Share This Episode
Amy Lawrence Show Amy Lawrence Logo

Jesse Bradley | Former Professional Soccer Goalie; Motivational Speaker

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
April 5, 2023 6:05 am

Jesse Bradley | Former Professional Soccer Goalie; Motivational Speaker

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1171 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

April 5, 2023 6:05 am

Former Professional Soccer Goalie and current motivational speaker Jesse Bradley joins the show.


Getting to know yourself can be a lifelong process, especially since you're always growing and changing. Therapy is all about deepening that self-awareness, because sometimes you don't know what you really want until you talk things through. BetterHelp connects you with a licensed therapist online who can take you on that journey of self-discovery from wherever you are. Visit slash positive today to get 10% off your first month.

That's slash positive. Few people I've ever met are as good at communicating hope than Jesse Bradley, who joins us tonight from Seattle. Jesse, not only are you a former professional athlete, but you also serve as a pastor at a church in Seattle. You're an author. You're a speaker. I see you on TV now and then. I know that you have a book, so you just are busy these days, pro sports in the rearview mirror.

It's not as though you've slowed down any. What does this week mean to you specifically? It's an exciting week, no question. I mean, I didn't grow up with any faith stuff, so Easter just meant for me bunnies, candy. One of our kids in the neighborhood Easter hunt was the bunny last year. They're fighting over who's going to be the bunny this year.

But obviously there's deeper things going on. And to me, Easter also represents like renewal in Seattle. We haven't seen the sun in a lot of months and it's like, OK, sun's going to start coming out. And then on a deep level, it represents that hope because, I mean, Easter at its core, there's victory even over death. And so if there's victory over death, then we have a hope greater than our challenges. And I think, you know, this relationship with Jesus, to me, it just exudes that hope. And we all need hope these days.

I mean, the American Psychological Association says we're more stressed out as Americans than ever before. And there's a lot of stuff going on in the world right now. Some people are losing hope. So it's like, well, what can we do?

What do we still have? And that's why I say a vibrant hope is available to everyone, an indestructible hope. My professional career ended in Africa and I was fighting for my life for one year and ten years to fully recover. So if you've ever hit a low point in life, you know, there's a lot of shifts you need to make, a lot to learn. And in that time, that's when I really discovered a deeper hope than I ever had at any point in my life. And that just continues with me today.

What I found in those valleys, some of that fruit is still there today. There are a lot of people who mark Easter who may not have the same faith or share the same faith, and yet hope, I believe, can be an eternal message. So how do you share that with people? You talk about hope habits.

What are we talking about? Right on. You know, in my family, we're kind of like Baskin-Robbins 31 flavor. Spiritually, we've got a little bit of everything going on and we're united and we love each other. And I hope that, you know, America, we see that same kind of love and respect. And there are important decisions spiritually. Seattle by the Census Bureau was just named the saddest city in America. Yes, 45% of people in Seattle feel depressed, feel down, feel sad. And so we're in a city that needs a lot of hope. And I think hope comes from, you know, relationship with God, relationship with family, friends. Hope is very relational and also hope is habitual. These hope habits. And as athletes, and I assume a lot of the people who are listening are athletes or ex-athletes who still think they have it.

You know, weekend warriors. As an athlete, you have disciplines that you try to eat right. Sleep well before a big game. You're constantly working on your skills. Like there are certain things in practice that you go over and over again. And hope habits to me are those practical, empowering, life-giving things that we can learn, choose to do every day.

And sometimes they're simple. They're just underutilized, like gratitude, a gritty gratitude. Give thanks even if you don't feel like it.

Start to focus on what you have rather than just what you've lost and let that become too big. So literally saying 10 things out loud you're thankful for, writing down 10 things in prayer, thanking God for 10 things. It changes your mindset, changes your day, changes you on the inside. And so often changes on the inside will lead to then changes wherever you are.

Live, work, learn, or play in the culture because you're bringing something different. You know, a simple habit, hope habit for me is to do a resentment check. Make sure I'm not carrying around the poison of bitterness and resentment. But I'm forgiving people. Hurt people hurt people. Bitter people are going to be bitter towards people.

I don't want to carry that in. So I've got to check and make sure that I've forgiven fully and there's no resentment, bitterness in there. So those are some of the things that you can do daily in terms of hope habits, even in your thoughts.

Recognize the National Science Foundation says we have up to 80% of our thoughts are negative in some way. So replace it. Say I'm going to reject it. Not in my house. That thought is a hope thief. I'm not going to let that thief just come in and say, have a good time. Here's some food. Here's where I keep my money.

Oh, just hang out in my bedroom. And I'm like, not in my house and replace it with a different thought. And I like to memorize some Bible verses and those are my go to thoughts. But you might have a song, you might have a poem, you might have an inspiring quote and just have that in your back pocket during the day.

So you can just go to that when your mind starts to go in the ditch. So those are some hope habits I think that anyone can do. And just like your sports habits, the more you start to get used to those and practice those and do those, they just become natural. And as you own it, that's where the most healing, that's most encouragement comes.

Those small habits have massive, massive implications. I remember during the pandemic, I sat down and made a list of the various ways that I could stop myself from being negative about the uncertainty or being angry or anxious about being stuck in my house by myself. One was being grateful because there's always a reason to be grateful. Another was spending time in creation, flowers, clouds, animals, just being outside, I think has a really positive impact on our attitude and our mood.

Something else that I would do is play the piano because it always brings me great joy. Another thing that I always wanted to do was to reach out to other people. I felt like when I made a connection with someone else, a friend, a family member, not only would they be encouraged, but it encouraged me to extend hope to someone else.

That's so good. You know, we need each other. And during the pandemic, we got a little isolated. And if you get too individualistic, it might feel good initially because you kind of have your space. But then eventually you start to feel that poverty in terms of relationships and community. And we need each other. You know, Harvard did a study, and I don't know why I'm quoting all these studies.

I know, it's very impressive. Sometimes those studies represent so many stories. And Harvard did a story research on human flourishing.

And what they found is when someone's in a faith community, they have much more purpose, much more forgiveness, much more happiness. And then there's much less use of illicit drugs. There's much less depression. There's much less sexually transmitted diseases.

I mean, the list goes on. But that was Harvard just doing, you know, objective research. And to me, it just, again, recognizes we need each other. We need to learn from each other, serve each other, encourage each other. And that's when we come most alive. And even quality of life, longevity of life, it ties into the strength of your community. Even more than your bank account or your position or how many titles, you know, you have, educational degrees. It's that community that makes all this. I have a friend from Eastern Europe who just said, if you have 100 close, close friends, you know, 100 people that you trust that will look out for you, like, you're so much wealthier than the wealthiest person.

Those 100 friends, those 100 people, that community. And that put perspective on me that was just good to hear again, too. We're spending a few minutes with guests that we haven't had on the show in a while, but the voice is recognizable. And we're glad to connect with them outside of the World Cup when he was our analyst. Jesse Bradley, former pro soccer goalie internationally and now is a pastor.

It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence here on CBS Sports Radio. So, Jesse, one of the areas that I know you've talked about before in your life is the transition that you went through from playing soccer to then trying to figure out what was next in your life. That end of a professional sports career is something that a lot of athletes talk about they struggle with. We know Tom Brady, for instance, is trying to make that transition from playing at the highest level and being on TV and all that adrenaline rush to now, what do I do instead?

How did you manage to get your next phase of your life started? Right on. And the reality is the season is going to end or the career is going to end at different levels. I was watching the final four for the men and the women to exciting games. Shout out to UConn.

Of course, I was in Iowa City for a long time, got married there. So kind of pulling for the Hawkeyes, but happy for LSU. I was watching the commercial said only 2% of college athletes make it professionally. Right.

So 98% in there. And then you could even hear it with Jim Nantz, you know, wrapping up his final final four. And you could just hear like in his voice, he's trying to make it about the players, but he was kind of grieving. It's a tough thing when you love a sport. And I told my parents wanted to play pro sports when I was two. And I just thought as a soccer goalie, I played those 40, but it ended my 20s.

And I think even if you don't play sports, what do you do when the run ends? When life's going one way and then it's not going that way anymore. I didn't realize how much I would miss it. And it was taken away because of my health. But there's so many things you don't get again. You don't get to put on those uniforms the same way. I mean, I play now, but it's an empty stadium in the men's league, right?

There's no one there. So, you know, you miss the crowd, the road trips, the card games in the backseat. You miss the characters, figuring it out together, the championships, the ring. You know, all those relationships, the discipline, all those things are suddenly gone. And it is okay to grieve some of that. Who wants to like, yeah, I'd like to do some grieving.

Nobody wants to do that. But my danger was that I was in too much denial. And in an unhealthy way, I didn't even know where to start and want to start with grieving.

And it's really easy for athletes who are always trying to present well, present strong, win. How do you shift and actually grieve? What was also new, I think, is to let go. Because I had to come to the face that reality that that was 17 years that I never got to do in terms of my goalie career. And anytime I just wanted to go back and like stoke it up again, it's like, no, I have to let that go.

That's done. And then also let people in. We were kind of talking about this earlier with relationships. I had to let people into some of that, share that pain with people who cared, process with them. And then I'd say even let God in as well. Because I thought God was only interested in my success.

But I realized, no, he's interested in this area too. So letting people in is part of the healing process. And for me, I would say it took probably a good 10 years to really work through that my career was over.

It's not coming back. And for some people, you know, maybe it's athletics that it was a prolonged grieving. For others, it's a different area of life.

But learning how to grieve is part of that personal development. And it just doesn't come naturally for athletes. But it's an important part of moving forward in life beyond sports. You are so very much connected to soccer. And in Seattle, which is where you and your family are, soccer is a lifeblood of sorts. So how do you stay connected to your sport even though you're no longer right in the center of the action and the adrenaline?

That's right. Well, you brought some of that with CBS Sports Radio and the World Cup. That was so much fun. Here in Seattle, we have faith and family. We just had it with Tacoma Stars. We do it with Seattle Sounders every year. So we've got that coming up. There's so much in the community around soccer, individual relationships. And then also, you know, seeing my kids play. I play in a men's league. So just because you finish on one level doesn't mean you're finished with the sport.

And I think part of that is figuring out where do I reenter? You know, you mentioned Tom Brady. Okay, his reentry might be in, you know, television. Someone else is going to be in coaching.

Someone else could be coaching kids. And I just said, like, where's the joy? Where's the joy? And sports is a platform at its best that unites us and brings us together.

And it's a platform with incredible joy. So find the joy, stay with the joy, and then give back to the game and other people. A big part of my journey was learning how to serve people. And post-sports, you really start to discover some of your other talents. And that's important because there are talents that are hidden sometimes when you're focused on sports.

They're going to come alive later on. And they might be in business. They might be in leadership, community service.

They might be in writing or teaching. But those talents start to come alive, and some of that same drive that I brought to sports can now be displayed or it can be carried out, lived out in a different fashion. And what really, to me, fills the void even greater than sports is that I've found some things that are even more meaningful than the championships and more meaningful than the competition. And that is linked, for me, with transformed lives and serving people. And so when you can see people's lives changed, that's so much richer and deeper than any athletic competition. And I think some athletes do a great job of that while they're playing and they have that platform. Others discover it later on. But the athletes that I see the most joy with, and you can see it with philanthropy and sports philanthropy, you can see it when they've found some group of people that they can use their talents and serve. And it might be in the inner city. It might be through that sport.

It might be a new venture, and some of them it's entrepreneur because that kind of brings a spark and it's new. But they're giving back then, and that's when you come alive. We are wired to serve, and we are most alive when we serve and see people thriving, and it's linked.

I say you're blessed to be a blessing. And so when you recognize what your talents are outside of sports, then go for it. Relationships are risks. Servings are risks. We've got to take some risks.

In this nation right now, we've got to figure it out. There's plenty of challenges. We don't need more critics. No shortage of that. We don't need more spectators. No shortage of that.

We don't need more doubters or more haters. We've got plenty, plenty, plenty. What we need is some people who are going to be part of the solution and take some risks, know what their gifts are, and then selflessly start to serve and make life better for other people.

And when that starts to gain momentum, it's not going to be the laws of the land. Politics have their place, but it's going to be in hearts and relationships and homes and friendships. And I just think that's the journey that we're on together.

And we've got to figure it out collectively and collaborate together in that. As you're talking about that, one of the things that jumps out at me is how sports can be a unifier. I say a lot of times on my show, we agree on nothing in this country, but we agree on football.

That's really the only thing we agree on. But it can apply in different parts of the country to different sports. And how often we've seen sports become a way that we bond together and that we are able to support one another first, but also find joy where there has been tragedy, find joy, find hope where there has been devastation. It's this inherent quality in sports and being a sports fan, I don't really understand it, but we see it over and over again.

It's so good. And I like to say where there's a chasm, there's often a calling. To me, I see the division you talked about between generations, misunderstanding, distance, one generation is better than another. But in sports, it's like when you have a coaching staff and coaches, like the wisdom from the coaches and the generations come together. There's gaps and chasms when it comes to ethnicity and the lack of harmony and unity in our country. But we can come together like in my career with the teammates, whether it's Africa, Scotland, different ethnicities, like when we're on the same team, that could be a microcosm for society and what we could pull off sports models. And similarly with finances, economic backgrounds, like on my teams, we had people who were wealthy and we had people that probably had a scholarship to play. And yet we came together as equals. And I think together we've got to obliterate some of those chasms, find that unity and that love. And the way it happens on sports teams, sometimes that exceeds what we see in neighborhoods.

It exceeds sadly, even in faith communities, sometimes it exceeds in the business world. And so sports can model that. And when you have a team and I tasted that, it's like a family. My team, you know, at Dartmouth was like a family. And when you experience that on the field and in the locker room, you want that to carry over those same kind of relationships. And so absolutely sports can be a leader.

It's a it can also be at its best setting the example for what we need today in America. This is why we love having Jesse on the show, because he always brings an element of hope. Number one, number two, a different angle that we've never heard before. This was his suggestion. I have to give him credit for it in advance of Easter. But it's so good to talk with you again. I want to let people know they can find you on your Twitter at Jesse J. Bradley. Now, we had him as our World Cup analyst because he's a former professional soccer goalie. As you can hear, he does some speaking. He's a pastor. He's an author and really is just about spreading hope. Jesse, it's always good to talk to you. Thank you so much for reaching out and for being on our show again. Right on. Love to hear from anybody. You know,

We got all the free resources, habits, hope habits. And Amy, you do such a great job. You have a passion for sports, but you're great with people. You make it safe and easy. Like these conversations like it just it's fun. It flows. And I just hope that with your birthday coming up on Friday, no one will forget that. And you'll get lots of love this week.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-05 08:43:46 / 2023-04-05 08:52:10 / 8

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime