Thursday, 17 January 2019

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November 2013 Interviews

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John Salkowski

“We weren’t born to be mediocre. We were born to be champions.” ~John Salkowski

When polled, readers admit that they want to know more about the authors and speakers of motivational quotes. Do they communicate from personal experience or solely from their desire to inspire others? Are these mere phrases used to pump up the recipient, or words the author lives by? Whether you are a leadership student or the every day, average scholar of positive thinking and lifestyle quotes, author and former police officer, John Salkowski, delivers motivational advice and instruction acquired from both experience and passion. The information he shares in his book, Leadership in the Line of Duty, was learned first hand while he suffered PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome/disorder) following an on-the-job shooting that did occur while in the line of duty. In my interview with him, John Salkowski candidly describes what it was like to go through that experience, who inspires him, and how leaders can make split second decisions with confidence.

MN-The subtitle to Leadership in the Line of Duty is, "50 Leadership Lessons for Making Split Second Decisions from a Cop Who Has Been in Life And Death Situations."  Your career as a law enforcement officer ended due to one of those life and death situations mentioned. Can you tell me a little about that and your journey through PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) resulting from this experience?

JS-On January 10, 2000 at 4am I was on patrol in the Bala Cynwyd section of Lower Merion Twp. when a radio broadcast came across the radio. Attention all units, robbery just occurred at the Sunoco A Plus, Lancaster Ave/Bryn Mawr Ave. Actor is described as a black male, wearing army fatigues last seen east on Lancaster Ave. driving a white Hyundai with a yellow light on the roof. My location at the time of this robbery was City Line Ave. approaching Lancaster Ave. with the hope of intercepting the subject vehicle at this intersection. Within minutes of me of me entering this intersection, I spot the vehicle. The vehicle began to travel at a high rate of speed north on City Line Ave in the opposite direction I was traveling. I turned my police vehicle around and began to pursue the vehicle. The vehicle came to a stop on its own, just moments later. Why? I don’t know why. I took up a tactical position behind the suspects’ vehicle. I opened my driver’s side door with my weapon drawn, pointing it at the suspects’ vehicle because this was reported as an armed robbery. As I had my weapon pointed at the suspect over my windshield, I saw the suspect turn and look at me. All I saw was the whites of his eyes. I’m ordering the suspect to show me his hands, show me his hands. The suspect rolled his driver’s side window down 3 inches. I then saw the suspect stick his hand out the window, waving his middle finger. At this point, my knees began to wobble. I felt unsafe in my current position. I immediately took up a position behind my vehicle. To the right rear trunk area. I had a clear view to his driver’s side door. I noticed he watched my every move. As soon as I took up my new position, I saw him looking at me. He then, kicked open his driver’s side door and began to exit the vehicle, all while I am ordering him to stop and show me his hands. He exited the vehicle with what appeared to be a rifle. He held it at port arms. As he exited the vehicle, he raised his weapon above his head and began to run towards me, screaming with the weapon above his head. As he reached me, I began to back pedal, never taking my eyes off the suspect. He’s getting closer. He begins to swing the weapon, later determined to be an African war stick. He was a black panther. As he began swinging this towards my head he was within 3 feet of me. I shot him one time in the chest. He fell immediately to the ground. From this point on my life has changed. I suffered PTSD for 2 years undiagnosed. Doing, saying, acting like someone other than John Salkowski. My anxiety was through the roof. I became an introvert, hating people in general. Lashing out, moody, temperamental outburst. I had no idea what was happening to me. My life began to spiral out of control. My marriage was crumbling, as well as my career. Once I knew my career was coming to an end, I began reading motivational, inspiration books on self-made people. Five years after the shooting I retired from police work and became an entrepreneur in sales. My life changed forever.

MN-Let me ask you about "split second decisions". That has to be one of the most feared tasks a leader can make. How do you make an informed, responsible decision on the spot-is it more intuition or risk taking?

JS-Every decision I made while a police officer, had to be made with seconds if not minutes. Whether it was to make an arrest, write a ticket or shoot my weapon. I believe making informed split second decisions comes from your experience as well as listening to your intuition. My gut has never failed me. Whatever I feel in my “gut” I go with it. This comes from life experience as well as previous experiences you have encountered. Yes, it can be risky but so is not making a decision. As you know decision making is an essential leadership skill. Learning how to make timely, well considered decisions will lead you to well-deserved success in life. Being decisive is a learnable skill. In order to build this skill, I like to train people to make one tough decision a day. Set a time period of 5 minutes or less. Regardless if its right or wrong, you took action. This training exercise will carry over to all decision making which will assist you in making more informed, well-reasoned decisions. Knowledge, experience, education, training, intuition, confidence and common sense are all factors that play an important role in making split second decisions.

MN-Last month, I interviewed a fitness expert and she mentioned the importance of positive affirmations and the difference a positive mindset can make in regards to our health. In your book, you mentioned positive affirmations as it relates to the subconscious mind and programming it for success. What are some of your favorite leadership-related self affirmations?

JS-In my book I state that our sub-conscious mind never sleeps. It receives all kinds of info from our conscious mind. This info comes through our 5 senses which are related to how we see and perceive things around us. When these experiences are repeated continuously, they sink into our sub-conscious mind and become an intrinsic part of what we become and how we act. My favorite affirmations are practiced with incantations. So what I mean is that I speak out loud, incorporating my whole body and will repeat what type of person, leadership, entrepreneur I want to become.

MN-Leadership in the Line of Duty is your third book related to the subject. When did the lifestyle of influence become a passion of yours?

JS-The lifestyle of influence became a passion to me when I knew my police career was coming to end. During my struggle with PTSD I had a lot of thoughts that would enter my mind, and suicide was one. I was very close to following this act to completion but what saved me was a few things. My daughter. She is my why. I didn’t want her going through life knowing that her dad took his own life. I didn’t want to put the burden on her. I wanted to make her proud. The second was meeting a man named John McMahon while on the job. A self-educated, self-made multi-millionaire entrepreneur. He gave me some invaluable advice when I needed it most.

MN-Earlier this year, Forbes magazine ran a story devoted to 10 things a leader should challenge. ( The article stated, "The truth is most leaders are skilled at challenging others, but are woefully inadequate when it comes to challenging themselves, or allowing others to challenge them." What recommendations do you have for executives who find themselves nodding in agreement to this statement?

JS-A good leader should not only be skilled at challenging others but also at challenging himself. I find this somewhat hypocritical of leaders. Great leaders need to practice what they preach. This all starts with self-mastery and self-discipline. Yes, I can see how troublesome this may be for some leaders in allowing others to challenge them. Most leaders are a high “D” on the DISC Personality chart. High D personalities don’t like taking direction, they’re very head strong and in some instant’s have do as I say, not as I do mentality. However, we must remember that these types of leaders did not get to where they are overnight.

MN-Every leader has someone they consider their leader. Who has influenced you the most in this area?

JS-When I first began studying influence and leadership, I studied Brian Tracy. I personally know Brian now and I believe things happen for a reason. I found him to enter my life when I believe I needed him most. I study many leaders to this day. Anthony Robbins, Jim Rohn to mention a few and many others that are not famous. Anyone that has high integrity and walks their walk, I consider a leader.

MN-Throughout your travels as a public speaker and motivator, what is the top concern you hear from those in leadership positions, and what is your recommendation to achieving a resolution with that challenge? 

JS-The top challenge that comes instantaneously into my mind would be some are not coachable or learnable. In my opinion, these types of people are at a loss. They’re know it all’s. You can’t help people like this. These are the people that will have to learn the hard way as opposed to following in the successful shoes of others that have been there done that. We know that success leaves clues but to the know it all’s, this isn’t the case. As Jim Rohn would say, “I wouldn’t take that class!”

MN-Your best tip for making each day a success would be?

JS-It all starts the night before. You must first turn off the TV. The news in particular. If you want to have a great night sleep and to wake up to have a productive, influential, impactful day in society you must read 10-20 pages of a book that inspires you. No drama books but books about success, leadership, motivation, inspiration, overcoming adversity. I suggest you take 1 hour before you turn the lights off to do this. I also highly suggest you to the same upon waking up. To start your day off positive, you have to fill your mind with positive. Write your goals, read 10 pages of a book and exercise.

Author bio- John R. Salkowski is a retired police officer after an impressive 15-year career. He’s also a survivor of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from a shooting incident that eventually ended his career. John has been diagnosed with this illness since 2000. He has received numerous Distinguished Awards for Bravery, Merit and Unit Citations. He has also received several employee recognition awards for his work within the community. After his police career, John got into real estate sales and entrepreneurship. John’s approach to business is dedicating himself to helping others succeed. John founded his own company, JRS Realty Group, in 2008. He has built a reputation as a motivated professional with unwavering integrity and honesty. As one of the top realtors in the country, John contributes a lot of his success to offering both buyers and sellers watertight guarantees. John has been featured in Philadelphia magazine as the area’s top real estate expert several years in a row. John’s true passion is speaking. The topics he covers are on leadership, inspiration, motivation, success, overcoming adversity and finding your why power. John speaks to business organizations, colleges, high schools and youth groups. In 2010, John founded Achieve Success Academy where he shares his passion in helping others find theirs. He is also an avid blogger. John is currently working on two other books on leadership success that will soon be published. In his free time, John enjoys exercising, reading, writing, blogging, traveling, and spending time on the beach with his daughter, Alexa.

To learn more about his leadership philosophy, visit John Salkowski’s website. ( If you would like to order a copy of his book, you may do so through Amazon. ( To inquire about John speaking at your next event, email him at .

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