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My name is Darryl Woods. I am the founder of Start Smart Life. I was born and raised in inner-city Detroit, MI. I was raised by my mother, a single parent, Deanna Thomas. My father has been imprisoned since I was one year old. Why do I say this? Because based on statistics, my chances of going to prison were much higher than my chances of graduating from college, yet alone working for a Fortune 500 company, winning many sales awards, and now owning two businesses. What made the difference for me, and what I feel makes the difference for any person who escapes statistics and averages, is the realization and pursuit of one’s dreams.
As a youngster I witnessed some of the greatest lows of human existence: up-close gun encounters, illegal drug activity, fights, prostitution, illegal gambling and everything else imaginable. Yet through all of this, I maintained my dream of being and becoming more. This dream led me to be featured in several local newspapers and media outlets, to be accepted into Michigan State University and earn close to $40,000 in scholarship money. While I’d like to say that this was of my own doing, I know for sure it was also a mixture of my parents, mentors and teachers—both in school and outside of school—who inspired me to aim for more.
College is where my dreams really began to take shape and also where I met and married my dream wife, Jameika Woods, my lifetime Dream Partner. While in college, with the help of our awesome mentors, my wife and I realized something amazing: Every dream that we can imagine and believe is within our reach. With this realization, we knew that in order to live out the big dreams that we had, we would need to become more.
While full-time students and full-time employees, Jameika and I managed to invest upward of $15,000 into ourselves on business, personal development and leadership training. Once we discovered our dreams, we reached to be better and become more. We also began to take college and life a lot more seriously.
We created Start Smart Life with one great mission in mind: to inform, inspire and empower young adults to live their dreams. Just as all of the trainings, mentors and teachers were a voice of inspiration for me to chase my dreams, this book will serve as the same. You can rest assured that this book is grounded in world-class, proven, effective and engaging content that will empower you to live your dreams now.
The world needs people who will dream and do! Without dreamers and doers, you can be assured that all of the great problems of the world will not be solved. Groom yourself into a dreamer and watch how things change for you and for the world!