Handshake excerpt – Jesse Owens

Jesse Owens focus

Jesse Owens chose to be focused

Following is an excerpt from chapter 2 of Handshake.  This chapter is based on the life of Jesse Owens, and his unwavering choice to remain focused on his dreams despite the obstacles thrown in his path.  I am looking forward to your feedback.

Jesse Owens: The Choice of Focus

Three world records shattered.  One tied.  The world was introduced to “Jesse” with the megaphone of monumental focus.  It seemed that making a way to win when there was a world of odds against him became his signature.  Perhaps it was a complex metaphor of his own life; winning against all odds because of a determination birthed from focus.

News of Jesse’s unbelievable performance spread through the country and with the Olympics only a year away, Americans began to pin their hopes on the star from Ohio State.  Jesse continued to train, overcoming obstacles, and defeating odds that would cause most people to quit.

He believed in himself.
He believed in his dream.
He never lost focus.

… Jesse Owens was different.  Jesse chose to be focused and it served him well in his career as an athlete.

People cannot become great in the future if they are not willing to practice focus in the present.  Owens didn’t wake up one day in his mid-twenties and say “I’m going to be a Gold Medalist.”  He decided early on in life that he would use his God-given talent and mix it with self discipline.  This was his edge.


  • Know and Choose What You Want
  • Determine What It Will Take To Get There
  • Think “Can” not “Cannot”
  • Find a Focus Coach
  • When Knocked Down, Get Up

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen


One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.
– Tony Robbins


About Chris Sonksen

Chris Sonksen is the founder and Lead Pastor of South Hills Church and has an exceptional ability to inspire both secular and non-secular audiences. Under his leadership, South Hills has experienced phenomenal growth and in just a few short years has grown from a handful of people to nearly 3000 in attendance today. Today South Hills has become a thriving, multi-service and multi-site church. Chris has a magnetic, captivating and humorous style for motivating and inspiring all audiences. As a motivational speaker, he has spoken both nationally and internationally in companies such as Verizon, Securitas and Home Depot, and there is no doubt that by applying his teachings, his audience will improve the quality of their lives! Chris is the author of two books In Search of Higher Ground and Handshake. Chris is the founder of Celera Church Strategy Group an organization with an unwavering commitment to excellence in all things, with the goal to “raise the national average of church attendance,” by equipping church leaders with resources and coaching. Chris brings high-energy focus and a passion for vision and leadership to encourage and equip the local Church. Chris is a native Californian, born in Long Beach and currently resides in Corona with his wife, Laura and their two children, Grace and Aidan.

Posted on December 9, 2010, in dreams, Habits, Leadership, Personal Growth and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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