MOTIVATION & INSPIRATION
By Deion Sanders with Tejado W. Hanchell, Ph. D
One thing that we all have in common is that in some point in time, we all have had a race. In any race it’s important to have a good start. That’s especially important in the race of life. To me, that’s the only race that truly matters. Now that we’ve made it to 2014, God has given us a CLEAN SLATE and a FRESH START. It’s up to us to make the most of it. No, I’m not talking about those New Year’s RESOLUTIONS (instead of New Year’s SOLUTIONS to last year’s problems) you made on January 1st that you can’t even remember on January 21st. I mean you have a fresh start to reach all of the goals you have set for your life and become who you were created to be.
THERE’S NO BETTER TIME THAN RIGHT NOW! This is the RIGHT time for you to make the most out of what’s LEFT of your life. This is your moment! Don’t miss it! You will never gain MOMENTUM if you keep missing your MOMENT.
Many people think that because I am now retired from playing professional football and big league baseball, have the Super Bowl trophies and made it to the College and Pro Football Hall of Fame, and many other personal accomplishments; they think that my best days are behind me, but I’m just getting started baby! The gun has gone off and I’m coming out the blocks like Usain Bolt! (By the way, in my “prime” I would have taken him in the 40!) I’m ready to high-step my way all the way to the finish line!
One thing I do realize is that as important as it is to finish STRONG, it’s often a moot point if we don’t start well. If you get left in the starting blocks, you’ll spend all of your energy just trying to catch up to the pack. It’s not impossible, but it’s hard to overcome a bad start. This New Year is your opportunity for a NEW START – let’s make it a good one.
Most of you might not know this, but Prime can run STILL and I qualified for the Olympic trials in 100 meters and ran 1 4.21 40 for breakfast at Florida State! In fact, I can still beat ALL of you that are reading this right now! (Ask my football team at Prime Prep Academy.) Racing is not just about speed; it’s also about strategy. My strategy is ALL ABOUT THE START. I get out the blocks on the ‘G’ when they say ‘GO!’ I get out the block when the finger slightly bends on the gun before they pull the trigger!
Learning to get out of the blocks quickly doesn’t just happen. It is a process and it requires practice. As in track and field, the same goes for the race of life. If you want to start well, you have to study well. The reason my time was prime for 14 years in the NFL was not just because I was blessed with talent. I studied the game as well as my opponent. Here are a few principles that can help you start well in 2014 and not get left in the blocks.
Starting fast all begins with your position. You can’t come out of the blocks quickly if you’re not positioned correctly. This starts by making sure that the starting blocks are positioned properly to fit YOU. Other runners have used the same starting block before you, but they are not exactly like you. It’s OK to follow in someone else’s footsteps and example, but you can’t just get into the same starting blocks they used and expect them to work the same for you. Position the starting blocks so that YOU are comfortable.
Even more important than positioning the starting blocks is positioning yourself. It means nothing for the blocks to be in position and for you to be out of position. YOU HAVE TO GET IN POSITION BEFORE THE RACE EVER STARTS. Some of you women are still single because you’re not in position to be a wife. Men, you’re not in position for that nice job. Before you can get the PROMOTION you’ve got to get in POSITION. Whatever your goal is in life, you need to find your starting position and get there.
Now, if you’ve ever watched the Olympics I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the starting position for a runner is on his or her knees. In the race of life it’s important for you to get on your knees and begin the race in a posture of prayer. You can’t win this race off of your own power. YOU NEED GOD’S POWER! (Now, let me take you to church.) This race is not for the swift, nor the battle for the strong (Ecclesiastes 9:11). We need to get in POSITION….and PRAY!
Not only do we have to get in position, we must also PONDER. To PONDER means to consider something deeply or to meditate. I’ve never accomplished anything that I did not PONDER before. In other words, it means to focus or concentrate. Whenever a runner is in the starting blocks, he or she cannot afford to be distracted. The runner needs to clear his or her mind and focus…focus…focus on the race ahead.
The same goes for you as you run this RACE CALLED LIFE. As you begin this New Year and come out of the blocks low (because you’ve just come from your knees) you need to concentrate on the tasks at hand. Focus on your goals, dreams, and aspirations. Visualize yourself crossing the finish line and reaching all of your goals. See yourself living that dream that you’ve somewhat given up on. Every victory begins in your mind (and defeat does too). As a man thinks, so is he! You have to think it before you can ever do it. I don’t remember the last day that I was negative. Through my well-documented divorce and my trials and tribulations with the charter school that I founded to get kids to and through college, I’ve always stayed positive.
Take some time to clear your mind and think. What do you hope to accomplish? What dreams did you leave unfinished last year? It’s a new year and a new race. Don’t focus on last year’s losses. Begin to visualize this year’s wins. Ponder them in your heart; you’ll need them for a fast start!
After you have POSITIONED and PONDERED, the only thing left is for you to wait for the gun and PUSH. No one is going to pull you out of the starting blocks. You have to push your way out. Some of you were amused that Jamaica has a bobsled team, but I was just fascinated about how those guys worked together as a team and PUSHED! Even in a relay race, each runner has to get himself or herself started. You have to be a self-starter. Stop waiting on other people to push you; start pushing yourself. It’s great to have people cheering you on, but if no one is there to encourage you, learn how to encourage yourself! Remember that everybody’s that there cheering, clapping, and encouraging ain’t necessarily doing it for you!
This is the year to push yourself beyond what you thought were your limits. Push yourself to be great. Push yourself to do great things. Push yourself to be around great people. Push yourself when “Quit”, “Give up” and “Shutdown” are whispering in your ear. Greatness doesn’t come by accident. It happens on purpose, and you have to PUSH.
Push your way out of those starting blocks. It’s the first step towards your victory. You can go far in life, but you’ve got to come out of those blocks. And that’s the reason that Prime ain’t never lost a 40-yard dash in my life because I’ve always got out those blocks, and if I get one step…it’s OVER!