March 28, 2023

Lester Young Path to Redemption

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We got a special treat for you. I got to interview Lester Young on the OG Spotlight Livestream and his story moved me so I felt the need to share the conversation here. Lester's story is one of perseverance after spending 20 years in prison he is now walking in service to others.
Taking the lessons he learned and paying it forward.

Path 2 Redemption Website:

Connect with Lester on LinkedIn:

OG Spotlight Playlist:

Backstage Pass Playlist:

Emotional Bungee Jumpers:

Lean & Love Audio Book:


I served 22 years in five months in prison. I was given a life sentence at the age of 19 years old, and I served that time in prison and that's where my life changed in a lot of ways. And on this, I remember sitting in prison I practiced envisioning myself in different parts of the. Because prior to prison, I never left my community. I stayed in South Carolina never went outside of that state. So while in prison, part of me helping me cope and press through all of the challenges I was facing with a 3% chance of ever being free I had to find someplace where I found peace, not in my cell, but I had to close my eyes. So I used to envision myself being in Africa in Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem Egypt and these places that had so much rich history that I had a part of. Of five years I've been home now until of eight. And a couple years ago I got a pardon which allowed me now to travel internationally. My first trip was to go to Ghana to reconnect with the history of my ancestors to be able to understand who I am, who I was, and where I come from as I move through this process and what I call my personal commitment to self is healing. So I can model the way of what healing looks like for another black man in this country who have lived in poverty and participating activities, who are descendants of slaves. How do we live in a manner that is healing so that we can show others how that looks that my friends is Mr. Lester Young with Path two Redemption. I'm cheating here a little bit because I got to interview him on the OG spotlight, so there's a little bit of crossover going on, but man, I got fired up. He's got an amazing message of redemption. perseverance and just personal growth beyond belief, and I'm sharing this with the LnM Family because. , I believe it can spark some hope. Hope for people that are still entrenched and tied up with the chains that are keeping them from becoming the promise they're intended to be. Mr. Lester's young story is amazing and the way he walks in service is inspiring. So hopefully it'll light a fire in you to to take some action or to keep doing the amazing things that you're doing for your people and for your. Mr. Lester Young is a published author. That gentleman has put out multiple books, multiple works and resources for people to access and get going on their. , you know, it's kind of awesome to see amazing people putting stuff out there. and by the way, we have the lean and love audiobook that's now available. find the link down there in the duly dues. We always wanna recognize our patrons who have been behind us supporting the effort. Anybody out there that is bringing something new into the. You know how valuable it is and meaningful it is to be supported by folks and so patrons, y'all, appreciate you very, very much. time for the shout out. I wanna show some love to Mr. Tatz. If you haven't seen tat. He's everywhere. He's on the YouTube, he's on the TikTok, on the Instagram, on the LinkedIn. He's got beautiful content, uh, like really meaningful content for entrepreneurs. And the way he delivers it just makes it so like digestible. Just makes me want more. Okay. I'm probably making TA's blush right now, so I just want to share the comment that he went out of his way to share about an experience that we shared. So Tat says, I just participated in the inaugural emotional Bungee Jumpers community group with other professionals in the construction industry. I honestly did not know what to. I just saw that Jesse was cooking up something and was curious to see what it was. Thank you for trusting me, brother. I have to say it was a lot of fun as advertised. It worked on listening skills, question asking feedback skills, and above all, improving vulnerability and building trust cuz that's what it's all about. Boom, boom. I was impressed that you could improve those things while on a video call. So if those things are are on your list to improve this year, then check it out. I can definitely see the value in the group. Tatz. Thank you. And yes, folks, emotional Bungee jumpers. It's a community of industry leaders working to build these powerful skills. You're invited to sign up. I will leave a link down there also so you can check it out and maybe somebody you know might be interested in it or benefit from it more importantly. So that's enough. Here we go. Under Mr. Lester Young. Ooh, we're live baby. What is going on? People? All you folks out there in the Omniverse? I'm here with my friend Mr. Lester. Well, I don't know. Is it am? Am I crossing a, crossing a line Lester, by calling you friends so early in the relationship. Let's call it Tim. Four. So here we are with the OG Spotlight folks. If y'all are out. Facebook land, LinkedIn land, YouTube land. Uh, Twitterland, leave us a comment because we don't really know if you're there or not. If you don't, leave us a comment. Let us know where you're at. Uh, tell us what you're up to. If you're snacking on lunch, if you're playing hooky, whatever it is, we just love to know that you're there so we can show you guys some love. And I'm here with Mr. Lester Young, with Path to Redemption. Mr. Lester, how are you my friend? Man, I'm blessed. I am extremely blessed, man. I can't complain. I appreciate you asking, man. Hope you do. Yeah. Yeah. So I was, I was stalking you a little bit on the socials. Uh, you and I connected via LinkedIn to folks. If you're on LinkedIn, hit him up. Lester Young, he's making big, big imprint on the world with a path to redemption. Mm-hmm. and, and I know there's a story behind. And we're gonna get, get into that. I wanna learn more about it and I want the audience to learn more about it. Mm-hmm. , uh, but folks, y'all already know the deal. The OG Spotlight is about highlighting OGs, people that are out there, uh, sacrificing their time, making an investment in the community to leave this world better than they found it. And Mester is absolutely one of those people. And so, Lester, I seem like you were on a major. Not too long ago, like across the country. I mean, international trip. Yeah. What, what, how was that experience? Uh, my first time, you know, um, uh, first I'll just tell, tell you your audience blessings to you all. Um, and again, thank you for giving me this opportunity to be on your platform and hopefully, uh, what we shared today's meaningful, uh, inspiring and motivating for the audiences. Also listening now in case to re. Um, as you know, uh, Jesus, I, I served 22 years in five months in prison. I was given a life sentence at the age of 19 years old, and I served that time in prison and that's where my life, uh, changed in a lot of ways. And on this, I remember sitting in prison, I always practiced this thing. There's not this thing, but I practiced envisioning myself in different parts of the. . Um, because prior to prison, I never left my community. I stayed in South Carolina, Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. I never went outside of that state. Right? So while in prison, part of me helping me cope and, and, and press through all of the challenges I was facing, um, in a prison with a 3% chance of ever being free, I had to. Find someplace where I found peace, not in my cell, but I had to like close my eyes. So I used to envision myself being in Africa, uh, in Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, these places that, and Egypt and these places that had so much rich history that I had a part of. Right? So, um, of five years I've been home now until of eight. And a couple years ago, I got my passport. Well, I got a pardon, which allowed me now to travel internationally. So I, my first trip was to go to Ghana to reconnect with the history of my ancestors in Ghana and to be able to understand. Who I am, who I was, and where I come from as I move through this process and what I call my personal commitment to self is healing. So I can model the way of what healing looks like for another black man in this country who have lived in poverty and participating activities, who are descendants of slaves. How do we live in a manner that is healing so that we can show others how that, how that looks. So that's what that trip in Ghana was about a two week trip, which was a phenomenal trip for me. Yeah. Yeah. So, okay. So you, you were, you were locked up. Mm-hmm. and the way mentally, you just decided to set your mindset to envision yourself traveling the world. Yeah. Yeah. Was that just an idea you came up with, like, oh, by yourself? Or did somebody recommend that? How'd you get to that? I got you that through reading, you know, um, there were, there were several individuals inside of the prison. Um, some of those who were actually incarcerated with me, excuse me, and then some prison chaplains. They were people who pushed me. I went to prison reading at a seventh grade level of education. Hmm. . Um, so I had no desire to read or anything, but here I was sitting in prison all of this time. Like I, like I said, I mentioned I had a 3% chance of, of ever being free, 90% chance that I would die in prison, but someone told me to bet on myself. and that betting on myself, meaning that I had to change the way I think. Yeah. And understanding and my mindset was the reason why I was in prison. It was not, it was my mindset led to behavior choices led to the decisions. Here. I was sitting in prison, so I had to reimburse, I had to reverse that. I had to stop focusing on changing my mind. And one of the books that really, um, Change that for me was James Allen as a man thinking so is he. And then the book, Napoleon Hill Thinking To Grow Rich, a lot of these books that really opened the window for me to see the world through the lens of not trauma, pain, and incarceration, but see through a lens of a person who has literally been changed their mind and they could be able to experience true freedom. So I always tell people that before the South Carolina Parole Board granted me a parole, after 22 years and five months, I was already. And that freedom came through reading books and being able to envision myself closing my eyes and envision myself in a place that gave me a sense of solace, um, to allow me to press through the years of in incarceration. Oh man. It's beautiful. So we got some people coming in. I wanna highlight them and then I got like a real question for you, like the selfish question cuz it's just all about me. Right? We got Ms. Christine Fuentes is coming in from YouTube land. She says, Hey, Jesse and Le. Looking forward to hearing your story, man. She's awesome. Thank you, Christine, for, she's always super supportive. Mm. . Then we got Mr. Joseph Gonzalez coming in from LinkedIn, says, bringing the boom . Yeah. Like, have you seen any of his content follow up? I'm gonna follow as soon as we get off. Yeah, man, you gotta hit him up. He posts videos and it's always like, bam, bringing the boom. He says, one can be locked up physically, but it's our choice to lock ourselves up mentally. Yeah. The mind is powerful. What do you think about that? I, I'm a testament of that. For 22 years I sat in a physical cell. You know, my first three years I was in two prisons. I was in a mental prison. I was in a spiritual prison. I was in a physical prison. But when I started making these shifts in my thought process and, and taking ownership for the decisions, and taking ownership for what I think and, and what allow, what I allowed to come into my mind, I was able to break free of. Physical prison. I mean, my mental prison, which I found true freedom, even though I walked in those halls every day for 22 years of incarceration, I still found a sense, a different sense of peace, which has now brought me to this point in my life now, eight years outta prison. I found freedom before I was actually free. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. , yes. Mindset ownership, 100%. Mm-hmm. , that whole ownership thing for me when I kind of, when I, not kind of, when it slapped me in the face and helped me realize I was reading the book, uh, man Search for Meaning. Mm-hmm. , uh, by Victor Frankl And there's a sentence in there who says, There's a space between stimulus and response. Mm-hmm. , and within that space lies our power to choose. Oh yeah. Yeah. And I'm telling you, I read that sentence and I went from being a victim and everybody was against me and I got bad luck and all of this. wa wa wa to like, oh, wait a minute. A lot of this is my fault. Like, I could change this thing if I take ownership of the thing. Um, so that, that selfish. for a felon like me that wants to get his visa that just recently got off paper. What are like the first two steps I should take? You said for a person who has gotten off a paper, like go and apply for it. Like, you know, like it was not hard. Go to your, I went to my local post office and went online first and filled out the paperwork for my passport and, um, being that I was no longer on parole and probation. And didn't have no fines or fees that allowed me to go in and pay, I think it was like less than $200 or something like that. I was able to get my passport, and once I got my passport, it was now execution. I, I can visit the places that I always dreamed about visiting while I was in prison. So Ghana was my first trip. I'm hoping to go to, um, Mecca and then I'm going to Jerusalem. Then I'm going to Egypt, uh, in, in the next couple, couple years. My first, while I'm going to hopefully Macau, Jerusalem. August of this year, that's gonna be my number one, uh, that's go hang out at the Jordan River . Oh, man. That, that's, that's beautiful, man. Yeah. Yeah. So, so Sister Jordan Roberts says that is such a powerful line that she's probably talking about life is a choice or the stimulus. or a space between stimulus and response. Thank you, Jordan. Glad for Thank you for the support. Mm-hmm. . Um, and so you talked about, you know, you were in there, took you a couple years for you to take ownership and, and mm-hmm. and get your mindset right. You envisioned yourself traveling the world. Yeah. How, how did you make the leap from. That to launch in path to redemption. And what is path to redemption? What's, what's the purpose there? Path to redemption. Uh, uh, you know, uh, I, being that I went to prison, I went to prison for a murder, I ended up shooting someone over a drug dispute when I was 19 years old. Unfortunate person transitioned. They died. . Um, and then in prison, my first couple years I was in complete denial. Uh, no one to take ownership. Very callous. Um, very insensitive to the actions, but I was, because I come from a family of people who have faith and my father like really? For those three years, he was always coming teaching me about God and encouraging me to fast and pray. So I started doing that and, you know, uh, one night I remember, uh, Jesus is that I was, I was laying in the bed one night, man, and it came to a point where it's almost like I couldn't sleep and God like woke me up. Like, and I had, and I was like asking God for years to forgive me. And God was like, I, I have forgiven you. But you have to ask the person you have, have harmed to forgive. And you have to take ownership for that. And you have to take ownership. Like don't just surface, like you gotta really take that. So I remember waking up crying one night in my prison cell and I had a cellmate, a roommate, and I didn't want it to really express that emotional side of me, but it was like, it was so overwhelming for me that I got up out of the bed and I went to the door and it was inside of my cell. It was a small little door. I went and I laid, I kneeled down in a fetus position and I started crying and. And I remember asking God again, forgive me, and it was just like this voice came over and said, I've forgiven you, but you have to ask a person, you have harmed to forgive you. . And for years I wanted to erase that part of that memory. But it was in that part of that. I now had to acknowledge this person. I had to call his name. I had to own, take ownership for that. And I remember saying to him, Gary, would you forgive me? His name is Gary. And I asked, and I said, Gary, would you please forgive me? You allow me to, to do something with my life. I'll promise you in this, in this forgiveness, I would, I would honor your life by doing the right. And this is where path the redemption came. Path the redemption came as a, a, a vision I felt from God, and also a means of Gary releasing me and allowing me to live a life of redemption. And it's not being, living with that guilt and unforgiveness, I felt like Gary's spirit forgave me and allowed me to move on in a different way. So part of that promise to Gary and to God while in prison, even after prison, I will honor. God's promise, but I'll also honor Gary's life by doing the right thing. So path the redemption was created to show men and women who are incarcerated that your only path to redemption. There's several things that you have to do and one of those things that you have to do, you have to take ownership is no victimization Mindset here is about taking complete ownership, understanding the power of forgiveness, which power forgiveness brings about true transformation, but you have to move forward in that. Mm mm mm Okay. I got, we got hashtag ownership up on the screen because like, that seems to be the basis of, of mm-hmm. of the freedom of your mind and, and the freedom for you to contribute your gifts and talents into the world. Yeah. It's easy to blame people, right? It's, it was easy for me sitting in prison to blame. it was easy for me to try my best to, to blame everyone for the reason why I was in prison. But the reality was, is I was guilty. I was in a place selling drugs, and I pulled the trigger, and unfortunately someone died. I blamed, and this is crazy. It was easier to blame the victim because I was like, they came to rob me for drugs. So it, it was justifiable, but it wasn't justifiable. I was dead. and once I was able to break away and take that ownership, that changed my life. And to this day, I tell people to this day in this power of ownership. I not only have God that's forgiven me, and I feel that Gary has, forgive me, but some of his family members, his brothers, his father, his sisters have forgiven me in this process as well, right? So by me taking this ownership, it opened up a completely different world to me of forgiveness. Not only asking God to forgive me, but also receiving forgiveness from those who I harm. years ago when I was a teenage boy. Mm-hmm. , I now understand the power of someone forgiving me for something that I did selfishly harm someone that they love and they have the strength to say, I forgive you and I want to see you do well. That to me, is power, but it only came as a result of ownership. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Okay. So heard a bunch about forgiveness from others, from those that we've harmed and impacted. Mm-hmm. . , how about forgiveness from yourself? Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, because I mean, I'm not making a plug for my book, but I am. Come on. Uh, I wrote this book called The Five Stage of Incarceration, and it's really a highlight of my 22 years of incarceration, and one of those stages is forgiveness. And there's full stages in this book that I mentioned, forgiveness from. God Forgiving self forgiving others who harm you and seeking forgiveness from those you have harmed. But the hardest one for me was forgiving self. Ooh. I had to go back. I had to go back to the younger version of me because I shared a story with you. My mother died when I was 16, when my mother died. We, she died the night before. Uh, we had an argument the night that night, and she died the next. . So as a 16 year old person who felt like his mother died mad at him, I carried that guilt from 16 all the way to 25, 26 years old. While I'm sitting in prison serving life, I'm still struggling with this, and I had to realize going back again to ownership, I had to now be able to forgive me and so. Follow me. So the 26 year old me at that time could go back to the 16 year old Lester to help him process killed. Because we all have a period in our lives where we are stuck at something that was traumatizing or hurtful to us. We are hurt when we gotta go back. So that forgiving self was me forgiving my 16 year old self for the harm that I caused. , right, so that I can be able to live more freer as an adult male, you know what I'm saying? Moving through life now because I've learned to forgive me. I was able to get in this mirror and look at myself and say, I forgive you Lester. I love you, Lester. I'm I, you know, all of these affirmations I was able to give through this, this beautiful gift that God has given all of us. Self-forgiveness, forgiveness from him, forgiveness from others, and to be able to forgive those who have harmed you. Mm mm mm. All right, folks, if you're watching this on the replay, Pause and rewind that Cause man, that's powerful Lester. Yeah. So, so is this your first book, your last book? Where you at on this publish show? No, I'm on my fourth book right now. And yeah, I'm on my fourth book. And it's like the, the beauty of it is I'm, I'm only sharing what I know it is. I share and teach what I know and what I've survived. I survived 22 years of incarceration. Yeah. I, I, under, I survive the, the hellish prison of guilt. , I teach that, I teach mindset. So in all of my books that I've written is about the things that I have went through in order to get out of it. So like one of my books called How Did I Transform, uh, five Stages of Growth is how did I transform my life while serving life? And how did I transfer my life while serving life? Is that the first stage of that is healing from my past? See, a lot of us can't really grow into the people that we are destined to be because we're still living in that, that cage of past pain. And in that cage of past pain, we have not found our voice. So in order for growth to come about, you have to heal and through healing, you found your voice. So right now, you and I on this, on this call today is because I healed. and the second stage of that growth was now I found my voice. And that voice now leads to my mindset, now leads to my purpose, now leads to my gift. You know what I mean? So we have, those are the stages in how I transform my life while serving life, that now in this pain I've healed. I found my authentic voice, and now because of that, I have a purpose and I wanna leave this world in a different way. I wanna know that when I walk away from this life here, I have left my finger. on someone else's life that I've made an impact on that life. Oh man. Yes. Yes. That, that is what I'm talking about. So, Jordan, you're getting people fired up Lester, she said. I agree. Forgiving yourself mm-hmm. Is one of the hardest parts, even after you have absolution from others. Um, it is, you know, I've, I too have struggled with that. I've dealt with, uh, addiction for a long time. , every arrest I have is, is directly connected to my consumption of alcohol. Mm-hmm. . And I'm grateful for the grace I've received because I didn't get caught for everything I did. Right. Like , uh, but I had to come to a point. or I got outside of my, like to forgive myself. Mm-hmm. , uh, so that I could, like you said, find my voice, be the, the most authentic me I'm prepared to be right now at this moment. Uh, but I had to get that, that little voice right here on this shoulder that kept saying Uhuh, don't forget. Remember, remember when you did that? Remember when you were doing dirt? Like letting that go, um, was the most difficult thing for me. Yeah. So you've got several books, five books out. I bet you got a bunch more coming. Yeah, absolutely. But that's not the only way you're serving the community and helping people, is it? No, it isn't. Um, going back again to I teach what I know. I teach what I survive. I've teach what has allowed me to be demanded I am today. So I do coaching, I do coaching for those who are formally incarcerated, those who are walking out of prison and wanting to start life over again, but don't know. And, and, and, and because of that, they find themselves going back and forth to prison and recidivism, re rec, re uh, going back to prison in a form of rec recidivism, right? So my goal is to use my expertise as a person who walked outta prison eight years ago, have received a full part by the state of South Carolina, who have become a author, who have become a business owner, who has started several businesses, um, who was the homeowner, you know, an investor and all that stuff. I want to be able to teach other individuals how to turn. To really understand what Second chance means and, and why I am doing this is because walking outta prison, I realized that there were not enough me in the world, meaning that there were not a lot of people with lived experiences to be able to help someone else. Most of the people I talked to and I shared ideas with them that I was seeking assistance from. There were people who may have had book knowledge but didn't really have a true understanding of. And be couldn't. And because of that, they wasn't able to empathize or understand the challenges I face. So in this, I do professional coaching with individuals, group coaching and individual coaching. I also do second chance hiring, uh, understanding diversity and inclusion. Helping organizations understand the value of why it's so important to hire someone with a felony conviction, not only when you hire them, but what are some of the things that your organization can do. And that is through providing. Uh, life coaching for these individuals. Financial literacy, helping them develop a budget, how to maintain steady employment, understanding emotional intelligence, all of these things that you and I have already have applied and allowed us to be on this trajectory of success. But also I do like pardon clinics, um, because I received my pardon two years ago here in South Carolina. Um, so what I do, I help people here in South Carolina get their pardon. So we have now have gotten over 200 people, applications submitted. To South Carolina. Pardon? And probation parole, uh, to apply for pardons. We also assist with forklift certifications. Yes. When the forklift certification came. As a result, as I said, I teach what I know and what I've experienced. By me having a forklift certification, it opened a door for me to get a job at Tyson Foods, right? Mm-hmm. Hmm. . So I realized that if I could help someone, not only get a forklift certification that can open up a door for potential employment, and in that, once you get that job, Now let me coach you through how do you maintain that job? So I was able to leave Tyson three years, um, after my release from prison and went on to do my own stuff around my, my business model, right? But it was a blessing to go back to Tyson headquarters and share some of the best practices I learned as an employee of the organization so that that company can become better. So, I teach what I've went through to be able to empower and educate others so that they can continue to create this model of success. Hmm. Mm-hmm. Okay. When did the idea of starting your own business, when did that happen? inside of prison. What? So you knew then ? Yeah, I knew in prison that I wanted to start my own business. Cause going back again to me doing a deep introspection or reflection on what led to a bad behavior choices. One, it was because of lack. I wanted to make money. So that's why I chose drugs. Drugs was something in my community. Yep. So knowing that I wanted to be a person that ran his own business, but I didn't have the tools or the gifts. So sitting in prison, I came across a book on. And I read this, this big thick book about marketing. I was like, damn. I was doing some of the same stuff that that people do that go to college for. I was doing the same stuff, right? in the community. So I started learning about entrepreneurship and I started buying books on entrepreneurship. And then I was like, I started teaching classes on entrepreneurship in prison. Like how do you start a business up with 500 to a thousand dollars after incarceration? And that's something simple. So that business started, I mean, that class started growing and high demand for when I. Prison. I had the knowledge. Now I'm like, okay, I'm gonna start this business. So I started a power washing business. Um, something I saw a guy power washing, uh, the concretes in prison. I never forgot that idea. I wrote it down. And when I came home from prison, I bought a power washer for less than $300 when I got a L L C and I went to YouTube and I started learning how to press a wash. Cause I never press a wash. YouTube gave me all of the skills that I needed, jumped into some Facebook groups on how to power wash, and from there I was able to scale. 300, $500 investment to 10, 20, $30,000 investment. I mean, a return on my investment by me knowing how to market because I, I did it in an illegal way. I learned how to do it in an legal way now, uh, through using Facebook ad, you know, all of that stuff. Yeah. So I was able to give a true testament, a testimony, a testimony to the men in prison that when I go back, I'm like, I now cannot only teach you. The, the, the, the understanding of the fundamentals of business man now can show you the practical application of how to start a business after imprisonment and even use that working, get a job full-time and do that on the side. So I didn't have a truck, I had a car, I had a Ford Fusion. I stuff all my buckets and stuff inside of this car, and I would go and press and watch a house after I got off work and the people would call, I'm like, I'm busy. We backed up right now, but I can get your house maybe at four 30. That's, I get off at four o'clock. They gimme 30 minutes to get to your house. I never told 'em that I was doing, uh, had a full-time job and doing it on the side. But that's what I needed to do to be able to create that financial freedom for myself, but also be able to just get in the, get in the, in the get in the game of understanding entrepreneurship. Yeah, learning it right. Figuring it out. How do you communicate? How do you market? How do you message? Um, I'm, I. I'm a baby. I just started about eight months ago and, and like, you know, I could have read and read and read and read. Um, but it's through doing that, that I learned the best. Yeah. Uh, and , you know, one thing that you're saying that I hope folks out there in the Omniverse, like tuning in right now mm-hmm. and also on the replay, is you have built an amazing business. Mm-hmm. an amazing life of service. and it's solely based on your personal experience in the world. Mm-hmm. , it is time for the commercial break. You already know the deal. And if you're new, welcome and we're glad to have you. Check out the Backstage Pass YouTube playlist You're gonna get a lot of life lessons that our previous guests have shared over the last year, two years. Lots of great stuff there, so digest it, consume it, and share it and I wanna invite you to hook up with a super amazing crew. That go by the name of the emotional bungee jumpers. Yes, it is as fun and as scary as it sounds, but it's also intended to help us build our leadership skills. Build our communication skills, and you're gonna be hanging out with a group of industry professionals who are actively upskilling, leveling up their game so that they can serve in deeper and more meaningful ways, particularly focused on listening, asking questions, and connecting in deep ways. so hit the dudely. Do like Mando 2.0 says down in the show notes, there's gonna be a link for the backstage pass and there's gonna be a link for the emotional bungee jumpers. Hit it up and here we go. Back to the show. Absolutely, absolutely. It, it, it, it's, again, based on your personal experience. So what I'm hearing is your teaching, your coaching, your business, uh, Um, consulting. Mm-hmm. isn't based on a theory that you studied? No. It's based on what you lived. What I've lived like all a lot, and I get the question all the time, like, how do you find your purpose? I said, what have you survived? All of us have went through something traumatic, challenging, and in that we found we survived it. Yes. And in that survival, that is a purpose. Now you could take that and now give it back to someone else. So I don't go out and try and, and, and reinvent or create something I don't know. , this is natural for me. Speaking is natural. Coaching is natural. Whatever I'm doing is a natural thing because I lived it, right? I've gotten some education along the way, but this is natural for me. This is my purpose. This is my gift, and this is what I'm supposed to release into the world. So when we look at 2.5 million people in our world today, in our society in the United States are incarcerated, we look at over 70 million people in our society living with a felony conviction. We have what? Over a hundred thousand, a hundred million family members have someone incarcerated. And then we look at the businesses that are second chance hiring companies. Right? So why do I need to reinvent something? I can teach a business how to, how to create best practices in hiring and engaging with people with felony convictions. I can help PE the 2.3 million people in prison. I could write books like this. To be able to send into the prison to educate them, right? I can teach prison staff on some of the best practices in how you best serve people in prison. There's so many, I call it the vertical growth from my experience. I teach in a vertical way. So many lessons, so many things. Come from that 22 years of incarceration experience. And that's what makes, uh, any individual. Once you know who you are and what you have survived, you take that, you package that, you create a model for that, and you be able to sell that into the world and give it into the world. Yeah. Yeah. Contribute into the world. So you get people fired up here, Lester, we got Mr. Baim. CFU says, you're dope, bro. You're absolutely right about that forklift certification. That was his initial introduction to higher paid work. Thank you Basim, for contributing your comments, my friend. And then Christine. She like, dang, he got multiple income streams. . Yeah. From that one pain point, the thing you survive. . That's your purpose, that's your gift. You can create in a vertical way, multiple ways to impact the world. So from one book, I can, I've created a workbook, I've created a facilitator guide, I've created a a certification program with that, from that experience, and it's me giving back fort lifting class certification. I can. How to get this faultless certification, but in that, I can now coach you once you get the certification. Let me teach you, what do you need to do to work in how to elevate yourself in the workspace after being in prison for women many years. I know that because when I got outta prison, 22 years outta prison. I did not know how to navigate the workspace. Mm-hmm. A lot of mess up. And I've seen a lot of people lose jobs after prison because of their mindset wasn't there. They didn't know how to navigate the pitfalls of the workforce because for 20 something years or whatever amount of years, they only worked in a prison environment. So I now can help teach you what you need to do to survive and thrive in the workspace, but also, Start off at an entry level in that job and elevate yourself in that company if you do these particular things. And one is changing your mindset and being hungry for better opportunities for yourself. Yeah. And put, you know, there's something about doing dirt, right? Being out there, running wild, doing the thing, whether you got caught or not. There's some lessons that we've, that I've learned and I've applied to get something out of. , uh, the, the problem back then was I wasn't given anything back. Yeah. I, I was continue to take and take and take and it was never enough. Yeah. That's it. Those same learnings, those same little tricks and cheat codes, I still use 'em today. Mm-hmm. , but I use 'em to contribute. Mm-hmm. . And so for me, the biggest monumental difference is the depth. Fulfillment that I experienced from that. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. is, is, how's that? Is, is it similar for you? I, I, I'm thinking, I'm thinking about several things. When you're talking about giving, paying it forward is, is is truly the blessing, the tea code that a lot of people don't understand. . Like, you have to understand that it's not about you. You have to give more to be able to receive more. And my, my mentor, uh, a guy named Chaplain Patoka, he always taught me the law of reciprocity. Mm-hmm. He's like, just give whatever, whatever, someone just give and it'll come back. It like a saw, the reciprocity saw, it just goes, he said, continue, just give what you. and whatever you need, the universe will produce for you. Right? Yes. That was one lesson, and I remember living after I got outta prison, I continued that. I didn't, when I, when I was looking for employment, I didn't like get down on myself. I started going to homeless shelters. Mm-hmm. , and started donating my time while I was seeking for employment. , right? I, I wanted to find, I didn't want to balance that. I didn't wanna be like, give me a job world, but I wasn't giving anything out. So I started like doing, uh, going to the homeless shelter, feeding. Then I started doing in the wintertime, uh, raising funds to buy socks, sleeping bags, hats. Scarves and stuff like that for the people who did not have any shelter. And then I started giving my service, and that's how it is, the law of reciprocity, giving back. And I think about two books, right? And I'm right in front of me right now. Uh, the Go-Giver by Bob Barger, the Go-Giver. And then I'm thinking about Joe Polish, his book called, you know, I'm shouting them out, um, that I says What's in it for? Right. Another good book. These are like books that I read, man, because it's about not being selfish about what you have, but how can I continue to make an impact in the world? And you find that those who have acquired a large masses of wealth, Their goal is to give that wealth away before they die because they know they can't take it with them. So you got guys like Steve Jobs, you got all of these, uh, Warren Buffet. They have major foundations that is giving back to the world, and that's when entrepreneurs particularly, I'm gonna say particularly those who have been takers, you've been a taker, you harm people in the, you destroyed. your service should be is how can I give back? In between as you're seeking to receive, you give more. You receive more. Yes. When you taking, you are never gonna receive that what you want. So those are the things that I've learned in prison and just me do my personal development. Reading books, as I mentioned, the Go Giver, what's in it for them, these various books about how to continue to. social capital is finding ways to give back to someone else. That's it, man. That's a you, I, I will attest to what you're saying. Joseph says, define your give in order to find your why. Yeah. I think, I think that's a solid saying there. Yeah. Um, you know, when I'm working with folks with the, the one question I ask myself when I'm kind of stuck on, um, putting a proposal together or helping somebody out, helping a group, , the way I get unstuck is I say, okay, how can I be generous? Mm-hmm. in this request or in this ask. Yeah. And for some reason, man, I ask that question and boom, it, it becomes super clear. Okay, but this is the thing. This is what they ask for, and I'm going to offer and contribute this too. And man, I'm gonna tell you every time I do that, it's like magic. The doors just open and we keep on trucking. That's, that's the golden rule. That's the cheat. It's like when you're a service provider, when you're providing a service, it's not about, okay, I get paid for this, but how can I go beyond what is paid to give you more value? That's it, and that's what it's about. It's like I want to add like, yeah, I have to get paid for my time, but I'm going to over give this to you. Like right now, you and I having this exchange, I could have easily come on this call and say, Hey man, I'm just going to give the bare. . Mm-hmm. , right? But that's not the intention. My intention is, is to maximize everything that I have so that at the end of this call, I've added more value than may have been expected because I'm not looking to receive some check or I'm looking to only make impact, right? Yes. And that's what it's about. So when I'm in these business proposals, I'm always like, this is my number. But if you know who I am, you know that I'm coming with 10 times more. That number yes, into my time, my energy, and my commitment and my compassion. And also that, my empathy for who or who's in the room as I'm building this out with you. Amen. My man. Look at that. Got ba bae says, give back while you're looking and asking the universe for something. I've never heard that one in that way. That's good food for thought. That's a game changer. Uh, brother. That's a game. Giving, giving, giving. Not why You like giving, like find somewhere that you, not taking a picture while you're giving, but literally giving. Like I did when I got outta prison. I did it. That's all I did while I was looking for a job. I'm like, let me serve people. I'm still serving people in that service. Things produce in different ways that allow me to grow in the blessings I have. Like people say, man, you've been home five years. How is you able to get a pardon your first time? I got a pardon my first time because I was a servant to people. Yes. And I had a violent crime. You know, I was convicted of murder in South Carolina. That's not something normally happens with a person, with a, so people will say, Hey, I want to get a part. And I'm like, what are you doing in the community? What are you doing giving back? How are you serving the community? You've been a taker. You went to prison. Don't feel entitled because I've served a time that now I'm home, that I'm entitled to receive these things. How are you gonna serve the people or the community that you harmed in the past? How are you going to, what you gonna add to rebuild that community? That's the thing I always challenge people before you apply for something, how are you serving the people? Yeah. . That's it. We've all been blessed with gifts and talents. Mm-hmm. , I believe our responsibility is to share that with the world. Absolutely. Like that. That's been my recipe. So I got the little streaming banner down there on the bottom says path to Yeah. How else should people get ahold of you, Lester? If they're looking I'm say follow me on LinkedIn like we are right now on live on LinkedIn. Follow me on LinkedIn, follow your page and connect with you as well. Um, and just go to my path, redemption. And see some of the stuff there that we're doing in the community and see how you can get involved in some of the work that we are doing. We're always looking for, uh, donations when it comes down to providing for pardons here in South Carolina, or just finding ways that we can continue to elevate each other's work that we're doing. Ten four. So you got any OGs you wanna shout out there, Mr. Lester? Oh, I would shout out my og. My OG would definitely be Chaplain Patoka. Gerald Patoka, uh, who's still a prison chaplain at, uh, here in South Carolina at Khaw Correctional. Shout out one of my big homies. Uh, David Brown, uh, was a person who was very instrumental in my life. Uh, when I went to prison, he challenged me. He pushed me. He was like, because you was giving life on me, that you need to accept that he was the one that shoved books in my face and tell me to read it. Don't leave out of the cell until I finished his chapter in the book. Someone shout out my big homie. Because, because he invested in me, he didn't wanted me to make the choice cause I had a life sentence. He was like, you need to be different. That's the only way you're gonna survive prison. Not to be a part of the crowd, but step out and be your own person in the crowd. So I shot those two individuals. Most importantly too, again, my wife, um, Felicia Young, who's definitely been, um, the og, uh, who's hold me down during my incarceration and even after I got out of prison. Wow. Uh, she met, we met like seven years before I got out of prison, and she. Was committed to helping me become a better person. Um, and to this day, we've been married now, what, 15 years. And so I'm gonna shout out too because she's, she's holding me down, um, in some of my dark days, you know, so. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Because they're gonna come. Yeah. All right. Well, this will close with Joseph Gonzalez says, the physical being will recover, but to maintain focused, a focused and driven mindset while incarcerated is a true testament to the power of our mind. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I love it. . You said it. You said it. I need to go back and write that. I'm gonna give you credit for that one, Joseph. I love that. I'm gonna use that quote, brother . Oh Lester, I appreciate you, man, was you brought it, you gifted us with all your passion and your knowledge and expertise. Folks out there, hit 'em up. If you know somebody that's in the situation that's looking for a pardon and that's looking to get up on their feet after. Spending some time behind bars or if they're just stuck. Do you like, is it a necessity that I be locked up in order to access your support? No, because like I said, some of you may not been in the physical prison, you're in a mental prison, and those things that I've done to escape the physical can help you get outta your mental prison as well. There you go. If you know anybody in a mental prison ready to break, let's break them out, man. Alright, y'all, we're gonna wrap it up. Y'all be cool. Talk at you next time. Face, Oh my goodness. You're either driving down the road or just so enthralled with, uh, with this whole podcast that you went all the way down to the very, very, very, very end of it. And we appreciate you and just, we're going to take this as an indication of your dedication so we got a little special request of you, a call to action, because everybody tells us that like, you need to have a call to action. So here's the call to action. Be kind to yourself, go out there and share a smile with someone