The world is buzzing about Tobi Amusan, the first Nigerian athlete to win the World Athletics Championship gold and gold in the Commonwealth games in the women’s 100m hurdles.
I feel a sense of pride not only because I am Nigerian but also because for the people of Nigeria she stands as a glimmer of light for a nation that has faced its darkest times with rising insecurity, the economic downturn, and corruption.
Tobi’s story is inspiring and I have been thinking about her journey to success and what Project Management Professionals can learn from her journey I am glad I have been able to come up with 5 lessons.
On the 8th of November, a young unknown girl from Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria, tweeted:
“Unknown now, but soon I will be UNFORGETTABLE … I will Persist until I SUCCEED ….”
WOW! That hit me differently! What gave her the audacity to think that? Being from a country where athletes, even worse, female athletes are not supported or encouraged.
That tweet seemed like it could only take a lucky break but here we are in 2022 and Tobi Amsun’s name has been a top search on google.
What is the lesson here for project managers?
There are so many project managers in this field, what would distinguish you and set your career on an upward trend is your mindset. Those who achieve big feats are not extraordinary but their mindset is what makes them different.
- How do you handle challenges?
- How do you see yourself?
- What are your dreams and your visions?
- Would you rather play safe or believe you can achieve anything you set your mind to?
If you want to make a mark in the sands of time then the first step you have to take is changing your mindset.
Tobi Amusan has faced her fair share of failure, her world-breaking record in Oregon, United States was not overnight. For example, she was disqualified for lane infringement during the 200m semi-finals at the World Athletics U18 Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine.
This did not deter her dreams, she competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics and made it to the 100m Hurdles semi-final; she came fourth at the World Athletics Championships in 2019; was fourth again at the 2020 Olympics.
Fast Forward to July 25th, 2022, she became Nigeria’s first-ever world champion and a world record holder in athletics at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
After her victory she said in an interview:
“I was the ‘almost girl, I got fourth, fourth, fourth. Now I finally did it.”
Being a Project Manager comes with its challenges, handling difficult stakeholders, the problem of a project being under-budgeted, and managing competing deadlines, issues, and risks. But like Tobi, see every challenge as an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to develop capacity.
Another aspect of this lesson is in relation to certification exams. The preparation required to become PMP certified could be tedious, however, you have to show up every day determined to be better than you were yesterday.
If you have been procrastinating about writing the PMP exams, let Tobi’s story encourage you to push until you achieve your goals. The studying and preparations will pay off.
3) Never Settle:
What if Tobi settled for the fourth position? What if she settled for being just a champion in Africa or Nigeria? What if the vision to become a world champion scared her so much that she cowered and chose to settle?
Now my question to you is why settle?
- Why settle as a Project Manager without a certification?
- Why settle as a Certified Project Management Professional working with an organization when you have dreams of starting your own consultancy firm and building a world-class team of Project Managers to deliver global projects?
If Tobi can then you can too. A little girl from one of the most troubled nations became the world champion! Wow! anything is possible if you are ready to beat your last result.
You can go far ahead when you follow or have as your guide someone who has embarked on this same journey as you.
Since 2016, Tobi has been training under her coach Lacena Golding-Clarke, a three-time Olympian from Jamaica, and the 2002 Commonwealth Games 100m hurdles champion.
A mentor or coach can help you get very far ahead in life, they help you get even farther ahead than they ever did.
In 2020, Tobi tweeted:
“My coach taught me that when I walk into a room full of my rivals to look like I own the damn world record. She always reminds me that I’ve practiced hard to trust myself and translate that aggressiveness onto the track.”
Those who surround you determine your success or failure. You need a coach.
As a Project Management (PM) coach, I have coached over 1000+ professionals to gain PM knowledge, leverage their existing experience to get into Project Management and grow their PM careers. I have both industry knowledge and Industry practice as a PM working professional.
5) The “GOD” factor:
You will always hear Tobi after each race acclaim her success to God. I have also learned that with Him you can do anything.
He gives you the vision and provides you with the resources to actualize that vision. In 2020 while in an interview she said
“Unto HIM, who has been my pillar (God); it will happen in HIS timing! No pressure whatsoever.”
In conclusion, Tobi might be an athlete but there are so many life lessons to learn from her.
- You can become everything you want to be; work on your mindset,
- Be resilient
- Never settle
- Don’t shy away from getting a coach and
- Remember that there is a great God who backs you up when you say “YES” to the vision He has placed in your heart.
This is the right time to apply for the PMP Group Coaching program. I will be your coach for the next 8 weeks to ensure you are prepared and ready to pass the PMP exams on the first attempt.
If you have already taken your PMP exams and you need help with getting to the next level in your career? Or if you need help in discovering the next step in landing a better PM job role, reply to this email.
Ogaga Johnson, is a Project leader, Consultant, and Speaker.
She is passionate about helping professionals launch and grow successful and thriving careers in Project Management.
She has helped 150+ professionals to get into Project Management and advance their careers through her coaching programs.