My name is Josiah Samuel Harry. I was born and raised in St. Croix, US. Virgin Islands on April 18, 1975 to Victor and Francillia Harry who both hail from Saint Lucia—Helen of the West Indies. I have four siblings, three brothers and one sister. I am the middle child for my mother and the first born for my father, which makes me King Emperor. Or is it Emperor King? (lol).
Interesting fact: My dad spent part of his young adult life working as an indentured servant. He could neither work nor travel without permission from a white landowner. [Details of my dad’s journey will be captured in an upcoming book].
The Turning Event
One day while playing on the sidewalk on the street in front of my home, I was snatched—yup, kidnapped. Law enforcement along with the local community banded together and formed search parties to find this missing gregarious three-year-old. After what seemed like an eternity, I was found unharmed and returned to my jubilant parents.
I was a precocious little kid who just loved talking to strangers. And I still do as an adult. I don’t remember ever going into a department store and not having a conversation with at least two people. Each time I would have these random conversations, my children who accompanied me, would ask: “Daddy, did you know those people?” I would smile and say, “Nope, I just met them.” And they would shake their heads and say, “Daddy, you’re weird.”
Interesting fact: Although I love engaging in meaningful conversations with just about anyone, my preference is to be alone…writing and/or reading.
I spent the first nineteen years of my life on St. Croix. When I was thirteen years old, I became a drafting apprentice and eventually got a job at one of the larger architectural firms on the island. I would work as a draftsman for the next six years. I finished high school at age sixteen and had a full scholarship to a stateside university, but I chose to attend the local university, which ended up being a grand waste of time—well, except for my typing class at which I excelled.
Interesting fact: I spent the first two semesters of college in the game room learning how to play table tennis. I didn’t attend classes, except for the typing class. My goal was to beat Lester who was a senior and the best table tennis player on campus. And yes, I beat him.
The School_Part II
In December of 1994, I left the warmth and beauty of Paradise for New Orleans, where my mom’s sister resided. I stayed with my aunt for a couple months before moving to Huntsville, Alabama where my younger brother and cousin attended college. I applied and got accepted to the same college. During breaks, we would travel back and forth from Huntsville to New Orleans.
Interesting fact: Although the college I applied to did accept me, I was placed on academic probation. My gpa was so low that it started with an asterisk.
A few years later, I would become the father of twin girls. And a few years after that, my family would be complete. I was the proud father of three daughters and one son. Life, school and career would take us through Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, and California. My wife and children adapted well to our triennial relocation tradition.
Interesting fact: When I was growing up, I did not want any kids. I was certain that I would be a bachelor for the rest of my life.
The School_Part III
With a semi-large family in tow—working and going to school part time—it would take me thirteen years to get a four-year degree. But I would make up ground by earning two masters degrees (120 credit hours) in less than two years (from start to finish). I also earned a third master’s degree. I started my doctoral studies but quit roughly a year before my completion date. I did so because I wanted to concentrate my efforts on my entrepreneurial pursuits, which leads me to the following.
Interesting fact: I once took 12 classes (29 credit hrs) in one semester in graduate school. I passed all 12 classes. That was a school record as no student had ever attempted something as crazy as that.
I moved to Los Angeles on December 18, 2016 to launch my luxury cosmetics startup. And here’s what I have learned about entrepreneurship thus far. Entrepreneurship is fun! BUT the process takes three times as long, it costs three times as much, and it’s exponentially more difficult than any other career track. Everything rides on the entrepreneur’s shoulders. There isn’t anyone to blame when something goes wrong—no supervisor, no manager, no CEO to blame. The buck stops with me.
Interesting fact: When I moved to LA, I slept at the airport on the first night. For the next two and a half months while moving from one Airbnb location to another, I ate one meal a day. [This journey will also be detailed in an upcoming book].
The Conclusion [Not quite]
Everybody has a different journey. Everyone is on a different path. The key to your happiness is to accept who you are and where you are in life. It does not matter your circumstance, your race, ethnicity, gender or what’s happening around you—always see yourself as a victor.
Strive to become better each day. Be deliberate in deploying value to others. Embrace the journey. Find your reason for being. And once you learn and accept your reason for being, you can grow into becoming.
THOUGHT: No person or entity has a monopoly on greatness.