Brad, could you share a little bit of your story and then we’ll dive deeper into this?
Sure. Prior to the big changes in my life, I had everything. I had the Range Rover, a good job… but I had no hope and no dreams. I worked a great job – and I despised it. Worked for good people – and I despised them. I was suicidal. I even had my suicide all planned for December. The big part was that I just had no hope and no dreams. I worked a 9-5 and I’d come home and drown myself in entertaining so I could fall asleep, wake up and do it all again.
And you had a marriage that ended in divorce, right?
Yes, I was married once before, for 3 years. It ended terribly and was definitely part of the hopelessness I lived.
Let’s talk about your suicide plans: You had a note planned you were going to give to your family at Christmas. What provoked you to do that?
I hadn’t written it yet, but it was all figured out. I had so much debt, I didn’t know what to do about it. You pay some of it off and then the next month you find out you’re deeper in the hole. There was no purpose to my days, to my work. I’d been through failed relationship after failed relationship.
I totally believed I wasn’t worth it.
What did that look like?
I played a lot of video games, movies and I was to the place where if someone wanted to hang out sure, that’s great, but I would rather go to the movies by myself. Just tune out of reality for a few hours and not think about it.
I seemingly had everything, but it wasn’t worth it. None of it ever gave me any peace or hope.
So people looking at your life would’ve thought you had it all, when really deep down you were a total mess?
I was honestly a terrified little boy in the dark.
What was your monster?
My fear of being alone, not being worth it. It was just the message I got growing up; I was picked on in school. I really took that in and believed it. I became that. I felt like I wasn’t worth fighting for.
What changed? What happened?
It was September of 2011, my brother dragged me out to First Steps To Success. My family had been going for maybe 6 months. I figured they had joined some cult, but I had nowhere else to go. I already was planning to be dead in a few months, so what was the worst that could happen? I went and I found an experience I had never felt before!
I found acceptance from people who had no reason to accept me. They had amazing stories, but for some reason they treated me like I was valuable. I had never experienced that before.
I’ve been to about 30 events now and, to be honest, the first half of those were just because I went for that sense of family. Any amount of money was worth that acceptance. But meanwhile, on the side, I paid off $280,000 in debt, I met the woman of my dreams, I started loving my job. I was being asked to manage and getting promotions at work, I was going somewhere. All of the sudden, my life had some real value. I learned skills on how to work, how to love, how to accept compliments, how to be a good husband.
How’d that feel when you began to see that shift? Even just in your work life.
It was humbling and borderline-unbelievable. It didn’t just gradually happen over time. I just woke up one day and it was like everything changed. I felt like the man I wanted to be, or that I was getting closer to being that man. I spent 27 years believing there was no point and I wasn’t worth it, so that was a huge change. I had a smile on my face!
Brad, what do you have to say to someone who is where you used to be? What do you say to that person who feels hopeless?
I’d say that as much as it feels like there is no hope or that you have no dreams – I mean you get taught not to have dreams. You’re never going to be able to make them come true. They’re just reminders of where you’re not going and who you can’t be. That is a lie. You just need the skills to chase your dreams. That is what I’m doing now, without any debt! Those dreams you had and you hammered down into a bottle and you don’t look at them or think about them anymore… you can have those dreams!