“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”- Friedrich Nietzsche, Philosopher
In our first blog, we discussed overcoming adversity in sports and life with WNBA player, Rebecca Greenwell, who with a good work ethic and great attitude, overcame two ACL tears to win a gold medal and tournament MVP with Team USA! Well, another important factor in overcoming adversity is staying motivated and one way to do that is by remembering your WHY– your reason for doing what you do. As philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
Knowing and remembering your “why” is important in several, if not all, aspects of life, though. It inspires you. Furthermore, knowing your “why” helps you find greater fulfillment in all that you do.
Johnny Bailey, executive director of The Shine Hard Family organization, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to close the racial wealth gap in America, affirms this as he says that creating a nonprofit organizations starts with your WHY. It’s essentially what drives you.
Bailey can attest to the importance of drive as he shares his personal story.
“I grew up as an only child raised by my grandparents. I spent most of my childhood in Petersburg, Virginia, probably what most would call humble beginnings. When I was fourteen, I lost my mom to mental illness as my dad did his best to offer me guidance from afar. I didn’t really have an exact blueprint on how to succeed as a black boy in America, but I never once thought that it wasn’t possible for me. During my teenage years, I often found myself thrust into leadership positions on my sports teams or just as a common connector amongst various friends.
My freshman year at Hampton University was a culture shock for me. I became inspired by black excellence. For the first time, I could literally see how unprepared I was for the world, or maybe it was simply how advanced many of my classmates already were. My peers had blueprints, mentors and organizations that were guiding them on a prosperous track. I sometimes pondered how my life may have been had I been exposed to those same resources. I also became more educated on Black History — soon realizing how oblivious I had been to the issues surrounding my own community.
It was nearly 6 years later when I bundled my personal life experiences, my day-job discontent, and my burning desire to serve a greater purpose; I decided, “I’m going to create something that empowers the people who look like me. A platform for people who may have been oblivious to certain resources but equally as hungry to achieve success. I’m going to be who I needed when I was younger.”
In 2014, Bailey put his activism into drive, gearing up an interview series to shine a light on millennial leaders whom he felt exemplified black excellence. This interview series went on to be called, The Shine Hard Conversation and is a big part of The Shine Hard Family’s virtual mentorship initiatives. By finding his WHY, Bailey is able to reach a large audience and inspire them in a similar way to how he is inspired. Furthermore, he wants his audience to believe, “if they can do it, I can do it too.” And you can do, by starting off finding out your WHY.
So, what’s your WHY? After all, that Let us know by commenting below!