800 - He's The Comeback Coach: Tom interviews Richard Kaufman - Screw The Commute

800 – He’s The Comeback Coach: Tom interviews Richard Kaufman

We couldn't have a better guest on this momentous episode. His name is Richard Kaufman. He's the comeback coach. And when you hear his story of what crap he's been through and and came back and now is inspiring thousands of other tens of thousands of other people, you'll be amazed.

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Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 800

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[02:31] Tom's introduction to Richard Kaufman

[09:53] Went to school to be a professional bartender

[12:53] 9/11 and getting another chance

[20:49] Podcast about finding another mission in life

[25:03] Living in a car for a year

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Related Episodes

Adam Bardwell – https://screwthecommute.com/799/

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Episode 800 – Richard Kaufman
[00:00:08] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.

[00:00:24] Hey everybody, it's Tom here with episode 800 of Screw the Commute podcast. Listen to that. 800. Well, I'll tell you what. We couldn't have a better guest on this momentous episode. His name is Richard Kaufman. He's the comeback coach. And when you hear his story of what crap he's been through and and came back and now is inspiring thousands of other tens of thousands of other people, you'll be amazed. And it's part of Vetpreneurs month. September is always Vetpreneurs month here on Screw the Commute podcast where we, um. Well, we might have to have him on twice because apparently he's the only guy we know that been in the military twice. Yeah. So that's a very very rare feat.

[00:01:12] Exactly. Yes. So and another thing more serious, he wasn't even supposed to be alive to talk to us today. And and he believes in today. I decide and I'm sure he's going to tell us about that. All right. I hope you to miss episode 799. That was Adam Bardwell. He was also part of Vetpreneur Month. And Episode 797 was one of my favorite veterans and military spouses of the year. Richelle Futch Anytime you want to get to a back episode, you go to screwthecommute.com, slash, then the episode number. Richelle 797. Adam 799. And I'm sure you're going to want to pass. Richard's around as 800. All right. Check out my mentor program at GreatInternetMarketingTraining.com. It's the longest running, most successful, most unique ever in the field of Internet and digital marketing. Also, pick up a copy of my automation book at screwthecommute.com/automatefree and you will thank me for it because it'll save you hundreds and hundreds of hours into the future where making money and taking care of customers and clients and prospects and developing products and services rather than fighting with your computer. So grab that at screwthecommute.com/automatefree and follow me at TikTok at tiktok.com/@digitalmultimillionaire.

[00:02:33] All right, let's get to the main event. Richard Kaufman has personally come back from listening to this drug addiction, homelessness, PTSD, a traumatic brain injury blindness. But now he's a two time bestselling author, a top 0.5% globally ranked podcast host and producer and an in-demand public speaker on resilience in life and business. Richard, are you ready to screw? The commute. Oh yeah.

[00:03:05] Oh yeah. But don't know if I can follow those two last guests. That's hard. You know, that's kind of hard to. That's a lot of pressure.

[00:03:14] I think you can do it. Now, I got to tell you, you're not going to be as good looking as Rochelle, but. But neither am I. Or neither. Can't think of too many people that are so. But they did a great job. But your story is I mean, you know, I don't know what Adam's backstory was. I kind of know Rochelle a little bit, but nobody has your back story that I know. So. So tell tell me about. So you're twice in the military because you got kicked out the first time, right? Yeah.

[00:03:49] And I want to say thank you for having me on your show. It's been a long time coming. But guys, I did get a hug from Tom at MC DC. Yeah, so I got to say that. So yeah, I'm.

[00:04:02] You got a virtual hug for the rest of your life for the things that you've been through and the good things that you're doing. How about that?

[00:04:08] Well, you know, for a time I was the worst soldier in the world. I got thrown out for being a drug addict the first time I got back in, which never, ever happens. I think I'm the only person I know that did, um, and I got almost got thrown out again for a second time. Um, but because of what transpired at 846 on the morning of September 11th, 2000, 2001, changed my life and the whole trajectory of my life. And actually where I'm sitting right now, if I look outside instead of my front stoop, I'm actually standing I'm sitting in the, uh, the shadows of where the Twin Towers once stood because we knew a lot of people that were in the buildings that day. And that was the day that that was one of the turning points in my life that actually changed my whole life from from me going to, excuse my language, a shitbag to soldier of the year within three years.

[00:05:11] That is amazing. So we'll get back to that point in your life, but I want to back up and take it through. I mean, you've been kicked out of your house. Your mother was an addict. Um, you know, take us back into the childhood days of Richard and what you came up through.

[00:05:29] Okay, well, my father left when I was three months old. My mother was an active addict, but she. She was a what they call a functioning addict. So she would be able to go to work as a nurse and she paid the bills. But other than that, I was pretty much raised by babysitters and whoever would take me. And, um, I got in trouble a lot. But the one thing that and I tell this on my show all the time that my one solace was reading. I became an avid reader because I figured if I if I read a book, I can go anywhere in the world. So that was my my solace. So up to this point, I think I've read over think about like 6200 books. Oh my. I just love to read. I'm a novel addict.

[00:06:19] Yeah, you're a novel addict. I mean, is it fiction or nonfiction?

[00:06:24] Uh, pretty much nonfiction. And when because my mother was a nurse, I would. Back when they actually had encyclopedias. Right, Right. I read the whole Encyclopaedia Britannica. And then I also I also read all her nursing books. So my dad.

[00:06:40] Did, too. You two are the only two I ever know that read the entire World Book Encyclopedia.

[00:06:46] Yeah, but so was reading anatomy and physiology at, like 6 or 7. But, um, knowing what I know now is I had a learning disability. I had severe ADHD, so and I was a trouble maker. So I had my first drink at 11. I was a full blown alcoholic by 13. Oh my God. And I got thrown out of I'm a ninth grade dropout. I got thrown out of school for hitting a teacher in the head with a desk. Uh, they they frown upon that. So.

[00:07:16] Yeah, see, the bunch of those teachers are a bunch of sissies. Now, I got to tell you, you can't take one. You can't take it.

[00:07:23] To the head anymore. They can't take a desk to the head like anymore. So my choice was either I became an emancipated minor at 16, and then my the day I turned 17, I shipped to the military because I figured either either military or jail. And I went and I joined. And unfortunately, I did both while I was there.

[00:07:46] But they threw me in the brig and in the military.

[00:07:50] Oh, yeah. I got busted like 6 or 8 times. Um, for so many.

[00:07:55] Things. You had some kind of record, didn't you, With. Yeah, I think I had, like, teens.

[00:08:00] I think I had eight I think was the last total. The last total was like eight. Article 15. Oh, my God.

[00:08:06] Tell everybody what an Article 15 is.

[00:08:09] Article 15 is when they slap you on your wrist and you're like your parents. They tell you you can't go out for a week. You got to clean your room and clean all the others rooms. And we're taking like 30% of your pay. Oh, wow.

[00:08:20] What's a field? Article 15?

[00:08:22] Yeah, but. And then I had to field grade Article 15. What does.

[00:08:26] That mean?

[00:08:27] That means they put you on, like, 40 days. Restriction means you can't go anywhere for 45 days. Wow. 45 days. Extra duty. And they take, like, 75% of your pay.

[00:08:37] Wow. And I heard you self describe yourself as an asshole.

[00:08:43] I was. I was. What are some of the.

[00:08:46] Behaviors you exhibited that that gives you that nice name?

[00:08:50] Oh, it was all about me. Because you know what? I was 17 years old and I didn't expect to live to the age of 20. So I said, Screw it. I did whatever I wanted to do. You know What what was the old saying? That, you know, look, look, look good. And when you die, just leave it look good looking corpse. So I was just I was just like, all right, I'm going to do what I want to do. So at 17, I actually went to, uh, Germany. I was actually at Oktoberfest in Germany at 17 years old, partying with Joan Jett. So at that age, at that age, I just I did whatever the hell I wanted to do. And if it bothered you. Oh, well, if you didn't like me. Oh, well, I wasn't concerned. And that led.

[00:09:33] To your article 15, I guess, right?

[00:09:35] Well, yeah, because I would get paid on Friday and then I'd get drunk and I'd wind up like four hours away in another town. I've wound up in other states just because I got hammered as soon as I got paid. And then I found acid and I became a drug addict and an alcohol.

[00:09:51] Oh, my God. Well, I remember you talking about a job you had at a bar that a police officer gave you. Where did that fall in this time timeline?

[00:10:03] Well, that's after I got thrown out for being an addict and alcoholic. And my mother said, well, you have to. She let me move back in for a little bit. She said, you got to go to school or something. So I went to school to be a professional bartender.

[00:10:16] Oh, I'm sorry to laugh. You're an alcoholic and you decide to become mean. Kind of smart. Really mean. You're an alcoholic.

[00:10:25] No. Mean, of course I aced every class. I couldn't wait to taste test. Right. But. But then the first job I got was on New Year's Eve of 1989, and the guy that hired me was a was a police officer, and he owned a bar. And he took a chance on me for my first job and everything was going great. Everything was going awesome. I started having a few drinks, giving some drinks away, and then like eight hours later, I wound up with him in like three of his buddies knocking on my door with a arrest warrant. Oh, my God. Because I gave away, like $3,000 worth of free drinks and I had, like, five grand in my pocket. Oh, my.

[00:11:08] God.

[00:11:10] Weren't exactly happy campers when they were coming to lock me up for grand larceny. I was looking at five years.

[00:11:16] Oh, geez. So what happened?

[00:11:19] That wasn't fun. Well, what happened was he's like, bro, because I was 20 years old. He's like, Bro, uh, you're a white dude, good looking. I send you to jail, you're going to be somebody's bitch. He's like, So you got two choices that you can get my money by the end of the day. You got 24 hours. I don't care if you if you got to beg, borrow, just don't steal or. And you can go to AA for the next 90 days or I can pick you up tomorrow morning and take you to jail where you're going to be there for at least five years. So I made the I made the right choice. I begged everybody and I borrowed and they came up with the money. And I did pay them all back. Every single penny for you. And I went to my first AA meeting on January 1st, 1989, still drunk and hung over at 20 years old. And he said I had to go to 90 meetings in a row. I hit like 300 in a row. Wow. And I haven't had a drink since that day in 1989.

[00:12:25] Wow. Because it worked, huh?

[00:12:28] Well, it was that. And I was afraid to go to jail. And I knew my life was totally out of control. I had no job. I got thrown out of the military. I didn't know where to go. And when I sat down with these old, crusty, 40, 50 year old guys, I realized we all had something in common. We were all we were all alcoholics. So I decided to stay.

[00:12:52] That's amazing. So now fast forward to nine by 11.

[00:12:58] So what happened was the same uncle that bailed me out Now, he was fourth. He was a fourth grade dropout. He was a professional boxer in in the United States military. So he's still.

[00:13:12] Alive?

[00:13:13] No. He passed at a young age. Um, and as he bailed me out, he said something in my ear. He said, You know what? I knew you never had what it takes to be a military man.

[00:13:27] Wow.

[00:13:28] And it just ate at me. Ate at me, ate at me. I couldn't sleep for months. I'm like, all right, I got to get back in. I'm like, I got to prove them wrong. So I had to write letters to Congress, all kinds of crap to get back in. And the National Guard actually took me, um, took me back in and I joined the Pennsylvania National Guard, like, two years later. Wow.

[00:13:53] So they took you back, huh? That had to be a big process, you know, because of getting thrown out of the first the first time.

[00:14:02] Well, they had to do drug tests and then they had to do alcohol tests and they had to get letters written. And I had to write letters to Congress. So but they got me back in, um, and then I moved to South Carolina. But now this was still an asshole, right? Oh, I was. I was like, I was such an asshole.

[00:14:22] I'm not saying that I heard you say that.

[00:14:24] I was such an asshole. And I just. The only difference was I didn't drink. So now I'm an asshole with no excuse. And I joined the South Carolina National Guard. And first of all, I joined the South Carolina National Guard in the South. And when you're a loudmouth kid from Jersey, that's not great at all. And then when you have a bad attitude. That's not great at all. And then I'm one of the my tank commanders at the time was actually a brother of one of the Pittsburgh Steelers at the time. So he was a totally hard on me. Which one?

[00:15:03] Which Steeler?

[00:15:04] His name was, uh, LaVar. Okay. And. And. And so I got a couple more article 50s. Why not? You know, why not, You know, just add to the list. And. And they were. I missed the formation, and they're like, you know what? We're done. We're like, you know, we can't take it anymore. You're just you're too far gone. And then the morning of September 11th happened. And, you know, because as I'm watching the TV, watching everything unfurl, you know, because everything was live, there was no right, there was no editing. And all my stuff was on the that I had to pack and turn back in is all to the right of the TV. So I'm watching as I'm watching my big screen TV. I'm watching what's happening on 911. And it will really hit me is when they showed them pulling bodies out of the Pentagon. Yeah. Here I am. And something came about upon me and I wrote it in my book. I said I actually became a broken man. I actually crumbled into my couch and started crying because these people that these 2997 people. They just went to work. And you're not coming home. And these soldiers, they're not coming home. And I wasted my whole life and I literally cried out to the Lord.

[00:16:26] I said, Lord, give me one more chance. Give me another chance to help help other people. And I said, If you give me another chance, I promise you I'm going to spend the rest of my life helping people that can't help themselves. So I immediately got on the phone with my company commander and my first sergeant. And the funny thing is, I'm still friends with my company commander. And I said I said, Scott, I couldn't call him Scott. Then I said, you know, I want to come in. I need to talk to you guys. I went in, I talked to him and and they're like, You know what? You've been in this office more than I think we've been in this office. And they said, But we see something different in you. You're a changed man. And I begged him to keep me and they busted me all the way back down again. But they decided to keep me. They seen something different in me. And within three years I became Soldier of the Year. I became a non-commissioned officer, and I ended up doing almost, almost 24 years between National Guard and regular Army.

[00:17:26] Oh, my God, That's sounds great. The only thing it reminds me of is my roommate. One time he was a marine, and he. He got some type of big metal in the morning in front of the colonel. And then in the afternoon, he was back getting busted for something. I forget the same, Colonel. Yep.

[00:17:51] That's probably sounds like somebody would have hung out with.

[00:17:53] Yeah.

[00:17:55] So get back in. I do everything I can to. To become the ultimate soldier. Went to every class I never missed. It was never even late for another drill. And at one point, when I moved back to New Jersey, I drove 13 hours to drill on a Friday, 13 hours to drill home on Sunday and never missed a drill for a year. Um, but what happened was. I was we were going to we were on on a going to the field and and one of my one of my vehicles broke down and I had to pull him back off the road so he didn't get hit. And I was backing him up. And instead of him hitting the brakes, he hit the he hit the gas and ran over the whole right side of my body. And ran over my head. And I had an ocular stroke.

[00:18:48] Oh, my God.

[00:18:49] And I lost vision. 80% of my vision I lost. And that's where, like, three years later, I'm a memorial Day. 2000. 11 years ago was a day that I attempted suicide because after 23 years of, you know, getting a second chance and becoming Richard Kaufman, you know, soldier, well, I'm no longer a soldier. They just told me you're no longer a soldier. You're no longer Sergeant Kaufman. Well, who am I? It has scared me to death because I didn't know who Richard was. And that was the day that I attempted suicide. And that's when and but thank God it didn't go through. My six month old daughter saved my life. Um, and then that Tuesday morning, because it was Labor Day is when I started seeing my, my my therapist and I've been seeing her for the last 11 years.

[00:19:44] And there's the blindness still, still there.

[00:19:48] I'm at about 60%. I'd say 60. But what happened was, while this time, before they decided what they're going to do with me. Everybody else that we're that we're getting medically discharged. They're all playing checkers. They're all playing cards. And I decided, well, okay, I'll do that for a little bit. But with my aid, it wasn't very good. So I picked up a book and then I just started reading books on personal development. And this name? Gary Vaynerchuk. Yep. Kept popping up. So one day I said, You know what? Because his dad's liquor store is 20 minutes from my house. I called. I said, Hey, you know, is Gary there? He's like, No, but he'll be here on Tuesday. I said, All right. Tom Richard's coming like I know him. So I actually went down, met Gary, had lunch with him, and he's the one that actually started the whole comeback coach, the podcast and the book. It was all because of Mr. Gary Vaynerchuk.

[00:20:48] Beautiful, beautiful. And and the topics you cover in the in the podcast.

[00:20:55] Well, first, the first episode I ever did was because here I am blind, I can't work. I'm sitting home getting fat, dumb and stupid. Um, gained like £30, cholesterol, high diabetes. So I'm like, I got to do something. And then all my veterans, my veteran friends in the veterinary tribe, they're like, Bro, you're the comeback coach. You need to come back. Right? And I didn't know how to do that. So I started the podcast because the first guest I had. I interviewed him. He had he had both legs and both arms blown off in Afghanistan. And he's sitting in Aspen. Skiing with his family, hanging out in a hot tub. And I'm like, wait a minute. If that guy can do this, I can do it. So that's where it started. And then as I'm interviewing people, I'm I'm realizing that if a veteran or a first responder, if they find another mission in life like entrepreneurship, they're not they're less likely to take their own lives if they have a mission. So that's when I started really talking to veterans entrepreneurs. I've had actors, doctors, sports people, anybody you can think of I've had on the show because now, because we're all dealing with the same stuff, no matter what field you're in, we're all dealing with the same crap. So now I just tell people, you know, I teach people resiliency. You know, whether it's in life and or business, because I've had billionaires on millionaires, multi-millionaires, anybody you can think of, I've had on. And like I said, we're all dealing with the same stuff. And, you know, if anybody can needs hope, I went from dope dealer to dope dealer.

[00:22:41] And what's the name of the podcast?

[00:22:43] Vertical Momentum Resiliency Podcast. If they look up vertical momentum on any any search engine, we're on the first six pages of any any search engine.

[00:22:54] Beautiful. And tell us about you wrote a book, too.

[00:22:57] Yeah. Well, Gary said, you know, I was talking to him and if you ever noticed some of his early videos and one of his in his videos in his office, he has a wounded warrior hat hanging up. That's mine. Um, I said, Gary, you know, what do I do now? Okay, I got a story, but what do I do? He's like, I want you to do something that everybody tells you not to do. I want you to write a book. And I'm like, okay. And I said, Why do you want me to write a book? He's like, I want you to tell. I want you to tell everybody all the dirty shit you've ever did. I'm like, I'm like, What? He's like, Yeah. He said, I want you to go back and I want you to watch the movie Eight Mile, and I want you to watch the last two minutes. He's like, Because if you watch that and then you tell your story in public, nobody can ever say a bad thing about you because you've already told your story. So I wrote the book and then I started the podcast, and the book is my story. But each chapter is, uh, there's pinpoints on what not to do. And then the last two chapters are, you know, what does addiction look like? It's not what you think it looks like. And what does a.

[00:24:06] What look.

[00:24:07] Like? Addiction?

[00:24:09] Oh, addiction. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:24:11] And then what does depression look like? It's not what you think it looks like. So the last two chapters are actually learning chapters.

[00:24:18] And I understand that you're not taking any money for this book.

[00:24:22] No, I'm still in a hole for it because every every penny that I. I make goes to helping veterans struggling with PTSD and homelessness. And it's and that was something that maybe Gary talked about, you know, because people sell books just to make money. But for me, I want to make an impact. I'm more about impact because something that Gary said to me when I seen him the last time when I got his last book, I said, Gary, give me a good nugget to take home with me. And he said, Um, your legacy will always be more valuable than your currency. Yeah. And that just hit me hard. So now everything I do is for to help leave this world a better place than before I got here.

[00:25:04] And you certainly know about homelessness. You lived in your car for, what, a year or so?

[00:25:09] Yeah. Oh, What happened? I mean, I tell these people all the time back in 80, 88, I was bringing like 1500 a week cash home. And I get paid, I go to the bar, I get rolled, and and I would have like 20 bucks left to last me for the week. So. And it was happy it would happen every Friday. So that's that's the definition of insanity. So I lived in. But the funny thing is I lived in my car for a year and a half. But where I'm sitting now is three miles away from where I'm my car. I lived in my car and I drive by it almost every day. Wow. But now I'm living, you know, in a $600,000 home, three miles away from where I'm living in a car. So I'm just so grateful that, you know, God has left. Let me do what I'm doing. Now, You.

[00:26:00] Got your second chance, that's for sure.

[00:26:02] And I'm. Cats got nothing on me. They got nine lives. I got, like, 13, I think.

[00:26:09] Well, boy, so how do they how do they find the book and how do they find the. Well, you know how to find a podcast. Vertical momentum. Just type that in and you'll find the podcast. Where do they find the book?

[00:26:22] Hook is on a is on Amazon, Amazon Kindle. You can find it. It's called a Hero's Journey from Darkness to Light. And also, I forgot to mention if you guys love coffee, I just came out with my own coffee. Vertical momentum coffee where it's twice the energy, no crash. And again, 100% of the proceeds go to help veterans struggling with homelessness and PTSD.

[00:26:45] Do you have decaf?

[00:26:47] No, it's all high.

[00:26:48] It's all high tech.

[00:26:49] High blend baby. High octane.

[00:26:51] It's like a jolt Cola. They used to have long time ago.

[00:26:54] I used to love that stuff.

[00:26:57] Well, thanks so much for coming on, man. I really love what you're doing. And the overcoming the things you overcame and helping other people to to keep their spirits high and have a mission. So. So thanks a lot, Richard.

[00:27:12] Well, I hope I did. Richelle and Adam justice.

[00:27:15] You sure did. They're going to be envious of you.

[00:27:19] So thank you so much, brother.

[00:27:21] My pleasure. So, folks, this is, again, part of the great stories from our our wonderful veterans who keep us safe and that smack teachers in the head with desks. I don't know how many do that, but some of them deserve it. But anyway, thanks so much for coming on and we will catch you for more of that Vetpreneur Month this month. Catch you later.