In This Letter…
I will lay it ALL out on the line. I have NEVER told my entire story. This content is the FIRST time I have shared this with anyone. I found it appropriate to share it as My Story.
From the heart of Jason Braud,
The year is 1996…
Clinton election, Cowboys beat the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX, Nebraska swamps the Florida Gators in the National title, Jerry MaGuire, Swingers, Independence Day, Nintendo 64, Duke Nukem 3D, Tupac, Bush, Baltimore Ravens No more Cleveland Browns, Yankees over the Braves, Centennial Olympic Games, D3: The Mighty Ducks, A Time To Kill..
Just to name a few events in the year 1996 to bring you back.
January 1st – 9th, 1996, I’m 10 years old
January 10th, I turn 11 years old. Just a few moments into the early hours of January 11th I lose EVERYTHING.
Why did this happen?
What did I do for this to happen to me?
Is this really happening right now, the day after my birthday?
Just minutes after my birthday…
I lose my best friend. I lose the one person I looked up to for EVERYTHING. My ROCK. My President. My Leader.
I just lost my Mother to some evil thing called cancer.
I’m so little.
I’m just a little kid and all I wanted to do was stop the pain. Stop the memories of joy, laughter, and excitement from constantly popping up in my head of the good times I had spent with my mother and best friend.
The popular words from her voice just continued to repeat over and over in my head, “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.“
I understood what that meant and I made a promise, that day, I would uphold that principle for the rest of my life.
From 1996 to 2001 I felt so alone. I don’t remember much during those years maybe a flashback here or there but mostly a blur. Sporting events is mainly all I remember during those years. I played basketball and baseball up until 9th grade.
Then, I blew my back out..
Ruptured disk… Lower lumbar 4.. at the age of 15. I remember spending my spring break lying in the bed after my back surgery.
Thinking… NO more sports.
Before the age of 16 I had lost the 2 most important things at that time in my life. Although, something inside my head continued to tell me, “never give up.”
I ignored it for a while until I shifted the way I was thinking. I knew the thousands of hours after school I had spent practicing my basketball skills, my shot, and my free throws. I understood I wouldn’t be able to dunk a basketball ever again (true story, 15 years old I could dunk on a 10 foot goal and I was only 5’11” tall). So I shifted my thoughts over to baseball.
I loved baseball too. Every year I was an All-star. I was a pitcher and a pretty darn good one too. Although my doctor didn’t recommend me playing any sport for a year, I had to get up and do something. It was in my blood to be outdoors and/or playing some kind of sport. Sports were like my best friend. I always knew “sports” wouldn’t say bad things to me. They were like my Mother always there to “say nice things” and to help me become a better person. I know that sounds a lil bit crazy but sports were my outlet. So baseball became my ALL.
I’m 16 years old. Oh yeah! I can drive now!
Every weekend if I wasn’t playing in a baseball game I was at the batting cages working on my swing or long tossing to strengthen my arm. I would continue to beat on my craft. I wanted to be the next Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriquez.
High School Baseball was a great time in my life. 10th grade I went to a private school and played on the JV squad. I didn’t have the best attitude because I felt like I had what it took to be on the varsity team so I began to blame it on the school, coaches, “my friends” and teammates.
Well, doing that didn’t help me one bit.
I started to have horrible arm problems and pain in my throwing arm my entire year so I didn’t get to even play much. I began to think, all this hard work for nothing.
Then a change occurred.
I was forced to transfer to the public school in my home town. At first I was not happy but my Father told me something that I will never forget: “Everyone goes through change and most of us don’t like change. But it happens to everyone.” I can still remember where we were at that exact moment when he said that to me. I have taken that principle with me ever since that moment. It was tough at the time to make the transition to a new school my junior year but it turned out to be ok.
I was able to get on the baseball team after some time off to heal my throwing arm. I started as an outfielder that year. I had some clutch hits and plays that year which “earned” me my nickname back then, “Hollywood”. Thanks coach Temple :).
Off the field I learned a ton…
How to be stupid.. basically.
My days of “rebel” took over. Lying, drinking, and smoking cigs was a routine of mine mainly because that was all there was to do and everyone else did it so why not? (I lived in a small town in central Mississippi. Not much going on there. haha)
Senior year was awesome! Beautiful girlfriend, full-time starter on the baseball team, “Hollywood” really became my true alter ego.
Graduation.. Senior trip.
Oh the senior booze cruise to Cozumel, Mexico was when all the “Hollywood” ego back fired by 10 folds. I cheated on my girlfriend, lost her which was devastating.
Now on to College… Community college “13th grade” haha. Get a job and do more school work. Sounded fun but slowly turned bad.
I continued to lie, cheat, and drink heavily, real heavily. I got kicked out of my parents’ house. Literally, came home from work one night and ALL my stuff was on the front porch. Clearly they had enough of the “Hollywood” ego.
So I moved on.
Got my own place with two friends and continued to do my thing. Lie, cheat and drink..
This didn’t work out to well.
I quickly realized I had to change if I wanted my lifestyle to get better. So I got a real girlfriend. I cut back on my drinking and became loyal to her. Started to struggle with money and my Father decided to help and I moved back in with my parents (My Dad and Stepmom). I did the whole one more semester community college gig. The girlfriend eventually didn’t work out so I felt like I needed to move that Summer of 04′.
I packed my things and moved to Oxford, Mississippi. Home of the University of Mississippi — Ole Miss. I felt like I could “make it” in the University town and get my education there. Still on my own, money was tight so no college for me. I got a job and worked in the restaurant industry. Few years later, still no college and still working at the restaurant.
These years – well – were the f***** up years. Alcohol, drugs and partying consumed me every day and every night. I began to hang around some of the wrong people and it was those years that later on came back to bite me in the ass!
Early, early morning… May 1st 2008
I hear a knock at my front door. Still drunk from the night before I stumble out of bed in my boxers half asleep to open the door to hear this…
“Hello, are you Jason Braud?” the officer with a bulletproof vest with the words DEA in yellow letters catches my blurry vision (no contacts).
While looking around before answering the question I was able to count 6 other DEA officers with shotguns.
My reply “Yes sir“. His reply “Get your clothes on you’re coming with me.“
Still in a daze, while I put my clothes on the officer asked me, “Is there any drugs or firearms in here that we need to know about?” My reply: “No sir.” which was completely true.
I remember smoking the last of my weed the night before and I didn’t have any firearms.
I continued to dress myself and put my contacts in. I was in shock. I had never sold drugs. I wasn’t a drug dealer, I only smoked weed for a social habit. Nothing crazy just got high every once in a while. Just like all of my friends. Social smoking.
As soon as I was dressed they cuffed me and read me my rights and told me I was being arrested for selling marijuana.
My immediate response: “What!? I don’t sell weed.“
They threw me in the backseat of the undercover cop car and began to take me to the station.
My thoughts were “who the hell did this to me?” I quickly determined who it was, the only “friend” that came to my house to get a bag of weed from me. I had a “friend” that moved away to another city and when he would come back in town to visit his family he would ask me to do a favor for him and pick up an extra bag of weed for him because he didn’t know anyone in his new city to get some from (so he said).
Being the nice guy, I was like sure dude I’ll get you one. So I did. He ended up being a narc, an undercover narcotics guy. I knew it was him that got me arrested before I even arrived to the station.
This guy was a weed dealer a few years back. He would get shipments of marijuana from California and then hook me up with a bag every now and then. I remembered him getting busted for distribution a year or two earlier. This goes back to me being around the wrong people in the years of my first arrival in Oxford, MS.
Just two days before this happened I had spoken to this guy on the phone.
This is some crazy shit right here.
He told me he was in the hospital for having a heart attack and just had an emergency heart transplant. I began to think, was that all a lie? Maybe it was or maybe it wasn’t I never found out. But what really stuck with me was this…
All my lying had finally caught up to me and bit me straight in the ass. It was the choices I made years before this moment that eventually had a huge negative impact on me.
I was able to move on from all of this. I found out very quickly that I did have friends that cared about me. They helped me get through this rough time. They knew I wasn’t a drug dealer. They knew I was a good person so they stuck by my side the whole time and I thank them for that.
I knew I needed to change.
I knew I needed to change my thoughts and even my friends. So I did just that. I started focusing all my time and energy on what I loved, personal growth and Internet marketing.
I knew my past was also something that I could not change.
I knew that I could change the future.
So I started an Internet Marketing Firm with a buddy of mine in 09′ and this became my soul focus. I started helping small business owners with web design and Internet Marketing. I came across a lot of opportunities over those years from 09 – 11 which included me moving my business to Nashville, TN in February 2011.
But the wheels turned again…
I had “my friend” turn his back on me and my Internet Marketing Firm failed. This ended up being one of the BEST things to ever happen to me. I knew I needed to get out of that relationship. It began to really hit home for me that I needed a change in my circle of friends. And that is just what happened.
I call this Perfect Timing.
I could really call ALL the major events over the last 16 years of my life perfect timing because each one I learned some very valuable lessons.
And here are the lessons I learned that I would love to share with you.
Maybe you will use them…
Maybe you will learn from them before they actually take you down the long journey of trial and error that I have had to overcome.
- Your attitude about EVERYTHING determines the Choices you make in EVERYTHING.
- Change will occur no matter what but it’s the decisions you make following change that determines your outcome in life and business.
- Your inner circle of friends will have a positive or negative effect on you but what’s cool is you have the ability to choose your friends. You should never feel forced to be friends with anyone that you feel will lead you down the wrong path.
- If you find yourself doing, acting, and traveling down the same road as most other people, STOP! It’s more than likely not going to turn out to be the smoothest ride. Change your direction right then!
- Focus on the good in all things. There is always something good that comes out of everything. Find it and focus only on that.
- Your thoughts, right now, make up 90% of your future. (I have no idea if it is really 90% but I feel like it is.)
- If you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all.
- Be truly grateful for what you have right now. Increase your feelings of gratitude and your life results will expand to be equal to your feeling.
- You have to believe in yourself FIRST before anyone else can start to believe in you.
- Find a way to serve and help many people. True happiness and greatness is reached once you find a way to serve many people.
I will be writing a blog post on each one of these core principles over the next few weeks. Get on my email update list on the right side of the page to be sure and receive these posts as soon as I publish them on JasonBraud.com.
These core principles are what I call YOUR ROCK.
They are the foundation of your journey to living a happy and fulfilling lifestyle.
There you have it. My journey of life has been rocky but now that’s out of the way I can focus on what lies ahead.
I can only see good things. I see rejoicing. I see true love and happiness. I see never ending personal growth and leadership.
Thanks for reading my story. I hope you can take my story and apply it to your life in the most positive and most influential way as possible.
Be kind. Be grateful. Be the good in everything.