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Success Spotlight with Benny Escontrias: Founder of Globalshift
Benny was raised throughout Los Angeles by two parents who were involved in gangs. When he was young, he moved so much that he attended over 10 different schools. He's been to jail and he's been stabbed a few times. Benny's worked in construction for nearly 11 years, but his true passion is to inspire and empower others.
How do you define success?
Real success is found through self-mastery. Success is about truly loving yourself and choosing happiness as a dominant vibrational state.
Everyone has his or her own journey and story to tell. Can you talk about your journey up to this point?
Imagine being raised by gangster parents who ONLY knew about gangster ways and what their environment taught them. My name is Benny Escontrias and this is my story. Allow me to set the stage…I'll begin in 1982, in the city of Commerce, East Los Angeles (one of the toughest parts of California). There I was, a young boy who didn’t understand love or what it meant to be a good person. As you can imagine, my life was filled with trauma, violence and crazy times.
As a child, my father was in and out of jail, but when he was around he loved me the best way he could. My mother had to raise us, but she didn’t have much. We lived off of food stamps for many years, and when those food stamps ran out, we went without food. I know what it is like to be hungry. There was always a lack of money in my house. My mother didn’t work and sometimes my dad wasn’t around to support us so, I know what it’s like to go without necessities. I remember the time when I had to buy school shoes from the Salvation Army. Imagine me on the first day of school, with generic second-hand toe covers. Let’s just say that it didn’t sit so well with my peers. I remember the times that I had to wear the same pants over and over again throughout the week. It was totally embarrassing for me, but I guess sooner or later, I got used to it and was thankful for whatever I had.
In the course of my childhood and teenage years, my family moved 8 times; moving from the city of Commerce to Rosewood, from Rosewood to Montebello, from Montebello to Norwalk twice, from Norwalk to Whittier, from Whittier to Hollywood, and from Hollywood to Rancho Cucamonga, just like the “Next Friday” movie. What was different was that this movie was real. We moved so much that I couldn’t build good relationships. I know what it’s like to have no friends. I also know what it's like to start over, many times. By the time I was 10, I had been to more funerals than birthday parties as every year somebody my parents knew died. I was raised in the ghetto, a place of sadness, despair, and hopelessness. One day at 10 or 11 years old, my parents, some friends, and I were at our favorite neighborhood park having ourselves a good ole time drinking beer, playing handball, and all that good stuff—when boom, boom, boom! I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting on a bench (between the parking lot and the handball courts) where my parents were, doing my homework and a white Monte Carlo pulled up in the parking lot. Two individuals dispersed from the car, walked a few feet from the car, yelled out a gang name and pulled out a handgun pointing it towards the handball courts. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion as they began to shoot. It took me a few seconds to realize what was actually happening. I was terrified. I ducked and ran towards the recreation building where everyone else was running. While running, I saw my dad’s friend with a chrome shotgun in his hand running towards the shooters. I watched as someone shot at my parents. It was like a scene from the movies. At a young age, I had seen just about everything from shootings to drugs to violence to death.
If you’re thinking about joining a gang, or going down the wrong path, you better think twice. Nothing but bad results come of that choice: death, jail, drug addiction, and endangering your family. By the time I was 12, I began acting out in every way possible. When we moved to Hollywood I began my own journey into the street life. Remember, my only role models were gangsters so that’s all I knew. I wanted to be a gangster so bad, because I wanted the money, the power, the girls, and I thought it was cool. At age 15, I began the journey that some people would call the path to destruction. I started to do the things I saw growing up including drugs, stealing cars, vandalizing buildings with graffiti, fighting, and being in really bad relationships. I've done some really bad things that I’m not too proud of and hurt a lot people along the way. I’ve experienced jail a few times so, I know what it’s like to have your freedom taken away from you. Jail is a place you don’t ever want to be. Your freedom is stripped away, they tell you what you have to do, the food is HORRIBLE, and when you take a shower, you take it with 10 to 15 other butt naked dudes! Not to mention, they put you on lock down like a pet in a cage. Trust me, YOU DON’T WANT TO EXPERIENCE THIS LIFE. I repeat. YOU DON’T WANT TO EXPERIENCE THIS LIFE!
Think twice before you do something that you know you’re not supposed to be doing. Be careful who you choose to call friends, because if you don’t choose your friends wisely, you can end up in a bad situation. I was stabbed 3 times and cracked behind the head by dudes I didn’t even know. I was hanging around the wrong crowd. When I was in high school I experienced a very dysfunctional relationship with my girlfriend at the time. I understand what mental and emotional pain feels like.
Today, I am free from all of the pain. I am free from all of the despair. I stand today as a survivor of life and an inspiration to others. Despite everything I've been through, I am completely grateful and thankful for every single moment I experienced. I am who I am right now because my past has empowered me. I’ve learned how to appreciate the things I have in my life. I learned how to make better decisions. Because I experienced so much hate in my younger days, I now fully understand the meaning and the power of love. I was shown how to hate, but now I know how to love.
You started the #GlobalShift Family on Instagram. What is it and how can people be apart of it?
The Globalshift started in January of 2015 as a network for motivational and inspirational accounts on Instagram. Our initial goal was to support one another so that we could all grow our accounts and have the ability to inspire more people. As time went on and the group evolved with well over 100 members, I began to realize the power we had with social media and what type of influence the group was capable of. As the group evolved, so did our vision. Our vision is to inspire and empower over one billion people around the world to awaken their own greatness and to become one of the greatest positive movements on social media.
What is your favorite social media platform and why?
Instagram and Periscope as of right now. Instagram because I get to inspire and motivate while utilizing my creativity and uniqueness. Periscope because I simply get to inspire and motivate people through a live broadcast.
What has been your biggest failure and how have you learned from it?
I would say drugs. I’ve learned drugs will slowly break you down and also have the ability to ruin your life.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
A complete stranger told me that I was going to achieve great things in my life and said, as I look into your eyes, I see greatness.
If you could have lunch with 3 people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln and Napoleon Hill. All three of these men inspired the world.
I understand what you may be going through, but you must know that you are an AMAZING human being. You have been created in the image of absolute greatness. You were born to be somebody. You are here for a purpose and one of the most important days of your life will be when you realize that purpose. Never settle or accept any negative situation. You have the power to rise to great heights. So rise and become the greatest version of yourself. Follow your passion and trust your heart, energy never lies. Love yourself and love your story. Express love to everyone you meet. Go home and tell your family that you love them. No matter where you come from or what you’ve been through, you can be, do & have anything you want! You are appreciated & loved. I love you, BennyEsco
The Fundamental Round
Favorite food: Mexican
Favorite book: Law Of Success
Favorite movie: The Pursuit of Happiness
Favorite athlete: Ronda Rousey
Favorite sports team: Cowboys
Favorite song: Blessed by Big Sean
Favorite Quote: “You become who you imagine yourself becoming.”
Biggest role model: Myself
Animal you most resemble: Owl
You can connect with Benny here:
Benny Esco Twitter
Benny Esco Instagram