• February 25th, 2016 | Marcus Sedberry

RACE is sensitive yet powerful, edgy yet simple, it’s what this country and our lives should be built around.

By RACE, I don’t mean the divisions of humankind. I am referring to RACE, the movie based on the inspiring true story of legendary athlete and Olympic Champion, Jesse Owens.


STOP! I know what you are thinking, and I will not spoil the movie! I PROMISE!

If you have already seen the movie, hopefully you caught the 6 sneaky strategies I will outline in this article. If you have not seen it, I will simply give you a few buzz words and a-ha moments to look for as you enjoy the film. Read on to learn the “10 Sneaky Ways RACE Teaches You How to Achieve Excellence.”


Every bird was born to fly, but in order to do so; they have to leave the nest. Jesse Owens was prime and ready to fly, but it required him to step out of his nest. He had to step out of his comfort zone, step away from his family, his friends, and into an unknown world that wasn’t welcoming and inclusive, to say the least. Scary…yes, but he did it anyway.

Sometimes we are scared to take a risk, step out on a limb, or try something that has never been done. You must remember, a new world is waiting for you if you step out of the nest.

To Fly You Must Jump!

CONSIDER: What areas of your life do you need to step out of the nest?



Jesse gets a very special jacket as he departs for school. However, as he is leaving the house, family members tell him it is unnecessary. Once he gets to campus, classmates, teammates, and coaches begin to make sarcastic remarks about his jacket. In spite of their comments, Jesse continues to wear the jacket with pride.

You have to look the part! Society and averageness have something in common, both are casual! If you are about your business, look like it. Everyone will not understand. Some people will try to get you to change, and others may sarcastically say,” nice jacket”.  Many people will not agree or will not understand because they personally choose to dress differently. That’s fine. Your goal is not to make them feel more comfortable about their decision. Your mission is the make the best impression. Regardless of the circumstance, keep moving forward. Keep looking the part!

Don’t let the blindness of others cripple your vision.

CONSIDER: What first impression do you leave on others? How do they know you mean business without you saying a word or lifting a finger?



Jesse’s coach was very intentional in preparing him to block out the internal and external noise in his life. At a point in the movie, Jesse begins to let the doubt and fear of others creep into his own psyche. Seeing him drift down this road of destruction, his wife powerfully encourages Jesse to push through the noise.  

It starts with a thought. How you control your mind dictates your actions. Your actions dictate your outcomes. It all starts in your mind. What thoughts control you?

Your mind has to be right! You must plan, stay disciplined, and block out noise. Inevitably you will experience moments of success and failure. During those times people will either love you or hate you. Regardless you cannot let the opinion of others pollute your mind. You must stay focused. You must push through challenges. You must believe it CAN BE DONE!

“An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you.” ― Goi Nasu

CONSIDER: What noise do you need to ignore?



As seen on the trailer, after blazing the track during a practice session, Jesse walks up to the coach and asks, “Want me to do it again?” This not only shows his eagerness to be successful, but it also illustrates his confidence in his ability. Are you able to produce quality results over, and over, and over again?  And, will you do it?

Excellence requires eagerness and consistency. You have to be willing to show up every time! Don’t be a one hit wonder!

CONSIDER: Where/how can you add more consistency to your performance?



Throughout the movie, Jesse is often seen gazing down the track prior to the race, or peering down the runway as he prepares for a long jump. In one scene he even uses a handkerchief to help set a mental target.

No one has ever accomplished anything great without first seeing it in their mind. It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of today and lose sight of the goal. Set your vision then go for it!

Once you can see it, then you can be it!

CONSIDER: Have you clearly identified your targets? Write out your targets. Remind yourself of your mission. Then Go Get It!



In the prime of his stellar season, Jesse began to stray away from the things that helped him achieve unprecedented success. Some decisions were conscious, while others were subconscious decisions surfaced due to his lack of intentionality. Nonetheless, Jesse was heading down a slippery slope and his coach reminded him, “Choices don’t feel like choices until it’s too late!”

A chief military officer once shared with me this principle. If a ship miscalculates it’s route and sets its dial 1° off from its desired destination, at 60 miles into the trip, the boat will end up at least one mile off from its desired destination. Our lives, teams, and organizations are just like the ship. If our personal compass is off just a little bit, and we continue on that path, intentionally or unintentionally, it is inevitable that we will miss the mark of reaching our destination. At some point, our choices and decisions must be redirected to get us back on track

Many of our choices are subconscious. If we aren’t careful to pay close attention to all of the many decisions we make on a daily basis, we could look up and realize we are far away from our desired destination.

Choose today what tomorrow will bring!

CONSIDER: Evaluate your conscious and subconscious decisions today. Identify two choices that could be adjusted in order to keep you on the right track.


RACE does an excellent  job illustrating the greatness of cultural pioneer, leader, and Olympic Champion, Jesse Owens. The courage he showed by leaving home during a hostile period in history, pursuing his dreams for the sake of his family, and being willing to sacrifice daily for the greater good are all wonderful examples for each of us to follow.