Laymon Hicks draws on hardships to motivate students


Photo by Aaron Veincent

Speaker Laymon Hicks brings his motivational speech to a high school audience in Keōpūolani, Tuesday, Jan. 10. Hicks conveyed his message through his lively character and relatable personal stories.

Growing up in Florida, Laymon Hicks didn’t have the best childhood. At a young age, his father left him, and his mother was almost sent to jail.

Hicks longed for his father’s attention. He constantly called to ask his father to spend time with him, but he kept getting the same answer, “Laymon, I will be there the next time.”

The next time never came. Hicks  said, “The next time came, the next, and that next time came the next time.”

Dealing with such issues, Hicks fell into bad habits. For instance, he stole and cheated on tests, unlikely behavior for a National Honor Society student.

His bad behavior ended up getting him kicked out of NHS after he was caught cheating.

Following the dismissal, Hicks reflected on his life knew that he needed to “focus on the positive.”

Being positive through all of those difficulties wasn’t simple, but he relied on something his grandmother always told him: “Baby, when you fall down, get back up!” she used to say.

Hicks shares that quote with the students who attend the high schools he speaks at, including Kamehameha Maui, where he spoke on Tuesday, Jan. 10. His journey started when he was in high school.

Hicks was given an opportunity to speak in front of an audience, and in the audience was a professional speaker who saw potential in him and offered to mentor him.

At first Hicks, didn’t want to pursue the path of a motivational speaker, but he slowly gained a liking for making a difference in the lives of the students who hear him.

Graduating high school with honors, Hicks went on to Florida State University. At 23, he became the student body president, and also got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Balancing school and speeches, Hicks also found time to write several motivational books — A Treasure Chest of Motivation: 8 Jewels of Wisdom for a Young Adult’s Success and ‘N Laymon’s Terms…Words of Wisdom | Inspiration to Guide You on Your Life’s Journey

Within Hicks’ books and speeches, he tells about his personal hardships and how he turns them into motivation for students around the world.

In his speeches, Hicks wants to make sure students take several messages:

  1. Hard work will always beat talent if talent doesn’t work hard.
  2. Never let anyone outwork you.
  3. Get up, get out, and go get it!

In the middle of his full traveling schedule, Hicks returned to Florida State University in December to to earn his doctorate degree in organizational leadership.

“Through his lively character, his message was easy to relate to, which truly inspired me to always appreciate and pursue my dreams,”  junior Karlee Chong Kee said.

Turning his negatives into positives, Hicks made sure his vibrant speaking skills and experiences benefit others.

“I made a vow to myself that I never wanted anyone else to go through life without anyone telling them, ‘you can,’” Hicks said.

For further information regarding Laymon Hicks visit his website at