Damon West

S., Criminal Justice & college professor
Renowned keynote speaker
Best-selling co-author of The Coffee Bean with Jon Gordon, which was featured in Forbes’ “Top Twenty Books You Need to Read to Crush 2020.”



Prior to being sentenced to sixty-five years in a Texas prison, Damon West had it all. He grew up in Port Author, Texas, where he lived in a stable home and had a canon of an arm which landed him a Division 1 scholarship to play at the University of North Texas. At twenty-years old, he was the starting quarterback at UNT when he suffered a career-ending injury after just the third play against Texas A&M University. This was when he hit his first fork in the road. His identity as he knew it was gone and to cope with that crushing disappointment, he turned to hard-core drugs.

After graduation, Damon worked in the United States Congress, was a national fundraiser on a U.S. Presidential campaign and eventually trained to be a stockbroker for United Bank of Switzerland (UBS). One day while at UBS, he was introduced to methamphetamines and became instantly hooked. From that moment on, the lives of so many innocent people would forever be changed by the choices he made to feed his insatiable meth habit. Still, with no desire to change himself, he was given a life sentence in prison.

Before serving his time, his mom stated, “You have a debt to pay. You return to us the man we created and brought you up to be, or you don’t return to us at all.” After a fateful discussion during his incarceration with a seasoned convict, Damon had a spiritual awakening. He realized fear and faith have a lot in common. Both believe in a future that has not happened yet. You must fight to keep your faith in things you believe in, even when you know you’ll have tough days that beat you down. He also learned that, like a coffee bean changing with the application of heat and pressure, he could change the environment around him. Everyone in life puts out energy; when you have negative energy, you attract negative people. When you have positive energy, you attract positive people—so he decided that from then on, he would connect to positive energy in life.

Armed with a program of recovery, a renewed faith and a miraculous second chance at life, Damon emerged from over seven years of prison a changed man. He altered his mindset, and now faces hard times with grit and determination while reframing them as opportunities that can ultimately bring redemption.


David’s ultimate message: don’t let your mind hold you back. Take that first step of action and become the coffee bean.

5 Ways to Become a Coffee Bean:

  1. Positive body language. Put a smile on your face every day. A smile is powerful.
  2. Get up every day and work on yourself—spiritually, mentally and physically.
    1. Spiritually: Your connection with your faith
    2. Mentally: The books you read, who you follow on social, what you watch on TV
    3. Physically: Putting that body in motion every day, eating well and RESTING
  3. Servant Leadership. Helping others reach their goals. If you are a coach, you’re already a servant leader because you are helping others become the best version of themselves, be it in sports or in life.
  4. Control what you can control. Control what you think, what you say, what you feel and what you do. Know that you have no control over the events going on around you.
  5. Your past does not define you. Your past wins, your past loses; nothing defines you. Learn from it and grow.


Remember: life is a pot of boiling water. You can have days where you’re like a carrot that turns soft when added. There will also be egg days where you become hard to things around you. But then you have that third choice to become a coffee bean. And even when you start off your day as a carrot or an egg, take a deep breath and transition your day.