Nurture yourself. We spend a lot of time taking care of other things and people and not ourselves. If you don’t make “YOU” a priority the mission can’t get accomplished.
I had the pleasure of interviewing TShane Johnson. When TShane Johnson was in his twenties, he died three times after a terrible motorcycle accident by Corona, CA, and then overcame two years of being homeless on the East Coast. Now, TShane is a father, a Marine Corps Veteran, world record holder, Amazon best-selling author, speaker, athlete and so much more.
He has recently completed his fourth Hike Across America tour; carrying a 100-pound backpack, he covered 22 miles each day along the East Coast, stopping to speak at many notable venues. He chatted about leadership, hardships, and told success stories of veterans and first responders. All proceeds benefit the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E program, which is building specially adapted smart homes for our most severely wounded heroes.
The tour was a great success and in October 2019 while on the road, he challenged the world record for fastest one-mile carrying a 100-lb pack. He broke the record and is now training to break the record for the most push ups in 12 hours.
When he is not training, he is hired to motivate and inspire employees at big companies such as RedBull, the U.S. Navy, Hyatt, Best Western Hotel and Resorts, Caesars Entertainment and more.
He recently launched a start up Mortgage Company that originated 14 Million dollars in sales within 90 days. He has just released a new Ebook, Become The Leader You Are Meant To Be, is set to release his third book, Done By 2:30, co-authored by his daughter Charli, this year.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
I was born in Arcadia, Florida, and raised on a ranch in an even smaller town nearby. My childhood was full of amazing experiences, punctuated by moments of terribly demanding chores, the hope and disappointment of hunting wild game for food, and the stark fear for my life when ridding the area of alligators. Mentored by my dad, I came to know hardship and crisis mixed with a fair amount of boyhood joy for life. Who could know what the future might hold? My ultimate calamity came after I joined the U.S. Marine Corps and was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. One bright day, full of the vigor of my twenty years, I headed out on my motorcycle for Corona, California. On the way, I was deliberately crashed into by a car of gang members. I flew off the bike at 45 miles-per-hour and slammed into the corner of a brick wall where I was robbed and left for dead. My wounds included a smashed rib cage, internal injuries to his lungs and other vital organs, and a punctured bicep that was damaged to the point of bleeding out. Although I was in excruciating pain, I cheated the grim reaper by dragging my battered body to a fire station where there was medical help. During the hospital airlift that followed, the emergency medical team did their best to keep me alive, but I lost the ability to breathe, flatlined twice, and was resuscitated twice. A third clinical death came at the hospital, where for a final time, the doctors and nurses brought me back from the brink. Challenged by my dad to choose the pain of continuing rather than giving up, I set out on the road to recovery, where, in the first two weeks, I lost over 50 pounds due to my injuries.
Eventually, reasonably whole again, I left military service — I insist there is no such thing as an ex-Marine — filled with an entrepreneurial spirit that I had first experienced as a lad. In my twenties, I built a successful mortgage business and was enjoying a six-figure income when, in 2008, the market collapsed, and I lost everything but a beat-up old car — a short-term luxury that I lost when the vehicle was badly rear-ended. I was left to walk everywhere, seeking to earn enough money to buy the single meal I would eat each day. Ultimately, I became homeless; a condition that lasted for two years. However, with the same determination that helped me recover from my near-fatal injuries, I got past it. I practiced what was to become the title of my second book, Keep Your Feet Moving.
Today, I am the founder and owner of several successful businesses, and have become a best-selling author and a top-notch motivational speaker. Using the nickname, TShane, in recent years I have dedicated myself to raising money for homeless veterans and calling attention to the devastating rate of veteran suicides. To accomplish this, I founded Hike Across America, the title of my first book, and completed several treks across the United States.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
After I was discharged from the Marine Corps I took a job selling gym memberships at a gym in Largo, Florida. It sucked and I was working 100 hours a week for about 800 dollars a month. I was happy to be working and was receiving a little bit of money from the Marine Corps for time racked up from not taking leave. However, my girlfriend at the time I suggested I get a “real” job so I started faxing out resumes to anyone and everyone hiring (back then you could mass fax your resume to companies). I landed an interview with “Boston Market” and a Mortgage Company. I was super stoked because both offered base salary and an opportunity to grow into management.
First, was the Boston Market interview for a store manager position. I went into the Marine Corps prepared for the interview and nailed it. I remember calling my girlfriend excited that they offered a salary of 24k a year and I would be a manager. “I even get to wear a tie,” I said. She was like, “Yay! And you can pay rent! Haha!” I had the mortgage company interview the next day and almost didn’t go to it but the recruiter called me to ensure I was making the interview. I felt obligated to at least hear them out. When I walked into the office it was a huge call floor of about 20 guys pounding the phones wearing really nice suits. I remember sitting down in the interview thinking there is no way I’m qualified for this type of job. The interview went well. I overcame every possible question and mock sales objections they gave me. I even set a bottle of Windex on the table when the interview started at the end the hiring manager asked me, “What’s the Windex for?” I said, “For my new desk!” (Assume the close) and he said, “You’re Hired!”
During all the banter back and forth I forgot to ask what I was even getting paid. As we were walking around I said how much do I get paid? He called his top rep in the office and he laid his paystub down on the table. The numbers highlighted were so big I thought they were grid coordinates. It showed 60k! I was like, WOW 60k a year? That would change my life. They all laughed and said that was last month. I quietly took a moment, looked around the room and said, “You mean I can sit in the AC, make phone calls and make that kind of money in a month?” They said YES! I don’t even care if it’s illegal at that point I’m IN! LOL! At that point I learned the most valuable business lesson in the world. See, the Military was willing to pay me what “THEY” thought I was worth but this company and “Sales” taught me that they were willing to pay me what “I” thought I was worth.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
TShane Inspires’ number one objective is to aspire to inspire before I expire. I don’t just talk about what I used to do, then apply it. I actually lead from the front and execute to show that it CAN be done. My last speaking tour I ran 1600 miles wearing a 100 pound pack to show people that if I can do that while running three companies and continuing to make time for my daughter, then you can take 1% of your time and make an impact within your life.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
For me, dying three times and meeting God was my influence. See, I have a competitive edge over most people. When you experience death, you get the opportunity to know everything will be okay once we all pass away. So it allows me to take bigger risks or chances that most won’t.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Resilience is not a special trait or gift. It is a quality that resides within us all — an individual’s ability to process and interact positively with their surroundings. A resilient person is prepared to successfully operate in, and respond to, the rigors, demands, and stressors of both business and life. It is your personal duty to be in the best operational condition at all times and to help people in your life achieve that same condition. I believe traits of a resilient person include understanding that pain and failure are the best teachers, drawing strength from God, Family, and Country, focusing on the solution not the problem, and finally no matter how tough it gets to always keep moving and never ever quit.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
ME! I have died three times, been homeless, came from a broken home, no mother, suicides, failures and the list goes on. I am my own best motivator and number one fan. But no matter what life throws at me, I keep moving forward! You break me, beat me, take everything away and I will still keep coming. Like the freaking Series 800 Model 101 Infiltrator Terminator, I just keep going.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us? A time? I get told it all the time!
I have been told you’ll never set a world record, you’ll never build a successful business, you’ll never amount to anything, you name it! When I got in my motorcycle accident after three months in the hospital doctors told me I would never walk or talk again…To date, I have run five times across America, set one world record, and become a nationally known motivational speaker — I said they were WRONG!
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
Yes, in 2008 after the recession I lost my business and was homeless for two years. During this time I ended up building two companies that did over 100 million dollars in sales using the free wifi from Dunkin’ Donuts. Becoming homeless was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
When I was in high school I had to swim from my house to my truck. We lived in a singlewide trailer in the middle of Florida next to the Peace River. Each year the river would flood so much that our front yard would have 10 feet of water in it. Since I was the oldest I would stay with the animals and pack my school clothes in a trash bag. I would carry a pistol in one hand and my trash bag in the other and swim to my truck. I carried the pistol because each morning there would be alligators swimming around and it was the only way I could protect myself just in case. Honestly, after that experience everything else in life is pretty easy!
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
-Find a purpose or WHY! When things get really tough you better be doing it for a reason that you care about or you will quit!
-Embrace the Suck! We purchase pleasure for inability to endure pain. Learn to make pain and adversity your best friend.
-Develop the ability to execute. Most people will just talk about their problems then never do anything. Take massive action to completely dominate the situation .
-Get mad! Anger can be used in a good way. You will get upset, you will fail, it will suck. Get pissed off and do something about it.
-Nurture yourself. We spend a lot of time taking care of other things and people and not ourselves. If you don’t make “YOU” a priority the mission can’t get accomplished.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Bring back Dad, the HERO! I think Dads need to step up and understand they are a very important part of the home life and that nothing, not even work, will be more important than being a dad.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
Arnold Schwarzenegger! Ever since I was a little kid I wanted the opportunity to be a bodybuilder, act in movies, and one day maybe get into politics. He has done all of that!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
On all social media platforms I can be found at @tshanejohnson and www.tshaneinspires.com