In this episode, Justin Constantine shares his story of being shot in the head by a sniper in Iraq. He also talks about PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), the importance of community, and why he believes that we are stronger than we think we are.
As a Marine officer, Justin volunteered for deployment to Iraq in 2006, and served as a Civil Affairs Team Leader while attached to an infantry battalion. While on a routine combat patrol, Justin was shot in the head by a sniper. Although the original prognosis was that he had been killed in action, Justin survived. Through teamwork and a positive mental attitude, he has had quite a successful recovery. Justin now speaks to audiences large and small about personal leadership, the critical role of teamwork in facing life’s challenges, and the upside of change. He applies his incredible story of overcoming adversity to every level of an organization, and all audiences to move beyond the challenges they are facing in their own lives.
While on active duty, Justin had served as a Judge Advocate in the Marine Corps. Upon recovering from his injuries, Justin continued to serve in the Federal government in a number of attorney positions, including the Department of Justice, Capitol Hill and most recently with the FBI on a counter terrorism team. Despite being shot in the head, Justin was the Honor Graduate of his class at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. He also recently completed the Master of Laws (LLM) program at Georgetown University focusing on National Security.
Justin retired from the Marine Corps Reserves at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and now serves on the Board of Directors of the Wounded Warrior Project, Give An Hour, and SemperMax. In addition, in 2011 the Secretary of Defense appointed him to serve on a 4-year Congressionally-mandated Task Force for Recovering Warriors. In 2012 the Virginia Legislature passed a commending resolution highlighting Justin’s continued support of veterans and other wounded warriors.
Most recently, Justin was awarded the prestigious inaugural 2014 Lincoln Award recognizing his outstanding achievement and excellence in providing opportunities and support to our nation’s veterans and military families. Justin has also been named a Champion of Change by the White House, and was presented with the All-American Hero Award at the 2013 All-American Inaugural Ball. Further, Justin was invited to introduce President George W. Bush at a veterans’ symposium at the Bush Institute in February 2014.
Justin is a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in connection with their Hiring Our Heroes campaign, and works with a number of corporations on their veteran hiring initiatives. Justin has also been featured in magazines and programs such as CNN, Fox News, Men’s Health, the Huffington Post, the Atlantic, Financial Times, and the Department of Labor’s America’s Heroes at Work Success Stories.
Through his journey of courage, injury, resilience and triumph, Justin demonstrates that we are all stronger than we think we are. His personal story of recovery and success is a testament to the power of the human spirit, and the message he shares applies to every member of the audience. All will leave inspired to attack any difficulties in their own lives, and will search out opportunities to excel at work and at home.
Some Questions We Ask:
- The time he spent in the armed forces, and the inflection point that’s turned him into the man he is today.
- How did he get himself back on the right track after his surgery?
- Has it always been part of his nature (being able to communicate his feelings, his vulnerability) or did he learn that through the development process after his surgery?
There are just so many people in our country who are facing mental health challenges and we don’t encourage people seeking help.
We pride ourselves in the Marine Corps about taking care of each other. And this is one way you can do it is to check on your Marines, make sure they’re in a good place.
- In the work that he’s doing today… does he find that his story sometimes is intimidating to people?
Unless you take the time to really question what your values are and your priorities and what you want to accomplish in your short time here on earth… If you’re not taking the time to do that, I feel like you’re wasting time.
- Does he have any favorite books that have most influenced him, and why?
- The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life by John O’Leary
- If he could have dinner with one person he admires, past or present, who would it be and why?
- US President Lyndon Johnson
What You’ll Learn In This Episode:
- Post-traumatic stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and post-traumatic growth
- Tactics that can help people develop their mindset, or just build some daily habits that can help them
- Key takeaways:
You are stronger than you think you are.
You can make a real difference in your local communities.
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