Our life has been a sequence of events that are often led by the need to put food on the table. This is what happens to Derrick Evans, he faces challenges in his life before gaining the confidence to achieve success. In this episode, Adam Stott and Mr. Motivator, Derrick Evans, talk about how to develop opportunities, build relationships, advertise your business, and establish standards so that people are eager to learn from you.
Derrick Evans, better known as Mr. Motivator, is a British fitness instructor born in Jamaica. After appearing on the UK breakfast television show GMTV in 1993, he became well known through his fitness sessions and advice for viewers. Now, he travels the world and continuously releases a number of fitness, workout videos, and talks about life.
- Discover how Derrick Evans build his business and becomes Mr. Motivator
- Learn the differences between school and life and how they affect your life
- Find out how to feel happy when you feel sad
- How to have confidence in what you are doing
- The secret of how you can enjoy your retirement; and
- Mr. Motivators takeaways for the last 18 months during the Pandemic.
You can find out more about Derrick Evans by visiting his website at Mr. Motivator
Please note this is a verbatim transcription from the original audio and therefore may include some minor grammatical errors.
So hello everybody and welcome to this very, very special episode of Business Growth Secrets. Your host Adam Scott here got a brilliant guest with us today. Somebody that I grew up watching and somebody that I’m sure you’re going to be aware of. I’m sure you’re going to know and that is none other than Mr. Motivator. So welcome on mister. How are we doing?
You know what I am doing so well. In fact, I’m actually quite tired because these last 18 months have been so busy and so it’s I don’t even feel like I’m coming out of it. But it’s a good feeling because you know it’s best to be employed or not right?
Yeah, absolutely. So, really glad to have you on looking forward to our chat. Obviously many people listening might have grown up watching you on TV. Your massive character and all your workouts. But what I want to do on today’s chat is kind of get behind, they get to know you a little bit get to know you a bit of your story. How you come to rise to fame and in your work on TV and the things that you did and going around motivating people.
We’ve got an A business audience that loves being motivated, loved being inspired, be great to get some tips off you on that as well. Do you want to be able to tell us a little bit about your background, you know, where you’ve come from the things that you’ve done, you know, and how you came to a kind of succeeding the way you did.
It’s gonna be quite difficult to paraphrase my life of nearly 70 years in a short period of time, but just suffice to say that, you know. Life gives you lots of challenges, takes you in many directions, and I’ve never been afraid of making a decision. I’ve never worried about what the outcome might be, I’ve just got on with it and then I believe in myself. So if I make a decision to go left, and it doesn’t work out. Well, then I pick myself up, dust myself off and go the other way. My life has been a sequence of events, often led by the need to put food on the table.
So I did whatever I had to do, whether it was stacking shelves in Tescos, or cleaning out CNA and probably mentioning store groups that you don’t even know or to be the floors of British Home Stores and stuff like that. I worked originally, I remember back in 1974 for a company called Argos. And in fact, I was involved with setting up the very first Argos store. I was a stock controlling those days and stock control took me all over the place.
I was born in Jamaica, came to the UK in 1962, I lived in Leicester and then got deported from Leicester when I was 20. Ended up in northwest London. That’s how come I work for Green. It was a company called Green Shield Stamps at the time. The owner set up was called Mr. Richard Tompkins and then he set up Argo’s distributors.
So the experiences they gave you in those days, which were to teach you everything there is to know about stock control, marketing, selling distribution, production, are invaluable education and they send you away in all these different courses. Which gave you a kind of foundation stone that later on, you realize the importance of knowing all those things. Forgive my lips, because I’m wearing this thing called Invisalign and I just know. I’m lapsing a bit, and I get well, yeah, they are actually because I’ve always hated these fans.
So we’re creating space for my fans, and so on. Yeah, I went from there and I work for a company called Rank Hovis McDougall, which was the people who do all the bureau flour, but Google’s flour and sacks of salt and SHA woods. And again, the experience of being in stock control went to that company and that led me to actually learn more about marketing and selling and the importance of how you market yourself.
Jumping around a bit quite a bit. I mean, I went through stages of being out of work, I went through stages of being homeless, one-parent family, I did all that. But at the end of the day, I realize you know, that you have a choice in life, you can either work hard and if you do, good things will come. But on the route, be kind and be considerate to other people. Because you never know who you’re gonna meet and you know, never looked down on anybody, because one day you could be the person looking up. So embracing all those things, which I’ve always done.
So I’ve always tried to in my life, if I ask someone how they are, wait around to find out how they are, and that way you never know where it might lead and who might end up being the person who reaches down and give you a hand.
And then from Rank Hovis McDougall, I went on to do all kinds of different jobs. I mean, one time I was running a building company, I was doing everything. It just didn’t matter to me because the driving force was that I didn’t really have a particular direction. I was really just thinking about survival. How do I put food on the table? How do I keep a roof over my head? And how do I ensure that you know, at least I could keep my daughter who was I was a single parent, how can I ensure that I keep her and all the things that she needs as a young girl?
And then I as a hobby. I used to do a lot of things like karate and basketball and then one day I was in a ledger center in northwest London, actually in Harrow. I could hear all this noise coming from this corridor, and I wandered down the corridor and low and behold when I peeked through the windows. The must-have thought what a peeping Tom, and a peek through the windows, right? There was seemed like about 100-125 people exercising, and they were doing what was called Pop mobility.
I was transfixed I think every one of us has that kind of lightbulb moment. That moment of realization when this feels right like you’re in the right space. And often when you’re in that space, It’s all cloudy around you, you still can’t see clearly where you should be going. But you know that there’s some fuel there and if I can embrace that fuel. It can give me the driving force to meet me, and drive me. I was transfixed and every week I kept going back and sitting at the back of the class. There were no men in it and I was watching these ladies exercising.
Then one day I just thought let me speak to two ladies front, would you mind running some classes for me? Which they said, Yes, they would, and turned out to be mother and daughter. They said, well you’re going to hold it. I said, Well, I don’t know yet but I come back to you. I ran around and I found a new hole that was being built in Neasden lane, and rented it and set up my own classes called Derek Evans classes, and these to run the classes for me. Every Tuesday, we were there and the numbers kept growing and after about two months, I decided I didn’t need them. I learned enough for what they were doing, I could do it myself.
I started running these classes, and they became really popular. The tasks started spreading all over the place. And I was doing had to go into another school hall for another evening, where I was getting at least 125 people in the on Tuesday evening men and women, right? No like are in those days, we are short, on a cold day was cold. But again, he was the fuel that was fueling me. I don’t know what it is that was driving me forward. But I felt all of a sudden, that I was in a space, where number one I was enjoying myself. Two, I felt an affinity with all the people I was dealing with. Serving the customer looking after them became the byword. After all, these are things I’d learned. you know this work, right?
Then the importance of marketing came into play. I’ll always remember, I think was Henry Ford, who says that “the man who doesn’t advertise is a bit like the man who turns off his lights so that he can save money”. I think if that resonated with me, and I thought, you know, you know what, I need to find a way of marketing myself better, so that way people will get known wide and far who I am. I kept floundering around.
Then eventually, I got a call out the blue saying that Gloria Hunniford had a Sunday television show, and she wanted someone to do some fitness on the show. So I thought, oh, an opportunity here. So I got in touch with the producer spoke to them and they said, Yeah, Gloria wants to have about 12 guys exercising in the studio. Could you do it? I said, Yes. So I managed around about 12 mates, went into the station did the next slot. She said, look, well, I like to train her afterward, because he went down so well and very quickly, where did we end up? I ended up training her she introduced me to Ayman Holmes.
Ayman Holmes used to work for the morning show and so it goes on till one day. I managed to block my way into the studios and after seeing a guy walking in through the door with a large belly are productive in the belly. I found out later on, he was a program control of GMTV. That didn’t stop me, I put my bike in his office. He the next day, I went to him and I said you need to start exercising, I managed to convince him to start exercising. Again those are reasons why he shouldn’t and then we, after he said, Look, we must get you on television.
Then the advertisers said no black man doing fitness on television would never work had to be a white lady with two kids. But I kept on persevering kept on trying. And then, in the end, they gave me the opportunity when the person doing fitness on television was going away for two weeks. They given the opportunity in 1993, the August, and the rest has been always history.
Awesome. So really a lot of that, you know, if you break that down for people that listen to the story. A lot of it really comes down to relationship building. It sounds like you did a really good job of building relationships with the right people and taking opportunities.
It’s more seizing opportunities because they say opportunity knocks at the door, but once was appointment leaves on the doorbell. So you really got to listen out carefully for that opportunity and seize it and I and to be honest, I have ever since that day, embrace that principle. I don’t believe that anyone owes me anything. So I don’t wait for my ship to come in. What I do is I swim out to it. I’m determined always to be succeeded no matter what.
You created it. The way you tell that story is that you created the opportunities as well because you wish you knew that there was something there but you didn’t. You kept on at that position. Which is always right.
I think that’s what all of us have to do. You know, very often, most of us are afraid of making decisions. Right? We worry about what’s around the corner, right? But people don’t realize that if you’re sitting here looking straight ahead. The only people who see you are the people up ahead who look behind, or someone who may be off to your right a little bit who may see you. But when you turn left and you’ve made a decision to turn left, there’s a whole brand new breed of people who didn’t know you existed around the corner.
So you’re creating opportunities to be seen and also you’re creating opportunities and a platform for you to talk about what your strongest thing is, and I embrace myself in the subject of fitness and health and well-being to make sure there’s no one else who does what I do. Because I mean, I am forever busy with companies doing talks, doing the movement to music for their staff, these last 18 months have been the busiest I’ve ever been in my life. I’ve been working with a major tech company.
Every morning I was doing for quite a while last year, we’re at four o’clock in the morning, I transmit to Singapore, India, Australia, 11 o’clock into Europe 10 o’clock into the States, they just rebook me again. The measure of how well you’re doing is if you get rebooked, spread the word on other people, right. That’s how my work has been built up. It’s all on recommendation and I say that to everybody. You’ve got to think about what footsteps you’re leaving behind those footsteps are really critical. So whatever you do, right.
Make sure that it’s got a certain standard to it, make sure that people look up to make sure that people want to learn from what you’ve done, make sure that people want to stop in the road and go, this is Mr. Jones. Mr. Stock, I want to talk to you. Tell me, how did you get where you’re where you got to? Right, give me the secret, right? And if you do that, then we ended up inspiring people. Because every person’s life story can be an inspiration to others. Every person’s life story can be an inspiration.
Awesome. How did that impact you? So after you actually on that journey, you got yourself onto TV? By going out there, you started inspiring people and like you said, you were saying pretty much that at the time you didn’t fit the model, you know, you were told that you didn’t fit the model, and you went out and you did it anyway. So back to that half, because I think a lot of people don’t realize the kind of impact and the change that having that kind of mass media can create what change for you then?
Well, number one there’s an old saying right, that “Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off your goal”. Right, I wanted success. I wasn’t gonna let anything get in the way. So if you tell me to know, that just basic is a field to make me prove otherwise. I didn’t, no one could have planned me plan with me the kind of impact that Mr. Motivator would have no one, because there was no school you went to there’s no one who said let me sit you down and tell you what’s going to happen from now on. It means that you can’t go into a restaurant and just eat in peace.
Even to this day, I go into a restaurant to eat and I’m either there for hours more than I should be because people are the one photograph. But I believe in making time for people because if you have made the time to come over to me, to embrace me, and to say I like you. Who am I to all of a sudden go? Well, I’m not available? I’m sorry, I don’t do that now. No, no, I don’t do it. I make time for everybody.
But the thing is, the station when I joined GMTV there at the bottom of the ratings and there was something magical about what I didn’t I haven’t analyzed, and I wouldn’t dare try and analyze it. There’s something about what I did that made people tune in. The result was that he went to the top of the ratings, they sent me all around the world, I was literally going from country to country, recording items for children, recording it recording fitness.
Why do you make people feel, you know, and I think that’s our members. I watched you as a child. I remember, you were on my TV in the background as a child and I always remember it was upbeat, it was fun, it was entertaining, and always remember you bought a lot of energy at transfers across to the audience.
Absolutely right. I mean, the thing is that I think if whatever you give out in life, you’re going to get it back. So if that negativity, you’re going to get back there. But I’ve had to learn from what they say. Listen in life, the difference between life and school is a school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test, which teaches your lesson.
There are many lessons I’ve learned on the route, right in terms of how you deal with people, right? I think the mere cap syndrome you see around the place where someone’s talking to you, but they’re looking over you like this and see if they want anyone else more important. I don’t like those people. Because if I have the audacity or the pleasure to be in your company, well then the least I could do right is to actually give you eye contact.
But you know, Maya Angelou, a great poet once said, “That in life people may forget what you say, they may even forget what you did. But then never forget how you made them feel”. That is really important, right? And for me, as I strive and I come into my later life now. I am all about trying to ensure that the nation, our nation gets fitter and healthier. Because I know the benefits I’m getting from it every single day and I train sometimes twice a day.
Why do I do that is because I know that I feel good and I want to be 70 next year, and I want to make sure that I’m always upright. I want to make sure that I’m always young because you only get old when you stop being young. I’m going to keep that going right? Because I want to be an example to have one out there?
Absolutely. I think it’s awesome. It’s definitely a massive lesson for people in terms of fitness to health, but from a bit from a business perspective. I think you’re given some amazing tips and it’s just the things that people don’t necessarily do. Like you said, Where do you think that stems from the confidence to kind of go for it for you? The way you describe it?
It was, it was more from a survival instinct, when you know, which is interesting. But did you where does that confidence install from because a lot of people wouldn’t make those moves wouldn’t make those steps wouldn’t have those opportunities. How does somebody in sitting at, you know, listening at home on the podcast, or watching a video, whatever it might be? How do they tap into that confidence in themselves? What would you say? Would you be able to verbalize what you think?
Well, listen, I mean, it’s quite easy. The more you practice doing something, the more it becomes a habit. You want your teeth and your breath to smell good. You brush your teeth every morning. Right? You brush every morning after a while becomes a habit, you would not think of leaving home without brushing your teeth. If you did, right on the route, you were stopped at the shop and you buy some toothpaste, and a toothbrush and you brush your teeth. That’s what you have to do with the lessons that I learned in life. You do it over and over again, I know what it’s like to be sad. I know what it’s like for things not to work out. But I also know what it’s like to be happy. Also, know what it’s like to feel really good.
So on that basis, right? If I have a choice between being sad, unhappy, I want to be happy. Because there’s no saying again, and I’m sorry, I keep coming up with these old saying “Every one minute that you’re sad, you’re missing out on 60 seconds of happiness”, right. If you’re given the choice, especially if you’ve experienced it if you have experienced sadness. You’re then I’m sure there’s experience happiness. But surely, you want to fill your life with more happiness.
The same thing with confidence, you want to get confident, you practice being confident, right? You practice dispelling all the negativity, don’t surround yourself with people who don’t make you feel good. I have a rule, here again, another one of my sayings, right and that is this, “If someone knows something that does not add value to your life, move on get rid of them”, right. Because you’re wasting your time and your energy surround yourself with people that make you feel good. Read books that inspire you to lift you up, you’re feeling sad, get your old photo album out.
In fact, no one should have their phone full of pictures, print them out because your photo album would only ever have good feelings and good times in there. When you flick through those wonderful memories will help you to escape from negativity into a more kind of nice, sensible, relaxing, fun, happy place. And so my confidence comes from making decisions and failing, and then learning and then moving on.
And also choosing the right things, having that conscious awareness, situational awareness to say you know what I’m going to change things.
Well yes, yes. Change is something that we are all frightened of embracing change and I don’t understand why. What did I say was the only constant in life changes? Right? Therefore, may change but give change a chance and if you’ve got stop working for you who are negative and you’re going to have that because you’ll have staff who have been there for 2030 years, they’re set in their ways.
You bring new blood in, new blood comes in who’s firing on all cylinders, and they want to change and they want to ramp things up. The old one says look, we’ve always done it this way why should we change, you’ve got to say to them, give change a chance and that means I tell you what you do. Try it for three months. And after three months, let us meet and talk. I guarantee you won’t hear from them. Because what it is, we’re practicing something new, comes a routine, once it becomes a routine, it becomes the norm once it becomes a norm, you forget about how things were.
Absolutely. Yeah. And putting that change in place.
Yes, it’s really important. You know, I mean, I’ve learned as I say, I’ve learned from the University of life, and most things I talk about, and I do talks all over the place are experiences that I’ve had. When you’ve been at the lowest point, and the lowest point for me is if you’re dependent on the counselor to give you somewhere to stay for the night so you’re outside the homeless family unit with your daughter on your own and you’re sitting on your suitcase. That is a low point. Right? If you’re given a bed and breakfast to go and live in. Where in fact there are seven families sharing one bathroom and one kitchen. That is a low point.
The one thing to learn is that, in fact, there are four things to learn, and I show how it all fits in for me these last 18 months. What’s my takeaway? My takeaway from these last 18 months is this. Number one, we’ve learned how important it is to have a roof over our heads. How important is right to actually have those four walls around you. Critical. You got to four walls around you have a roof over your head. You’re rich because I’ve been where I didn’t have that.
Number two, right. Number two is do you have food in the fridge? Can you imagine how many people are right now? Don’t have the choice that we have in our fridge? When you open up a fridge? Do you have a choice between? Well, you know what? I just have yogurt for now. You’re not I don’t feel like it. I tell you I do. I fry some bacon? Oh, no, you know what? I’m on bothering you. Here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna have a drink of milk instead. It’s not richness. Think I rich? That is? Yes. That’s number two. Number three. Do you have your health? Every single business person watching this? Listen to this thing. You’ve heard it, you’ve read it.
Many amounts of sacrifices health in pursuit of wealth and then spent his wealth trying to regain his health and all that he found was a grave. That means his take, you’re working real hard you really want to actually do well, you want to have that savings, you want to have that background and everything sitting there so that when you retire you can really enjoy your retirement. What you must do is make sure that if you spend 60 minutes working 10% of that time you spend on developing yourself mentally and physically by being active by being healthy. That’s what you got to do.
That’s the balance, right and the fourth thing is love. If you got loving your life, you’re right. If you love someone, that’s great. And f they love you, that’s even better. If you don’t have someone that you love, or who loves you look in the mirror, and love yourself, and just go you know what? I’m available for love. So that’s my takeaway from this past eighteen months.
That’s awesome. Absolutely brilliant. I think that’s four steps that without a shadow of a doubt our audience can really really learn from, some brilliant stuff there. Thank you so much, Derrick, Mr. Motivator. I should address you by your MBE. I know you’re an MBE, so far, you’ve done tons of tons of amazing things. It’s been an absolute pleasure to have you on I want to say a big thank you for me, and all my guests, and some amazing tips. That’s gonna help lots of people.
Thank you be well. Thank you.