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At a Young Age, Derrick Kirk Learned Skills for Success.  If He Hadn’t, He Wouldn’t Be Where He Is Today.


About Derrick

Growing up in the face of adversity, and experiencing true abandonment, Derrick Kirk used his inner wisdom to develop skills for success that enabled him to not only survive but thrive.

Today Derrick is an entrepreneur and refers to himself as a hope dealer.  He is a motivational speaker, podcast host, and investor. And through the Derrick Kirk Foundation, he helps and inspires underprivileged youth and gives them hope for a strong future.

Derrick overcame obstacles he shouldn’t have, now he teaches others how to do the same by sharing his unique skills for success.

Robyn Graham interviewed Derrick Kirk in episode 104 of the Second Phase Podcast. On the graphic is a photo of Robyn sitting on a white rug under a window wearing jeans and a black tank top with a cup of coffee.


At 8 years of age, Derrick and his three siblings, ages 10, 9, 8, and 6, were placed into foster care. Shortly thereafter, Derrick was removed from the foster home he and his two sisters were placed and taken to an orphanage.

He spent the next ten years navigating life as an orphan. Because of fear of being judged and isolated, Derrick lived one life during the school day and another in the evenings and on weekends, to hide the fact that he lived in an orphanage.

From the beginning, he asked teachers not to treat him differently. He wanted to be treated just like the other kids at school.  At an early age, he discovered the power of relationships and standing up for himself.

Derrick was released from the orphanage when he was 18 years old. He had aged out of the system and was given an apartment for one month, and 30 days of shelter, and then he was homeless. Going to college is what solved his homeless problem. He was then adopted, as an adult in college.

Using Skills for Success to Make Good Decisions

Derrick attributes wisdom to his ability to make good decisions and stay out of trouble. It isn’t easy for everyone to gain a level of success. Derrick always asked a lot of questions, listened, and observed others which led him to knowledge and wisdom that helped him make good decisions.

Wisdom comes from being curious and listening.

No Body Cares

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve failed, but you know who cares? Nobody! So pick yourself up!

There is no reason to be embarrassed or ashamed, start over, start something new so keep pushing.

Don’t Let You Beat You

You may think that there are things holding you back, but you are the only person that can hold yourself back. Make it a point to not let others beat you, but don’t let them beat yourself!

Take action and have accountability. Quiet the voices in your head and just take action and make mistakes. Make a lot of them, oh well. And then, at one turn or another, what you are trying will work out.

The Derrick Kirk Foundation

Derrick is helping underprivileged youth through his foundation. He helps elementary schools by providing school supplies they are short on, he gives to single mothers and helps pay for utilities, helps support homeless teens, and provides transportation.  Derrick’s goal is to help the kids learn to help themselves.

Derrick tried so hard and did so much to support himself, but he realized the little things that would have helped him so much.  Something so small can make such a difference and he wants to help kids make a difference.

Being Homeless

When Derrick was homeless, he didn’t know how long he was going to be homeless. His school was not near where he was homeless, and he had no resources. Using his skills for success, he adopted forward-thinking to navigate each day to get to another day and find resources.

Derrick had a few dollars to use to make phone calls on a payphone. He used the money to arrange transportation to college.

While he was homeless, Derrick’s mind raced, and he had no time for reflection. There was a drive inside him, he feels like you either have it, or you don’t.

Unfortunately, a lot of kids do fall victim to homelessness. Derrick can’t explain how he and others make it and others don’t, but there is definitely something internal that drives them forward.

The Top 5 Skills to Achieve Success


When you open your mouth, you tell people who you are. Be ready. Read, be well-rounded, and be able to speak to others.  If you have great communication skills, you are going to automatically get farther than someone else.


You must be able to negotiate.  Whether you are negotiating a job, or anything, negotiate. Don’t let it scare you, because negotiating will give you a tool for being well-rounded and help you get ahead.


Listening is everything! When you listen you are able to build relationships and be a good co-worker, boss, mentor, or partner. When people know you are a good listener, they will come to you. Listening helps build relationships.

Time Management

Show up on time, show up early, and show people you are dependable.


Strive to be the person that solves problems.  You want to be the go-to person.  Even if the problem isn’t your problem, be prepared to solve the problem.

The King of Orphans

Derrick’s book, “The King of Orphans” provides a look inside his life as an orphan.  The book will be available on Derrick’s website in March.

To learn more about your host, Robyn Graham, click HERE.
To Learn More About Derrick and Connect with Him:

Website for Derrick

Another example of a person who was homeless and became an entrepreneur. 


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