From Victim to Victor w/ Kawan Glover, Serial Overcomer

Imagine you’re a successful athlete in the prime of your life. Now imagine you have a massive stroke, and several brain surgeries, followed by years of speech therapy, slow healing, and recovery. Would you throw yourself a pity party? Sink into a comfortable rut and stay there? Or would you become a serial overcomer and dedicate your life to helping others take control of their mindset and become the hero of their own story? Kawan Glover, author of Favor, How Stroke Struggle and Surgery Helped Me Find My Life's Purpose, chose the latter path. And that’s made all the difference.

Highlight Reel

0:10 - Born on December 25th

1:10 - The stroke of destiny

2:15 - The siren song of depression

4:20 - From victimhood to victory

5:15 - It isn’t your fault, but it is your responsibility

9:00 - Clearing the internal hurdles

10:40 - Making friends with death

11:15 - A foundation of gratitude

12:00 - Kawan Glover, serial overcomer

14:30 - Be the hero of your own story

16:30 - Every misstep is a lesson, not a loss

17:30 - Hurry up and slow down

18:45 - Repeatable results

22:41 - The ideal scene

Adrienne MacIain 0:01

Hi, everyone, welcome to the That's Aloud podcast. I'm your hostess Adrienne MacIain. And today we have Kawan Glover, please come on, introduce yourself.

Kawan Glover 0:12

Hey, my name is Kawan Glover. As Adrienne said, I was born on 25th of December in 1993, a snowy day, and I've had a number of different needs to take place in my life. I'm a stroke survivor, three time brain surgery survivor. I've written a book, I've started a business, and I am a serial overcomer. And I'm here today to have a conversation about my journey. And wherever else we talk about.

Adrienne MacIain 0:38

That's amazing. I love a serial overcomer.

Kawan Glover 0:41

That's beautiful.

Adrienne MacIain 0:43

So I'm also a December baby. So we could probably have a whole podcast about the peculiarities of being born in the month of December, especially on the 25th, I imagine.

Kawan Glover 0:56

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Adrienne MacIain 0:59

Yeah. But let's jump in with the first question that I usually ask, which is, what story is the world not getting?

Kawan Glover 1:10

A lot of you know what my journey in particular, a lot of times you hear about the massive surgeries. And I've had three of them, you know, brain surgeries, I've had a stroke, and you hear about that a lot in the community. But the stories that are not being told what happens in between and after those procedures, the dark times the emotional mental trauma, you have to deal with the recovery, not only physically, but the hardest part is the the other types of recovery, the mental, emotional, financial, or have to undergo to get through those dark times when you find yourself alone, not worthy you find yourself being becoming a burden, you feel shame about what you've been through, or who you have become, you're no longer the same person you were before. So again, you hear about the stroke, you hear about the surgery, you're about the physical recovery, but we don't know much about what happens in between all that and even after.

Adrienne MacIain 2:09

So tell us a little bit more about that. What is it like, in those in-between phases.

Kawan Glover 2:18

You know, depression is an interesting thing is not sadness. Because sadness comes and goes, depression is like, it really is that lingering cloud, it makes the world feel cold. And when it sets in, you start to almost feel good about it. It's like comforting, like, Oh, I am the worst person in the world. This is the terrible circumstance that I have to live with. And you start to find comfort in isolating yourself and being okay with: this is just my life now. And it's so crafty in that it nestles this nice little warm bed for you to just lay in and never move again. So it makes you feel like this is where you're supposed to be. And again, when you deal with physical trauma, it lives in your body, but it also builds a house like mine, and sometimes a house is hidden, and then only shows face and certain situations when you're triggered. So in order to combat those things, I had to look at the person in the mirror, I had to really self-assess, I had to really figure out 'Hey, am I holding stuff in?' like, 'Hey, is this manifesting in other places?' And then, you know, I had to embrace other routines I had to embrace loving myself and, you know, from where I was to where I am now, I'd say it's a quantum leap, like, I love myself more than Kanye loves Kanye and that's a big I love you to me. So, you know, it takes a while to develop those, those tendencies and practices. And it's not a battle that's easily fought, but when you finally can see the other side of that, when you when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel again, it feels pretty amazing.

Adrienne MacIain 4:12

So when did that where did that shift happen for you? Where did you start to see that little pinpoint of light at the end of the tunnel.

Kawan Glover 4:23

So in my business, I take you from victimhood to victory and teach you to be the ultimate hero in your own journey. And I like to call it the bottom of the V if you can see on that thing right there. There's a point at the bottom where you have to is this where I'm going to remain for the rest of my life, you have to make a decision. And then you start to see that shifts. So for me, it was on August... sometime in August last year. And I just watched finished watching Tony Robbins 'I'm Not Your Guru,' and I couldn't understand--you know, I got into surgery, I got into physical rehab--why I was still holding on to something. And for me, it was guilt. And when I had that moment I broke down and can let it roll out. But then lying in my bed that night I was like, you know, all the things that happen to you are not your fault. But it is your responsibility to take these experiences and use them for the greater good. And that's the point at the bottom of the V, where you are at your darkest, lowest point, when you have to make a decision. And that's really all it takes. Now, after you make that decision, it's not like all sunshine and roses. But that's when the work can really begin.

Adrienne MacIain 5:40

Yeah. I love that 'it isn't our fault, but it is our responsibility.' That's something I've heard over and over again by people who are good leaders. So what was it like for you, when you were in that just that bottom of the V, the darkest point for you? What was that like?

Kawan Glover 6:03

It just felt like nothing was supposed to work. It felt like this is the endpoint for my life. Like, mentally I just was not there emotionally. I was all over the place. And I started to give up, I felt like I had been defeated. And this enemy is an enemy from which I can't come back anymore. I had lost mental energy, emotional energy, spiritual energy, my lifeforce was being drained. It felt like I was at the bottom of the pit, and light didn't, light began to no longer exist. And it felt like I was dying from the inside out. But the power of making a decision to make that change can lead you up a path towards victory. And that's when you complete your beat. And that's what I had to realize. Again, it's not It wasn't my fault. And I blamed myself continuously for everything that happened. And I took over-responsibility, but it wasn't my fault. But it became my responsibility. And that's when I realized, you know, people would always tell me, you know, you should tell this story, people have to hear this, people have to know, and, you know, all those things came to me, and then I can start to come back to the voices in my head, the naysayer in my life, which ended up being who I was.

Adrienne MacIain 7:49

What were the steps that you took to start to kind of climb your way out of it?

Kawan Glover 7:55

I think the first step is acknowledging, you know, that's when I realized it was a guilt that I was carrying around. And then it was the last step in that process is accepting. But in the middle of that you have to adapt to the new changes both physically, mentally, and emotionally to kind of pinpoint exactly where these changes have taken place. And then you can make adaptations to adjust it or where you are now. So instead of using my body as a tool, I can use my mind and my words to change lives. And I've actually found that's actually been more powerful using my stories, my voice. I like to say that vulnerability is my superpower, empathy is my weapon of choice. And my story is my fuel source. And that I can use those three things to change the world, one person at a time. And my ultimate life goal is to reach 100 and impact a billion people on the way actually impact the whole world. I'm always 100. So, um, I think I'm starting to see that that's actually possible. Yeah.

Adrienne MacIain 9:05

So what blocks have you had to overcome in order to share this story with the world?

Kawan Glover 9:12

A lot of self-worth issues. Like, why does anyone want to hear this? Like, I, you know, I did this to myself. And these are things that stemmed off from that guilt, a lot of self-doubt, like, I can't write a book. I can't tell a story. I'm not a speaker. Like, the way I use words now, I had to go through a lot of speech therapy because you know, the muscles on the side of my face, they work but there are no nerve endings. Like I don't feel what's going on over here. So I don't know unless I'm looking at myself. what's actually going on with that side of my body and just, you know, I lost a lot of confidence. You know, I'd been an athlete most of my life, I'd run track, I played football, I boxed. So when I wasn't able to control my body it was like, I'm in my 20s, this is supposed to be the prime of my life, like, how can this be? And I think, accepting that this is my reality, not worrying about the past and not being concerned with the future, I think acceptance. So first I had to acknowledge, then I had to adjust and adapt, then I had to accept. Those were the three stages of climbing up the other side of that V.

Adrienne MacIain 10:29

Yeah. So how did it change you? How did it change you to go through all of that?

Kawan Glover 10:39

It's funny, because the number of times my life was literally on the line, um, you become close acquaintances with death, for lack of a better term, the river becomes kind of like a neighbor that's like, Hey, you know, I think it's your time. And I'm like, I don't think so, come back later. So you kind of fall in that relationship, and you start to, again, accept that that is an inevitable part of life. But it's not my time right now. And also, it allowed me to embrace my faith, it allowed me to embrace that gratitude is my foundation. So every day when I get up, the first thing I say to myself is, I'm grateful that I'm alive. And those little micro gratitudes, about breathing, about seeing, about tasting food, about smelling the inside of your room, about having covers, about having a place to rest my head, those pile up, those add up, those extra minutes, you get greater and actually, gratitude increases serotonin and dopamine in your brain, so it allows me to be calm and enjoy the situation no matter what I what I face, and that's why I call myself a serial overcomer. Because no matter what challenge, struggle, whatever, phase, whatever tests I have, I no longer feel unbalanced or bothered or disturbed, because I know that no matter what this challenge is, I'm going to get through it and I'm going to learn something from it. And, you know, always having that internal learning mindset, that's really helped me as well. It's not what you've been through, it's what you use it to become.

Adrienne MacIain 12:25

Absolutely, yeah. So who do you think needs to hear this story?

Kawan Glover 12:32

There are a lot of people, and especially right now, in the state of the world, in the state of the political climate, in the state of disarray that this year has brought upon us that people feel stuck, they feel like there's a dark place they found themselves into, they feel like, they don't know where to turn, they feel like everything they do is wrong, or they feel like they are overly concerned with the opinions of others. And I would like to say directly to those people who may be listening, that it's often not the external world that is causing you to fall into that rut that's causing color to be taken from your world, it's the person in the mirror, it's you creating those thought loops, it's you creating those narratives, it's you creating that chaos, that anxiety, that person that you fall into because of fear-based decision making. Attributing too much of what's happening for you in the now to those things that you did do, that you might do, and that the world is telling you you should do. I think those people that don't often realize there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But one of the things I know now is that sometimes you have to crack to let the light in. And those people are holding things back. And they're so strong, like men are just so strong, so stoic, but in order to heal and grow, when you're lifting weights you have to break down muscle fibers. And then there are people on the other side that are just like, 'Oh, woe is me!' and they've built a house in the neighborhood of victims. You have to move out of that comforting feeling, that the warm blanket of anxiety and depression and makes you want to stay where you are and root yourself in the present moment and recognize the powerful person that you are because everybody on this planet is one of one. You are the only one that can be you. So embrace that use it and become the hero in your own story.

Adrienne MacIain 14:40

Absolutely. I love the idea--you know people always say 'That which does not kill us makes us stronger.' Well, that's only true if you give yourself the time to heal, right? You break down those muscle fibers when you work out. And so then you have to rest to allow those muscle fibers to build back up again, right? And I think that's something that people often miss. When they're training, they overtrain, and they work themselves too hard, and they just get, they hit a wall. It's the same thing when you're working with inner trauma, right? You have to have that support, you have to give yourself time and forgiveness. And sometimes self care looks like working out. And sometimes self care looks like napping. And you need both."

Kawan Glover 15:27

Absolutely, I I didn't just addres