PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —Since he burst on the scene with a starring role in the smash hit “Hamilton,” Leslie Odom Jr. has been flying high on a rocket ship of success, winning a Tony Award and a GRAMMY.
Earlier this week, the Philadelphia-native came back to his hometown to talk with students about his new book “Failing Up: How To Take Risks, Aim Higher, And Never Stop Learning.”
More than anything, he wanted to let students know spectacular failure can be the gateway triumph.
This week there was no costume or performance, just a chance for the hometown hero to talk with a group of people he understands well: Philadelphia students.
“My first job was in ‘Black Nativity,'” Odom said. “The production was at the Arts Bank, not too far from here on Broad Street, Broad and South.”
Odom said his message is straightforward.
“Whatever the world is that you dream about being in, it is as simple as this: you love it. That’s all you have to do. Read about it, dream about it, talk about it, find other people who love it too,” Odom said. “You just keep walking toward that thing. You love it with your whole heart, and eventually, you will find your way into that world.”
He’s seen failure and his path to success wasn’t always a straight line but he made it.
It’s a powerful message from a man who began exactly where these students sit today.
His dreams coming true means theirs can too.
“As long as you love the thing with your whole heart and put one foot in front of the other, you end up in the places you’re supposed to be,” Odom said.
A road map from one Philadelphian to the next generation.
For that, Odom gets three cheers.
Odom also made sure to say that you never know what role you’ll end up playing in a particular field.
If you love sports, maybe you’re not an athlete, but a coach, teacher, announcer. You just have to love it and be open to where it takes you.