Brandon Peacock was on his way to get his hair cut in June 2020 after work when he was shot three times as he entered the barbershop. He wasn’t the intended target but he ended up the victim. However, Brandon didn’t take to the victim moniker. Instead, he used an experience that could have left him confined to a wheelchair as an opportunity to found Hit the Ground Running, a non-profit that supports others who have experienced trauma. Listen to Part 2 of our conversation with Brandon here.
0:00:05.9 S1: In
0:00:06.9 S2: June 2020, I showed up here 5:45 PM after my regular work day to get a hair cut, a car pulled up right there as I was walking in and opened fire on the barbershop. So I got caught in a drive-by shooting, and I got shot three times. One of them hit me in the chest, and then I took one bullet in the femoral artery, which I later found out that night is probably the second-worst spot you can get shot other than the jugular. So I think as soon as I got to speak to my mom on the phone, I realized it was a little bit more serious than maybe I initially thought. Going into the hospital, they told my parents I was looking at probably about a 50-50 shot of making it through the night. And on top of that, the odds of keeping my leg was much less. I'm thinking in a positive sense the entire time, there's no doubt in my mind that I'm making it through the night, there's no doubt in my mind that I'm gonna be all right. I started thinking to myself, I'm like, "Okay, you know what, what can I do to face this head on, how can I use this crazy thing that I've been through to find some purpose?" And I wanted to do something that allowed me to look back on my life and be happy with what I'd gone through.
0:01:48.0 S1: Hey there, and welcome to the Leading with nice interview theories podcast. My name is Mathieu Yuill, and you know we wanna help you inspire others, build loyalty and get results if you're listening, it's been a sound any different if you're watching on YouTube or elsewhere, you'll notice we're outside... I'm not in my office. We are in Ottawa, Canada, Canada's capital, and the reason we're here today is I'm with brand and Peacock, and I'm gonna let brand and tell his story. This is the first episode of season two for us, and we wanted to launch with something a little bit different and something that we think might be really valuable to you and your team, so Brandon, thanks for hosting us here in Ottawa and just give us a little bit of bio information. Are you from Ottawa? How old are you? What do you do? Yeah, so thanks for having me on, Matthew.
0:02:40.7 S2: I'm 25 years old and I just turned 25 last month, born and raised in Ottawa, just about 10 minutes from this location here in Canada, I guess you could say, I've been here my entire life, but it's a great city here, I'm happy you came down...
0:02:53.6 S1: Cool, thank you. So we are here outside of fresh ibushi, and it's draining that we chose to sit here and I'm just gonna get rid into it... I don't wanna set it up, I want you to tell you a story. So June 2020, you were here to get your hair cut and something happened that altered the trajectory of your life forever. Tell us your story. Yeah.
0:03:13.9 S2: So you can notice I still haven't got that hair cut just over a year later, now I showed up here 5-45 PM after my regular work day to get a haircut, and a car pulled up right there as I was walking in and opened fire on the barber shop, they actually were targeting the store next door, it's empty now, the owner has, I guess, left for obvious reason, but yeah, I got caught in dry by shooting and I got shot three times, so it's always a little bit weird coming back here, it's my third time back now, but the team here is phenomenal, so it definitely... It was a life-changing night for me.
0:03:47.6 S1: And just to be very clear for our listeners, when you say you were hit with bullet by drive by shooting, we're talking like the stuff you might imagine in a TV or a movie show, a car pulls up if somebody leaves that with a gun, you've had incredible recall of those moments. What was going to remind those first instances. Yeah.
0:04:03.8 S2: So obviously, I'm very fortunate in a weird way to fully... I remember a good junk of the situation, obviously, there's some areas that are a little bit gray, but yeah, walking into the barber shop, there happened to be the owner's wife who was holding the door open for me, literally read on those steps right there, and we saw a car pull up, and obviously, it takes a couple seconds to react, but as they started opening fire, I guess I shared her in and then ran in a after her, so I happened to take the brunt of everything, I got hit three times. One of them hit me in the chest, which was my biggest concern the night of obviously, I think your heart, your lungs, do you have so many vital organs there that it was obviously a really scary scene for me, and then I happened to get one in the left leg, which ended up being a non-factor, I was kind of like a ricochet bullet, and then I took one bullet in the femoral artery, which I later found out that night is probably the second worst spot you can get shot other than the jugular, so even getting shot in the head, you have arguably a better chance of survival, so that ended up being the biggest cost for a concern the night of...
0:05:05.8 S2: So I got in there, immediately I realized I was hit and I started basically bleeding for in there, the entire barber shop at that point was evacuated, like Everyone run out the back, so what happened to be me and just the woman who's holding the door for me at the time who were left in there, I got her to apply pressure to my leg as I was applying pressure on my chest, and then she ran over to get the phone, and how do we call my mom? Because she didn't think I was gonna make it that hard... That was her idea. Yeah, she said, Is there anyone you wanna call and naturally I'm like, Okay, I got... I gotta call my mom. Right, and it's funny 'cause in her mind, I was toast. I basically just say, Hey, Mom, this is gonna sound crazy. Don't stress when I got shot, going to my barber shop, I'm gonna be okay, don't worry. I just wanted you to hear it from me first. You can't really see it in the camera here, but you can see it that Tim Hortons right there, there happened to be a police officer there at the time of the shooting, he literally sprinted directly across the street, that's actually when my phone call...
0:06:13.8 S2: My mom got cut off because they took a phone, they didn't know who I was calling it.
0:06:17.0 S1: They know you were not... All they know is that you're even hit with gunfire.
0:06:21.4 S2: And it's very uncommon that someone who's not a target as shooting it shot three times to a drive-by... Right, yeah. So anyways, because that officer was able to get over so quickly, he basically strapped a turn, I get to my leg right away, and because the femoral artery bleed is so severe, I was told that I... Had it been 30 more seconds, I probably would have been DET. So I actually only found this out probably two months ago if my parents... So I didn't know this at the time, and I think they're probably scared to share it with me, but going into the hospital, they told my parents, I was looking at probably about a 50-50 shot of making it through the night, and on top of that, the odds of keeping my leg word much less. I remember to the last thing I said before going under the knife, do what you gotta do, you knock down my odds to survival by 50%, if you have to just do what you gotta do to keep this like... I was very fortunate too, in the sense that because I came in around 6 o'clock, I was there at shift change, so I had surgeons from the day shift and the night shift, a probably 10 surgeons who are all unbelievable and what they do on board for my surgery, so they were able to give me the best medical care that I probably could have got that night of...
0:07:36.7 S2: So again, I think for a challenging circumstance and something that definitely it was a terrible thing. I had every single lucky bounce that I possibly could have that night, and that's kind of when I talk about with you, reflecting on the positives of everything, I'm able to do that because I had so many good dances go my way... So it's actually funny, as I was laying there on the floor... People always ask me, they're like, What were you thinking about what was going on in your brain? And I'm sorry, mom, if you're watching this, but everything that was going on in my brain was, You know what, this is all right, you're gonna have a couple of weeks off work, you're gonna have some time to read some of the books you've been putting off... I watch some of the podcasts you and putting off, I do some of these things that you haven't had the opportunity to do because you've been so busy in your day-to-day life, how can you make yourself better coming out of this, and that probably sounds psychotic of me, but I think it brought me a lot of peace at the same time because I wasn't thinking, this could be the last breath, I take it.
0:08:45.1 S2: I just thinking what's next, and eventually I caught myself, I think as soon as I got to speak to my mom on the phone, I realized it was a little bit more serious than maybe I initially thought, I'm sure had I allowed myself to drift off... It could have definitely gone south, right, quick, I think, but yeah, I was very cognizant the entire time... You don't wanna think of everything in a negative, I'm thinking in a positive sense the entire time, there's no doubt in my mind that I'm making it through the night, there's no debt in my mind that I'm gonna be all right regardless of how much was there, regardless of how stressed out everyone else around me is, but my biggest thought and the biggest reason that I was so driven to get through that night was like, what... Mark, have I left if I was to die tonight, would I be able to go peaceful knowing that I left a legacy with my friends, my family, my community, like all these things, and I wasn't really... With the legacy I left it, I'd like to think I have a really good supportive family who would have been very proud of me regardless of my friends, I think I would have to...
0:09:42.9 S2: But I still thought there was a lot more that I could do it and a lot better than I could do what
0:09:46.9 S1: I found really excited about your story when we began talking between the time of being shot and you're like a few days after recovery, you change your mindset again, you've pivoted, I'm just like, Oh, I ask some time off, I'm gonna make use of this moment tells you...
0:10:04.3 S2: Yeah, so there was... Maybe a couple of factors that played into that. I think the first... As much as I had a really positive mindset going through, when you wake up that next morning, you're still so heavily sedated you, you're on so many painkillers because of the severity of your injury, it's really easy to... And which is fair to get complacent and just kinda lay in there and just be happy you're alive and be kind of a bit of a slug. I couldn't move. At that point, my leg was so destroyed, all of my ribs were broken on the left side, I physically could not not even just get up out of my bed, but move my shoulders up right, so it was pretty easy to fall into a dark place for the first couple of days where I found myself just trying to sleep as much as I could, I was sleeping probably 18 hours a day. And what was really unique about that is because of all the pain killers that I was on, my dreams were so wild and vivid, and I dream pretty lucid as it is, so I found myself just using that as an escape and escape from reality, where in my dreams, I was still running around with my friends, that's all I could think about at the time was like, I hope I'm able to get out there and live my normal life again.
0:11:08.5 S2: Right, so now I use that as an escape, and I think on a day three, late day two, I kinda realized that I was actually reading this book by this guy called Mike Magellan is at the fifth vital, and he talks about his opioid addiction when he was younger and how it really threw off his entire life, and I started to see myself, and again, it was only two days, three days, it probably wasn't something I would have fallen into long-term, or at least I'd like to hope I wouldn't have, but it was becoming a big escape for me. So on day three, I decided to opt out of all my pain medications except for my nerve medications to Lyric as what I was taking, but that didn't really alter my mental state whatsoever, I was still able to think to the same degree as I would be able to without any medication, the pain meds were at... Was impacting that, right? So I started thinking to myself, I'm like, Okay, you know what, what can I do to face this head on, right. Obviously, sitting here and being upset with myself isn't gonna do anything, it's not gonna be productive, how can I use this crazy thing that I've been through to find some purpose, right.
0:12:11.0 S2: And how can I come back from this to the best of my abilities and got back... I asked my parents to bring in a bunch of books for me, they thought I was crazy, they're like... To relax, take your time. You just got shot, you're basically on your death bed here, relax, feel sorry for yourself a little bit, and that narrative right there is what drove me more than anything... Right. I don't want anyone to ever feel sorry for me, I don't wanna feel sorry for myself, I didn't see myself as a victim of circumstance, I saw myself as a proud survivor of something that was difficult, and I wanted to do something that allowed me to look back on my life. And be happy with what I'd gone through.
0:13:03.4 S1: So you're in the hospital, you're on day three or four, you've opted in the pain medication minus the one to help you your nerve recovery in those days, the short few days after recovery has begun in the hospital, you've started to answer the question, What mark... Do I want to leave? Yeah, yes.
0:13:20.7 S2: So I thought about it. And the things that got me through my time in the hospital, the most, my darkest days, coming to terms with everything were my communications with people who'd gone through circumstances, so I was able to talk... I had a friend in the same as Michael 02, he was hit by a car about five years ago when he slipped into a coma for a week, I believe, but when he saw what I went through, he reached out directly to me and he's like, Look man, not many people are gonna be able to understand what you're feeling right now, they're gonna tell you allow yourself to feel sorry for yourself, they're gonna wish you the best, but they're not gonna be able to fully get it. I get it, I'm here to talk whenever you need, and We talked probably every day, and he guided me through how to think in that recovery process, and that was what I needed, I didn't need some person with a degree who had a bunch of questions and boxes to check off, and I appreciate that. Yeah, I've done it. I think that there is a hell of a lot of value in therapy.
0:14:18.7 S1: You were explaining to me earlier about the system is set up to achieve a certain thing under
0:14:23.5 S2: You wanted to achieve a different thing. Yeah, I think... Well, there's a couple of things, and it really depends which way you go, but you're able to get a lot of emotional support, which I think is very important for sure, but in my personal understanding of what I wanted to do with my situation... For me, personally, I didn't find it was the best road because I had resources like Michael in my life who I could talk to on a very emotional level, so that's kind of something I started looking into. I started looking into, is there anything in that space to help support these people who've gone through these life-authoring circumstances other than a Go Fund Me or these kind of things? I realized there was a massive gap in government funding and government funding and charitable organizations for victims of trauma, you made a decision to start something that would ultimately help victims of trauma, and that thing was... Was our hit the ground running charity? It will not for-profit right now, we've applied for charitable status, we're hoping to receive it sometime in the next couple of months, but... Yeah, so what we wanna do with hitter und running is we wanna raise funds for physiotherapy, psychotherapy and other functional strength training-related cost for victims of trauma, because even if you're through an insurance provider, they'll give you kinda like the bare minimum.
0:15:35.6 S2: Their job is to get you back to whatever your job was before, right, which for me was like a desk job, so they didn't care about the long-term ramifications, these guys have one goal in mind and that's to get you to be able to sit erodes and work again, right? So we realized that there was a massive lack of funding for people who wanted to get back to their new 100%, and that was my goal from day one, and I had an unbelievable team around me that had made that possible for me, but I realized a lot of other people wouldn't have those same luxuries, so that's really what drove me to get hit the ground running going, and obviously, we're in the preliminary phases right now, we've launched a virtual run in the fall, September 2021. We also just launched a Merch, we actually just closed off our merch sales, but do you wanna buy a sweater? Let me know, okay. But yeah, so we've found ways to get creative in the space to raise some money and also provide some cool fun things for people. But yeah, it's become a bit of a passion project for me, and when we talked about legacy that I wanna leave, I think it would be really cool if I could take this kind of horrific situation and bring some positive about it, and I think it's brought me a lot of solace.
0:16:43.1 S2: In the meantime, I'm sitting in a side of the place I got shot a year later is my third time back here, and that something that crippled me at first when I came... The first time I came here, I was shaking, but it brought me a lot of solace and allowed me to come to terms with everything that I've been through because I was able to use it for a greater purpose than myself, and that's something that I think is really cool, and I'm always gonna be thankful that I had the opportunity to do because of this terrible situation.
0:17:14.2 S1: So I just wanna talk for a few minutes about the process of identifying the gap and then trying to fill the gap site a few questions about this. When you started to identify the gap, I'm thinking about business leaders who are thinking, Okay, we're actually experiencing a thing in our business, and it may not be as significant as the trauma you experienced, but they might be feeling a hurt or a pain, and I've started to identify a gap in their recovery, so they need to be a the pain so that you're dealing with your pain, what have been the doctors and all the experts they brought in, but then you saw... You had to see this gap if you are in business, 'cause you worked in business before, how does that translate... What are some things that business leader... My questions have been asked themselves that you asked yourself in both actually a gap, how do certain that...
0:18:05.7 S2: Yeah, I guess you have to see what the competition is like. And I think that's a weird thing for me to say in regards to a not-for-profit, but the key to identifying the gap for me and realizing that this was something that could be a sustainable project for me was I just did lot of research to see if anyone else was doing it, and obviously at the time it had a direct impact on me, I would have loved to secure some extra funding for my recovery from credible organizations. Right, yeah. So I did a lot of research on what the competition or the environment and space was like, and there just wasn't a lot... There was very, very little I secure, I think a 1000 check from some government organization that I basically just called and said, Hey, I got shot. They were like, Oh my God, that's terrible. What's your address?
0:18:49.1 S1: There was no more questions on that... Yeah.
0:18:51.3 S2: That was as simple as it was. They're like, the max we can do is a 1000 bucks, Here's 100 bucks, I enjoy it. However you want...
0:18:56.4 S1: And the reason you're doing this too, is because you're a physio, all the other support would have been like again, he really what you felt the vermandois Get back to work. And you wanted something more. So let me ask you this question then. Often, when we work with organizations that lead with nice, when people are identifying these gaps that need to be filled, one of the questions we ask them is, when you look back into your history, when has your organization been at its best? And so I think the question for names you, when is brand and been at his best, and that might... That doesn't answer her. Oh, I was at my best when I scored a hat trick. Important hockey, obviously, you cannot replicate that hat trick moment, but you can replicate the work and the experience and the talents you brought to that, so how did you identify when you were thinking to hit the ground running, which is about doing runs and raising money through that, on the... We should raise money. How did you decide that was the thing? Like why not charity hockey and why not selling biscuit artists and big shops.
0:19:56.4 S2: Yeah, yeah, there's two reasons for that, and I think the first is kind of my blanket statement with covid was detrimental to having any sort of gatherings at the time that we decided to do everything. So a virtual run, you can kinda do whatever. Right, but the second thing, and I think this pertains a little bit more to life in general, is I think you're at your most dangerous and your greatest potential for success when you're the most vulnerable and you're the most desperate what I went through because it was the greatest struggle, an obstacle I ever had to overcome in my life, right. When it came to my rehabilitation process and finding a purpose for everything that I went through, that's what kept me up late at night, I was working my tail off to get back to my new 100%, I was pushing through all these barriers I could... I was reading every night trying to learn about the PTSD, the symptoms, the impact that my situation was gonna have on me, and that drove me to want to use this to make a change for other people, and I think that's a really cool feeling.
0:20:52.4 S2: It's a feeling I still love. In my day-to-day life, I find myself... I find that it's easy to get complacent, especially we live in a pretty good world, you're in Canada, right? But when you start to get complacent, I think you start to neglect opportunities to capitalize on to success, whereas I didn't really have the opportunity to be complacent at that time in my life, I had to be working for that next goal every single day in my recovery process, and it drove me to wanna make a difference, I now have the time to do it as well, or
0:21:22.7 S1: Having my perspective on that, because you talk in this... Definitely, I did not have a choice. I had to do this. Well, no, my friend, you had a choice, right, you could have been complacent, you could have accepted to go fund you chose not to, and I think the learning there is exactly that for a business leader, you do have a choice, how are you going to... And complacency isn't a black or white... There are several layers and levels of how you approach things, Brandon, I'm gonna get past right now because there's so much talking about when we have more learning from you that we need to do two episodes of this, the people will know if you're just listening to episode one and a few people that make this thing happen, indicate helps book the show as an parent grass right now doing audio, Abbas are video guy behind Adam is a part of ours here in Ottawa, and he has a great company with a partner that does a lot of film, we are to put the link to his company in the show notes, Naomi Grossman helps research and do the questions. Jamie hunter is our Content Manager.
0:22:19.8 S1: If you're seeing this on social or reading on the blog or listening to the podcast, you see on YouTube, you can thank him for that. Carry cotton is our account manager.
0:22:29.2 S2: Well, I'm here, Gallatin auto wash, taking care of the business. So thank you, Carrie for that, and of course, my wife, Allison, which let me come to auto-Apte day
0:22:36.7 S1: For more on this. Visit our blog, leading with nice dot com. We also have a lot of Grimes. This is of course, Episode One is he's in to... There's a whole other 24-ish episode of great learning, and you definitely wanna come back for episode two, random peacock story, and there's some brilliant learning for you and your business to the next episode.
0:22:59.9 S2: Branded, thanks for being here. For Part one, we'll get it part too, right away, looking forward to a checkout grand dot com to learn a little bit more
0:23:07.5 S1: To hit the round writing website is definitely in the show notes, and we will definitely be talking more about how you can learn more, but hit the ground runner tip. Brandon should be coming to your company's news with speaking.
0:23:22.3 S2: 'cause these only scratching the service of how he brings integration and motivation, but that's beside the point. 'cause there's a lot more learning. We'll talk to you in the next timis.