Originally published on The Industry Cosign December 14, 2014
People are always in need of advice, inspiration, and motivation. We may see and know the answer that we seek, but it’s often more convincing when it’s heard, read and/or seen elsewhere or coming from someone else, specifically, from someone who has walked the path we may seek.
This makes it easier to gain an audience for someone like Rob Hill Sr. Not saying that it’s easy to gain ears or that people will easily follow, it’s just that people tend to gravitate toward someone who can speak from experience and spread wisdom in a way that makes a a goal seem achievable.
The Industry Cosign spoke to Hill about the path he has taken to get to where he is today and the path he intends to take to continue motivating others to create their own paths.
It seems as if people see your motivational words being retweeted and shared everywhere these days, how did you amass such a following?
I wanted to tell my truth in a way people could relate to. That’s been my goal the whole time. I wanted people to see a piece of themselves in my word, I knew that if I could do that effectively things would grow, and they did.
What set you on this path of motivating people?
I got it wrong a lot in life and I developed a lot of tools I felt other people could use. My plan wasn’t necessarily to motivate people; I just wanted to be a positive influence in the lives of those closest to me. When they had a bad day or a rough situation I wanted to be the person they called to make sense of it all. I wanted to be the one who helped them find purpose in their pain. Serving them in that manner led me to my purpose.
You’ve gone on tour previously with your “Living Life For A Living” and was successful and now you are embarking on your next tour titled, “I Want You To Be Good.” What are your tours about and how do you put together the agenda for them and how do you target people to come experience the tour?
Any tour for me at the foundation is about us as a people getting better, in all aspects of life. Living Life For A Living was targeting the dreamers and people who wanted to live with a little more flexibility. It was designed to be the refresh button, to wake people up and make them feel like having the desires of their heart were realistic! I Want You To Be Good is building on that but it’s more of the emotional side of life starting with our relationship with ourselves. With every tour, I start with the bottom line question: “What do I want people to walk away from this with?” And I build from there. I tailor my daily messages to align with the mission of the tour, and once announced, the event typically sells itself. I want to attract those actively seeking change, not those passively wishing it happens someday.
You were once homeless and the way your life was going, you were heading toward a path that no one wants to take. What made you decide to turn your life around and how did you come to realize what would become your life’s calling?
My best friend was in a fatal car accident when I was 18. Before he passed, we had a conversation about life and who we wanted to be down the road. I was bouncing from place to place, living life with little regard for anyone but myself and he told me I was the type of person that made people want to be great. I don’t know what made him say it, but it woke up something within me and when he died just a few weeks later, I promised I would live a life that brought honor to his and everybody else I was connected to. Losing him and becoming a young father really shook my world up. I started wanting to bring the greatness out of everybody I came in contact with.
You’ve written several books and audiotapes, you even have a mixtape. What’s next on the written/spoken word front?
I’m currently working on a new book titled The Missing Piece which will be released next year through Atria/Simon and Schuster. I am also recording an audio book titled When Soon Is Too Far Away that will be released in September of this year.
What advice would you give people who want to build their own brand?
Trust your individuality. Learn from everybody but don’t try to be anybody else but YOU! “Consistent Quality” was my motto early on. Find something you do well and consistently find ways to make it better. When you focus on the quality of your brand and commit to making that strong, the people will come. Become a significant part of their life and they’ll propel you into a successful future.
You’ve started an organization, Thousand Kings Foundation, Inc. Could you explain what it is, the purpose of starting it and what your long-term goal for it is?
Starting out, my goal was showing the young men like myself, growing up in my old neighborhood, that they had other options. I wanted them to see that there were people they didn’t even know rooting for them, I wanted them to see they had a place in this world. Moving forward, the goal has been restoring the “village” feel. I want us to take better care of one another. The foundation is committed to restoring our place as royalty in our own kingdoms.
Since people feel they can relate to you and/or your past struggles, how do you think you would be able to help people in terms of entrepreneurship? Is entrepreneurship for anyone and if you come across someone who may not have the skills necessary to be successful, how would you tell them?
I believed entrepreneurship was for everyone until I became one. It’s a lot of work and at times overwhelming. You learn a lot about yourself as a person, how to manage and handle risk, prioritizing, and the biggest of all being sacrifice. You become a forward thinker, always trying to stay ahead because you realize if things fail, you only have yourself to blame. I left myself no room for excuses, I knew if things were going to work out that it would be because of the work I put in. If I came across someone who was maybe lacking in certain necessary entrepreneurial skills, I would just be honest with them about what I viewed to be their strengths/weaknesses. I would ask them how they felt they could grow and then give my opinions on how I felt they could do that as well. Sometimes it’s not our aim that’s off, it’s just we’re shooting at the wrong targets. I would just try to give them some direction and tools they could use on their journey. I don’t believe in shooting down dreams but I do believe in preparing people for certain harsh realities.
Some would consider you a leader, what constitutes a leadership in your eyes? How is one able to lead?
Experience qualifies the leader. Example distinguishes the leader. Approach determines the effectiveness of the leader. For me, a leader is somebody with a vision, as well as the drive/commitment necessary to make that vision a reality. A leader is a glorified servant, the more effective the service, the greater the leader. Life takes us through many different processes that often times share the same principles. A leader masters these principles and shares them with whoever they are able to help. While we’re all on different journeys, a true leader is able to establish a common goal and get the right people working towards it.
Wanting to be the voice of this generation is not only a big task, but a big risk, especially with the antics of reality TV participants and the culture of hip-hop. Based on what is going on today, in terms of what our children are seeing, how do you plan on being that voice that can lead them in a more positive direction?
In the midst of all the antics, games, and stunts being pulled these days, we all still need something REAL. We all need something that brings us peace, joy, and substance. We crave it, even if we don’t know that’s what we’re looking for. When I say I want to be the voice of this generation, I’m saying I want to try to make sense of the mess. A lot of people in entertainment follow me, whether it’s artistes, actors, reality TV personalities, etc. Even they are subconsciously looking for something to make them feel whole, or better, or okay about life. We’re so good at destruction, I want to make constructing cool again. Since few things have more power than words, I use them as my tools. We never forget what heals us, so it’s become my mission to speak to people’s pain. Pride, anger, bravado, isolation, they’re all products of pain. I want to be the one who helps people sort through it all.
What do you want your legacy to be? How will Rob Hill Sr. be known when it’s all said and done?
I want to be known as somebody who did what he could to help people. I want to be remembered as a servant. Somebody who wasn’t scared to step up and speak life to the hearts of people! If nothing else, I’ll be known as a contributor, an integral piece of productivity, somebody who gave more than he took and left people better than when he found them. I never want anything I say to come off as the “perfect way” but I do desire everything I put out to contribute to positive change. At the end of the day in my heart, I’m just a helper.