October 12, 2013
|Remi Adeleke (Courtesy of Remi Adeleke)|
He was a tough kid living in the Bronx.
Remi Adeleke was born in Nigeria, but moved with his mother and brother to live in New York City after his Nigerian father passed away when he was about 5 years old. The Bronx, known for some of the meanest streets of New York City, was where Adeleke learned to run favors for drug dealers. He was a kid making big money, but he was a kid out of control.
Today, Remi Adeleke teaches people how to change. He teaches a wide range of people, from executives running large corporations to young kids looking for direction, the skills and discipline taught to Navy SEALs (United States Sea, Air, Land Team). He is a co-founder and chief operating officer of the Acumen Performance Group Intl, LLC (APG). Adeleke’s own transformation didn’t come fast, and it didn’t come easy.
“I was trying to fill a void when I was a kid in the Bronx,” says Adeleke. “I didn’t know what I was looking for back then, but it was a subconscious need for a father figure. I fell into hip hop. The rappers, they were my father figure for the day, my role models. I wanted to be like them, I wanted to act like them.”
By age 19, Adeleke says, he was selling drugs. The young Adeleke had more money than he knew how to handle.
“I delivered blow-up phones for dealers,” Adeleke says. “Blow-up phones are phones that can’t be tracked, used to make drug deals for a while and then they get cut off. It was great money. A dealer wanted a whole bunch of phones, but the phones got cut off at 20 days instead of 60.”
The angry dealer threatened Adeleke and his mother, putting his family in jeopardy. It was a wake-up call for Adeleke.
“I look back on that, how I got through that unscathed while my friends got caught, and I realize my Father was looking out for me,” says Adeleke, who has since become a deeply religious man. Having escaped the wrath of the dealer, he wanted to try a different direction in life and felt what he says was a calling to join the military.
“I hated anyone in uniform,” says Adeleke. “The New York cops were very corrupt, so I associated uniforms with corruption, yet I felt a calling to join the military and be a man in a uniform.”
Adeleke says he walked into the Army recruitment office, but no one was there. He walked into a Navy recruitment office next.
“During the sign-up process, they found out there were warrants out against me for some minor infractions,” Adeleke recalls. “I had to go to court to clear those up, but it was June 2002, not long after 9/11, and when the justice heard I wanted to join the military, my record was wiped clean.”
The way was cleared for Adeleke to become a Navy SEAL, except that he had to first ...