Dr. Eddie Connor is one of the most recognizable faces in motivational speaking, authorship, and community service. Over the last 12 years, he has cultivated a career spanning multiple industries while encouraging millions of people worldwide.
He’s also been featured on various platforms including BET, CBS, and NBC, to name a few. Ahead of his upcoming book, “The Mask of Masculinity,” Eddie dove deep with BLAC about his journey, his bout with cancer as a teenager, toxic masculinity, and his continued success.
BLAC: Who is Dr. Eddie Connor?
Dr. Eddie: I am an empowerment speaker, best-selling author of 14 books, and college professor. The power of my purpose is through service, by empowering people to overcome obstacles and walk in their unique calling.
BLAC: When did you realize you had a calling?
Dr. Eddie: I was a precocious 12-year-old kid when I realized the calling on my life. I was raised by parents who were called to the ministry, which caused our family to move from Detroit to Kingston, Jamaica and serve in missions.
While living on the island, I witnessed the struggle but also the strength of our brothers and sisters who desired a better life. Their faith and fortitude never wavered. Alongside my parents, I would minister to the less fortunate and feed the homeless.
I’m reminded of the aphorism: “Service is the rent we pay for the space we occupy.” I learned that lesson early and have lived by that creed ever since.
BLAC: At 15 years old, you overcame stage four cancer, a disease that ravages millions of families across the world annually. Can you talk about the lessons you took from your battle and how they helped you continue your journey?
Dr. Eddie: My life is a stark reminder of the poignant and poetic words of Langston Hughes, “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.”
The pain of struggle came early and often in my life. Sometimes you don’t realize how strong you are until being strong is your only option. Through my struggle to find the can in cancer, I realize that pain is oftentimes a portal to purpose. In my journey I have taken plenty of L’s but losses unveil life lessons, love, leadership, leaning on the Lord, and the opportunity to level up. I’m a living witness that as long as you have a pulse, you still have a purpose.
I persevered through chemotherapy, radiation, depression, and an absent father. Yes, cancer made me cry but it didn’t make me quit. What I endured was painful but by God’s grace it became purposeful. I’m blessed to live through dying places and empower people to do the same.
BLAC: You’re a best-selling author, entrepreneur, international speaker, and mentor. Can you talk about how you’ve cultivated such an astounding career over the last decade?
Dr. Eddie: I would credit the cultivation of my career to a persistent commitment to greatness. It’s all about consistency and discovering your identity.
Growing up, I was always the underdog who was overlooked. Many people didn’t think I would beat cancer much less do something extraordinary in life. As a result, I doubted myself for years.
Ultimately through a personal awakening, I made a decision to not allow people’s opinions to become my psychological prison. When I changed the way I looked at things, the things I looked at began to change. All of the adversity created an opportunity to share my testimony by teaching, speaking, writing, and mentoring the next generation of young leaders.
I truly believe that nobody can beat you being you. Walking in the power of your authenticity with vulnerability empowers you to be uniquely you. I believe it’s important to first begin with your why.
What is your purpose? What are you created to do? Who are you? Who are the people that you would like to join you on your journey?
By answering those particular questions, it provides a compass to receive guidance from leaders who are in your specific niche.
I always say, “Somebody is waiting for you to be who you are, so they can become who they’re supposed to be.” It takes courage, character, and commitment to manifest it.
BLAC: How do you like to spend your leisure time away from your busy schedule?
Dr. Eddie: I am a sports aficionado. I love watching the NBA and NFL. I love to travel, go to an art museum, and of course fine dining. Spending time with family and friends is important to me as well. I’m still learning how to tight rope work-life balance, make time for self-care, and personal wellness. The work I do is intense, so it’s important to refresh myself because I can’t pour from an empty cup.
BLAC: Toxic masculinity has been shattered at a time when men are becoming more comfortable discussing their mental health, desires, and other intangibles. What do you hope to get across to readers through your new book, “The Mask of Masculinity?
Dr. Eddie: I think what we are seeing is an awakening of men, who for generations have been muted by mythical masculinity. To be told time and time again that a man should never cry, stop being weak, or man up is totally antithetical to what being a man is all about. Essentially masculinity is a mask.
In my new book, I wanted to amplify the plight, promise, struggles, and strengths of men. Beyond our money it’s about our mentality. As a man, it’s easy to get lost in what you do and forget who you are. More than our profession, we must honor our humanity as a person.
My book “The Mask of Masculinity” conveys that being a man is hard work but it’s heart work. The heart work is in healing from emotional incarceration, intergenerational trauma, toxic masculinity and psychological pain to reclaim our identity, lead, and love with vulnerability. As men, we will always lead best when we love most.
My new book is available on Amazon, Audible, and www.DrEddieAcademy.com/men.