Most people do not realise their purpose in life until later in their lives. That notwithstanding whenever you realise what that purpose is, all you must do is to go with it.
That is what Raven Magwood,26, did when she discovered her passion and purpose in life. At age 26, Magwood co-owns and operates her own gymnastics training facility.
She has authored four books, established a foundation that supports underprivileged children Upstate South Carolina.
It doesn’t end there, she has written and produced an independent film and is a renowned motivational speaker.
All these achievements did not come by without having to put in some work, sometimes more than others if you have your eyes set on a prize.
“Whether it’s, you, me, Oprah, Beyoncé or the man on the street, 24 hours is all we have in a day,” Raven said. “Use them.”
Magwood was the National Gymnastics Champion at age 11 and her first book was published at age 12.
Her work ethic has been impeccable from the get go. During school days, she woke up 6am, went to class from 7.30 am to 3.30pm, headed to practice for four hours right after school at a gym about an hour from home and got home by 10 pm, to eat, freshen up and do her homework.
All these didn’t affect her academic performance. She got perfect grades on her report cards so when she was in middle school, she skipped some classes and got to start high school at age 12.
“I just remember even at 12 saying, ‘Yes, I’ve accomplished this, but this is how hard I worked for it,’” she said.
Her first published book, On to Victory! The Winning Edge earned her an invite to be the main speaker at a promotional event for Stedman Graham’s new book at the time, Move Without the Ball, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Regardless of her anxieties and nausea, 12-year-old Magwood got the whole room on its feet after her speech.
After every talk there are moments that stick with her, some more than others though. It was at 12 years old she realised her purpose in life.
It was after a speech in a church when a man approached her in tears. Prior to listening to her, he had tried to commit suicide thrice but to see a young girl passionate about life gave him a reason not to give up.
“He was like, ‘I promise you right here right now that I will never try to take my life again,’” Raven said. “That’s how I knew this is what I’m going to do.”
Now when she was 13, Magwood took precollege classes and after skipping two grades she graduated earlier than her mates at age 16 with a 5.1 GPA and 48 college credits already.
When she was 17, while in college, Magwood felt a lump in her breast, after consulting with the doctor, she realised “by the grace of God,” the lump was benign.
Her doctor termed it as a “freak incident” and told her: “’Just go live your life,’” Raven said. “And that’s what I did until I was 19.”
Magwood felt a bigger lump in her breast but this time around, the doctor told her, “‘but this one concerns me,’” she said.
At the time she thought to herself, “Wow, I’m 19, and I may not see my 20th birthday.” She went under the knife again and the doctor was able to remove the tumor.
Before the surgery, she used to commute about 65 miles between her home in Spartanburg. S.C. and Clemson University in Clemson, S.C. to attend classes. “It was an awful experience,” she said.
Nonetheless, she was persistent and knew she had to give her consent for the surgery. “I just remember waking up and seeing my mom in tears,” she said. Only to realize later that they were happy tears.
She was cancer-free.
That was a pivotal moment in her life, “the fact that you’re still alive means you still have purpose.” This is what she tells most of the audiences during her motivational talks.
She graduated from college at age 19 with a communications degree, major in sport and a minor in writing.
However, that wasn’t how she began her college journey. Many people coaxed her into applying for medicine, but she later realised how unhappy she was.
Her mum noticed her unhappiness and asked her, “What would you do if someone would pay you any amount of money to do it?”
Almost immediately she said, “I would speak. I would write. I would inspire people.” Which reaffirms what she felt when she was 12.
At 22 she acquired and started coaching at Sparkle City Gymnastics when the previous owner was nearing retirement.
“And one year turned into two” with her group of 20 girls, Magwood said.
“I just wanted the gym to be successful, and I wanted the girls to be successful,” she said.
She tapped into the marketing opportunities of social media to grow her business. The gym had 150 athletes when she took over and she was able to shoot up the number to 500.
In 2018, Magwood made her first million at age 26.
Since then, she’s still pursuing her film making; gymnastics coaching; writing with her most recent book, The 7 Practices of Prosperous Women; and motivational speaking.