My name is Cody Alford, and I'm retired USMC Special Operations soldier turned entrepreneur and motivational speaker. 

From serving as a Marine special operator for over 15 years, to selling all our belongings and moving into a conversion van traveling around the United States, to now owning a homestead has been quite the journey thus far.

I knew I wanted more in life than what was comfortable and known to me.  After retiring early from the Marines due to a series of cognitive issues that seemed to stack on one another, I was beyond lost.  This new experience of unexperienced freedom was uncharted waters for me. 

No timelines to meet, no deployments to prepare for or men and women to lead in combat left me questioning what is next.  

My mental health was deteriorating and I slipped into the abyss of my own self victimizing and self-sabotaging ways.  My smiles on the outside did no justice for the pain I was feeling within. Crippling anxiety and depression enslaved me to my mind. Tired of my own BS, I took my pain and suffering to the internet and began sharing my journey to become my best version of myself.  I debuted on YouTube which if you think Instagram and Facebook can have rude and belittling keyboard commandos, YouTube is a whole new level.

The more I shared my feelings of what I was going through and the actions I was taking to invest in myself, the more shit talking would seem to come in from others.  I was confused.  I was being as raw and real as I could be with the digital world, yet I couldn’t understand why I would get so much hate for trying to help others with my own story.  

What I would come to realize along my journey is I was focusing on the negative because I lacked the self-empowerment to control my emotions and not allow others to determine my worth.  This was a new frontier for me.  From being a high-level senior leader in the special operations community to being a titleless being in this world, figuring out who and what I am, didn’t come with a road map.  It was my mission to pave one and share it with others who can relate.

One moonlit night in Utah, I found myself bundled up with my journal in hand as I rocketed through the depths of my soul and the universe at large.  This would be my first psilocybin journey that started it all.  In this trip, it became crystal clear of what I must start.  I wasn’t sure where this would lead me, but the unknown is the blessing in every journey.  On this night, in our van, We Defy the Norm was created.

I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew I had a message to share and a path to pave for those who are not able to share my same experiences.  This was the night my super power became clear to me. This was the night that changed everything about me. This was the night my journey to serve began.

Few years in the van, a lot of heartache and destruction, topped with a roller-coaster of emotions led us to renting warehouse space from a close friend and fellow business owner where he mentored me in making this vision come to life.  My message is simple, to encourage others through my own actions to defy conformity and invest in themselves.

The best part of us is just past our fear of the unknown.  The unknown is where the transformations happen.  We have to be willing to go all in on life or we miss out on the greatest gift known to man. Life.  Don’t sleep on this opportunity.  From the darkest of dark I have risen to new ways I didn’t even know were possible until I embraced the unknown and accepted the only way forward is forward.  

The designs I create are direct reflections of my journey, self-realizations and pursuit to become my best self.  This path is a daily endeavor.  We aren’t owed anything and nothing in life is guaranteed.  Until you embrace this truth, and step through the gates of the unknown, we will always be slaves to “what if” and “what could be”.  

If you’re going through hard times in your life, or just looking for ways to better yourself and become a lighthouse for those around you, know this, nothing worth anything comes easy.  Remain raw and real with yourself on the path you walk for today is all that exists and time runs out for us all.  Quiet the noise from others and in your mind and keep moving forward.  Remember, you increase your chances for success by 50% for just starting.  

Welcome the unknown with open arms and make death work for your life.