Underdog or Victim? Brad Burton’s Inspiring Struggle

Hey guys! James here, and I’ve got some first class, inspiring #ThrowbackTuesday action for you.

This week I’m revisiting motivational speaker Brad Burton’s most recent appearance on London Real.

When it comes to Brad, Real is the word!

This guy’s whole approach to motivational speaking is about keeping it raw, for maximum impact.

Early on in the interview, Brian reels off Brad’s own 150 word bio, and it reads like an Ice-T rap.

Brad comes from a poor council estate background in Manchester, with a father addicted to heroin and no qualifications to his name.

He’s now the number one motivational speaker in Britain, and at the time of filming this Episode his book ‘Get Off Your Arse’  was the top-rated business book on Amazon.

He’s been depressed, had mental breakdowns, and finally changed his life when two bullets come through his bedroom window back in 1993.

When Brad started his business he was £25,000 in debt and had just given birth to a new child.

So how did this guy turn his life around and become the head of a networking business that now does 5000 events a year across the UK?

Well, there are a few secrets in this episode, but a lot of it comes down to a shift in mindset, a kind of ballsy, fake-it-til-you-make-it attitude.

Brad sums it up himself as “tenacity” and you have to watch the episode to hear Brad say that word in his heavy Manchester accent!

He says it with such meaning and relish that it’s motivating enough itself.

As he says in one of his many one-liners in this interview: “The difference between success and failure is not quitting.”

Brad has so many great motivational quotes, and you have to hear them in that energised northern delivery.

But I’ll list a few of my favourites here:

“I’m always fighting for the underdog, but the underdog needs to fight for himself.”

“Sometimes stuff makes no sense until you see it in your rearview mirror.”

“I can’t do your press-ups for you.”

“Someday you’re going to have to make a stand. Or don’t.”

“The road to success is littered with problems and trouble.”

I love this stuff, and there’s plenty more where it came from.

Ultimately it’s Brad’s energy that makes the impact.

Just listening to him tell his own story is motivating, because he frames the struggle in such a triumphant way.

Brad has been described as the “Tony Robbins of the north”. But there’s a difference in Brad.

I think his unique quality is his fallibility, the fact that he has been through the struggle, and he’s honest about the challenges he still faces.

One really inspiring discovery I made about Brad in this episode was hearing him talk about depression, and how every-month, without fail, he would find himself in a three-day slump.

He said it would happen whether he’s had a great month or a bad one. It didn’t matter, he’d still go into his “Brad period.”

He reframed it though. Brad says he doesn’t get those moments now, but when he doesn’t feel motivated, he will put everything down and wait until his fire comes back.

I think a lot of people who have struggled with depression, or who’ve just grappled with their emotions, will resonate with this.

I really found it inspiring.

It’s Brad’s ability to create a simple reframing of challenges in this way that makes you think you can do it too.

The subtext of a lot of what Brad says is, if I can do it, you have no excuse!

Brad’s concept of “the underdog” is a big inspiration for me too.

I think a lot of us here on London Real resonate with this in some way.

We’ve all become entrepreneurs and self-employed, creative free-thinkers because we want to take life into our own hands.

We no longer want to be at the mercy of people we don’t care about, and who don’t care about us.

Brad talks a lot about this, and shares his thoughts on why people get stuck in the 9-5 cycle, living a life of misery for nothing but a paycheque.

Brian and Brad have a really good back and forth here.

Brian says that most people are either doing it because they want to fill an emotional hole in their life, or they are just too caught up in what society tells them about success.

I think this is spot on. It’s our desire to make up for some past emotional wound that drives a lot of our self-destructive cycles.

Brad’s idea about the underdog also got me thinking: There’s a difference between an underdog and a victim.

A victim is someone addicted to powerlessness.

We’re all dangerously close to our inner victim, and it’s easy to invent excuses, or blame faceless shadows in our life for our inaction.

An underdog, however, is someone who takes responsibility.

They’re honest with themselves about the odds, and they don’t try to avoid life’s struggle.

Based on what Brad says here, the difference between an underdog and a victim, is that the underdog fights.

They don’t wait for someone to do their fighting for them.

Another inspiring takeaway for me is Brad’s riff about storytelling, and how he turns the struggles and low periods of his life into positive messages for his clients.

It’s this combination of the raw truth with a message of hope that’s really powerful.

Brad is a true northerner, and northerners don’t sugarcoat anything.

But when the truth is mixed with hope, it’s more powerful than any of the corporate, motivational jargon you usually find from people in Brad’s industry.

This episode is nearly two hours long, and you’re going to take away your own wisdom.

But I’d like to know if there’s a struggle or hardship you can think of right now, that you can turn around into a motivational story.

Imagine you are telling it in the future, and you’re looking back at where you are now. How would you reframe it?

Leave your motivational story in the comments below, and I’ll catch up with you guys next week.

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