Executive Coach and Author Dr. Tommy Watson

Growing up in Denver, Colorado, Dr. Tommy Watson’s parents were arrested 121 times, placing him and his siblings in foster homes or motel rooms. In addition, growing up, Watson faced difficulties unheard of by most people: a family addicted to drugs, his mother back in prison, his little brother shipped off to a juvenile prison and an older brother who had ties to criminal gangs.

Dr. Watson grew up where hope for a better future seemed nearly impossible. It was then that he turned his focus towards sports. His connection to basketball and wrestling gave Watson an escape from his brutal reality and, ultimately, the path to a better future.

In high school, through his hard work and dedication, Watson earned himself an All-American title and over thirty college scholarship offers. Although he was encouraged to chase his dreams in the NBA, an injury forced Watson to seek refuge in academics.

Unbelievably, Dr. Watson was able to graduate with a degree from the University of Minnesota, an impressive feat considering he left Denver with no legal guardian or home address, his parents behind bars, and his siblings' fates hanging in the balance.

But what was most impressive about Dr. Watson's journey was his commitment to resilience while maintaining the integrity of himself and others. On top of his incredible story, Watson now spends his time as a life and business coach giving back to others by encouraging them to "Dream beyond their circumstances."

When asked about his approach to clients, Watson discusses the foundations of building resilience, such as motivation, values, vision, and personal empowerment. He also encourages them to understand that failure and success are a circle, separated only by time  and perseverance, "one of the greatest things you can do is look for stories of other individuals who have also had to pivot to know that it's okay to pivot."

From the age of fourteen, Watson has taken it upon himself not to be a victim of his difficult upbringing. Through his athletic talent, he could not only fight his way out of poverty but has found a way to help many other people facing their hard times. With his commitment to resilience and dedication to refusing to let his circumstances define him, Watson has inspired and provided hope to thousands of people.

Through his books, seminars, and radio sessions, he can share his philosophy on life: "When the odds are stacked against you and the game looks as if it's done, the only thing that would be a bigger failure would be quitting."

Watson understands the importance of making better decisions and refuses to accept that someone is a victim of their circumstances. Instead, he encourages people to leave their comfort zone, embrace their fears, learn from their mistakes, and adjust their mindset and actions to become successful.

Dr. Tommy Watson has shown the world that no matter how unlikely it may seem, success can come out of the most difficult of times. With the rigid division among fellow Americans, striving for better understanding and compassion among one another is essential. Knowing each other's stories can help to bridge the gap between differences and create more solidarity.

Watson proves it's never too late to believe in yourself, refuse to give up, and fight to break through any circumstance. Above all else, Watson's example of success is the example of what can happen when someone refuses to shy away from failure and continues to work to overcome whatever obstacles may be in their way.

Daily Newsletter

For Leaders

Subscribe to the newsletter read by the world's most influential CEOs.