Carmelita Jeter: Bet on Yourself
Ah-Ha Moment: Early in her speech, Carmelita Jeter, fastest woman alive, Olympic champion and Missouri State University track and field assistant coach, pointed out that to bet on yourself, you have to be willing to fail. When she didn’t land a position with the Los Angeles Police Department, Jeter’s next move was to follow her true passion: competing in track and field. Conquering race after race caught the attention of Nike who repeatedly asked her to sign a contract. Unsatisfied with the suggested pay, Jeter pushed herself to land a spot on the podium for each intensifying race she ran.
To do that, Jeter points out she had to be willing to fail. She “claimed” and “owned” a spot for herself on each podium, but she had to be prepared to fail, and walk away from the comfort and safety of what she deemed a premature contract. Armed with self-confidence, she put herself in a position to be successful.
Affirmation: Jeter is the first to tell you that not all circumstances are perfect. In her case, she had to borrow money from her agent to pay bills early on in her career, and more than once she was placed in lanes one and eight, which she says are traditionally losing lanes. But your circumstances don't have to determine your success. As Jeter points out, “conquer whatever lane you’re in” and continue to maintain the drive that created your goal in the first place.
Call to Action: Numerous times in Jeter’s speech, she encouraged the crowd to set “crazy, scary goals.” As attendees filled out sponsor Spencer Fane’s accountability cards, which encouraged written goals, Jeter encouraged writing aspirations that would push their limits, make them a better person and ultimately help them feel fulfilled.