Brad Axelrad – Turning Your Dragons Into Your Fuel (422)

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Do you crave a life of purpose and passion? Join us as we explore the incredible journey of Brad Axelrad, a man of many talents, including being an event producer, consultant, strategist, and podcast host. Brad is the host of the Face Your Dragon Podcast, where he interviews celebrity thought leaders and icons in the transformational space. We dive into the profound power of belonging and how it shapes our lives, with Brad sharing details of his transition from self-indulgence to service, a change triggered by the loss of his father. 

This episode also steps into the exhilarating world of live events and networking. Brad explains how, within just eight weeks, he turned a simple book study group into an enterprise that featured on NBC Nightly News. Learn from his experiences and insights on transforming traditional networking into an efficient engine of growth, harnessing the power of fear to fuel your success.

Finally, we unpack the art of finding your voice amidst fear. Brad discusses the transforming benefits of the Hoffman Process, his networking adventures, and introduces his new initiative aimed to help others find their voice and share their stories. As this episode wraps up, we delve into practical steps to transmute fear into triumph. This is an episode filled with inspiration and guidance, regardless of where you are on your journey. You’re about to discover that facing your fears isn’t as daunting as it appears. Tune in!

Key highlights:

  • Success, Self-Indulgence, and Personal Growth
  • Personal Journey, Healing, and Service
  • Fear of Success and Overcoming Critics
  • Starting a Live Event Business
  • Navigating Networking and Facing Inner Dragons
  • Find Voice, Face Fears

Connect with Brad Axelrod:

Check out the video version of this episode below:

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Episode transcript below:

0:00:00 – Mike Malatesta

Hi everyone. Mike Malatesta here and welcome back to the how it Happened podcast. On this podcast, I dig in deep with every guest to explore the roots of their success, to discover not just how it happened, but why it matters. My mission is to find and share stories that inspire, activate and maximize the greatness in you. On today’s show, I’m talking with a psychic. I didn’t know he was a psychic before we recorded this, but you and I will find out why he is in the episode. He is also a producer of some of the most successful live events in the world and a person who, after the death of his dad, shifted from a life of gluttonous self-indulgence those are his words to a life of serving others. That’s right. I’m talking to the one and only Brad Axelrad. 


0:00:46 – Brad Axelrod

The need to belong is the number one driver of humans. Most people are so worried that they’re not going to belong out of this unconscious survival thing. It’s the human animal in us, it’s not our human spirit. The human animal is so afraid that we’re going to be pushed out of the cave to be eaten by the saber-toothed tiger or the dinosaur or something. If you’re courageous enough to face your dragon and actually recognize that most of your choices are coming from the need to fit in, the need to belong, the need to be seen, the need to be loved, these are all healthy at some level, but these patterns that we learn from church and childhood and all these other places keep us from living our true, authentic self, because we’re ultimately wanting to belong at some level. 


0:01:32 – Mike Malatesta

We talk about something called the Hoffman process, which was new to me, why many of us are afraid of our own light, how to turn dragons into fuel being in-between purposes, and why you don’t want to die with your voice inside of you. I think you’re going to love this episode, and here’s Brad Axelrad. Hello, brad, welcome to the how to Happen podcast. 


0:02:03 – Brad Axelrod

I’m excited to be here and always curious where this conversation will go. 


0:02:09 – Mike Malatesta

Well, as am I, because I never know where it’s going to go. You always, the guest always takes me where we want to go, at least at the beginning. I expect the same is going to happen today. So, everybody, I gave you a little bit about Brad in the intro and now I’m going to give you a little bit more. For over a decade, brad’s been an event producer, consultant, strategist and podcast host, having produced over 150 live events with top business leaders and bestselling authors. I want to make sure we talk about event production, because I’m actually in the process of working with a team to produce our very first event. 


0:02:45 – Brad Axelrod



0:02:46 – Mike Malatesta

As a consultant and speaker, he utilizes his message to support coaches, visionary entrepreneurs and consultants by helping them create the business that sets them free to live a life of fulfillment and truth. That’s a mission On his Face your Dragon podcast, which you may or may not resume, but you got to check it out because quality of the production in this podcast is outstanding. On his Face your Dragon podcast, brad interviews celebrity thought leaders and icons, including Don Miguel Ruiz, ariel Ford, jpcers and the Kin, who I’d never heard of before, but they are musicians that were seen on Conan O’Brien and have opened up for Coldplay and Pink. If you’re opening for Pink, yeah, you’re well known, so I’m the one that’s on the must be on the outside of the Kin. 


0:03:36 – Brad Axelrod

Well, coldplay is probably even bigger than Pink oh yeah, maybe, yeah. 


0:03:43 – Mike Malatesta

So Brad’s been featured on numerous media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, pbs Television, la Times, usc News, cbc News Canada. That’s a new one on me too, but anyway, he gets around. He’s been around. He’s well known. He’s Brad Axelrad RAD on all the socials it looks like, and his main website is faceyourdragoncom Brad. I start every podcast with this question how did it happen for you? 


0:04:16 – Brad Axelrod

Well, like we were joking about before the show, it’s sort of like what is that? It? Yeah, how did how did it happen? And I what? What comes to mind and kind of in my intuition and in my heart, is really the moment that I chose to be of deep service instead of being sort of a self indulgent young man living in Southern California, driving the convertible BMW, buying real estate, motorcycles, cars, travel, food, sort of living a gluttonous life at some level and knowing that something needed to change, that that wasn’t really serving me anymore, that there was this gnawing or what I like to say, a feather tickling me and I’m like, yeah, that’s a little uncomfortable. And then, you know, a brick hit me a couple of times like, wow, you know, I could shake the brick off and I was okay. 


But the Mack truck came and took me out and that was my dad’s passing pretty suddenly from a, from a brain tumor in 2005. And I lived in Southern California, he lived in Northern California and so we’d see each other, we’d talk a lot, but we didn’t see each other that much and there was there was some regret there, of course, when he passed, that I hadn’t spent more time with him, and that took a couple of years to process. Of course I’m through it now, but for many years I was in this, this grieving process, and I remember being on the floor in the hallway. I finally broke down months after he had passed Like I was really sad at the beginning, and then I went to this thing called the Hoffman process that we can talk about and that totally opened me up and I was full of light and joy. 


And then the grief set in a couple of months later which can happen and I thought I had processed it really quickly and thought, oh, I’m through this. But no, this really deep grief came and the point is that I was wailing on the floor begging the universe God, holy Spirit, spirit, whatever the creator to have my purpose show up so that I could be of service. That I, that I, whatever I was doing prior to that moment, was not serving I was. All that I had left in me was to be a humble servant to humanity and that was the defining moment for me and that was the? It for me that changed the entire course of my life and opened up beautiful opportunities and people in this deep resident, like passion and surrendered love, to be in contribution. 


0:06:51 – Mike Malatesta

That’s a lot. That’s why I love the question, because it’s a good one. I’ll often throw down a lot of stuff, so what I guess? What I’m curious about is what kept you and your dad apart, besides distance? 


0:07:06 – Brad Axelrod

Well, well, success. My and what I, what I called it, was the, the grave of self indulgence. I co-wrote my first sort of life’s presentation with Mark Victor Hansen of the chicken soup for the soul’s daughter, melanie, and she lived near me and we were friends and she helped me come up with with that message of you know, of self indulgence and that that’s just that, wasn’t it? And I forgot the question you asked, as I mentioned Melanie there. 


0:07:33 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, that’s okay. I asked you what kept you and your dad apart besides, so so success. 


0:07:38 – Brad Axelrod

So so what I mean by that is I had really hit a new stride of. You know, I’d own properties. I was living in a property that I’d owned, I had the motorcycles, the cars. I was really happy, I should say really not busy, but really immersed in what Orange County, california, had to offer. You know, newport Beach, laguna Beach, I was. I was living a really amazing life at some level but, like I said, there was something deeper, like that God voice. That that’s still small voice, that was, that was there, present, that it wasn’t working but it was still very full, if that makes sense. 


0:08:19 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, so you mentioned your dad passing, so hit. Did he think your success was not Like what? Why did that cause a wedge between I’m that’s? My word may not be your word, so sorry. 


0:08:35 – Brad Axelrod

Yeah, just to be clear, there was no wedge. Okay point was that I I didn’t go up there as much as I could have okay, Okay. 


I’m an hour drive and a two-hour flat hour, two or three hours in the airport and an airplane. It wasn’t far, but I was just indulging and having a great time and and and suffering the same. It’s this strange paradox of living this full life of Really amazing things, but still having that something missing in in and a God trying to fill a God-sized hole, as they say in addiction circles a and a and it’s a bottomless pit, or what I’d like to say. It. Face your dragon. I was chasing the dragon boy. Was I chasing that sucker? And it’s, you’ll never catch it. 


0:09:21 – Mike Malatesta

Hmm, okay, and this Hoffman process that you mentioned, brad, what, what is? I’ve never heard of that. What is that all about? 


0:09:29 – Brad Axelrod

I’m happy to share it. I’m happy to hear that you’re interested because to me it’s the most profound, like sort of it’s the most important work I feel on the planet I’ve done. Just for clarity for the listeners, like you said, I’ve produced over 200 live events at this point, all sorts of events that I’ve attended well over a hundred workshop seminars, plant medicine ceremonies, big conferences, you know, down to the small four of us in a room really doing deep work, kind of stuff. And in 2003 I was kind of ready for some big shifts and you know, 30, 30 ish years old. It’s what I noticed a lot of my friends when they hit around that 30. They’re like something’s really not working. So I signed up for the Hoffman process. So it’s in northern California. 


Back then it was eight days, now it’s seven and it’s a full immersion into your childhood. You basically your childhood, all of your imprinting and programming and patterns that we take on from our parents or surrogate parents. But the the process is based on the quadrinity, your quadrinity, which is your spiritual self, your intellectual self, your physical self and your emotional self. And Until we heal this hyperactive intellect that’s overcompensating for this wounded emotional child or emotional self, we have this intellectual self that’s Smart, it learns how to navigate, it learns to process and think, and. But really we need to heal and integrate this emotional self and what they call your duality. This is your duality and the goals to get your quadrinity. 


It’s called the quadrinity process so that you heal all the childhood programming, the pain, the patterns, understanding where you learn them. But Just for example, you do about 20 hours of pre-work before you go in and they’re asking questions such as Tell us an experience you had with your mom, with your dad, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with sex, with Sports, with. Tell us about your relationship with your brother, with your sister, with blah, blah, blah. And the point is you’re doing this deep dive into all these aspects of of our entire life and we’re healing and understanding where we learn these behaviors, where we learn these patterns. It’s, it’s incredibly profound. You come out of that thing and you are Never the same. Nothing comes remotely close to the Hoffman process and you said so a couple things here. 


0:11:57 – Mike Malatesta

So if and if this is too personal, just just tell me. But I’m. What did you discover that you had to heal? 


0:12:04 – Brad Axelrod

Oh, Well, I had. Nothing’s gonna be too personal there. We all have a childhood. We all had parents that had no fucking idea what they were doing. They did their best and that’s really what you learn there is compassion for, for, for them doing their best and really not knowing what to do, and it’s okay. One thing they say in the process I don’t want to give a lot of it away but your parents are guilty, but they’re not to blame, so they’re guilty of all of their, their Idiocracy. You know they’re just ignorance. So it’s if personally, you know, I got to really dive deep into into understanding, like abandonment and even, you know, in fast forward I look back, it’s like any codependent patterns or even addictive patterns. I’ve never really been an addict, although I’ve pushed the edge and everything I’ve ever done with with racing, semi professional motocross and extreme sports and drugs and alcohol and Cars and motorcycles and skiing, like I’ve pushed the envelope. 


Because adrenaline and here’s an interesting thing that might resonate with the, with the listeners or watchers here you know, we recreate situations in our life that will mimic our childhood imprinting and, more importantly, our childhood Biochemical release. So for me it was adrenaline, growing up in a household that was a little bit uncertain dad. It was kind of a hot head and you know there wasn’t any physical violence or any sexual things that happened but but certainly a lot of unrest. And you know that’s pretty typical in a lot of homes arguments happen. But my dad was this pretty big kind of raging guy so I had adrenaline growing up so I would pattern, match or recreate Situations in my life that would produce adrenaline, for example. So Not addicted, but a lot of people that have trauma will will continue to either numb themselves with drugs, alcohol, sports, pornography, social media and sex, whatever it is, instead of facing their dragon and that’s really what it’s about is looking within to find out what’s running us. 


0:14:11 – Mike Malatesta

Okay, and do I have my timing right, that you went to the Hoffman, you went through the Hoffman process in 2003 and your dad passed away in 2005. Exact, do I have that right? 


0:14:24 – Brad Axelrod

I have a really Fascinating story I’ll share with that. Like God, the spirit, our angels, they are working for us and with us. Yeah, if we can, if we can notice Whether you believe in God, jesus, whatever it is, there is. There’s some something out there. There has to be right. I’m not an atheist, I would say I’m more agnostic, but the point is there’s something there and I signed up and did the Hoffman process in 2003 and Then I signed up to go back to do the Q2, which is like three days. 


It was a. The second time was three days for Q2 and I signed up eight months before the Q2 in October, because Napa in October is amazing and I knew that. And I signed up and they fill out months in advance and my four months after I signed up we found out my dad had a brain tumor. Okay, and and I’m down in Southern California, he’s in Northern California. Hoffman was just an hour above where my dad was, so I I went to watch my dad take his last breath. 


October 19th 2005, 36 hours later after watching him take his last breath, I was in sitting in my seat at Q2 at Hoffman going and I’m wailing. I’m just completely broken down. People are problem, like I’m getting chills right now. People are probably Looking at me wondering what is wrong with this guy. We haven’t even started the process yet and he’s already lost it right. 


And it was the most Profound experience to have watched his spirit lift from his body and to see his body turn sort of gray or ashy. It was that I’ve never seen someone pass and it was fascinating to watch his spirit kind of just just go away. And, and the point being, I was in the most spiritual and most profound place I know on the planet the Hoffman process. 36 hours after I witnessed that to do work around dad, to do work around mom, to do work around like it was Magical, to say the least. And I want to say does the want to say this last part? I wanted to keep it in my life so much that I raised my hand to become the Orange County, california, graduate facilitator for the Hoffman process. So I then left, I went back and did the training and that’s what started. My event production sort of path was was being the Graduate facilitator for the Hoffman process for a couple years. 


0:16:52 – Mike Malatesta

And what did that entail? Brad being being the In that you? 


0:16:56 – Brad Axelrod

know, we did a deep, deep dive training into all of the, the processes. You know. Granted, I’d already been there twice and then went back and, you know, in a three-a-shear span I had done a lot of the Hoffman work and I’d been there a couple times, I already knew the work pretty well. But what we would do is get together the graduates they could have been a graduate from ten years ago, from ten days ago and we would get together and work through the program for two to three hours and create community. Sometimes There’d be four of us, sometimes there’d be 15 of us. Then we would get together in my, in my place, and work the tools and and discuss our challenges. 


And you know, but then I was grieving horribly. I was in this dark place of the, just the dark night of the soul. I didn’t think I could feel that much pain and Was serving from this place. It’s like I had nothing left to do but serve, and I don’t know if anybody watching this can relate to that. It was like I’m done with everything else. I just I just want to serve and and that’s when everything starts to happen, when we’re in that deep, devoted place, that’s when your life opens up, and that’s when I attracted NBC, nightly News and PBS television, usc and LA Times, orange County Register. I mean I could go on. There’s another ten amazing things that happened because I asked with that much intensity for my purpose to show up and, if you don’t mind me asking, how old was your dad when he, when he, died in? 


two seventy, two seventy two okay. Not very old. 


0:18:27 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, I. I lost my dad. He was sixty, wow to cancer as well, and I was just having you recount your experience with him at the end and all made me think about that. And it’s been 20 years now and I don’t think about it every day. Yeah, it’s there, but I don’t think about it every day. 


0:18:55 – Brad Axelrod

It goes away. 


0:18:56 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, I don’t think about it every day and then. So you start talking about it now. Now I’m talking about myself back to that time. So thank you for bringing up your dad and, by extension, making me think a little bit more about my dad today. 


Thanks for sharing that. So this serve thing, tell me how so I get the idea, or I get the idea. It’s more of a what would you call it? It’s not a transformation, it’s a what that took you from you sound when you described who you were before you sound like a sort of a and again, these are just me. You sound like people may have perceived you as sort of a selfish kind of something, and so this, this idea that you need to, you know, abandon or work, get through all that and really focus on serving people. I so, intellectually, I understand that, but I’m what I’m really curious about is how you actually started to take steps to do that, Because you know you said you’ve got all this real estate, you’re doing this, you’re doing that. How do you start to, how do you start to deconstruct that Brad and create this new Brad? 


0:20:14 – Brad Axelrod

So many many watching this probably understand the law of attraction by now, and quantum physics and maybe even a splash of neuroscience in there. Some people might say high vibes only. High frequency attracts high frequency things and situations and people, and low frequency and low vibes attracts low vibes, people and situations. I understand that the like attracts like, but what I understand more deeply is something that I witnessed personally and, like I said, I was in the, in the depths of despair, wailing, begging the universe for my purpose to show up so I could just be in service. Nothing else made sense and I was probably the lowest vibration I’d ever been, but it was the strongest ask or prayer or intention, whatever you want to say, was like this, asking from such an intensity that it was a, it was just, there was no turning back in that ask. It was like I burned my boats, you know, cross the Rubicon and I’m, I’m all in for this and and I believed it and was ready, and it was like that level of intensity. 


So what I’m saying is when you know we we oftentimes will distract ourselves or we’re addicted where we’re, we know that feathers tickling, we’ve been taken out by a couple of bricks, we’re, we’re ignoring that, calling in a sense where, by, by, just, we’re afraid of it Most, most, but a lot of us are afraid of our light, as Mary and William says. It’s really, mary Williamson, it’s really our light, not our darkness, that we fear the most. Who are we to become, you know, brilliant and beautiful and successful? It’s a long quote, but that’s kind of the gist of it, and what I mean by saying all of this is that you know, you, you, you know, when I’m challenging you to kind of check within that there’s something you’re ignoring, that you’re feeling, there’s something that that that you’ve been hearing from some people like it’s showing up. 


If we slow down enough and if we’re sober enough for long enough and I mean sober literally from drugs, alcohol, all the things we do to distract ourselves but sober from our addictions to our thinking, sober from our ways that we keep that still small voice and that communication with the divine, whatever the divine is, we’re blocking that communication and and I was such a clear channel and if you can get in a state of being a clear channel, you’re gonna, you’re gonna shift, it’ll show up. What I’m saying is it, it will find you. You don’t need to find it. It will find you. We want to attract it in, we want to pull it in. That’s the divine purpose, versus one that we think we’re supposed to do. 


0:23:09 – Mike Malatesta

Okay, so could you explain or describe how that works a little bit more, because I’m still so, I’m still trying to get to like how do you change? How do you change? 


0:23:21 – Brad Axelrod

Yeah Well, you, you got to want to change, first and foremost, right. 


0:23:26 – Mike Malatesta

Which you clearly wanted to change. You’ve said that. 


0:23:28 – Brad Axelrod

Yes, exactly so. So again, most, most people, I think, live a life of there’s many ways to describe it. It’s it’s this low level dissatisfaction that they distract by having distract themselves with their kids, their family drugs, alcohol, sports and I did it for years. I was avoiding the, the, the desire that was deeper. And so change comes when we get honest and we’re, we challenge our cultural programming, our church programming, our school programming, our familial programming, our community programming, anywhere that we are in trained. 


Well, let me back up. The need to belong is the number one driver of humans. I thought it was the fear of social ostracization, but it’s actually. That’s the other side of the same coin. So I interviewed John Jalief. John was the executive director of Jim Carrey’s philanthropic organization that he and Jim started. He actually married Jim and Holly Lauren back in the day. 


Really fascinating guy. He lives in Newport Beach and he’s been a psychotherapist for 40 years or something. Just an amazing human. And I asked him. I said John. I said what? 


What do you think is the number one driver of humans? I said I think it’s the fear of ostracization. He goes Brad, it’s close and you can see him on the Fasier Dragon podcast. Just fasierdragonpodcastcom will take you right to the right, to the podcast, and and we had this conversation around that. 


So what I’m saying is the fear of not belonging or the fear of social ostracization ostracization most people are so worried that they’re not going to belong out of this unconscious survival thing. It’s the human animal in us, it’s not our human spirit. The human animal is so afraid that we’re going to be pushed out of the cave to be eaten by the saber tooth tiger or the dinosaur or something. So if you’re courageous enough to fasier dragon and actually recognize that most of your choices are coming from the need to fit in, the need to belong, the need to be seen, the need to be loved, these are all healthy at some level. 


But it’s when they become unhealthy, like Don Miguel Ruiz said on the on on basier dragon podcast number one, fear is completely normal. It’s when it becomes irrational that it’s a problem. So all these things are normal. It’s okay to belong, it’s okay Of course you want to be heard, of course you want to be seen, but these patterns that we learn from church and childhood and all these other places keep us from living our true, authentic self, because we’re ultimately wanting to belong at some level. I hope that makes sense. 


0:26:26 – Mike Malatesta

Okay, yeah, and you’ve done a lot more thinking on this than perhaps I’ve ever done, so for a long time, like 20 years. Yeah, so this quote that you, that you and I forget her name already, but that you attribute, to Williamson. Yeah, many of us are afraid of running for president. 


0:26:44 – Brad Axelrod

Yeah, she’s running for president. 


0:26:46 – Mike Malatesta

Oh, she is Okay. Yep, you ran before to him Okay. 


0:26:49 – Brad Axelrod

I think as an independent yeah. 


0:26:52 – Mike Malatesta

Many of us are afraid of our light. I’ve been thinking about that ever since you said it, because I’m trying to tie that to you and this transformation, this you know, because you don’t seem to be to be a guy who is afraid of his light and I don’t know you, of course, but we’re just. I mean you’re. You don’t seem to be a person who wants to be in the dark, like most people want. They’re afraid of their light because it scares them, right? But you, you found new light, right? Is that? Am I? I? 


0:27:23 – Brad Axelrod

guess, I’m just yeah, is that? 


0:27:25 – Mike Malatesta

is that a good way to say it? 


0:27:26 – Brad Axelrod

That’s what I’m yeah as well, it’s well said. It’s the other side of the same coin, though, like, like the fear of success, the fear of failure. But you know, I did a fear of success summit with one of the biggest marketers for years. The guy’s done probably 600 million in sales as a marketing guy, alex Mendoza, and we did a fear of success summit. So, so, so a lot of us, you know, I have the five dragons imposter, scarcity, value, unheard and critics and I’ve had to navigate all of them and that’s how I came up with this brand is working with thousands of people throughout the years big corporations, small life coaches, all all facets of business, excuse me. And and I found that, you know, as we navigate these dragons, I, I, I still have them. 


I like my, just to be honest, my, my biggest fear is the fear of public speaking, and you would never know that I still, I’m still met petrified when I get on stage, not always, but sometimes I just, I just have this adrenaline response and, ah, you know, it’s like it’s the greatest fear above dying. It’s the biggest fear out there. So we’re none of us are immune to it, it’s just are we? Are we brave enough, courageous enough to admit it and to actually look within to say, wow, I’ve got a fear of success. What if I achieve? And that’s part of the critics dragon? It’s what if I achieve the dream and my personal life will suffer or I’ll be criticized in some way. 


And that was a dragon I had to deal with a lot of, a lot of times, like gay Hendricks talks about on podcast number two. He’s brilliant, he’s got the book, the big leap. He talks about this upper limit or which is our glass ceiling, that we tend to Sabotage once we get to this limit of how much good feelings we can have in our experience. And you know, it’s just I was afraid I was gonna be criticized by a family member, like, in particular, my oldest brother. If you know, he’s kind of on the narcissist spectrum a little bit, where he didn’t really sort of want me to succeed or be happy. It’s like I could feel it. So at some level I’m kind of running this pattern like love me, see me all prove to you that I’m good. Like we do this with people. We run these cycles with people energetically and literally. And yeah, it’s. It’s fascinating to observe when you slow down and get sober enough to feel your feelings and to and to look. 


0:29:52 – Mike Malatesta

So how did this, how did this transition to to like you, you want to serve, lead to the live event Business? 


0:30:00 – Brad Axelrod

yeah, let’s talk live events. 


0:30:01 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, let’s talk live events. 


0:30:03 – Brad Axelrod

Yeah, you wanted to talk about that. So I let’s a great fun conversation and one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. So I wish you the best of luck. It’s a. It’s awesome. If you have the money to hire a team and do it, it’ll be much easier, but it sounds like you do. So I, you know I never wanted to be an event producer. I just started the Hoffman graduate gatherings, and, and, and. Within eight weeks Well, within, okay. 


So after about two years of the Hoffman circles, I thought, man, I want to start talking about quantum physics, the law of attraction, neuroscience, other things. And you know I was supposed to be following the guardrails stay inside the guardrails of the Hoffman work, which was beautiful, it’s the most profound work on the planet. But I wanted to talk about something else. So I started another book study group on the book ask it and is given the teachings of Abraham Hicks, and maybe you’ve heard of that, maybe not, but it was one of the sort of bibles for the law of attraction movement that happened in the late 2000s with the secret and everything else. So I started studying and talking about that book and the and the movie what the bleep do we know, which is all about quantum physics. I’ve seen it well over 150 times, like everybody should watch the secret and what the bleep do. We know they’re amazing pieces of work. They’re a little dated now. They’re what? 16, 17 years, 18 years old, but they’re amazing pieces of work. And so the book study group we fast forward. 


So, within eight weeks of us sitting in the living room of a guy I knew, a Newport Beach, we’re on NBC Nightly News. I, like holy smokes, I did a press release. My instincts knew to do it. It was like this, like this oh my god, my life’s gonna change. I knew it was gonna change as soon as, like, I’m getting chills again. As soon as we started, you want to check in with your chills, you guys? Hmm, these are important. These are little signs that were on the right path. This, this, these are little sign tickling from angels and things or whatever, whatever you believe. So, yeah, so there’s this. 


I started producing events. I mean, within eight weeks, were on NBC Nightly News. All these people started coming to the events and then, a couple weeks after that, maybe a month later, we had the grand opening because we outgrew the space. We had 200 people at this conference center. I had a catered raw food and a and an opera singer and my friend that was and was a mentor and still is. He was on my board of advisors for 10 years. This is so cool. He used to be the host of Joker’s Wild and shop till you drop and the California Lottery Big Spin TV show. Like he’s a major television game show host and one of the most beautiful, deep, wise souls I know, but he was our guest speaker that night and then from there hundreds of events happened, but that was the Genesis. Genesis of it was that, hmm, joker’s Wild. I have not heard that show in a long, long time. That brought back a million years ago Joker’s Wild. 


0:32:59 – Mike Malatesta

I have not heard that show in a long, long time. That brought back a memory right there. 


0:33:04 – Brad Axelrod

Let’s go way back. 


0:33:05 – Mike Malatesta

Joker’s Wild. That’s way back. So okay, so that. So that gets you going, I guess, from a practical standpoint and a selfish standpoint for me, yep, what is what’s the key? This is probably a dumb question, but what’s the key to a? What’s the key to a great live event? 


0:33:22 – Brad Axelrod

Well, I can I ask you some questions around yeah, yeah, yeah, that would be helpful, yeah what? What’s the intention of the event and the message of the event, like what’s the promise of the event. 


0:33:33 – Mike Malatesta

Okay, so the event is about elevating humanity through leadership, and I am a co-pilot on this event. The Judy Dana is. It’s her work and she is the one who’s Leading the charge on this. I’m assisting, has she? 


0:33:50 – Brad Axelrod

produced events before no, okay. So Elevating. Who are the leaders that you want to show up? Entrepreneurs, or are they corporate leaders or like what? Who are these people? 


0:34:04 – Mike Malatesta

Both at this point and this is a year down the road. So at this point, we are thinking both Okay. 


0:34:11 – Brad Axelrod

So, to me, the key to any event, it doesn’t matter who they are. People are people. People want to be connected to other people. In particular, I think Most people go to events for the people, the other people. Yes, we go to the events because my last large scale event I had Michael Gerber of the emeth book. You’ve probably heard of that, the number one best-selling business book of all time. 


He has one of my strategy panel yeah, he hosted a strategy panel and spoke for 30 minutes on the On my stage. The point is, people came for Michael oh my gosh, michael Gerber’s here I should come. Or Ali Brown, or all these other big names right, she was a stun ABC celebrity millionaire. I’m like that. I had huge people at this event. That draws the crowd. If you can attract celebrity names, that gets people there. So some people show up because of the person, but in my experience, when they get there, they’re there because of the connections they make with the people. That’s the high they get. That’s the dopamine, the oxytocin, the serotonin. That’s that’s it. So what, what? Why I’m starting with that is that high Interactivity is so important. 


I would recommend that you add networking sessions that are structured into the event, where you’re teaching people and guiding them how to network together with each other. Obviously, you’re there to try to sell something at the event and you can do that. If you’re providing this amazing container, you’re adding tons of value to them. But one of the biggest benefits and the highest energy that you’re going to create is pushing them into uncomfortable things, whether they’re ready or not, and that can come in one of two ways. It’s the networking, like I said, forcing them to to Elevator, pitch, to other people in small groups and you know, and you and I can talk about these things another time, like how to structure some of these things, but that’s the first thing getting them interacting, getting them meeting each other, pushing them in there, out of their comfort zone. 


So another thing I used to do to get them way out of their comfort zone. A lot of people Thought I was crazy doing this, but I would get the energy just riding up through the night and I would do three hour events most of the time and I would do three hour events. Most of my events were Wednesday night from 6 to 9 pm and I want to share the structure because it but these are community events monthly. I wanted to build community ongoing every month. They knew they could come to this amazing community. You want me to keep sharing. 


0:36:49 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, yeah go cool. 


0:36:51 – Brad Axelrod

So the first hour from 6 to 7 was open networking and mini expo. So I’d make some money selling 10 expo tables. You know, 100 bucks, 150 bucks, whatever that would pay for the food. The venue is great. Then sell the tickets for 25 prepaid, 30 at the door. You know, decent little moneymaker from those things. This is again a different style than what you’re doing. But then the second hour was always structured networking and then we would take a break and then the, so the entertainment would be mingling and then we would take a break and everyone would go eat and go to the bathroom and then 20 minutes later we’d come back. And then the third hour Was the guest speaker, who was the headliner that brought a lot of the people there. So there was the extrovert first hour, the introvert second hour, because if we would force the introverts to Talk to each other and there was the guest speaker, that would sell the crap out of the room and I would make 50% off of the back of back-end sales from what they would sell. 


0:37:48 – Mike Malatesta



0:37:48 – Brad Axelrod

I Mastered it. I’m one of the best in the world at this style of event. I can say that very confidently because I’ve done hundreds of them well over a hundred and Probably 30 of that style of event, but in that part of the ramp up. So they would schmooze and mingle and then I’d get in the room and do a little talk for five or ten minutes and then I would almost always get people up out of their chairs immediately. Keep them out of their chairs, keep them moving. Okay, go find someone you’ve never met and stand in front of them and they’re just like oh my gosh, well, I can’t believe he’s. You know, okay, just look at this person that this is a networking event. Most people are in suits and stuff, right. 


Mm-hmm and I’d have them eye gaze and I would explain to them through the process. You probably feeling a little uncomfortable, you might want to laugh, you might want to look away. Just notice all these feelings you’re having as you’re doing this. Now, close your eyes and then I’d walk them through a meditation to get connected, for their intention for the evening, to get them communing with something outside of themselves, and then I’d have them open their eyes again and they would be much more present to this person. And then I would have them just eye gaze and then I would have them, after I don’t know a couple minutes of eye gazing, diad and each person would share what happened for them or what they’re looking to get out of the evening. Point is make it inclusionary, and what’s the term that I’m looking for like? Interactive another term, but extremely interactive. Don’t have it be. Show up and listen to 10 speakers speak at you all freaking day. Nobody wants that and I’ve made that mistake a couple times doing that. 


0:39:33 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, well, people, you know their bandwidth for that kind of stuff is kind of limited to. I mean they might sit there all day. 


0:39:40 – Brad Axelrod

Presentations the 10 to 20 minutes to so that this structured networking. 


0:39:45 – Mike Malatesta

So I’m I’m really interested in this whole concept of curated networking or structured networking, like you said. How do you? Because Networking is kind of like public speaking for a lot of people it’s a little scary, some people think it’s a little phony, some people think they’re above it, some people think they’re below it. You know it’s just a hard thing, but how? What are some tips that you could give us about how to do curated or structured networking that doesn’t that kind of gets past those things that unstructured networking would? Like you said, the extroverts are out there in the unstructured network and everybody else is kind of on the sidelines hoping nobody comes up to them and says anything Exactly. 


How do you, how do you recommend doing that? 


0:40:30 – Brad Axelrod

Well, it’s like a high school dance. 


Right, there was the cool kids that are dancing and everyone else is standing around all the nerds, or whatever else I think the shy people like myself at some level would stand around the outside, depending on how much Keystone light I drank or Coors Light or something. But yeah, so I like sober events. I don’t like alcohol to be there. That’s just my opinion. I’d rather people to be really present and not on any substance. That was the first thing. But the structured networking it looks like this. It looks like you coach them a little bit on their elevator pitch, for lack of better terms. What’s your one line statement? But the difference between just going and vomiting on somebody, who you are, and what you’re trying to take from them, is that you would present it in a way that it’s like I’m Brad Axelrad. 


I work with coaches, consultants and entrepreneurs to build a business that sets them free, that’s purposeful and playful, and I do that by helping them get on podcasts and build their other business. But what I’m looking for next is an introduction to someone that can put me on stage in front of 100 entrepreneurs who do you know? And you have these cards where you would and I learned this from CEO Space when I partnered with CEO Space a long time ago and you’d have these cards that they would call CME cards and you’d write down. Ok, call me, because I know Joe that does exactly that. Here’s my number and you hand it to them and then, great, thank you. 


Anyone else? Oh yeah, I know, susie, or I am that person. Call me and you’re getting these cards. Great, and then you could do this sitting or standing. And now imagine there’s five people in a circle and the first person goes. They have one minute to share what they do and two minutes for everybody else to love on them. It’s a shift from I’m going to take from you to we’re all going to give to each other. That’s the shift. 


0:42:31 – Mike Malatesta

Hmm, ok, makes sense. 


0:42:34 – Brad Axelrod

But the reason most people hate networking is they don’t want to have the insurance sales guy come and jam his car down their throat. It’s like that doesn’t work right. 


0:42:41 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, no, not at all. Yeah, or look past you to the next person, exactly. Like pretend they’re talking to you. Ok, well, thanks for the tips. That’s good. That’s good. I think I know more than I definitely know more than I knew before, so thank you for that Right on. So let’s get into your dragons. That you mentioned them, and there were five, and I missed one, but imposter value, unheard critic. 


0:43:10 – Brad Axelrod

Imposter scarcity value, unheard and critics. 


0:43:14 – Mike Malatesta

OK, so what are they, how do you use them and what do people need to know about the dragons to face them? 


0:43:22 – Brad Axelrod

Like I said, I’ve battled all of these at some level Imposter, scarcity, value, unheard and critics. I mean I still do to this day and what I’ve noticed in producing all these events and having thousands of people sit in my chairs and the hundreds of people I’ve worked with in one on one and in groups as coach or consultant or teams, is that there’s a lot of things happening internally but in their own process and being projected onto others and then that person’s feeling it and it’s like there’s this cycle that we run with people but imposter shows up basically any time we try something new and we’re pushing the edge. We’re going to feel like an imposter. But I want to say this let me frame it all with this what’s most important is to realize that these are gifts to us. They’re not something we want to slay. We don’t want to kill and slay our dragon. We want to learn to leverage and transform these into fuel. 


Fear into fuel. That’s the key. We have so much power. When these show up for us, like the fear of public speaking, I could whimper and get quiet or I can use all of that anxiety and intensity and fear intention to become more animated and to use it as energy. So when you’re feeling like an imposter, try to flip it and remember the things that you’re good at and know that any time you start something new, it’s just normal, it’s completely normal. It’s OK to feel these feelings too. I want to give you permission to feel them, and that’s the first thing is to be like OK, I’m feeling like an imposter. Learn to love that aspect about yourself, and when we learn to love it and love our fear, what we resist, persists. It goes away. 


0:45:19 – Mike Malatesta

OK, and so your process of working with people is taking them through these five dragons, not to slay them, but to acknowledge them they’re real, acknowledge the reality of them and then work to really, I guess, become confident with them, so that you’re acknowledging that they’re real. But then that’s how you get the fuel out of them, like you transform what you think is a weakness into a strength. 


0:45:53 – Brad Axelrod

That’s exactly it. I mean, think about how to train your dragon or avatar. They’re afraid of this big fire-breathing dragon, their shadow, this big thing, and then, once they become friends with it, they’ve got this huge dragon, they get to ride and soar around and it’s a magical, mystical experience, right? 


0:46:11 – Mike Malatesta

OK, Thank you for that. When I listened to your podcast, which was the first one, you were living in Costa Rica. Now you told me this morning that you’re in Mexico. We know that you were in California Southern California. Maybe there have been other places. I’m curious about what’s guiding you to where you end up. 


0:46:35 – Brad Axelrod

That’s such a great question. The short answer is I hate the cold, so I’d rather live somewhere warm, in the winter in particular. And look, we’re living in a gated golf club yacht community. The 10 richest families in Mexico live in this place. It’s gorgeous, it’s absolutely amazing and magical, and it’s probably a quarter of the cost of what it would be in the States. Thankfully, I speak Spanish. 


0:47:11 – Mike Malatesta



0:47:11 – Brad Axelrod

I mean, this thing would probably be $8,000 a month in Newport Beach. It’s not that it could be, so that’s the short answer. 


The long answer is I like pushing the edge to get out of my comfort zone so I can grow, so I can expand, so I can experience new cultures, new languages, new food, new stomach-borne illness, which happens I say that jokingly, but oh god, I’ve just been clobbered a couple times. I’ve got it worked out now. Yeah, that’s it. To try new things, because I tried a lot of other things and I challenge people that what I say. The hashtags I use are facerdragon, facerdragon, take the leap, break free. So looking inside, finding, facing and using your fears is what I like to say. But find your fear, face your fear and then jump. And so many of us stay stuck because we’re comfortable, we’re safe, or what Bob Proctor says people hit their terror barrier and they go right back into bondage because it’s safe there. So they think I don’t want to live that way. I’ve always tried to push through that terror barrier and be absolutely mortified so I can live a life of freedom and truth. So I challenge people to do that. 


0:48:38 – Mike Malatesta

OK, yeah, that’s beautiful. There’s a quote on your website. It says there is no worse a life lived than one where we die with our voice still inside us. And I wanted to get before we end here today. I wanted to get your take on it, your take on what that means. 


0:49:03 – Brad Axelrod

Well, watching my dad pass and noticing that he suffered a life of quiet and not always quiet desperation for a long time, I swore that I would find my voice. And that doesn’t just mean speaking. It’s like finding your power, it’s like it’s tapping into your Dharma, it’s getting out of the way to find what you were meant to do here and stepping in fully. But in particular, the voice with my dad was he’s gifted, just like I am. I’m clarsentient, I’m a high empath, I’m psychic, I can feel and sense things, and he had it too, but he didn’t know what it was and it tortured him at some level and I hated seeing him tortured by this thing. Once I knew I had something too. I’m like, I’m not normal, something’s a little bit unique here and my nephew has it and I can see it’s like. 


And a lot of us have really high intuition or we’re clarsentient or claraudian or clairvoyant or claircognizant. But the point is he died with his voice still in him. He never found his passion, his purpose, and it was painful. It’s painful to watch. I just beg you, if you’re watching or listening to this, that you get the courage to step up and face your dragon and do whatever is necessary to not live a life of quiet desperation. Most people, like I said, when they’re in that state will be heavily into sports or alcohol or drugs or something distracting themselves from that still small voice that wants to be seen and heard and opened up. 


0:50:45 – Mike Malatesta

Thanks for explaining that to us, because I wasn’t sure what it meant, but it’s sort of like the Hoffman process. Go right back to your childhood and you took this right back to your dad, which I wasn’t expecting, so that was nice. So, brad, before we go, is there anything that I have not asked you about or that you’d like to share with the audience that I should have asked you perhaps? 


0:51:15 – Brad Axelrod

I feel like I’ve shared quite a bit. But what I’ve noticed in myself recently is we sometimes get in between purposes. I think of David Data and he’s got a great book called the Way of the Superior man. It doesn’t mean superior or inferior, it just means living a superior life, brilliant material. And there’s one thing I read that book probably 15 years ago in Letta Men’s community, around that for several years, around his work. There’s something he talks about in there and it’s not just men that experience this, but purposeful women too that there comes a moment where we might be in between purposes and we’re not sure. 


And I’m kind of just coming out of that. There was a couple of months there where I was like man, I know I’m going to get on a lot of podcasts and I have been. I’ve been on I don’t know 12 podcasts in the last three weeks here, maybe four weeks, and I’ve got another 10 lined up. Like I knew I wanted to start really sharing my message again. Like there’s this feeling of if I don’t share it, I’m going to burst. I remember Jason Silva saying that he used to have a Nat Geo thing. He’s a brilliant pontificator on Instagram and Facebook. Go, follow Jason Silva. He’s one of the most brilliant humans on the planet, but he shared how he would feel like he’s going to burst if he doesn’t get his message out. 


And the reason I’m saying that is I was in between purposes for a while and I have found my purpose again and it’s it feels really good and that that was teach. It’s teaching people how to share their voice Like I had always done. That I helped them face their fear. I helped them produce events or create a podcast or build a coaching business. But what’s gotten really clear is that I’m loving being on all these podcasts. 


I’m enjoying this so much today with you. Your questions I’m able to share, I’m able to heal as I’m sharing. I’m helping other heal, others heal. It’s a beautiful synergistic thing, but I’m I’m wanting to help people get on podcasts and I found a great way to do that. So I just am launching the new program. That feels really good and in alignment with all of my life’s work and it’s get me on podcastcom Just super clear messaging and so so I hope that makes sense, that that piece of being in the limbo is really uncomfortable, and just know and trust that on the other side of that, your purpose is going to show up as, especially if you’re asking, Got it. 


0:53:42 – Mike Malatesta

Appreciate that. I love the URL. Get. Get me on podcastcom, that is. You’ve done some good work there, my friend, Very nice. 


0:53:51 – Brad Axelrod

It’s, it’s, thank you. It says what it says. It says what it says. 


0:53:54 – Mike Malatesta

It’s like a perfect thing to tell me what it is. Yes, this is exactly. 


0:53:58 – Brad Axelrod

I don’t even need to tell somebody what it is, I just tell them the domain and they’re like, oh, okay, that’s what I? 


0:54:03 – Mike Malatesta

yeah, that’s what I meant, Cause you know it’s like yeah, that’s exactly, yeah, Okay. Well, brad, this has been a really great conversation. Thank you for joining me from your abode in Mexico and for sharing so much of your life and your story with with me and with us today. It’s been really, really cool, thank you. 


0:54:25 – Brad Axelrod

Thank you, man. It was truly my honor. I just blessed to be able to do this, so thank you. 


0:54:30 – Mike Malatesta

Hey everybody, thanks for listening to the show and before you go, I just have three requests for you. One if you like what I’m doing, please consider subscribing or following the podcast on whatever podcast platform you prefer. If you’re really into it, leave me a review, write something nice about me, give me five stars or whatever you feel is most appropriate. Number two I’ve got a book. It’s called owner shift how getting selfish got me unstuck. It’s an Amazon best seller and I’d love for you to read it or listen to it on Audible or wherever else Barnes and Noble, amazon you can get it everywhere If you’re looking for inspiration that will help you unlock your greatness and potential. Order or download it today so that you can have your very own copy and if you get it, please let me know what you think. Number three my newsletter. I do a newsletter every Thursday and I talk about things that are interesting to me and or I give more information about the podcast and the podcast guests that I’ve had and the experiences that I’ve had with them. 


You can sign up for the podcast today at my website, which is my name MikeMalatestacom. You do that right now. Put in your email address and you’ll get the very next issue. The newsletter is short, thoughtful and designed to inspire, activate and maximize the greatness in you. 

Alexi Cortopassi

Alexi Cortopassi

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