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He Was Sentenced to 65 Years In Prison, But the 'Coffee Bean' Message Turned His Life Around How former a former star college QB went from a prisoner to a bestselling author and keynote speaker.

By Jeff Fenster

Key Takeaways

  • Addiction can manifest in various forms and affect anyone.
  • Success is attainable for everyone by following a formula of determination, resilience, and self-belief.
  • Damon West's story highlights the power of mentorship and the transformative impact of a positive influence in one's life.
  • The "coffee bean" message of overcoming adversity and reaching one's full potential resonates with individuals from all walks of life.
  • Taking risks, embracing opportunities, and looking beyond limitations are essential for personal growth and success.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In this episode of The Jeff Fenster Show, host Jeff Fenster sits down with the incredible Damon West to talk about his journey from addiction to redemption.

In a world where addiction and adversity can often lead to despair and hopelessness, West's remarkable journey serves as a beacon of inspiration and redemption. From a promising career as a division one starting quarterback to a life of addiction, homelessness, and a lengthy prison sentence, West's story is a testament to the power of resilience, determination, and the transformative impact of a positive influence.

A lifelong battle with addiction

West's battle with drug addiction began at a young age. After his football career ended, he turned to cocaine to fill the void. Despite achieving success as a stockbroker and even working for congress, his addiction eventually caught up with him, leaving him destitute on the streets of Dallas. Introduced to crystal meth, West quickly spiraled into a life of crime to sustain his addiction, leading to his arrest and a daunting 65-year prison sentence.

A prison mentor turns his life around

In prison, West faced a grim reality. He was warned to join a gang or get tattoos for protection, but an encounter with an older inmate named Mr. Jackson changed the course of his life. Jackson, a wise and influential figure, shared a powerful message with Damon: the strongest man in prison walks alone and does not succumb to the pressures of joining a gang. This encounter sparked a spiritual awakening within Damon, igniting a newfound determination to turn his life around.

Damon emphasizes that addiction can manifest in various forms, affecting individuals from all walks of life. His story serves as a reminder that success is not limited to those with abundant resources or privileged backgrounds. He firmly believes that anyone can achieve success by following a formula of determination, resilience, and self-belief.

During his incarceration, Damon discovered the "coffee bean" message from Mr. Jackson, which says that life is like a pot of warm water that can be transformed by adding coffee beans to it. West learned that adversity can be overcome, and it is essential to tap into one's full potential. Inspired by this philosophy, Damon emerged from prison a changed man, dedicating his life to sharing his story of redemption, grit, and determination.

Influential speaker and writer

Damon's message has resonated with millions, impacting organizations such as Walmart, AIG, Chick-fil-A, and even the US Army. His best-selling book, "The Locker Room," is set to become a film, and his children's book, "The Coffee Bean for Kids," has sparked Coffee Bean Clubs in schools nationwide.

Damon's journey also sheds light on the flaws within the criminal justice system. He shares insights on the five variables that can determine whether someone might have a negative interaction with the system, highlighting the need for reform and compassion.

Furthermore, Damon warns against the corrosive power of hate, emphasizing that in prison, inmates are segregated by race, and the inmates themselves run the asylum. His experiences serve as a reminder of the importance of unity and understanding in our society.

Damon's story serves as a powerful reminder to look beyond our limitations and focus on the potential of each day. He honors Mr. Jackson by establishing a scholarship in his name, recognizing the profound impact of mentorship and positive influences.

Damon West's journey of redemption is a testament to the human spirit's resilience and the transformative power of second chances. His story inspires individuals to overcome adversity, embrace opportunities, and strive for personal growth and success. By taking risks and being present in the room, we open ourselves up to unforeseen possibilities that can shape our lives for the better.

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About The Jeff Fenster Show

Serial entrepreneur Jeff Fenster embarks on an extraordinary journey every week, delving into the stories of exceptional individuals who have defied the norms and blazed their own trails to achieve extraordinary success.

Jeff Fenster

Founder, Everbowl

Jeff Fenster is an award winning entrepreneur, best selling author, podcast host and expert in relationship capital.

His entrepreneurial success is vast - ranging from a quick serve restaurant chain, payroll and HR company, digital marketing agency and a construction company. But no matter what venture Jeff pursues, he lives by the principle of putting people first.

He was named a Empact100 Showcase Top 100 Entrepreneur in 2013, 2019's Top 40 Executive Under 40 by the San Diego Business Journal, and a Top Entrepreneur to Watch for 2020 by Thrive Global.

Jeff’s acclaimed podcast, The Jeff Fenster Show, features successful entrepreneurs, celebrities and athletes sharing their insights and stories of success. Today, Jeff speaks around the country on entrepreneurial mindset, authentic networking and vertical integration.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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