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Fighting for My Life and the Love of the Game with Mark Herzlich

Mark Herzlich

In 2008, Mark Herzlich, was one of the best college linebackers in the country, an All-American, and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. After his junior year, at the very top of his game, Mark was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. He was told by his doctors that he had as low as a 10% chance of survival and that his playing days were over, that he might not ever run again. He was just 21. 16 months after Mark was diagnosed, he was back on the field playing for Boston College and in another 16 months he had won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants. Mark played in 11 games, starting two at linebacker for the 2011 Super Bowl Team. Mark went on to play 7 seasons for the New York Giants and retired in 2018.

In May 2015, Mark married his college sweetheart Danielle, who is a retired Captain in the United States Army, New Jersey National Guard. Danielle, who was a victim of physical, mental and emotional abuse as a child, and Mark have made it their mission to end relationship violence. The couple are national board members, fundraisers, and constant volunteers for The Joyful Heart Foundation, which works to create a world free of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. They are also national board members for A Call to Men, which works to create a world where all men and boys are loving and respectful, and where all women and girls are valued and safe. Mark and Danielle have spoken all over the country to schools, Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams and college teams, educating them on healthy relationships and healthy manhood.

In 2015, Mark also published his memoir titled, “What it Takes: Fighting for My Life and My Love of the Game”. Mark currently works for ESPN as a college football analyst and is the founder and host of “The Superhero Dad Podcast.” The podcast works to inspire men to put their capes on when they walk in their front doors, not just when they walk out of them. Mark has two children and lives in New England with his family.

Mark’s life journey was a rough one, but he consistently talks about how his father was there for him through it all. As fathers, we can learn from this and try to create a realm of psychological safety for our children. They look up to us and open up to us. If we don’t make them feel safe, they will learn to hide their problems and seek help elsewhere. Being a present father in our children’s lives is something that we should never take for granted. Take Mark for example. If his father hadn’t been there to say, “Let’s do this,” he might have taken the wrong path that would have ended his career. The fact that his father was there throughout the entire journey and finally said, “We did it” shows the commitment Mark’s father demonstrated throughout his son’s life.

Take the time today to allow your children to come to you with any and everything. It’s such a gift to have your child feel safe enough to come and talk to you. It builds a bond and trust that you don’t find anywhere else in life.

What You’ll Learn: 

[6:59]

Mark recalls his childhood and what his family was like.

[11:20]

Mark talks about how his parents influenced him and his brother when they were younger.

[18:48]

Mark talks about the moment he decided he wanted to play football professionally.

[22:07]

Mark talks about when his professional football career finally took off.

[24:45]

Mark remembers the emotions he felt when he first heard his diagnosis.

[27:07]

Mark talks about his training schedule and what his first round of treatment looked like.

[34:45]

Mark talks about his father’s role in his treatment and how he helped him through it.

[38:12]

Mark talks about what happened at the end of his treatment.

[44:01]

Mark talks about the emotions he felt when he received the phone call that he was cancer free.

[45:32]

Mark talks about how he felt when his dad said, “We did it.”

[47:13]

Mark talks about his seven-year NFL career.

[47:30]

Mark talks about how he met his wife and how he created an environment of psychological safety for her.

[58:40]

Mark talks about the power of psychological safety.

[1:01:12]

Mark talks about what his family will be celebrating 20 years from now.

[1:04:12]

Mark talks about the things he is grateful for about his dad if his he were sitting in front of him.

RELATED EPISODES:

Finding Your Inner Strength Through Adversity Comes from Within with Ben Newman

Mindset is the Key to Success with Vernon Fox III

Embracing Fear and Living Life to the Fullest with Sal Frisella


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Mark Herzlich

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Yes Men Don’t Change the World with Larry Hagner

Larry Hagner

Larry Hagner is bringing us a personal account of a conversation he had with his 13-year-old son about cutting the grass. When his son questioned him on it, Larry responded in a way that he wished he hadn’t. After apologizing to his son, he realized that it wasn’t the fact of mowing the grass; it was that he didn’t explain to his son why he wanted him to mow the grass.

Having a stubborn child can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because your child has a gift; they challenge the status quo and stick up for what they believe in. On the other hand, their stubbornness is also a curse because they are willing to argue with you if they don’t understand something. In the case with Larry’s son, he mowed the grass because his dad asked him to, but with a poor attitude because he didn’t understand why he had to mow the backyard too. Once Larry explained to him why he wanted the backyard mowed, his whole demeanor changed. He then understood that there actually was a purpose to mowing the grass.

A strong-willed child means they have a gift. They are not willing to budge on their beliefs because they hold true to their values. As fathers, we are leaders in our household. If we teach our strong-willed children that if you challenge the status quo, be respectful about it. If they aren’t respectful, it’s our job to course-correct that behavior, so it’s not ill-received. Challenging the status quo is how people change the world. Yes men don’t change the world because they are too afraid to say no.

RELATED EPISODES:

Strong Fathers, Strong Kids with Meg Meeker

Parenting with Leadership with Stewart Friedman and Alyssa Westring

Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting


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The Art of Survival with EJ Snyder

EJ Snyder

EJ Snyder is a husband, father, retired US Army combat veteran, actor, and survivalist. He has appeared on the show Naked and Afraid and Naked and Afraid XL. He was also a host on the TV show Dual Survival during its 9th season. EJ is married to his wife Amy, and they have two children, Tyler and Kassidy. 

EJ’s claim to fame can be seen through his extraordinary survival, tracking, trapping, navigation, self-reliance, and self-defense skills. He is known as The Skullcrusher, an extreme survivalist, and adventurer who has been teaching survival skills to soldiers and civilians for over 20 years. After serving in the military for 25 years, EJ knew he wanted to be in entertainment and inspire people to develop a survivalist mindset. 

Mindset is crucial to the element of survival. EJ is considered a master of mindset, and he talks about how you never quit just because it’s hard or because you’re in pain. You work around it, you force yourself to overcome obstacles, and finish the race. EJ’s mantra is live every day like it’s your last, and I think we can all benefit from this as fathers, husbands, and men. We have to take every chance we have in life to be the best husband, father, and man that we can be. It may be difficult at times, but with the right mindset, we have the power to live epic, legendary lives. 

What You’ll Learn: 

[5:48]

EJ gives us a background on Naked and Afraid and his other accomplishments.

[18:48]

EJ recalls his childhood and how he grew up.

[22:37]

EJ recalls his time in the Army and how he ended up where he’s at now.

[32:34]

EJ talks about his two kids.

[36:22]

EJ talks about how he went about fatherhood when his kids were younger.

[43:22]

EJ talks about why his spirit animal is the wolf.

RELATED EPISODES:

Modern Survival for Dads with Mike Glover

Mindset is the Key to Success with Vernon Fox III

How to Optimize and Integrate Your Mindset For a Fantastic Life with David Anderson


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EJ Snyder

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Don’t Use the Word Why, Here’s Why with Larry Hagner

Don’t Use the Word Why, Here’s Why with Larry Hagner

The word “why” should be eradicated from our vocabulary for several reasons. First, every time we use the word “why,” we instantly put the person we are talking to on the defense. We don’t necessarily mean to. It sometimes occurs because we are curious why the other person thinks that way, or why someone did something.

The reason we hate hearing the word “why” stems from our childhood. When we were younger, we heard a lot of, “What are you doing? Why are you doing that?,” if you were doing something you weren’t supposed to. The problem with this is that we probably didn’t know it was wrong, and we were immediately thrust into defensive mode. This made us cringe at the word “why” because we associate it with something bad, even though it doesn’t always mean that.

For example, you might have an employee that does something really well, and you want to know why they did that. However, when you ask your employee why they did that, it immediately puts them into a defensive state. Instead of asking them “why,” ask them to tell you about it. They will be much more open to explaining why they did what they did, without being defensive about it.

Another example could be a person asking you why you gave your child their name. They might not be asking in a bad way, but it makes us feel like we named them something wrong. The person might actually be thinking that they’re name is really cool and wants to know the meaning behind it. However, we don’t see it this way when they say the word “why.”

Providing an environment of psychological safety is the number one way to get someone to open up to you. Instead of feeling defensive about something, they will feel invited to communicate why it happened or what they did. For example, if your child gets a bad grade on a test, our immediate response is “why.” This propels them into becoming defensive and coming up with excuses why they got a bad grade. Instead of asking them why, try saying, “tell me about that.” This opens the door for communication and lets your child feel comfortable telling you what went wrong.

RELATED EPISODES:

No Excuses Fatherhood with Wes Watson

Why Finding Your Life’s Purpose Won’t Get You Very Far

Why Perfection is the Enemy of Becoming Better Dad


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How to Use the Art of Persuasion in Everyday Life

Jason Harris

Jason Harris is a CEO, co-founder, best-selling author, and father of 2 boys. He is the CEO and founder of the company Mekanism, and co-founder of the Creative Alliance. He is also the best-selling author of the book titled The Soulful Art of Persuasion.

We see persuasion in our lives every single day. Persuasion is not about facts and argument, it’s about your personal character. What persuades people is the person doing the persuading, not the facts themselves. The soulful element of persuasion makes you more inspirational and more persuasive as a person. Another thing we’re going to touch on today is how to develop the habits you were not born with, and how you can perfect the ones that you were born with.

There are a couple principles in life that we should strive to live by, according to Jason. Number one is “be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” This is when you tap into whom you really are and figure out your passions and interests in life. Being yourself is the building block of persuasion, and to pass this notion onto your kids. The second principle is generosity. The whole purpose of this principle is to make that person better off than when you found them. Generosity goes a long way in the art of persuasion, because it shows people that you care. If you show someone that you care, you can easily persuade them. However, the goal is simply to be generous, not always to persuade. If we apply these principles to our lives, we’ll find it a lot easier to influence and inspire people.

What You’ll Learn: 

[6:50]

Jason talks about his childhood.

[11:29]

Jason talks about the glue holding his parents together in their 55 years of marriage. He also starts talking about what it was like growing up with his family.

[19:50]

Jason talks about his book, The Soulful Art of Persuasion.

[24:25]

Jason talks about the 11 habits in his book and which ones are the most meaningful for husbands and fathers.

[29:20]

Jason talks about the role models in his life. Vulnerability and authenticity are key in persuading people.

[40:24]

Jason talks about the difference between being generous in intention and attention.

[42:23]

Jason talks about keeping a gratitude journal with his kids.

[43:20]

Jason talks about the attitudes that come about when doing the gratitude journal.

[45:41]

Jason talks about what soulfulness means. Create a life full of learning.

RELATED EPISODES:

Finding Balance as a Dad and Being a Learning Leader with Ryan Hawk – GDP019

Work Life Integration for Dads with Pat Flynn

How Fatherhood is Leadership with TEDx Speaker Devon Bandison


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Jason Harris

The Soulful Art of Persuasion

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