US Army Reserve Veteran and Bronze Star Medal Recipient, Jevon Wooden Discusses Mental Health, Live Not Loathe LLC, and More
US Army Reserve Veteran and Bronze Star Medal recipient, Jevon Wooden holds a Masters in Cybersecurity from Fordham University and an MBA from the University of Maryland — Robert H. Smith School of Business. Jevon is a warrior against mental health issues, suffering from depression and PTSD himself, and an advocate for the Black community in the fight for racial equity. He is the founder of Live Not Loathe, LLC, a mindset and perception coach and speaker firm focusing on helping high achievers obtain “a life they don’t need a vacation from.” He is also the author of “Own Your Kingdom” and co-author of “All Gas No Breaks”.
We Empower Magazine applauds his heroic efforts for our country, for mental health awareness, and for speaking up for racial equality. Check out our exclusive interview with Jevon.
What sparked your passion to become an entrepreneur?
Jevon: What sparked my passion for entrepreneurship was freedom. I wanted the space to create and implement my purpose, helping others in my own way. And I wanted a business that helped others break from the mental and emotional bondage that has held them back. I knew what it took for me to go from loathing life to enjoying the beauty of each day, good or bad.
People would always tell me in the military that I was good at getting others to believe in themselves and that I should be a motivational speaker, but I knew that wasn’t the whole picture. That sparked the idea of creating Live Not Loathe as a way to help others through increasing their confidence, setting their goals, and designing a life they don’t need a vacation from through various mediums (speaking, coaching, books, podcasts, YouTube videos, etc.)
Please tell us about some of your books and how we can find them?
Jevon: I am the other of Own Your Kingdom and co-author of All Gas No Breaks. Own Your Kingdom was written as an implementation guide for those struggling to find direction in their lives. I created a workbook with 25+ exercises that readers can download for free to perform the introspection necessary to change their circumstances. I have found that many of us typically struggle with one of three things that prevent us from enjoying life: low self-esteem, fear of failure, and void of purpose that aligns with who we are.
I cover the solutions fundamentally in the Own Your Kingdom book. You can find it at livenotloathe.com/shop.
The All Gas No Breaks book is a collaboration between myself and 10 other authors sharing our stories of grit and determination. In this book, you find out how each of the authors dealt with the trauma and adversity they faced throughout life to become successful entrepreneurs. We provide insight into what it takes to move towards your purpose no matter what comes your way. My chapter discusses the importance of having your days flow with your success and getting early wins so you’re prepared for what the day brings. You can find All Gas No Breaks at livenotloathe.com/shop.
Thank you for your service! A Bronze Star Medal is a major accomplishment. What was the experience like for you serving in the military?
Jevon: Thank you for your support! I would not change many things from my time in the military outside of the lives lost in service to the country. I credit the military for much of what I accomplished to date. I believe it would have taken me much longer to find my path if ever if I hadn’t made the decision to join. I knew absolutely nothing about information technology (IT) going in. I mean, what other job can you come in with no experience and receive top-notch training and certifications (lol)? I came in at 22 years old, and all I knew was I wanted an opportunity to make something of myself. I signed up for the 25B MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) because it was one of the few jobs I felt transferred well into the civilian world.
Not only was I trained well in IT, but I was also able to prove to myself how powerful I was. Before joining, I lacked confidence because I felt that money made you somebody. The military helped me to change that limiting belief. I met so many beautiful people and established lifelong friendships with people from all walks of life. I’ve seen many places that I wouldn’t have ever imagined going to, which sparked my desire to travel around the world. The best part of my time in the military was its impact on the soldiers I had the honor of serving with. It gives me great pleasure knowing they are flourishing in their civilian lives.
You’ve done and accomplished a lot so far in your life. What do you enjoy most about the work that you do?
Jevon: I enjoy the transformation that takes place in the lives of my clients and people I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting. Seeing my purpose come to fruition is an indescribable feeling. There is nothing more extraordinary in this world than helping someone else overcome their doubt, fear, and pain to live a life of joy and fulfillment to me.
What have been some challenges you’ve overcome that made you a better person
Jevon: I’ve overcome so many challenges. My mother tells me I’ve been a fighter since I came out of the womb. I’ve had the all too common challenges for children of color, like not having my biological father around and growing up in poverty. But I’ve also had challenges that may not be so typical, like growing up in a polygamous household. Growing up in a nontraditional family dynamic distorted my view of what love was, and it took me a while to formulate my own ideas on romantic relationships. The skewed views on love coupled with my struggles with mental health issues before I knew what they were at 17 caused me to search for meaning in all of the wrong places. I didn’t value myself, and I grew reckless, landing me in jail facing seven years in prison. By the grace of God, I got out due to victims of the alleged crime not showing. Fast forward, and the lack of money kept me from attending college. This leads to me signing up for the Army Reserves at 22.
I struggled with severe depression, physical ailments, and later PTSD and anxiety throughout my military career. This led to problems reintegrating in society for me when I would return from deployments. My last deployment in 2017 was the worst. I had returned home months after a suicide bombing took place on Veterans Day of 2016, killing soldiers and wounding many civilians. I assisted in the triage of the wounded personnel and was a part of the remains clean-up team. Not knowing what remains belonged to the victims and what belonged to the bomber impacted me in ways that I would never have imagined. I struggled with suicidal ideations and used harmful coping mechanisms like alcohol to quell the pain, but of course, that only made the issues worse. Eventually, I started seeing a therapist and got a coach of my own. I am who you see today because of all of the adversity I’ve faced.
What are you currently working on?
Jevon: This year is really about magnifying my message and getting the word out about Live Not Loathe’s mission. I’m currently working on a few more collaboration book projects. One is called Move To Motivate, and that will release sometime in June. It’s available for presale now. I also have a project with Dr. Cheryl Wood and Les Brown called Dare To Rise Above Mediocrity that will be released in June.
Those projects will have conferences, so stay tuned for when the tickets become available! I have another project for Mental Health Awareness month coming up in May. We are still working on the details for this one. I also have another solo project coming out on self-perception. As far as coaching, I am creating some self-paced courses that will launch in the next couple of months.
What else would you like our readers to know about you?
Jevon: You don’t have to figure things out on your own. You need a support system around you that helps you through tough times, challenges you, holds you accountable, and pours into you. If I can help you overcome limiting beliefs, increase your confidence, set your goals, or transform your life in any way, reach out to me.
How can our readers keep up to date with all you have going on?
Jevon: Readers can connect with me on Instagram (@livenotloathe) or Facebook (Live Not Loathe). They can also sign up for my newsletter for daily content designed to empower and elevate at livenotloathe.com.