A Spark of Brand Strategy with Brad Caldwell
Brad and I have been in the same sphere for a while, but we came together due to our higher callings. This podcast unpacks who he is and how he serves in his business. He lets us look into his soul and his heart for God and his business. If you are looking to tell your story and create a brand, Brad is sure to be one you want to check out. Enjoy!
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An award winning networker & branding expert, Brad is a brand strategist and business developer who builds authentic strategies that allow businesses and brands to develop real, sustainable ROI. He has built sports franchises, scaled businesses to 4x their revenue inside of 20 months, helped develop personal brands, and assisted franchises like Chick-Fil-A, Pizza Inn, the American Cancer Society, and others recast their marketing strategies to increase ROI and impact.
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Show Notes: A Spark of Brand Strategy
Have you ever met those people and you've been in the same sphere in the same room and you approach one another and in a completely platonic way, there is just this sense of knowing the sense that, like, I see you the sense of, I don't need to know all of the details, but I know where it is that you've been.
Experienced the pain and I've also experienced the passion. And I see the purpose, the higher calling broad Caldwell today's incredible guest was one of those people that I had the opportunity to get to know very briefly, but just enough. And so today's podcast impacts him a bit more and we have in tandem our heart for the Lord, with the symmetry.
Serving in a secular business concept and understanding that stories, your story, even you who are listening matters in such granular composition composition so much that was crushed and is now able to sit beautifully on a mantle. And we were both. And what about this? And so I cannot wait to see how our relationship and that sense of knowing collides further, even after this podcast.
But I want you guys to go to the YouTube, uh, my channel Tamra address, obviously subscribe to it and specifically listen, and look into his soul. You guys, his eyes are so powerful and it's the experience that I need you to have as you're listening to him. He is so wise and so good. And how he lingers over a concept and also formulate the language that then we sit with and he talked about rhythm and melody and the onset of this podcast.
And I know that the melody linger far after you tune in, because that is the type of human being he is based on his attunement with the holy spirit. So tune in, enjoy, go follow Brad and all the places, sparks strategies. If you're looking to develop your brand, if you're looking to develop your story, if you're looking at.
To have more than just that surface level experience with your community. Brad's your man. And hopefully, eventually we'll be in it together. So I'm just speaking that out there. Yeah. Brad, sorry. New news to you. All right. Y'all thanks for being here. And please just subscribe, review, share this tag him.
He'll be honored. He'll be so excited and couples, and you'll know why more about that word in a little bit.
This is your God wink. The moment that heaven says for such a time as this it's time to own your joy, prioritize your health, discover your wealth and exude your wholeness. It's time to become truly fit. However, this isn't a fitness podcast though. I'm a retired personal trainer and nutritionist, this isn't business jargon or tips and tricks to landing your successful passion project though.
That's still only why I'm a business coach. This isn't a quick fix health detox ploy though. I'm all for therapy and I love whole foods. I do have a Yolo side sweet tooth though. This isn't confusing religious banter though. I'm an ordained minister, still figuring out the many things and facets and faces of Jesus.
It's really none of that. So I'm wondering if you're wondering what is this? Well, this is an opportunity to join me alongside other big. Innovative movers and lifestyle shakers. As we explore and share our messy comeback stories and discoveries with each of you fellow passionate seekers, the fit and faith movement was birthed through my own trial and error discovery of mind, body, and soul alignment, and to be totally transparent, my own entrepreneurial crash and burn experiences.
I've learned firsthand that being fit isn't about our physique at all. It's not about our qualifying abilities or titles. It's not about our potential. It's truly about our God gifted passions, meeting our purpose. You are one step away from achieving your idea, your dream, your calling, your purpose, whatever you want to call it.
And I want to be there for the moment that you say yes, in freedom, clarity, and confidence that you are living fully fit and who and. You were made to be welcome to the fit and face podcast with me Tamra and dress, there is no better time than now to get fit.
Yo, yo, yo, what's up bro? Awesome. You guys, we talk online before this. So when we say hi and how are you? It's like we already did this. We're really just saying, hi, how are you? Two you who are listening live or coming in later. Um, but it is a pleasure to introduce you to my friend, Brad Caldwell, new friend, in fact, but you're going to find very quickly in this conversation that, um, our friendship goes deep, really.
Um, And it, and it's interesting that you can have those moments with people and this just occurred like weeks ago. And so I was just enamored by you and your beautiful wife, um, in New York city at the breakfast with champions consortium event. And, uh, I could just tell there was that ignite, that like symmetry, um, that depth.
And so I'm excited to learn more about where that depth comes from and also serve the community in a way that I already know. And I'm confident that you will. Okay, excellent. I'm looking forward to it, friend. Yeah, I definitely, um, I, I think we spend so much time walking in our melody and we're always taking it back when we hear a harmony that.
Um, I feel like when we were at a breakfast with champions, you know, there's a bunch of people all trying to figure out, you know, it's are a lot of people's first lab event in a while, or, or a bunch of new people for me, dozens of people I had never, ever seen before. Um, maybe not even really heard of. And you just, there are just a couple places where you were like, oh, we're singing the same song.
We're singing the same song. And I. You're right. That's definitely a, it's a blessing when you get that opportunity. It really is. And I think it's it. You're you're right in the fact that we often just go by it so quickly, right? It's no different than you walk into a space. You hear a tune, it catches you and you walk out the room and it might replay in your head, but eventually it goes away.
And unless you do things just like this, where you're actually, even though we're not officially making eye contact through a screen and you hear that person and you experienced that melody again, it's not going to actually like seep into your own character. Like I can't catch what I am not near on a consistent basis.
And so it's great that we have breakfast of champions and we can tune into each other's heartbeat there. But I am, I'm grateful for this dedicated time, um, because all of the other flashing mikes are away and it's just mine flashing for you today. So thanks for being. Yeah. Yeah. So I want to dive in, because there's so much to you, just your bio alone and you guys can see a little bit of it right here, as you're tuning in, you can go to his links and pages and all of that, but beyond just being an entrepreneur for spark strategies, he has a long history in marketing and hospitality and global missions and education.
And so it, it taps into the restaurant industry, tourism, retail, nonprofit organizations that he's helped support. Um, but I am really interested in the starting point. Um, and starting point is way back in the day. Right. But I know a bit about your ministry example and how you stepped into that in your college career.
And so I'd love for you to unpack that, cause it's not in tandem to my story, but it ignites me because of something that happened in my story. So I'd love to hear from you first. I grew up really well. I'm very fortunate. Um, my wife and I are probably rare in that her parents have been married for 46 years and my parents had been married for 43.
Wow. Yeah. And that's
like, you're like, oh, well, that's, that's the story. Um, and, uh, she's one of six, I'm the oldest too, because my parents aren't crazy. Um, and we, um, yeah, I think growing up my parents are very much, um, they're just very direct and the way that they appreciate the things that are around them. And so, uh, they love who they love, where I'm from the south, I'm from North Carolina.
And, uh, it's just, they're just really good people. And when faith clicked for them, It made sense to them. So I grew up in a church with parents who, um, probably didn't question a whole lot, but also, um, their Centrepoint was faith, not tradition or a man to be, to be candid. And so it never really took for me.
I got to college, um, my senior year in high school, uh, one of my best friends unfortunately died in a car accident and I handled it very poorly. I really poorly and got into a lot of really bad addictive, abusive behaviors. Um, unfortunately I can't say anyone in the world abused me instead. I think I was probably the, the abusive person and every relationship really.
I was very self-absorbed. Um, I don't know why it's been 20 some odd years, so I don't, I don't really analyze it too much. Um, but I, um, I was living my life, doing drugs and drinking and hanging out with the people that I shouldn't be. And I'm making good grades, which is always the worst when you're just naturally good in school, you're making terrible life choices and you got all A's look looking back.
I'm like, man, if you'd have only like flunked out, maybe you would have turned it around faster or totally, totally. You know, maybe. But I got to, uh, I got to a campus ministry meeting through two fraternity brothers and, um, a crazy life event happened. Someone actually, someone tried to shoot me. Um, and it, it, it jarred my life enough, um, to where I ran to two fraternity brothers who were always at the parties, but never.
Like they weren't wallflowers. They're normal guys. Really good guys. Cool. Greatest sports. Not, not weird in any way. He just got them normal. They're normal. You picture the wallflower in the party like, oh, why doesn't that poor fellow want a party? Um, and I found out why after a couple of months of hanging out with them, they had been a part of the fraternity for the purpose of evangelism.
They wanted to, uh, share their faith, um, through campus outreach. And I became a Christian and September of 2000 a month after I turned 20. And, uh, so now I, uh, four months later felt called to ministry and it took off. Um, my dad says that my testimony was very sensitive. Because it went from dramatic is very dramatic testimony.
And I don't know that you want that, like, it's probably exhausting, but.
It's interesting. Cause I feel like the people who have had the history and even though you didn't have it in your childhood and there wasn't that like rooted trauma, um, trauma exists all the way. If I mean forever, right? We know people who go into the military even now and have PTSD and trauma experiences from there.
Um, but you know that you're actually still a child until you're 25 because your prefrontal cortex doesn't even close until then. So everything that's happening to you is literally an impression to who not only you will become, but also potentially who your children are, where you'd come based on generational.
Because of how deeply it is innately inside of you. And so it's interesting as you're sharing that and you're like, you know, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but it's the knowing that without that shaking, um, sometimes God can't get ahold of us, right. That simplicity, that life that you led, even with having him in the forefront of everything, it wasn't enough.
And I don't think that it's our will, our free will that he's allowing us to do, to come into con to conversation with us, but he knows like it's already been planned. So it says, yeah, yeah, I definitely, you know, gosh, we could dive into theology real quick and then this will be about a three day. Yeah.
Believe me, every single one. I'm like, oh, like, this is never going to end, but I definitely think there's a, there's, there's a spot. Um, that is hard to find where sovereignty meets grace and, uh, God is in control of everything and allows us. Of control, um, in our own lives, we have choice. Um, I made some crazy decisions and, um, am now reaping benefits of positive decisions and, and all of that is a part of the condition of God's sovereignty.
And I'm grateful that I don't have to fully understand it in order to live in it. Yeah. And I think that's a part of people who are not necessarily in their faith or haven't had that encounter where they. Quite understand, and they're still standing either in that place of judgment or that place of shame.
It's a huge part of my testimony and desire as a mission-driven just any, just human being really, um, and sister and woman and all the things to help obliterate shame and, and release people so that they can understand that their empathy, quality that they're drawn to is really just the heart of the father.
Um, because we could all stand in that place. And I had this incredible conversation, even just this morning where she was, um, I was talking at coffee and my friend was talking about price. An ego versus shame. And often there's us living in one area or the other, both of which are dark. And we know that we're called to the light.
And so somewhere between shame and pride, we exist or we strive to exist, um, and connect with other people. Um, and so it's interesting when you go and you make those free decisions, especially in a youth like that, you're like, you know, I'm in control. Like I've got this, nothing could happen to me and then you almost get shot and you realize, oh, ego down here.
What have I done? Um, when you entered into your relationship with God, knowing that decisions that you had made previously in the life that you were living, did you carry shame into that relationship? Or did you not really understand that yet? Oh yeah, no, I definitely did also. More often than not the people that I experienced.
I don't know if this is true for everybody, but the people that I experienced that had salvation moments in college. So you made it all the way through middle school and high school, and didn't have those moments. Um, you either didn't have contact with faith. Like you just didn't grow up in it or you didn't have a good experience.
There was something that turns you away from it. And, um, in either situation, uh, you're learning a lot. Every time you go to a campus ministry meeting, you're just learning because they're saying things you've never heard before. I didn't have that background. I had the background where they were like, Hey, we're going to turn to this passage.
Has anyone ever read the book of Matthew before? Yeah, dude, I've read it. I've read it. Like I could quote some of the verses and, um, a lot more than other people around me. And you know, like you said, some days I'll be like, I'm like an advanced Christian. And then there were times where I was like, or you're an idiot because your mom and your dad are great.
The church you grew up in was good. Um, you didn't learn anything ridiculous or heretical or anything like that. And instead you were just like, uh, Hmm, no, I think what it allowed for me was to really almost oversimplify faith to say, um, I had great parents and a great upbringing, and I made terrible choices that yielded terrible results.
Cause that's generally what terrible choices do and either immediately or in the long run and, um, either way it doesn't matter. I think if, if you want to approach Christianity, you need to deal with Jesus. That's it, everything else kind of falls into place because you start mimicking the person you're following.
So if you want to learn the way we've explained it to our kids is that if you want to learn the rhythm of the father, you just need to be, you need to figure out where his heart is, because I can't tell you his heartbeat. You just have to listen to it. And I think that's the, the, the rhythm of God is that he sent Jesus.
So if you wanna listen to the heartbeat of the father, just listen to Jesus. And that's where I think that's where I think the fundamental root of all faith in Christianity, it's supposed to. So beautiful. I love the language and just the word, like rhythm, melody, harmony, uh, what we've been talking about it, it allows you to kind of just breathe a little lighter.
Um, and, and that alone, I think, is an attraction quality that he possesses him being God, the father, him being Jesus, that we know if perfect is, is the mission, right? Not for us to chase perfection, but for us to chase him the perfect one, because it's not possible for us to do that here on this side of earth.
And so it's this knowing that I can rest a little easier when I'm closer to that, right. Versus staying in those places of, of darkness, um, one way or the other. And so it's interesting that your media company that you then pivoted into after how many years of ministry did you do as a pastor? Yeah, that's a decade.
That's a lot. I would love to unpack some things that you learned in that space. But what I was going to say is how interesting that you utilized a light, a light bulb as your logo.
I like it, the light of the world, light of the world city on the hill. So, so talk us through like what that transitional period looked like. And I say transitional decade is a long time to be in transition, but we're always transitioning. And so you leaned into ministry after meeting God, you shifted your ways, you repented, right?
Change, your mind started living a different life in that timeframe. Is that when you met your wife and started having kiddos? Okay. So in, okay. So the most, um, most typical young college student ministry story ever is, uh, I became a Christian. I got called into ministry. Uh, Finished that year out of school, um, which would be like another semester and a half.
I went to seminary straight away to do college and seminary together. And then a church called me and I was like, we need a youth pastor. And when you are, I would say one of the many things I learned in my time as a pastor is if you are going to live in submission, you can be as reckless as you want to be young and single Brad, would you move, um, drop school again and go be a youth pastor?
Yeah. Yes, I will. Hey Brad, will you come down to South Carolina? Yeah. Yeah. Well, Brad, will you speak at this conference? You're right. Yeah, buddy. Um, and just kind of the, whatever is asked of you at that moment, just kind of put your yes on the table and just like, okay, whatever you need that I'll do it. And so I was.
Five years, four or five years into ministry. And I was doing campus ministry, uh, college in North Carolina and not, it was, it was good. It was not, I did not have peace at it. It wasn't great. Um, I think one of the areas that man ministry probably taught me all the way through the entire season was, um, discernment needs to be crafted.
You don't just have all the discernment that you need. You've got to, you've got to sharpen that you've got to refine your discernment because as you move through life things, change and apples. Aren't always apples. Uh, and so I, I did the college campus free mini campus ministry thing, kind of haphazardly, and I got half hazard results.
Inputs and outputs. That's how that works. And we can say like, it's like when you, um, when you were a college student, were you a believer in college, a mediocre lukewarm, and that means you you're going to identify with this really well. The number of times you prayed for God to give you answers to a test.
You didn't study for often, come on, God. Anytime I needed, I, I needed in the flesh. He was called on. Other than that, there was a spirit relationship at all. And I think, I think that is a human thing much more than it is a where you were at in faith, because I think we often ask God for mercy after we've already not done or done.
Right. Put all the ingredients to a cake. I mixed it all up. I put it in the oven, the Oven's at three 50 and it's been there about 45 minutes. Please don't make a cake like so true, perfect analogy again. I almost wish God would be like, that's not how anything works. Yeah. Like that's not the order that I set it in.
You can't bake a cake. And the number of times I've called on God to unbreak a cake because I jumped into a decision, um, because I was kind of reckless, but early in ministry, um, like the first church I ever interned at, I met a wonderful guy who was the youth pastor. And he was like, man, Brad, I'm going to call you and we're going to connect.
And we tried to connect in a. When he was in Florida and I was in North Carolina and it just didn't work out. And then he took a job in Ohio and I was like, never been Ohio. I don't, I don't want to go to Ohio. And he called me at the end of twin, 2005 and was like, Brad, I need you to come to Ohio. And I was like, oh, it's flat.
Like it's, I'm from North Carolina. We're so spoiled.
Yeah. There's like two months out of the year where the weather is bad. Like, okay, we're fine. You know, HIO y'all get tornadoes. And like, you can see real far
and no kidding when we, when I drove there. Cause obviously I said, yes, when I drove there, you know, North Carolina, the Western part of Virginia up through West Virginia. And then you, you take a turn into Ohio and it looks like the mountains of West Virginia cut off. And then I swear you can see Indianapolis from West Virginia of Ohio for any of your listeners that are from Ohio.
It was a wonderful time and I'm just playing, but it's really flat, right? It's really flat like West Virginia to like at least Chillicothe, you can honestly see 400 miles away. Um, you think you're like superhero, but no, it's just really flat. It's not, you're not super, um, drove there. Uh, I remember all this 24 hour period.
I remember super vividly. I was going to help out with our youth and college ministry, real big church, like 1200 members at the time down in Dayton, Ohio. And, uh, had never been, had never even seen the place just said. PAC my car with whatever was going to live in some people's basement and just took off.
And I'm a diehard Colts fan. And so for no reason, I'm from North Carolina, North Carolina, and I saw all that stuff behind you. I'm like,
because I'm older than the Panthers. So like, I don't feel for the Carolina. That makes sense. All right. I'm, I'm older than they are. And all the kids growing up pulled for the Braves and I didn't care to pull for the Braves. So I pulled for the Cubs cause that was the only other team on TV at the time.
And so Cubs and Colts for no really good reason. And the Colts were playing the Steelers in a playoff game and I'll listen to it on the radio. And right, as I got to Ohio, the cold foster game on a weird last minute play, and I was like, this is a bad decision. I should turn back around. And I did drive all the way to Dayton.
Um, cause I was almost already there and the next day I was teaching and if you're in the branding. You know, Donald Miller's book, building, look, people don't always know that Donald Miller was a Christian author quite prolific before that. I didn't know that. Yeah. Oh yeah. Yes. He wrote the book blue, like jazz and it was really popular and early 2006 when I was, when I was on the way to Ohio.
So my first day at work, I'm going to, um, teach for this chapter to the college class. And I think it was three students walked in like late enough to be like, you're late. Like we're not still getting settled. Um, you're like everyone has picked up a snack. It's two guys and a girl. And as soon as the girl came around the corner, I was like, I'm never talking to her because she's too pretty.
And I didn't come here. Like you can't do youth ministry and dating. It's awful. I tried it, it was atrocious. And I was like, I'm going to be single. Tell him dead because I'm going to be in ministry forever. So I made my choice and this is where chastity comes from. Got it. And fine, fine. I afterward the two guys go to leave and the girl comes up to apologize for being late.
And I would love to tell you that I avoided her well, but we've been married for 14 and a half years now. Um, and she runs faster than me. I tried to run away.
He did. So you have grace and I've been married for 14 and a half years and we've got three boys, 12, seven, and two now. So yeah, ministry has been wild because there were some incredible, I mean, I met my wife. I, I baptized someone in the Jordan. And I got baptized in a college pool. Um, and I have seen reconciliation and hope and walls that you do.
You're just culturally, we're told those walls, don't fall down, family, real family trauma, not like disagreements, um, issues of race and prejudice, sexism, uh, just those kinds of things to see those walls break down. So ministry has shown me some wonderful things. I think ministry has also shown me that, um, the people who are in ministry for the breadth of their adult life just made a steel.
What are, what a resolve, because it's not easy. It's a weathering that he just wasn't ready for. And so I got my first senior pastor gig and 2009, and it was just hard. The whole time wonderful people there. And, um, I mean, some really terrific people, really terrific people and being a young dad and not knowing much about that.
Having only been married for two years, probably not quite two, just over two years when we moved, you know, so basically I knew everything that you could possibly know cause we had a six month old, we've been married two and a half years and I was, and I was a gosh, I was 30. So 29 when I moved there. So clearly I knew everything you needed to know.
I was perfectly equipped, had no growth left in my life and was there for about a year and a half. And just, almost like, um, almost like the light just dimmed a little bit. And so it was, I'm going to go home. I'm going to restore, um, Kind of the piece of my home and I'm going to work and that jumped into restaurants, a GM to restaurant.
I got recruited from there by some wonderful people at Chick-fil-A. Um, got to do some great things at a store in Durham, uh, with maybe the best part, like for everything that everybody knows about Chick-fil-A, which is almost all true. Like if you know something positive, if you've heard a positive rumor about Chick-fil-A is probably accurate, which is a weird thing to say, because I've heard some of the things people say like, um, I mean, what do you guys like?
Y'all always lead in prayer and stuff a lot, actually. Yeah. Oftentimes have you, uh, have you ever like prayed with someone in the store? Oh yeah. Punch punch. I mean, are people really that happy behind the scenes? Yes. Yes they are. There's a lot of wonderful people there. And my boss there was completely different than me, hyper analytical.
Um, If analytical, like he just, he thought through steps that I would just, I would ready fire aim, and he would aim an aim and aim and aim and aim and then fire. So he's a much better shot than me, um, in business and actually in, in shooting. Cause we did that together. I learned a lot from him and I, I think that faith failure and then again, I say this word a lot, but the refinement of being around some leaders who were so much better than me, Adam had a lot of things, um, really helped point me into the career that I.
I love that last piece, um, that refinement, right, that sharpening that, uh, becoming is the word that I always use because there is that, that consistent need of what you said earlier, which I love so much. And it was one of the first things that I wrote down was that, um, if you're going to live in submission, you can be as young and reckless as you want to be.
Um, and that is no age inclusion, right? That is like inclusive of everyone. Um, but in the refining space is when we actually learn the most about not only ourselves, but also what we're called to do and to Jesus actually, Right versus what I said before, where I had this like lukewarm experience with him, um, because of church hurt because of youth group literally shunning me after specific situations that happen in high school and lived the young and the free too.
So to know the opposite realm of what that means, versus being able to be young and reckless at for God, like that's a whole nother realm. It's that song, Cory, as very things, right? Like reckless love is so good. Um, but the refining is not easy. Um, and I think of a Pearl, right? I think that Pearl is nation process.
Um, and yet it is beautiful and it comes out to the other side. Um, so I'm you step into this whole new world, right. And Aladdin just came to me a whole new, I'm not going to sing for you, but it just did.
But I love that song and quick commercial break. I know I hate these things too, but it's so critical that you grow your business for God's sake. And I mean, that pun intended with all the love in my heart to get you from a place of ideation to activation, stop dreaming, start doing stand up, start saying yes to the call that God has on your life.
We are going to be joining in Lexington, Kentucky with none other than the beautiful rise and grind community with Glen Lundy, who will be co-hosting this incredible conference. This is the second annual. And he has taken me under his wing to be able to share the stage to motivate and inspire. And I cannot wait to see you there November 5th through the seventh.
If you want to come in for the VIP experience or two doesn't want to come along for VIP, that's all access passes to the speakers and the artists, and you will be able to dine with us in the private rooms with your own special bathrooms. So of course com. Day two day, three day passes available as well.
And we cannot wait to hug your neck, see you there. And so you step into this whole new world. You've got this, this knowing that there is still him, that is within you, you're just stepping into something different. And so as you let go, you still leaned in even just from a branding perspective. And now you're in this whole new refinement season, right?
So I'm jumping ahead a bit, but let's talk about this next season as you step into that and you leave Chick-fil-A, which, by the way, I have friends who own Chick-fil-A is, and I've heard incredible things. Three of them. Five brothers are all owners and they've all gone through the Chick-fil-A school and all the things it's so amazing to hear the firsthand.
What happens behind the scenes, in that organization? Talk about mentorship, right? To have somebody that you can follow in leadership behind. So talk us through this, this new season of refinement as an entrepreneur and what branding means to you and why you chose to lean in, um, specifically to the story, because I, I partner with you that the story is the business.
So Tony was my boss at Chick-fil-A. So Tommy sees this, Hey, Tommy. Um, and because I mean, we butted heads. We really did. And I think one of the things I learned from him the most is that idea of being reckless and faith. What, for me, oftentimes, um, forwarded me more than anything was not whether or not I was willing to be reckless.
It was how many times I said. And not him. So like when Tony and I would put our heads, it would be a moment where I'm not listening to one, someone who's an expert at what they're talking about. And I would be frustrated that my opinion wasn't being heard, my idea, wasn't recognized. Why didn't you do what I thought was best?
And I sometimes will say, um, I just saw, I just saw that comment and that's really funny. And, um, no, Jason, they don't. Um, but I think, uh, when, when you see a lot of tension in the, in the walk, whether it's with yourself in your home, at your work, with your goals, it's oftentimes because you keep saying I'm going to live reckless for the kingdom of God, but you actually mean I'm going to put Jesus's name on my.
And, and it doesn't work because there's no fuel in that because you'd have to fuel it with your own capacity. And we are limited. We see in part and we know in part, so you're going to get, as far as your part will take you and then you're going to run out. And I just, I hit that ceiling a lot at Chick-Filet.
Um, and it was on me a hundred percent on me. Um, and what was great about, um, the backdrop of a Chick-fil-A? Is it earns you the right to be heard when you say I work at Chick-fil-A for five, six years? Um, what nobody knew was it was like, I was the jerk. Like I was the dummy, I was the guy who was like, well, I think way too often.
And there's a man, there's a guy in, uh, North Carolina who you're in Durham and you meet. Hug him and tell him, Brad is sorry. Um, Brad's told him, but you can do it to
swing by, um, in these COVID streets. If you meet somebody, who's a manager of a restaurant, just hug them anyway. Um, but like with a mask, but, um, maybe, maybe air airflow, I don't know. But I think, uh, when it came time to map out a career, we had moved across the country, all kind of on a whim and for fun really, and stumbled into marketing came back because of some, uh, sickness in my family.
Um, everybody's good now. But, uh, originally we were like, we're 3,600 miles away from anybody. If something happens to either one of our families. And so we came back to the east coast, moved to Wilmington and um, thought man, I could start my own company. And the vision behind spark really was. Every business has a pain point and more often than not, businesses are solving their business pain with solutions.
They already are executing, which means they're not going to solve their problem because if the solution solved the problem, it wouldn't be the problem because they're already doing the solution. So business that are doing the same things over and over again, because they know how to make the thing they make or execute the service they have or chase after the mission that they, that they're passionate about, depending on the nature of that organization.
But when it comes to a business pain point, if you're bad with money, you don't need more widgets. You need an accountant. And if you are bad with administration, you don't need more business. You need an administrator and a big gap for a lot of businesses is that they have a real passion or they do something excellent.
And nobody knows about it. And the worst thing you can be in businesses. Secrets are broke. You don't want to be a secret in business. So what we have tried very hard to do with spark and what I admitted to you before we got onto that, I'm FA I'm learning is, uh, harder than I thought it was, was for me to be the guy behind the brand and then the brand to be a company behind all the other brands.
And no one would ever know our name. We would just lift up other companies and that was our job and it was going great. And then clubhouse ruined it. Um, I mean really, truly, really, really ruined it. Um,
gosh, I mean really ruined it. Um, because I, on clubhouse, I'm not, which I only got on. I only got into clubhouse cause I get on to every app to see if it would help my client. I guess the only reason I got on and then I was like, well, this is interesting. And I can passively, listen, I'll go into this marketing room.
And then someone said, somebody didn't agree with. And like a buffoon. I raised my hand and I was like, well, I don't know that that's entirely true because you're using really predatory language about how businesses are to go after consumers. And if the age old adage is true, you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
Let's stop being creditors of our consumers and be fans of them and learn about them and care about them and get to know their habits. Like if you're trying to reach me because you want to sell me the new cell phone, you're going to sell me the new cell phone with a commercial. That makes me think of my children because I'm a dad or it's going to be a baseball commercial.
Cause I love baseball. You're going to figure out where I'm at and sell specifically to me. And you're going to. You're going to win because now you taking the time to know me. And because you've been able to reach me with an authentic reach, don't sell anything. Like if you're trying to sell cell phones, don't sell coffee mugs.
You know, like one of the, one of the ad traditions is all the cigarettes and beer commercials, right. That were really popular. When we were growing up, everybody was beautiful. Nobody had any problems in the world. They all apparently had endless budgets because they were always going out. There was very little practicality in those advertisements.
And so we would say, now those were kind of predatory. The idea, if you open up a 12 pack, you'll look like a model. Or if you smoke cigarettes like a cowboy, it's not accurate. And today we would be like, we would see right through that because we know so much. Now we have so much access to information, but back then it was very comfortable.
What we would say today is I want to know if we're trying to sell Tamra to the masses, I need to know what your truth is. What your mission really is and what your goals are personally and corporately. What, what are your goals? Because we're not trying to reach your goals. I don't understand why we're doing it in the first place.
And if I'm on the team, I need to be able to connect your vision and mission and goals with the needs of the people who need, whatever it is that you're selling. And that's what sparked does and getting on clubhouse meant. I had to say it instead of hiding behind clever Instagram posts, um, that didn't have my face on it.
Uh, cause that's what I wanted to do. I didn't want this space on everything. But dag on it Tamra, but then you get on stage and you tell everyone and you speak because you speak from a place of life, right? You speak from a place that is not of death. That is not a place that's trying to detract from people, but instead inflate, right.
And give them the tools and the ability, but you're doing it from that place of light. And so there's such an attraction quality to how you just literally show up in a room and you do so in this humble spirit that people, especially when you have, uh, the background that you have in all facets, um, they usually come with a bit more of that pride and ego that we spoke about before, uh, which, which pulls people back into silence of shame.
Right? Cause they're like, I'm not good enough. I am not capable of he's so good at public speaking. He's so smart in all of these. And, and though they would still hire you, perhaps from that, that perspective, the thing that actually creates this momentum, which is what's happening right now for you, is that humility.
It's beautiful. I'm grateful to, to experience it firsthand. Well, you know, it's interesting. And you know, I was just on a, this is the most flex thing I've ever said. I'm so sorry, but I was on a podcast last week, uh, being interviewed, you're going to say it all the time. Now, keep going, get it's ridiculous.
You guys have really run out of all the people
we have. We have interviewed everyone. We could find, I guess Brad's up. Um, but the word humble is also in Hebrew where we get the words for something to be crushed. And so oftentimes, you know, like one of the things you learn in seminary is don't pray to be humble because you're asking God to put you in your place and your place is.
You we're supposed to lay down before the king not stand up and be recognized. And it is in the ability to lay low that God makes much of you. And so I think, um, maybe Tamra, this is something that you and I will probably have in common and you might already know this metaphor. Um, one of the first churches I ever worked at, you know, you're just meeting people and I ask a guy, um, gosh, his name's Dwayne, Dwayne, what do you do for a living?
And the dude said, I'm a Potter. And I was like, what? You're like a walking metaphor for everything in church. He's like, I know. And so he took me to his. Which was incredible. And so obviously there's the things that we all can picture. There's the clay and the places where things get molded. And then there's the kiln where things get fired.
And we picked her all of that. When you put a pot in account, it almost always cracks under the pressure. There's always some sort of deformity or there's an air pocket within it. Do you know how you fix it? You fix it with a spray. It's almost like you're going to like an air gun that you're spraying into, into the count into the pot.
And it fills the cracks. It covers the blemishes. It sets right? The deformities and the mist is like this weird brown looks like muddy water. And I'm like, man, what is that stuff? You're spraying. It's it like mud? And he obviously rolls his eyes. Cause why would you put mud on top of clay? I don't know. I'm a child.
And he said, Brad, do you know what it is? It's the pots that got destroyed in. What do you mean? Well, when they break, you pull them out and then you sit them on the ground and you crush them and you crush them and you crush them and you crush them until they're essentially a powder. And then all you do is mix it with a little bit of water enough to be able to spray it through the gun.
And that mixture is actually the finer, the powder, the finer, the product that could come out of the kill. So the next time you hold something that's porcelain or find China know that the imperfections that it had while it was being refined were only made better by something that had been so humbled that it had been made to dust.
And that's the thing, that's the thing that reads the imperfections. So like when someone says, you know, like I hate being called humble because it's not true. It's I know me, but when someone says it, I immediately think. Um, I've been laid low, so someone else can be made whole, and that's, that's, that's a good spot to be in I'm I'm, I'm comfortable with that end of the metaphor.
And even if everybody doesn't have time to have me break down the metaphor for them, um, I know it, and so I hold it. Yeah. Yeah. That's really beautiful. I was at a, um, conference with Tony Miller, who is an amazing pastor who has since passed during COVID last year. And, um, he was talking about building your life as an alter.
And as that was happening, I was having this like crazy experience with. And this didn't happen last year. This was five years ago, but he passed last year. And so it kind of like resurrected in my spirit that this had occurred. And at the time we were having conversations about having a home church and we had this vision of like our, our fireplace being the place where people would be able to kneel and the place that was actually a place of brokenness and sadness for my husband and I, and my family for seasons for years.
And in fact, got to turn into this place that was now, um, an open space, an open place for heaven to come down and for my life to become an altar, you have to lay down, you have to lay it all down. You have to surrender everything. And so. I definitely am always in that place of God. Let me surrender again.
God, let me drop that back at your feet. Cause I didn't do that. And constantly allowing people in every compliment that they give and they're going to continue to give you compliments. They're going to continue to stand in line to talk to you after you've been on stage or after you've been on their podcast, when they reach out to you again.
Right. And you just have to continue to be in that space, in that spirit. I'm willing to be crushed. Right. And, and I think that that's the hardest part about being someone who is, um, an influencer, if you will, or being somebody who needs you from a service perspective, right. I need your services so that I am not a secret and it's not about my me, my name, right?
It's the secret that God has given me in the crushing of my testimony. And so how then as somebody who would say, Hey, Brad, I need your support. Uh, come to you and say, how do we do this without my face being on everything? How do we do this without me being in the limelight? And this is that concept of personal branding, and it ultimately comes back to, they need the flesh in order to understand the spirit.
And this is exactly why God sent you. Because people needed something to grasp hold of, they needed this example. How can I be like that? And it is not be like Tamar or be like, Brad, it is be like the spirit that has, has ignited us because of the crushing we've walked through. Oh yeah, for sure. And I think even, you know, if you break it out into the most basic business sense, if everything in the world is automated and whatever, and all the products in the world come from a machine, someone pressed the button and someone had to initiate something so that you could have a need met.
And for a lot of us, we're still in businesses. And that's just something I've had to reckon with is that when we, we have a client who's quadrupled their revenue in about two years and they don't ever think spark. And they had, they had sparked like when no one knew my name. And when they did know my name, they didn't know the connection with spark because I wanted, I wanted to stay behind it.
I didn't want to be a face of that company because we were busy making other people's faces. And, um, what, what really, um, was, was unique is that I won an award and this guy spoken and he went on and on about the difference that Brad has made in this company. And when I got up, all I could think to say was you haven't written one check to Brad, yet you keep writing your checks, the spark.
Um, don't, don't forget that because I got, I got people too, like it's not, it's not all bread. And that, I mean, golly, that was like last November and I wasn't even on clubhouse yet. Um, so isn't it so weird that we talk about clubhouse all the time. It's hard not to cause it's always talking to me. So I got to talk about it.
Brad, what are you doing tomorrow? Well, I've got a segment on breakfast. Like it's just straight up on clubhouse where my friend Donna bowling was talking to come do this with you. So like Donna was in the middle of a talk and I texted her and I was like, Hey, I got to go. And then she's like, oh, you got a client meeting?
No, I got an interview. And she's one of those, I mean, she's a personal branding expert. So she's like I told you, talking to people on clubhouse, so good. And it's just, this is a thing about being crushed, being utilized to create the pot. The next thing that happens is that pot is put on. Right. And so you're in this season where like you're going to be utilized.
And when someone comes and they see a beautiful plant in my house, I love plants. They also always mention the curated pot because I'm very particular about what it's sitting in and how it vibes with, with everything else. And so while spark is the thing that's ignited, right? It's the light that's coming from what you're creating.
You're still like the candle. Yeah. And so it's, it would go away potentially. And maybe you're you have a good exit strategy, hopefully exit rich, if not Sharon Lechter plug talks about my plan for smart. No, uh, yeah, we have a similar plan for media bringing it all to the table. You guys, I haven't even shared that with many people.
So I'm glad that you circled that back. Um, we need to talk about it offline or online either way and it's no secret, right? It's no secret that there's more to the story. There's no secret that there is more opportunity to serve, um, and to humble ourselves in that process, but also know that there are people who are still in that crushing they're in that crushing season right now.
And it's going to be two years. It's going to be three years. It's going to be a Moroccan. One day, it's going to be 10 years down the road where they're going to have to raise their hands because they're being turned from the crushing to the pot on the mantle. And that is such a beautiful place to be, to be a conduit.
And you, you had in your bag at the consortium, you did a little charger, which I love by the way. Yes. Yes. The battery pack. And I was like, who did this? This is brilliant. I love this so much. I opened it up. I got your card. I'm like, oh, of course it was Brad. I should have guessed. We look them up to see how much are these going to cost for Tamara to do the same exact thing at greater business for God's sake.
Right. And at the same time, I'm like, This is totally the gift. This is totally the gift. People see you, they see your electric energy, they see your humble spirit, whatever it is that you possess uniquely you and only you, you're literally just a conduit. You're a conduit of the holy spirit. And so you get to serve in that way and it's uniquely yours and your family gets to have, you know, the legacy to it afterwards.
And it's just, it's a really beautiful thing to take witness to. And I'm grateful it's a club house, right? I am grateful to Glen. I'm grateful to breakfast of champions that we were able to connect and, and to be able to drive together. Yeah, no, this has been great. I think, I mean, I, that season of refinement, I don't want to, I don't want to over spiritualize it cause it's hard and it's hard to, um, have the things you think you're right about taking away from you because they're just not the things that are.
And, uh, oftentimes the enemy of great is just good. It's not evil. Um, you're not walking around with a bucket of evil. You're walking around with a bucket of good and God has you designed for great. And I think oftentimes we hold so tight to the good cause we think it's as good as it's going to get. And God's like, no, no, there's an app coming in a couple of months, son, just listen to me.
You're going to talk to everybody for a living. Um, instead of hiding. And I think, I think in business and in faith, like if we were to think, if we thought of Christianity from the need of everyone needs one thing, and if we recognize that's true in humanity and everybody just needs Jesus and that's it, that's it, there's a bunch of other stuff that come along with it.
The fruit is great, but the root is what's important. You won't grow just because you throw apples on the. You know what I mean? The seed of the thing is Jesus Christ and that's where everything grows from. And so I think, uh, in business and what has, what has helped me probably from that pastoral background and the recognition that while I did grow up in it, it never really connected for me, um, is really understanding the need of the person or the business and not the, um, uniformity of my methods.
Like, cause if my methods don't help you, but you've asked me for help, well, I'm not going to try to change what your needs are. I need to change my methods. And so how, how loosely do we hold to the good knowing that now I can help you? And that would be great. And now. People in a couple of different areas, I can help people in different facets of life or business or family.
And so I think, I think it's very much the same thing. It's been that transition from pastor to, to business professional branding and, and all of that is, has been, man, I am fixated on meeting people's needs. Um, and in order to do that, you have to listen and then you have to listen and then you need to listen.
You need to get permission to solve and then you can help solve. And I think we, we don't, we don't listen. And I think that's usually the problem and most of our problem solving, because we don't listen to ourselves, to our family, to our friends, to our church, to our colleagues, to those who work for us or that we work for.
And I think that's the trick friend. That's a really powerful. Really powerful. I'm thinking of just intuition, right? There's that other part to the equation. When you're sitting in your listening with people, clients specifically, they're telling you, and I think the world and even the church, and we talked about this offline before they're telling us the surface level, um, they're telling us the pretty picture they're actually giving us the Instagram post, right?
They're giving us the real and our job in that listening is to go, not just a layer deeper, not just another layer deeper, honestly, to get to the algorithm that nobody understands, introducing their individual unique algorithm to. Yeah, it was the algorithm. Right. And so it's, it's definitely about listening.
I have found in business coaching that I coach on marriage. I coach on health. I coach on fitness. I coach on wellbeing. I coach on parenting. Like there's so much such a gift. It's such a gift, but I love what we get to do from this lens because of that state of GFE crushing. And so, yeah, I think as hard as it is and how the refining is consistent, please don't think that there's like, even when you're tasting fruit, my legs being gnawed away over here.
Right. Like even in that experience, I've never, don't think that there's ever been a day where I haven't felt that constant need of surrender or imperfections or flesh. Right. Yeah. Wonderful tension. It just takes salvation. You're already saved and you have not yet been saved. So, and already not yet tension.
And we're all walking in it. We have been blessed. We have been judged. We have been saved. We have been refined and we are being judged. We will be judged. We will be refined. We will be saved because like you said today, we would never say we are perfect, but we are being perfected. So that on the day that we are a toned, the blood of Christ makes us perfect in Christ alone.
Right? Not of our work. We would say that I'm not going to be judged. One day, I've been judged a bunch. We've all been judged a bunch. And then I just know how the last judgment is going to work out. And when it comes to things like refinement, we often. Whenever we think of a process, we think of a starting to finish and that's, that's just a dangerous way to look at life.
Um, cause stair seasonality for sure. But you don't know the seasons. It's not like fall and winter. There are no markers. There are no changing of the leaves on the tree. It's just this season that you're in. And sometimes you recognize it's the valley. Sometimes you recognize you're walking into a valley and sometimes you recognize you're walking out of a valley and sometimes you don't recognize it at all.
You're on a peak and you were like, oh, was looking at, I was just in a valley and you didn't know, it's not, it's not for us to know it's for us to walk. We walk by faith, not by sight. So you don't have to know the destination. You don't have to worry, know where you've been or where you're going to. I think it's just, uh, it's.
It's why, when, when in John, when Jesus is looking at the end of his life, what is the thing he says, he leaves with you. He just said my peace. I leave it. Not as the world leaves it, but my peace I leave with you. And, um, I think that's a thing that we all we all to carry. We are, we are supposed to walk in peace and be agents of peace, whether we're talking about the pew or the boardroom.
And I think that's the, I think that's the real challenge is already, we have been saved and not yet have we been saved because we were fully saved, the work would be finished. And I don't know if there's podcasts in heaven. But there is, I said, you'll get one. No, no, no, no. We'll just all conversation together.
And everyone will be heard, which will be that amazing. Hey, this one already is, it's so good to be with you, Brad. I am so grateful and I know that this is just a seed to a relationship that will continue to flourish. And so, um, thank you for sharing your heart. Thank you for sharing your expertise. Um, I love that it's in symmetry and congruency together, so I hope people were taking nuggets and both in all realms.
Um, because that is definitely you, you carry every component of who you are and I teach this all the time. You don't just have to be one thing for the podcast. You get to be all of who you are at every given moment. So thanks for being you all. Absolutely. Thank you for having me friends. Pleasure you guys.
How, um, what's the best place that you hang out? Sparks strategies is the name. Uh, this is brand strategy.com. Uh, and then you're going to be on clubhouse. So come listen. What's, what's your clubhouse with your breakfast? The champion segment? I do. I ironic is that I'm the last person who speaks on the wealth Wednesday.
I do 10 30 on every Wednesday, so good. Such a good time too. It's happened at that point. All right, Brad, love you. Thank you.
Hey, y'all it's me again. I hope in today's episode, you, since an ignite to an Ember within you, something mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually moving that creates and sustains a fire within your journey. Before you go let solidify the flame. I'd love for you to take a step right now and declaring your takeaway by snapping a pick of the episode.
You tuned it to share your sparked moment and tag me at underscore podcast or me personally at Tamra dot Andrus on instant. I hope that I can keep you accountable and also share you with the greater community of the fit and fade podcast listeners. We're totally in this together. Community over competition is the motto, right?
I'd also be incredibly grateful. If you took an extra second to leave a review on iTunes or your podcast listening app, I'd love to feature your thought in the next episode and give you and your passion project, a big shout out, you know, I'm a writer. So I love words. But you have to say, I'm ready to fuel the blame with you together.
And until next time blessings over your joy, health, wealth, and wholeness tune in next time.