Interview by Abner Jackson III
Steven VanDyke had a vision one night while sleeping. Three words caught his attention, those words were Fight, Win, Survive. Steven was able to turn those words into an encouragement merchandiser and ministry outreach providing visual, emotional, and spiritual support. Through his ministry outreach, his goal is to touch the lives of those who need encouragement and peace of mind.
Tell Readers about your Fight…Win…Survive outreach and how long ago did you start it?
Fight…Win…Survive was started in August 2012 through a vision that came to me in my sleep. I was facing personal anxiety issues and those three words brought about a calm that soothed my racing mind. I channeled my experience into reaching out to individuals who were dealing with their own life circumstances and situations. People think that we are a nonprofit and I actually considered going nonprofit before pulling back. I didn’t feel comfortable with it for some reason even though I have personally given away thousands of dollars in merchandise. My outreach became more about touching, impacting and saving lives than personally making money.
Through our strongest vehicle (social media) our goal is to positively touch at least on life every day with something uplifting, encouraging or thought provoking.
What has surprised you the most about your company?
I am surprised the most about the power of the three small individual words that makes one powerful statement. To give someone a $.50 wristband and see their reaction as if it was a $100 gift means a lot.
What challenges in the world, do you think affects people the most?
LIFE. People have so much going on in their life that for many just getting out of bed is a challenge. Illnesses, job, finances, relationships, kids, safety and a piece of mind are all challenges that we all face. Life comes at us fast and from all directions. That’s where the Fight…Win…Survive message looms large because it is about mindset. No matter what ones challenges may be, it’s their mindset that gets them over and through whatever their “it” is.
How important is it to have a good support system, when dealing with life obstacles.
It is very important to have a good support system when dealing with life’s obstacles, circumstances and situations. There is nothing like someone being there with you. Many and including myself have not understood the challenges of individuals that I have stood in the gap for. There is something powerful about just being there or just making a phone call to check on them. That’s the support that many desire and our God-given love for one another should provide.
What is your goal for Fight…Win…Survive
It’s simple as I stated earlier, to positively touch at least one person’s life each day. That positive touch can come in the form of personal direct contact/communication, a phone call/text or through our social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or our free app that brings them all together in one place.
Tell readers about the three things you need in your life that I saw on your Instagram page. You put Victory, Guidance and Prosperity. In what ways can your life change with those three attributes?
The three attributes of Victory, Guidance and Prosperity when put under a microscope is what we all want, need and desire. You want to overcome life’s circumstances, situations or challenges. You need guidance in everything that you do because no man is an island, and at the end of the day we would like all of our hard work to bear the fruit of our labor. When you have experienced Victory, Guidance and Prosperity you have Fought, Won and Survived.
What are your thoughts on the current racial/social issues and the Black Lives Matter movement?
There is a major problem in the country right now. When something so basic as a traffic stop or what should be a basic interaction/interrogation turns violent and/or deadly, but I can understand the fear of some of the officers. Black Lives Matter but I too fear that wayward person in our race who has no respect or regard for life or property. I profile blacks that look suspicious to me and I watch them closely. Do I want to be that way? No I do not, but when my car was broken into who was the perpetrator? I didn’t see who, but I have a very good idea of who.
Now, in saying all of that it is still each of our responsibility to try and reach those who are lost and confused and I have extended myself in that regard. I have spoken to boys mentoring programs, supported programs and Fight…Win…Survive after Ferguson released a song titled “United We Stand” about the violence and unrest that was going on at that time. Unfortunately, that song keeps replaying itself as these issues with law enforcement continue to arise.
As far as the Black Lives Matter movement, there needs to be a defined plan and leader. We have too many cells and there is no central message. It’s like you’re hungry and there’s no food to eat so whatever someone gives you take and are satisfied with it while another person with the same hunger is settling for another meal and you both end up taking whatever you personally feel that you want.
I have analyzed what is needed for us to see change for our people and it starts with like a band, a drum major. One person who directs all of the moving parts. At this point I believe that individual to be President Obama when he leaves office because he can “manage” what I call the “Five Areas of Influence.” Everyone in the United States is influenced by individuals in one or more of these categories 1. Sports (LeBron James, etc.), 2. Entertainment (Beyoncé, etc.), 3. Business (Oprah, etc.), 4. Religion (T.D. Jakes or ones pastor, etc.) or 5). Education (ones favorite teacher, etc.). If you think about it, you are personally influenced by one or more of those categories and you will listen to someone in that category.
I believe if we create that “one band, one sound” with those individuals/categories we can rightfully move forward because the drum major keeps the “band” moving in perfect synchronization and that would allow us to present a single front and a single message.
What’s a typical day like for Steven VanDyke?
A Steven VanDyke typical day begins with prayer, meditation and reading my Bible. From that many days it leads me to do a morning inspirational post. From there my day is about checking email and social media for communication from individuals who reach out to me for one on one interactions or through my post responses. People are hurting, feeling helpless and are hungry for someone to let them know that things are going to be alright. That someone cares and someone who will respond. My day concludes with closing out any communication and a blanket prayer for those whose life I had the opportunity to touch. After that I pray for the individuals who will come in the next day that I might be a positive light that will shine on their negative circumstances or situations.
What is an interesting story about someone you helped with your Fight…Win…Survive?
I had a lady reach out to me several years ago by email and she put in the subject line “wristband.” I read the email and the lady told me that she was unemployed, lost her car and she was in an abusive marriage but she asked me for one of our wristbands and for prayer. I was floored because I personally saw each of those items as something big and as I was reading that email I already had in my mind that she was going to ask for money thinking we did that.
I got her address and sent her a wristband. A few days later she emailed back and said she received the wristband and thanked me. At that moment I knew that I was on the right path with my company and God was truly with me and it.
Where would you like for your company to be at in the next five years?
In the next five years I would like to see Fight…Win…Survive become a household name. I would love to walk down the street and see many people wearing our t-shirts, wearing our wristbands and on posts with people who are experiencing a life situation or circumstance to see #FightWinSurvive to encourage that person. I’ve learned a few years back that the success of this company and ministry is not in money but in impact and I will take impact over money any day.