Natasha Hastings is her name and sprinting is her game! I’m a recreational runner, so you know I had such a great time chatting with this Olympic, World and U.S. National Champion sprinter! And you are going to love her story too beauties. Her heart is warm, her lashes are phenomenal and more than anything, her mission is pure.
Hastings is New York raised and generous, so she recently held a free track and field clinic for local track teams at the St. Johns Recreational Center in Brooklyn, NY. The attendees had a chance to not only train like a pro, but two lucky little beauties – Rockstar Twins Ka’Mani and Madison had a chance to have dinner with Hastings the following night!
Her story and commitment to pass the baton (pun intended) to the next generation is such an inspiration. During our interview we both agreed: little FitGirls grow up to be strong women! So if you’re a little sweaty kiddo with a dream to be a pro athlete like Natasha, or were a little sweaty kiddo with a dream to be a strong grown person today (mind, body and soul) then here are a few gems from Hastings herself to achieve your goals:
1. The World Is Your Oyster
Cliche yes. But true! Being able to travel the world, venture out and experience new things were all possible for Hastings simply because she believed in her gift. She wasn’t afraid to follow it wherever it lead her, so whatever you believe your destiny is RADicals, have no fear, get out of your comfort zone and remain open to the adventures your passion is able to provide.
2. Education And Sweat Go Hand In Hand
When I asked Hastings how track and field affected her education growing up she said, “Because I was competitive on the track I was able to take that competitiveness to the classroom.” And the same rules apply no matter your age too yall. Reflect on the spaces in your life where you excel and take that same energy into other areas you desire to succeed in.
3. Your Dream Can Be Multilayered
I’ve always wondered if professional athletes only dreamt of “making it” in their particular sport, or if their dream was multilayered. For Hastings, it was the latter. She wanted to be a chiropractor and studied for it at the University of South Carolina. However her success on the track presented an alternate route. She started running the 100 m, then the 200 m, and after encouragement from her coach, finally the distance she is famous for – the 400 m. The moral: remain open. You may have one plan, but the universe may have an even better one. Hastings would never be known as “The 400M Diva” had she just stuck with what she was used to.
4. On Your Marks, Get Set, Be Ready To Go
Another gem that Hastings shared: Have the courage to strike when the iron is hot. By her junior year, Hastings went on to win the NCAA Championship title. Her time in the 400 m was 50.15, which was the second fastest time ever on the collegiate level. And since she had successfully competed undefeated all season by becoming the Indoor and Outdoor 400 m champion, her coach Curtis Frye knew there was only one option – it was time for her to go pro. And look at her now! A little bit of courage sure goes a long way.
5. Be Your Personal Best
Once we got on the topic of winning and losing, Hastings shared that because she was always used to winning at a young age and once she went pro, losing became a new and challenging territory for her. The playing field was now level and being a sore loser wasn’t helping the situation. She learned that, “You win some you lose some. But as long as you’re doing your best your losses can’t hold you down.” The same goes in life RADicals, the better we are at handling are losses the better off we will be overall.
6. If You Did It Before You Can Do It Again
The more we can recall on our wins the easier it will be to pull through hard times. For instance, although Hastings had been untouchable in college, remembering past wins allowed her to make the USA Olympic Track and Field Team in 2008. Which in turn lead her to win an Olympic Gold Medal in the Women’s 4×400 m relay team. By running a 49.87 split at the 2008 Summer Olympics Hastings proved that “letting go of yesterday and staying in the moment” definitely pays off.
7. Manage Outside Pressure
It’s not easy being a child protege destined for greatness. Hastings credits her ability to “handle pressure with grace” to a mother who raised her to find the balance. Like in life, people will have their own ideas of who you are, where you should go etc. but at the end of the day you have to remember the only person who knows your heart is you. There will always be outside pressures, so find the strength to make your own decisions.
8. Believe In Your Destiny
And because you know you better than anyone else, Hastings and I agree on this – your gifts will make room for you. “Once you recognize your destiny all you have to do is walk in it.” So if you know that you are destined to become (fill in the blank), then own it. Remember your purpose and be purposeful while pursuing it.
9. Master Your Mind
My favorite moment with Hastings was when she shared her experience with competing in undesirable conditions. Specifically during a meet in Qatar, the weather was bad (think cold and raining) however the race still went on. So Hastings took control of the only thing she had control of that day – her mind. “What I do is 90% mental and 10% physical,” Hastings says. By taking herself through what she called a “self hypnosis” she refused to let the weather conditions affect her game. In fact she ran that race faster than she had ran in five years. See – there truly is power in positivity.
10. Be The Beauty And The Beast
Outside of our passion for running Hastings and I had one last thing in common – a passion for glam. Thanks to her college coach Curtis Frye, Hastings learned the power of “looking the part.” Showing up to meets looking anything less then their best was unacceptable for her and her teammates. Therefore by treating each race like a show her and her teammates earned the title of the “Gamecock Divas” – in honor of the University of South Carolina’s mascot the Gamecock. This lesson stuck, so next time you catch this track diva beastin’ it on the track be sure to peep her flawless conturing and poppin’ lip color too.