Don’t let your dream wait, Derrick Freeland says

Feb 22, 2021


Derrick Freeland is a motivational speaker whose presentation at Claflin came during Black History Month.


Success comes from good decisions, good decisions come from experience and experience comes from bad decisions, a motivational speaker said.

Derrick Freeland, 25, began his Black History Month sessions at Claflin University via Zoom on Feb. 16. His speech was titled “The Process Over the Product.”

He told the audience that he loved them all, which came before telling people they must use failure and adversity to move forward to success.

Success in life is not what you acquire, Freeland said. “It’s who you become in life.”

Freeland, a talented athlete from an impoverished background in southeast Washington, D.C., had two dreams: to make his mother proud and to be successful. He saw professional football as Plan A and an opportunity to reach both goals.

He told his story of being a scholarship player at The Citadel before he suffered a brain injury playing football, one so serious that he stuttered and was advised to delay his education.

“I was damaged,” Freeland said. “I felt like I was a failure.”

He said he even tried to end his life.

His definition of success had to change. “Plan A was out the window.”

The start of his Plan B came with him looking at a mentor’s formula for success: “Success comes from a series of good decisions.”

When failure happens, don’t quit, Freeland said. Face adversity. “On the other side of that is greatness.”

Freeland faced adversity with the end of his dream to play pro football. “It changed my whole entire life.”

He had to turn the negative into a positive, finding a new dream, a new definition of success. And he did, today being a motivational speaker with appearances nationally and internationally.

Freeland asked students to address where their dreams will take them. “Your dream is something you need to give to the world.”

Run to fear, he advised. Attack adversity. Move to success. Go after your dream.

“You can do it as long as your first believe it.”

Don’t be lazy, he said. Change your way of thinking. Don’t let your dream wait.

“It’s going to take some courage” to get to the dream. Your future is counting on you.

Remember, there are two important moments in life: when you are born and when you discover why you were born, Freeland said. Don’t be a person with regret for not following through on your dream.

Freeland ended with his concept of the four P’s of life:

Pain – figure it out




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