The contemporary professional landscape is optimized for specialization. The typical American career is intended to be structured as a continuous line moving up a hierarchical ladder within your field, starting at the bottom and settling either at the top or somewhere close enough that you’re satisfied. Doing different things along the way is typically discouraged. Actors who branch into songwriting or vice versa are typically panned for overextending their reach. Academia and the sciences especially have advanced so far that becoming an expert in multiple branches would seem to require multiple lifetimes at this point.
The term we use for people with multiple specialties is Renaissance Man, pointing back to people like Leonardo da Vinci who mastered multiple fields and was able to use his expertise in each to inform the others and allowed him to advance them by using insights that couldn’t be generated if he lived exclusively in one field. While Derrick Worsley might not consider himself a Renaissance Man, he has certainly participated in a variety of fields over the course of his career and, perhaps more importantly, he has taken things he has learned from each to influence the others, leading to a rich confluence of activity that has enhanced his life.
Derrick Worsley grew up with a father in the Army, which acclimated him somewhat to the military lifestyle as a child. However, it was never consciously engrained that he would follow in his father’s footsteps, nor did he have an understanding of the sacrifices involved in participating in the military. When his attempts at college proved unfruitful, he found that he felt a calling to join in his father’s legacy and so enlisted in the army.
While in the army, Worsley served tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other foreign countries. It was there that he had to adapt to a variety of cultures. Worsley describes his Army experience as making him “whole” in a way that made him more mature, grounded, and responsible. It was in fact his leaders within the Army that inspired him to continue his education to what eventually constituted a Masters degree. That education was applied to entrepreneurship, which took the form of an online company, DCdiscountOutlet.com, an LLC.
Many know Worsley as an actor. While he didn’t originally seek out the career, there was evidence in his youth that it could serve as his calling. When he was 5 years old he would imitate Michael Jackson’s dance moves for adults in exchange for candy and he formed a dance team with his brother called Awesome Two’s which won talent shows on a yearly basis. An opportunity presented itself later in his life to act or model and he realized that he was both interested and prepared. Not long after submitting his portfolio, he was offered a variety of roles for TV, commercials, and film. A few of those he went on to do include serving as the host of DIY Network’s “I Want That” and a recurring role on ABC’s “Nashville.” Tyler Perry’s studio brought him in for “The Have and Havenots” and he’s also done a variety of commercial work with many other projects in the pipeline. Currently, he’s working on Plus Size Diva’s the Musical and Movie where he plays arrogant businessman George Lamiry.
One of the reasons Worsley remains open to so many career paths, whether that’s acting, modeling, motivational speaking, or entrepreneurship, comes from his military experience. Having been the person who comes in to aid or rescue, or to have formulated the solutions that others used to assist people, has humbled him in a way toward certainties on life. “At the end of the day what that has taught me is to never get too comfortable because anything life threatening or life changing could happen at anytime and I have a new impression on how to cope and deal with it by witnessing the strengths of others.”
When asked to describe his career overall, Worsley uses the word “blessed.” His appreciation of the opportunities he’s had in life have made him especially conscious of what he has and has made him determined not to waste them. He not only wants to do this for himself, but in order to inspire those in other circumstances. “For those of you who feel like your stuck in a rut, I'm a living testimony that the impossible is possible, seek a higher being and push through.” Succeeding in any field requires a certain degree of inner strength, and that which got Worsley through multiple careers can only have required dedication beyond what is normally expected. His consciousness over what to do with the opportunities presented in his life have prepared him to handle these responsibilities and one can only imagine they will serve him well in the days to come.