260: Jesse Bradley Podcast

September 16, 2022

Jesse Bradley: From professional soccer player to almost dying from an allergic reaction to a malaria shot, Jesse talks about his redemption and life’s purpose. He is now a pastor in the great state of Washington, and has been on a journey to serve others. Catch his energetic spirit about overcoming adversity and finding his way.

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Show Transcript

Hey, everybody, it’s Mark Pattison. I’m back again with another great episode of Finding Your Summit. All about people overcoming adversity and finding their way, just like my guest today. Before we get there, when it bounced to my website really quickly, www dot mark pattison, NFL dot com. have got over two podcast they’ve been doing this now for a number of years and I always find it very inspiring to talk to people like my guests today. We all need lifts. Certainly I do, and and so hopefully the guy today and others will bring a bright light to your heart. Um. Also on there is my average journey Um, the movie, the film that wanted M Emmy for best picture. UH, there are some links to that right there on the website. To go check it out and continue to raise money for or ground. Nonprofit helps empower others, which is what we should all be about, empowering others the best that we can do. I do it through my campaign called a millions Everest. We’ve raised well over a hundred grand now and continue to do so. So if you feel compelled, please go there. of O those funds that go um to through millions of us, to go directly to higher ground so nothing gets parked in my direction.

Collage image with mountainous background displaying Finding Your Summit logo, episode number and photos of both Mark Pattison and Jesse BradleyOkay, on that note, let’s jump into today’s amazing guest. I got to know him a little bit a couple of weeks ago. Is inspired about his journey and, uh, he’s also another fellow Washingtonian as I am. I want to bring him on. Jesse Bradley, how are You doing mark? It’s so good to be with you. I’m honored to join you today and I am inspired tackling those seven summits. I’ve watched, you know, the video of the movie. I love what you’re doing. Lots of respect. I appreciate that. Brother. I mean, look at it’s been a law journey and it’s it’s interesting because is Um, we’re gonna get into to your story a little bit, uh, and and it’s fascinating to me because the number, the magic number that you used there was ten years really of healing, and but do that healing came a lot of power knowledge. Uh just really sounded like you really got centered in the way you wanted to live your life, you know, moving forward, which we’ll we’ll talk about, but let’s talk about your background because you know, I grew up as football player. It sounds like kind of your home was on the soccer field. You end up going to Dartmouth, which is you know, I can tell you right. You’re like fifty points, you know, smarter, high a q points, and I got right here. But you know, uh, you know, congrats on that, um. But, but, but, did you grow up in the Great State of Washington? Were you playing soccer and then? What was your breath? How did you get to Dartmouth, you know, a very prestigious Ivy League school? Yeah, I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on the campus of the University of Minnesota. That’s the golden go fers. Our apartment was in the parking lot of the football stadium. So football caught my attention first. I mean go first. Haven’t had that many legends. Tony Dungee probably stands out as a top name. But I at age two, I told my parents that’s what I want to do when I’m old. I want to play pro sports. And I played a lot of sports in high school, with one state championships. Basketball was really a focus for me. That was my dream, but that’s not where I had the most talent, and so I ended up playing soccer and that’s what led to playing at Dartmouth and having a great experience there, phenomenal coach Bobby Clark, who’s just a legend internationally. You know, sports it’s all about the coach, right, what the coach brings, the culture, training up people, and when you’re around the greatest coaches, that’s when you grow the most. And that’s true in business, that’s true in life, and so I look back to the coaches I had and I’m so grateful for that. I played overseas as well, Scotland’s Zimbabwe and just wait, wait, wait, I just want to like you just jump over there. So you go to to Dartmouth. You know, it’s a it’s a great school, you have a great experience because you have a great coach. Um, the position you’re playing, I think, was goalie. Is that correct? Yeah, that’s right. And so so how do you how do you take that leap now from going from you’re now graduated from school and now what’s next? What, like what was that connection piece? Yeah, that’s right. And even thinking about Dartmouth, you know, I go back to my mother, because my parents got divorced when I was seven and mom stayed with me and mom made a lot of sacrifices, went back to school, worked extra jobs. So then she’s changed me because I was struggling in school. It was getting worse every year and she changed cities, moved from Minneapolis to St Paul. Put me in a different environment and that changed the course, the trajectory for me academically. And then going into Dartmouth, you know, that was a place that was solid in terms of what I was learning, but also the soccer program was phenomenal. Division One we made it to the final eight, elite eight. That was the best year we had in the tournament. And then you know, in terms of what was next, I was a psychology major, but counseling drains me, to be honest. I can do some of it, but then I’m wiped out and I didn’t want to go into teaching and I didn’t know what I would do beyond sports. I figured as a goalkeeper I could probably play to him about forty and my plan leaving college. Even though a lot of people were going to Boston, New York, the corporate world, I knew the dream was always to play sports and sometimes we have dreams in our hearts that are there and they’re in our minds and they’ve been there for many years. I mean I would go to sleep with a soccer ball in bed, you know, I would. Everything was was that was the dream and when it came through it was amazing. I you know, with my coach. There was a lot of open doors and our team went over to Scotland. I went back over to Scotland and had a tremendous experience there. Scotland is rugged, competitive. It’s not a place where we get a lot of hugs. You earn everything and you got to prove of it and you can’t fake anybody out. Very real and it’s kind of refreshing in that way. So locker rooms are tough. You grow up there and coming out of Scotland. There were some other opportunities and one after graduating. One was with actually man you and my coach is good friends with Sir Alc Ferguson and there was an opportunity to go to man you. The other one was Africa and it was Zimbabwe. It was the highlanders football club in Bolwo and looking back I’ve had moments where I thought, what would my life have look like if I would have chosen England and chosen that prestigious club, but it didn’t go that way, and part of it was because I saw the needs in Africa, the AIDS, drought, famine, struggling financially, and so I went to Africa and also beyond the season, was tutoring in the youth contact center, trying to help people academically, help people with their education, and I love being there. Africa’s and specifically Zimbabwe, is a place where there’s a lot of of hospitality. The minute you arrive, you know you’re welcome there. Your love your appreciated. People are so thankful, even though that’s where I learned gratitude, because I didn’t realize how much we have an America and I took so much for granted. But I saw that the people there were more thankful than the average person I knew in our country and I thought I’ve got something to learn. I learned so much about rising up and overcoming challenges from the people in Africa. The generosity there that even though you didn’t have any material possessions, they would freely enjoyfully give you what they had, if it was the only piece of meat or if you know anything they could give you to express love. That’s how they live and that was the culture and I learned so much in soccer. So I’ll let you just jumping in whenever you want to know. I’m jumping in right now. So I’m trying to understand the connection point, because I think you know you were talking about. You know, you have a chance to be with either man you, which is this prestigious, most prestigious soccer club in the UK, in London, and and and over go to Zimbabwe. You know, it’s it’s like we’re and you later found your really your gift of gratefulness and humility when you were down there because of the cultures. I have also been to to Africa several times, so I know what you’re talking about. I’ve been in these different villages where they had no water and we built water wells for them and seeing what they’ve done for us. But the point is, or the question is, is, when you would you, when you rewind it, where did you find the maturity to say I’m gonna, I’m gonna bypass sustaining in things that are very comfortable, versus going to some place you’ve never been before and it’s just kind of like a Hail Mary in terms of you know, all that you’re living, you’re eating or all the other stuff. They go with it. Yes, because through our coach there’s relationships and relationship with the most important thing in life, and he had to trust of different clubs and coaches. Queen Park Rangers was another one in England and through that we weren’t gonna be given anything freely. We’d have to, you know, try out, we’d have to, but he had confidence in our abilities and so he set up some of the players to have that opportunity, which is amazing, that opportunity, that support in terms of going off the road a little bit and going down to Africa instead. There were some people at the time who thought this is dangerous, and so that’s one piece to consider. But we went forward anyways and I went with Tommy Clark, who is my four years my roommate and his best friend in college. And and then also there’s times in life where there’s a certain usual progression, and you have this in every career. Well, the next steps here, the next steps there. Now I’m a pastor and there was one opportunity to go lead a church of a couple of thousand in Pennsylvania, but I chose a church of a couple of hundred in California. And what I’m saying is there’s times in life where you go, not just the usual of what everyone tells you to do, but you go because there’s a sense of purpose, there’s a sense of joy, there’s a connection with the people. And for me, when I pray about it too, that’s another thing. Is like, all right, what’s the sense? As best as I can tell, that this is the next decision, and I really had that confirmation going to Africa. You know, England was a little more similar to Scotland. I was also ready for something different and it was just exciting to be there. It was an amazing experience. That’s great. That’s great. Um, that was the good news. So now let’s turn to something that sets you back a little bit. So you do what you think you’re doing when well, first of all, let me reset this. So I’ve been down with CLEM KILMAN Gero a couple of times and when I’ve gone down to Tanzania, before you go you have to take all these shots, one of them as malaria and that type of thing, and one of the things that you did at that time and years ago is you took, I think it was, I’m not sure if it was a shot or a pill that you were taking malaria um medicine that was going to do to help prevent you, obviously, from getting very sick, and it created some kind of toxic, toxic thing going on your body which really sets you back ten years. Like how did like ten years is a long time to be set back like that. Like, how did that play out? Yeah, absolutely brutal. What was supposed to protect me was killing me and it was a prescribed medication weekly, a pill, Larium quinine based, and it was to protect me from malaria. But after a season it built up toxic levels of my system and initially the doctors there didn’t know the cause and they sent me back to America because they saw my health was declining rapidly. And to give you a picture of a couple of symptoms, double vision, Migraine, headaches. I never have headaches, and I couldn’t handle any light or any noise. And the most scary was with my heart. My actual physical heart would start to be the hundred and sixty beats a minute sitting still. That’s tach of cardio, racing heart rate. Also atrial flutter abnormality, skip beats. It just couldn’t keep a rhythm, couldn’t regulate it, and there was pain and the left side of my chest day and night. In addition to that, there’s all the psychological side effects. I started to have panic attacks, waves of depression. It was like I lost control, and athletes like to know their mind and their body and you know, I felt really comfortable in my mind and my body and it felt like there was this foreign invasion that completely took over and my emotional equilibrium was off, my temperatures were off, sweats and chills, and I flew back to America. We paid out of pocket, went to Stanford the physician. They’re listed ten possible ways that I’m getting sick, ten different causes, and one of them was side effects of medication. He is the first doctor whoever warned or identified as a possibility, and I’ll tell you at that moment I knew inside that that was the cause. Now I made a decision. It was a huge decision. I think it’s the reason I’m here today is because I stopped taking the medication. It’s prescribed for a month after you return. Malaria can be latent and every physician told me keep taking the medication because you can’t get malaria on top of how sick you are, or else you’re gonna die. And again one of those quiet you listen to that quiet voice and I prayed and I just knew it’s the medication, and I made the decision, against so many people’s advice, that I’m not gonna take anymore. And we had my blood sent to the center of Disease Control. Well, they sent it back weeks later, confirmed or toxic levels of the medication already in my system and I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t make that decision. There’s times in life where you have to make split second decisions, like when you’re climbing those mountains right you gotta make split second decisions about the weather and do we keep going do we not? And those decisions right there, that’s where you know I just asked for wisdom. When I pray, you want to get good advice. Doctors give good advice a lot of times, but I look back, I’m so thankful to be alive today. I was fighting for my life for a year. The again, the most threatening was with my heart, and literally there’s a monitor on my heart all the time and any walking it would go up to a hunter and twenty beats a minute. I couldn’t control it, the rhythms. There’s nothing that doctors could do. The cardiologist couldn’t give me any medications on top of it because they didn’t know how to interact with the medication already. This drug inhibits the inhibitors of your heart, so the heart can’t regulate itself and I would just go through these storms, and it’s one of them. It’s terrifying when your heart is beating out of your chest and you can’t stop that. You just gotta wait to the episode stops and you don’t know if you’re gonna make it or not, and I lived in that for a year literally, not to mention everything else that was going on. Now, were you back and where were you in the states? Where you’re back in in Africa? Yeah, I moved back to the states and this happened. I moved back in my parents house. It was humble pie. You know. My my heart goes out to your daughter because I saw with some of the seizures and everything she’s gone through and has gone through, and I can relate because typically you think your twenties is you’re traveling the world, you’re, you know, making all these friends, you’re establishing this career and when it shifts and life’s going one way and all of a sudden life isn’t going that way anymore. It’s like a testing at testing to your core. And what happened on many levels for me were shifts that were positive. I don’t think they would have happened if I didn’t go through this. But I believe that the greatest things in life can happen coming out of the worst experiences and there’s a hope that’s greater than our challenges. And really the question I wrestled with is who am I? Who am I without, you know, an Ivy League college, without my friends, without a career, without my health, with not really being in my right mind? Like, who am I? And what I am really clicked in for me is that I’ve been living my life with a performance based identity, and that can work to a degree, because if you have success, you can feel good about it, but a performance based identity is really a roller coaster ride of feeling inflated and deflated and pride and shame. And what do you do when you don’t have anything to fix or get better at or perform, and it was going to be no fast forward through this year. I was just sitting in it, right. And where where do you start when you get eating elephants? So I had to find a new identity. Identities like an anchor. You drop it somewhere and I have had to find a new place to drop it. And what I realized is that I’m loved and it’s gonna be there. In love. God’s love is the greatest love of my life. People around me love me. It’s not gonna being anything performance based. And that right there started to give me a freedom and started to open up some new doors. Another one, I’ll give you a glimpse. In my family, when tough times come, you don’t cry, you don’t have a pity party, you just it’s kind of your white knuckle. You try harder, you do better and you improve and learn again. There was no way just to apply that. That’s a great quality, I’ll tell you. Perseverance, determination and, uh persistence. I commend people who have it. It’s important, but it wasn’t going to get me through this. And what I had to shift and start to let people into my pain and open up my heart in some new ways. I was more of the mindset like, I’m fine, I’m good, you don’t need to ask, you know, I’m gonna make it through this. You know, let’s not talk about it. But that doesn’t really bring the deepest healing. And I say a lot of times there’s no healing until the revealing. And I had to get more honest and lay out some stuff and and what I found is that people will actually still care for me, they won’t think less of me. Even God wants to be in there. I had a view of God that he’s only interested in my success, and it was like I didn’t know how to connect with God on that level. And I started to pull out my heart to people, cry with people, let people in, and that was massive. So these things, you know that they’re not small. I started to give things ten times every day, ten things I would identify. Could be a hot shower, could be a blueberr and Muffin, could be a hug from my dad, you know, but I would list ten every day so I wouldn’t be consumed with what I lost. I would remember what I still have and I started to let me so, let me just jump in there, okay, because you’re throwing out a lot and I just want to unpack things. Okay. Right. So, so one of the things that when you were talking, you know, that that came to mind is that this happens so often to athletes, number one, number two, since I’m in the NFL community, you know, there’s so many of these other guys that I’ve known over time that you know and they’re still doing it where, you know, forty fifty years later, they’re still hung up on what they did forty or fifty years ago, right. So they hadn’t made that transition that period of time and there’s just a there’s a moment of loss that you have to go through. You also find this in the military. I’ve got a good friend, Nate Boyer, who just is coming out with this film right now, Um, and it wraps a lot around the identity of what’s next when you come out and that the military just kind of like leaves you at the Corner Street and says good luck, right, a little bit like the NFL used to do. They do a lot at a job now, and so I can really identify with some of the things that you that you’re talking about and when you take that focus off yourself and you you it is important to pray. It isn’t important to have hope. It is important to be grateful and say thank you, to tend different things every day. But along with that takes action and sometimes that what goes along with that, I think, is stepping into the fear and going after something that that you don’t know that you’re capable of or maybe your feel for all, but it’s just one of those things that you know to to to to make progress in life and to feel like you have a purpose again, you do have to put yourself out there. Such a good point, so well said, because there’s nothing like, you know, an experience and you know it when you’re in a stadium, the big game, the team, the locker room, the Camaraderie, everything that goes with professional sports. You just can’t step into another career and have all that. And there’s a grieving and I hate grieving. No, I didn’t want a minute of grieving. And yet if you don’t grieve a lot of times you don’t work through it. And I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t know, well, I didn’t even know if I was going to live, but I didn’t have a backup career, I hadn’t been training on the side for a bunch of seasons, or I didn’t like I wasn’t ready to step into business or something like that. So I was really clueless as far as what is my life even gonna look like? Doctors had no answer and my recovery was so gradual. So I think it’s important you start where you are, you use what you can. You know, you do what you can and use what you have and you got to start rebuilding. And there they’re is a person the Bible that stood out to me at that time where Jesus says your house will be like a House on the Rock and not the sand, and I felt like everything’s fallen apart, like I want something solid in the foundation, and gratitude was part of that, you know, and learning how to give thanks to even when I don’t feel like it. I like say a gritty gratitude on my wall. I started to chart progress and I had to celebrate. You know, now I can walk twelve minutes instead of eight minutes without my heart racing in terms of like going up down in sixty beats a minute. And I charted out over months, because when you’re in the chronic situation you don’t feel like you’re making progress and it’s not until you can look back at year later and say, wow, I’ve got five extra minutes, I can walk now, and then you have to celebrate that and those are milestones and its progress and it’s gradual, it’s painful, but it’s moving forward. And then another important thing in life, I think, when you’re at your lowest, start serving. Start serving other people. I started volunteering, helping with it was junior high kids and I knew I didn’t have the energy to keep up with him. I knew he couldn’t do it very often, like once a week, but I started serving and that right there will take you out of yourself in a good way and it will give you a new purpose. The pain that I went through forged in fuel the new purpose and passion in my life and I had a greater compassion for people who were suffering. I had a greater desire and fire to make a difference in people’s lives and I knew I needed to again take those first steps. It’s hard to steer a part car, so you’ve got to start moving. Clarity will sometimes come a little later down the road, but I just started serving in that way and there was a lot of new habits. You know, I look back now and I could say, Oh, hold on to the new habite exact. One thing that’s really interesting that that you were talking about, because sometimes people get really hung up on this is when you’re being grateful about different things, which you said, you know you were, it’s really hard to be piste off at the same time. Yeah, right, if you’re giving gratitude, like I’m so grateful that you’re on this this podcast, would be really hard for me, because all my focuses on you and doing this thing right now, that it’s really hard for me to be really angry because somebody did something, you know, over here, because all your energy, Um is where your focus is going right, which is on you and on being grateful that you’re that you’re here. So I think that’s that. That’s a that’s a big, gigantic component of all this. And then the the other thing too, is just like you gotta keep climbing right, you gotta keep moving actually where your words right, right, and and when you start again, when you start serving others, your your your focus goes off where your energy has been, which is on negative things, and when you’re putting on other people and how you can help and serve, it just changes the whole dynamic and you feel so much better. It’s just that’s just the way the brand works and the human body does so. So, so, no, no, you nail it. So so I want to ask you this. Um, you’ve got like a thousand perils of wisdom and they apologized for cutting off. I just want to make sure that we’re kidding on these things, Um and and my, my. So, so you’re out there, you’re transitioning, you go through this time, you’ve got this smilarious issue that goes on for a long time, but there’s all these amazing things that come out of it. So where it is? where? Where do you ultimately forgot? I grew up in Minnesota. How do you ultimately land in the great state of Washington, not too far outside my home city of Seattle, and as the pastor where? Now you’re flourishing. Obviously you’re serving others in a big time way. Like how did that all work? You know, it was something I would never imagine. It happened. I didn’t grow up believing in God. I had no interest in God. At Dartmouth I took a religion class and I was assigned the Bible and I was like, who is this Jesus? And I did not see that one coming, but I just kept asking more questions, asked dozens of questions, got more information and it was gonna be my head, my heart, engaging it. I couldn’t figure out, with all the success the world I had, how come I still felt something missing inside and and so spiritually come from a family kind of baskin Robbins, thirty one flavors, a little bit everything. And when I made that decision that okay, Jesus is gonna be my final Dation, I’m gonna Trust Him, man, things changed in my life and I believe that the internal happens first and then it’s played out in the external. So you know, you, you mentioned it so well, that Um gratitude and serving. When that happens, it’s like you crawl out of a hole. A big thing for me was bitterness and resentment, and there’s there’s different people I could never forgive. There was even through this medication, you know, being given this and then no warnings like there was. There were lawsuits, they were going on. I forgave. Forgave doesn’t mean what the other person does is right, but it frees me from a jail. When you have resentment in you, it’s like this bitterness and this poison. So there were things that had to happen on the inside of me, I think, before I end up in a place like Seattle and you know I’m here, and even like you mentioned it, and it was really powerful, I think, is that when you’re an athlete, you’re focused on one part of your life and sometimes you don’t even realize that the gifts and the talents and abilities you have that are gonna come alive after that. And I had no idea, like I heated public speaking and it wasn’t until after college that all of a sudden it was like wow, I discovered like there’s a gift there and there was a lot of things that started to come alive in me and I realized, well, I thought I didn’t want to be a pastor because it just looks kind of stuffy, looks kind of boring, it just looks very contained, and I’m not even a church guy growing up. And then I started to see different pictures and paradigm shifts since like, wait a second, I can be caring for couples in their marriage. I can be out in the community doing things like we can be providing free clothes and resources for people. I can teach and learn more. You know, there’s just we can help people overseas and kids that are orphans overseas and clean water in Africa, and it was like wow, I never realized how much potential is here, and then who I am and what a good fit it is. And so now, I mean I’m energized every morning. I still soccer is a big part of my life. I have four kids playing. I like to play, but we’re doing faith and family nights with Seattle sounders. We’ve got another one coming up in in a month here tacoma stars, and there’s just a lot that happens in terms of sports and what I’m doing right now. That that’s special, that’s unique, and so I’m very grateful for where I am now. You and I know how the Pacific northwest is a special place. A lot of people in the country don’t realize that. It’s an amazing place and the beauty that’s around us. Uh, we just felt like we’ve been home here. The whole time. Yeah, that’s great. And you know another thing. You mentioned four kids. I know you’re married, Um. I believe at least one of those kids, uh, is adopted and you know, when you when somebody takes that on, that’s a big lift, and not saying that it’s a negative experience, but it’s a big lift. They’re not your kids and now you’re you know, everything is different, Um, and you have to integrate that into your existing family. What was the decision behind that? Yeah, you know, a couple of things come to mind. One of them is that, again, pain can become redemptive and I know what it’s like to have my dad leave my house, in my life and then have that absence in that void, and because of that, I can’t imagine what it’s like if you’re a kid and you have two parents that aren’t available. And so providing a forever family, a loving family, a secure family for a child, I mean that to me is one of the richest things in the training. I’m so glad for the honest assessment because it was very clear this might be one of the most difficult things in your life and it also might be one of the best, and sometimes in America. I think we try to separate those and make them mutually exclusive. We think, well, the easiest is the best, but actually it’s the most difficult. It’s often the most rewarding and they go together and every adoption story is a healing story. Those kids are amazing. If I could, you know, encourage everybody, it would be to help out the orphans starting in our country, the foster care system. If we open up our hearts and our homes, you could not only bring them into your home. Maybe you’ll be a enter, maybe you’ll be a parent. I don’t know how it will play out, but just make yourself available or maybe you’re gonna support some of the families who are doing it. We don’t need a foster care system. This can be gone in a couple of years if people step up. And I love our son. He’s been an amazing addition to the family and uh, you know, he’s just as important to me as any of the other kids and our family. I feel like uh is just so much more full with him, and so it’s it’s not necessarily an easy thing. You know. One of the hardest decisions, and again I’M gonna be honest here, is that once you qualify to adopt, then the social worker starts to bring different children to you, saying do you want to move forward with this one? And what do you do when the kids who are offered, you know, have challenges that include physical, emotional, developmental, you know, and the L ask a question like well, are you okay if this child’s never independent? Are you okay if this child is never gonna rise above like a second grade education? Are you okay if you know, when they start asking you, that this child is gonna have to have major surgeries coming up in the next few years? And I’ll tell you, what breaks my heart is that, you know, there’s kids that will bring to you. They’ll say, you know, this child’s two years old and it’s been raped many times. You know, you’re just like Oh, you just feel sick, you know, and it’s like and when you know those realities, like well, how can we help more? You know, we’re we’re doing something right now to bring clean water to kids in Africa. It’s because I’ve been to Africa and I’ve seen the drought and I’ve seen the poverty and it’s like, I just want to encourage people today. If you’ve seen something difficult or you’re hearing about a need and it stirs your heart and you can do something about it. Don’t put your head in your sand, in the head and the sand. Don’t retreat or be passive, but instead, like whatever that is that has your name on it, like go towards it, like I love that about first responders. Everyone else is moving away, they’re going towards it, and I think collectively we need to move towards some solutions. We can’t just wait until this person takes care or some much more money takes care of it or some so many government takes care of it. Like we need to step up in our own neighborhoods and and start to do it right, love one another well and unite and break through some cultural norms and solve some problems together. So I guess it runs deeply for me that Um when I think about the kids, I just want them to be safe, I want them to be in loving homes and I think together we can make a big difference this decade, and that’s something in America. And I also think we can bring clean water to people by and we’re on a chart right now, dramatic difference we can make when I heard that fifty dollars brings clean water for a kid for the rest of their life. Like we collaborate. We collaborate with the World Vision. We had over a hundred people run a half marathon and that led to a lot of money, where now we have digital campaign taken off of that. And when we can do something, you know, there’s a verse in the Bible that says if you know the good you can do and don’t do it, well that’s sin, that’s missing the mark. And so often we think of sin is like adultery, you know, and ensure that is sin. But I’ll tell you it’s the good things we can do, the potential, because God’s we’re all meaning God’s image. God’s given us all resource and abilities and if we just step into that God given ability and purpose and we just live in that fullness, like it’s so exciting. That’s when life comes alive. That’s the life that is truly life. And and I know because I was alive in one sense and success when one sense on the outside, but the inside story there was a massive void. And when you’re alive on the inside, then good things that come in, well they can. You can also feel the energy to when when somebody walks in the room. Earlier in the pod you talked about you know, when you I think when you’re at Dartmouth, you were a psychology, psychology major, but you didn’t want to be a counselor necessary secondary over the moon training, right and listenable these problems. Yeah, I believe. I don’t know a pastor, but it seems like when you you know, you have a church, you have a lot of people, a lot of people have a lot of problems. They want to come talk to their pastor, right. So it’s kind of interesting how full circle, you know, that’s kind of comeback around. I’m sure it’s very life fulfilling for you to be in that space, but at the same time you’re you, you are kind of going back to to where you started in a sense of of now you’re trying to give people advice and counseling about their path forward, and certainly you’re tapping into some of your experiences about that. But you know, has that have you found that overwhelming, or have you found that just like it’s the right combination? Right on? There’s a couple of ways you can do it and the longer I’ve been in it and you probably feel the same way. Mark is that it’s about partnerships, collaboration and empowering people. And for anyone listening in Your Business, Organization, nonprofit, in those settings, so often it is the ten or twenty percent of the people that are doing all the heavy lifting. And the longer I’m doing it, I find that my role is to empower and equip other people. I don’t just want to be a doer, I want to be a developer. And yes, you can get burned out being a pastor in three months because of all the needs and it’s intense because it’s physical emotion. Well, it’s relational and it’s spiritual, all these different things. But I’m grateful for a team and I’m grateful for the culture, because the culture is how can we train, encourage and empower more people and not threatened by that, like we want to see everyone come to life. And I feel a little bit like a goalkeeper in some ways. Uh, you know, goalkeepers in that position they see the big pictures, they have the best view of the field and they communicate and they try to set people up for success and and they’re overall, they’re very aware of the whole team, and so I’m in that position often as a pastor right now. And you know, the other thing, this is daily for me, but it’s something I learned in that recovery from Africa, is that the battle is really primarily between my ears and it’s a battle of the mind and the first thought that comes in. Psychologists say we have over six thousand thoughts a day and those first thoughts are sometimes destructive, selfish right, they’re not always positive or wise, and you don’t have to harbor, believe and entertain that thought. You can replace it intentionally and I call it the hour of the second thought, and it’s a second thought. That’s true, that’s noble, that’s Directional, and what I’m doing during the day to maintain mental health and overall organizational health is it starts in my own mind and when those thoughts that are coming in at first that aren’t good, I’m replacing them all day and I feel like as a goalkeeper I was always protecting the net from shots that were going in and my roles to keep those out, and so now that same kind of skill and approach. It’s internally and it’s with my thoughts, because as your thought life goes so will your life go as well? Yeah, and I love that. I love that. I tell you, Um, you have been on good morning in America, G M A. Correct. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, and so would you consider this more of a highlight than doing on G M A? I love it, man. I’m so curious about more of your life because I just don’t meet many people who played in the NFL. I see the causes. You’re behind and then the podcast climbing the seventh summits. I don’t even know what you’re doing in sports all straight. I know you’re title, but I feel like you’re someone Um. You have a big vision and you go hard after it and I like to lock arms. I respect people that that do that, because the sad part is to leave points on the field right in life, and I just feel like your approach is like you’re not gonna leave anything on the field, like you’re going for it and climbing those mountains. The view from up there, I mean not many people have had those views. You’ve climbed the highest peaks and summits, and so I feel like God’s given you a lot of gifts God. You also have maximized your potential in many areas and you’re able to see things a lot of people don’t see. So, I mean, you know, we just and the end of my day is I just want to be faithful. I don’t want to feel like I wasted my time and my energy and I feel like in some ways the problems in the world are more obvious than ever before or they’re pretty blatant. It’s not passive, not now. We need some major turnarounds in a number of areas and I just want to be part of those solutions. I want to we’re with people who are philanthropic. I wanna Um, you know, get creative and what maybe we’ve never done it before, but I feel like this is a time where, between the Internet podcasts like this, I mean, it amazed with me we can have a conversation across zoom and let’s say, twenty people listen to it. Like mark, you’re only gonna see like ten percent of the impact your podcast, you know. So, whether it’s good morning America or this, we live in a time where it’s like the start of the printing press. The tools that are fingertips right now and the platforms are amazing. So keep doing what you’re doing. I mean I’m honored to be you’ve had hundreds of guests and in phenomenal conversations. I’ve been checking it out this week and so this this is a joy to be with you and and just to kind of dream together. I appreciate that. You know, I do have more things coming down the road. They’RE gonna be launching here pretty soon. Um and uh, it’s just another iteration. You know, I really feel like a you know, turned sixty years old. I can’t believe I’m even saying that number, but you feel like right now in my life it’s time to accelerate and go and not, you know, Peel back and go play golf. Um, not that that would be a bad thing to do, but it’s just not my path right we all have our own journey. M Hey Jesse, where can people find you? Because you’ve got some just great messages and your inspirational, great energy. Where can people find you? Appreciate that. You know, we just put up a new website, Hope Habits Dot Org, and there’s free content on there. There’s thirty video, thirty videos in this series on marriage, and there’s also a seven day hope challenge. Again, practical stuff, and it’s all free, all the contents free, and then on social media at Jesse J Bradley, and if you’ve got creative ideas you want to collaborate, just yeah, reach out and love to hear from you here, your story and see how we can work together. I love it, love it. Okay, Buddy, listen. Thank you very much for coming on. You’ve definitely been a bright light in my day to kick things off just after Labor Day in September, kicking off from the fall season of football and soccer and all kinds of different stuff. So appreciate you. Thank you for coming on. Mark, thank you so much, and also I just say don’t let your age stop you like your next decade is gonna be amazing, and it’s not only what you’re doing, but it’s the hundreds and thousands of people you’re inspiring, and that’s a legacy. That’s a strong legacy. So thanks so much for connecting today. I appreciate okay, there is the one, the only Jesse Bradley.

 

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