Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross: 'If you run your own race you will finish first'

Courtesy of Zondervan A HarperCollins Company

Olympic gold medalist, check. Three-time author, check. Businesswoman, check. There is no stopping Sanya Richards-Ross. She is no longer competing on the professional level but continues to use those professional sports skills as tools to pivot into the workplace.

espnW spoke with Richards-Ross, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist in the 400 meters, about the importance of not being a one-dimensional athlete, why confidence is vital to success and how to remain authentic.

Editor's note: This interview has been edited for length.

More than an athlete 

The main thing my dad told me when I was 16 was not to be a one-dimensional athlete. I knew I was gifted in track and field and I would pursue it for a long time, but I always saw it as a great opportunity to do other things that I'm passionate about, especially toward the end of my career.

How sports helped her

All the lessons I learned from sports are so applicable to life. For example, putting in the hard work, not being afraid to fail, be disciplined and determined -- all those things helped me to transition out of sport and use that same mentality to achieve my goals.

Trying to keep a balance

I think balancing in life is hard in general, but I think being a student-athlete and always having to do that as I was growing up you sort of learn that along the way.

On the importance of being yourself

What I'm afraid of when I look out into the world, especially on social media, is that we all are starting to look the same. We are all trying to be -- I don't know what -- so I try to be genuine and authentic and connect with people who really need to see that the world needs all of us just the way we are. When you try to be someone else, I think you always finish in second. If you run your own race you will finish first, if you work hard enough.

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