When you first meet William “King” Hollis, he greets you with a firm handshake, a beaming smile and a positive affirmation.
That’s a long way from where he started in life. Hollis grew up in poverty, living with a heroin-addicted mother and a father in the Bloods street gang. He could have let that make him bitter, angry and hopeless, blaming family members and even God for such dismal circumstances.
However, against all odds, decided to change his perspective on life and chart a different course by becoming an influencer and motivational speaker for his generation.
Within three years, the 28-year-old from Pontiac, Michigan, he has spoken to NFL football teams, at numerous high schools, colleges and churches, and at special events in the United States and abroad, including a history-making appearance at Milan Fashion Week.
One of Hollis’ biggest motivational endeavors is being a father. He took time to speak about that important role to rolling out‘s Father Coach Club. Hear what he had to say about work, fatherhood and being “King.”
What legacy are you leaving for your children and the children of your community?
I’m leaving a legacy of triumph, of understanding and overcoming trials and tribulations. I want people to understand that you are not done until you’re done. As long as you have life in your body, you have the opportunity to make the best relationships possible. I will leave a legacy as one of the greatest speakers to ever walk this earth, and my daughters can say, “That’s my daddy.”
For example, me and my oldest daughter have such a great relationship. She has watched her daddy travel around the world, and now when she walks into the classroom she has so much pride because her teacher knows and listens to her father’s motivational speeches. In her younger years, I wasn’t able to be around her as much. She used to cry because I couldn’t make it to those parent-teacher conferences because I was traveling. Now, she is so proud. I want my younger daughter, who is only 1, to have that feeling, too.
As a father and a life coach, describe your playbook.
My playbook consists of being genuine, being honest, never telling my kids [there’s] anything that they can’t live up to [and] also setting high expectations. I am always teaching my oldest daughter the lessons of respect and telling her she’s beautiful, that her hair and the skin she is in is beautiful. It is all about giving them the love and the guidance they deserve. I am like the quarterback of their lives, so my job is to make sure they are protected, they are valued and respected, and they have everything they are supposed to have. My playbook is simple: love. Make sure they are confident to go out there and play the game of life.
What advice would you give on being responsible for your own dreams?
It is about consistency. It is about your pure desire. You have to have the strength and discipline to get to where you want to go. It’s about being accountable. If you don’t get up every single day at 4 or 5 in the morning when everyone else is mapping out their dreams, then you are losing. One thing I will say is some people try to force a dream in their life when they are not called to do it. Some people fail because they are doing what they love to do and not what they are born to do. There is a big difference. Greatness is something that is amazing to the world but easy to you. Your dream won’t need an alarm clock; it will wake you up on your own. If your dream doesn’t wake you up on your own, that is a sign that you are not on the right path.
Name one life lesson that no one taught you but should have.
That small Black boys in the projects are special, too. We mean something to the world, too. We’ve got something that can last forever, too. They didn’t tell us we were kings or that we were royalty. They didn’t tell us we could be anything we wanted to be. I wish someone told me that I come from the bloodline of kings. I am royalty. I now know that roses can grow in the projects. You just have to take care of the soil.
What insightful advice would you suggest about building your network?
Keep the people in your network happy. Always talk to them and treat them with value. A lot of people fail with building a network simply because they talk so much about themselves and spend less time giving people the respect and attention they deserve. Make people feel like they are on the same level as you, no matter what level you are on or how much money you have. Treat your network like you would want to be treated.
How does following your spiritual values help you in life?
My spiritual values led me to Milan. They led me to 60 million views on YouTube. You have to remember I started three years ago on the side of a Turkey Hill gas station. I prayed to God. I was depressed when I walked into a school to volunteer, but when I left they asked me how much do you charge to speak? My religion is my life and career. I work for God. God is my employer. Everything I do is dictated by God and His love for me and His forgiveness of me. I was trapped in the slums of the projects surrounded by drug lords and killers walking around me every day. Now, He has me traveling the world and inspiring people around the globe. In spite of being told I had a learning disability, in spite of not being able to read until the seventh grade, in spite of having absolutely nothing. When you talk spirituality and faith, that is William Hollis.