The 5 fears holding you back: Insights from transformational leader Brad Axelrad EP56

Imagine standing at the edge of a cliff, looking across to where you want to be. You know you have the potential to make that leap, to reach your dreams, but something holds you back – a nagging fear, a whisper of doubt. It’s a feeling we’ve all experienced at one point or another. That moment where our fears seem to tower over our ambitions, clouding the clear path to our true potential.

But what if I told you that those fears, the ones holding you back, are not just conquerable but are actually the keys to unlocking your fullest life?

This is exactly what Brad Axelrad, our guest today, believes and practices. A transformational leader and a master in facing fears, Brad has spent over a decade guiding individuals through their deepest doubts and darkest dragons. With over 200 live events and countless stages shared with thought leaders like Don Miguel Ruiz and Gay Hendricks, Brad has a unique insight into what really stops us from living our truest lives.

In this episode of We Are Already Free, we’re diving deep into the core fears that Brad has identified as the most common yet powerful dragons we all face. From the imposter syndrome whispering that you’re not good enough to the fear of scarcity that tightens its grip on our dreams, Brad will help us navigate these turbulent waters.

So, if you’re ready to transform your fear into your greatest ally, to leap across that chasm and land in a life of fulfilment and truth, this conversation is for you.

Stay with us as we embark on this deeply personal, vulnerable, and ultimately victorious journey of transformation with Brad Axelrad.

About Brad Axelrad

  • Brad Axelrad is a renowned transformational leader, event producer, and speaker.
  • Over a decade of experience in facilitating personal and professional growth.
  • Founder of Face Your Dragon, helping individuals face and harness their fears.
  • Founding member of the Association of Transformational Leaders and Co-Founder of ATL Costa Rica.
  • Featured on NBC Nightly News, PBS Television, LA Times, and more.

Topics Covered:

  • Facing Inner Dragons: Brad discusses the “five dragons” of fear and how they manifest in our lives.
  • Vulnerability and Personal Growth: Insights from Brad’s personal journey of facing his fears and how it has shaped his work.
  • The Power of Transformative Experiences: How overcoming fears leads to profound personal development.
  • Navigating Modern Challenges: Brad’s perspective on current societal norms and personal development.
  • Tools for Overcoming Fears: Practical strategies Brad uses to help people overcome their deepest fears.

Face Your Fears with the 5 Day Morning Practice Challenge:

Face your fears and revitalise your mornings. Join my ‘5 Day Morning Practice Challenge’ to transform your mornings and awaken yourself. Sign up here and start your journey towards a more aligned day.

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This podcast is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The views expressed by the guest are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ‘We Are Already Free’ podcast. Always seek the advice of your qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a personal issue.


[00:00:00] Nathan Maingard: Imagine standing at the edge of a cliff, looking across to where you want to be. You know, you have the potential to make that leap, to reach those dreams, but something is holding you back, a nagging fear, a whisper of doubt. It's a feeling we've all experienced at one point or another. That moment where our fear seems to tower over our ambitions, clouding the clear path to our true potential.

[00:00:30] Nathan Maingard: But what if I told you that those fears, the ones holding you back are not just conquerable, but are actually the keys to unlocking your fullest life.

[00:00:40] Nathan Maingard: This is exactly what Brad Axelrad, our guest today, believes and practices. A transformational leader and a master and facing fears, brad has spent over a decade guiding individuals through their deepest doubts and darkest dragons. With over 200 live events and countless stages shared with thought leaders like Don, Miguel Ruiz and gay Hendricks. Brad has a unique insight into what really stops us from living our truest lives. In this episode, the five fears holding you back insights from transformational leader, Brad Axelrod, we're diving deep into the core fears that Brad has identified as the most common, yet powerful dragons.

[00:01:20] Nathan Maingard: We all face from the imposter syndrome whispering that you're not good enough to the fear of scarcity that. Titans it's grips on our dreams. Brad will help us navigate these turbulent waters. So, if you're ready to transform your fear into your greatest ally. To leap across that chasm and land in a life of fulfillment and truth.

[00:01:42] Nathan Maingard: This conversation is for you. Join us today as we embark on this deeply personal vulnerable, and ultimately victorious journey of transformation on, but we are already free podcast with Brad. Axlerod.

[00:01:55] Nathan Maingard: Just one last thing before we dive into this episode. So at the time of recording, Brad was in the process of a really powerful, emotional transformation in his relationship. He was kind of raw and going through it. And yet he still chose to show up for this chat. So we do share a lot of really valuable tools and ideas and concepts throughout, especially, you know, a bit later on in the episode. But I really just want to honor Brad's courage and showing up and sharing from his raw dark space of the emotions that he was feeling and going through.

[00:02:26] Nathan Maingard: And I know that you'll hold that with as much sacredness as I do.

[00:02:29] Nathan Maingard: And I know that this will be of massive value to any of us who navigate really big, really overwhelming feelings at times. Especially when it relates to relationships, et cetera, or whether relationships with others or ourselves. So with that, let's get on with the episode and thanks again to Brad. You basically help people to face their dragons.

[00:02:47] Nathan Maingard: And so. just, for those listening, they'll have heard a kind of intro a little more about what you're up to, but if you could kind of give us those five dragons and why you think this is so important, I'd love to hear that.

[00:02:57] Brad Axelrad: I've noticed when we start businesses, you know, people will often say, Brad, how do you help people face their dragons?

[00:03:04] Brad Axelrad: And I say, well, I help 'em start a business or help 'em ex expand or grow a business. And almost everyone shakes their head, that's a business owner and says, yeah, that makes sense. because we face every aspect of ourselves when we're running a business, all of these fears that I talk about.

[00:03:21] Brad Axelrad: So the five fears, imposter, scarcity, value, unheard, and critics.

[00:03:28] Brad Axelrad: I've produced hundreds of live events. I've worked with thousands of people at different varying levels, One-on-one small groups, large events. And what I've found is that we're all navigating those. Even as I'm on this with you today, it's like. Could I pull myself together? Cause like I was sharing, I had, I'm a little bit raw right now.

[00:03:46] Brad Axelrad: It's like, could I pull myself together enough to, to share my wisdom from a place that would be useful and not from this hurt, scared, uh, angry aspect of myself so we can go deeper into those, but that's just what comes up for

[00:04:00] Brad Axelrad: now.

[00:04:01] Brad Axelrad: I.

[00:04:01] Nathan Maingard: man . Well, so this is exactly Perfect for me because everything you've said really resonate. I've got full goosebumps right now. So so I hear you and I resonate with you and I yeah thank you for coming in raw as well. 'cause what comes to mind for me about that is uh, RDA who just says we are all just walking each other home. And it's a big part of who I am and how I share. You know, I have some very destructive patterns that still play out at times in my life to the point that I Uh when, when it gets really bad, uh, it very rarely happens anymore. In fact, it's only happened once in the last few years, but i'll actually physically hit myself and uh, it's a very old pattern of of self harm basically. And it happened a few months ago and I Talked about it. You know, once I processed it and kind of understood what was going on, I shared about it on my social media and I said i'm scared to share this in in 'cause i'm not sure If my one-to-one coaching clients or if the people who rely on me and believe in me are now gonna go Why am I paying this dude all this money?

[00:05:00] Nathan Maingard: He's Fucking crazy. And the opposite was true, was actually those same people were like, thank you so much. This is exactly why you're my coach, because you are so real with where you are. So what I'm reflecting is thank you for being real with where you are. And I'd love to hear if anything comes up for you and what I've just

[00:05:16] Brad Axelrad: Well, Nathan, I, I have tears welling up as you're, as you're sharing, brother. So, um, for, for so many layers of, of the, you know, the, the, the, the collective human, the collective pain body, the collective trauma we all carry as humans, um, my personal trauma, hearing you navigating that. It's like, I've got this deep sadness for, for you and others that, that, and myself that we have to navigate that level of trauma that comes out in these hurtful self-harming or, or harming others way. And it's, I'm almost at a loss for words right now. And I will say that this is the first time in my life I said enough of any anger in me. This is, this is the, this is the stop to it. And I actually bought an anger management course and I enrolled a friend in it with me.

[00:06:04] Brad Axelrad: Um, I. And, and we're gonna study it together. Uh, he lives in Thailand. I'm here in Mexico, or we're gonna, we're gonna, we're gonna long distance zoom this thing. I, I'm just so grateful for the pain that weld up so much in me that got me to, to finally admit that I've got that, that, that's, that's not okay anymore.

[00:06:24] Brad Axelrad: I can't be angry, but, but anger manifests in so many different ways and it, it, it's, it's, it's just. uh, I'm a little bit at a loss for words because I'm, I'm so choked up by, by your vulnerability as well, your transparency. That's what we need. As you said, that's what people really need. People resonate with that.

[00:06:44] Brad Axelrad: And I'm trying to be as vulnerable as I can be here through this, through this conversation to hopefully, uh, free others to have that same level of uh, freedom.

[00:06:55] Brad Axelrad: I'm, I'm doubling down on my, my internal, reflection that that's just where I'm at. I had this like, Nope, it's time.

[00:07:04] Brad Axelrad: the girlfriend just moved out. I kicked her out, uh, which was so, so let's talk about that. Why not? Let's go there. I think we can process this a little bit.

[00:07:13] Brad Axelrad: And that the pain that would come up for me from her pattern of, let's just call it, I'm scared or I'm uh nervous or uncomfortable. She's Mexican. this may sound wrong or horrible, but my experience of Mexicans is they don't tend to look inside and do the work. A lot of cultures don't, don't look inside.

[00:07:30] Brad Axelrad: They just, they don't go to therapy.

[00:07:32] Nathan Maingard: It's true in South Africa too, brother. It's true in so many places, I think,

[00:07:36] Brad Axelrad: Right. And my friend in Australia, he's like, we don't do that.

[00:07:40] Brad Axelrad: Excuse me, I've got something in my throat. We don't, we don't do that. We're just, you know, strong blokes. We don't do that. Right. Um, so, so her trauma response would be to flee and mine's the fight. You know, I go into, I. I go into fight like no, we're gonna fight this out.

[00:07:57] Brad Axelrad: Let's let's let's get to the bottom of this, don't don't run away. And then of course my attachment style like avoidant attachment style or I mean anxious attachment style her being more avoidant and Just that trauma response of run away from discomfort or self-medicate in some way where I'm like, I want to go in, of course, I at times will self-medicate too, but,

[00:08:19] Brad Axelrad: uh, her running away a couple times, ending the relationship, leaving, and then this last time I, I said, and I realized that this morning subconsciously that it was like, that's it, I'm, I'm now taking my power back and I'm kicking you out.

[00:08:33] Brad Axelrad: That's it. And I'm done. And then I, am now in this process of regretting my angry decision a little bit. And of course my angry outburst behavior that there's shame. There's, uh, I'm a little bit bewildered. I'm still sort of in this state, you know, over the last four days of what just really happened.

[00:08:54] Brad Axelrad: I am coming back in my body, but that level of rage, I haven't raged like that in 20 years. I'm Also studying in this course of perception. It's so much about perception.

[00:09:04] Brad Axelrad: It's so much about feeling it to heal it. It's about, it's not the other person, even though we don't want to victim shame people. There are people that are in situations that, that have things happen to them. Uh, but also it's really about owning our experience and our pattern or response to what's happening, whatever else somebody else is doing.

[00:09:26] Brad Axelrad: And most of the time it has nothing to do with them. It's always back to mommy or daddy. And we can talk a lot about that

[00:09:31] Nathan Maingard: mm

[00:09:32] Brad Axelrad: to go into that stuff.

[00:09:34] Nathan Maingard: Well, thank you. I mean, first of all, just like I can't, you, you must be in such an incredibly raw space right now. So I really honor you for, for even just staying, staying with it for this call. So thank you. And and thank you for sharing. And it's, it's interesting how the universe works, because honestly, like this is what I'm navigating in my relationship right now.

[00:09:54] Nathan Maingard: Um, around, I think, I don't know the words you used exactly, but basically my fear is abandonment. And, My I don't I can't speak to my lady as much but when when things get intense She needs time to process and I am like no that means that it's all like everything's gone terrible and it's all bad And we have to do this immediately.

[00:10:13] Nathan Maingard: So so we we've actually been really coming through this right now. So hearing you i'm like, oh this sounds so familiar because I got really angry with her

[00:10:21] Nathan Maingard: uh, yesterday or the day before and And it's this whole process, like you said, of claiming my anger and and being like so clear and, and in the moment trying to communicate, it's not you.

[00:10:34] Nathan Maingard: I really want to like have that I, I, I can, yes, I'm saying like, this thing has made me angry. That was something that you did or said, or didn't do or didn't say, but it's not your responsibility that I'm angry and how to, how to navigate that in a healthy way, man. So.

[00:10:51] Nathan Maingard: Yeah, it's such a, it's such a vulnerable and delicate space.

[00:10:55] Nathan Maingard: As you said earlier that we are all, I think, I don't know a single person in the world today that I've ever met who is not at some level navigating a trauma and, and massive triggers that are like multi-generational. So just honoring all of us who are at least showing up for it with, you know, like we said, it's most South Africans, most Mexicans, most Australians, most people out there in the world are like, Nope, I'm not up for this work.

[00:11:18] Nathan Maingard: So, so honoring you, honoring your lady, honoring all of us who are doing our best to, to make some kind of sense of it all.

[00:11:28] Brad Axelrad: I, I, I've yet to make sense other than, uh, what, what, what everything you said, and I, again, I just want to witness what, like really echo and witness and hold space for that out of control experience that happens. And when we just go into monster mode. it's like, well, what is this, what is this aspect of ourselves that has nothing to do with this person in front of us, even though they triggered us in some way, it's like just these old wounds.

[00:11:54] Brad Axelrad: Um,

[00:11:57] Brad Axelrad: Yeah. You know, mommy, daddy, the work, the most of the work, the deepest work I've done is something called the Hoffman Institute, the Hoffman process. I don't know if you've ever heard of that. It's hoffman there. There's a a global site too, for the, for the global stuff. But we, we pattern trace back to all of our childhood pain.

[00:12:14] Brad Axelrad: And we're, we're, we're looking for We're doing the work around mommy and daddy or surrogate parents, anyone that influenced, influenced us heavily and imprinted their wounding and patterns on, on us.

[00:12:27] Brad Axelrad: So we're either modeling or rebelling their, their patterns. And there's something that he, that, that Bob Hoffman coined the negative love syndrome. So essentially these behaviors that we're acting out. are worked when we were kids and they would help us get love. Everything we're doing is a cry for love.

[00:12:45] Brad Axelrad: Like every, every fucking thing we do is a cry for love. Love me, see me, support me, care for me. But ultimately at the core, I think it's for love. And the negative love syndrome is that as we get older and we act out in these behaviors that used to get us love, it works the opposite. it creates friction, fuck you, I'm leaving, whatever it is, you're psycho, you're an asshole, whatever it is.

[00:13:10] Brad Axelrad: So I, I all as I'm saying this, I just cannot wait to get back to the Hoffman process. I first did it in 2003. Did it in 2005. I went back a couple years later, 36 hours after my father passed and watched him take his last breath to be at the Hoffman process, just like crying my eyes out, like we're, we haven't even started the thing and I'm just broken down in shreds and you know, there's 40 people looking at me like, what's up with this guy?

[00:13:39] Brad Axelrad: We haven't even started What, what's going on. Right. And I, I was so blessed to have somehow manifested the timing to watch my father's spirit lift from his body and turn gray. It was like this, I don't know if you guys have ever seen uh, somebody pass, but it's like his body like turned this ashy gray and it was so still.

[00:13:59] Brad Axelrad: It was like the most stillest thing I've ever seen. And to be 36 hours later studying, almost getting angry and dissecting my father's shit that he did to me right after I watched him pass. It was this weird. Paradoxical, like, like experience, like how the fuck can this all be happening right now where I'm so hurt from his passing and yet so angry at his behaviors that, that he created so much pain in my life with, with his anger issues, you know, it's like, how dare he, but it's, just, it's fascinating.

[00:14:32] Brad Axelrad: that was the beginning of the, the shift of my life into transformational leadership and becoming a leader in the work was that defining moment of my father's passing. I had a feather tickling me share this last part I had a feather tickling, ignored the feather. Brick hit me upside the head. That was wow, many bricks, but I would I'm resilient and tough, you know, I'd shake it off.

[00:14:53] Brad Axelrad: And then the Mack truck was him pass his passing. And I was like, it woke up. I need to stop being a self-indulgent asshole. I wasn't like a greedy, narcissistic douche bag, but I was kind of more just like, you know, seeking external things, drugs, women, alcohol, travel, cars, wealth, real estate, you know, all the, all the fixings of what we think success are, and it was that defining moment of his passing that shifted me back into a place of.

[00:15:21] Brad Axelrad: Begging the universe for my contribution and service to show up. So that's why you and I are on this podcast today was ultimately his passing changed the entire trajectory of my life.

[00:15:34] Nathan Maingard: So just taking a moment to honor your father and his passing and that incredible medicine. Yeah.

[00:15:47] Brad Axelrad: Yeah. That was hard. I didn't think it was gonna be that hard. So whoever's listening, that's had to experience that or will in the future. I had no idea. It was eight years of grief. I had, I thought, oh shit, I'll be fine in a couple months. You know, no, it was years, man..

[00:16:02] Brad Axelrad: End.

[00:16:03] Nathan Maingard: yeah. Yeah, I mean, anyone who listens to this podcast much will have heard the story of my dog Sussa passing. That's the closest thing that I've had to, and I, and like, obviously the, it's completely like my mom or my dad are still, they're both still alive. So I know that I I can't even imagine the levels, but with Sussa, the dog, she, she ran away and it was very unexpected and there's a whole bunch of pieces in there won't go into, but, but the level of pain, I didn't know.

[00:16:29] Nathan Maingard: That I could feel that kind of depth of, of it's, it's impossible to describe. So I can't even imagine, I I literally can't imagine what it would be like to, to witness that passing of a parent and to navigate that level of grief. And I, when I hear people speak about it, I'm just like in awe of that level of intensity, um, that we all have to go through that every single one of us, everyone we know and love will die and we will die.

[00:16:55] Nathan Maingard: And that's true.

[00:16:56] Brad Axelrad: Yep. Yeah. the angel of death, Don Miguel Ruiz talks about that, uh, I think it was Miguel, I'm pretty sure it was Miguel in one of his books. Um, but death is always knocking at our door. We need to, you know, now is the time to, to heal, to be in service, to experience fulfillment, to, to help others feel fulfilled and experience fulfillment.

[00:17:22] Brad Axelrad: It's like the, the angel of death is always there to remind us that. This too will end, you know, to your point.

[00:17:30] Nathan Maingard: Yeah, exactly. Well, so this something that keeps coming up for me around, just around this process that you're in right now. We don't have to talk anymore about details, et cetera. but I'm just wondering in this moment, in this conversation,

[00:17:42] Nathan Maingard: Just really wanting to make space for if there's anything that you need in this moment that you'd like to share, with what you're navigating right now with your partner and the kind of intensity of the, the emotions you're feeling, if there's anything that I can offer or anything you'd like to reflect on or emotions you'd like to express anything at all within the context of this conversation, um, please do bring it forward.

[00:18:06] Nathan Maingard: Just wanting to make space for that.

[00:18:08] Brad Axelrad: There's a saying, we teach what we most need to learn and, what we're most resisting and most afraid of are the very things that'll set us free. It's our money maker, our gift to humanity and our purpose on the planet.

[00:18:22] Nathan Maingard: hmm.

[00:18:23] Brad Axelrad: the reason I'm saying that to, to frame this is that it's like, is anger, the, the holy grail for me that I've been stuffing down at some level.

[00:18:34] Brad Axelrad: And like, I'm noticing so much sadness around this. Is that my biggest fucking dragon that I have to face right now to finally free myself from, from myself.

[00:18:46] Brad Axelrad: And I, and I think it is, and that's so hard for me to say to come from this place of like, Fuck, I guess, I mean, I thought I'd worked on anger. I, I'm not angry in the, in the day.

[00:18:56] Brad Axelrad: I'm really not. And most of the time I'm pretty good, but I'm also noticing these little nuances of how anger shows up and how it manifests and how it's projected onto others. Like, I'm, In a deep exploration around anger and I didn't think I would be this switched on by it like i'm i'm actually engaged in it in a way that feels like visceral like I might finally get to the core of My biggest fucking dragon that that is my greatest power and that's really it's not about slaying your dragon, that's a different metaphor.

[00:19:26] Brad Axelrad: This is about facing it. It's about finding your fear It's about facing your fear and using your fear. It's So, so, using it in a way that, that I might set somebody else free or save somebody's life because they, they are now free of their anger.

[00:19:42] Brad Axelrad: I'm trying to be as honest as possible.

[00:19:44] Brad Axelrad: I, I don't think I'm that angry out in the world, but like I said, it might manifest in these little ways. And come up in, an, in inopportune times in particular, it mostly comes out in, in the most inopportune times. it has caused damage in my life. You know, these patterns, these behaviors ha has caused damage in relationship and business opportunities and, it has caused a lot of pain. I'm having a level of honesty. I don't, with myself, I don't think I've ever had around, around the possibility of what this is, can be.

[00:20:16] Nathan Maingard: I've heard that anger Is often a sign of a boundary being crossed. Either we've crossed a boundary inside of ourselves, or we've allowed someone else to cross a boundary. And again, not making that about the other person.

[00:20:29] Nathan Maingard: And I'm finding that because I'm noticing, because actually I'm realizing I need more of that warrior energy in my life. And the warrior is powerful. The warrior doesn't fuck around, you know, like the warrior says it like it is and gets shit done and fights for his people, for truth, for obviously a warrior of light, a warrior who's in service.

[00:20:47] Nathan Maingard: Um, And I, and I thought. most of my life have equated anger with bad. Anger equals bad. And so if I feel anger, then I'm bad, it's bad, There's something wrong with me. And what's coming up for me very recently is actually that has stunt is stunting me. It's preventing me from having a full, and actually I'm about to begin uh, Brazilian jiujitsu because I wanna know what it feels like to like lovingly try to dominate someone else, you know, like try to, and, and be dominated by someone and feel that overwhelming sense of being

[00:21:21] Nathan Maingard: beaten of someone else being stronger and better than me in a very powerful physical way as a man, as you said earlier. So as I'm hearing you speak around this, this anger, this anger that I think so many of us as men, I'll say as men, I'm not sure about women, but I see it where we've been told, Oh, you know, you're dangerous and you need to calm that down.

[00:21:40] Nathan Maingard: But it's like, actually. How do I channel this so that it's in service? And I, what I'm, when I hear you speak now, I hear a man who's stepping into some powerful energy right now in like a really, really big way. So,

[00:21:53] Brad Axelrad: I take that. I take that in because, because it, it's great to have it reflected back. And I, I'm just fricking stoked to be in this conversation with you for many reasons, for the listeners, for, for me, for you. Um, yeah, it's, how can we use our fear? I've been saying a long time, but it's really, how can we use our patterns that, that, uh, have been demonized really to your point?

[00:22:15] Brad Axelrad: It's so true. Uh, and that toxic masculinity conversation that, that's, that's up. And I, years ago, almost, almost put my stake in the ground and and was about to get out in the world as toxic femininity guy. Let's talk about toxic femininity. Ivo, I avoided it. I eventually months later, people started to, it started to percolate up, but I, I, you know, the pendulum's swinging all over the place.

[00:22:41] Brad Axelrad: We're all so fucking confused with, with what's appropriate, there's just all this confusion of masculine, feminine, you know, what roles and like, women are, have swung away the other way and men should be connecting with their heart and their, and their mind and women, women are independent, but we don't want that.

[00:22:58] Brad Axelrad: And that, that's part of the breakdown with my now ex-girlfriend was like this power struggle of, I want my independence, uh, but I want you to take care of me. And. You don't tell me what to do, but I want to be fully taken care of and submit and surrender. And it's just this strange confusion of women want their, want their traditional values.

[00:23:20] Brad Axelrad: And Mexicans are very traditional. You know, they come from, from the church and from the woman stays home and the man provides and protects and, but no, you can't tell me what to do now. It's just, it's just bizarre. We're all so fucking confused around this stuff.

[00:23:36] Nathan Maingard: I feel like you're speaking with the voice of like millions of people around the world right now because I I, I really believe that, you know, this is what my lady and I are navigating as well is like, how how can she surrender more? Because we found, when I step into the role of leadership, loving masculine leadership, and she sinks into the role of surrender and femininity, that there is a, there is a really beautiful dynamic that starts to play out, but it feels in a way, very hard for both of us because I'm used to being like the soft, gentle, nice guy, and she's used to being like very.

[00:24:10] Nathan Maingard: Powerfully in her masculine, like I get shit done. I've got a plan. Like I'm moving forward and we both are kind of exhausted from those roles. And so it's like how to come together and and soften into a different way together in a way that that makes sense because like you said, we're all fucking confused right now.

[00:24:27] Nathan Maingard: And honest on the Instagram, it's like everyone seems to have all the answers, but I don't know, man. We're all we're all just walking each other home. That's, I come back to that

[00:24:37] Brad Axelrad: interesting. Okay, so, so, I would've never guessed that from you, honestly. I, I, experience you as this very strong, centered masculine presence. But what I've found in a lot of men, and I've been doing men's work since

[00:24:51] Brad Axelrad: 2004 or five,

[00:24:56] Nathan Maingard: Mm-Hmm.

[00:24:56] Brad Axelrad: a long time, you know, either as leader, participant. Um, and I've led groups for about five years.

[00:25:03] Brad Axelrad: I have about five years under my belt of leading in-person groups. Um, And, uh, and I do hear the power of being able to push into these men and cry, but what, here's what I found in, in being in a lot of these men's circles, unfortunately, the new expected masculine is that like you were saying of soft, not dangerous, uh, you know, present and you know, the toxic masculine guy is this dominant, Harmful, uh, violent, dangerous, you know, cocksucker guy, right? and there's so much power in all of that though Like you said, but we just need to take the good power out of all that I just said there It's like there's such good Power in that shadow aspect of us and that warrior killer aspect. Women want that in us so badly But we have to learn to channel it.

[00:25:57] Brad Axelrad: But what i'm saying is that is that, many men have not tuned into that because they've been enculturated and domesticated into we can't because of toxic masculine me too movement shit.

[00:26:10] Brad Axelrad: But I think women are wanting it again. It's a pendulum swinging back.

[00:26:13] Brad Axelrad: They're starting to really want it again. It's like, okay, fuck these wimpy guys that aren't gonna stand up for themselves and have boundaries and fucking claim me and. You know, just lead me in a way that's super dangerous, but totally, I want it. Right. It's like they're they're. They want it so badly, but we as men have to figure out how to get rid of the shadow side of of the violence, the anger, the, the, the murderer, the, like the fucking killer aspect of it.

[00:26:39] Brad Axelrad: Right. It's like, we wanna pull the the goodness of that, but I, yeah, it's just unfortunate to Yeah, men of men have have skipped stage one masculinity to use david deida's terminology I'm sure you've read his shit by now but like that core stage one killer masculine and they've gone right to stage two, which is like Neutral everyone's trying to be really neutral and we're all seeking to get to stage three But many have le leapt over over stage one And they're in this stage two and I the men's work I did, the first one was called the Sterling Institute of Relationship, and it was just cocksucker, ex-convict, just killer, gnarly energy, people being come dredged from the, from the, the darkest depths of, of society into getting back to where they're up above, you know, ground level, like all different walks of lives, but there were, there were those guys in there, uh, and to, to, to see The power in all these different levels of men.

[00:27:42] Brad Axelrad: And, you know, we, we, we oftentimes want to associate just with the conscious man or the man that's done the work and fuck that. It's like, there's great lessons from all these different sects of, of, uh, socio socioeconomic, you know, levels. There's this great power in all of that. But anyway,

[00:27:59] Nathan Maingard: Yeah, well said, well said. I mean, I, I think what you, there's a book I've been reading, I actually haven't read David Data by the way. And I just got his audio book. Cause I've obviously heard of the way of the superior man for years, so many times, and I just haven't like, so I've anyway, I'm I'm gonna get to that some point, but I've been reading one called manhood by a guy named Steve Del, which is from the nineties.

[00:28:20] Nathan Maingard: And he says, in the beginning, he's like the thing about feminism, we all thought it was a great idea, but. The reality is that fem feminists aren't fucking the feminist dudes. He put it, he is like very straightforward. He is like, they, they, they saying that it's so lovely that these men are, so, but those aren't the men who are getting in bed with those women.

[00:28:37] Nathan Maingard: Those women do not want to get in bed with that kind of man, because that kind of man has lost his nuts. He's lost his power. And so I think what you're saying is true is that we're swinging back into the direction where more and more women and more and more men are waking up to be like, hang on a second, we've given up.

[00:28:52] Nathan Maingard: Too much. We've given up eros. We've given up the power of the dynamic of the polarity of the friction of the polarity and it's not working for us. So, so I think maybe that's, that's what this whole conversation that we're having is, is kind of about is us as men realizing that h how to have that sacred rage become of, um, an invigorating fire and alchemical fire that allows us to really be in our power for those around us.

[00:29:20] Brad Axelrad: Preach, brother. That was good. That was good. Yeah. Sacred rage.

[00:29:27] Nathan Maingard: sacred rage, man. So listen, I want to, I want to just really focus a bit in on the work that you do, because it is so valuable. And like I said, when I checked out your website, I was just like, I think I may need to like, at some point, like align with this dude, because I really resonate. And so, Could you summarize, uh, or at least give like the talk that the listener could understand around how is it that you help people to face their dragons, those five dragons you mentioned earlier, and, and what is it that's keeping people stuck and why aren't people facing those dragons?

[00:29:58] Nathan Maingard: Like wherever you want to take that, but, uh, this is your story and I would love to hear it.

[00:30:02] Brad Axelrad: Cool. I, I think it should start a little bit just from the Genesis story. So I became the Hoffman, I wanted to keep Hoffman in my life so much because the work was so valuable. And after witnessing it post father, uh, it was, it was incredible. So I became the Orange County, California graduate facilitator.

[00:30:22] Brad Axelrad: And I was teaching these, teaching the Hoffman principles and processes. And we were doing the work on a monthly basis for a couple years.

[00:30:30] Brad Axelrad: But I I wanted to expand the teaching and the, and the conversation into quantum physics and neuroscience and even medicines, you know, plant medicines and things like this was the kind of pre pre, before we called them plant medicines, you know, or at least before it was a mainstream conversation, Uh, and I, it was doing them Uh, little, did we know that all the party rave drugs were the actual medicines, the ketamine, the MDMA, the it's so

[00:30:54] Brad Axelrad: hilarious.

[00:30:54] Nathan Maingard: Yeah,

[00:30:55] Brad Axelrad: they're all the transformational medicines. But anyway, uh. You know, I, I I started producing events, those events within eight weeks of me having a circle of eight people in the living room, we manifested NBC Nightly News, I'm on national media in the US and that just led into all these other media outlets picking me up, LA Times. Orange County Register, PBS television, like, this is like, holy shit.

[00:31:19] Brad Axelrad: My purpose really showed up when I was in this intense fucking asking. And guys, I wanna say this. It's not about so much that we need to stay high vibe only, or everything is frequency. I find that it's really about our asking and the level of intensity and our full fucking surrender to being in service.

[00:31:39] Brad Axelrad: That's when things show up. And I was, I'm getting chills right now. Like I was so fucking ready to be in service and I was at the lowest vibration possible. So everything isn't always in my experience. High vibe will attract high vibe. Low vibe attracts low vibe.

[00:31:54] Brad Axelrad: My purpose fucking showed up when I was serious and ready.

[00:31:58] Brad Axelrad: that's when it'll show up for you is when you're, you've had enough and you're fucking done playing small and you're done letting fear get in the way of you finally stepping fully into whatever it is that, that is, you know, you should be doing it's fucking there. So that's what kind of where the dragons came out.

[00:32:16] Brad Axelrad: It's like, we're ignoring and the feathers tickling. There's a little God whisper, whatever you wanna call it. Like the feather's fucking tickling and we're ignoring it and you'll get hit a brick. Or you won't, you'll just drink it away, you'll smoke weed, you'll have sex, watch porn, shop, whatever you travel.

[00:32:31] Brad Axelrad: Whatever you do, do to avoid or distract yourself from doing your purposeful work in the world. And that's kind of where, where all of this, that was the genesis of this. And I, you know, I found that most of us are navigating these kind of five core things, like I'd mentioned before, imposter, scarcity, value, unheard and critic.

[00:32:52] Brad Axelrad: So, so imposter, who am I to do this? You know, I mean, I'm standing in eight weeks into starting this fucking community and I'm on stage on national media. Shaking in my boots like, wow, but I'm, I'm, I've had to do it. I had no choice but to step up this com, this fucking news station's there with the biggest cameras you've ever seen.

[00:33:14] Brad Axelrad: Just, it's crazy. So, so I had to face my imposter dragon personally and I challenge you, you know, exposure therapy is one of the biggest ways to. to, to move through a lot of our fears. It's like, if you've got a fear of this, go, go do it. A fear of public speaking, believe it or not, was my greatest fear. I still have it.

[00:33:33] Brad Axelrad: It's the biggest fear above dying on, on the planet. I'm still fucking mortified half the time I get on stage, but I've gotta step up. I've learned to channel the energy. Like we're saying, I use it as state change and use it as power and get back into my, my excitedness. So that's a big, big frame, but that's imposter scarcity.

[00:33:55] Brad Axelrad: It's kind of obvious. You're afraid you're not gonna get enough clients. So why, why even start anyway? It's not gonna work, you know, Oh my God, I better stay stuck where I'm miserable in a job I hate instead of stepping out and doing the, the the, the business I've really wanted to create and keep leaning in, keep doing the work, keep doing the work.

[00:34:12] Brad Axelrad: Um, value is essentially you don't charge what you're worth and, you know, it's important to to own who we are and say, you know what, I, I, come from producing 200 live events. I've been on all this media. I had a podcast that I interviewed Don Miguel Ruiz as guest number one of the four agreements, Gay Hendricks, guest number two, you know. Don't sweat the small stuff, christine Carlson, number three. Like I've done all this cool shit. I still battle all these things too, though. I wanna let you off, off the hook here. I'm still imposter scarcity value, unheard in critics. They're still in my experience, but I keep leaning in. I keep doing the work exposure therapy, you know, diving in plant medicine, any way you can get in there, uh, imposter scarcity, value, unheard.

[00:34:58] Brad Axelrad: If I share a message, who am I to fucking do this? Why, why should I craft this entire brand and you know, the face your dragon platform and get it out there? What if nobody likes it? What if it doesn't work? What if I post something and I, I, I'm unheard? And then what if my girlfriend doesn't hear me or my husband or my whatever, my boss, my friend, you know, uh, we've gotta feel these feelings and, and they're okay.

[00:35:21] Brad Axelrad: It's okay to feel all of them. Critics, pretty obvious, what if I put myself out there and my friends or family don't see me on Facebook and they, they used to know me as this I. MDMA drugging, uh, taking club kid back in San Francisco, 20 years ago, that was just raging in the city, having the time of my life, you know, like who is Brad to be sharing a message, you know?

[00:35:45] Brad Axelrad: So Gay Hendricks talks a lot about that, that we don't want to outshine our family in some way. And you guys can listen at Um, you can listen to all these celebrity interviews. I interviewed JP Sears and Ariel Ford, who was the publicist for Deepak Chopra. And I mean, just really powerful leaders.

[00:36:04] Brad Axelrad: And we get in this great conversation around Face Your Dragon. Um, so that, that's it. I mean, the way I do it again is I'm, I'm helping people pattern trace a lot back to where they learned a lot of these things. We do a lot of processes around just journaling our entire life story and then circling and finding parts of, uh, of any patterns of fear.

[00:36:27] Brad Axelrad: I had fear. I had doubt. I had anger. I had whatever it is, and really pattern tracing and finding where these things came from so we can start to acknowledge them and own them and what we resist persists. So just the ability to, to find them and ferret them out and. Shine the light of awareness on them. And, And, you know, as Barnett Bain said on the Facia dragon podcast, he's one of the most brilliant people I know.

[00:36:52] Brad Axelrad: He produced much what dreams may come with Robin Williams and produced the movie Celestine prophecy. And he did Eckhart Tolle's children's book. Like he's, he's episode number four, just brilliant. But he says, Brad, it's, it's about the dragons just whimpering in the dark corner, just turn on the light, you know, just.

[00:37:09] Brad Axelrad: Just turn the fucking light on. So anyway, I'm just kind of flowing some things, but, but in essence, I. these are things that come up when we build a business, but my core business is really helping people craft their message through their life story, understanding that their pain and their trauma and their challenges are their gift to humanity.

[00:37:30] Brad Axelrad: It's, it's what we're most resisting and most afraid of. Like I said, that, that, that's really what, what we can help others with. So if we have the courage to package that up, build a business around it and get out there and share it. That's, that's my deepest, uh, deepest, like, love.

[00:37:48] Nathan Maingard: Wow, man.

[00:37:49] Nathan Maingard: I mean, I feel like we've covered some wild and beautiful, I I think in a way, just hearing your vulnerability and your rawness and realness is like the best ad that I could ever, for me personally, and the way, and, and also my listeners, like we're the kind of people, like anyone who listens to this podcast listens because they actually are kind of done.

[00:38:07] Nathan Maingard: With all the, the polished

[00:38:09] Brad Axelrad: The

[00:38:09] Nathan Maingard: mirrors. It's just like, we just wanna see people. Like, what are you really, because I think in that, like clearly you've, you've navigated enough to have developed a depth of insight and capacity for supporting others on that path. I think that's part of my prayer that I say, you know, almost every day is, is, is giving thanks to my guardians, my guides and my allies, those who've walked before the mentors, the teachers, and I ask them to continue guiding me so that I too can guide others so that I can be so that it's like, that's all we, each of us is on this beautiful path of, of learning, growing, feeling, losing.

[00:38:47] Nathan Maingard: Feeling pain, all the rest of it. So that we can then be in service to others that when someone comes and says, I'm having this experience, it could be like, I'm with you. And I don't have to turn away from that because I, I know what that feels like. So, so thank you for all of this and, um, just kind of bringing it to a, towards a close here, but I'm, as always curious to hear when you hear we are already free, what comes up for you?

[00:39:12] Brad Axelrad: Hmm. at the simplest level, we're, we're, we're creating our own prison. We're, we're, we're, we're creating this self-inflicted prison in ourselves and we are actually already free. We are, we are the leaders that we need to be. We, we, we doubt ourselves. And we question, uh, who we are, who am I to do this?

[00:39:37] Brad Axelrad: All these things come up, but, but your core essence, your beautiful God, spiritual essence, self is the truth. That's the freedom. And, and we have this opportunity to, to peel back the layers of all this inauthentic, uh, inauthentic, uh, self-inflicted prison.

[00:39:56] Brad Axelrad: So, yeah, that's what comes up for me. Our, our essence is, is pure love, pure freedom.

[00:40:02] Nathan Maingard: Beautiful. Thank you, brother. I just saw a video actually where this guy basically talks about the 10. He's like the 10 re 10 reasons that you're I don't know what the title is, but he basically says we are born into a prison in the way our society's structured as well. And so I think anyone who's choosing to step in and like you said, face the fears face the dragons is, is giving themself the keys to this prison. Um, so yeah, thank you for your work. And in terms of what you're busy with right now, like, would you just say to direct people to face your dragons? Is it face your

[00:40:36] Brad Axelrad: Yeah. face your So, so, uh, basically, yeah, basically what there's been about five times in my life, I knew my life was gonna change in a drastic way. I had this intuitive hit the intuitive nudge, like they said in the movie, the secret, we need to act on that nudge. And I had an absolute moment when I, when I knew I was supposed to do a press release and got on NBC nightly news.

[00:40:59] Brad Axelrad: And there's been a couple times since then, but that was in 2006. I. So here we are 2023. Wait, was that 2000? Yeah, it was 2006. Gosh, it's been a long time. Face your is where you can listen to the podcast. You can schedule a call. You can take a quiz to discover the number one hidden fear stopping you from earning what you're worth.

[00:41:19] Brad Axelrad: But the reason I framed it with this intuitive nudge thing. Is that three weeks ago, I was either gonna get myself, I was gonna start the podcast again, or get myself on a lot of podcasts. I went the other route. I'm like, I want to get on 50 podcasts. So I came up with this amazing way to very quickly get on a lot of podcasts.

[00:41:40] Brad Axelrad: That's why we're on right now. So is the new business. I'm taking all of this work and, and summing it down into this simple, helping people remove the shit that gets in the way from them, wanting to get on their, on a lot of podcasts to share their message. So get me on This is the crazy thing when you know, when, like, you know, like, you know, like, you know, that intuitive nudge. We have to listen. I fucking knew with 100, a hundred percent certainty, this was gonna work. We booked 60 sales calls in three weeks time. So I'm just on sales call after sales call, building infrastructure, all the systems adding team.

[00:42:25] Brad Axelrad: So I'm saying all this to say, listen to the nudge. And if you want to get on podcasts and face all the dragons in the way of that, get me on

[00:42:35] Nathan Maingard: Epic brother. Well, thank you so much, Brad. And I I can only say I wish you good processing and good learnings for whatever, however you navigating what you're going through right now. And I'm, I mean, I'm excited for you. also. It's easy to be excited for you 'cause I'm not you having to actually navigate the feelings right now, but having gone through what we all.

[00:42:55] Brad Axelrad: this conversation, brother. I mean, I already am so, so grateful. So

[00:42:59] Brad Axelrad: grateful.

[00:43:00] Nathan Maingard: Thank you so much. What a blessing. Uh, It's a real pleasure. And, And, uh, it's an interesting, I just never know how it's gonna go. And more and more. It's like what you were talking about. You talk about zones of genius, which I love from, uh, um, the guy he guy gay Hendricks. Is it? Yeah. Oh, man, that book.

[00:43:16] Nathan Maingard: I'm actually, I'm reading that book at the moment. Someone recommended it to me and it's, it's given me, it's given me so much context for why I have time and again, shot myself down when things are just getting good. So I, I, I'm, I'm getting so much value outta that book, but, um, but the whole zone of genius thing, I've lost my train of thought thinking about the big leap now.

[00:43:39] Brad Axelrad: Uh, it's such a good book, man. I

[00:43:41] Nathan Maingard: Oh yes. I,

[00:43:43] Nathan Maingard: Oh, definitely. 100%. I I'm recommending it to everyone, but in this moment, what I'm, cause part of my zone of genius is basically, cause I did one of the exercises in the book and it wasn't like, I didn't know it, but like going through it again, just, just helped me so much, which is basically like this conversation we've just had.

[00:43:59] Nathan Maingard: I had a bunch of questions that I literally basically ignored. And I just completely went with, because my zone of genius is having authentic connection and, and inspiring others to dive into full authenticity and, and that being a value to those who are a part of it. So like to, to have this conversation with you and feel you feel safe enough to come fully in and bring all of you for me is the fulfillment of my genius.

[00:44:25] Nathan Maingard: Like it just feels so good. And I feel so, I feel so excited that anyone who gets to hear this. Has an opportunity to hear something that is absolutely real and raw and true. So thank you so much for being in for that brother. Just, just honoring you every step of the way.

[00:44:40] Brad Axelrad: you're doing great brother. This is to, to be able to have a space safe enough for, for me, us to, to do this is is powerful, so thank you, man.

[00:44:50] Nathan Maingard: And just like that, we've come to the end of a journey through the labyrinth of our deepest fears with Brad Axelrad. Thank you again, Brad, for your courageous authenticity for modeling the transformations you teach. You can find out more about Brad Axelrod by visiting the show notes or face your Dear listener, together we face the dragons and come out victorious. But remember, as Brad beautifully articulated, these fears are not roadblocks.

[00:45:20] Nathan Maingard: They're signposts guiding us towards our true potential. So here's a challenge for you. In the spirit of today's revelations and inspirations, why not take a bold step towards conquering your fears? Join me for a five day morning practice challenge, a journey designed to start your day with intention, purpose, and a newfound resilience against those inner dragons.

[00:45:42] Nathan Maingard: Imagine waking up every day with a practice that empowers you, that sets the tone for a life, not dictated by fear, but driven by authenticity and courage. It's not just about facing the day, it's about reshaping your life one morning, a few minutes at a time. So if you feel ready to transform your mornings and in turn transform your life, then join the challenge now by visiting already free me slash yes or visiting the show notes on your podcast app.

[00:46:12] Nathan Maingard: Let's harness the morning's fresh energy together, turning those deepest fears into our greatest strengths. You can also find links to our lovely guest. Brad and find out more about his work and the incredible way that he's serving his communities at the links in the show notes. Until next time, keep facing those dragons and please remember that even when fear says otherwise, we are already free.

[00:46:36] Nathan Maingard: See you next week.

Nathan Maingard

Nathan Maingard

Nathan Maingard is a wordsmith giving voice to those who feel isolated and lost in these times of mass delusion and dis-ease. A breathwork instructor, modern troubadour (empowering songs, poems & stories) and ILS pro coach, Nathan empowers down-to-earth seekers to be their authentic selves. In this way we can feel, heal, and grow a beautiful world together.


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