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Every dark moment in my past served a purpose, and even though I couldn’t understand it back then, I’ve learned that it is often in our darkest moments that life tests us to truly see what we are made of.
2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist and Resiliency Speaker
I was excited to compete for my country and compete against the best in the world. The Olympic Games as a whole is a highly elevated environment because it only comes around every 4 years so it means that much more to you. While I was excited, I was nervous as well because I didn’t want to disappoint myself or let down my people from back home.
There is a lot of emotion during the games and I believe it’s the ones who can control their emotions are the ones who have the most success. The 2016 Olympic Games was special for me because I walked away with an Olympic Medal, it was the icing on the cake. While I don’t think about the medal much right now, I think it will be something I grow to appreciate more as the years go on.
When I was 13, I knew my purpose on this earth was going to be much bigger than sport. At the time I wasn’t sure where those thoughts came from or why I thought that but I just had a feeling inside. It wasn’t until I was 20 that I had an inkling of what that purpose may be.
I started speaking when I was 20 years old. I’ll never forget I spoke at a school one time, and a week after I spoke at this particular school a young man messaged me on Instagram and said. “Your speech of hope saved my life. I was going to take my life that weekend, but then I heard your story and it made me want to live and keep fighting.”
That’s when I knew God had a bigger plan in stores for me other than sport. So I use my story to help remind people of their strength and what they can overcome if they can shift their perspective.
My past made me everything I am today. I was forced to grow up very early, and it made me think differently than the average kid my age. I was thinking about my purpose on this earth when I was 8 years old, most kids, when they are 8, aren’t thinking about that.
Every dark moment in my past served a purpose, and even though I couldn’t understand it back then, I’ve learned that it is often in our darkest moments that life tests us to truly see what we are made of. I was once asked if there was one word to describe me, what would it be? And I said “Resilient”. When you look at the definition of Resilient which is: “Able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions” I feel like my whole life has represented that. My past may have been tough, but it also introduced me to my strength.
It was unexpected honestly. I’ve never been one to talk about everything that I’m doing in my community or the works that I do behind closed doors. I’ve always believed in doing right by people regardless if its seen or not. But it was a great surprise!
Focus on what it feels like, not what it looks like. Let me explain what that means.
Akeem Haynes shows us that everyone, no matter how successful, goes through their own set of challenges. He is a big believer in focusing on what you can achieve in the long run, rather than focusing on what people are thinking about you at the moment. His transition from an Olympic sprinter to a motivational speaker is such an interesting journey. Akeem is using everything he’s learned over the years and sharing his insight in hopes of inspiring the next generation and I’m sure that his words of wisdom will do just that!