On Sunday at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, American sprinter Tori Bowie became the unlikely winner of the 100m race, making her the fastest woman in the world. She claimed the title in memorable fashion, chasing down and edging out the Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josée Ta Lou by one-hundredth of a second. Her 10.85s speed and last minute lunge for the finish line literally gave us a photo finish. While Bowie’s win was nothing short of thrilling and exciting, there’s much more than entertainment to take away from her victory. Here are some important takeaways from Bowie’s win that will help you claim victory in your own life.
Setting Goals is Paramount to Your Success
Five years ago during the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Tori Bowie sat at home, injured, watching the world’s fastest women compete. She knew she could beat those women and for the next five years, she worked to do just that. Bowie’s gold medal started well before she took the track on Sunday. It started with her setting her sights on becoming the fastest woman in the world. Without a goal, there is no plan and there is no victory. Like Bowie, be clear and intentional about the goals you set. The goals you set don’t have to seem realistic to others; they just need to align with your heart’s desires.
Verbalize Your Goals
One of my most personally compelling scriptures reads, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Prov. 18:21) This scripture speaks to the power of your words. As Bowie sat watching the 2012 London Games and setting her eyes on gold, she didn’t keep her vision to herself. She told her grandmother, “I really think I can beat those ladies.” Five years later, she did just that. There is power in speaking your goals and visions out loud; it allows the universe to align with your faith and your will. Bowie shared her goal with her grandmother, the woman who raised and nurtured her. You may not feel comfortable sharing your goals with the world, but share them with those closest to you; those who support you. And watch your visions manifest.
Be Willing to Give Your All
Remember that photo finish of Bowie’s? What the photo doesn’t show is that after leaning forward to edge out Lou, Bowie took a tumble that left her shoulder and hips burning, bruised and sore. She literally sacrificed her body for a chance at gold. Winning isn’t always easy. Sometimes it will leave you battered and bruised. If you want to win big, be willing to sacrifice big and deal with the pain that might come along with it.
It’s Not How You Start, It’s How You Finish
Bowie spent the early stages of her life in foster care and grew up in poor, rural Sand Hill, Mississippi. She started Sunday’s race well behind the leader, almost in last place. Bowie’s life thus far and her World Championship win show us that the finish is more important than the start. Focus on your end goal, not your beginnings, setbacks or failures. Don’t even focus on the middle of the race, focus on the end, because that’s what matters.
Don’t Let Others Set Your Limits
Before coming into Sunday’s race, the track and field world had Bowie pegged as a long jumper whose best race was the 200m. Bowie saw herself as the fastest woman in the world. Disregard other people’s visions for you. Set your own goals without regard to what others see you as and exceed their expectations.
Tune Out the Noise
Much of the chatter leading up to the World Championships focused on Jamaican sprinter, Elaine Thompson, winner of the 100m and 200m races in Rio. But chatter and predictions don’t win races so Bowie did not focus on that. If you want to win, neither should you. Very often the odds won’t be in favor of you succeeding, but that’s really just noise. Tune out the noise, focus on your goal and win big.
Never. Ever. Stop.
To win, you have to be willing to endure failures and persevere to the very end. From 2012 until 2017, Bowie battled injuries and repeated defeat. At the 2015 World Championships, Bowie placed third in the 100m. At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio Bowie placed second in the 100m and third in the 200m. She fell short many times before claiming gold, but she never stopped pursuing. She kept running and pushing herself down to the nanosecond. That’s what winning takes, a relentless determination.