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February 19, 2024 52 mins

In this episode of The Launchpad, Brad White joins us for this episode. As a two-time graduate of the IndeCollective cohort, Brad brings to the table his unique experiences, recounting his battles with anxiety and depression and how understanding his own emotions became a compass in navigating his professional endeavors. Brad's narrative offers a testament to the power of legacy, mentorship, and the courage to seize unexpected opportunities.

Life's twists and turns often lead us to profound self-discovery, and our conversation with Brad underscores this beautifully. He opens up about the continuous process of shaping one's identity, the influence of key relationships, and the pivotal crossroads that define our personal and professional lives. Brad's journey through significant transitions, including career changes and grief, serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of introspection and the support of a community. This episode not only shares the strategies Brad employed but also sheds light on the broader theme of finding one's footing amidst change.

As we draw this episode to a close, Brad's story arcs towards the joy of creating a successful independent consulting practice from the ashes of adversity. The nuances of measuring success, the embrace of family life, and the challenge of personal well-being are all threads woven into the fabric of this conversation.

If you'd like to connect with brad, you can do so here: Brad White

Looking for books/resources mentioned in this podcast:

- How Will You Measure Your Life, Clayton Christenson

- The Second Mountain, David Brooks

- Buy Back Your Time, Dan Martell

- ReThinking, Adam Grant Podcast

Follow Us for More Content on:
IndeCollective | Freelance MBA (@indecollective) • Instagram photos and videos

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome everybody to another episode of the Modern
As always, I'm your host, janAlmasey, the head of community
here at Indie Collective.
This is your first time tuningin to an episode at the Modern
Welcome, I'm super, super gladto have you here with us.
For those of you that you knowmaybe have never heard what this
show is about, or some friendsent this to you and you're like

why do I even need to belistening to this?
We tell stories aboutindependence that are doing
amazing things out in the world,and when we say independent, we
could mean coach, we could meanconsultant, we could mean
analyst, we could mean developer.
There's so many differentcategories of people that
qualify as independence insideof the Indie Collective space,
and today you're tuning into anepisode called the Launchpad.

The Launchpad is a segment ofthe Modern Independent that is
dedicated to highlightingmembers that have graduated from
Indie Collective cohorts andare going on to do amazing
Today I'm super excited to besitting here with my friend and
graduate of Fall 2023, mr BradWhite.
He's nodding, so that means Igot it right.

Speaker 2 (01:05):
You know I also did the spring, so I'm like a double
graduate and I feel very fancynow.
Yeah, no.

Speaker 1 (01:09):
Actually, that's probably a great question Before
we dive into you know, I'm surethat we'll, you know, get the
background on Brad and all ofthe things that you have going
What was the main difference,would you say, between cohort
one and cohort two, now thatyou've been a double graduate?

Speaker 2 (01:28):
It felt weird to be a Y.
I was like baby Yoda, like Ihad all this like wisdom and age
, but I was still such a baby,like I was only a year, or less
than a year, into thisindependent new journey I'm on,
and I already felt like I hadall this wisdom I could share,
and so it was really fun to doit a second time.

The first time I talked to Sam,I was like I've got to do it
twice, like the first time isgoing to be probably pretty
overwhelming, I'm just going torun at it, then I'm going to try
some stuff and then second time, things are going to kind of
settle in differently.
So for me, that's exactly whatplayed out.
It was great.
Plus, you get to know twice asmany people, which is dope, and
I've got twice as many friendsnow.
So that was lovely and I willcome back to do it again.

Speaker 1 (02:11):
Yeah, I really love that.
I and I hear that way moreoften than not that the first
cohort I would.
I had three phone callsyesterday for office hours and
all three were recent graduatesand all three said that the at
some point you just have tosurrender to the information and
let it wash over you In a sensethat that first cohort is is

By the time you get to weekfour, week five, you realize how
much work there actually is.
But I believe it.
I think it was MG GarrettGarrett that pointed out to me
that she was.
She said you know, I had thatmoment and then I wasn't
I didn't quite recognize whatthe value of, you know, being
overwhelmed was at the time.

But now that I'm a month or twoout, I look back on it and I
realize that I didn't, I wasn'taware of the gaps that I didn't
know about and in those momentsI was being forced to look at
here's where I'm at, here'swhere I want to go, here are all
of the things that are going tokeep me from getting there.
And now she was.
She mentioned she was like Ifeel like I have a list,

essentially, of things that Ican directionally point myself
out and tackle this cohort.

Speaker 2 (03:21):
And you know she's also coming back for the spring
this year, so very, very similar, yeah, very much reminds me of
the fact I live with anxiety anddepression and have learned to
just accept that and do a lot ofwork on myself with that.
I mentioned that I had justdone yoga right before our call
and like that's become a part oflike how I stay just whole as a

as myself.
But I've also learned to listen, like when anxiety is peaking,
which it had, you know, recentlyfor me in in January I had this
period where it was like prettyintense and it was popping up
and I could see it kind of dayafter day and all I've learned
to do is, instead of like tryingto control it or prevent it is
like listen to it and just say,like what is this trying to tell
So there's these signals in mybody that are like dude,

something's up, and I've evennicknamed this like trouble
shooter, brad.
So it's like the dude thatcomes up and it helps.
That's just like, hey,something's going to hit the fan
Pay attention.
And it's actually really thatversion of me is pretty
insightful and can see thingsway before they happen, and I
think very similarly, I learnedto listen to those signals of
overwhelm during the cohort andI was like man, why am I so

overwhelmed by this?
And it was.
It was the desire to take allthe stuff and run with it, and
so it was a natural response.
It was a positive response.
I was like yes, yes, yes, andyou get to so many yeses and
you're just like, wow, that's alot.
So I just listened to.
That, though, is like you dolove this, because I actually
doubted whether or not I wantedto do independent work, and it

actually helped.
The sense of overwhelm was away of me recognizing like no, I
love this, like I am like Icannot wait to do it and I want
to do all of it, and so it'sactually a positive sign Once I
learned to listen to that andkind of reframe that.

Speaker 1 (04:56):
Yeah, yeah and pacing yeah one.
I love the idea of you know,troubleshooter, brat, or when
you feel your.
I like to say you know,excitement and anxiety are very,
very similar.
The nervous system doesn'treally know the difference
between the two.
We frame it.

It's the exact same biologicalresponse, but we frame it
So whenever I feel myselfstarting to, like you know, amp
up, okay I'm.
The first question I askedmyself now is am I getting
anxious or am I actually justgetting excited and a little bit
And then I can take a step backand remind myself not all of
this needs to be done at once,not all of this needs to be done

by tomorrow.
The fact that I'm gettinganxious about this means that
there's, you know, I'm attachingvalue to it in a way, and so
now I just need to decide am Igoing to, you know, come at this
from a place of anxiety or am Igoing to come at this from a
place of excitement?

Speaker 2 (05:53):
So I forget that you're a behavioral psychology
nerd, like me I was.
This is coming from an AdamGrant rethinking podcast I
listened to probably three weeksago.
Adam there was like yep, it'seither.
Like it's the same, exact likephysical arousal response to
this, and that she's like I justnow frame it as determination.
I'm like I'm not there yet thatanxiety feels like
determination, but it is.
It's just like what value weattached to it.

So I think the same for thecohort.
It's just like what value am Iattaching to this experience
that I'm having?
And I would watch folks just intears with overwhelm and then
by the end of our conversationthey're like oh, I can think of
this differently and then I'dsee them in the next session
like taking it in differently.
And so there's a lot of powerin that learning experience too,
of even pushing towards thatpoint and then learning how to

work through it, especially withcommunity.
I did not wear the shirt onpurpose for you, I forgot.
You're the head of communityand I wore community shirts, so
I get eight bonus points forthat.
But there's like a cool partabout the cohort, like if this
was a one on one independentcourse or something which I've
thought about offering my ownservices in that kind of way,
like it's just so different whatyou can get when you hit that

overwhelm point and you can talkto three other people and go
hey, what are you thinking?
How are you working throughthat?
And I love doing that too, sothat's why I'll be back.
That's why I did it twice and Igot that double grad two hat
thing for this year.
It was really worth it.

Speaker 1 (07:08):
Double grad, double grad, all right.
Well, okay, so let's rewind now.
So like that, you know, waskind of a little bit of a rabbit
hole, because I just am alwayscurious about what that
experience is like and it's sodifferent between cohort one,
cohort two and, and then I meanwe have people that are on

cohort five, right, so it justkind of the intention changes
between each cohort, for thegood peoples that are have our
voices inside of their earbudsare coming out of their car
speakers right now.
Hi, people, like it's good tothank you for taking the time to
listen to us today.
Who is Brad White?
And you know I'm not going totry to get too meta with that

I'll just say like what ingeneral?
Like what is your life?
You know your life story andhow did you get into the space
currently working in?

Speaker 2 (07:57):
Yeah, when I was a high school principal in Denver,
we actually did a whole series.
We had this thing calledmorning meeting, where we would
get the entire school togethereach morning and I used to teach
in Japan.
It's a really common practicethere, it's a common practice at
our schools in Denver and wewould all get together.
And one of the series that Imade when we were founding Our
high school was just calledwhat's your story, and there was
no like major point to it.
There was no key, you know theme.

We were driving home, like alot of schools will do.
It was just simply like what isyour story?
And so high school studentwould come up and tell their
story, or they would talk aboutthe story of their grandparent
who was, you know, puerto Ricanand and move to kind of mainland
states and it's just beautiful.
So, anyway, I really appreciatestory.
I think there's a.
I like to throw my journalswhile I'm talking.
Um, I think you're reallyexcited, so I just did that.
Um, stories animate me, they'reawesome, so let's do it.

So, all right, we'll go for theshort, shortish version,
because there's there's a lot toit and if you want to go in any
particular direction, like,just dial it back to that.
Um, yeah, I grew up in Colorado,so that's one of the first
parts, and now I live inMinnesota.
Um, they're similar in someways, but also very, very
And the like journey to gethere I think this is the 16th
home I've ever lived in, so Alot of moves and I'm not like a

military brat Just a lot ofstuff happened along the way, um
, but yeah, I was born in um,like, conceived in aspen, born
in boulder, um, and so I grew uplike as a kind of a mountain
kid and uh, uh was, um, honestly, a pretty sick little baby.
So I had really intense asthma,really terrible allergies, um,
and ended up, you know, spendinga lot of time with doctors and

inhalers and nebulizers and justuh shots and all sorts of
So I think a lot of that earlytime, um, some people I will not
use the full term, but I doswear like a sailor They'll call
me a resilient mofo and I justI have learned that like some of
that resilience probably comesfrom, you know, being a sick kid
at times, um, and kind of ascrawny kid who had to fight

through a lot, um, but yeah, Igrew up, uh, his mind and ours
kind of relationship, bradybunch thing with my family.
So I've got four half brothers,one younger brother, and yeah,
we moved around several times Umin Colorado.
We moved down to Houston for awhile, um, and even moved
several times there and justkind of watching my dad I think
is an entrepreneur, likefiguring things out, um, and

struggling at times and soanyway did all that.
But mostly my life memoriesmostly begin in Colorado and
fourth grade so like that's kindof where I grew up.
Um, denver area in golden.
Uh, for anybody who kind ofknows that area, it's a
wonderful cool spot Right by theCoors brewery.
Yes, it always smells likebarley and it's actually kind of
great Um.
So I grew up there hiking likethe little mountain behind me

all the time and growing up aslike a white, suburban, straight
Christian kid and it's likelittle community that was
everybody was that and Got achance to go to really really
good public schools, um, andthat was a huge, huge leg up and
I got to try everything and Ithink the one thing that kind of
pulled me out of my bubble WasSpanish class, weirdly, and so

it took Spanish and LesliePatino was my teacher, still a
close friend today.
Um, I attribute a lot of who Iam today to her influence and
like she taught me, um, I I'mvery fluent in Spanish and I
took it for 14 years, eventaught it for a while.
I love it, but it helped me tolike bridge to a whole different
community that I hadessentially no access to until I
had that like cultural andlinguistic knowledge and I just

I'm so appreciative to her.
Um, she helped my right Writemy honors paper for college and,
um, just a dear friend, and soSomething about that pulled me
out and so I'm like this, youknow, kind of kid growing up in
this one bubble.
That pulls me out and I think Ihad a huge passion for service
at that time.
Um, I still do.
My grandparents are probably thereason I am what you know as

So when you're like who's Brad,I'm like, uh, sylvia, and zeal
like I'm bill, my grandmotherSylvia.
I only got a chance to spend afew years with her, but she was
one of the first five womenofficers in American military
history and so she served underEisenhower in World War II and,
like you know, they talked abouther as like an officer in heels
and all these super sexist youknow news articles written about

her, um.
But like total badass um to be,you know, daughter of Italian
immigrants in the 40s with herbachelor's degree, multilingual
officer leader.
Like there's something aboutthat.
That's who I am, um.
And you look at the other sideof my family, like my
grandfather had a seventh gradeeducation and then they put him
to work on the farm and in uh,southern Minnesota and north of

Iowa and that's all he got.
And so, like his whole life,every time we went home, you
better believe he was like onewatching the history channel and
learning and like making up forall that lost time that he
never got to learn, um.
But also like you better damn,get your education.
And like, tell me about school.
And once I was a teacher and aschool leader.
Like tell me about your school,what are you doing, um.

And then my grandmother she'sstill 97 lives on her own,
completely independently,phenomenal human being, um.
And like her values of servicepeople knew literally there's
like a train that would runalongside their home on 6th
street Southeast in mason city,iowa, and people would know that
if you got off the train atthis particular crossing.

You could get a warm meal fromthe cotrules right down the
street and like they didn't haveanything.
My grandpa built that houselike he was a carpenter Honestly
probably poor by most standardsand they would feed anybody who
came through and like we'reknown as just like caring,
generous people, so like who'sbrad white, probably that, like
some mix of those values andthings.

And uh, so, yeah, so I came outto school in Iowa from colorado,
which was a really weird Uhdecision for most of my friends.
They were like going to coastsor you know bolder all these
cool places, and I was like I'mgonna go to a cornfield in the
middle of nowhere in Iowa and uh, go and sing and Spanish stuff.
And it was a really gooddecision because it was 90
minutes from those grandparentsand just love those people, love

the experience and uh,ultimately I met my wife there.
I'd majored in education andSpanish and uh, she was a year
ahead of me and so she was aboutto graduate and I was like, oh
crap, like I'm gonna lose thisawesome person.
So she and I actually gotengaged while we were still in
I was 20 so we couldn't eventoast, uh, legally, um, when
that happened.
But like I was like man, I'mnot letting this one go, and

like she was gonna move to theTwin Cities and find some other
I was like, nope, come on andwe're out.
We're coming up on 20 years nowand it's uh, it's gone.
Really, really well, we've gottwo awesome kids Uh, they're
nine and 12 really compassionate, cool, creative boys and, uh,
man, I like them and I love them.
They're both really cool people, um, so, yeah, I taught for a

couple years out of college.
I taught second grade at like aninternational school, um up
here in the Twin Cities PublicDistrict School in Roseville,
minnesota, and then, um, wecould not afford rent because we
had so much in like studentloans both of us had borrowed
most of our college Um stuff andand that was tough and so
Couldn't afford rent, couldn'tafford that.
And we had a professor say youshould go abroad.

Have you ever thought aboutteaching abroad?
And we're like oh not really.
So I interviewed all over and wegot a job offer in Tokyo, japan
, and took it and moved overthere and taught in Probably one
of the top five schools in theworld.
Um, like, truly elite, theysend athletes to the Olympics.
Uh, they run all the majorcorporations in southeast Asia.
Like this is like I'd gone fromyou know kind of a basic public

school education in the statesto One of the most you know
elite schools in the world.
And, man, what a trip that was.
Um, I'm kind of teaching thepowerful and wealthy and, um,
man, learning a whole new worldthat I'd never been exposed to.
So we taught there for two years, then went back for a third.
Um, we actually got pregnantthe week of that big earthquake

and tsunami, the Fukushimanuclear disaster, and that was a
bad time, that was hard and uh.
So we had flown home.
Rachel was still sick and waslike, man, I'm still sick after
the travel, what's up, I thoughtshe was pregnant and she ended
up staying here in the statesfor her first trimester.
Um, and I went back and weactually went back for another
year and so our son was bornthere and we was like, wow, we

are way the heck away fromfamily, like this is not for us.
And by then, this is where,like, it kind of goes from
teaching to leadership.
Um, I wanted to teach my wholecareer.
I had these like dreams ofbeing like the dude in the tweed
jacket with the things on yourelbows and like gray hair.
Um, I just wanted to be ateacher, like that.
And, uh, I was basicallyrunning that school from my
Like there were so manyinitiatives where it was like,

oh, technology is an issue, cool, let me find five people get
together, fix it.
Oh, math curriculum we need tofix cool, let's do that.
Um, no one agrees aboutbenefits.
And like, what's fair forhealth care?
Cool, I'll leave the charge onthat and get everybody,
everybody together.
So I love solving problems, Ilove fixing stuff, and I ended
up loving making teachers happymore than Students, because it

was like when I got all thoseteachers in a good spot, that
was like hundreds of kids thatwere then better taken care of,
and I was like, ah, that's mything.
So did my master's for flying.
You're Crazy.
Oh, it's huge.
It was a total aha and I waslike I love teaching, I'm
obsessed with it still today.
Um, but I was like that's,that's my way, and so Did my
master's for leadership andlooked for all over the country

for a place to lead, because Iwas like, I want to come home to
the states.
And I got picked up by thisgroup called the Denver schools
of science and technology, dss tpublic schools, and they had
started one school in Denver inlike 2002, I think, with the
goal of STEM education for urbanblack and brown kids.
Like we're gonna crush it andmake sure that all these kids

Are ready to just, you know, getout into high paying, really
lucrative, um and fulfillingcareers.
And they succeeded hugely.
So 100% of kids who have evergone to DSST schools since then
have graduated with a four yearcollege acceptance letter in
their hands.
And it's just, that's an insanestat.
It's beautiful to see, andthat's where I got my first

leadership job, like I got.
So I won the lottery and sothey told me you're gonna do
this two or three year program.
You're gonna, we're gonnainvest in you and you're gonna
become a school director intraining and you'll get to, you
know, lead one of our schoolssomeday.
And then, three months later,they were like psych.
We got this new opportunity tobuild a diverse, by design
school in the middle of thewidest, wealthiest part of

Denver and they were like yougot this, brad, go for it.
Decided to recruit 160 kids inabout two months, which was
bonkers like round the clockwork, hustle to get that, hire a
team, get the building ready,do all this.
We launched that fall and Ithink the cool part is so that
year the Colorado Department ofEducation came at the end and
said not only did your kids leadthe entire state in terms of

their academic growth, but it'sthe highest that we've ever seen
in Colorado history.
That group of kids learned morethan any group of kids in any
school ever to their knowledge.
And it was like man, we gotthis right and I probably didn't
feel that like it was a buttkicking year to start a school
in every way you can imagine,but we did something really
And what I love is I think 90plus percent of my founding team

from 10 years ago is still atthat school holding the fort
They're still doing that.
It's still the number oneschool in the city and, man, I
loved it and I wanted to stayforever.
My mother-in-law is amazing andshe had she was battling
lymphoma and so we were comingout to Minnesota all the time
and we just love our family outhere too.
And we were like we're doingthis beautiful work in Colorado,

but like we need to be inMinnesota.
And so at some point my wifeand I just said like let's make
the move.
And I didn't have a job, didn'thave a thing.
But I just said I'll figure itout and kind of the last code of
the story before goingindependent.
I didn't know what I was gonnado.
So I was like maybe I'llconsult, maybe I'll just take an
executive director job of aschool here.

And I couldn't find anythingthat was a fit.
And somebody said, well,minnesota has the largest
achievement gap in the country.
So that's where, like, blackand brown kids achieve less than
their white peers, or kids froma low income background don't
learn as much as kids who arecoming from a wealthy background
And we see that in tons mostschools.
And they said we have thebiggest gap in the country.

You know something or two aboutthat.
Can you do that here?
And I said absolutely not.
Like I cannot found anotherschool.
It is the most life-giving,beautiful thing.
And it is so hard, buteventually I came around to it
and I was like it's, we have to,like it is so bad, we have to
fix this system.
So I spent four yearsfundraising, building, doing all

that and it was beautiful.
I hired the best team, we boughta building this gorgeous,
amazing part of St Paul,minnesota and we opened for 10
days in fall of 2023 and thenclosed and I it was the most
devastating experience of myadult life.
I had mothers literally ontheir knees pleading with me,
crying to keep that school open,because they knew that their

kids had no other recourse, noother lifeline.
They knew they were brilliantand capable and that they were
in neighborhoods, they were inschools that gave them no
opportunity to be brilliant andbeautiful, and they were
devastated and so there wasnothing that we could do about
We were either gonna operate ayou know, a school that could
barely keep the lights onbecause of funding and politics

and enrollment and all sorts ofstuff, or we were gonna close
and try to get those kids intothe best schools that we could,
and then just try something else.
And I had literally walked likeworn holes in shoes by going
door to door to hundreds,actually thousands, of homes in
the Twin Cities over those fouryears.
I could not have put more intoit and on a personal level, I
was just wrecked.

And so that's kind of where myindependent journey became, like
began, was like man.
Now what, like I did this thing, I tried literally everything
and it didn't work.
So what do you do now?
And so, yeah, I can kind oftell the story of where that
But that's a huge part of meand like is this educator
service my grandparents, likefamily dynamics, like all these

So when you're like who's Brad?
I'm like I'm still figuringthat out, but I think those are
a lot of the ingredients in thisdish.
That's still probably the slowcooker.

Speaker 1 (21:53):
Yeah, I like that approach.
I do think that your identityis something that is a
continuous discovery process,right, I mean, it's not
something that is static.
Actually, I mean that's whereyou really start to run into
issues, when you kind of justanchor your identity in one
specific thing and refuse to addanything else into it over time

So I definitely, if you'relistening to this and you're
kind of thinking, well, I don'treally know who I am.
Maybe I'm in my 20s, maybe I'min my 40s, maybe I'm in my 60s
Latch onto that last littlepiece that Brad just said, right
there, right, maybe take a lookat what the ingredients are,
right, who are the influences inyour life?
What are the experiences thatare adding to it?

Not necessarily anchoring inlike a specific that this is who
I am.
It's like.
No, this is what makes up who Iam, and who I am is a
continuous discovery process.
I digress, I'm not gonna gettoo meta in that.
Only I actually love it.

Speaker 2 (22:53):
I think no one other point.
Like I've done a lot ofself-work and journaling and
therapy for the last few yearsnow, so I really am into that.
But also a ton of reading.
Like I've learned a lot fromother people talking about this
and I think you know this isn'ta great book, but what got you
here won't get you there.
Has this one part about likeyeah, over identifying with,
like this is who I am and like,no, you're not.

Like that's a thing that youmight do or a thing you may have
done a lot, but like we're notone thing, and I think that's a
good point.
But like the second mountainfrom David Brooks, the let's see
what's the other one from.

Speaker 1 (23:26):

Speaker 2 (23:26):
That's a fantastic one, so good.

Speaker 1 (23:28):
That is a fantastic hat.

Speaker 2 (23:30):
I've read it twice and I just love it and it's
exactly where I'm at in my life,is like I'm on my second
mountain and I'm going deeperand with these like richer
relationships and less foraccolades and career climbing,
like it's much more inward.
That's a great book how willyou measure your life?
From Clayton Christensen at theHarvard Business School.
Such a great short piece if youwant to start with one.
But I've read a lot of otherpeople grappling with like their

journeys and I love that andactually rethinking.
This week with Adam Grant wasabout the dude who like
interviewed all of the formerpresidents and studied like what
do presidents do after havingbeen the most powerful person in
the world and then they go backto like just life.
What do they do?
And he kind of studies how theygo through those transitions
and kind of rediscover theiridentity and passions and really

So I think and read a lot aboutthat and I'd rather live a
deeper like grappling life thanone that's like unexamined and
yeah, I get a lot out of that.
So not a digression, superworthwhile.

Speaker 1 (24:27):
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I love that idea of observingpeople that are exiting one
identity and entering another,because I think that's something
that you know when you join anindie collective cohort, you may
be expecting the educationpiece.
The part that you may not beexpecting is this forced
rediscovery process that you endup going through, right and

just questions.
You know that if you haven'tdone self-reflection work or you
haven't kind of been put into aplace, we literally start out
with designing your, redesigningyour life.
Right, like, let's sit down,let's look at what are the.
We use a framework called thethree L's, right, so what are
The lifestyle that you want tohave, what's the living that you
want to make that's going toallow that lifestyle to come

into existence, and how do youmake sure that you have room
inside of both of those thingsfor your loving relationships?
And and I remember hearing thatframework for the first time
and I was like man, I have notlooked at it that way up until
this point and this was, youknow, two and a half years ago
for me at this point, goingthrough my first indie cohort,
and now I've had the blessing ofbeing able to shadow or emcee

and and help lead in in someaspect.
Seven cohorts and every singletime I go through that workshop
I'm able to sit down and I'mlike dang, you know there's
there's so much going on,there's a lot happening, but I'm
I'm appreciating differentparts of it at every single part

of the process.
So I really, I really lovethose pieces I want.
I'm curious, you know.
So I see very clearly rightwhere your passion for, for
education and where your passionfor bringing people up, you
know, and and helping thembecome the best version of
themselves you can be, I mean it, it exudes from your

Right when Brad White enters aroom, you can kind of feel that
and I'm that's not me sayingthat like I'm hearing that in
office hours from other peoplethat you've talked to, that I've
never seen you interact with,and that's just you know kind of
the vibes that you're able tobring into a room.
So you decide, you know, orthis school shuts down, you have

this existential crisis mixedwith.
You know, this is, like I meanyou said, the hardest thing that
I've faced really in my adultlife, or like the most, one of
the more, one of the moredifficult things that you've had
to go through?
How do you make it from thatabyss to deciding that you're
going to go independent or likecoming to a program like India?

Me, it seems like I know you'reclimbing your second mountain,
but that seems like you'restarting out in in like the
bottom of the river, at thebottom of the valley, and then
you're looking at the mountaincoming up on the other side.
So what's what kind of happenedin between those two steps in
your journey?

Speaker 2 (27:17):
So it's a good story.
It's actually really hard butbeautiful to look back on,
So Fran is a key part of this,bill is another key part of this
, and maybe Jacob.
So maybe I'll tell it more interms of people than things.
So I, frankly, was reallydepressed, really down, really
struggling after that close andkind of did all the things to
you know, wrap up and basicallybury, you know and this school

and get all the kids and newschools and the staff and new
jobs, and really hard.
So there was a lot of logisticsand I had to keep bringing it
back up.
So I was just constantlygrieving.
So that was a piece was like,alright, stay in that grief
But the transition then was like, well, what's the easiest thing
You just do what you've beendoing.
So a bunch of people reachedout literally within 24 hours
and said, brad, we got a job foryou.

Come be the executive directorhere, come be the this here.
And there were, I think, fiveopportunities within 72 hours
that I could have just jumpedright into.
And I just saw one of my mentorsthis is Bill in Denver and I
just said, hey, you know I'mgoing through a lot, what do you
think and he just said slowdown, brad like slow down the
process, stay in that liminalspace between places.

And I think about like whathappens when you play like a
pretty little ba ba ba, likechord, versus like like these,
like little notes right next toeach other and really good
musicians know how to play withthose like the space between
notes or the face betweenmeasures more than just I think
a better, like coming fromanother musician I think a

better or not better, but likeanother way to look at it, right
is a good musician knows whento keep the sustain Right.
So yeah, yeah yeah, I love yousustain some distance.
That's basically another roundto go down, but amen, and I love

it, though and I love metaphorand I think so staying in that
sustained pedal dissonance for aminute, that's what Bill said,
and he was like just don't rushinto something, and I'm really
grateful for that.
It put our family into one ofthe more challenging places we
ever got to.
We got down to $1,836 left inour accounts.
I'll never forget seeing thatnumber, and it was terrifying
because we couldn't even makeour mortgage in December.

So this all happened in October, and so we're a really tough
Just saw you disappear, so I'mgoing to wait.
You're good, that's so great.
I just sat here and startedhanging out.
I didn't know what happened.
You just do you like, yeah.

Speaker 1 (29:41):
I don't know what I did either.
I did just like crashed on me,but we're still recording.
We're still good.

Speaker 2 (29:48):
So great.
I have no idea where I waswe're talking about.
We got Bill.
So Bill is like slow down,don't take a job.
I'm struggling financially,don't know what to do, so I
really stretch that time as longas I possibly could.
And so that was the firstadvice.
I'm really grateful for it,because I could have just jumped
in and it wouldn't have beenthe right thing, I wouldn't have
shown up as my full Brad self,that now people know and that

you know I have tried to createlike I love people, I love
serving people, coaching people.
It's like for sure what gets meup in the morning.
And I was not that dude at thatpoint, so it was good to not
just jump into a job despite theoffer.
So that was the first one.
Second was Fran.
So Fran is this friend of mine,inter sixties, super smart,

little salty, and a friend ofmine had said hey, I've got a
cabin way up north, right byCanada, super isolated, there's
not a store or gas, for you know30 miles, but like you can just
go up there for a few days ifyou want.
And so I grabbed a kayak andI'm out fishing, crying, like in
the middle of this lake bymyself and it's a Friday
afternoon, like two o'clock.

I had my phone with me and Francalled me, started asking me
these questions and I was like Ijust don't know what I want to
do, fran, and she was likeBullshit, brad, you know exactly
what you want to do, just sayit.
And I was like oh gosh.
And so what came out of mymouth next was Okay, fine, I
want to make more, I want towork less and I want to have a
much bigger impact.

And that's what I said thatkayak to Fran, and I love that
she just called me on my BSbecause I was able to like say
the thing that I had been heldback by and, I think, a lot of
people in Indy and just that Iknow who have been in service
related careers and professions.
It can be really hard for us todo that three L's activity
because all we've ever thoughtof is everybody else around us

and it's really hard to say whatdo I want.
It was very, very uncomfortable.
It took me months of resistingit and it took Fran calling me
So I just I'm so indebted toher in that moment.
Even though it was a little,you know, salty and mean it was
so helpful, and so that was ahuge shift for me.
And then I went to this CEOconference and they were like,
well, you're a washed out CEO,but you can come anyway.

And they were really kind.
It was so, it was so nice.
They were like, yeah, you justlost your school, but just show
up, it's okay.
And I was literally having toleave sessions because I was
crying, I was like it was, I wasin so much grief after losing
this kind of beautiful dream andknowing what it was going to
happen to all these kids.
And so I'm there and this guy,jacob, came up and he was like
you know what?
I saw this email that you sentout because somebody had said to

this whole CEO group hey, Ineed to help with a strategic
plan or coaching somebody.
Do you guys know anybody whodoes that?
And I was like, hey, I'm nowunemployed.
So you guys know me, doesanybody want?
You know, I can just help.
And he saw that he was like Ithought that was kind of cool
that you were just like willingto kind of throw yourself under
the bus to the entire group ofhundreds of CEOs.
And he was like, maybe you canhelp us out, and so he was the

first one to kind of show melike maybe there is something I
could do there.
A year later now I'm supportingover 6000 kids, about 15 schools
every week.
I coach about a dozen executiveleaders around the country.
Our schools are transformed inso many ways.
One of our schools in St Louisis up 24% in their student
growth over last year.
Like a school that's workingreally hard might grow by like

2% in a year that they have beenthat much like what we do
really does work and what I do.
So there's a we.
Now there's all this impact andit all kind of went back to
like Bill's advice, like dude,just don't rush into it.
Fran calling me out and thenJacob being like Huh, maybe we
could do a thing, and respectingthe fact that I was still going
to be open and vulnerable aboutit.
So I don't know that I've everthought about it as those three

people, but like that feels likea.
Yeah, that was the experienceand I just said I don't give
I didn't know what anindependent was.
I didn't know what a consultantwas.
Frankly, the word grossed meout.
I didn't know what a contractwas.
I had so much to learn, but Iknew that I could serve schools
and that I wanted to do thatthing of making more, working
less and having a bigger impact.
I couldn't do that in a nine tofive, so I was just going to

try to figure out the rest.

Speaker 1 (33:42):
Yeah, I think there's a couple of points that I want
I want to double click on forpeople that are, you know,
digesting this, because this is,I think, the first time that
I've heard the Jacob portion ofthe story.
But I knew about Fran andwhat's the other name?
Bill, bill, bill, yeah, so I'veheard about Bill, I've heard
about Fran, but Jacob is kind ofa new addition to it.

But two things that kind ofstood out to me.
One, again, that's the power ofhaving a community.
Right, even if the conversationis difficult when you have it,
having people around you thatare able to deliver that salty
news or ask a question thatyou're avoiding because they

know that you're avoiding it,and then giving you the space to
safely answer it, areinvaluable people.
And then the second thing is,some people have this a little
bit more naturally than others,but this sense of vulnerability
on mass, at scale, right, hey,mailing list of 100 plus CEOs.

I'm unemployed, I'm willing tohelp you.
This is a bold move, bro.
That is, that's your list of200, but let's see, it's the
same type of principle, right,like you were already doing some
of these principles, maybewithout even knowing them, just
because it's a natural part ofwho you are as a person, but
that's something that we teach.
That's a whole section, that's awhole week inside of

IndieCollective's curriculum isthis outreach and leveraging
those warm network connectionsand building your list of 200
and all this other kind of stuff, and that's exactly what you
Like I have this group ofpeople.
They're all highly impactful.
They all know who I am.
If I lead with a little bit ofvulnerability in an ask you
never know, you know and thenthat starts kind of the train
that keeps things moving.
I love the idea that you hadthose three pillars right that I

wanna make more, I wanna havemore impact and I wanna work

Speaker 2 (35:39):
Work less right.
I mean, I've worked the working80 hours a week for 15 years
like I had just only known workand family and very little work.

Speaker 1 (35:48):
That was a really hard thing for me coming into
IndieCollective too, because Iheard over and over again like,
oh, I wanna work 15 hour weeks,I wanna work 20 hour weeks.
But I grew up working,contracting, right Construction,
worked at the juveniledetention center, a detention
center while I was in college,was working 12, 16 hour shifts
at the hospital.
So my perception and then themilitary, right, the military is

just like, yeah, you're gonnabe indisposed for the next 48
hours, congratulations.
I'm like, okay, cool, I'll justfollow orders, right.
So, but that was my perspective.
I'm like this is what work isright.
It's meant to be difficult,it's meant to be overwhelming,
you're meant to squeeze way toomuch into way too little time.
So having to take that stepback and analyze that was super
uncomfortable because I was likethere's no way that I can

provide the value that I'masking for monetarily in 20
hours a week or 30 hours a week.
That's not gonna happen.

Speaker 2 (36:44):
I still struggle really, really hard with
value-based pricing, like it'ssuch a beautiful concept and it
plays out really well for what Ido, but I still like, just like
, grapple with it.
Every time that I priceanything, I'm like yeah, but
like oh, it's not a buy the hourthing, it's not an effort-based
thing anymore, but it is somuch an outcomes thing.
And it's really helped me nowto have a year where I can see

all these schools thriving,where every single leader that I
coached last year returned totheir role and all but one of
them when I first started was ontheir way out.
That alone has saved each ofthose organizations hundreds of
thousands of dollars of hiringnew people.
Going through the whole process, the ripple effects that happen
that alone, if I just did that,is worth every penny that I've

charged and I probably shouldhave charged more, but I didn't
And it's still, though it'shard, where it's like, but it's
a effort, impact, dollar, Idon't know.
So I think I'll still strugglewith that for a while.

Speaker 1 (37:36):
I don't know if there's ever.
I've had so many conversationswith Indies over the last two
years and I don't think that thefeeling ever actually goes away
I had a really solid drillinstructor when I was in basic
training for the Air Force andStaff, sergeant Romain.
I will never forget that man'sname, mostly because he was very

prolific, but also a massivepain in the ass, as he should be
as a drill sergeant at BCtraining.
But he used to say all the timehe was like hey, you're here in
week two and in week two you'restill called rainbow flight, so
everybody has different haircuts, you're wearing different
clothes, different sneakers.
You haven't been indoctrinatedinto the US military at that

You get into week three and yougo get your haircut and you get
your uniforms issued andeverybody's on an equal playing
field and you get this sense ofunity at that point.
But he said you look at thepeople that are six weeks deep
and they're preparing for drilland ceremony.
They're marching on command,they're physically fit like

They're passing all this stuff,they're doing long, rough
It seems like they're notgetting any demerits on there,
inspections or anything likethat.
And he was like it's notbecause basic training gets any
easier, you just get better atit.
And that is always stuck with me, always Like ever since I heard
that that you get into asituation and it might be

difficult at first, it's gonnabe scary and it's never gonna
not be scary, like the threat ofthe drill instructor kicking
down the door never goes away.
But you learn stuff like oh,shaving cream makes mirrors
shine really, really nice.
Or hey, this is how I'm gonnado this next time because it's
gonna work so much better, right?

So then, when the drillinstructor does bust through the
door, your boots are alreadyshined, your uniforms are six
inches equally apart as far asyour hangers go.
Inside of your locker, you'veshaving cream, the mirror, so
there's no fingerprints or duston it, like you have these skill
sets and you've accommodatedfor a lot of that stuff, and so
that's something that I wannasay.

It doesn't matter where you'reat in your entrepreneurial or
your independent journey.
There's people that haveentered in the collective
cohorts, that have literallylaunched their businesses
through that 10-week process,and then there's people that
have been in corporate for 15years and are highly, highly
skilled at what they do and haveamazing networks and have been
doing independent contractingfor these larger companies for a

decade, and they're coming inand saying, well, I'm still not.
I haven't achieved this balancethat I'm looking for.
I don't have this life that Ithought that I was gonna have
after entering this.
And that brings me to aquestion that I'm curious about,
which is you've talked aboutthese experiences between

cohorts, how you got here andthe work that you started doing
and how it has impacted otherpeople.
But again you said at thebeginning, sometimes as
independents we tend to look athow much we're impacting other
people, not how much we'reimpacting ourselves.
How did you measure success foryourself after graduating the

cohort and really kind of goingindependent that first year?

Speaker 2 (40:56):
Yeah, I'm a little on the counter cultural side and
so even the idea of settinggoals, like I love it and I tell
all the people that I work withto do it and I don't do it
So I'm hilariously like it's atotal joke Every time that
session comes up.
I've still never done it.
In those two indie collectivecohorts that I did.
I never wrote down a singlegoal and it's obnoxious and I
would love to, but it's itstruggle.

I struggle kind of bringing itback down to earth, and so part
of it is I can look back betterthan I can look forward on goal
And when I look back, like I wasable to replace my income and
probably add 30%.
That was a huge change for usto go from like almost bankrupt
as a family to I was able toreplace my income working

I've been able to walk my kidsto school every Wednesday,
thursday and Friday to and fromfor an entire school year and
like that is a gift I willalways treasure.
This is the last year thatthey'll both be walking to
school to the same school and Iwas able to do that.
Like that is freakingtransformational, like there's.

I could have never done that inthose other jobs, and especially
because their school starts at930, which is so late, and so
it's just it'd be really hard asa working parent, and
especially in a school where Iwas usually at school by six, 30
or 7 am and they're until sixor 7 pm and so there's no way.
So I got all those walks, thispuppy we've got over here, our
other dogs, like we've gotten tospend so much time just like

doing little bits of lifetogether and I am so freaking
grateful for that.
So I couldn't have put that asa goal.
But looking back, that's thegood stuff for me.
And then I think you know avery similar metric is like I
hit 300,000 in revenue in thatfirst year and I couldn't have
even imagined a number like that.
The idea that it even could bea six figure salary or revenue

was like I didn't even know theterm revenue.
Like, seriously, I've learnedso much.
It was all mind blowing at thetime.

Speaker 1 (42:50):
I remember you were probably on the calls and I was
like holy smokes and I'mlaughing because I was in the
same boat.
Dude Coming out of nursing andclinical psych, I was like I
have you're speaking a foreignlanguage to me, with all these
acronyms, and I didn't know whata CRM was.
You know when I first startedlearning it.
Oh, that makes so much sense.

Speaker 2 (43:10):
The first time Sam was like is it to be BizDev RTO
on your IPE?
And I was like I don't knowsingle word you just said and
they all scare me and make mefeel like I shouldn't be here.
And I just pushed through it.
I was like you know what?
I got lots to do and serve andlearn.
So I'm here.
But I look back on that the yearbefore, when I was founding
that school, I got to make ittwo of my kids baseball games,
so there were 28,.
I made it to two Last year, Imade it to 26.

And so I completely flippedthat around and that means the
world to them.
I got to sit with my wife andwatch these games and hang out
with our dog and like just be ajoy filled dad and be fully
I didn't even have to likeanswer my phone or text, like I
just got to be there and that isa that's again.
Like that's what life is about.
That's my second mountain.
I wish I'd had thoseopportunities and the wisdom

earlier, but those were huge andso now I start thinking, you
know, forward.
I just started doing, I did 30days of yoga this year and like
it wasn't like a New Year'sresolution.
It just happened to be a goodtiming that my friend Amy wrote
me a text that was just likeremember that post that you've
had for four months, brad, justdo the yoga, start tomorrow.
And I just did.
And I haven't stopped.
And I needed somebody like thatto call me out Again because I

don't feel comfortable puttingmyself first.
So it's a lot easier whensomebody's like Brad, you should
do it, cause then I'm like oh,I can make Amy happy, it's, I
still got to work on.

Speaker 1 (44:26):
I'm with you, man.
I'm in the same boat.
I have the same personalitytraits, like coming from the
nursing background and likereally just being, I think,
brought up through immigrantculture, being very much so like
This is a village, and so ifeverybody in the village
collectively puts the needs ofeverybody else in the village,
first the village survives right, and then the middle, and I can

really believe that I wish wewould do more of that as a
I wish we could.
Yeah, and but to your point,like you have to be able to
bring your fullest self into thevillage if that's going to be
how you contribute, and so I.
All the time I literally, youknow I'd work out five days a
week of power lifter, boxer, butI had to work with my friend
who's a chiropractor to do I'mon a like a gut reset and a

cleanse right now, because Iknew I have all the nutritional
knowledge, I have all of theworkout knowledge.
I'm already in the gym fivedays a week, but I wasn't
willing to like commit to itbecause in my mind I needed
somebody else to be like.
Well, you should do this, notbecause of the weight loss or
anything else, but because you.
You know that you could bedoing better with energy.

Speaker 2 (45:30):
You know, that you need to adjust the way that
you're eating, and so you knowit's interesting my other friend
, my sister Kia from the indiecollective cohort Dr Kia, as we
often all call her I adore her,she's one of my closest friends
from the cohort and reallyappreciate her and she actually
looked at me in the eyes andsaid, brad, when you work this

much, this hard and you go backinto your habits one right now
my business is like currentlybooming, like I still have not
reached out or advertised.
All of it has been what do youcall it Like?
incoming, not outreach orwhatever not, yeah, inbound,
there you go and it's all beenthat.
And so I'm like the second thatI even say it's outbound stuff.
I think we could double, triple, quadruple.

And Kia just said Brad, don'tlike hold on, just do another
year where you just repeat, youget a little more efficient and
you learn.
Try some little pilots, iterateand maybe, with that saved time
, just live a little Like youlove to kayak, you love to fish,
you love your dogs, like howabout, instead of building that
new part of your business, youjust live.
And that was really reallyappreciated, because I needed

that accountability.
And again, I want to do thatbetter myself.
I will get there eventually,but I'm just not there yet.

Speaker 1 (46:41):
Yeah, no, I think that that's super, super
Shout out to Dr Kia she's alsoone of my favorite people and I
know there's always multiplepeople every cohort that pop in
and I love seeing people's namespop up inside of my calendars
and stuff.
It's such a blessing to havethree to five calls a week that

just break up my agency day,because outside of being the
head of community, I'm stillrunning the agency full time and
stuff like that.
So being able to hop on callsand get those points and I also
as we're sitting inside ofoffice hours and I know that you
get this coming from theeducation side holding that
space for somebody to have thatconversation with you and be

vulnerable about something orknowing them well enough that
you can pick up on when they'restarting to go off track and be
like, oh well, what if we dothis?
I just did that with somebodythe other day.
I was hey, we're saying thingsthat we said a year ago and that
maybe they're not serving youin the way that you think that
they should be serving you, andsometimes it's doing less.
Doing more is not going toserve you and that's so

counterintuitive for so manypeople that doing less than just
taking the time to be, is sucha beautiful opportunity and a
beautiful thing to be able to do.
So I'm really really ecstaticabout your journey and really
proud of how far you've come,because I remember meeting Brad
coming into the first cohort andthere's all this enthusiasm and

all of this angst kind ofpacked into the same package.

Speaker 2 (48:20):
I want to put that on a bumper sticker.
Just so much enthusiasm, somuch angst.
That basically describes it.

Speaker 1 (48:28):
And now it feels I don't know if those two I would
even change those two words, butit feels like a more
directionally placed version ofthat You're still so excited,
you still spring so muchanimation into the room and
there's still that angst around.
Well, what can I do next?
And how am I going to help thenext person?

And where is this going to go?
But I don't know.
I mean, the way that you talkabout it and the way that you
talk about yourself isdrastically different than it
was a year ago, and I wanted tomake sure that I vocalized that
before we started the show orhopped off.

Speaker 2 (49:05):
And I appreciate that a lot.
It's been a really fast, rapidprocess for me to just be like
man learn as much as you can,dig in and help a lot of other
people along the way and be apart of the community.
I love it so much.
I keep learning and I'mdefinitely staying on this track
, and I can see now a five-year,10-year frame of doing this
work and I definitely could nothave imagined that when it first

Speaker 1 (49:24):
So, yeah, tons of gratitude, tons of love.
Yeah, I really love it.
I really love it.
So, if people want tounfortunately this hour is
already kind of flown by, whichis wild but if people want to
learn more about Brad, or theywant to be able to connect with
you and stuff like that, whereare some of the best places for
them to do that?

Speaker 2 (49:45):
Love that.
Hilariously, I still do nothave a website or any sort of
place where I have anyinformation about what I do
So the only place right nowseems to be LinkedIn, which I
started doing when this allexisted.
Kind of figured that out, soit's just LinkedIn, brad White.
The organization is stillcalled Brad White Educational
Consulting, because I justdidn't know what to call it when

I first started that thing forJacob.
So I made that up, went to thebank, started a bank account,
got the EIN, everything Istarted on that rapid-fire day.
I've just still stuck with.
So for right now, linkedin isamazing.
And then email is fantastic.
I've learned through theprogram how to use a virtual
assistant and I've got thisphenomenal colleague, kylie.
She and I worked togetherreally tightly and she now runs

email my holistic schedule of myentire life, and so it's just
really great.
And so email is amazing and Ilove getting together with
people for 15 minutes phone Zoom, morning, night.
Anybody who finds any negativewisdom in this and is like dude,
can we just talk for a second?
The answer is like an absurdlyenthusiastic yes.
And so LinkedIn probably justhit it up on there and look for

me on there.

Speaker 1 (50:52):
That's it.
Yeah, I'll make sure that weinclude the link to your
LinkedIn inside of thedescription of this and then if
you want to connect with me it'sJan looks like Jan Jan almost
On LinkedIn is probably also thebest place to find us.
If you want to learn more aboutthe Indie Collective Program,
our upcoming cohorts, you can goto indiecollectiveco that is,
i-n-d-e collectiveco.

Again, this has been anotherepisode of the Modern
Independent Flavor, theLaunchpad, where you hear from
indie collective graduates thatare out in the world doing
amazing things.
Brad, thank you for coming andhanging out.

Speaker 2 (51:26):
Thank you, Rilla, and also I'm not letting you get
off without a deep thanksbecause the cohort connects and
there is a community and thereis the type of vibe because of
exactly who you are.
So we make fun of you as the DJand all your energy and stuff,
but none of that would happen ifthere was some other D-bag
behind the mic and behind thekeyboard.
So also got to give some shinewhere it's due.
Jan, You're a really phenomenalguy and you bring a nuanced

approach to building this.
That has been hugely helpfulfor me.
So I'm not letting you get awaywithout a shout out.
Appreciate you both.

Speaker 1 (51:54):
Thanks, man, thank you.
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