitive.
The Finish Line
When the day comes when you finally beat Usain Bolt the next question becomes how will you celebrate? When Jim Valvano won, he ran up and down the court in disbelief. Brandi Chastain is forever remembered for her shirt incident and Michael Jordan for hugging the basketball after winning the finals. Usain Bolt is known for his ‘Bolt’ pose but what will you be know for? When the times comes only your emotions will know.
Will it be memorable? Will it be funny? Will it be controversial?
Either way, one thing is for sure. You have beaten ‘the fastest man on earth.’ Go out and celebrate.
Photo by HS Photography