Dear Future World Changer,
Take it from me; life doesn’t come with a do-over button or a get-your-life-together manual, but one thing life does come with is guidance from outside perspectives.
This letter is dedicated to you, yes you, our future world changer! Here are some tips I’ve accumulated on this journey called life. Why listen to me or even consider my perspective? Well, that’s for you to decide after getting to know a little more about my story.
My name is D’Narius Lewis. I was born in a small town in West Memphis, Arkansas. I’m the younger brother of two sisters, son of a single parent black mother, an uncle, an entrepreneur, and a life coach. I was not raised in a household where everything was spoon fed and handed to me, but my mother always made sure we had food to eat and clothes to wear. In no way were we rich, we indeed lived a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. I didn’t have many positive African American male role models in my life, and I certainly didn’t always see eye to eye with my mother, but what I can say is she really always did, and does, have my best interest in mind.
Before the age of eighteen I had been suspended from school over ten times from the ages of eight to fifteen. I allowed my anger and my environment, at times, to decide my fate. I used to hang around the so-called “cool kids,” but really they were the ones that I would get in trouble with because I was willing to be a follower and not a leader. Deep down I knew I was making poor choices, but I was lost. The turning point in my life was when I met Bill Soderholm, my high school wrestling coach, who had a lot of faith in me. Through this sport he taught me to understand what responsibility looked like, showed me what life tools a grown man needed to maneuver in order to lead a successful life, encouraged me to see myself in my best light, and taught me to always stay accountable. Although I barely graduated high school with a GPA of 1.7, I took all of my life lesson experiences with me and I decided college would be my next step.
I encourage you, world changer, to always acknowledge your life, stay humble, remember where you came from, and understand that you do not have to be a product of your environment or a result of what others expect of you. Never let another man create your world for he will always create it too small.
What turned my life and decision making process around was when I started to recognize that the world views you, the way you view yourself. As I started to see myself in a positive light so did others.
In college I raised my GPA to 3.5, met friends who didn’t grow up with similar backgrounds as my own, traveled to three different colleges, experienced many different cultures, lifestyles, relationships, some good and some bad, and ultimately decided to live for me. After three transfers, a lot of student loan debt, and an overflow of life experiences, I decided to put a pause on college — one day I woke up and just knew it was no longer for me. I was sitting in the same math class I had to take for the third time, due to my lack of transfer credits, and as the teacher was talking I was adding up the “real world” math. I started to add up the time wasted sitting in class, the borrowed dollars wasted on classes and books, and time spent following aspirations society had pressured upon the post-high school student culture.
I dropped it all, gave it all up, and decided this is it! That was when I made the choice to become a full-time entrepreneur. I became a business owner for myself. Not only was I a CEO of my own company, but I decided to become a CEO of my life. No matter how hard the struggle and sacrifice, I knew I had and would make it, no matter what.
So I say to you, world changer, at the end of the day you have to decide. What will you decide? What values do you hold over your own life and your own ability to make positive conscious level decisions for your future? We all have a choice; what kind of life do you choose? Will it be a life of struggle or self discovery? A life of hope or constant defeat? In order to succeed you must not be afraid to fail. You will fall, but you have the choice to either stay on the ground and get trampled or get back up again and again, no matter how long it takes. You got this!
I’ve been homeless, broke, and survived the summer of 2013 with only $1.78 in my pocket. Even when I was at my lowest, I kept the bigger picture of life within my imagination at all times. I met a mentor around this time and she asked me two questions. Question one: “If money was never a option, what would you truly do with your life?” And the second question was: “Will the work and activities you are participating in today lead you to the dream lifestyle you want and deserve?” I ask you to answer the same two questions for yourself, world changer.
Here is a list of four action steps you can take to help guide you into a powerful self leading life.
1) Evaluate and write out your current financial situation.
2) Analyze and write out what changes you would like to see happen in your finances, personal life, and work life.
3) Evaluate and write out action steps you believe it will take in order to achieve the changes you wish to see. 4) Take Action!
Actions always speaks louder than words. You can do anything you put your mind to, you just have to believe you can! The only way you will fail is if you stop trying. Believe you can achieve, achieve what you believe, be you, and always stay humble.