Episode 295 Sylvester Jenkins III From Combat to Comeback: Overcoming Adversity Transcript

This transcript is from episode 295 with guest Sylvester Jenkins III.

[00:00:00] Hey everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. Now, today my guest is Sylvester Jenkins, and Sylvester is a retired army First sergeant. He’s an author and a mental health advocate, and today we’re going to be talking about his book From Combat to Comeback, how to Conquer the Battles of Adversity, and How to Avoid Letting Circumstances in Your Life Define You.

So welcome to the show, Sylvester. I’m glad to have you here. Hey Scott. Thanks for having me, man. I am greatly appreciated for this opportunity. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, I, I read your book and got to know a little bit about you, um, through that experience, but I’m really excited to dive in and learn a, a little bit more about your background and how you handled the, uh, ad adversities and other things that has come up throughout your life.

But for the listeners who maybe haven’t read your book or aren’t familiar with you, uh, could you tell us a little bit [00:01:00] about yourself? A little background? Yes, absolutely. So, uh, I’m originally from Columbus, Georgia. Uh, grew up as a fatherless at-risk youth. Uh, I was constantly surrounded by violence and negative influences.

Uh, gangs had became a surro family in my life. And I was quickly on a, uh, a dangerous path. Uh, I failed multiple times in school. I even was on the verge of dropping outta school. And, uh, I found myself struggling to find, uh, acceptance. Security identity and my purpose. And, uh, it wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I realized that I needed to make a change.

Uh, I needed to find a way. I needed to find a way out. And, uh, when I did, I decided to join the military. Uh, but even in the military, you know, you face your fair share of hardships. Uh, I deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan. I suffered, uh, uh, uh, acrimonious divorce after coming home from my third deployment, and it took a toll on me mentally and emotionally.

Uh, but through it all, I never lost sight of my goal. And that was to [00:02:00] find my purpose and come out on the other side stronger than ever. And, uh, but. After the military, uh, I faced another battle. Uh, I think it’s one that I feel many veterans face or deal with in their lives, uh, after transition. And that was the battle of finding myself and I was struggling to adjust a civilian life.

Uh, you know, I was. Diagnosed with PTs D, anxiety and depression. Uh, not only that, but the world had just got hit by Covid. So, you know, you can understand the challenges that we had faced at that time. And I felt lost, alone and disconnected from the world itself. And, uh, I was stressed, depressed, and then dead up to my eyeballs.

Uh, I had just lost my mother the previous year in 2019, and, uh, I was on the verge of losing my current family and my home due to foreclosure and, uh, dur. But, uh, I did, I refused to let it break me. Uh, instead, I used that opportunity as quarantine, uh, as an opportunity to invest in myself and to grow and learn more about me.

And that’s when I realized that my past doesn’t define me and that I was [00:03:00] capable of achieving anything that I set my mind to. And it’s because of this that I, I, I had a choice. I realized that I had a choice, that I could either continue to let the scars of my childhood trauma, the military and covid define me and hold me back.

Or I could use this as a tool. To not only control my life, but it, uh, invest in myself and use my experiences to help others. And that’s what I did. So I turned my pain into my purpose. And this how I came up with the title for my latest book from Comeback to Comeback because you comeback is just not limited to the brave men and women who fight for this country.

We face battles in our everyday lives, mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, socially, and spiritually. So that what brought me to the point that I am today. Such an amazing story too, and I, the struggles that you went through, like from early on in life, uh, you know, growing up in the situation that you grew up in, the gangs all around, and, [00:04:00] um, You know, being in the, the Columbus, Georgia area, I know, I, I, I, I did my basic training at Fort Benning, um, so probably right down the street from, from where you were.

Um, yeah, yeah, yeah. So, you know, having, having grown up in that environment, um, You know, not in the best neighborhood or not in the best, uh, you know, environment, but then taking that and turning everything around and becoming the type of person that you are today. Uh, really to me, I, I thought that was pretty inspirational, pretty inspiring when I, when I read about this in the book.

So we’re gonna cut to a quick commercial break here, and when we return, we’re gonna talk a little bit about the, the book that, uh, Sylvester just mentioned, and we’re gonna talk about, um, how. To not let life’s circumstances define you and to bounce back from different adversities. So stay tuned. The hero company is more than just a brand.

It’s a force of change. As a veteran owned and operated company, they stand shoulder to shoulder with our brave servicemen and women. Their mission is to help provide service dogs for [00:05:00] veterans suffering from P T S D. All at zero cost to them. Every purchase you make from the hero company helps fund this crucial initiative.

They offer a wide range of products including jewelry, apparel, key chains, stickers and decals, dog collars, and everyday carry items. It’s a chance to wear your support and make a tangible difference. To date, the hero company has raised over 1.2 million, but their fight continues. Their goal is to raise 10 million to ensure veterans in need receive the service and companion animals that can change their lives.

By buying from the hero company, you’re not just making a purchase. You’re intentionally being a hero. For our heroes who need our help, now join the mission. Visit this episode show notes or the hero company.co/drive on to shop and support our veterans. Together we can make a heroic impact and honor those who fought for us.

I am here today with retired Army, first Sergeant Sylvester Jenkins, and [00:06:00] we’ve been talking about his, uh, his upbringing, some adversities that he’s faced in his life and his book, uh, from Combat to Comeback. And so Sylvester, in your book from Combat to Comeback, you mentioned your youth, and you mentioned this earlier, uh, in the episode as well, but, uh, you mentioned.

That your youth played a significant role in your life, talking about, um, how these experiences led to things like self-doubt, uh, but ultimately gave you the motivation to become a success later on in your life. Could you go into that a little bit deeper and talk a little bit more about that and how, uh, all of this, uh, took place in your life?

Uh, yes, absolutely. So, uh, as a youth, I, I struggled a whole lot. Uh, like I said, I failed multiple times in school. Grew up without, uh, my father. My mother worked, uh, countless days and nights, uh, just to sacrifice for me and my brothers. Uh, just to give a clear picture of how many times, uh, I failed in school.

I failed the fourth grade, the sixth [00:07:00] grade. The eighth grade, the 10th grade, and the 12th grade, I graduated in summer school. Uh, but in the, in the midst of doing, uh, of all that during my youth, I encountered various obstacles that set me back, that made me question my worth and my abilities. Uh, you know, I faced circumstances that often left me to feel like, uh, unworthy.

Or that uncertain about my future and these experiences, uh, became like, uh, personal struggles that caused me to find myself in a position of just trying to feel limited in my opportunities for personal growth. And I questioned whether I had what it took to overcome a lot of the challenges that I faced in order to achieve my goals.

And, um, I failed the ASVAB four times. Like, when I was trying to join the military and get out, I mean, to get in, I failed the asba four times. I failed it, uh, for the, uh, this, this is, uh, a quick story. I failed it for the Navy. I failed it for, um, I. The Army, I [00:08:00] failed it for the Air Force and the Marines didn’t even gimme a shot.

But then I had went back, I had a, a recruiter who never gave up on me, so he said he was gonna gimme another opportunity. And when that opportunity came about, I didn’t let him down and I made sure I stuck with it. Uh, but. In the process, I realized that I had a strong desire to make something meaningful outta my life just outta that situation.

And that inner drive pushed me to seek more opportunities for my personal growth and development. And over time I realized that my past was only a reference. It wasn’t a residence. I. And I choose to use them as a source of motivation rather than allowing them to limit me dealing with myself and limiting beliefs.

And I begin to view those struggles as valuable lessons that shape my character, my resilience, and my determination to put me in the position of where I am today. You know, I know the kid who you’re describing here, uh, having failed the asvab, uh, four times that you, [00:09:00] you mentioned, uh, when I went through to take the ASVAB myself, uh, I was there, you know, like a lot of people that, there’s a big group of people who are going through at the same time taking the test and, um, going, going through the whole.

Process. Um, and there’s this one kid there and he, I think he was on his either third or fourth time, taking the ASVAB as well. Uh, when, when he was there, and he was so nervous, so incredibly nervous as he was going in, he said, I, I just can’t fail. This is what I want to do with my life. I want to join the military.

I wanna do this. And he’s like, I can’t fail. I can’t do it. And he was so nervous and. He passed and you should have seen the look on this kid’s face. I mean, it’s probably similar to the look on your face after, after you passed. This kid was so ecstatic. He, he, it’s like ear to ear, to ear grin. Uh, he was, he was on top of the world like, like nothing to bring him down at that point.

Now I’m, I’m bringing this up because. You know, not to, you know, change the, [00:10:00] the subject or anything like that, but relating back to what we’re talking about here, about adversities and, and how you let them affect you. Uh, this guy had failed the ASVAB already several times, and he kept pushing, kept trying, got better.

He, you know, did whatever he needed to do to, to get better at it. And, He passed and now he was able to get into the military and follow his dreams of, of joining that, the, the military. Right? And so, you know, had he failed that first time and just gave up, there’s no way he would’ve wound up in the military.

It, it, it would just be impossible at that point. So, you know, looking at this, this kind of story and this situation, you, you, you want to keep pushing and, and keep doing those things to, uh, not let those adversities, uh, no matter what they are, uh, to, to hold you back. Right? Right. Absolutely. Absolutely. So one of the things that you talk about in your book is how the circumstances in your life, and this is a [00:11:00] little bit about what we were just talking about, but the circumstances in your life are not what defined you.

Could you tell us how you came to that conclusion? Like, what was that light bulb moment or that that aha moment when. You came to that conclusion, it’s like, you know what? I can’t let that the past define me. I need to be able to blaze my own path and, and figure out how to improve things going forward.

Yes, absolutely. So, uh, I began to understand that our circumstances did not determine our worth or potential for success. I realized while I couldn’t control the external factors that shaped my circumstances, right, like covid, nobody could control covid, right? Nobody could control everything that transpired within that.

You can’t control the weather. You can’t control a lot of these things, but what I did realize is that I had the power to choose how I respond to ’em, and that’s what a lot of people fail to do when they encounter certain situations. But by taking responsibility for my own actions and mindset, I [00:12:00] understood that I could rise above these circumstances and create a meaningful and fulfilling life behind it.

I recognize that true success is not solely measured. By extreme achievements. Right. But it’s by ex uh, the inner strength, the perseverance, and the impact that we make on others, which in return gave me a sense of liberation. Right? Yeah. It meant that I, I had, uh, I didn’t have to be defined by my challenges that I faced.

Right. Or the limitation that was imposed upon me to create my own path, and that’s what I did. Yeah. And those, those limitations that you, you put on yourself, uh, It, it, it kills me every time. Like, it, it happens to me. It happens to other people that I see and I, you know, my, my kids sometimes they just, that, that voice inside your head just tells you you can’t do it because of whatever.

And it’s like, I. You just want to tell that voice to shut up and like go away. You know? It’s like that thing is such a pain in the ass. You wanna, you just want it to [00:13:00] stop. And, um, but it’s there and, and it’s, it’s a very real thing. And it, it just keeps creeping back into, I. The back of your mind every, every now and again, you know?

Right. That’s what, that’s, that’s the purpose of the book. Right. So, uh, my hope is that by sharing my story, I can inspire others to break free from that limitation of their circumstances and pursue a life of purpose and fulfillment. That’s the purpose behind the book. And it’s a great book too. And like I said, I, I read the book.

I really do encourage the, the listeners of yours to, uh, go out and get a copy of the book. Uh, again, uh, from Combat to Comeback, um, is the name of the book. It, it just has so many interesting lessons and we’re gonna get more into that, uh, you know, later on in this episode as well. Um, but it just has so much.

Just wisdom and, and good advice that’s in there. Um, when you sat [00:14:00] down to write the book, um, I know you want, you wanted to offer this, this hope and encouragement to people, but, uh, what inspired you to, to sit down and actually write it as opposed to, you know, just speaking about it or, you know, getting out there and doing other things.

What was the inspiration behind the book itself? Uh, so it was a process of healing for me. You remember I told you at the beginning how I was trying to, uh, figure out who I was and discover Sylvester Jenkins. And so I started journaling after I started going through behavior health. Uh, and in the process I started learning more about myself, what triggered me, the, uh, the situations that I encountered, all these things that I share within this book.

It was a healing process for me that I learned and in the process, Uh, I learned tools and strategies in order to overcome those bouts. I really dissected everything that transpired within my life in order to give people practical tools and strategies that they can do. Like right now, I. To help them win the battle within, to overcome [00:15:00] those hurdles and those struggles that they might deal with, whether it’s financial, spiritual, emotional, whatever it might be.

We all face these challenges. Everybody is fighting a battle that no one knows about. And if you are an introvert, this is the perfect book for you. I can attest to that because I am, despite the fact that I have a podcast, I’m a total introvert and you know, I talk to people all the time, like the, the way we’re doing right now.

Um, but yeah, I’m, I’m not the. The, the social guy who’s, who’s going out and has, you know, tons of people around him all the time. I’m, I’m usually like to just kind of keep to myself and, um, but yeah, you’re right. I, I think, I think this book is a, a great book for the introverts out there. Um, and, uh, The, the process that you were talking about, the, the healing process that, um, came along with writing this book.

I feel like it’s kind of similar to what I was going through when, when I wrote my book. Um, my book really started off as [00:16:00] just notes that I was just writing down places, things, events, stuff that happened during my deployment to Afghanistan and it just stuff I didn’t wanna forget. I knew years later my, my.

Kids would ask me questions about, you know, what happened, you know, when I was in the war and all that kind of stuff. And, um, right. I, I wanted to give them the real information. So I just, I was just writing it down. I had no intention of writing a book. It was really just so I didn’t forget. Cuz our minds suck as we get older and we start forgetting things.

Right. Um, but, um, But yeah. You know, you just start writing down this information and it’s, it’s funny how it evolves into a book eventually, and Absolutely, you know, it, it’s great. Um, how, how that happens. Um, was it, was it a long process for you writing this book? Uh, it, it took me about two years. About two years.

It took me to write the book. Cause initially I had, this is not my first book, this is my fourth book. So, uh, my, my previous books, I did [00:17:00] two on leaderships and then, uh, one that’s called Winning the Battle Within is on Resilience. And then I dropped this one, uh, which was last year. Almost a year ago, and it was, uh, I think this is the best book outta all of them, just due to the fact that I poured my heart and soul in this.

I was very open, transparent, and vulnerable behind a lot of things that I shared, and I felt in order to connect with the reader to give them an understanding that I’m not somebody that just or got a degree in this, or just somebody that just came outta nowhere and just threw it out there. Like, no, I’ve been through the struggle.

Right. I’ve been in the trenches trying to get out of that hole. You know, I know what it feels like to experience the hardships and pain, the sacrifices, the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into a lot of things that people experience. I’ve been there and done that, and I want to show them that, hey, not only can you go through it, but you can grow through it.

That’s great. And so we’re gonna actually talk, uh, after the break, we’re gonna talk a little bit more about some of the ways that you’ve [00:18:00] found to help fight that, that enemy inside of you and, and. Uh, more about the resiliency side of things. Uh, so we may mention the other book that you, you were just talking about there as well, uh, in, in a little bit after the break.

So stay tuned. Attention Military, veterans, and Families. Are you ready to conquer the civilian job market? Monster Resume Writing Service is here to support your transition. Their team of certified resume writers specializes in helping veterans like you. They’ll create a custom resume. That highlights your military experience, translating it into a language that civilian employers understand.

They understand the unique challenges you face from navigating career shifts to finding the right opportunities. That’s why their experts will tailor your resume to your specific career goals, ensuring that you stand out from the competition. They optimize your resume with keywords to match job postings and past recruiters screening software.

Monster Resume writing service is dedicated to helping you succeed. Visit the link in this episode, show [00:19:00] notes to learn more about how they can help you take the next step in your civilian career.

I want to talk right now, Sylvester, about some of the ways that you found to fight that enemy inside of you. You know, so that, that, that inner voice, that that enemy that just keeps. Keeping it down, the one that we were talking about earlier, the the one that you just wanna tell to shut up and have it to just stop doing what it’s doing.

Right. Uh, how do you, what are some of the ways that you’ve found to fight that, that enemy inside of you? Absolutely. So, uh, I’ve discovered, uh, like over several effective strategies that have helped me on my journey. Uh, you know, I feel like the enemy, uh, deploys a smoke screen, right? And it sends out its special forces like, The self-doubt, the fear, the perfectionism, it sends out these special forces in order to cloud your judgment.

When it comes down to who you really are, it prevents you from taking that leap of faith to step forward into your [00:20:00] greatness. And a lot of things that I realized is that we have to do certain things. That one of the things that helped me was the positive self-talk, right? To fight that I have, you know, a technique that I call think before you speak.

And think is a acronym that stands for, is it True? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? And is it kind? And if it doesn’t feel within that description, whether you’re talking to yourself or you saying thing to yourself, that’s when you gotta truly, you know, take a pause, think before you speak, and then come out with something positive.

I’m astounded. I’m a I’m, I’m, I’m a beast. I’m a monster. You know, you just go in there with the right attitude. And the right mindset. So think before you speak is one of the ways that I’ve, uh, found myself in a position of overcoming those enemies and then also just seeking support. Man, life is not meant to be lived alone.

Let me say that again. Life is not meant to be lived alone. I. You have to surround yourself with a supportive and trusted network. Friends, [00:21:00] family members, mentors, therapists, whatever it is, they are crucial when it comes down to your development and growth. I’ve lost too many brothers and sisters in arms due to them not seeking support, and it always breaks my heart when I hear about those situations of them losing the battle within.

Uh, also practicing self-care. Self-care. Everybody needs to prioritize self-care. The biggest investment that you’ll ever make is in yourself. Let me say that for you one more time. The biggest investment that you’ll ever make is in yourself, so you need to prioritize your self-care and there, and you know, when it comes to that, you know, exercising, meditation, prayer, devotion, adequate amount of sleep, enjoying and engaging in hobbies and activities that you love.

Going out there and being one with nature. This helps you not only mentally but emotionally. You know, when you take the opportunity to care for yourself, it opens doors for you to be able to care more for others. This is how you build strength in order to overcome those battles when you fight [00:22:00] the, uh, the enemy that you fight, that you have within.

And then I always tell people to remember that the enemy has a subtle approach, a very subtle approach. You might not even notice it when it’s happening. But when you employ these strategies that I just told you, this is just a couple of ’em, I have more in my book. Uh, you can overcome, uh, its influence and cultivate a positive and more empowering mindset.

It’s a journey that requires just patience, perseverance, self-compassion, but the reward is worth it. Believe me when I say it, the reward is worth it. A life lived authentically and aligned with your true potential. This is what everybody wants. This is what everybody needs, and this is how you gotta do it.

Oh my God. Yeah, ab absolutely. When you started talking about that, um, you know, especially the, the aspect of having that support of families, uh, friends, uh, neighbors, whoever it is in your life to help you through tough times, uh, having that support is [00:23:00] definitely critical. And yeah, like you said, we have all lost too many brothers or sisters.

To that battle within themselves. And I mean, to me that’s, it’s, it’s such an avoidable thing, like Right. You know, we’re, we’re here, I’m like, I’m here. I’m willing to talk like you have a problem. And if you called me and you’re like, Hey, I got a problem. I need some support, and like, we’re gonna figure it out.

We’re gonna, we’re gonna stay on the phone as long as it needs to in order to figure everything out. Absolutely. You know what I mean? And like, in no way. Do I feel like that would be a burden to me? Like you calling me, it’s not like, oh man, he’s calling me again. You know? Like, no, in no way would that be a burden to me.

Like to me, that’s, that like gives me a sense of purpose and a sense of meaning and, and help helping other people to me is like, It, it, it just makes so much sense because Right. Like [00:24:00] I can’t go through things alone. You can’t go through things alone. Nobody else there can, um, yeah, let’s no go through it together.

And, and if I need something and I, I was to pick up the phone and call, call somebody else, like they, I would, I would hope that they wouldn’t feel that way either. And, and I can’t imagine that anyone would be like, oh my gosh, man, just leave me alone. You know? Like that, that’s, that’s not. But that’s the way we think sometimes, and I think that’s what ends up happening with people who don’t have that close support network.

It, it’s hard to build it and especially in a time of need, it’s hard to, hard to get that foundation built. Right. Yeah, absolutely. I, I almost fought, found myself in that position of losing that battle within, uh, I discussed it in my book. I’m, like I said, I’m very van uh, uh, very vulnerable and transparent within that book.

And I had just came back from, uh, my third deployment to Iraq and I came back home to nothing. I. You know, like, uh, when I left, I was married kid, and then I come back home, the house empty, family [00:25:00] gone bank account drained, car gone. So I’m starting literally all over from scratch and I found myself just on a downhill spiral and I was drinking, smoking.

Uh, you know, I, I tell people all the time that, uh, I was popping perks like Tic Tacs and Paul, my son had became my therapist. And in the midst of going through that man, I felt like. It would be easier for me to just end my life because I felt like I was going through so much. I was in a, uh, in so much of a rut that I just couldn’t get outta, and I didn’t know how to get outta it.

I didn’t want to, uh, share it with my chain of command because, you know, some leaders at that time frowned upon. They felt like it was a sign of weakness. Whenever you shared, uh, what you was experiencing going through, they tell you, Hey, suck it up and drive on. But, You know, when it comes to your soldiers, I always tell people, your soldiers are glass balls and, and, and your missions are rubber balls.

Like, that’s gonna be another mission that comes and you can drop that. You, you can bounce back from that, but your soldiers, you [00:26:00] can’t drop that. That’s a glass ball. You got to hold onto it. It’s precious because the more you invest into it and you hold it tightly, the more they’ll go about above and beyond in order to, you know, make sure they accomplish whatever it is that you want.

You can never drop that glass ball. Never. Never. Absolutely. And it’s interesting to me that, you know, people who maybe seemingly had everything going for them seems like everything’s going well. Like, you know, before your deployment, um, you know, things were probably going, well, maybe they weren’t, you know.

A hundred percent perfect. But they, they were going well enough, probably right before the deployment, and you come back home and all of a sudden everything’s gone and Yes. And it’s like, just hits you out of the blue. Um, oh man. One interesting part about your book that I, I really enjoyed reading, uh, was that you dedicated this, this whole chapter to celebrities who [00:27:00] face setbacks, um, and.

To me the, that was interesting because whenever you see celebrities, doesn’t matter if it’s a movie star or athlete, or singer, whatever, it seems like they got it all. Everything’s just made for them. Right? They’re, they’re seemingly the most successful people out there, but yet they still struggle to get the success that they have achieved.

Um, tell us a little bit about that chapter and how you came about, uh, writing that. Uh, yes. I felt like it was important to recognize that even the most accomplished, uh, celebrity, uh, face various trials and experiences whenever it comes to who they are today, right? They had to overcome, uh, obstacles and journeys, and they show you that, uh, it is not a overnight thing.

It show you that success is not an overnight process. Cause the reality is, is that success is rarely a straight path, right? We face setbacks and essential parts of it, o of the process, and [00:28:00] many o of the individuals that face that, I mean, that are successful, faced a lot of rejection. The hardships before even achieving any of their goals.

I speak about Oprah Winfrey, how she got, uh, fired from a job, or she was abused as a kid, how she had a miscarriage. I talk about, uh, JK Rawlins, how she went through her whole struggles and now she the first billionaire author I talk about Tom Brady. Man, that was, I’m, I’m gonna tell you now, uh, Tom Brady has been, I was, I’m not a Tom Brady fan, all right?

Because I’m a Falcons fan and what happened to us in the Super Bowl, I had grown a, a complete, uh, grudge against Tom Brady. But after hearing his story and knowing where he came from and seeing how much he overcame, I became like a fan. I, I gotta admit it, you know, but overall, I, I, who? Bill Gates, all these people went through some type of hardships, right?

But, uh, by exploring these stories, you know, [00:29:00] of these celebrities, we gained a deeper understanding of the resilience and the determination that were required to overcome these setbacks. And these individuals serve a powerful example that success is not necessarily determined. By the lack of challenges, but how we respond to them, as I said earlier, and these people, is who I feel will give you that, that boost, that say, okay, I might not be where I need to be right now, but if I just keep at it, I can eventually get there.

You know, it might not be overnight. It might be tomorrow, it might be next year, it might be 10 years from now. But either way it goes, as long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I eventually get there. Small steps. Equal great distances. Exactly. And that’s, that’s the Michael Jordan story too.

I mean, you know, one more person there, you know, he didn’t even make his high school basketball team, and yet he became the greatest, one of the greatest basketball players ever to play the game. And it, it’s like if he just quit. At, in, in high school and was like, you know, I’m just not gonna play [00:30:00] anymore.

I, I have no doubt that he would be the greatest, whatever he ended up doing. He might be the greatest lawyer that there ever was, or, you know, he might have been the greatest something, but we wouldn’t have had the greatest basketball player like ever, you know, and, and that, that would’ve just been like such a shame that, that that talent would’ve just gone unused and, and, uh, you know, Wouldn’t be the game, wouldn’t be what, what it became during, you know, in the nineties and everything.

It, it just would’ve been a totally different, uh, situation. So, um, yeah, all these people that you talked about, um, you know, it, it’s the resilience, it’s that determination and, and that not willing to give up on themselves or whatever it is that they’re, they’re going through. Um, that’s the key here. And I, I think that’s, um, what, what people really need to.

Hone in on. Um, we’re gonna take another quick break to pay the bills here. When we return, we’re gonna talk about some strategies that, uh, people can use to, [00:31:00] uh, overcome setbacks and come back from, uh, things like this in their life. So stay tuned. Calling all passionate Patriots. The Patriot Box is a testament to our love for this great nation we call home.

Funded by veterans, they believe in celebrating the values that built America. Courage, imagination, and unrelenting determination. The Patriot box curates hand selected boxes, packed with useful, fun and delightful American made products carefully chosen to honor our forefathers and embody the spirit of our nation.

Join Patriot Box’s community of compatriots and receive your very own patriot box. A treasured chest of proudly American made goods. Delivered right to your doorstep. Each box represents a celebration of American craftsmanship supporting local small businesses that embody the spirit of passionate entrepreneurs across the country.

But it doesn’t stop there. With every Patriot Box purchased, you’re also making a difference. A portion of the proceeds goes to support veteran charities honoring those who have served our country. [00:32:00] Join them in embracing the pride of living in the greatest country on earth. Visit the link in our show notes to learn more and get your own patriot box delivered with pride.

We’ve been talking about overcoming setbacks and adversity in your life. We’ve talked about, uh, some, some things in, uh, sylvester’s life, um, and some. Celebrities and other, other people who have overcome things and gone on to achieve great things. Um, so right now, Sylvester, if you don’t mind, what are some strategies that you might recommend to people who are listening or viewing this, uh, this interview who are looking to overcome, uh, and come back from a setback in their lives?

Mm, absolutely. So, uh, for me, I, uh, I recommend that. Who’s ever listening to watching that you, uh, take an opportunity to set realistic goals and create a [00:33:00] plan? Right? In my book, I speak about something called gps, and that’s goals, purpose, and strategy. See, once we know our goals and we understand our purpose, and we have a strategy in order to achieve them, there’s no reason why we can’t reach our destination.

And one way we can create this is by like breaking them our goals down into smaller actionable steps, right? Set realistic expectations and be patient with ourselves. A lot of times we’re our biggest enemy and we have to be patient with ourselves and and learn that it’s not no overnight process. And then develop a well thought out plan that outlines the action you need to take to move forward.

Right? And by having a clear direction and tangible goals, you can reignite the motivation and provide a sense of purpose for yourself, and then just reframing your mindset. Reframing your mindset is a big one. Developing a growth mindset is a huge one, and uh, a lot of times the problem is not the problem.

Right. It’s our [00:34:00] perception of the problem that is the problem because our perception affects our performance. You know, your thoughts drive your emotions, your emotions drive your behavior, which affects your performance. So you have to shift your perspective and reframe. The setbacks as a learning experience and embrace a growth mindset that views challenges as stepping stones towards success.

Focus on what you can learn from the setbacks and how it can contribute to your personal development. You know, it’s real important to remember that setbacks are temporary. Right. It’s temporary roadblock that can provide value, valuable lessons and opportunities for growth. And by adapting these strategies that I just named, I have more in my book, you can overcome setbacks and make a powerful comeback in your life.

And I want to go back a little bit to something that we talked about earlier when you came back from your deployment and. The house was empty, family was gone, ev [00:35:00] everything was right. Seemed like the bank account was drained. Everything was just falling apart in front of you. Yes. And you know, that is an obvious setback like that.

Like anyone looking at that situation’s like, man, that is a difficult situation. How are you coming back from that? Yes. And you said that you almost slipped into that dark place where, where things were just looking like. All hope was lost, almost. And how did you pull yourself out of that situation? Yes.

So, uh, I, I refrain, I, I literally reframed my mindset. So initially I was thinking that I’ll worth more dead than I was alive. Honestly, I thought that, you know, due to the fact that if I, you know, uh, the sgl, I would go to my family, you know, my, uh, my mother and my son, and they’ll be able to live a prosperous life.

I felt like I wasn’t gonna see my kid again. Um, but in the process, I thought about it. I said, if I kill myself right now, if I, you know, just end it all right now, my [00:36:00] son would grow up the same way I did without his father. Like, how would that impact him? Because it impacted me how I conducted myself in my life.

So I started to think about, you know, who all would be affected by what I did. And I thought about the most important person in my life, which wasn’t my son at that time. And I said, I can’t go out like that. I got to be the man that I need to be so he can be the man that he should be. I got to be the blueprint because I didn’t have the blueprint.

So I want to be the blueprint for my son. And in that moment, I looked around my house and I seen empty beer bottles, liquor bottles, uh, packs of cigarettes all over the place. My house was trashed, right? My house was literally trashed, and in that moment I started cleaning up the house because the way I felt that my house looked is the way I felt on the inside.

So I needed to start right here. So I started cleaning up my house. [00:37:00] And the more I started to like, reframe my thoughts and think more about the positive aspects of what I was dealing with and try to look at the, uh, the lessons that were learned because I wasn’t given no instructions on, uh, what it took to find a wife.

I. I wasn’t given any instructions on like what you should do when you, when you get married. You know, a lot of times we’re not outlined, we’re not given that blueprint as far as what we need to do when we get married, and I didn’t have it. So I thought just being a protector and a provider, you know, I was serving my country, I was across the water, and when it came down, I was paying the bills.

I was doing everything that I felt I needed to do. But then when it came down to that emotional aspect, it’s something that I truly neglected. You know, I, I didn’t, I was always raised that men don’t cry and you can’t do this and you can’t do that. You a pump. You know, I, I think I speak about a moment in that, in my book when I, uh, with my brother, how he was always trying to build me for the streets.

And, um, [00:38:00] but, you know, I grew, I, I put on a mask anywhere I went, I put on a mask. I wanted to, you know, um, be intimidating so people wouldn’t approach me. It was like a defense mechanism. That caused me to really not only do it outside of my home, but in my home as well when it came down to my marriage and we just totally grew apart, but it just affected it.

It went a totally different route than what, how far it should have went. But overall, I know that that was some, some of the process as far as what I did to cause that. And I, uh, I accepted responsibility for that and knew if there was anybody who could get me out of this, it had to be me. Yeah, you, you have to look at yourself because yeah, nobody is gonna just grab you and pull you out.

People will help you if you, if you seek out that support, you have that support network that we were talking about earlier, right? People can help you, but you have to want the help and you have to be seeking that, that out. Um, and [00:39:00] the situation where your house was trashed. Bottles, cigarettes, every, everything, all over the place.

It it, you’re living in a mess. And that’s, that’s how you felt on the inside. Th that’s not uncommon. Uh, when you just kind of give up, like what difference does it make if the house is clean, who cares? You know, you, you kind of have that give up attitude. Um, and it even happens in cities as well, where if there is, uh, you know, if there’s buildings with broken windows and trash all over the place and it’s just, you know, everything is falling apart and.

Nobody is gonna have, uh, a lot of pride in their community because the community, quite frankly, looks like crap. And so they’re, they’re not gonna have the pride in that community. They’re not gonna wanna make sure it stays maintained and stuff because it’s, it’s just gonna be too big of a task for any one pers person, and it’s going to, Just start slipping even further down the wrong direction.

It’s very similar to what you’re talking about with, with your [00:40:00] own home and your own wellbeing. And in this case, it was a task that one person could handle. You could tackle that and you can clean up your house and you can, you know, clean out the garbage in your mind and, and the stuff that you’re putting in your body and everything you can, you can work on that stuff to right.

Improve your environment and improve yourself and, um, You know, ultimately that’s a good first step, I think, to overcome some of these setbacks and, and, uh, yeah, things suck and, and you’re gonna be mad and you’re gonna be upset, and you’re gonna, you’re gonna have those moments in life. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have that opportunity to be sad or upset or angry right from time to time, but if that’s all you ever feel, Then you’re not taking care of yourself and you’re not allowing yourself to experience any of the positive emotions that might be out there as well.

Right? Absolutely. It’s, it is not about, um, disregarding or dismissing the difficult, the difficulties and the [00:41:00] pain that it brings, right? It’s not about doing any of that. It’s about just shifting your mindset to see adversity as a catalyst for personal growth and positive change. Now, When you’re going through that, when you’re in the midst of that storm and things are just, everything looks like it sucks and life is just miserable, everything’s going wrong, it’s really hard to flip that switch and see adversity as an opportunity.

How do you, how do you flip that switch in your mind? Yeah, absolutely. I think, uh, A lot of people, I think one, you, you just have to develop a level of self-awareness. Um, I think two, uh, in the process of developing that self-awareness, because I think, uh, for me, emotional intelligence is real big. It’s one of the biggest things that, uh, has helped me get to the process that I am today because it’s, it is a level of, uh, self mastery.[00:42:00]

Because if you haven’t discovered who you are and really mastered yourself, You got a big road ahead of you, and one of the main things you should do first before you try to go out here and save the world is master yourself first. So that’s what I did to get to the process that I am today. I mastered myself.

I learned what my triggers were. I learned how to have a level of empathy. I learned self-motivation, the self-discipline, the self-awareness. Once I had put all these things together, I said, I know who I am. I know who I truly am, and I know how to master. The things that I do, so if I find myself in a position of where I’m starting to get upset, hot, heated, whatever it might be, I remain the thermostat, not the thermometer.

I control the temperature. Yeah. Control. Yeah, that’s a good way to think about it too. Controlling the temperature. You’re able to dial that down, uh, on, on a thermostat, but on, on a thermometer. You’re just basically passive and you’re just watching it increase, [00:43:00] essentially. Right. Yeah. That’s, that’s what you’re kind of saying, right?

Right. Yeah. You literally have to take control of yourself. You really have to figure out the things that spark, uh, just, you know, be, because it’s real easy to feel defeated. It’s real easy to feel deflated. It’s f um, and, and this is not no, no overnight process. Believe me when I say this, this is not no overnight process.

The person you see now wasn’t like this three years ago. Not at all. I was, hey. I was like, um, I wanted to say, I was like, I was dead on the inside. I was completely dead on the inside, man. I was just at a point where I didn’t have a sense of purpose. I didn’t have no drive, no motivation. I didn’t want to do nothing with my family.

I’m sitting around the house. I’m no longer First Sergeant Jenkins. I feel like I don’t have no purpose, and now all of a sudden I gotta adapt to civilian life. What is that? What is civilian life? And so it was, it was, you know, [00:44:00] a, a journey. But I didn’t sit there and just say, oh, we in Covid, we in quarantine.

I said, no, let me take an opportunity to use this time because we don’t got nowhere to go. We stuck in the house, might as well invested wisely. So I put it in my family and myself, and I took an opportunity to really die deep into who I was. Peel back the onion, find out where a lot of these scars came from, and figure out how to overcome and master those challenges.

So therefore, if I find myself in a position in the future, I can overcome it. Yeah. And I, I like that when, when we all were basically locked down, I mean, the whole world was basically locked down. Nobody was going anywhere. Stores were closed, you know, places were, you just didn’t have any place to go. Um, right it, you’re sitting around and you could sit there.

Wasting away doing nothing. You play video games and you know, yeah. Do TikTok and all this other stuff that adds absolutely no value to your life whatsoever. Or [00:45:00] right. You could do something like you were talking about and go out and try to improve your life. Um, you know, some people. Took online classes and other things like that.

They were, they were trying to improve themselves. And those are the people I think, after the fact. Uh, those are the people who not only bounced back, but they came back stronger because they had a sense of purpose throughout that whole time as opposed to just wasting away. Um, absolutely. We’re gonna cut to a quick commercial break.

Uh, so stay tuned.

This message is from the US Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Note the upcoming August 10th date to apply for PAC Act benefits. The law expands benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and toxics while serving. If you apply before that date. And VA grants, your application VA will likely backdate your benefits to the date of the bill signing August [00:46:00] 10th, 2022.

This means VA will pay you the amount you would have received from August 10th, 2022 to the date we grant your application. If you’re not ready to submit a claim, by then you can submit an intent to file and still receive the same effective date. Learn more at da.gov/pact.

This episode so far, I mean, we have talked about so much and time has flown. Uh, we’ve covered bouncing back from adversities and different setbacks in our lives. And, um, and Sylvester, uh, Jenkins, he’s here talking about his book from Combat to Combat. Um, Sylvester, before we wrap this episode up, is there any other advice or any other, uh, words of wisdom, things like that, that you might want to share with the audience?

Yes, absolutely. I [00:47:00] think everybody was created on purpose for a purpose. One, embrace your journey. Two, celebrate your achievements no matter how small, and learn from the challenges that you encountered throughout that process, and believe in yourself and your abilities. Trust that you have the strength, the resilience and capacity to overcome any obstacles and achieve your goals.

And most of all, take ownership. Be the pilot and not the passenger. Uh, you are not a victim of your circumstances. You are a product of your decision because life is not about voiding the battle, but it’s about facing the head on and emerging victorious, but the choice is yours and. And for anybody who looking for a copy of my book From Combat to Combat, how to Conquer Life Battles of Adversity, it’s out on Amazon, Kendall, audible, Cobo, Google Play, any of those.

And if you looking for somebody to come in and inspire and motivate teach workshops, you can go to my [00:48:00] [email protected] and look me up and find out more about what I do and how I can bring value to your organization. That’s great. And we’ll have links to all of that to where you can get the book, uh, your website, uh, social media links, all that kind of stuff, so, so people can follow you and, and find out more about what you have going on.

Um, and we’ll have all of that in the show notes, and we’ll have that available for the, the listeners up there. Um, but, uh, Sylvester, this has, this conversation to me has just been so impactful, so inspiring, uh, after I, I went through your book. I really, I felt the same way. And so I, I was like, this guy absolutely has to be on this show because I can’t keep this hidden gem to myself.

This has to get out there. This message has to get out there to the people who are, are tuning in, uh, to this show. Um, because so many people just get down on themselves. They, they let these little [00:49:00] setbacks become big setbacks, um, right. Just because of how they handle them and, or, or, Don’t handle them, I guess in some cases, right?

They don’t handle them very well, and it just keeps them set back and that’s not what we want. Uh, we, we want, especially the veterans who are out there, I mean, we, you see all these people, oh, we support the veterans, we support this, we support that. But right then they. They don’t get the support that they need, and they, they let that, that inner voice, that inner demonn just beat them down and they don’t come back and they don’t recover from that.

Yeah. You know, and so having a, a message like this, having a inspiring message from somebody who’s hit almost, you know, pretty much rock bottom and, and gotten to that point in their life and, and came back, I mean, to me that was just, um, Just the inspiration that I think some people out there might need.

So, um, I, I wanna thank you for taking the time to [00:50:00] come on the show, sharing your story, sharing these, um, great words of wisdom that you, you have. Um, but for the listeners, Definitely go check out a copy of this book, uh, from Combat to Comeback. Um, Amazon, all the places that Sylvester mentioned will have those links in the show notes.

Um, check out a copy of the book. Definitely, because I feel like it was written in such a way that like it speaks to you in, in a way that other books that I’ve read, similar topic, um, that they don’t. Quite get the message across quite as well. And so this, this was to me an outstanding book. I highly recommend it.

I definitely encourage people to go out there, even if you’re not the one who is struggling right now, you may be in the future and this is a good book to have in your back pocket. Um, but you may know somebody else in your life too. So, um, Sylvester, thank you again for taking the time to come on in and share your story.

And share your message. Yes, absolutely. Thank you Scott. I greatly appreciate the [00:51:00] opportunity and I wish you much continued success with everything that you’re doing, brother. I, I am truly, uh, proud of everything that you have going on, man. And I just wish you the best of luck, man, and much continued success.

Thanks so much.

Leave a Comment