Get Off The X With Jason Redman
Jason Redman didn’t intend to inspire people with the note outside his hospital room, but he accidentally inspired thousands of people across the country.
The note Jason Redman wrote warned anyone entering his room that pity had no place inside. It reminded others that his life-threatening injuries had been inflicted in service of his country and that he fully intended to push himself to the utmost recovery. It was meant to protect himself from those who impeded his resiliency with pity. It turned into a message heard around the country that’s still inspiring others today.
Jason has come a long way since he earned his Navy SEAL Trident. His story is one of struggle, triumph, downfall, and redemption – all before he nearly died in Iraq.
He was still in high school when the troubled teen committed himself to service in the United States Navy. From the moment he watched a video in the recruiter’s office, Jason knew he would be a Navy SEAL one day. The recruiters didn’t agree. No way, they said, would the too-short, too young, too not-anything-a SEAL-should-be-twerp ever pass muster to join the elite.
Jason Redman was undaunted.
Rather than give in to the mockery, he doubled down on his determination. He joined the high school football team knowing he’d never make the field during a game. He used it as training to toughen up, taking beating after beating in practices and refusing to yield to the bigger, stronger players.
His grit earned him grudging respect from a coach and resentment from some of his teammates who grew weary of being outshined. Jason used it all to fuel his inner fire to become a SEAL.
The day that Trident was smashed into his chest was the proudest day of his life.
His superiors saw promise in the young officer. He was all-in on whatever the mission was. From the jungles of Colombia to the Peruvian sun and the heat and turmoil of Iraq and Afghanistan, Jason never backed down from a mission or an enemy. He should have been secure in his career, but there was one challenge that continually got the best of Jason, and it nearly ended his time as a Navy SEAL.
In Jason Redmans’ first book, The Trident he openly shares his journey of self-discovery while in the military.
He talks about his ego and his unwillingness to open himself up to criticism or mentorship. No effort is made to sugarcoat his brash attitude that nearly cost lives on the battlefield and wound up costing him the respect of his teammates.
He made such a mess of things, he almost gave up entirely. He almost believed he’d created such failure in his life that he, his wife and children would be better off if he killed himself. Perhaps the ego that caused his downfall is what stepped in between himself and his gun that day. Perhaps the thought of admitting defeat, rather than the thought of life being a gift is what made him snap back to the moment and see it through. But whatever the reason was then, Jason is grateful now that he endured that pain that allowed him to begin a new part of his life.
Finally, Jason heard the words of a mentor and absorbed them as help.
He realized it was time to acknowledge his own accountability for his situation and take the appropriate steps to fight his way back into the leadership position he knew he had the ability to do, no matter how much it sucked along the way.
Slowly and painfully, Jason rebuilt himself into a leader his teammates could trust. Step by step he earned his way back into the service he loved, newly aware of the power of humility.
God works in mysterious ways, says Jason Redman. Often the end of one thing marks the beginning of something new – but only if you don’t give up.
It looked like Jason had endured the biggest struggle he’d have to face, and overcome it. He’d mastered key leadership traits, made it through Ranger school, earned his way back to a SEAL team and his marriage had weathered each storm along the way. But Fate wasn’t quite done with Jason yet, and in 2012 he was wounded in combat. Seven bullets struck him that day. One went right through his face. Jason fell to the ground and his teammates thought he was dead.
It’s true, he says – life does flash before your eyes when you believe you are slipping into death. Or at least it did for him. Thoughts of his wife Erica and his three beautiful children swam through his mind. He could not accept not making it home to them.
Jason Redmans’ teammates refused to give up either.
They called in an airstrike to their position. It would either kill them or save them, but without it, they would certainly die.
It worked, and Jason and two other wounded teammates were safely evacuated.
His wife came to the hospital and never left his side. Together, they decided pity would have no place in Jason’s recovery or their family’s future. Instead, they turned to humor and faith and gratefully accepted help along the way.
The bullet that struck his face destroyed much of it. He was left severely disfigured, with a hole where his nose should be, and his jaw was shattered. He had a tracheotomy for months, and his jaw was wired shut. His left arm almost had to be amputated.
It was a daunting recovery ahead, for sure, packed with dozens of surgeries, thousands of stitches, regular trips for treatment, and the discomfort of people staring at him in public.
If it hadn’t gone through the personal and professional growth of his tumultuous military career, says Jason, he would never have launched from his injuries the way he has.
Today Jason and his wife are stronger than ever, and Jason counts his blessings every day. He travels the country speaking about his experience and applying those lessons learned to his audience’s lives. He founded and ran a non-profit in 2009, and, although that non-profit closed he remains committed to using his platform and network to help others. One way he does so is by advocating for brain research via the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
From the underdog who became a Navy SEAL, to the leader who fell from grace and fought his way back, to a warrior who nearly died in combat, and now a veteran who continues to serve others, Jason Redman is an excellent example of what a person can endure and overcome with the right mindset.
“My message,” he says, is this, “You have a choice in hard situations. Even if people feel sorry for you, you can choose not to. Instead, you can choose positivity. You can choose this relentless mindset.”
Everybody fails and falls along their way through life, says Jason. He’s done so countless times. But if he got back on his feet, he says, so can you, and he’s ready to help you do it.