The Mindset That Allowed Me To Always Push ForwardLet’s rewind to July of 2006 - It was my summer year in High School just a month before my 17th birthday and I had just found out that I would have to redo my entire junior year because I transferred schools a few months prior. The school system I was apart of at Sparkman High School was a 4 period, Block Schedule, and I transferred into a traditional 7 period block system. Discouraged and disappointed in this setback I was able to talk my parents into letting my get emancipated to join the military.
There honestly wasn’t a lot of pleading with them to let me join for a number of reasons; Being stubborn since I could say my first sentence at 2 years old “I’ll do it myself” to having a long lineage of military history within my family, it was a pretty easy sell. I officially dropped out of High School and received my GED so that I could meet the requirements to enlist in the United States Army. September 26, 2006 I enlisted into the Army as a Military Police Officer and received a “Ship Date” to go to Basic Training and AIT (Advanced Individual Training) in Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Standing Proud at 6 foot - 2 inches and only 155 pounds soaking wet teenager from Alabama, I was determined to rise through the ranks of the military and give it my all. 6 years later I was promoted to Staff Sergeant (E6) after volunteering to deploy with different units overseas.From Egypt in support of Operation Brightstar, to Basrah, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freemdom with over 100+ combat missions ranging from EOD escorts, Prisoner Transfers from Baghdad to Basrah, to our primary mission which was training the Iraqi Police Force. On my last tour of duty in the Paktika, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, my life nearly ended and a new chapter began.On a Thursday Evening, May 3rd, 2012, I was working out our FOB Boris gym when the IDF Alarm Siren started going off alerting the base of an incoming enemy rocket, mortar, or artillery round was approaching out base. I can still hear the alarm siren and computer generated voice blaring “Incoming, Incoming, Incoming” a few seconds after the alarm went off a 107-mm rocket impacted about three and a half feet from me.The impact of the blast sent me flying to the ground, and the only reason I know that was when I regained consciousness after realizing I was hit and hurting. At the time of the incident there was 3 other soldiers in this small gym no larger than a double wide trailer, and I started yelling for help... but nobody was there. It was pitch black in this desolate room with nothing but dust and debris filling my lungs making it hard to breathe. I continued yelling out for a Medic, but nobody came...
Seven minutes felt like eternity, shell shocked and startled I tried to stand up couldn’t. I could feel my right leg throbbing and I honestly didn’t know if I still had a leg or not in that moment. Finally the medics came in, and pulled me from the burning building and started addressing the wounds. After they realized the severity of the injury the base commander called in for a 9 Line Medevac.
Just like you would imagine in a movie, 2 Black Hawk helicopters fly in and pick me up and flew me to a nearby base called FOB OE (Oregon East) which was a little bigger than the base that I was on with less than 100 Americans. While assessing my injuries I sustained shrapnel that went all the way through my right leg, which led me to six months of physical therapy just so I could walk and move normally again. Shrapnel burns from the enemy rocket which left metal debris burning my skin. Treated for TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and permanent nerve damage in my back L1 - L3 which resulted in a lumbar block fusion surgery.After nearly 7 years serving in the Military I was honorably discharged in March of 2013. A few months leading up to that I started working out again despite that the gym nearly killed me, I later would come to realize that this setback was a massive setup for my future.
I started a Facebook Fan Page on December 29, 2012 and within the first few months I had accumulated over 500,000 Followers. I had no clue what I was doing honestly, but I just kept engaging and creating content before “Influencers” was really a thing....
The timing was impeccable for social growth due to your organic reach being displayed to everyone that followed your page.6 months after being Honorably Discharged from the Military I began to rapidly receive International attention and landed my first ever Fitness Magazine Cover -
Pain Will Not Win, When Your Will Power To Succeed Takes Full Control.
In conclusion, the near-death rocket explosion is only a small chapter of my life, but it’s something I don’t dwell on. I focus on what’s ahead by setting high standards and goals that are unattainable for most people to perceive.
For example, with L1-L3 nerve damage in my back I couldn’t work out exactly like I used to due to not being able to have heavy compression on my back so I had to pivot my workouts, and set out to be in the best shape of my life and challenge myself to be a better physically, mentally.Inspired by Greg Plitt, a former Army Ranger, and Fitness Cover Model.
“Every action has a purpose. When every action has a purpose every action has a result.” – Greg Plitt
Greg Plitt, we miss you dearly and continue to be inspired by your legendary wisdom. Rest in Peace. Great things can happen if you have the mindset of letting your setbacks become learning experiences and use that as a catalyst for setting up your future -- Colin Wayne