We’ve gotta start at the beginning. If you’re one of the millions who have watched me on YouTube, you may have seen the burn scars on my legs. That’s because at 17 months old I was severely burned from my waist down in a crazy bathtub accident.
My mother stepped away from my bath to answer the phone so my 3-year old sister thought she’d “help” by turning on the hot water and rinsing me off. Of course, she was too little to realize what happened, but the scalding water severely burned me and I was sent to the Shriners Burn Institute in Galveston, Texas where I ended up spending most of my childhood.
To say it sucked is the ultimate understatement. It was hard growing up a burn victim and living my childhood from 17-months to 7 years old in the Burn Institute. Even when I finally went to move out, I was back in regularly for surgery after surgery after surgery.
I remember one time around 10 years old, I had just come out of another surgery. As I woke up I realized my hands and feet were tied to the bed so I couldn’t move, couldn’t push a button, couldn’t do anything but I had to go to the bathroom really, really bad.
So I yelled as loudly as I could for the nurse. No one came. I kept yelling, over and over again… still nobody…
No one came...
Until finally, as a 10-year-old little boy, tied to that bed, I was forced to piss all over myself because I had nobody.
At that moment I silently begged God to just end it. Let me die. I’d been at this for over eight years. It was too much pain for a 10-year-old to have to go through. I just wanted a way out. To be done with it all.
But thank God He doesn’t always give us what we ask for and instead puts us in situations that grow, stretch, and expand us.
Within 24 hours, He did exactly that.
As I spent the next day after surgery angry, wondering what I did to deserve this and asking God why He wouldn’t just let me die - I heard a voice, loud and clear, say, “Because I'm not done with you.”
What did that mean?
I had no idea until the next day when they brought in a 13-year-old girl with 100% of her body so severely burned she didn’t even look human. As I looked at her, I remembered the night before and how I wanted to die but God wanted to use me... and I just knew, something changed in me forever. My brain instantly rewired.
No matter how bad you think you have it - even if you’ve got it bad - there is always somebody that has it far worse than you.
They showed me a picture of how beautiful she was before her burns and I’ll never forget - knowing how difficult her life was about to become made me a completely different person.
From that moment on, I refused to complain about where I was because I knew I can always make it better and someone else always has it worse.
I believe the same is true for you too.
Just because I had a better outlook on life, didn’t mean it was any easier. In my young adult years, I still experienced a ton of adversity and did a bunch of dumb stuff I shouldn’t have like drinking, drugs, and running the streets.
But it was part of me figuring things out. I was told my whole life, “Sit down. Shut up. You can’t do that. You’re never gonna amount to anything. You can’t do anything right.” and the more you hear that crap, the more you let other people’s beliefs become your own and you start believing them even though none of it is actually true.
You’ve heard the saying, “Hurt people, hurt people”? Well, that was true for me.
The people who made me believe those lies were hurting and they hurt me. So what did I do? I turned around and began to hurt others.
Listen, those limiting beliefs you hold onto can hurt not only yourself but a lot of other people around you. But the truth is, you’re not bound to the beliefs put in your head or the wrong thoughts generated for you.
If I believed everything that was said about me, I wouldn’t be here with you today. It took a long time for me to realize that and a big part of my change happened when I met my wife, Jamie.
Because of her, I began to take ownership of my own thoughts and actions. I took responsibility for not just myself but by that time, my family too. Part of that responsibility was getting a local job as a hazardous waste truck driver. With that job though, I had the weekends off and since I wasn’t partying anymore, I needed a hobby.
I couldn’t just sit still at home on the weekends, so I started to barbecue, and immediately I took to it. It started a fire in me, a resolve, and a determination that I was going to change my life through BBQ.
Welp, the first time was a disaster. My wife opened up the trash can and we slid it all in. But eventually, I got a whole lot better. I dedicated every minute I could to learning and experimenting, but I still worked my “day job” driving a hazardous waste truck.
And the thing is - I hated that job. It paid the bills and it was a fine job, but every Sunday evening I’d get sick to my stomach knowing I had to go back to work the next day.
Then one day driving home it just hit me, “I can’t do this anymore.” But I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do.
So when I got home I sat down and made a list of all the things I valued, which turned out to be about 100 things. I knew I needed to narrow that down so I circled 25, then 20, then 15, then 10, and five. Then I thought, “Okay if I live my life by three values, what would they be and what would it look like?”
They are - finances, family, and freedom.
Once I understood the values I wanted to live by, I knew I needed to quit my job. So I told Jamie, my wife and she looked at me and said, “Yeah, I’m surprised it took you this long.”
That’s when I started a food truck, which I also used as a competition trailer so I could quickly pay off the debt I took on to get it going. Anybody who knows me, knows I’m not a fan of owing anybody anything. So I worked hard with that food truck and got it paid off pretty quickly.
After traveling all over, selling out of the truck, I got back home to look at the numbers. Now, I’m big on data. You can have feelings and thoughts but numbers don't lie. So when I sat down to look at the numbers, I realized the food truck was taking up 80% of my time but didn’t contribute even 20% of the overall revenue.
So I got to thinking - what could do with 80% more time dedicated to Kosmos Q? I sold the truck and started to go all in with developing and distributing products.
But when I tried to sell at competitions, no one would talk to me let alone buy from me. Instead of quitting, it lit a fire under me. I thought, “forget it.”
I took little baggies of injection and started passing them around for free. At first, it didn’t go well. One guy dumped it out on the ground and a bunch of others were upset - how dare I come out with an injection?
It really was just a bunch of politics and high school bullshit, but it made me push even more to make the business happen. I went home and built my own website so I could ship to anybody and everybody, and in 2009 I incorporated Kosmo’s Q.
Back then I spent so much time prepping and shipping products that one day I got a call from my wife saying our daughter’s school’s principal - the same school my wife taught at - called her down to her office!
At the time, my daughter Desa was in second grade and a perfect princess of a student, so when Jamie got called down to the principal’s office because of her, we couldn’t imagine why.
When she got there, the principal explained, “Desa told a story to her class that you may get asked about later. She told the class that your husband sits in the garage, bags up powder, and ships it to his friends around the country.”
Ha! … She wasn’t wrong. That’s exactly what I did at the time. It just turns out it was brisket injection, not cocaine!