I first met Willie Dynamite Edwards five years ago when I strolled into Title Boxing Gym to inquire about taking cardio kickboxing class. He was sitting at the desk and immediately greeted me with a firm handshake and a huge friendly smile. Minutes into our conversation, he had easily convinced me to join the boxing club to, as he described it “get a powerful workout”.
I had no idea that my weekly workouts would also include motivational phrases of encouragement being yelled into my ears as the class struggled to punch the bags. As the class laid on the floor doing crunches and begging silently for mercy, he was showering us with positive words and repetitive phrases reminding us that if we can do 5 push-ups, then we can do 6. He challenged us to remember to be strong and to hold onto the belief we could accomplish any challenge we faced. By the end of the class, most of us were in pain but many of us were in tears touched by Dynamite’s testimonial words and heart-filled encouragement. It was nothing I had ever experienced in a gym class.
Months later, I would invite Dynamite to serve as a motivational speaker at my place of employment. He eagerly accepted and arrived on a bright and sunny day to speak to a group of managers about the ‘Power of Effective Leadership’. The participating managers were mesmerized by his words and every pen was up taking notes as Dynamite paralleled his personal life experiences as a former heavyweight boxer while also sharing personal stories about the tragic loss of his father and emotional loss of his mother. Two years later, Dynamite has continued to be a mentor to me and constantly reminds me to stay motivated and focused on my “why”.
As the author of the book, ‘How to Raise a Confident Child’, Dynamite shares tips to build self esteem in children, however the tips can easily be adopted by adults; specifically adults struggling with issues that stemmed from their childhood. These issues, if not managed, can be a detriment to an adult’s life experiences while interacting with family members or with peers in the workplace. With that in mind, I recently asked Dynamite the following questions:
In the introduction of your book, you write that children with low self-esteem grow up to be adults with low self-esteem. What advice do you recommend to adults who are currently struggling to improve their self-esteem? My first suggestion is the most important one, and that’s to be brutally honest with yourself. If this first step isn’t taken, any following suggestions would be only moot points. This first step is the most difficult task for ANY human being to accomplish I believe because when you are honest with yourself you have to put aside your strengths and look at your weaknesses and no one wants to be weak, although we all have weaknesses. A person can have a mentor or friend to help with this, but this is something a person must do on their own. A person must slowly pull back the layers and get to what some older folks would say “nitty gritty”. While doing this exercise and just living, a person must monitor their self-talk. The most important person we will ever have a conversation with is with ourselves. Here lies the guide to all we will ever do or not do in life. After honestly assessing yourself you MUST raise your standards of the thoughts you think, the images you visualize and the actions you take. Afterwards, you must consistently assess yourself hourly, daily, weekly or however often you see fit to maintain your discipline.
You have a young son that inspired you to write this book. In what ways are you working with him to ensure he grows up to have high self-esteem? With my 5-year-old son, I continue to keep the doorway of communication open and consistently ask open ended questions like how does something make him feel so he can start recognizing different emotions within himself. I write affirmations on his bedroom wall so he can get accustomed to hearing himself say it internally and externally so he can become consciously competent with having healthy esteem. I often ask him to read them to me. Now he knows them by heart because they have made an impression on him. I strongly believe that repetition builds the impression. For example, the affirmations he has on his wall are “I am kind” “I am strong” “I am confident” “I am tough” “I am gifted and talented” “I am me”. He has become so accustomed to this positive self-talk that last week, he asked me to put the phrase “I am great” on his wall. That is confirmation that at any age repeating positive affirmations can cause your confidence to grow to the point that you desire to speak more affirmations to yourself. When I do communicate with him, I am totally focused on him. I truly believe the best gift you can give someone is to be completely present while you are in their presence.
As long as I have known you, you encourage me to do affirmations in the mirror to myself? Why do you feel this an important part of personal growth? I truly believe as I stated earlier that the most important conversation you will ever have is the one you have with yourself. Looking at yourself in the mirror and having an intentional conversation with yourself is powerful. For example, if someone tells you on the phone that they love you versus in person, saying ‘I Love You’ while looking into your eyes and will have more effect. You can feel their energy and observe their sincere facial expressions and that will leave a deeper impression than just hearing it over the phone. Yes, it’s uncomfortable at first to talk to yourself in the mirror, but the person we desire to be and all the things we desire to obtain resides on the other side of being uncomfortable. When you look at yourself in the eyes and say positive affirmations to yourself, you can’t lie to yourself while looking at yourself. You will know if you are being sincere or not. The most important relationship you will have is the one with yourself. If you aren’t comfortable with you, why should anyone else be. You are the first example to yourself on how the world should treat you. The more we do the exercise of speaking affirmations with sincerity and intent, we become vulnerable to ourselves, and then it becomes easy to be vulnerable and transparent with others. We can lie to others but we can’t lie to ourselves and the mirror is your accountability partner. Flaws and all show up close and we have to deal with accepting the person looking back at us. Like any exercise, the more you do it, the stronger and better you will get. We can only live inside the body we are born in, so why not make that place as comfortable as possible.
Why is it important to give compliments to children as well as adults? I believe our main job as human beings is to lift up one another whether it’s a child or an adult. There is so much negativity being shared through television and magazine images and social media, attempting to make us believe we aren’t good enough. Most of the negativity comes from within our own selves. You never know what another person is struggling with and just smiling at someone, sharing a kind word or giving a compliment to someone may change the trajectory of their life. We may never know the lasting impact of our positive words or actions.
Every one of the seven billion human beings on this planet struggle with something in their life. Financial security, religious affiliation, or ethnic background will not protect a human being from this fact. When we compliment others SINCERELY, it not only lifts them up, but it creates a ripple effect. People will feel how your words impacting them and they will be inclined to have a similar effect on another person. Plus, when you make other people happy, you in turn make yourself happy. It’s contagious. Be contagious in a positive way! My second all-time favorite quote is by Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you do, people will forget what you say, but people will never forget how you made them feel” How are you making people feel? More importantly, how are you making yourself feel?
You often discuss the impact of how not having a father in the home made on your personal life when you were younger. What did you do to change your mindset and what advice do you give to men who are struggling with not being raised by their father? My advice is to be honest with yourself and take sole responsibility of who you are and your current circumstances. What I did was to give myself the things I felt like was missing from a Father for instance; I didn’t have his approval, so I gave myself approval. I didn’t have his encouraging words, so I told them to myself. I didn’t have him there to believe in me, so I believed in me. I would advise that they do what I did which was to change their perspective about their situation. I started looking at situation as not “What happened to me” but “what happened for me”. Being optimistic about my past, present and future changed the path of my life and placed me in the driver’s seat instead of the passenger seat.
In your book, you mention in your early adulthood you often felt like a victim but your uncle helped “pull the greatness out of you”. What advice did he give you and what advice do you want to share with others who are struggling with feeling like a victim? My Uncle came into my life at a pivotal time when I was struggling with my self-esteem and I often blamed my Father for my struggles in life. He inspired me to read a few books, but nothing changed inside of me until I read the quote “The strength of the effort is measured by the result” from the book ‘As A Man Thinketh’ by James Allen. After I read that book, I had a mental shift and I started being honest with myself which was terrifying. Being honest with myself enabled me to look inside myself and come to the realization that not having my Father in my life was not my fault, but it is still my responsibility to own who I was and who I wasn’t, and to grow despite him not being around.
What aspect of being a transformational speaker do you enjoy the most? What do you hope your audience will take away from your speeches?What I love about being a Transformational Speaker is being transparent and vulnerable about my past and current struggles while speaking in front of complete strangers. Because every time I do this, I heal a little more. In addition, what it does for the audience is while they see me completely owning my life and circumstances in front of strangers, then they themselves are inspired to do the same within themselves. I desire for the audience listener to see the person that experienced the tragedy of seeing my Father being killed in front of me at age 7 but not using the tragedy as an excuse. In turn, this inspires my audience to stop using anything in their life as an excuse to not grow.
You are now offering life coach consulting. What is the advantage to having a life coach and how can people reach you to get more information? The advantage of having a Life Coach/Consultant is having a person that holds you accountable to the things you say you’ll do even when your mood has changed. It also allows a person to look at their life from a different vantage point which enables them to have more insight. With this insight, a person can be given the coordinates of their chosen destination. A Life Coach will guide you to which direction you should go, but the person must do the work to take themselves there. The Life Coach is the fuel that moves the vehicle. For serious Life Coaching inquiries, I can be reached at 832-771-1569 or email@example.com.
About Dynamite: Willie Dynamite Edwards is a highly sought-after public speaker who travels the country sharing his powerful words of encouragement using humor and personal life experiences. When not touring and speaking, Dynamite enjoys being home with his wife and young son. You can follow him on Instagram @dynamitespeaksEmail this