March 11, 2021

Andre Norman’s Comeback Story - Saving Lives At The Academy of Hope

Andre Norman’s Comeback Story - Saving Lives At The Academy of Hope

Listen to the incredible story of Andre Norman, who went from violent prison kingpin to the Ambassador of Hope for thousands of people trapped in the cycle of incarceration. Learn about the key lesson that turned Andre’s life around and helped him...


Listen to the incredible story of Andre Norman, who went from violent prison kingpin to the Ambassador of Hope for thousands of people trapped in the cycle of incarceration. Learn about the key lesson that turned Andre’s life around and helped him escape his past of violence and trauma, and eventually become a Harvard fellow and respected leader who helps people overcome their own addictions and negative behavior.  

  • Andre had a rough childhood being raised in a household with violent parents. Early on, at the age of 9, Andre learned three lessons that went on to define his life. He ended up in prison because of those lessons.
  • When you quit on everything positive, all that’s left is negativity, and negativity takes you to one of two places: prison or the graveyard. The lesson Andre learned about quitting is what led him to prison where he met thousands of people, all with essentially the same story as him.
  • Andre became quite a skilled trumpet player in sixth grade, but he was forced to quit playing in order to keep his friends. This was the point where Andre gave up on his dream, and without it,  his life took a dark turn.
  • The opposite of addiction is connection. Some games you win by not playing, some of the scenarios we face in life we are choosing to play when we should be walking away from the table.
  • As we grow up we start to make agreements with ourselves that lock us onto a particular path. We have to make space to make choices.
  • Andre’s first really important teacher was his 3rd grade teacher. She taught him how to read and showed him the capacity he had and how to access it. On the negative side, Andre’s cousin taught him how to rob people and sell drugs at a high price.
  • Being taught it’s okay to quit was foundational to the way Andre learned to live his life. We can only do what we see, and when we’re taught that drugs and alcohol are the solutions to our pain, it’s no wonder that’s what people resort to.
  • Andre didn’t become an addict, he became violent as an outlet for the pain and trauma in his life. Addicts convince themselves they are okay and their reality is fine. Addiction is like being the frog in a slowly heating pot of water, eventually the water boils and you die. 80% of the problem is believing the false stories we tell ourselves.
  • It was in prison where Andre started to see the truth of his situation and realized that he was the king of nowhere. The first thing he decided was to establish the goal of going to Harvard to begin the process of change.
  • Andre started listing all the obstacles in his way and began working down the list improving the different problem areas in his life.
  • If you are locked up in a scenario that is unhealthy for you, that is a complete waste of time. Without a purpose, you are wandering through life, but not really living. Andre understood that he needed to change his purpose if he wanted to change his life.
  • There are millions of dollars being made behind the walls of prisons, trading in illegal contraband. The people who are lost in the system are struggling everyday for a share of this shadow economy.
  • Being free is a concept that means you have the ability to impact people’s lives. It’s not about your ability to move around. Andre became free six months before he was let out of prison when he freed his mind.
  • There is nothing more powerful than mental freedom. That’s when you understand that you are more powerful than bad days or addiction.
  • Andre’s plans were initially all about him, but that’s not what life is about. A key mentor entered his life to show him that service is the key to getting out of your own way. 
  • For Andre, helping people stay alive supersedes the material aspects of life. The realization that he could actually save people’s lives became the core motivation for Andre’s work with the Academy of Hope.
  • Two and half years ago, there was a riot in a prison in South Carolina where multiple people died. The administration locked down the whole prison to avoid retaliation and called Andre in after 5 months of lockdown. Andre spoke to the whole prison population in a voice they understood. He showed them the administration cared and drastically improved the situation.
  • The prison system is not based on education, it’s based on punishment. One of the bigger initiatives of Andre’s organization is bringing in the great thinkers to the prisons and providing books that teach real, powerful lessons.
  • If Andre could speak to the fifteen year old version of himself, he would tell him to find a professional counselor. He had real issues and needed professional help, in the same way you don’t go to your girlfriend for a toothache.
  • When it comes to emotional issues and mental trauma, we often take the advice of people with no skill set. Counselling and therapy are the key, and when you go, you need to be 100% honest. When seeking help, the worst thing you can do is tell a lie.
  • Once Andre determined that he was no longer a quitter, his whole life changed. It took him 25 years to accomplish his dream of graduating from Harvard but he never gave up.
  • Andre’s comeback story shoutout goes to Gordon Hoss. He was the man who saw that Andre wasn’t going to quit and pointed Andre in the right direction. Gordon gave him the key to unlock his future.

 

Mentioned in this Episode:

andrenorman.com

cafeofhope.com

Andre Norman

Motivational Speaker, Trainer, Social Advocate

Known to many as “The Ambassador Of Hope,” Andre’s experience and expertise is what empowers him to help people turn their situation around. Andre travels around the world to serve as a mentor and listening ear for so many in need.