Poor, Black, & Unreachable At 14

By Wayne Winsley

Founder & Executive Director of Brave Enough To Fail Inc.

At age 14, I was living in an orphanage in Cleveland Ohio, had failed eighth grade the previous year, and basically given up on school. I was a poor black kid who, the experts would say,  had given up on my future and was too set in my ways to be motivated to change. I was destined for one of two places, behind bars or dead.

One day, a friend of mine’s dad was disappointed with his report card and began to lecture him. Without intending to, without even realizing that I was in the room, his dad said the words that changed my life forever.

Always strive for excellence no matter what you do. Excellence will overcome, poverty, prejudice, and adversity every time. Just be excellent at whatever you choose to do.”

That simple message motivated me to make the choice that saved my life.

I chose to go back to school and do the absolute best I could. Because of that choice, I didn’t wind up behind bars or dead. Instead I went on to serve my country honorably in the United States Navy which honed my discipline, self-confidence, and work ethic. Those tools gave me the courage to pursue my dream of being a standup comic which in turn led to a two decade career as a radio broadcaster.  The communication skills I developed over that time prepared me to become what I am today, a teacher, and a multi award-winning motivational speaker 

I know first hand that even without intention, a word can change a child’s life.

That is why I’ve dedicated the rest of my life to delivering a message of inspiration and motivation to as many young people as possible through my organization.

Brave Enough to Fail Inc. is a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit that provides motivational programs and scholarships to high schools.

The mission is to raise student achievement by inspiring kids with the courage to achieve their dreams and to help students see their education as a way to get what they want from life. To narrow the education achievement gap by focusing on the student end of the equation with a message of courage, hard work, self-discipline, and determination.

High schools nationwide are requesting this message for their students.

This  summer we have received unsolicited requests for the Brave Enough To Fail program, for the 2017-2018 school year, from schools in over ten states. (See the list below)

Rather than saying, “No we can’t help you.” We are taking a leap of faith and committing to raising the funds needed to deliver the message to the thousands of students at these schools that,  Their Dreams Are Important And Achievable!

There are other young people out there who just like I was, are one positive message away from overcoming the poverty, prejudice, and adversity that is standing between them and achieving a better life for themselves.

That is why I am asking the questions,

Is there at least one corporation in this great nation that would like their brand to be known for motivating and inspiring youth across America?

If you are that corporation, please contact us at info@BraveEnoughToFail.org

Are there fellow citizens willing to sow seeds of success into the youth of our communities? 

If you are that citizen, please make a donation here. 

Partial list of schools that have reached out and requested Brave Enough To Fail

Crest High School, Shelby NC.

Cathedral High School, New York NY.

Urban Assembly of Media Studies, New York NY.  

 Whitestone High School, Delta Junction Alaska

Sultan Sr High, Sultan Washington

Cicely Tyson High, East Orange New Jersey

St. Timothy’s School, Raleigh NC

Briar Woods High School, Ashburn VA.

Ferndale High, Johnstown PA.

Scottsburg High, Scottsburg IN.

Little Rock Arkansas School District

Martin County School District, Stuart Florida

Integrated Arts Academy, Chaska MN.

Frederick Banting School, Ottawa Ontario


Wayne Winsley




Vision is great but have a PLAN as well


If you can see it, you can be it.

This is true, but its not the whole truth.

You need a plan for turning your vision into reality.

If you haven’t done so already, formulate your plan of action and write it down. don’t keep it filed away in your head. Keep your plan in a place where you can see it everyday and use it, because…

Write your plan

Committing your vision to paper in the form of a plan also helps build the courage and resolve that are required in order to be persistent in working toward your goal, whatever it is.despite the inevitable obstacles and failures along the way.

Having all the right tools for success is worthless if fear of failure keeps you from using them.

So, don’t let your vision drift away as a daydream. Make a detailed plan of how you will bring your vision to life, write it down and then WORK your plan diligently and courageously and watch the sparks fly.

Brave Enough To Fail inspires young people with the courage and preparation to activate their dreams, goals, gifts, and talents.

Your generous donations help launch the dreams of the next generation.


About the author

Wayne Winsley is an award winning  motivational Keynote Speaker who has been inspiring others for over a decade. He is the founder and President of Brave Enough To Fail.

Know Your Dream THEN Follow It

Finding your Dream

Follow your dream.  A simple instruction that is much easier said than done. And it is impossible to do if aren’t sure exactly what dream you’re supposed to be following.

How do you figure out what your dream, your destiny is?

Start by looking inward and asking yourself some questions.

What makes you…


What is that thing that you love to do?

You’d be willing to do it every day for no money. (But you’ll take it of course)


What is that problem that gets under your skin like no other and that you would love to solve?
Henry Ford was angered at the idea that it was impossible to mass produce an internal combustion engine.


What is the issue or thing that you are so passionate about that it can bring you to tears?                                                                                                                 Nancy Goodman Brinker lost a beloved sister, but the world gained the Susan G. Komen For The cure Foundation.

What are you gifted to do?  What do you do best?

What is that thing that, when you do it, it brings out the very best in you?


I welcome your comments and invite you to share your dreams.

Lets inspire one another.


And remember….

There’s No Shortcut Past Hard Work

Road 2 Success

There is no shortcut around hard work.
Actually. There are plenty of shortcuts around hard work and people choose to take them all the time.
However,there are no shortcuts around hard work that lead to success.
Just ask the average successful starting entrepreneur, who according to Princeton Review, works about seventy hours a week.
I learned this lesson the hard way.While building my own syndicated radio network, I worked really hard at finding a shortcut around the grunt work of making advertising sales calls. I didn’t just fail, I failed miserably and expensively.
It wasn’t until I stopped looking for shortcuts that I found the right path.
Your dream isn’t going to materialize on its on, you’ve got to work it into reality, and that work is hard.
There is a popular saying, “If it was that easy, everyone would do it.”
I prefer,

Anyone can do it

You Are Not Too…

You are not too...

There was nothing particularly special about me as a child, meaning that I didn’t have a whole lot of advantages.

I was raised by a single woman, my great-grandmother, mostly in the housing projects of inner city Cleveland Ohio, until age 12, when my great-grandmother could no longer care for me. Then I entered the child welfare system.

Statistically speaking, I was too street-hardened to be reached and redeemed, too uneducated to graduate from poverty, and too poor to buy my way out of my circumstances. On paper, I was just too disadvantaged to succeed at anything.

Like I said, there was nothing particularly special about me…except for one thing. Like every person on Earth, I was born with a gift and a destiny that only I can fulfill.

How I traveled from there to here, is a story for a longer book. But I will say this. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was equipped at birth with all the tools needed for my journey, but it was not until I found the courage to use those tools that they began to work for me.

Today, my mission is to inspire others with the courage to discover and use their gifts and talents, and to achieve their goals and destinies.

What you wer born to do

It is not too late and you are not too anything to be great.

Have Wayne Winsley as keynote speaker for your next event.