Sunday Oguntoyinbo is a 2021 $10K Grand Champion Thrive Challenge Winner.

In 2017 I moved to America from Nigeria to build a better future for my two children and to save money. But it was hard because they were in Nigeria with their mother, Shade, and I missed them. I felt heartbroken when I looked at my photo albums. I was an accountant in Nigeria. In America, I was working long hours and I was tired all the time. I’d eat fast food like McDonald’s and I wasn’t taking care of myself. I wanted to lose weight and improve my life.

I got a job at Walmart and learned about the Thrive Challenge at a shareholders’ meeting. 

It was June 2019. I was inspired to join the Thrive Challenge by my best friend, Carl Smith. Carl was a winner and my mentor. Every morning he texted me positive messages like “Sleep well Bro!” “Always smile,” and “Eat well.” We encouraged each other. I stopped eating junk food, lost 15 pounds, and saved money, so I could send more home to my family. Everything I do is for my children. Sadly, Carl passed away last year, but I often think of him and the big impact he had on my life.

When I won the Thrive Challenge, I was super excited and cried tears of joy.

Everyone at work was overjoyed. I spent some of the prize money on legal fees to help me get my citizenship and I am proud to say that I am now a U.S. citizen. I love the Thrive Challenge community — this is my family in America. I’m always posting on Facebook and sharing Microsteps. I have learned so much about resilience from Thrive Global’s CEO Arianna Huffington, who is my biggest inspiration. Her words help me move forward and lift me whenever I’m down.

I’m 45 and have more energy than ever before.

I’m food prepping and cooking; I’ll stir fry shrimp with veggies and make stews and salads. I walk at least 20 thousand steps most days. I also joined the YMCA; I lift weights and run on the treadmill.

I start each day with a grateful heart by praying.

I say, “Good morning” out loud to myself and I say what I’m grateful for: my family, my job, and friends who’ve always stood by me. I just appreciate being alive. 

I’m a greeter at my church, where I volunteer every Sunday. 

I welcome everyone who comes through the door, singing and dancing and getting them to join in. I’m the best dancer in my church! I always smile. When you smile, it makes people’s day, and it’s contagious — they start to smile or laugh. And laughter is healing, whatever you are going through. At home, I relax by listening to gospel music, and I’ll dance by myself! I also read a lot: financial news and the Bible. 

I last saw my kids in 2017, but I talk to them every day.

Family comes first for me. I miss my children so much, but by taking care of myself, I don’t get depressed. I tell them I love them. We video chat and I ask them about their day. They tell me how they are doing at school. They are brilliant and excited about going to school in America eventually. Emmanuel, who is 13, told me: “Dad, I want to be an engineer,” and 10-year-old Rebecca wants to be a doctor. 

Meditating relaxes me.

I breathe deeply when I’m stressed. I also like educating myself on the Thrive app, learning about neuroscience and how the brain works, so I can live a better life. Before, I was doing three jobs, including driving for Lyft. Now, I’m just working for Walmart, so I have more energy and more time for other people.

I’m saving money and sending at least 600 dollars a month back home.

My dream is to bring my family to America so we can start a new life all together. I am saving for a down payment on a house for us all.

I tell people: “I’ve transformed my life, and you can too.”

During the pandemic I’ve noticed people often look depressed and anxious. So I try to cheer them up just by stopping and asking “How are you?” and listening to their stories. I encourage everyone I know to start the Thrive Challenge. My goal: I want a thousand people to join me and download the Thrive app. 

— Sunday Oguntoyinbo, Supercenter #5727; Bradenton, FL; $10,000 Grand Champion Winner

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