Unlocking Inner Greatness Through Life's Challenges with Educator and Catalyst Brad Dalton

Unlocking Inner Greatness Through Life's Challenges with Educator and Catalyst Brad Dalton

What do you think could catalyze your most significant shift? 

In this episode of The EmPOWERed Half Hour, Becca Powers engages in a transformative conversation with Brad Dalton, an experienced educator, and best self catalyst for personal growth. Brad shares his journey from a place of low self-esteem to becoming a beacon of inspiration for others. He underscores the crucial role of belief and reveals how his son became the powerful catalyst for his growth. 

Finding Catalysts in Adversity:

Brad reflects on his upbringing amidst familial challenges, illustrating how pivotal moments and influential figures helped him transcend his circumstances. He delves into the profound impact of his autistic son, revealing how parenthood became his greatest teacher and catalyst for personal growth.

The Power of Influence and Leadership:

Drawing from his extensive experience as an educator, Brad emphasizes the importance of serving as a guiding light for others, especially those facing adversity. He shares insights gleaned from his journey as a parent, highlighting the transformative power of empathy, patience, and active listening in fostering meaningful connections and facilitating growth.


Embracing Growth and Embodying Greatness:

Brad encourages listeners to embrace discomfort as a catalyst for growth, challenging the notion of settling for mediocrity. He advocates for a mindset of abundance and self-belief, urging individuals to act, breathe, and commit boldly to their aspirations.

The ABCs of Personal Empowerment:

In a powerful call to action, Brad introduces the ABCs of personal empowerment: Acting big, Breathing big, and Committing big. He invites listeners to embody their inner greatness, recognizing their inherent worthiness and potential for extraordinary achievement, fueled by the profound impact of love and acceptance exemplified by his son.

Embracing Belief, Resilience, and Service

As the conversation draws to a close, Becca and Brad reaffirm the transformative power of belief, resilience, and service in shaping our personal and professional trajectories. They challenge listeners to embrace discomfort, nurture their unique gifts, and embark on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

Key Moments You Won't Want to Miss:

  • The Transformative Power of Belief: Brad shares his journey of overcoming low self-esteem and finding inspiration through individuals who believed in him, highlighting the profound impact of belief in shaping one's destiny.
  • Parenting a Child on the Autism Spectrum: Brad discusses the life-changing experience of parenting a child on the autism spectrum, revealing how it served as a catalyst for personal growth and reshaped his perspective on leadership, empathy, and resilience.
  • Embracing Growth and Resilience: Brad emphasizes the importance of embracing discomfort as a pathway to growth and resilience, urging listeners to challenge limiting beliefs and strive for excellence in every aspect of their lives.
  • The ABCs of Personal Empowerment: Brad introduces the ABCs of personal empowerment—Acting big, Breathing big, and Committing big—as a framework for embracing one's inner greatness and unleashing untapped potential.
  • The Power of Service and Influence: Brad underscores the transformative impact of serving others and leading with empathy, stressing the importance of building meaningful connections and fostering a culture of inclusion and belonging.
  • Redefining Success and Fulfillment: Brad redefines success as a journey rather than a destination, encouraging listeners to focus on daily growth and meaningful connections rather than external achievements alone.


Empowering Thoughts to Take With You:

  • “The more I serve, the better life gets.” — Brad Dalton
  • “I think that in life, what we get is part of it, but the true wealth lies in the unfolding of who we become.” — Brad Dalton
  • “Slow to speak, quick to listen and people start to feel heard.” — Brad Dalton
  • “You're not only enough. You're more than enough to do things you've never done.” — Brad Dalton
  • “Commit big to the things that are important to you. Commit big to the things you're passionate about.” — Brad Dalton
  • “Even if you don't have it right now, there is somebody out there that will believe in you.” — Becca Powers
  • “We are radiant and within that, we have our strengths, our gifts, our talents, our uniqueness, and we need to nurture those and we need leaders and mentors to help us nurture those.” — Becca Powers
  • “When we do slow down, we come more in touch with that uniqueness that makes a difference in the world.” — Becca Powers
  • “There's a truth to slowing down, you build a connection with others, and you build a connection within yourself, and that's where true change can take place.  — Becca Powers


About Brad:

Brad Dalton was born and raised in Boise, ID and now resides in Eagle, ID with his beautiful wife Cori of 24 years and their 2 adult children Cooper 21, and Bronco 18. Brad graduated with a BA in Science from Boise State University and a Master in the Art of Teaching (MAT) from Grand Canyon University. Brad worked in the Education, Coaching, and Leadership fields for 24 Years using curriculums he created. 

He is most passionate about his Self-Development company, the Positive Warrior Network, which he founded in 2019. Brad is a TEDx Speaker, published his Bestseller titled DNA of a Winner in 2021, and has his podcast, B.E.S.T. Self Podcast, which was listed as one of the top 15 Positive Leadership Podcasts in the world in 2023. Brad's clientele ranges from senior leadership and entrepreneurs to college athletic teams and young athletes seeking to go from good people to great. He empowers individuals and companies to 10x their growth in under 70 days.

When Brad’s son Bronco was 3 years old, he was diagnosed with Autism and Brad calls this news ‘the fifteen-minute sucker punch to the gut.’ His perspective shifted with the diagnosis and has forever positively impacted the way Brad will lead others. Brad Dalton has dedicated his life to changing the way we do business and treat the support system that surrounds us.

Brad Dalton now travels the world to virtual and live events, helping men and women personally and professionally by showing them how to use their knowledge and accountability to empower themselves and the people they work with or serve. He uses his methodology to help them reach their goals and help others along the way.

Connect with Brad Dalton:


Mentioned on the Show:

  • Positive Warrior Mental Performance-Individual Leaders: Empowering Mental Skills For Elite Athletes & Driven Leaders to embrace resilience, live with a mental edge, and play life with the character traits of a champion as the standard—simple, fun, and without the hustle in less than 70 days 🚀. We enroll just six new clients per month and are currently taking on new positive warrior seekers! 
  • Winning: It's Not What You Think | TEDx: Brad Dalton draws on his personal experience, recounting the pivotal moment his son was diagnosed with autism, challenging his family's perspective on success and highlighting the importance of focusing on personal growth over conventional achievements.


Follow Becca Powers:

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Welcome to another episode of the empowered half-hour, I am so thrilled to bring you today's guest, who was connected to us through a mutual friend, who's also been on the show, Daniel Cobo. Today's guest is Brad Dalton. First of all, I trust Danielle when she connects me to humans, immediately, but also when I was reading your profile, I was like, he is going to be such a good fit for the show, this is the emPOWERed Half Hour and because empowerment oozes off of you. So, I would love to have Brad on. 

To tell the audience a little bit about yourself, you consider yourself the best self-catalyst, and I can't wait to hear more about that if you're okay with it, let's just get into the interview.

Brad just recently put out a Ted talk and he's going to talk about it but what I want to talk about first is that Brad's at this point in his career where he is, working with leaders. He has published a book and he has released a TED talk. So that tells me that something happened to make you about helping others and putting content in the world. So I'm a little curious about your backstory. How did you get to this point of being where you are today?

The Power of Believing in Yourself

There's a lot of nuggets inside that bad boy. Short version, bad. Yes, cliff note version. I wasn't always this guy, I usually tell people in front of me or listening to me that there's almost nothing you can throw at me that I haven't heard or experienced myself. Incredible parents growing up, but it wasn't always Rosie.

 I have family members that were gang members, meth addicts, meth dealers, dropouts, you name it, and I was always a good kid, but I was a low self-esteem guy growing up. I didn't like speaking in front of people. Frankly, it took a few people who bet on me, invested in me, believed in me, that just inspired me to believe that, what I think of myself is true. I can be this guy, that I can become a fantastic beast, and so my journey started a little bit with that and then you'll hear about my story a little bit more as we get going because it's also part of my TED, and all that jazz, but I was just lucky enough to have a kid on the autism spectrum.

I think that everything that I've learned being a parent of a kiddo on the autism spectrum, everything I've learned translates to life. There's everything I need to know as a leader, a parent, a friend, a colleague, a teammate, and a member of my community, everything I need to know, I learn from being a parent of a kid on the autism spectrum. That was a massive catalyst for me, just the more I serve the better life gets. So that's my dumbed-down version.

I think it's a great introduction to where we're going to go, but also I think it's so relatable. There are so many listeners on here that I know from interacting with that, have had similar childhoods where it's maybe parents love them, but it wasn't the best environment, or maybe the parents were a little shaky, and they had to find their refuge and teachers and friends outside. So I think your story is relatable, and what I like about those early years is that you found someone to believe in you.

I think that's a powerful message for the listeners that, even if you don't have it right now, there is somebody out there who will believe in you. I don't know if you want to speak to that for a second too, but it's a really powerful statement.

Lessons in Parenting, Leadership, and Growth

I'm also a career educator and I taught everything from elementary to Boise State University, and everything in between. So, I've also had the opportunity to see a lot of kids, just speaking from a servant leadership standpoint, I've had the opportunity to see a lot of kids who were phenomenal. You can't see it right now, but I feel like I have one right now, just talking about it, so many great kids who had something similar only probably with a highlighter put over it. They come from war-torn countries, some of them are homeless, some of them are fantastic kids and they just have a hard time managing expectations from home. There are so many different things on that spectrum and I want to be that for them. I want to be that for my clients. I want to be that for whatever audience I'm speaking to know what it's like to not feel like you have everybody in your corner.

Now you may have great parents, maybe you're a perfectionist, maybe you're an eager pleaser, maybe you're a person that's a fear of failure type person, but that doesn't mean you have a crummy background. So I'm not trying to say all these scenarios are like where they're coming from crummy homes. Sometimes you come from a great home and you're such a good person or a good husband or a good wife or a good worker then you're afraid to fail people and you don't realize how many people you do have in your corner.  I've learned a ton of lessons, I learned from my clients, I learned from my students. I'm going to learn from the emPOWERED half hour right now. so

The end of the other part of your opening that resonated with me too is parenting through, having a child on the spectrum. Like myself, I have ADHD, and I didn't even get it managed until I was an adult because I was just told I was wild and all these different things. So I think it's phenomenal that there is so much more conscious awareness of the spectrum. And assume you mean autism fully, but just being a narrow divergent myself. I commend that you took the time to learn from your son.

That's part of my story too, we all have different routes we can take, and my route success was the only option with him. I could sit there and I could feel sorry for myself and I could feel sorry for him and I wouldn't be a loser if I did that, but that's a losing mentality. You're not going to win in life thinking that way, the only option was to succeed and it wasn't just for me too. I was a college athlete, my wife was a college athlete. We were career educators, we'd worked with tons of kiddos on the autism spectrum and loved them, but until you have one of your own, you have no idea, it's a giant spectrum. So I'm generalizing here, it's a spectrum with varied degrees of this, that, and the other thing.

But you just don't know, but I know this, we couldn't parent him the same way we parented our older kiddo. We thought we had the playbook all down, we thought we had the parenting thing down. And then, man, just got, sucker punched it felt like at the time and the options were success and success.

So what do we get to do? He was three years old. What do we have to do in the next 15 years to give him the best life possible? What have I got to do? What have I got to do that? And so that became the mission. The mission became, we know, what we want, and wish him to become. What are the things we have to do to help him become that? And then we got to be flexible with it. We have to be aggressively patient with it. We've got to meet him where he's at with it and if you hear me talking about these things, all the same things, you mean we need to be great leaders to be great at anything we got, to meet people. If we're going to be like change agents we're going to be people-centered leaders, heart-centered leaders, we got to meet people where they're at, we've got to be aggressively patient, we've got to be excited about growth, that's just part of my juice sister. 

You're saying all the right words and I love aggressively patient. I hope you have that coin, and if not, you should, because it's very good. I think that shifting into that space of leadership and I even think creativity too, because when you are in a position, we are where we're generating our content to be a change agent.

Sometimes the process requires aggressive patience because there's an unfolding happening when you're working with humans as a leader, as parents, and when you're working with art, there's an unfolding there that just needs to take place. And so I love that you mentioned honoring that.

I love the word unfolding, because I think that in life, what we get is part of it, but the true wealth lies in the unfolding of who we become. Yes, That's the juice. So, you've had to dig deeper within yourself to have this outcome with raising your son that you wanted.

You talked about your early childhood too, but now you have these lessons up, and you're starting to teach others or you're not starting you are, what lessons from what you've been through are you pulling forward for people? What's top of mind when I ask you that?

Slow to Speak, Quick to Listen: Building Stronger Relationships

When I was in the lowest moments in my life, I didn't feel like I was heard. Most of us when we're down, we don't feel heard, we don't feel like we belong and we don't feel connected. I felt all of those things, I think most of us feel all those things when we're in our low moments. And I think one of the most important things that we need if we want to be good at anything is we need to be slow to speak and quick to listen. Slow to speak, quick to listen and people start to feel heard. They start to feel like they belong, and they start to feel connected relationships are the true power grid in life. We've got to put people first, we've got to slow down. We have this world where we just got this chronic busyness and chronic hurry. I think I read a book called, I don't know if this is the title, but they talk about chronic hurriness,  we're always in such a hurry to do the next thing.

If we could just slow down, not only will we soak up more of the awesome that they're bringing to the table, but we're also building bridges and stronger relationships, and we're learning our next move. Everyone's always so excited to tell everybody what their next move is. If we listen a little bit better, we can build a stronger next move simply because we hear what's going on.

I think that would be number one, there are so many lessons. 

I love what you're saying and in a similar vein, I'm working on my next book, it's coming out in October, and it's called A Return to Radiance. But the principle for that, is we are radiant, and within that, we have our strengths, our gifts, our talents, our uniqueness, and we need to nurture those and we need leaders and mentors to help us nurture those.

And as you talk about this slowing down, when we do slow down, we come more in touch with that uniqueness that makes a difference in the world. And so I, again, just enjoyed what you said, because, listeners, there's a truth to slowing down, you build a connection with others, and you build a connection within yourself that's where true change can take place.

Yeah, that's good, growth is the juice. I think the only stat that should matter to you, me, and we today, stats, would be growth per word, growth per thought, growth per action, and growth per conversation, not just with others, but with ourselves.

That's the good stuff right there, getting better is cool. So it's the new cool thing. Kids try it, you'll like it. Growth is cool, drink the Kool-Aid, it's awesome. So tell me, you recently put out a TED talk. Tell me a little bit about it.

How a Son with Autism Became the Catalyst for Transformation

I was just approached with the idea of doing a TED talk and yeah, let's get after it. And man, what an experience. I also keynote, but a TED talk, a different kind of beast. One shot at this thing and it's just different but I think it landed, I think it's stuck, it was a lot of fun, it was what we're talking about today, spoke about my kiddo, spoke about growth, spoke about leadership, spoke about what if we changed the narrative to chasing what we wish we could get and shifted it to who could we become? I'll let your listeners watch it themselves and see what they think.

But that's the skinny, my real catalyst was my kiddo, and what I had to do initially was just feel sorry for myself and then had to decide to become a different kind of beast myself and then it just reshaped my entire mindset, from what life isn't about achievements. Life isn't about what you get, success is not a destination. I don't need to see the end of the road to be phenomenal today. I just got to dominate today, each day, that's what it was. It's been ever since I'm going to dominate today. I'm going to be the best dad I can be today, I'm going to be the best friend I can be today and if the actions and the words, and the thoughts, and the conversations oozing out of me aren't leaking stuff that's going to let trend me towards where he needs to go, where I need to go, where my family needs to go, where my people need to go, then I'm going to kick it out. I'm going to kick you to the curb. It no longer rents space here, it's Gonzo, and that's just been me. That's been me for about 18 years now. 

It's in the same vein but the culture of the hustle culture, I always say, I've got high achiever in my blood. I've burnt out a couple of times, I talk about a lot because I got myself good one time but what I realized in my recovery and helping other people reach their potential is that I'm going back to the strengths and weaknesses things but I also see this in addition to powering through the days and not having a daily consciousness of am I giving today my best day? And that's all I need to focus on. I also see people pivot to developing their weaknesses instead of playing to their strengths, and I would just love your 2 cents on that if you don't mind. 

Owning Your Strengths, Working with Weaknesses

I think the problem with a lot of people that are just over and I'm generalizing here, but a lot of people that start working too much on their strengths have the constant, I'm not good enough syndrome. I'm not enough, the truth is that you're not just enough — you're more than enough, I do think that there's something to be said about working on your strengths, and working on your weaknesses, we need to maintain our strengths. I'm a believer that the percent of my day is going to be devoted towards my strengths, fifteen is going to be about learning and five is going to be like, what's next, some new little trick and just venturing out there where I sit on that, and we also have to be cool with ourselves. 

That's right and that's more of what I'm meaning. Not necessarily that we have to develop our strengths too, but just like owning them. I played sports, you played sports. I played soccer,  I was a great forward and a crappy defender, like, why would my coach spend the time developing me as the best defender when it just wouldn't have I maybe at best be mediocre. Develop my skills in the area that I have fun with, that I naturally gravitate to, and that feels like playing instead of working. I think that there's so much information out now that people sometimes get twisted upside down on what they should and shouldn't be focusing on to reach their potential and be their best selves and all of that.

The best coaches and the best leaders take people's strengths and then that's how they put their scheme together. They find what everyone does well, and then that's how they plan their attack. You can work on your weaknesses if you're going to be together for a while, you can try to shave the floor, all trying to shave the fluff out of our game, right? Understand what you have a chance to be great at. Everyone wants to be great at everything and that's not possible. What do you have a chance to be great at and then hammer that?  

I like that and I'm just going to repeat that for the audience. What can you be good at and give yourself a chance at it? If you want to repeat, I think I thought I had it and then I lost it, but I was just like, I was so in the moment with you that I was like, that's cool. 

Beyond Mediocrity: Embracing Your Path to Greatness

Everybody wants to be great at everything, but that's not possible. Do you have a chance to be great at it? Jim Collins in the book Good to Great talks about asking yourself three questions. What do I have a chance to be the best in the world at? I tell my people, what do you have a chance to be great at? What are you passionate about? What drives you? What makes your toes tap? When your toes touch the floor, what gets at times the hair on your skin rocking, and then for him, he's a business guy, what drives your economic engine? 

And so when people are trying to figure out what's next, the first question I always ask is that I believe we all have something we can be phenomenal at. I think we all have greatness. I don't think that any of us should be waking up, the best we can do is mediocre. That's crazy to me. We all have something we could be great at. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer to figure that out, so why settle for mediocrity? I would rather choke on greatness than settle on the day.

This is a perfect time to pivot. So Brad, tell me why you're passionate about this,

Finding Fulfillment in Helping Others

I'm sure your listeners if they're part of your tribe, there's no better feeling than adding value to another. Nothing you and I could strike the lottery tomorrow. We could land a million dollar, 2 million clients. We line up all these six-figure speeches and nothing replaces the feeling I can't even describe it. I can't even describe the look on the person's face. When you just make them feel so good and when you feel that you see them feel good, you can't help but feel so good. You can't replace that, and so just serving anytime you're down in life, serving most people who aren't feeling great about their lives right now, probably aren't serving enough, either they're obsessed with the wrong thing. I want to get obsessed with serving. I want to get obsessed with helping other people choke on excellence and choke on greatness.

You start seeing people's lives transform that payoff. I just want to say that in the relationships, I have found that one of the most fulfilling aspects of the work is when I see people have rekindled relationships with their spouse, with their children, with their coworkers. 

And then once that sense of belonging is there. Then they ease into their strengths or their uniqueness, and that starts to develop and then their confidence grows, and then they start serving others. Then that circle keeps going and it's just the freaking coolest thing. It's a vicious, awesome cycle.

It is a vicious, awesome cycle. So there are probably a lot of empowering thoughts or tips that you could give the listeners, but we probably have about 5 minutes left. So I want to make sure we take some time to go down this. What is an empowering thought or lesson you want to share with the listeners today?

Act Big, Breathe Big and Commit Big

One, I think we've talked about it,  you're not only enough, you're more than enough to do things you've never done. You're going to have to become something you've never been and that might sound scary. Anytime you dip your toes into something new, it's going to be uncomfortable, but the growth zone and the comfort zone aren't the same.

Everyone always talks about leaping but it's not a leap, it's just a tiny step. The place where you stretch from your growth zone, venturing away from your comfort zone. If you could see it on the monitor, it's right there. It's not a giant leap, it's just a step. 

What's the 1st step? The 1st step is to listen to your ABCs. There was a study done at Stanford years ago, and a lot of people are afraid of public speaking. A lot of people are afraid of leadership and leadership's just influence.

We've already influenced probably a dozen people today. Lynn's influence is saying thank you to the waitress and there's a seven-year-old right next to you that heard you do it. And now they might be a little more into that, they saw the way you treated that person, checking out groceries, the person behind you, and you made them feel good, making someone else feel good.

Leadership just influences a lot of people who struggle, I guess to get back. We relate that way, only 7 percent of what people are picking up on the 1st time they meet you. Is the content coming out of your mouth? 93 percent is your body language. It's how you say what you say. It's eye contact and it takes no special ability to do any of those. It's just believing in yourself. Like you and I barely met, but we believe in each other. We have no problem looking at the other person and confidently saying this, that, or the other thing.

I would encourage our listeners to follow their ABCs. I want them to act big today. Act big today. Have a proud chest today, have your chin up today. You are phenomenal, you're a fantastic beast, you're a beautiful beast, believe that. Act big. I want you to breathe big, it's food for the soul. Breathe big, take a deep breath, take a deep belly breath. Breathe big, and I want you to commit big. Commit big to the things that are important to you, commit big to the things you're passionate about. it's your birthright for excellence. Believe in it. Who do you want to become and commit to it?

I'm feeling it on this side. I'm like, I'm ready to take on today. What are we doing today? Brad? We got to do big things today.


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