In his new memoir, ?Playing Up: One Man?s Rise From Public Housing to Public Service Through Mentorship?, inspirational and motivational speaker Vaughn L. McKoy talks about his life experience growing up in Paterson, New Jersey.
?I was a very athletic kid and saw people who were older than me get involved in sports; I thought it might be something that could benefit me,? McKoy told TNJ.com. ?I began playing baseball when I was eight years old as a result of watching one of my mentors.??
In the book, McKoy described Paterson as any other urban inner city that deals with challenges and problems. He explained how these critical factors led him to learn about leadership and loyalty. ?The decisions that anyone makes can be positive or negative,? he says.
Influenced by others older than him, he went on to play sports in high school, be a four star player and receive a scholarship to Rutgers University.
A corporate attorney and executive at an energy company in N.J., McKoy believes that sports can teach anyone about character, leadership and perseverance. ?I think it teaches any individual how to come back from defeat and even communicate and work together with teammates,? he shares. His coaches used to tell him that participating in sports is a microcosm of life and that it wasn?t just about the game, but about the game of life.
Geared towards students, coaches and educators, the book provides techniques that readers can apply to their own situations and everyday challenges.
?I wrote the book to inspire people who find themselves in a similar situation and for those of us who are in the position to help mentor and develop young people,? says McKoy. ?I wanted to kind of tell my story so that people know that mentorship matters. I also wanted to empower young people to understand that even if you started your life in a certain way, you don?t have to finish that way. Hopefully, people will do more than just read the book; maybe they will learn from the stories in the book.?
McKoy stresses that mentorship is important for guidance and the development of a person?s career. Inspiration is another word he stresses for those who need growth to ?play up? their problems.
?Inspiration is what we need everyday to help us grow, develop and push the envelope towards what I call ?playing up?,? he explains. ?I kind of define that term as leveraging all your talent, skills, gifts and abilities to do two things: solve problems and leverage opportunities. Each day I wake up, I have to play up. Essentially, that?s what playing up is all about; it’s the theme of the book.?
McKoy hopes the book will transform its readers. Although inspiration and motivation are keys factors, the desired end result is the transformation aspect. McKoy comes from a city laden with problems and he, luckily, found the tenacity to overcome them. Transformation is the ultimate component for those who want to change their life and be the best they can be in their careers.