I grew up in the poorest part of South Bronx, New York. It was Mom, Dad and my five siblings. Growing up we experienced some very challenging times. My Dad moved us to Austin when I was a teenager and it was there I saw him battle with a drug addiction that later led to me being homeless.
At 15, I dropped out of high school and began making poor choices in a disparity to find my place in this world. A couple years later I had a breaking point and decided that I wanted to do something with my life. I moved to Puerto Rico and went back to school. I worked three jobs to put me through college. Later, I graduated valedictorian of my class. Somehow, all that pain that I went through as a young kid had turned into this drive and motivation to work hard for my dreams.
I landed my first record deal straight out of college and began touring Latin America opening up for acts like Ricky Martin, Mana and other great artists. I was 21 and living the dream. However, I still felt like something was missing. My mom had always taught me that life was about living with purpose and doing what I had received as a gift to help others.
During this time in my life, everything centered on me, and it was clear I needed a purpose greater than just becoming famous and wealthy. It was in the next months that my life took an even greater turn, and I found purpose through my faith.
I decided to move back to Austin and pursue this purpose in my life. During the next years I had the opportunity to work with some pretty amazing artists and producers. I have traveled the world doing what I love. Seven years later, I had amazing opportunities as a recording artist and songwriter. I started my own business and proposed to my dream girl. It’s been an amazing journey. Today, we have three precious children, a thriving business, a healthy lifestyle and, above all, we live our lives with purpose and hope that we can inspire others to never give up. Our life is by no means perfect, but it is a blessed life.
To wake up every morning and do what you love and it help others in the process is an absolute dream come true. We continue to dream big because we know that the big dreams that we had years ago are now reality. Anything is possible if you believe. I have found that some of our greatest moments have come from pain and facing adversity. The decision to never give up has helped us see greater things along the journey and helped us enjoy the destination so much more.
Life is full of adversity; it is full of challenge and disappointments. I could have been another young kid turned criminal or drug addict. If it had not been for grace and the continual motivation to never give up, I would have missed out on some pretty great moments in life. I am so grateful today for dreams realized but even more for the challenges in life that helped shape those dreams today. Am I chasing greater dreams now? Absolutely!
Am I facing greater challenges now? You bet. You don’t get one without the other. A year ago, I had the opportunity to do the Ironman Race, which is a triathlon that consists of completing a 2.4 mile open-water swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 marathon run in one day. I trained for one year and had many obstacles along the way. After a lot of hard work, a great support system and many lessons learned along the way, I finished the race and became an Ironman. It was one of the greatest things that I have ever experienced in life: To defeat something that represented so much fear and impossibility and to conquer a dream that seemed so far out of reach.
It made me think about life and how life is a journey that has many obstacles, challenges and lessons. When we choose to never give up and stay the course, we have so many great rewards as we cross the finish line. No matter how hard or how challenging life can be sometimes, don’t give up on your dreams and purpose in life.
Josh Lopez has a new music project titled “Don’t Give Up” and later this year will release his first book. For more information, visit www.joshlopez.org.
By Josh Lopez