We all need a little motivation sometimes. Whether it’s motivation to take out the trash or to get our butts to the gym—motivation ebbs and flows and comes and goes. We’re all wired differently, which means the things that motivate us and what we do to get motivated varies.
When it comes to work, some people are motivated by money. Others are motivated by recognition. Others by the sense of ownership and pride they get from their work. Some people are motivated by other people’s actions, experiences, attitudes and words.
I recently found myself getting my very own motivational speech delivered by D’Narius Lewis, a 23-year-old motivational speaker, author, community activist and real estate investor—a modern-day entrepreneur, if you will. Lewis has overcome all kinds of adversity at a young age from growing up in a single-parent household to being homeless and living in poverty to working factory overnight shifts to moving across the country (a couple times) for school to find it wasn’t a good fit.
Through it all, Lewis has kept his head up and continued to work hard, letting his entrepreneurial spirit drive him. His experiences have shaped the man he is today—an individual with big dreams and loads of ambition to inspire others through his own personal story.
ML: Why did you get into the real estate business?
DL: I got into the real estate business because I saw it as an opportunity for me to be a first generational home owner in my family. I also saw it as a way to financially grow as a person and later pass wealth on to my future kids. I don’t want my future kids to grow up in poverty as their father did. I don’t want them to have to grow up struggling as I did. True wealth—I have found—starts with real estate!
ML: Why motivational speaking?
DL: I wanted to become a motivational speaker when I started to listen to Tony Robbins, Les Brown & Jim Rohn. Hearing their stories and seeing their success in life without a college education, I realized my adversities of life could uplift and inspire others to get up and change. I have always been a natural born leader and when I discovered speaking and the power of positive thinking, I knew becoming a speaker was my life calling!
I‘ve also built a burning passion behind equity and inclusion. I live in Edina and there’s not many disparities here, but if I go to Minneapolis, North Minneapolis, St. Paul—I see a person that is homeless on each corner. I see run down houses. I see low-income areas with people who don’t have an outlook on life and I take into account my own personal life. I’ve been homeless. I’ve been in poverty, but I’ve found someone that told me it’s really your perception of the world that’s ultimately going to change your outlook on the world. So, I’ve built a burning passion for speaking to individuals in low-income areas. Also, unfortunately, college—the traditional route—did not work for me and I found alternative ways to go about it. I want to show people who don’t think college can work for them that there are other choices out there.
ML: In addition to real estate and motivational speaking, you are into community activism. What community issue are you MOST passionate about and what have you been doing lately to help address it?
DL: The community issues I’m most passionate about is the racial and ethnic wealth gap. When I discovered people of color were only coming in at mere $11,000 & Hispanics at $13,700 when it comes to median net worth in households. When Caucasians came in at a whooping $141,900, in median net worth in households, I got upset and began seeking answers. I started to volunteer with non profits, seeking ways we can actually educate minorities on ways to take control of their lives and community. I became an activist and speaker for both sides, overcoming homelessness and lack of financial foundation. It hit home, but with my perspective, I know what it takes to overcome those burdens and I can relate with many individuals who want a better life for themselves but don’t at times believe it’s possible for them! I have dedicated my life toward being a voice of reasoning to let individuals know that it is possible to become more than what they are today. It takes faith, a burning desire and willingness to change, once all those features are combined life begins to change dramatically!
ML: How do you keep yourself motivated?
DL: I have my ten-year plan as the background on my phone. I look at it every day. I pray daily. I constantly read. I constantly listen to Tony Robbins. I don’t go out and party. I don’t go out and drink. I’m content focusing on my goals.
ML: You do so many different things. How do you prioritize your time?
DL: For what I’m really passionate about—speaking—I make sure I’m networking and meeting with people. In the mornings, I have emails I’m checking and I’m setting up meetings for later. At night, when I’m not sleeping, I am studying the web for homes that are for sale by owner so I can flip a home and make a quick profit. When I’m not researching real estate, I’m reading books; when I’m not reading books, I’m writing books. I want to come out with a line of children’s books because I know when it comes to being an entrepreneur it starts at a young age.
ML: If you could give an aspiring entrepreneur one piece of advice, what would it be?
DL: Listen to your inner voice. People who love you will always suggest the best things for you but you will only know what’s best for you when you start to step out from yourself.
Maribel is a lifelong public media fan and as director of Rewire, oversees the site’s strategy and operations. When she isn’t catching up on the latest digital publishing trends, she enjoys traveling, flamenco dancing and going on adventures with her doggos.