Are you the victim or the hero of your story?
Wesley Chapman is a dynamic entrepreneur and thought leader who empowers people in their lives by helping them realize their inherent self-worth. He is the founder of A Human Project, has been featured in a TEDx talk, and routinely speaks around the world from major events to local schools.
Wesley believes we have two options in life – we can be victims or we can be heroes. In this life-changing interview, you will learn how to reprogram your brain, use chaos to grow, and take ownership of your life. You will also hear Wesley’s astonishing story of abuse and neglect, and how he rose up to become his own hero when all odds were against him.
Listen to Wesley’s story now!
Here are a few highlights from our interview. To get the full story please join us on the podcast now!
When Wesley is home, he is strict with his morning routine. His first priority is setting time aside for himself. He first makes sure he allows his body to get a full rest. Then he wakes up at 5:30-6:00 a.m. He tries not to schedule anything before 9 a.m. so he can have his mornings for himself and to spend time with his two kids before taking them to school.
Later in the morning, he begins his content creation for his Wake the Hero membership community where Wesley works with adults and youth living around the world in dysfunctional situations. Wesley travels frequently, doing presentations in schools, churches, and other community venues. Last year he spent 282 days on the road. Whether he is at home or at work, he focuses primarily on nutrition, sleep, and self-time.
We don’t spend enough time talking about being selfish.
Wesley was always exposed to organizational religion and he has always known it never felt right, but he does believe there is something greater than us. There is no singular moment to make a connection to a higher power. It’s a daily ongoing relationship that is as open as we choose to allow it to be throughout the entire day.
Wesley connects in the car, while making presentations, and even during interviews. He looks at it this higher power as something to guide him, not judge him and tell him he is not worthy. Wes says that even if you don’t believe in a higher power right now, if you allow for the concept of it in your mind, the world will change for you.
Through the chaos, there’s more.
Alcohol, Drugs, and Coffee
Wesley never drank or did drugs. He doesn’t even drink coffee. He drinks water… between 1 ½ to 2 gallons a day! Wesley says that he doesn’t consume mind-altering substances (even coffee) because he is happy with who he is. He sees zero reason to pollute his body for one second. There’s no point because he knows his inherent self-worth. He believes coffee is a dependency, just like any other drug.
Whenever you put something in your body, you’re training your body not to produce that particular chemical in your body on its own.
Life is Beautiful
So why do we use substances to change the way we feel? Wesley says it’s ‘ifs.’
If I had a better job.
If my kids were smarter.
If my wife gave me more sex.
If my husband was kinder.
What we don’t realize it’s that we are making the choice to see what our environment is and we cannot change our lives until we realize what we have right now. If we cannot acknowledge and find the beauty of our existence in this moment, we will never grow. Then we will turn to alcohol, drugs, and coffee.
Programming Your Brain
What we say is what we program
We always talk about the physical addiction to substances when we need to ask what is it that is making us want to use that substance in the first place. If your mind is full of negativity, it’s hard for positivity to get in. The good news it that if your mind is full of positivity, negative thoughts don’t get in. You have to train your mind.
Most of us train our mind in sabotaging ways. “If we say we’re an asshole without coffee, we’re and asshole without coffee.” If you truly want to improve your life you have to accept, love, and enjoy what you have now. Meditation and discipline are the way. They take time, but it’s worth it.
Watch the movie Life is Beautiful.
The most powerful aspect of Wesley’s message is his life story. When listening to him, he seems to be a guy who has it all. He’s intelligent, articulate, successful, and inspiring. It’s hard to believe that Wesley has one of the saddest, most horrific childhood stories anyone could bear.
Wesley was born to two dysfunctional parents who were so neglectful that at 3 ½ months, baby Wesley was diagnosed with Failure to Thrive. He simply did not have the physical and emotional care he needed to develop as a child.
At that point, his father left and his mother quickly remarried to fill the void. The man she married was an evil monster of a human being, who tortured Wesley and his sibling in ways that are too disturbing to contemplate. All Wesley could do in his situation was act out and throw tantrums, and his behavior eventually got him some attention and he had begun seeing doctors.
Wesley had been turned over to the state and admitted into boys’ homes and psychiatric hospitals. His doctors told him he was broken. The best anyone could hope for was to institutionalize him and prevent him from becoming a serial killer.
One of Wesley’s boyhood memories is of waking up in a padded room with nothing but a fluorescent light to look at. His head and fists were bloody and he realized it was from beating the walls. He was lost and angry and confused, but there was something that made him refuse to let this to happen.
Wesley’s future was bleak. Then against all logic, an older woman (whom he now refers to as his true mother) was given temporary guardianship. He was never adopted legally, so she had to continually be investigated, but for the first time he felt cared for and safe. Six months to year after she brought him into her home, she met a man and fell in love.
Wesley’s new stepdad was larger than life. He seemed perfect. But he also turned out to be physically and emotionally abusive. For the next eleven years, he would abuse Wesley every day, but Wes would never say anything. His new mom gave up a lot to bring him in. Furthermore, Wes knew the system, and that if the authorities knew there was a problem in the home, they would take Wes away.
Suicide was a massive part of my life.
Wesley hid his situation and survived by taking his psychiatric drugs. He endured until at the age of 16 when he became sick. After being on multiple medications since a small child, his body was failing from the toxic load.
On that day, Wesley made a rash decision to stop every one of his meds. He got on his knees and made a deal with God. He made a promise if only God would see him through his withdrawals. Against the warning of his doctors, Wesley’s mother allowed him to do what he believed he needed to do. He spent days and nights in the fetal position hallucinating. It was hell on Earth, but he made it out and has been obsessed with the healing powers of the body and mind ever since.
Wake the Hero
For so many years Wesley called himself a victim. People told him that and he believed it, but when he started to clear his mind and strengthen his body, he started to build confidence and feel good about himself. He told himself to put the victim to bed and wake the hero instead. It took him ten years to process all his emotions and get to the point where he is today. It’s isn’t easy but it’s possible for anyone, no matter what they have been through. Now he teaches children and adults how to grow from past traumatic experiences instead of shrinking into victimhood.
What the f*ck has being a victim got me?
Wesley says we are always looking for aha moments. Sometimes they they call them anchors. Wesley wants to change the word to “foundational” moment.
You don’t want to be anchored in anything.
Wesley believes these moments are not defining, but are something strong that can be built upon. You can have foundational moments throughout your existence. He has foundational moments all the time.
For some of you, this podcast just became a foundational moment for your existence. Now it’s up to you to build upon that foundation.
Wesley’s not big into books. He recommends getting an old dictionary. We are constantly filled with inner rumination, but many of the words we use have roots that are the opposite of what we should be saying ourselves. When it comes to self talk, get an old dictionary and make sure you’re using the right words.
The best advice Wesley received was his own. It was his internal voice that he heard. It was the voice that told him he was worth something.
Piece of Parting Wisdom
It’s a beautiful time to be alive.
This life we have in this day and age is one of the best periods of our existence on the planet. Embrace that, and in embracing that you will see change.
See you then!
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Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.