- Your new book, Chasing Grace, is organized in four sections-push, pace, position and poise-share the inspiration behind these.
When I first started running the 400 meters, I didn’t have a strategy, I just ran. Then I met Coach Hart and he taught me a race strategy: the 4 P’s. I realized how important strategy was to my race but more importantly the race of life. After working for years to perfect the P’s on the track, I started applying it to my life. I wanted to share these guidelines with others because I believe that everyone is in one of these four phases at any given moment in life.
- Born in Jamaica, you were raised to believe first place is all that matters. How did this mindset affect you?
The mentality of always striving for first was a good and bad thing. I loved competing and the drive to be the best was something I relished. It challenged and brought out the absolute best in me, but there were times that I valued my wins more than what really mattered. I learned that in life, you must have balance and you have to define success for yourself.
- Your family moved to the United States when you were a teen and lived near your Aunt Maureen. Tell us about your relationship with your aunt. What influences did she have on you?
She was an avid Christian and lived in the church. She taught me the importance of having a personal relationship with God. She has a peace about her that I always admired. She lost her youngest son in his early 20’s, and although she was brokenhearted, she leaned on God in that critical moment, and showed us all what it look like to have blind faith, knowing that God is always working things out for our greater good.
- What was it like competing in your first race on team USA as a Jamaican-American?
It was intense. I competed for the first time as an American on Jamaican soil. It couldn’t have felt more like a movie. I had so many fond memories as a child competing at the Jamaican national stadium and I couldn’t wait to get back. However, I wasn’t met with love and acceptance by everyone. Many people were disappointed and called me a traitor. After a while, I appreciated their disappointment as I know they were just proud of me and wanted to claim me as their own, but it was difficult thing for me, and I learned that you can’t please everyone but the people that mattered to me supported me 100% and that I how I made it through.
- In the book, you share how every step on the track was geared towards bringing you closer to God. How have you sustained your faith amidst the fame?
The seed of my faith was planted when I was about 13 years old and flourished over time. I always knew that I had a greater calling in my life than just gold medals, and I still try to tap into all that God has for me by keeping Him at the forefront of everything I do. I know that money and fame will fade, but the relationship I have the Lord will last all of eternity.
- Family is a major book theme. How has your family impacted your career?
My family meant everything to my career.If not for their investment, I would not have become an Olympic gold medalist. I am sure of this. My dad made every sacrifice to be with me at my training sessions and competitions. My mother quit her job to be my manager and travel all over the country with me and my sister bolstered me up, reaffirming what I believed I could be. They are the absolute best in the world.
- In Chasing Grace, you share how to prepare ourselves for transition and disappointment. Why is this important?
Whenever you are aiming to do something great, it’s important to understand that failure is part of the experience. The earlier you embrace that reality, the closer you are to achieving your goals and dreams. The reason it was so important for me to address transition is because it’s one of life’s most challenging phases. It’s incredibly hard to let go of something we feel so passionate about. Talking about and sharing our own experiences through transitions so often helps other people who are in transition themselves handle that part of their journey in healthy and productive ways.
- Were you prepared for your retirement after pulling your hamstring during the Rio Olympic Trails?
I was prepared in the sense that I had been mentally preparing for the transition for the last year. My toe injury was an indication to me that my body wouldn’t be able to take much more. However, as mentally prepared as you can be for change, it’s often still just as hard. I loved competing (for over 20 years) and representing our country, so the loss of that was very real.
- Tell us about your new career as an entrepreneur?
I’m enjoying it so much, it’s as exciting as it was when I first discovered my love for Track and Field. So many of the lessons I’ve learned from sports I am able to draw from as an entrepreneur now: problem solving, work ethic, setting goals, etc. I feel like so much of my preparation came from the track.
- You vulnerably share your experiences of meeting with psychologist in the book. Why do we need to defund the misconceptions of anxiety and depression?
Depression and anxiety can truly control your life. I learned that in the same way I trusted my coach on the track because of his proven skill set to make me a faster runner. I had to trust my doctors to help me out of my negative thoughts that had the potential to pull me down a darker path. It was one of the best experiences, and in hindsight, greatest blessings working with my sports psychologist. It’s just like having a mentor or coach.
Make sure you pick up a copy of Chasing Grace
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