David Wilkinson: Plumber, author and motivational speaker
Bermuda’s street life is filled with people lacking real identity and purpose, says hardworking plumber David Wilkinson.
He sees a study of hopelessness in some and a society trying to come to grips with unacceptable criminal violence.
He wants to be a part of the solution because, but for a misstep the wrong way here and there, that could have been his life.
He knows he has made his share of life’s mistakes. But he has focused himself on spiritual and emotional growth, getting out of debt and moving onward and upward.
And he has levelled his life towards succeeding in business, working on a manuscript for his first book, becoming a motivational speaker and marrying the woman of his dreams.
It has been his business life where he has learnt a number of his most precious lessons. That includes while working as a child, handing tools to his father, learning lessons from his uncle, working at a contracting company and also working for himself.
Things could have been so different for this “Jones Village” product whose father was jailed before the son even had his first teenage birthday. That meant anger and pain for a boy who worshipped his father.
His Christian mother foresaw and averted the coming trouble and shipped him to her brother in the United States — first to Norfolk, Virginia and a couple of years later to Alabama.
He recalled his life before America.
“I spent time as a child working along with my father, a mason building houses. And when he went to jail, I spent time with my uncle.
“Considering the neighbourhood I came from, I had to beat the odds to rise above it all,” he said. “I was never really in a gang, but I hung around some people, even friends when we were not moving in the right direction.”
“When looking for someone to follow, we don’t have great leadership in Bermuda. We need more leaders to stand up for the people.”
He is hoping to soon be a published author and believes he has much to say that can help those struggling to find their way. Down the road, he sees himself as a life coach or motivational speaker for those who face hard times.
“My manuscript for the book I am writing has a lot of my life in it. But it also talks about the future.
“Life teaches you a lot. I want to become a motivational speaker, eventually. I think that is what is missing in Bermuda. Not like a preacher, but someone who gives you a blueprint for a better life.“
He was surprised how much one has to discover on their own in life, the rarely taught “aha” moments.
“When I realised I had a passion for writing and motivating others, I knew I had a story to be told; that I had to raise myself up and become a better man.
“I saw motivational speakers on YouTube such as the late Bob Proctor, Zig Ziglar, Wayne Dyer, Steven Harvey, TD Jakes and one of my favourites, the late Myes Monroe.”
Mr Wilkinson said it was interesting learning about the ”paradigm shift“, the conscious and subconscious need for reprogramming of the mind for success — shifting to a different, more useful, mindset.
He was back home from living in the States, still a teenager, but with a child on the way. Two years later he had two.
“I went into debt at the age of 19. It’s a long story, but basically I had to take out a loan because I was having a kid.
“I went out to get a loan and didn’t realise it had to be paid back.”
At 33, he is not too proud to laugh at his 19-year-old self.
His significant other continued her schooling, while he remained on island, worked, studied and raised the boys. “It was important that she finish her schooling,” he said.
Today he is in a different circumstance, with a different lady, with whom he shares his third child and aspirations of wedding bliss.
“She has helped me grow so much, helped me get out of debt. She is a serious lady.”
In the past, many Bermudians like Mr Wilkinson learnt a trade in, say, plumbing, but picked up skills along the way in carpentry, electrical, masonry. Jack of all trades. Master of one.
But he put a stop to that inclination, having learnt the importance of networking.
“I am getting work through word of mouth, mainly. I am with a bunch of friends — six or seven of us — a painter, an electrician, and so on, you know, all of us from different disciplines. When there is plumbing, they call me.
“So, now, I’m trying to stay in plumbing as much as possible, with a little bit of construction, which you have to do as a plumber. Electrical work is for the electrician, and so forth. That is how we grow. You have to relate to, and support, those who are supporting you.
“There are many people in your life who will write you off. They will look down on you, instead of trying to help you get up.
“A lot of people in Bermuda have no positive role models, no foundation. They are just the next generation of that, because their parents had no foundation.
“There are many people who expect you to fail, who want you to fail.
“But there have been those who have helped me grow in life. I want a future in writing and motivational speaking where I can help others.”