August, 2014 Issue

In This Issue

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Steve Harvey


With this month's focus being on comedy, the CAM staff is excited to have such a recognizable face in the comedy world on our cover for this issue. Interestingly enough, Steve Harvey recently made the decision to step away from pure standup to focus on his many television, movie and book projects, but that doesn't mean he's not still excited to get out there and make people laugh. What's even better is that whether he's speaking to corporate audiences, community groups or college students, he's able to not only bring the laughs, but truly motivate and inspire those audiences as well.

You might recognize him from the iconic film "The Real Kings Of Comedy," or perhaps from television on "The Steve Harvey Show" or as the host of "Family Feud."

His new book Act Like A Success, Think Like A Success is set to be released by the time you are reading this. It is the follow up to the #1 bestselling book, Act Like A Lady, Think Like a Man, which also spawned the major motion picture, Think Like A Man, featuring Kevin Hart. He's taking the principles laid out in his new book and helping college students apply them to becoming their own successes.

Mr. Harvey and Gerald Washington, the SVP of Global Development at Steve Harvey Worldwide Group, Inc both give Campus Activities MagazineŽ exclusive interviews to talk about his career, life and his new book, which will be supported by extensive live dates in the campus market, booked exclusively through IMG Speakers. To become a success the level of Steve Harvey or other notable entrepreneurs, it's clear that they don't have a lot of time to waste. Steve's schedule starts every day at 4AM. He says that work ethic was something ingrained in him very early on. "That was given to me by my father," he says. "He impressed that upon me from a very young age. Now, I didn't always apply it (laughs), but I have always known it. That is the hard part. In college, I didn't properly apply it. Right after I got out of college, I began that process and I have applied it ever since."

As it turns out the time he spent in college definitely wasn't wasted as he used his time for developing skills. It surely couldn't have hurt, since he was building his people skills, something not to be overlooked for a comedian.

That's not to say that Steve didn't still put the motivation his dad instilled in him long before his collegiate career. "Even before my higher education began, I was always a hard worker. I always had multiple jobs and did so while I was in college as well. Never missed a day of work. Now, I wasn't a great student, but since I never missed a day of work you could say even in college I was practicing the lessons my father taught me. I was just not as focused on my educational endeavors as I should have been."

Once Steve was out of college, he began to focus 100% on his success. "I am an extremely hard worker, but I have a philosophy that drives me to work so hard: I spend all of my time building my dreams, so that when I get some time, I can live my dream. That is what drives my work ethic."

The vehicle to get him there became standup comedy. "When I turned 27, I became a professional comedian. It happened all in one night. My first time in a comedy club was October 8, 1985 and I won an amateur comedy night. I went to work the next day and quit my job. I made $3,000 my first year in comedy, so I immediately put myself on a struggling path, but it was what I was born to do and I knew it from the moment I set foot in a comedy club. I had identified the gift earlier on, I just didn't have a vehicle to attach it to. The moment I found out about standup, I knew it was what I was supposed to do. I was bitten by the bug and have been on stage ever since."

It's not uncommon for the creative rightbrained types to be less skilled in areas of logistics and organization, but Steve chose a path in college that gave him an early advantage in a standup career. He chose to major in advertising with a minor in photography. "I really picked the advertising major because I had a buddy from Dayton who had done the same thing, and it sounded good enough to me (laughs). I remember watching the show 'Bewitched' on TV when I was a kid and Darren was an ad man, so it sounded cool to me. I was actually really good at photography though and in fact I have a son in college right now with a major in photography and a younger son who does art shows with his photography. I think perhaps we have a gifted eye in the family for that."

In reality for Steve though, the photography endeavor wasn't practical. "It was too expensive for me then. Being before the digital age, you had to buy the camera but also film, rent a darkroom, buy the chemicals, paper, etc. It wasn't nearly accessible then as it is today."

By the time Steve was out of college, neither of his areas of study particularly applied to his life. Instead of going to work for an ad agency or behind the lens, he went straight on to the production line. "I started at Ford Motor Company straight out of college."

Once he hit that comedy night and set himself on the path to fame, his college studies came back to be a great help. "The advertising and photography majors turned out to be a valuable education because I selfpromoted all of my shows. I became my own agent, manager and publicist and because of my understanding of those subjects, I had a real edge on some of the other guys out there struggling to make it.

His standup career exploded and landed him multiple film and television roles, which made him start to realize that his reach could go beyond just making people laugh.

"About a year and half ago," Gerald says, "as he ventured into the idea of writing this book, the youth demographic is one he wanted to penetrate heavily, not only because they are our future, but because they are in a place where these lessons can be of the most value in their lives. Preparing them with tools and knowledge that may not be offered in a college course was his goal."

One of the toughest things for Steve to do was walk away from the one thing that had supplied his way to success: standup comedy. "With my career," Steve says, "and really in my life as a whole, deciding to retire from standup was the most difficult decision I have ever made. I have not been forced to choose to do something that pained me more, ever. Not even close. Deciding to marry my wife wasn't easy," he jokes, "but it was the best decision I ever made. But walking away from standup was like turning my back on my oldest and best friend. Standup comedy was at the core basis of every element of my success. Every show or appearance that I make and every skill I have is based on that original gift."

Sometimes the wisdom of others is what we need to help us attain clarity for our own path. "It was incredibly hard for me to come to terms with that, but I learned from a very good friend of mine named T.D. Jakes, that in order to get to the next level, you always have to give up something that you care deeply about. In your life that could be certain friends who you thought were great. Sometimes you gotta remember that everyone who came with you can't always go with you. You have to stop associating with certain people or you may have to move out of town and leave your home, sometimes you might have to quit a job with people you care about. You always have to give up something to go to the next level. I knew that in order for me to continue as a game show host, launch this national talk show and write more books like the one that is dropping soon, I would need more time to work on it and still be able to cultivate and nurture my wife and family. I had to give up something that was very dear to me. It takes a lot of faith in yourself to do that but I haven't looked back. Sometimes you have to go, you just have to jump."

Steve has been able to make that sacrifice because of the sights he has set on the greater good. He understands that the time he puts into his broadcast career will reach as many people as possible, and the time he does spend on stage should be used to change as many lives as possible. This is why the student demographic is one of the only ones that Steve is taking a considerable amount of time to show up in person for. "I think that has always been innately in Steve," Gerald says, "once he was able to get his head wrapped around where he was going in his career. Once it went from him trying to become a celebrity and a success to being those things, there was a shift or change. He was able to redirect his energy to becoming a motivator and inspiration to others. He had gone through enough in his life that he feels like he now has the knowledge to turn around and give it back to America.

Steve has four distinctive programs he presents to campus audiences, and it's hard to imagine going wrong with any one of them, as they cover an incredibly universal set of principles and practices. Even still, Steve is very cognizant of each individual group he is speaking to. "Of all the speaking that I have done, the college audience is my absolute favorite, because I have a great message for people who are trying to figure it out. I have a great message for people who are trying to determine what the next step is. I have a great message for people who are starting to build their lives and their careers. I think the colleges I have been to have received me very well and those places are my favorite of all the groups I have presented to. Speaking at Georgia State and The University of Akron and other places have been of great benefit to me personally and I hope it has been even more beneficial to them. I believe that if I had been able to gain such valuable information at their stage in life, from a person who has climbed from nothing to almost every level, my journey may have been that much easier."

Steve's fondness for the college demographic comes largely from their keenness to pay attention and apply the knowledge he is trying to impart. "When I am speaking to a college crowd, I know I am speaking to a group of people who's thoughts are already success-oriented. You don't go to college without the intent of making a success of yourself."

He strives to not only motivate them toward their studies, but also to prepare them for what's next. "I teach them a valuable lesson about what to do once they acquire that piece of paper. If you are not careful and don't know what your next steps are, that degree becomes nothing but a piece of paper. It's a sheepskin that is beautifully framed and hanging on the wall. You want to take that supreme effort that you have put out to become a graduate and make that work for you. That's when you need to know the principles of success. College teaches you many things, but the true principles of success come through life's teachings. I believe that is what I excel at. I have gotten three of my daughter's through college, all of whom are working and becoming quite successful themselves. I have two sons in college, so I know the message and the demographic very, very well."

The four programs are all linked in message, but hone in around different specific points. "The Power Of Your Dream" is at the root of his talks. It is the foundation by which all other things in life grow. "There is nothing...NOTHING greater or more valuable than your dream. Nothing. Your dream is more important than your education. The reason that I say that is because your dream will propel you to get an education, if it's the right thing to help you attain that dream. There is a scripture that says 'A man without a vision or without a dream shall perish.' I know many uneducated people who are extremely successful. It is your dream that sits at the front of the driving force behind your life and the more you dream, the further you can go."

"Motivating You To Your Greatness" is an extension of the first program. "Finding your greatness is about taking the dream you have set in front of you and harnessing the tools you need to build it. You have the degree, now what? What are the principles of success that you need to know that will propel you into your greatness? It's about focusing on the specific thing you can do to hone in consistently to make yourself great. It's using the education and drive to get to your destination.

"Common Sense Isn't Common" is an allaround turnkey program that can be appropriate for any audience, but again can be used most fully by student audiences. "You've heard the term 'educated fool?' (Laughs) There are many of those, man, and I've learned that common sense just isn't that common. There are some core things that will never change and you can learn these things whether you have a college degree or not. Common sense is a beautiful thing; common sense saves you a lot of pain. For example, I have known many women who are well-educated and successfully climbing the corporate ladder that can't get a real relationship right to save their lives. I know many men who do the same and just can't seem to master the principles of manhood. These are things you have got to learn along the's what life is really about. What you do to other people comes back to you and how you treat people does as well. One of the great principles of success is that the more people you help to become successful, the more successful you become. Well, that sounds like common sense to me but there are many people out there who seem to think if you hold a person down you will appear to be bigger. If you hold a person down, that allows you to rise up, but that's just not true and that's how I know for a fact that common sense just really isn't that common."

"The Power Of Moving People" can never be underestimated. "At one point I thought there was a statue that I wanted for my back yard. It was a goal of mine. It was of a man carving himself out of stone. The name of the piece was 'Self-Made Man' and for years I wanted one of those. But, the more successful I became the more I came to realize a very important point: there are no selfmade men. Everyone needs somebody. You cannot complete the journey of success by yourself. You have to partner with people, you have to rely on people. You are going to need people to accomplish tasks that you don't have the skill sets or time to do. In other words, you have to be a people mover. You have to learn how to motivate people and understand a key principle: all great leaders were once great servants. So in order to get people to follow, you have to be a great servant."

Steve Harvey will be all over the country serving students in the coming school year, despite his busy schedule on radio, TV, in film and making personal appearances. Contact IMG Speakers at (212) 774-6735 or about possible dates in your area.