WhyWeWork BrianVee
WhyWeWork BrianVee

Episode 112 · 1 year ago

#112 Will Njoku - Speaker & Mentor & Coach & Teacher - www.Will2Win.ca - BrianVee WhyWeWork

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Will Njoku is a motivational speaker, mentor, coach, and teacher. Will has the heart to lead and the experience to win; hence, Will2Win.ca.

Contact Info

Will’s Profile
linkedin.com/in/will-njoku-650b333

Website
will2win.ca (Personal Website)

Phone
1.506.227.7881 (Mobile)

Email
will@will2win.ca

Twitter
WillNjoku

About

"Having stood close to 7 feet tall since age 18, Will has always had a unique perspective. Although his height helped him to be drafted into the NBA, it is his perspective on life’s journey to fulfillment that drives him to help others find and fuel their potential.
Will’s guiding mantra for personal growth: Set your feet. Aim high. Follow Through. Every day (S.A.F.E), invites an honest examination of the success awaiting us if we are truly willing to grow.
Will Njoku has over 20 years of experience engaging international audiences as a Motivational Speaker and Leadership Development Facilitator. He helps individuals uncover the roots of resilience, reach their full potential and fuel the will to win required to achieve goals in the game of life." (LinkedIn)

Welcome to why we work with your host Brian V. As he speaks to people like you from all over the world as we together dive deeper into our motivations, struggles, joys, seemingly missteps, hopes, warnings and advice which will be an encouragement to us all to get up. Get going on, keep on working. Working is tough, but working is good. Now here's your host to why we work. Brian V. I'm Brian B. And this is why we work today. Have the great pleasure speaking with will, no joke. Who will is a motivational speaker, coach, mentor and teacher today I want to find out from will how we turn adversity into motivation to pursue our passions, dreams and desires. Join me today in my conversation with Will the joke Ooh, I'm Brian V and this is why we work today. Have the great pleasure speaking with will. No joke. Ooh, Good day. Finds her Good evening here. Morning to you. Yeah. You know what? My first several episodes I would say to people because it messes me up all the time. I'm in Korea. Something that's morning. So Good morning. No, you're in the evening and I always mess it up. So I just said good day, So it works. Thank you, Will, for coming on here and giving me your time. Would you do me a favor and tell us what industry you're in now and what you're up to nowadays? Wow. I'm in the leadership industry. I'm considered myself leader in the in the community for a very long time. Most recently, I just completed my bachelor of education degree. So teachers are the front line relationship. Thank you. Because there were talking to kids daily. Um, and motivational speaking. I do that with my business. My work will to win. Um, and the concept behind will to win is that winning means something different, all of us. But in order for us to be successful, we have to fuel our will, at least learned to fuel our will. And And you do that by having experiences in life where you're stretched into, you know, out of your comfort zone. And that's where the growth growth happens. Um, and I do some basketball training. I'm I'm busy. Busy training young athletes, um, to be better, become better people better, better basketball players, uh, in our community here. Monckton. So that's what keeps me busy. Well, can you bring us back? Bring us way back into what would have been your very first job. I read something about what? One thing that you're doing. So I don't know if that was specifically your very first job, but even as a preteen, if it was selling lemonade or what have you? My very first job was as a newspaper boy. Yeah, yeah, and of course I know. I think it was a paper in the pubs and the public housing in the West End there in Halifax Side a little bit. Papers for the Daily News and the Chronicle Herald E Yeah. Really? Yeah. Daily news. I got fired for throwing mine in the ditch. Yeah, I've heard about heard about people. I e they were heavy. I was on sackful drive and I had, like, a big, huge bag and I didn't think at 12 or whatever I was, I didn't think people read those things. It's just and it's considering how heavy and thick and full those things were was like, no way people reading this whole thing front the back. But they were I mean, it was It was the best When you got right, you get halfway through that bag, and you just do Okay, Alright. No longer feel like a mule. I think I could manage the rest of my route. Right. And then you start moving a little bit quicker. But it's the first, like, 10, 15 minutes, or even like those 1st 10, 20 houses. When you're just loaded down with all those papers...

...and you try to figure out certain place you could drop some papers and come back to them. And you get that routine in place so you be more efficient. Why did you get that job? Why a 12? I think it was 12. I read that. You You got that? Yeah. What's going on in the door? Well, we, you know, my dad was super super hard worker, you know, educated a degree in commerce from ST Mary's. And my mom was always working and, uh, you know, living in public housing. Our family could have used the extra dollars, and so I don't know how I get into it. I'm sure my mom and dad, probably just like you're gonna deliver papers and make some money for the family on. Uh, I just did what I was told. So you actually gave some of your money to Are all some of your money to the family? Oh, yeah. No, I do. No, I saved my money because the first bicycle ever purchased, remember, it was, uh I my memory. I think it was $180. That might be wrong, but I remember it was one of those bicycles with the curved handle bars in front of his yellow. And I remember going to the store to Cleaves and Bears Road Shopping Center with my dad. I remember having a pocket full of cash and how proud I waas that I was able Thio to pay for half of the bike because I had earned that money myself and that that stayed with me. That's a lot of papers. That's a lot of papers. I'm not sure how long it took me to get $90. How long did you How long did you deliver papers for? Uh, you know, for years I think I I probably deliver papers right up until I was in grade. I remember in high school, I was delivering delivering papers. E think so. In high school, there's another guy interviewed. He did it from elementary school all the way up to high school because he developed a relationship, a friendship with these people. And, you know, Christmas card time didn't hurt as well. But it just, you know, it was just one of those things. You know, You gotta wake up, brush your teeth, you got to deliver the papers, and then you're off to do the rest of the day. Yeah, and that was the routine, you know, it is routine. It just became part of what it was. I'm pretty sure when I got the high school, I don't can't remember if I did it in grade 10. Um um, but I know the most significant, uh, year me delivering papers was 1984 was during the Summer Olympics in L. A. Uh, those Olympics Olympics that really changed. My life was set. My life on the path was going to be an Olympian. I remember watching these amazing athletes are reading about them in the papers and seeing an athlete who finished in, like, 10 place celebrating on the cover of the paper and I didn't understand. Watched you so happy about you. Finished 10th until until the days when passed by. And I saw the excitement surrounding the Olympics like I cut out. Uh, you know, there's always an extra paper here. There. Right. So I kept a bunch of Yeah, you did. You did. I know what? You know what you did with yours? I could I made a scrapbook, and I wish I had kept that. I have no idea where ended up, but I decided that I wanted to be a limping. I thought if anybody could finish in 10 place and be that happy, then I want to go to this place. This magical Olympics and have that experience was Well, were you playing basketball at this time? I had no sport. I was playing House league fast, pitch in the pubs in my neighborhood, and s I was in great six, right? So, no, I was maybe playing soccer in the summertime, but nothing serious. Did you work another job in high school? As you got into great 11 in grade 12. Was there something in particular? Yeah, This the second job. I remember getting, uh Waas. Actually, no. Yeah, yeah. Uh, think student from my my father died. My older sister, Angela I We started working at the Chronicle Herald downtown. Uh, they had the the the papers would come in, and at night...

...they'd be stuffed. You know, the flyers that you and I would carry, whatever Flyer Day was like Monday or whatever. It was the worst day, Flyer day. It was the worst day because the papers were twice thick. So we were the ones I became Now the person who was stuffing the flyers. So we'd start work at 10 o'clock at night, and then we'd be on our feet till, like, five or six in the morning. So my sister and I did that in high school? Yeah, for some months. Yeah, we did that. I'm not sure I know for sure. I did that in high school, and that was just My dad had passed by that time, and so that was just a supplement. Our family income. And so my older sister and I did, and I did that. And it's and I still have in Halifax. I still run to a couple run into a couple of people that I worked with in the in that attack Harold overnight, we just kind of smile and laugh. We have this special bond that's good on you and your sister. I mean, you're faced with adversity to do what you were doing, but to come together to work together for your family in high school. I mean, I was a punk, so maybe I would have done that if I was faced with similar adversity. But I just don't see it. You know, I would have probably rebelled and went off in a different direction, but good on you and your sister for working together to help with your mom and your family. I appreciate that. But I take no credit for that. My parents instill discipline into us, like way were very, very, very disciplined. I mean, traditional African families. There's a lot of discipline. There's a lot of respect, and, you know, we did what we were told to do when we were asked to do. We didn't ask any questions and and then when we saw the fruits of that because of how hard, when I saw the fruits of how hard my dad was working how my mom was working and that every we had always had food in the fridge. We never, ever went hungry. We may not always have the clothes he wanted to wear were not always had shoes that fit quite right all the time. But, you know, on Saturday, when the fridge was looking a little shy, it was. It was full by Saturday afternoon, and we just learned the value of hard work from watching our parents sacrifice and sacrifice and work and work. And it's a gift that I I need, you know, I wanna pay forward to to my to my Children and even as a teacher just didn't still that that sense of pride that comes from a job well done and yeah, so we were We just knew it was what we needed to do for our family. And we have great examples in our parents well, being a great example and, as you know, growing up people that we meet that do not have those family members that air that example. So it's good for you and I other people to be that example for those kids that they don't have those influences in their lives. And if we can be that example, then that that will bring them some motivation, some encouragement to, as you said, pay it forward for other people as well. Absolutely. It's essential. I mean, I can only control what I can control. I mean, I'm gonna do my best to be the best I could be. I'm flawed in many ways. Um, e think because im e because Because we're flawed. I mean, I think that the knowing that that I'm flawed it and not being so hard, I'm actually super hard on myself. I've learned Thio to take it a lot easier on myself, and and I feel like that's just allowed me to let my light shine a little bit a little bit brighter. How would you How would you be hard on yourself? In what way? With that manifest, because for myself, I get hard on myself thinking I'm unable. But there's other people who, because you had a growing up where discipline was important, that you feel that you're falling short, so you need to doom. Or how did that manifest for you for being hard on yourself? Uh, I think it is just you know there's extremes. Um, there's, you know, you you know, there's there's there's always balance, right? You wanna have a balance between discipline and focusing...

...on outcomes And that sort of that that, um that that tenderness, that inspiration, that sort of, um um, sense of self worth and that not to take life too seriously. I think you know, there's there's, you know, you end up sometimes if you're in the middle of those two, then you're pretty valid. But if your were on one side, so when you're on that side for so long, you you just have the you vibrate at such a high level that you just your expectations of yourself or so are so high because you had to maybe grew up a little. You know, we had to grow up a little bit faster than we would have liked to being an immigrant family and just traumas that come with transition from, you know, from West Africa to Canada in December, right on, just growing up in trying toe fit in in the night in the early 1919 seventies and in the Halifax, um, and parents were constantly working just to help the family. It was, you know, it fractured our family in a lot of ways. And so although we had great examples of how to work hard, we all we always didn't have that, that nurturing that, that that that sense off, you know, self love and self Karen's and building our self esteem. And so when that's lost, you kind of you thank yourself a little bit more in the discipline because its's predictable, right? You know, if I do it this way, I'm gonna get this result, and it's always going to be something good for me. But in the end, it always catches up to you because there's not enough balance. S so that's where you working that with your kids? I do that too. I I grew up with more of ah, not a strict household, but a household that was either inconsistent so you could do what you want or sort of regimented where you had a walk on eggshells because you're not sure what might happen. So I sometimes fall to that because like, hey, it worked for me. You know, something something worked so I could use that. But then I want Oh, But I don't want that. I want to be more loving and carrying kind and understanding and compassionate. How do you kind of push yourself away from that? Excuse me. That other extreme? Well, first, I think less of myself and more of my kids. They don't know anything about my past unless I tell them they don't anything about my past unless I show them. So all they know of me is was what I show them. The face that I reflect the image that reflect the the energy that I give to them tells them about them. If it's negative energy, they're probably gonna feel negative. And so I chose Thio. Always be, Ah, beacon of light and energy and positivity. It's a supposed to you know what I what I experienced. There are times when you know sort of that hard line. Those hard line tactics are necessary, but there's love is love and compassion and kindness, and those were really easy to work with if you know how to. And so they answer your question more specifically, I've always talked to my kids about self love and, uh, not, you know, loving yourself, caring about yourself I would for years before my kids. I still do it sometimes. Now, before my goods could go to bed. We go to sleep like four or five years and formative years between the ages. Sort of three when they could understand until about seven. Every night. I asked them a series of questions like, You know, Do you love yourself? Do you believe in yourself? Are you handsome? Are you smart? Are you strong? Are you black? Is black. Beautiful. Is anybody you got anybody, punk? You off like Do you love Grandma? You love God love. I would ask them these questions to that with themselves and and I would sometimes we just I just, you know, whispered into the ears. Actually it for a long time. I just It was individual, but it's whispered into their ears. And then it was a group thing. And now I can see the fruits of that. You know, I don't ask my kids when they my kid brings home. You just had a birthday yesterday, and and, uh, something happened to school. He was really excited. And I don't say all I'm...

...proud of you. I never said that. I would say, Are you proud of yourself? So I always want them to think of terms in terms of ways that they're fueling their self esteem. They're pulling in from their life, experience into themselves. So I'm not always don't you know, being the one to build them up? And then I would follow that with all your proud. I'm proud of you, too. So they're proud of themselves first and and so ultimately, I don't wanna I don't wanna bring in my past. I know what parts worked. I know what parts didn't and so there's a little bit of the discipline that's required to, so they just be normal. Kids need tough. They need to hear. No, they need tough love. That's our job when I'm supposed to be their friends with their parents. E think I'm so much fun when you're able to combine the two and I I'm really lucky. I have really special amazing my three sons. My my 11 year old just turned 11 yesterday and my twin boys or nine and I could not be a happier father. I think my dad would be super proud of me. I know my mom is shepherding our Children's hearts. I was reading something and there's there's a book called that and It Z what you're doing. You know their hearts, right? It's not them. There is a reflection off of what you're doing, but you're bringing them back to themselves and how they relate to the world. Well, what about you in basketball? And maybe you'd like to highlight some some areas of your life and how you got into basketball and where it brought you. But also as you transitioned out of basketball, what were some key lessons that you learned in your profession is being a professional basketball player? Well, this question is, you know, to get into basketball. Um, was was really, uh, you know, you know, going to junior high and, uh, playing on the junior high team. And then we had high school coach. Our coaches were high school students who saw me, recognized me, and then they started to talk to some other people in the next thing. You know, I'm I'm having some other opportunities to play in a for, you know, favorite Clinton Park or the sackful storm or those local martyrs community Y M. C. I started playing in that in that organization with favorite clicking Parkman of Basketball Association. Then I just had what everyone else. What are we all need? I had great coaching that committed dedicated coaches who saw this, you know, 13 year old, 6 ft too skinny African kid and thought okay. And I did exactly what they wanted. I did exactly what they asked me to do. And where did that come from? My parents. So the value of discipline, um, was bore fruit for me quickly, uh, in sport. Um, and I maintain that mentality until four years later, I was captain the junior national team and and playing for Team Canada. Um, I think on the flip side of all of that, um, you know, playing professional basketball, I think that's where I think I know. That's where, um, some of my, uh, sort of, uh, like my emotional, um, weakness just started toe sort of reveal themselves. Uh, excuse me, and you know it, Z getting drafted was a pretty incredible experience. But remember the day after that I got drafted. I was almost, like, apologetic for getting drafted. Like who gets drafted and shows up to practice the next morning with, you know, Steve Nash and Rick Fox and Martin Keene and and and feels apologetic, I mean, that person would have toe have some. Cem. There's something going on there, and in hindsight and reflection, like not believing in myself, not trusting myself. I think my environment, when I was younger, was was so unpredictable. I think I just didn't trust myself. E didn't know understand my sense of my sense of worth. And but my discipline always save me. Actually, my discipline got me drafted because when I went to...

...my first kind of official MBA experience wasn't once was in Phoenix with sons and, you know, flying down there, meeting the brass and going into the workout room into the into the practice court toe. Get rid of my workout. I do a routine that I that I did always and still do to warm up and and after that routine, I called 100 truck warm up. Um, then I do a little running warm up. Or actually, the running warm up starts and there's 100 shot warm up that just takes him around the world shots. I was feeling good I was shooting really well, and then I did the the the the session with the group and three key to that session really was having traveled 13 hours from Halifax to Phoenix, Arizona. You know, I haven't been to the hotel for maybe just less than an hour before they call me to the arena, been awake for 15 hours of settling on the basketball court, and I'm tired, all right, travel, three time zones. And then they're asking me to be at my best. I remember saying to myself, Have a conversation that William just just do your best, like, just But I have been so discipline at that point that my best was actually pretty good. And that day it was good enough for the Phoenix Suns and not knowing that they had recorded that session, apparently from the moment I walked into the gymnasium to the moment I walked out. So, um, that video that workout wasn't wasn't just good enough for the Phoenix Suns, but when I went back to Halifax a couple of days later, my agent called me and there is the Phoenix, the Sixers, Celtics, the Nets, the Nuggets, All these teams were asking to see me because they've seen my tape. Apparently they had videotaped the whole thing. And so that one day, um, where were the discipline that you know, I was brought up on. And there's a natural, gifted, gifted skills that I had were on display for the sons. But it'll be on display for half the MBA, to the point where the Indiana Pacers, who had never seen me, never contacted me. They never seen me play live. They saw my tape, and that was enough for them to draft me 41st in the NBA. It's it's discipline goes far away, but as you. But even as you're saying that's that's still not not enough. No, it's no, it's it's And that's the thing is is when When I think back or what I do now with my work is is as a teacher as eso. Well, how did you transition out of you know you played on the World Basketball Championship? Canada's national team is well, how did you transition out of out of basketball and then get into what you're doing now? Good question. I was really organic. I was coaching some kids in the Hammonds Plains Road out of school on bond week after week, Monday after Monday, and parents were really enjoying how was working with the kids. One of the parents was a teacher. She pulled me aside and said, I love how you talk to the kids and you think you would like to come in and talk to my students, your irony of it being a teacher And here I am all these years later, Um and I said Sure. So I went in and she loved the work that I did. And I realized, Well, if I'm solving a problem for someone, maybe there's a business in that. And then I already had this idea of will. To win is a program like I coined that up 10 years before that and when I was in college at ST Mary's, and and then I just started to kind of reach Put the feelers out there and, you know, the foundation of what I did was my life. Philosophy has set my feet aim high, fall through every day. I set my feet in the foundation of education. I am high, but having a vision of a dream and a goal I could achieve as long as I believe in myself. E fall through about having the courage and perseverance and determinations, uh, to achieve my goal and experience failure and learn from it. And then every day, I do something to build my mind, my body, my spirit so I can achieve my goals. And so that ended up spelling safe s a f e, which is my safe action plan. And, uh, so based on that on on...

...safe, um, I started Thio just to do presentations about my life experience and and, Yeah, a lot of people enjoyed them and still do. I was the manager of the Katya Axeman basketball team with Coach Dave Nut Brown. I can just just with the big guys underneath, like set your feet s. So I'm sure you heard a lot of this, you know, in your basketball career. What? What is the process? Are you working full time as well as a teacher? Now, is that something that you're looking into doing now that you have your bachelor of education? Yeah. So what? I want to be, uh, in order to do my motivational speaking and some of the things I really like the fact that I can go from school to school, community community and do a presentation for kindergarten to high school. And then I stay and I do basketball clinic for everyone. And I really get toe to subversive myself in the community, and the students and the community get to know me. And I think it's important for people, um, to thio get to know, You know, I tell I tell the kids, You know, if you look around and all your friends look like you, then you really need to spread your wings and try to find some people that don't look like you is. You can learn more about them and and yourself so you can grow. And I feel like whenever entered into these communities, um, I have an opportunity to for them to see someone who who looks like me, talks like me and, uh, and receive a message for me not just from the words I say, but in my character, in my presence and the things that are important. Um, so that's what I want to do so and s o I to commit myself full time to a classroom will be difficult, but I supply teach, which I love. Uh, actually, only ever at one school, right on. And just that familiarity of the students and staff is fantastic Air month. And, um and that's what's sustaining the Yeah, So you're working as a teacher, and then you're also doing your motivational speaking wherever, wherever that takes you. What is what is the process that you go through either as a supply teacher? Because it's a great profession or as a motivational speaker? What is the process that you go through for people interested in being a teacher or people interested in being a coach, a mentor and motivational speaker? What is approach process you go through, say, a week or two weeks? Um, can you be the mark? So, what do you How do you prepare? Like, what is it you actually do what? Scheduling all of the actual the the nuts and bolts of what you do as in your profession. Okay, So for example, last week I had a few presentations online that I was doing and juggling that around. So you're available for online as well now, especially yeah. Yeah. Do online presentations uh, right now, um and, uh and so just making sure I'm prepared for that and being, you know, being relevant talking about, you know, current issues and cove it and how that's affecting students. Um And then it's the same role is the supply teacher I'm very fully aware of what's going on. What's this, Teacher Dio? I've been in education for a while. I don't even know what a supply teacher does. Maybe should know this Well, you know, you know, when we're in school and we're sitting there and the teacher hadn't showed up, we're like, Where's mrs so and so suddenly this stranger walks in were like, Oh, yeah, it's a way would say substitute right, usually substitute. And so I'm not guy. So you come in And if you're feeling so ideally Azaz a teacher, I would leave a lesson plan and is in a some some sort of resource resources for the supply teachers substitute teacher to come in and take over my day. No matter what I'm teaching, I'm having, you know,...

...from teaching art phys ed, social studies science. I have to have a lesson. Plans ready for that individual to come in and so supply teacher would come into the room. Uh, having being trained as a teacher knows how to manage the classroom, gained the attention of students and then, you know, get them set up and then just follow the routine based on what's left for them by the by the host teacher. And I love that. Sometimes you get a sticky note. You know, sometimes the teacher is sick at the end of the day and just scratches a few things down. Newspapers do this or there's an emergency lesson plan filed, like go over there and pull the lessons out. Or sometimes, you know, I've had some really detailed lesson plans. Minor really detailed. If I had a supply teacher, um, what you're teaching and you mentioned kind of the subject. But what you mentioned art and what other subjects are you able to teach? Well, the teacher you're supposed you're you're capable of teaching because the teaching teaching is a process, Um, and which is and there's ah, there's a way there's, you know, you always you teach with the end in mind. So what's the outcome? What's the end goal? How are you going to assess the students on Ben. You work backwards and you build a lesson. Um, then you want to make it is entertaining and and because energetic on fund for the students as possible. So it has to be student centered, Um, and, uh and so that's what And then for me, being creative person, I always get wrapped up. And I always have these great ideas. How much fun or interesting I could make it for the students. And that's what that's what makes teaching part of what makes teaching from for me. Um, what makes teaching really enjoyable for me is I walk in that door a quarter to eight, and I'm at 100% battery full, and I walk out at court at four. I'm at 100%. I feel phenomenal. It's where I meant to be. I know when I'm speaking at schools, I feel the same way. And supply teaching is just a way for me to get a more personal engaging with the students. Whereas when I'm speaking in front of 1000 or 2000 students or even 30 I'm talking to kindergarten kids. Um, that's a kind of it's a small period of time, and then then I Then I move on. But when you have a whole day to really see and sometimes you supplied teach for 23 days or even a weaker had a two month term in one classroom. A couple years ago, when I was a teacher for two months in this particular classroom, I thought everything from I thought everything but drama, music and math. I thought everything, um you name it and, uh, it was try to the drama. Oh, yeah, I would try anything. Um, again, It's its's. The teachers is a is a formula, and it's really the individual teacher. They're still, you know, we had teachers that were like, Oh, man, Mr So and so again, I miss So you were like, Oh, we got we got physics. Next, we've got chemistry with Mr So and so you know, just it's a make or break, right? Depending on the teacher for the subject. And they know, like, if you you know, if you want to be a teacher, you gotta love kids. Um, you gotta love all the things that they bring to the table And you gotta be X. I mean patient. You gotta be mega, mega mega patient And it can't be about you. You don't get into teaching to glorify yourself, right? You don't. You get into teaching cause you really care about kids and you want to change their lives. I mean the lesson. The lessons are important. The grading is necessary. But the relationships that you build, the example you set first for for the students who see you as sometimes, you know, you're you're the you're the most influential, uh, adult in their life. That's a big responsibility. I don't think that very lately do you, Whether we're speaking about your motivational speaking career or teaching, it's their kind of the same where you're delivering a message and you're in front of these people and you're hoping to impact them. What are some advantages or challenges and satisfactory moments that you get out of doing either or Oh, wow. It's a moment where a speaker, when you're...

...when you're speaking to a crowd, especially when students I've seen kids literally like I can see the light bulb go off in their eyes when I say something or they realize something about themselves, and I can see them just in their in their body there or everything just changes and they get it. And I'm thinking, great. I reach one and things bigger. You just want to reach one. If one could make it, I talk to kids. If I could just reach one of you in this audience today, I've done my job, and it turns out I always end up reaching all of them and even staff in many different ways. Um, a teacher. It za process, Um, the victories, Um because of because of the fact that you're teaching lessons over time, I think my biggest reward and most recently, is seeing students who aren't confident I'm really good at building. Bringing the confidence out of out of it was just funny. I was not a confident person. I was younger, but because of that, you know, I don't want the appetite having anybody else. So one student, particular Chloe, is she She was her spelling was just not where it could be. And, you know, I said, you know, just give me five extra minutes in the morning working on your spelling. Just give me five and we'll see what happens and she did it. And then when I when I corrected her paper and get back to I wrote her a nice note like Congratulations, you know, you stretch yourself a little bit and this is what happens when you're willing to be a little bit uncomfortable. Now expect to Seymour and those were the victories when when Olivia has been assignment that I didn't think she's going to do. And she's done mawr than I expected. And she's She's kind of like whatever Mr Will right? And I'm like, Okay, but, you know, three weeks ago, you wouldn't even thought about that and that z what I get, that's that's what gives me. I get charged up when I see them make that transition, and it's not necessarily the work is what they get the Greg's. I need that. But it's it's how they feel about themselves, like toe, watch them, transform and move into direction and grow in a way that I know is going to be beneficial for them in so many parts of their lives. Man, that's better than hitting the game winner for sure. So for challenges. What about as a teacher? What is some challenges that you face, Uh, you know, it's a teacher. You're your biggest enemy. Really? If you're not prepared, uh, if you don't get enough rest, uh, if you if you aren't, um, willing to be flexible, Um, And if you if you if you e I know For me, uh, it's important we look at all of our students as from a kind of a trauma based perspective where not that they've been traumatized. But there's potential in some ways of every student is coming to school with a bag of uncertainties. I know I did that. You said you had no idea what I was doing with that home because I would come to school Hi, Mrs here. And I was just so happy to be in school. But underneath that that that was just on the surface. But underneath that was really sad and struggling. So it's important that as teachers, you know, that would be. The challenge is to make sure that those students who who aren't necessarily media expectations or some behaviors that you're struggling to to manage in tandem with the resource team and the psychologist at the school to try to find a way Thio have that student kind of, you know, unlock their potential. That's the That's the challenge. And you don't always reach them all, whether in on a stage or in the school, you mentioned not having the confidence as a youth. What is the skill that you had to develop in the roles that you're in now? Ah, skill had to develop. Um, I think just for me is just just not being hard on myself, E. I asked this a while going. Was it a tough transition getting out of basketball into being a...

...teacher into a motivational speaker? The transition of I'm not the professional athlete that I am now, but I'm, you know, the there's not much of a difference, right? I don't think you're a worker either way, right when you're a worker as a professional athlete, your worker as a teacher. But was there was that a tough transition, and then the skills that you needed thio work on rather than the more physical and there's a mental aspect to sports as well. But was there one in particular that kind of Well, I didn't have this at all. I never had to use this or I had a little bit of it, and I just need to work on it. Authenticity. If you're authentic, if it's who you really are, um, if you're standing there and if you if you you know, if your story is I went to base camp and Mount Everest and didn't make it, and then you want to come back and that's you wanna base your motivational presentation on that it's not authentic. I mean, so people will see through it. Um, my story is about It's about my life, I tell the students. Oh, are the, you know, the adult audiences. I speak to that. Everything I'm telling you here is the truth and that authenticity, um, comes out in your vulnerability. I think that's one thing I realized that it was okay to be vulnerable in front off audiences and because that's where that emotional connection happens and when you're when they see you being vulnerable, when when you know a great 12 kids sees you up there being sincere and authentic, they can relax and they, you know, we all have these little guards we put up. They put their down their guards and doesn't always take might not take, you know, a day or a week, but over time that authenticity eyes liberating in a lot of ways for yourself. Um, be yourself. That's the key. Just be you and it Z. I think that was one of the biggest challenges I had was just knowing and loving myself enough to be like, You know what? I'm pretty special guy. I mean, you know, accomplish a lot And I have a lot of good people in my life and, you know, and you know, it's for me. The person that that was in the mirror, Uh, I didn't always see what other people saw. I saw what I saw. Another people saw something greater. Um, and I think it's when I when I finally was able to see me for who I am and who I can be, who are willing to be, um, that authenticity makes being a teacher and being a speaker easier because it's just it's just natural with being authentic. You may have a similar advice for people thinking of you when you were 12 delivering newspapers or when you finished with basketball as a basketball player, switching to a career a different career. Do you have advice for people who are just starting work one way or the other? Just starting at, you know, a teenager or they're switching a career? Do you have some advice? Yeah. I mean, there's there's this thing about, you know, follow your passion. Follow your passion. It there's, You know, uh, I really like the rewards I get from being a speaker and being a teacher, you know my rewards from being a teacher. I told you already, it's It's the fact that I get to go home every day with a full emotional tank. That's that's the best thing. Um, as a speaker, you know, I get paid to do my work. And with that, I get Thio have a life that I wanna I wanna I wanna enjoy that I enjoy. Um I mean, the advice really is to if if wherever your interests lie. Research, research, uh, whatever that is. Um, ask questions, seek out mentors, ask as many questions as you possibly can. Um, there are no dumb questions or bad questions were Just ask the questions and and then just whatever comes from those questions trusted. Um, if it's taking you on a path that you you're like, Whoa. I didn't think I go this way. Well, then trust it and see...

...where it leads you. Um, I mean, I didn't three years ago. I no clue I'd be a teacher, but I want to see my kids performing and skipping performance out of school ended up talking to the principal was a buddy of mine. I said, Who are all these extra adults? They said these are educational assistance. What do they do? They do this. I could do that. And from that, um, and being in schools and seeing teachers teaching being around students, I realized that wow, I could teach. I could I could do this. This is with wouldn't be work for me. And so then I started asking questions and and seeing what? You know what the opportunities were. And then I found out that yeah, I wanna be I wanna be teacher and I became a teacher. So, um e think's yeah, sometimes in in the stillness of of you know, I have this. Um Thanks, man. Try live by is I don't complain about what I permit. Oh, special. I don't complain about what? What I permit. So in seeking, you know, in transitioning from school to work or work toe work. Um, there are boundaries that one can create s so that you can go home every day and feel good about yourself that you're making decisions that you know are good for you. Because if you're not, you really can't complain anybody. So I can't complain about getting fat if I'm eating McDonald's chocolate and potato chips. I'm sorry. I'm not to me. I won't hear you. That's true. The potato chips understand McDonald's. I don't I don't know anything. But people do complain about the things they permit. Yeah, and you know, it's it's liberating. For me, that was one of the, you know, in in and buying into that whole hearted wholeheartedly saying, Don't complain about what you permit it was it would allow me to establish healthier friendships, healthier relationships, healthier partnerships and ultimately you stop. It allowed me to establish the most important leadership was which was with myself because I defended myself with teeth and nails because if something was going the way, I didn't want it to go, and I let it happen. This is the guy I had to deal with. And and I refuse to go home or in my day, feeling that I hadn't voice my opinion or made a choice that wasn't right for me. Um, you know, in terms of what's important without taking advantage of anybody else. Um uh, but I if you know, if if if I want to get in shape and I'm on, I need to find a way. I taught myself how to swim, right? Or shut up. If you don't, if you don't want to run the streets and bang your knees and 40 years old and you want to get in shape will go swim. But if you don't do it and you're still feeling the way you feel, which at that time wasn't great things don't complain. And at that and that little bit. And is that someone who's disciplined and an athlete and driven and has gone through so many things to stretch my body? I couldn't sit idle like that. Yeah, I think I'm I'm getting at that point where I need to transition from running to swimming. It's the knees. You're getting banged up. Hey, listen, I like six o'clock this morning I was in the pool at the Y M c a hair Monckton banging out a kilometer on. And I know until I die until I can't stop. I can't swim anymore from injury or whatever. Swimming is my fountain of youth. That's changed my body. I wish I'd done it on my kids. Uh, just the room here next to me. My sons. I have talked about a lot of swim, and I'm gonna make sure that they do. A lot of that is fantastic exercise. I'm not a I'm not a good swimmer, so I don't like what you know. What was it called? Breaststroke? No, no front crawl. And so turning my head. I just don't like I would be happy with just swimming, but I have to breathe. I saw last year they had I saw...

...someone. They had a mask. You know, the snorkel usually goes up up the side. It comes right up the front of the the top of the head. I'm like, I want to get one of those that would make swimming more interesting to me. I think that's exactly how we planned this morning. Yeah, like just like I could just go right? That's what I want to do. I want to go. But until then, I'm beating up my knees. Will you mentioned relationships? How do you keep your work life balance in check in, turning off work and setting time for yourself as you mentioned in your family or your other pursuits, especially coming up. And you said in a family where it's pretty disciplined. So it's probably work came first, so that might mean a higher majority of the time was spent with work and maybe less. With the Mawr developing relationship. I had to teach myself how to relax, you know, to stop and play video games with the boys or throwing a movie or or, you know, not have my you know, this compulsion to clean, organized or whatever. And I was a stay at home dad with my three sons for years, so I just have that paternal instinct. Always make sure things air neat and tidy. Eso I have to kind of turn that turn that down. But it's easier for me to balance. Um, what happens when I'm not at work knowing that I'm really satisfied by my work. Um, that it's not draining me in any way. Because at the end of the day and my number one team is my family and our families, our number one teams, and we want to make sure you come home with our energy to give to them. And that goes that falls into the hole. Don't complain about what you permit. If you're working yourself to the point where you have nothing, left it end of the day for you. Number one team. Uh, something needs to change on dso I I'm you know, the combination of exercise is great for my mental health. Um, you know, engaging in things that my that my my kids enjoy doing on getting satisfaction and watching them have fun, those are some of the sacrifices I make now is apparent that I love. And it helps that I've traveled around the world and seen a lot of done a lot. And I feel like, Okay, I've had had enough of that. Yeah, yeah, it's it's good you mentioned, um, exercise. Where do you value exercise for other people and also education knowing that you you know, you're only young, but you just received your bachelors of education as well. So how do you portray that to other people? The value of exercise and education? Yeah. I mean, you know, I think I think you know, getting a diploma or degree or certificate. That doesn't mean the end of learning. It's just you're still you're still learning. We're always learning this opportunities to learn. We learn through pushing our our bodies mentally, which is going to school and being an adult learner. Being a student again at my late forties was interesting. Um, but our bodies are the same. So our bodies are still grow as well. If we're willing, Thio make that make that sacrifice. And, um, exercise is important as we move in all aspects of our life because, um, way don't realize Aziz kids, that's all we did. We played, we played, we played, we played, we played. And we never stop because that's all we did in our Our bodies were trained to play and just be free and loose and limber. And then, as we move into, you know, high school in adult hood and we get into our these these careers, we start to slow that play down on our bodies. Slow down to I remember when I first started working as athletic director of Criminal University. I went from playing a lot of basketball in Toronto on being great shape to sitting at a desk for months, and it just destroyed my body for a...

...while. Um, and then again, you can't complain about you permit So ideo myself out of that desk and and exercise, and it's really just about finding the time. I mean, people complain I don't have time. We all have the same amount of time in a week, same amount of time in the day. It's really about planning and being in a routine, Um, because once you get into a routine is like being like you and I delivering papers. You know, at seven o'clock in the morning, you're on that beat and you're and you're doing your papers at seven o'clock in the morning, you could be doing some Pilates. You've been doing some free weights and exercise band. You'd be doing a strength condition class at your local gym or swimming lanes like me or shooting hoops in the evening with your with your homeboys in your own girls. I mean, you know, it's just making a plan to acknowledge that our bodies are growing and learning always. And if we make it a habit, um, of being of exercising, you know, the endorphins that that releases it trickles into the rest of our lives. And especially for me, if I don't exercise, I know it's my mental health will deteriorate quite significantly. Um, and so I think in general, we're just It just makes sense, Um, to be as active as you possibly can walking is huge. Admire I c e. I love it. I love you. Want to see people walking and, you know, in in, in in, uh, Korea and South in China, Places walking is big. I'm the only fool running around Most people, they're walking. I'm like, yeah, yeah, right. You're sprinting by them. But yeah, it za mentality that I think, uh, majority the world adopts on you. See how healthy people are your part of the world right now in Southeast Asia. Um, and the challenges are in our communities. Um, but I love the fact that I that I you know, even the 10 11, 12 year old kids like coach now and they're like I said, You know, I don't know why I've been still in shape. Like why I said, I do it for you. E want to set a good example for you? So you know that when you're my age, you can have muscles like these and you can feel good about yourself. And you can have all this energy and you're just like Coach will your nuts, right? But it that to be viable, to be vibrant, uh, is important. It's It's funny because we usually attempted to choose the path of least resistance. But with Cove it I've found or I'm finding, you know, one. We can be tempted to sit down and watch movies all day or Netflix whatever someone's thorn is, or we can use this time in education and exercise. Thio. Learn something, Thio exercise and take better care of ourselves, and it's it's one or the other with some people, and hopefully we're leaning more towards the better rather than the worst. Do you have? Ah, moral beacon will. Is there something that's leading you and guiding? You have your parents as role models as well, but is there something else that lead you and guide you to make the decisions you make for your family in your career. Yeah, I just know when I was young, you know, I I you know, on the surface, Like I said, I was super happy. Go Lucky kid underneath. I was really struggling. I was always struggling. I was always struggling and no one would have known that. Because I I put on this facade and I've seen other, uh, spoken to other adults. I've spoken to students, athletes who kind of went through similar things. Um, and I know that a lot of that comes because just because we haven't tuned are you know, if we think of our brain in terms of a radio, we just don't always get the signal clear. We're not able to tune into the frequency to get that signal clear. And when we get that signal clearer, we're able to make better decisions. I know, you know, having battled, you know, depression. And...

...since I was six years old, you know, having that fog lifted when I was 29 when I finally was diagnosed, was was was a big part in realizing everyone. It was like this, um, and then forgiving myself for, you know, some of the mistakes that I made and some of the decisions I made because I just didn't know any better. Eso I'm very sensitive to what I don't see when I meet people. Um, I'm very aware that, um we're all eso fragile in so many ways. Especially having lost my my brother when I was when he was 19, my dad when I was 15. So I haven't experienced lost in my life. I appreciate so much and having to do the haven't earned the position on the national team and and having traveled around the world and seen, you know, uh, just some amazing things and then some some really discouraging and sad and things Thio to have been dressed in Nike from head to toe on the way toe to play a basketball game in Argentina on every day we drive by this this'll community where there was just people living in ramshackle, the home with with no running water and electricity. Was it just It gave me a lot of perspective. Um, you know, living in turkey and seeing some of the oldest places in the world and then living in one of the most modern cities in China and and then just connecting with people on being open minded. It really taught me what it's important. And what's important is really just a relationship that we have each with each other, always believe the most important person, this person who are next to right. At this moment. Um, the moment is the moment we take, we always take the moment for granted for granted. And I always my friends, you know, I always told my friends, my kids, I'm like there's a reason why mo mentum is important but you can't create momentum unless you you're in the moment on appreciating the moment. Appreciated appreciating the person as a gift. Um, when you haven't had a life that where you felt really great about yourself. Um, you know, always where you're always kind of unsure insecure, um, yet yet heralded as this amazing athlete in this person. But underneath the surface, you didn't kind of feel that way. When you come out from that, when you surface from that and the fog has lifted and you see yourself for who you are, you don't want anyone else to feel that way. Mhm and I really and and combined with my life experience, I just really know what matters. And the most important thing is just being kind and loving yourself and loving other people and and just knowing that things can change so quickly that I want to make sure that anyone I interact with has a really good vibe from me. Um, and I think in the past I was I'd have toe play that part because it was almost a defensive shield. It was almost like, um, armor that I had to wear just to navigate through life. But now I don't have to have that shield is off. I'm actually just letting my own light shine and it feels great. And it's it's drawn a lot of amazing people into my life. And and as long as my kids are continue to progress the way they were progressing, I think I'm doing the right thing. Well, as you shine, what is your overarching goal? Maybe for will to win or you're teaching career? What is your overarching goal? Um, I think I just like to be settlers. A resource to just help people navigate through some of the challenging parts of their lives. Um, that's what I find, you know, I'm getting emails and messages and from adults and students who are just trying to overcome something. Um, And so I think the authenticity of my life experience and knowing that I'm flawed on being vocal about that and, you know, dealing with mental health issues and overcoming that. And yet, you know, being a...

...teacher, being a motivation speaker, being a dad, I it's it's ah, I would love you know, I'm working towards in in the near future, you know, doing a masters in counseling, Bond. I would love to work with student athletes and help them, Um, make that mo mental shift, um, to get them to the next level. Um, if there's something perhaps holding them back, um, in the way they're wired. If they're struggling to get that that signal clear, uh, in that radio, their mind if they're battling whatever giants that exist in the battlefield of our minds, I want to be that guy that they can, uh, anyone can come to. And just from what I hear from what my friends tell me. They just feel they feel comfortable. They feel safe, they make them feel good. So, um, um, e wanted to be remembered by for how I made people feel it's nice, Thio, you know, toe have, you know, experiences and whatnot. But I know that no one's gonna remember that, but I know they're gonna remember the way I made them feel. What about you mentioned a few times the adversity that you have faced in your life, especially a younger adult? What adversity have you face that kind of motivate you Maybe sometimes hinders you, even still today. But you use that adversity to encourage other people in the adversity that they face in their word. Yeah. Only the only thing that's constant is change. And you know what? I'm doing? My when I'm swimming in the pool and that water I'm fighting against the water. I'm trying to be as relaxed as I possibly keep telling us. Just relax. Are you? Relax your breathing property, are you? Relax. Just relax and then go through the water. The water isn't gonna change. It's still wet. It's not that warm. Um, and but I still have to navigate through it. And that's what our life is like. Way have to know that there is going to be resistance. But we're going to meet it. And we're going to relax in that resistance and know that we're gonna come out of it. And when we come out of it, if we put a flag in that spot and say, Hey, remember that. Remember that experience I had? I got through that. And if I could get through that well, I see that challenge up there. I know I can get to that point. And you can't do that unless you're willing to go through some different times. But your story will never change. Your story will never change your from willing to stretch a little bit on Have life stretch you Andi challenge you because that's how we grow. That's how we grow on Ben. Reflect on that and say Okay, well, who am I now? And I always hoped the answer that with Well, I am better, you know? Well, I only have one more question. Is there anything that we haven't touched upon? That you'd like to add some thoughts about the work that you're doing that some people may find interesting or the official? Yeah, my kids. You know, we're the political climate. Just such social injustices. Ideo talk a lot about social justice and I'm passionate about it. My kids, um they know who they are. They know that the black they know the black is beautiful. They know that there there are obstacles and out there and they understand they're starting to learn Understand? Because you know you can't always experience is often the best teachers. Sometimes way don't want it to be the best teacher, but I'm preparing them for that. I just think I find it interesting. Um, you know, you know, hip hop culture and black. I see, you know, black culture reflected in so many aspects of society where music or fashion entertainment, um, in, uh, in music, in even the food that we eat. Um, you know, radio jingle...

...radio jingles have this hip hop flavor. It's just the idea that as a black man, so much of my culture and the things that we made popular are are in the mainstream. Yet we're not popular in the mainstream, and it's so confusing. I don't understand. I don't understand if the things about us that, uh, that mainstream loves the love the most. If we're so ingrained in the mainstream and were and what we are our cultures that embedded in that welcome, why aren't we as individuals? It's heartbreaking. Um, I try to remind my sons that, you know we're not part of There's not zone. I think it's easy to thio be divisive and say, well, them and us no, we're all part of the human race and I want my kids understand that, you know, without seeking the truth of who that you are annoying your value and your worth and then understanding where you fit in life and then and then growing that tolerance that you need, um, Thio manage in situations where you know, in life and in business and education. Um, in all the different arenas, competitive and non competitive arenas of life, we have to be tolerant. And when we learn to be more tolerant than then, that's where social justice really comes in. When we're all open minded enough to accept the other each other as as we are, I feel like there's so much intellectual capital that's that's not tapped into because, you know, we don't all have the same opportunity to contribute. You just imagine how much more, further ahead we could be a za society if we all have equal opportunity to have input. Eso is disappointing, but the same time it's I'm hopeful, because the work I'm doing is I'm trying to set an example. Um, you know, there's a reason why I go to school every day and I wear a collar and slacks because I want the kids to see a black man. You know, that speaks and looks and dresses like me and that be the representation of blackness as opposed to something else on bats. Important. And I can change. I'm not gonna I can only set an example for my kids and for the people I'm interacting with, Um um, but I really hope that there's, ah, that there is a a mindfulness. There's an awakening of consciousness, of the role that we all play and how much more what's happened, what we've seen with George Floyd's murder, how much that makes us realize just how vulnerable we are. We all our now fragile we are, we all are and that we see that there are. There are people in society who are more fragile than they need to be, and it's important we do something. Um, do something about that The coronavirus has really revealed. Um, you know, the underbelly of our society and who's who's affected by, um, by the coronavirus and whose lives are being lost in this is disappointing, but at the same time it's encouraging and to know that there is a movement and there I'm seeing commercials. Now I'm seeing I can't believe it. I'm seeing Mawr black people in commercials of like kids. You notice how many black people are commercials or just things like that that, you know, when we grew up in Halifax, we would not have seen that I would not have seen anyone in the walls that looked like me. Um, so I would not be able to see a doctor or or someone that was doing something that I thought Wait a minute, I could be that person. But now we've had there are those times are fading and we have some. There's some change, so I'm always of the half glass full kind of thing, and I always know I want to contribute to the solution and not necessarily dwell in the problem. Um, whatever way, I can, um, help bring awareness. Um, to how...

...connected we are again travel the world. I learned how small the world is and how we all want to be safe and happy and be able to just live freely. Um e I think it's important that all of us have that opportunity and we're all humans. First. We're humans first. And respecting each other's humanities is tantamount is paramount. It's Yeah, we're the same human race, and our differences should not separate us. But they should bring us together absolutely well. How can people reach you? How can they can contact with you to be a speaker? Maybe even nowadays zoom calls, whatever, whatever is easiest. But you also have you come visit them. Yeah. My website will to win dot c A w i l l number two dutch win dot c A. I'm on Facebook on instagram. Um and, uh, yeah, they could reach me through those through those means Semi private message. Yeah, this is what I do. Um, super busy at it. But, you know, when I spoke in China a few years ago, I went to Bermuda. I'm I'm really really I just see this. You know, this. I'd like to travel the world and just sort of give this, uh, this message of hope and, uh, and healing for many, many people, and again set my feet aim high fall for everyday safe. Who are you willing to be? Where you're willing to go? What are you willing to accept and what you're willing to do about it today? I always ask myself those four questions when I have choices to make. And I wanna hope that everyone, if anyone's interested, could seek me out. And so you can share it. Experience will. One final question. Why do you work? Oh, I love it. I work because, you know, you want to know I work. I work because my goal is to have four day weekend every month where I just get on a plane on a Thursday night and I travel and I come back on a Monday night and I know that if if I work well and horror, um, because of who I am and what I'm willing to accept in my life, I will be enjoying that. And if I do enjoy that the fruits of my labor labor were allowed me to have this really fun for day weekend goal that I have for myself. I worked for the pleasure of the work and of the pleasure of the rewards. I mean, why? Why? Why else would work? Not enjoying enjoying it. Well Njoku Motivational speaker, coach, mentor and teacher Check them out on will to win dot com Thank you. I appreciate the time that you've given me and I appreciate the work that you dio Oh, thank you. It's will to win dot ch just you permit right, Will to win dot c A. Yeah. Thanks. Listen. Thank you. I'm so it's so great Thio to make this connection on the other side of the world. Um, good luck with everything you're doing there with your family. Um God bless you. And thank you so much for having me on your show. Thank you for listening to this episode of why we work with Brian V. Be sure to subscribe, follow and share with others so they too can be encouraged in their work. E I hope that you have yourself a productive yet joyful day in your work.

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