Keith Hawkins Visits Tomball

Daniela Roscero, News Editor

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Motivational speaker Keith Hawkins visited Tomball last week with the message that hard work in high school pays off.

“Today’s message is for students to realize that high school is a Launchpad for the future,” he said.

Hawkins deeply believes that for people to be the best they can be, they need to be in an environment that promotes growth, one in which everyone can be vulnerable.

“When a school creates a culture where everyone can be vulnerable and really share who they are. When students and staff could come do work at school and say ‘I’m not ok’ and everybody else accepts that, that it’s ok not to be ok, and it’s ok not to be perfect. You will make mistakes. Failure is success. When everyone can talk about personal things in their lives, when everyone can do that, and people are listening and helping them. I think that’s the best way to create a good school environment”

For Hawkins, inspiration can change the world.

“Someone inspired me to change my life for the better and because of that inspiration, that inspired me to help other people change their life and their situation”

Among his many inspirations are his family, his faith, students, and helping people through his vocation.

“My faith [inspires me]. … Realizing that God has a purpose for my life and that I have a calling, which is speaking,” Hawkins said. “Students inspire me because I know they are in a time period in their life where they’re trying to figure it out and I wanna help students as much as I can. To help people inspires me.

“My family [inspires me], I have a wife and three kids, and they really inspire me to be the best dad I can be, be the best husband I can be, and be a leader and role model for them, so everyday that I’m out there, away from home, I know I represent my family.”

Sometimes, however, he feels frustrated with his calling to be a speaker, especially due the high expectations it comes with.

“I’m not always comfortable with my calling, sometimes I’m like ‘why am I here?’ and you know…sometimes it’s lonely, but I think it’s important so that inspires me,” he said.

His message is one that he applies to his daily life, specially dealing with the stresses of his vocation, as he seeks to make an effort to see the positive in his life, and be grateful for it.

“It’s normal [to feel frustrated with a calling],” he said. “I think everyone has a calling even when they might not know what it is yet, but you can be really good at something and still get very frustrated with it because sometimes in life, we find ourselves doing what is expected out of us, and not doing what we really wanna do. It’s hard when people identify you with one thing. Deep down inside you’re like ‘I’m more than just one thing, I’m many things’ but it’s hard to express that when everybody wants you to be ‘Keith Hawkins’ I’m more than Keith Hawkins.”

In his battle with these daily struggles, he finds hope in his values.

“I’m still dealing [with that frustration] right now, but one of the things I try to do is look at the reality, and the reality is I’ll not always be a speaker,” he said. “I know one day I’ll be something else, so as long as I am a speaker, it’s really important that I just stay really thankful and really humble about it because it’s a blessing, it truly is a blessing, even though sometimes it’s frustrating.”

Hawkins found his passion and founded REAL Inspiration to talk about the lessons he has learned throughout his life and change lives with them.

“Real Inspiration Incorporated [was founded] fifteen years ago in 2003,” he said. “REAL is an acronym, it stands for Relationships, Empowerment, Attitude, and Leadership because those are the four pillars of who I am.”

One thing that is important to him when he speaks is to be genuine, open and authentic.

“I just thought that what makes me different from most speakers is that I’m real,” he said. “I don’t have a huge speech scripted out, I just kind of speak from my heart using key points to make my message clear”

Hawkins tries to encourage young people to help others out, because the rewards, though they might be unclear at first, the help you give has an impact on you as well.

“Give to people what you need, not what you have,” he said. “If you need support, give that to other people. If you need acceptance, give that to other people. If you need love, give that to other people. If you need patience, forgiveness…when I forgive other people, then people forgive me. When I support other people, people will support me. When people are mean to me and I’m mean to them, nothing good comes out of that. I think it’s important that students give what they need, not what they have”

But besides trying to help out, Hawkins wants students to know that one should seek help when they needed.

“One thing we all should do if someone is doing anything to you or hurting you in any way, you should talk to friends, we should talk to administration, staff, students because the one thing you should never do is not talk to someone because if you don’t talk to someone, you start talking to yourself, and when you talk to yourself, you can become very negative and very critical of yourself, which creates isolation,” he said. “When you feel isolated, you feel like there’s really nothing you can do about your problems, so that’s why it’s important to talk to people, because you hear what they’re saying, vs. what you’re thinking, you start to realize there is a solution for every problem”

At the junior-senior session, Hawkins invited students to come forward to apologize to people for things they may have done or said, and to thank people that have helped him. The audience’s response caused more than one to tear up and have the courage to say, in front of everyone, what needed to be said. It is in moments like these, when Hawkins knows he is making a difference.

“The best part of being a speaker is seeing the hope in the people’s eyes,” Hawkins said. “Seeing change in people, how it changes them. Seeing the connection I have with students, how they value, that they find value in what I say, and in turn they find value in themselves. ”

At the end of the day, however, he is humble enough to recognize the difference everyone makes.

“This is an old Texas saying: ‘If you have the meat, I have the taters’. Before I got here the students and teachers already had what I was helping them with,” he said. “They already had what it took to become whatever they want, but sometimes they give me too much credit. Like, I didn’t give you the meat, I just gave you some taters, so the most important part is the meat.”

Hanna Bowman
Keith Hawkins had students laughing and crying during his motivational address to the school in March.

Hanna Bowman
Students were encouraged to make amends with others who they had wronged in some way, and to heal their friendships in a powerful moment.

Hanna Bowman
Keith Hawkins shares stories during his speech about his wife and kids, and about his own difficult upbringing in an abusive home.

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