Prepare to be inspired as we sit down with Jesse Bradley - former professional soccer goalie, pastor, evangelist, and Fox News anchor. Jesse's journey from a soccer field to a news desk is not just intriguing, it's a testament to the power of transforming one's identity. He shares the struggles he faced in shifting from a prideful performance-based identity to a grace-based one, inspiring us with his stories of overcoming adversity and finding hope in the most desperate of situations.
Jesse turned a decade-long recovery from a severe injury into an opportunity to nurture resilience and faith. He's used his experiences as a professional athlete to create moments that leave a lasting impact. Hear how he found purpose in pain and how you can too. Listen in as Jesse Bradley gives us a sneak preview of his new book, 'The Power of a Second Thought', a culmination of his 10-year journey through pain. This conversation will challenge your perspectives on hope, identity, and leadership, leaving you with a heart full of inspiration and a renewed sense of purpose.
If you enjoyed this episode, please share it on social media and tag Ken Joslin.
That's exactly right. Hey, what's up guys? Welcome to another episode of as the leader grows man. Listen. I started this live stream and the recording mid laugh because I'm connected back with a dear friend of mine, jesse Bradley. This guy's done everything, man. He's the former professional soccer goalie, pastor, evangelist. This guy's on Fox News, he's on every TV station sharing his faith, helping people revive hope, and I think we've been online for about 25 minutes Just catching up. What's up, my friend?Speaker 2:
Yeah, it's so good to be with you today and I want to say from the start we talk about leadership like you're the real deal. I've seen you in lots of different settings. You're the same guy and you've got a gift when it comes to people, gathering people, your conferences and the leaders you bring in, the friends you bring in. You love seeing people bring out the best in each other and come together in the same room. And one last thing I want to say your conferences. When you think about entrepreneur and faith and that combination, I love that because so many people compartmentalize either business or their faith and you bring it together. So where you live, work, learn, play, it's with the love of God and you're building relationships with each other. That's how you live and it's obvious. Appreciate you.Speaker 1:
You know it's funny. I was having a conversation with an EXP con, with a bit huge agent in Minnesota about 560 agents in her organization with the EXP, and we were at lunch and she said, ken, you've got a skill, you've developed a skill to connect people. And I said no, no, well, what God's giving me is a gift, because the skill is what I use to benefit me. A gift is what I use to benefit others. It's good and it is a gift, my friend.Speaker 2:
Yes, and it's a commitment. I see in you that you're not just thinking what can I get from people, but what can I give to people.Speaker 1:
You've been watching my Instagram.Speaker 2:
Well, you know you bring us a good content.Speaker 1:
I'm not the the only one. Well, dude, let's talk about you've got a book coming out. You're pastoring a church in Seattle which isn't like, hey, we just we were talking a little bit off it's not like it's a church reason, it's not like you're in the Bible belt like Birmingham or Alabama or something like that. Man, tell us a little bit about what you've got going on. You know what you're doing the church your pastoring and the book that you just you just came out with Thank you.Speaker 2:
I never thought I'd be a pastor. You know, I didn't grow up in the church, I didn't grow up following Jesus. I went to Dartmouth College success on the outside, empty on the inside and I thought, if I have friends, if I'm doing well in school, our soccer team was winning Ivy League championships. I couldn't figure out what was missing and in a class I was assigned the Bible. I read it and I'm like who is this? What is this? I didn't believe in God and as I learned more it was my mind. I had questions kicked the tires. Is the Bible reliable? Is the resurrection real? Where's the evidence? I want facts, because facts lead to faith. And then my heart it's a relationship and it's not predicated, like you say, anything we do, it's not achieving. It's receiving it's grace and undeserved gift and that Jesus is who he says. He is in the resurrection's real. That changed my life and I played pro soccer, went overseas and again in Africa, tragic illness, fighting for my life for one year, 10 years to fully recover. That's really where this book started, because I didn't find hope until I lost it. And when I was in Africa and then that recovery, I didn't have the tools, I didn't have the roadmap. We all know what it's like to feel hopeless. You know, during the pandemic that drove my book forward, I saw the statistics Census Bureau 48% of Americans feel hopeless. American Psychological Association we've never been more stressed, you know. Center for disease control, more drug overdose, best than ever before. And put that together my own cousin died by suicide during the pandemic and that's where I thought I've got to move forward with the book. All of us have a story. Share your story. There's a lot of people listening who are thinking about a book. Write the book to help people.Speaker 1:
I want to go back to something you just said, jesse. You said I didn't find hope until I lost it. Man, that's powerful. Walk us through that statement.Speaker 2:
Right. If you don't have a desire for hope, you're probably not going to have that much hope, and a lot of people are content where they are. You have to say no to the status quo, that low ceiling for hope. That's not it. And hope is far more than a feeling that just comes and goes randomly. Hope is available, hope is relational, hope is habitual because we cultivate habits that bring hope and, ultimately, hope is indestructible. With God, I've had to be honest and I was running out of hope, like on your dashboard. You run out of gas, you run out of oil, like I was running out of hope. Hope, the light was going on for hope and I didn't know how to access it. I didn't know how to stay thankful. I didn't know how to pour out my heart to God. I didn't know how to give him my burdens. I didn't know how to abide with Jesus 24-7. I didn't know to shift my. This is my identity, because when I lost soccer and my health and my career, I was struggling with who am I? And performance-based identity was my life. In a performance-based identity, it's a trap You're either inflated or deflated, pride or shame. And I didn't know who I was when I didn't have something to do. There's no mountain to take, there's no, just improvement. My approach was just be tough and get through it. That wasn't working. And what could I shift? An identity that's based in grace, because this is a relationship where I'm secure. God loves me all the time. I'm in his family all the time. No one can take that away. Soccer I can lose that. You know. Health I can lose that. If you can lose it, it shouldn't be your identity and I knew I didn't need to make some shifts. And it's the inner story. It always starts with the inner story and those internal shifts. A gritty gratitude. I would start to give thanks, even when I didn't feel like it. 10 things I would name them out loud. You can make intentional choices with your habits and again, it's receiving. I had a view of God that he was only interested in me when I was really successful and doing really well. I had no idea he wants to come into the ugly places, the lonely places, painful, disappointed, frustrated, angry, hopeless and then rebuild my life. Jesus says you have a house on the rock, not the sand, if you abide with him. So that's where I realized Jesus my life's going to be better if you lead than if I lead. And that's at the crux, the most humbling thing, because we like to call the shots. I like to grab the steering wheel, and I had to learn the hard way. Life is going to be better, truly, jesus, if you lead and I follow, then if I lead and I just tell you to follow and where I'm going and ask you to bless it, that shift right there. So those were all discovery pieces and I can describe them clearer now, but at the time I was in survival mode. I was in crisis mode. I didn't have a phrase like the power of the second thought. I didn't have that. All I knew was that every day I was being bombarded with negative thoughts. My life's not going anywhere. The doctors didn't think I was going to get better right. Every day there's no hope. I don't have a backup career. I don't have friends around. How am I going to make friends when I'm this low? Like all these negative thoughts? And here's the key we have thousands of first thoughts every day. You don't have to believe, harbor or entertain them. You can choose to recognize them, then reject them and replace them, replace them with an intentional second thought. So when my first thought is my life's never going to be very good anymore, it's never going to happen, there's no real future for me. I replace it and I would take a Bible verse. I start to read and memorize the Bible Perfect love drives out fear. I don't have to fear the future, I don't have to worry. And I would take those verses and then focus on those, start to say those. I was paid to be a goalkeeper, keep the ball out of the back of the net, and I was in goalkeeper mode to win the battle between my years, win the battle of the mind. I'm not going to let that first thought get lodged in my mind and I'm not going to hold on to that. And I like to use this picture hope thieves, those negative first thoughts that are destructive, false, their lies, their selfish, their mean, their impure, their hope thieves. And they want to come in and take the hope and the joy and the peace you have. And if a thief showed up at your house today, you wouldn't open the front door and say come on in, hang out for a day. Here's the guest bedroom. Hey, do you want my credit cards? Here's the key to the safe. What do you like to make for dinner. No, you would say not in my house, get out of my house, you don't belong here. And you've got to have a firm know and again recognize the thought that's coming in, the negative thought patterns, the old tapes that you keep playing, that are filled with guilt and shame, don't keep everyone.Speaker 1:
Okay, so I want to. I want to go to that because that's my question. You talked about hope thieves, like when you were. When you're in another country, thousands of miles from home, the doctors are saying, listen, we don't know that you're going to make it Like you're physically not doing well, emotionally not doing well, financially not doing well Like every. Literally. We talk about our core five faith, health, relationship, business and finances. Dude, you got hammered in every area so you literally were in this moment of your life. I just I would love for you to share with our audience Like how did you develop? I love what you said. Hope is habitual. Yes, I love that man when you start. I had a quote this morning. I had a quote this morning that I wrote down that habits are great when you have momentum. They're essential when you don't. Hmm, habits are great when you have momentum, but they are essential when you do not. I shared some things with you out of my past Three months six figure loss. Found out a good friend was basically a fraud. Found the woman that I love in bed with another man, like some some huge hits. Yeah. So this morning in my workout, that's the, that's the literally an orange theory. Oh, let me write this thought down habits are great when you have momentum, but they're essential when you don't. How in the world, in another country, did you go? Okay, I'm gonna change the way I think. Walk us through that process.Speaker 2:
Yes, it's brutal. When it happens. You don't put it on your calendar, you don't? It's not polite. Those trials don't knock and say, oh, can I come in now. They just take over like a storm. You never wanted. They test you to the core and you find out not just who you say you are, and you don't find out who you like to post that you are in social media or the outside story. You get real, you get raw and it tests you. It's brutal but I believe this at the lowest points. God does his greatest work. I believe fruit grows in the valleys, not the mountain. We enjoy the top of the mountain, but transformation happens in the valley and that's where the shifts happen. I was pushed to the brink on every level. You said physically I had so many symptoms. I'll just give you the examples with my heart, tachycardia, 160 beats a minute, sitting still Atrial, flutter, skit beats, heart murmur, pain in the left side of my chest. Day and night I can't even sleep. There's so much pain where my heart is. That's just my heart. I couldn't regulate my heart rate and it was all side effects of a medication I took. It was prescribed to prevent malaria. What was supposed to protect me was killing me. Now that theme people can relate to, that. You know, maybe you had a parent or a boss, so they're supposed to protect you and they're killing you. The medication was killing me and we didn't even know the cause at the time, but I couldn't regulate my temperature. Double vision, migraine, headaches, like you name it. I had it physically and then emotionally. The side effects included Panic attacks, weight of depression. I had a relatively you know an equilibrium emotionally. That was relatively stable. I wasn't quite like an airplane pilot, but you know I was pretty steady. And and then what happened? There were these ranges. It's like where these coming from, and and it doesn't feel like me. I felt it was like I was in a foreign body and mind. It's like what is, what is this like? As an athlete, I'm so tuned in to my performance and my health and my body and now it felt like everything's out of control. What do you do when everything feels out of control? Here's where you can cultivate habits and make shifts and there's a restoration process. First of all, god is the God of hope, and Hope is a joyful and confident trust in someone or something. A Joyful and confident trust in someone or something. Your hope is only as strong as the one in whom you trust. If you hope something in something that's not faithful or good or loving, your hope isn't going to be that great in the trial. So I had to shift my hope, kind of like an anchor where you're gonna land it, an anchor for the soul. I had to shift where I'm gonna put my hope. And my hope was in my performance. My hope is in my career, my hope is in my health and it's like no, all that's gone. What do I still have? Don't want to be over consumed. I had to learn how to grieve. But there's a hope greater than our grief. There's a hope greater than our challenges. And yes, I had to grieve because stuffing it's not healthy. You know you don't want emotions to over consume but at the same time you don't want denial. You probably know you're bent. My bent was denial. I would tell people oh, it's not that bad, I don't cry, I don't share it Like. I just get through it like knuckle it. That wasn't gonna work. And coping mechanisms some of them can only get you so far that they have a limit. And when something big comes along, it worked in a lot of settings to just get back up for the next game. You know, do well for the next test. But there was no fast forward button. This was 10 years to fully recover. I had to chart my progress and celebrate months later that I can walk five more minutes. I can now walk 15 minutes instead of just 10. It was that gradual. Chart your progress. If you're in something that's chronic or longterm, chart your progress because it feels like you're not going anywhere. It feels like you're not getting better. You got to see the chart on the wall and celebrate I can walk five more minutes and my heart rate didn't escalate. Here's one thing I had to do. I had to learn how to drive again. Because of my condition I couldn't handle any stimulation and any amount of driving would just send my heart rate over the top. It wasn't safe to drive. After years of waiting for that, it was a big step to learn how to drive again, to keep my heart rate down, to not have panic attacks. That is so humbling when you go overseas and pro soccer player in stadiums and all that's happening. And now I move back into my parents' basement. Are you kidding me? I can't even drive. I can't regulate things in my body, in my mind, that path forward. I'll tell you, there's moments in life where you either turn to Jesus or your life just stays a mess. That was a defining moment for me, at Crossroads. I couldn't save myself, couldn't heal myself, but I needed to start to cultivate habits, because God moves, but he involves us and he empowers us, encourages us and shows us a new direction. In those habits they stick with me today. Those aren't just for the valley, that's for every day. That wasn't just for a hard season.Speaker 1:
Yeah, habits are great when you have momentum, but they're essential when you don't. I wrote that down this morning to Jim and I'm like I mean because when you get punched in the gut or literally knocks the wind out of you, you better have something to fall back on. One of my five affirmations is I am whole. I choose to use past pain to help others find healing. Talk about coming out of that. I mean 10 year period, bro. That's a long time, jesse, so long. Talk about coming out of that. When was the moment in you where you went ah, okay, god, you're gonna use all of this to help other people find hope.Speaker 2:
You know, I like what you said in that quote, ken Jocelyn. Here Everyone likes the monumental, but it happens in the incremental. So a 10-year recovery yes, there are some moments that are breakthroughs, but it's a steady, consistent, persistent path. Pain God uses pain. I like what CS Lewis says pain is a megaphone to rouse the deaf world. God uses pain and will take that pain to fuel and forge a new purpose and passion. And that's what happened in my life. I thought that I would reach people and connect with people out of my strengths and gifts, but the truth is it's out of the valley experience that you really connect with people. Because you get it, your compassion for them grows, you know what works and doesn't work, and they see that your humanity, they see your vulnerability, they see your transparency and that authenticity. It comes out of that and I was, you know, continue to share. There's been different points along the journey, but I'll tell you. Even recently, the World Cup happened and we had an online digital hope campaign and it went around the world. It went viral. We saw 480,000 people start a relationship with God and that was through soccer. So in my mind and plans, soccer was always the platform to play the sport I loved and to build friendships around the world, and that's all wonderful. And it ended out of my control suddenly. But I had no idea that God would redeem and use my experience as a professional athlete to line up things like the World Cup and the impact there. And I still play soccer, you know, with Seattle Sounders, faith and Family. This book, it's another expression of it. So there's no healing usually until the revealing, and I'm not the kind of guy that wanted to tell my story and get vulnerable. But the book, you know, the campaign, I'm talking about the one-on-one conversations every week. What I found is that I share out of my weakness, out of my struggle, I share out of that pain in the conversations that come are so rich, whether it's on a podcast, whether it's one-on-one, and that's my joy. Like we're all designed to receive hope and give hope, not just receive. Because if we just receive, then we just hoard it, we're selfish, we're not really loving our neighbors, right? It's all about friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbors, coworkers. It's not just about you getting up to the top of the mountain, but how many people can you help get to the top of the mountain? So if it's all about me receiving, and I'm just all inward. I've only got half the picture. But then there's other people who are always giving hope and they're always serving and caregivers, but they run out and they get burned out and they're fried and they're dying on the inside. We don't have to do that. We can. There's a source that God gives that is never runs out and you can receive at any moment. And God's grace is greater than our sin. His grace is greater than our challenges. So receive, get filled up and then give and be active. Give and receive. That's what we're designed to be. That's the fullness of hope. It's inward, outward and upward. There's got three elements and all three are important.Speaker 1:
I, just, I, literally just I'm looking at my, my Instagram page right now. I just posted two days ago People connect with your pain way easier than they do your victories. Hmm, that's it, and that's exactly which is why you have the ability. You know, I heard, I heard, I saw a video from Miles Monroe you passed away several years ago and I get a plane crash and I haven't heard anything from miles of probably 10 years. It's been a long time. It was a video that popped up on my Instagram feed and he said this Jesse. He said God only shows you the vision, like you see, the completed work. Hmm, because if he showed you the path you had to go through to get there, right, he said, like Joseph, joseph would have. Joseph saw his brothers bowing before and he saw standing next to the king, but he never saw the path he had to take, because if he did, he would have said no, I'm good, I'll just stay right here. Talk about Jesse, talk about how fulfilling it is for you right now. And you've got this, you've got this new book out, the power of a second, of the second thought. Then you're impacting thousands you just said hundreds of thousands of people, and it really wasn't birthed out of this awesome professional soccer career. It was birthed out of 10 years of pain. Yeah, that's right About the fulfillment that's come out of that, and and would you do that again?Speaker 2:
Yeah, you know that's a great question. We just put the yes to that button. I never want anyone to go through it. I wouldn't want to go through it, not a minute of it again. But then what's resulted in what God's done through it? Chuck's Wendall used to say God doesn't use someone greatly until they crushes them, crushes them, crushes them and allows them. You know, there's mystery. What does God cause? What has got to allow? What has got against? You know, when someone, when King, kills Abel, god's not applauding, he's against that. So we do things to hurt each other. It's not from God, but certainly we go through trials that God allows. We're in a fallen world and Howard Hendricks used to say you know you can impress people from a distance, but you impact up close and you can impress people with whatever you post and all that. But the greatest impact is going to be people close to you who really hear your story and your heart. And you know now I'm so thankful and it's not me, I give the glory to God sincerely. I've got an amazing team. Our church in Seattle. Seattle is the second highest D church in the nation. So you've got to be real here, you know, and we've got a church that is over 70 years old. Billy Graham came to Seattle and out of that outreach in the 1950s downtown under the space needle, people came know Jesus started our church and today just continues with that love of the Lord, love of everyone here. Our church was older when I got here, predominantly an older church that was almost all white, and now we're all generations, multi ethnic, all nations, and we love it. So that kind of unity that has a cost too, because there's unity always involves humility and sacrifice and serving. There's no shortcuts. There's a reason we struggle with unity, but Jesus prayed for unity. God's love is what makes unity possible and when we listen, understand, value each other, we're equals. God can do amazing things and we're seeing that here locally. I wake up every day pretty fired up and that's like no coffee.Speaker 1:
Like when you and I you and I are cut from the same cloth.Speaker 2:
I like your look up top too. Grass doesn't grow on the busy streets right there, we're clean, straight right there. And you know, just going for every day is a gift. I realized that when I didn't know if I was going to make it, through that trial and everything the doctors, you know we're talking about what's wrong with my body I didn't know if I was going to make it and I realized right there every day is a gift. If I'm in my right mind, that's a gift. If I have physical strength, that's a gift. I know where I'm going. I'm going to be with Jesus forever. But there is an indestructible hope that no one can take away. And when you have it and you start to give it and then you see more people experience it, you just come alive, like. This is why I'm here, made for this, like in all of those scars are part of the story. You know, jesus himself the death, then the resurrection. There's no resurrection If there's no death. The death and the resurrection. The gospel is the good news, it's grace, but there's two parts, not just the death. If it's just the death, we're not talking about anything. There's no resurrection. But it's both the resurrection and the death. And Jesus had the scars and the cost is high. Love includes sacrifice. Love includes sacrifice. Devotion. Yes, you know your affection. Yes, devotion, yes, but it includes sacrifice. There's no shortcut on that. You don't have a great marriage unless two people are willing to sacrifice. And you know, if the sacrifice isn't there, selfishness will crush any relationship. And so, yeah, this book, power of the Second Thought if you want to check it out, powerthoughtorg, powerthoughtorg, and we added some things. There's videos for every chapter. There's cultivating hope questions. You're going to learn how these hope habits that you can develop on. I'm not a writer and my top 20 things to do during a day writing is not one of them. Just being honest, I'd rather talk Mine neither, yeah, yeah, who likes all those rounds of editing? But it was a labor of love and I think the content is going to encourage and empower you in some practical ways.Speaker 1:
I love the. I love the subtitle how to Live with Indestructible Hope. And right now in our world, jesse, we need hope more than ever, and I love. Somebody said this the other day, I don't know who it was. I was with Irwin and then maybe at Mosaic couple of weeks ago for that conference and they talked about somebody, said something, and they go yes, somebody called me a hope dealer. They said you're a hope, you're a dealer of hope. And I was like, yes, that is exactly who you are, you're a dealer of hope, jesse. You, my friend, are the same thing the power of the second thought. How to live with indestructible hope. Website. One more time, jesse is.Speaker 2:
Yeah, powrthoughtorg, and then my own website, jessiebradleyorg. There's a lot of free resources marriage course, seven days of transformation. All our content's free and even the book itself. Not a penny goes to me. I just want people to get the content, to be able to experience that transformation and really come alive. So I think you're going to feel loved when you read the book. You're going to get filled up with hope, and it's not just a one day or just for a book, but you're going to see how you can cultivate this every day. It's an everyday, indestructible hope. And I'll close with no one can take away what's most important in life. People hurt you, they harm you, experiences are brutal, but no one can take away the most important things in life and this hope is indestructible.Speaker 1:
I love it, guys, thank you for joining us. Jesse, thank you for being here today, my friend, I wasn't doing time with you, ken man, super excited to connect with you again. Guys, thanks again for joining us for another episode of as the Leader Grows. A couple of things. Number one if this has added value to you, which I know it has, do me a favor. Hit that subscribe button. Copy. If you're listening to this on your iPhone screenshot it. Share it on Instagram. Tag myself my good friend, jessiebradley it's jessiejbradley On Instagram. Tag us, we'll reshare and give you a little love and, as always, click on there and leave us a five star review If this is something that's blessed you. We literally have doubled, almost tripled, our podcast downloads over the past month. It's been crazy several hundred a week now, jesse, thanks for joining us, my friend.Speaker 2:
Loved it. Ken, keep up the good work. You're inspiring a lot of people more than you realize, so we appreciate it, man.Speaker 1:
Guys, thank you for joining us again. We'll see you next week on as the Leader Grows.