the good dad project

Brenneman vs. Hagner: The Good Dad Project Interview

In this episode, Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman turns the tables and puts Good Dad Project creator and host Larry Hagner in the spotlight. Learn all about the humble beginnings of The Good Dad Project and what it’s like to interview amazing guests. You’ll also hear about Larry’s mastermind groups, how he balances work and family, and why he hates his first name.

Larry Hagner

Larry had been married to his wife for fourteen years and is the father to four boys. Yes. Four. Aged eleven, nine, three, and one. He says parenting four boys is chaos and he couldn’t do it without a sense of humor. He and his wife refer to the kids as “the drunk people” because they talk nonsense, miss the toilet when they pee, and show up to dinner without pants.

The Good Dad Project

The Good Dad Project is a blog and a podcast with over 200 hundred shows logged featuring NY Times bestselling authors, professional athletes, famous fighters, motivational speakers, and Navy SEALS. Larry Hagner is the author of two books, a children’s book and a guidebook for dads. He is a mastermind facilitator and manages huge community of dads from across the world.

Larry offers The Dad Edge free private Facebook group where men discuss anything and everything. He also has two tiers of mastermind groups: The Dad Edge Alliance and the Elite Mastermind. He credits his business model from combining what he’s learned from his close friends and mentors, Aaron Walker from View from the Top and Ryan Michler from Order of Man.

On Being a Connector

Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman knows Larry Hagner’s connecting abilities first hand. Larry agrees that being a connector is his strength. Larry relies heavily on the radical relationships he has formed and feeds those relationships by branching out to other likeminded individuals. Why not share fantastic people with other fantastic people?

The Power of Talking

In a society where everything is automated and fast, talking is grossly underrated. But Larry Hagner believes in getting personal in the men his mastermind groups. He hosts calls every week on the Zoom platform where everyone can talk and view each other on video.

He could easily have a landing page where anyone can access the group, but Larry calls each and every man to approve them first. This takes a lot of time and effort, but what goes on in the mastermind is very personal and the call beforehand starts the relationship off on the right foot.

These groups create a dynamic, ever-changing synergy. In one-to-one coaching, the client only gets one perspective, but in a mastermind group, he will get a variety of perspectives, answers, and strategies. This is the value of a tribe, something we’ve lost as a society and mastermind groups fill that void.

The Vision

When Larry first started his groups, he was terrified. Would they men like it? Would they stay? Because of this, he constantly asks for feedback and remains open to criticism. What is the need out there? Negative feedback used to hurt his feelings, but now he sidesteps his ego so he can get better. He strives to bring more value to his shows and groups every day.

The Growth of GDP

After one year of steady podcasting, Larry only hit 50K downloads. He was frustrated, but stayed the course. He started really paying attention to which shows the audience responded to according to download numbers and audience emails.

Just one more year of sticking with the show, The Good Dad Project has reached 1 million downloads and is gaining momentum.

Playing the Long Game

Growing a show and cultivating a community took extreme patience on Larry’s part. At one point, he had to take out of his retirement for website and production expenses, but he kept the faith.

He says that if you would do what you’re doing for free, and you pay attention to the needs of the people you are helping, then you will eventually be successful. Passion will not do it alone. You also need the right recipe and you must keep learning and changing till you find the right one.

There’s no way around putting in the hard work.

Overcoming Self-doubt

Larry always had the desire to educate and improve himself. Five years ago, he was not the man or the father he wanted to be, and the GDP was his way of educating himself.

He now can’t imagine being a father without The Good Dad Project in his life. His kids would suffer and he would suffer. This is why Larry is determined to keep the project growing. It has become larger than himself. At this point, he knows he has to deliver to his audience all the time and in a big way so he can also deliver these same things home.

Related Episodes: 

Porn – Why We Watch It, When It’s a Problem, and How to Stop with Nell Daly

Charlie Brenneman: How to Live a Life of Excellence

Working to Live, Not Living to Work with Aaron Walker

How Your Tribe Will Make You a Better Man with Ryan Michler


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Charlie Brenneman

Charlie Brenneman: How to Live a Life of Excellence

Charlie Brenneman is a professional mixed martial arts fighter, speaker, mentor and author. Following a successful high school wrestling career, Charlie took his talents to Lock Haven University where he achieved a top 12 finish at Division I Nationals and 1st Team All-Academic. After teaching Spanish for three years and winning Spike TV’s Pros vs. Joes, Charlie decided to leave his job to pursue a master’s degree and begin his professional fighting career—“The Spaniard” was born. In 2011, he was ranked as high as #7 in the world, and in 2015, he published his autobiography, Driven: My Unlikely Journey from Classroom to Cage. Charlie currently lives in PA with his wife and daughter

“I would rather be 7th best in the world and have a well-balanced life, than the best in the world and not have that balance.”

-Charlie Brenneman TWEET THAT

“When I pass away, I want my last breath to be from exhaustion from living life to the fullest.”

-Charlie Brenneman TWEET THAT

Charlie Brenneman’s Background

That’s a heavy statement coming from a pro MMA fighter. But knowing Charlie’s background sheds some light on this quote’s reasoning. Growing up, Charlie Brenneman was fortunate to have a supportive family; a mother and father who encouraged him to achieve his goals, and sacrificed their own needs for their children. This upbringing allowed him to be successful in his academic life, his own family life and his career in the MMA.

Charlie Brenneman on Youth Sports

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t try to be the best simply that you should strive for your own excellence and encourage that in your kids. This is especially true when it comes to kids and sports. Charlie applauds his own parents for making sports fun for him and credits this attitude with much of his athletic success. He states that there needs to be a proper amount of push and encouragement. In other words, throwing your kids to the toughest opposition doesn’t necessarily ingrain positive self-image. It may actually work against them and make kids feel defeated. Instead, help kids to have “little successes”; competing against like-ability opponents and work up the ladder as they improve in their ability. Allowing kids to have fun with sports and achieve gradual success will more than likely make them want to play and instill positive behaviors.

Teach Balance and Live Balance

Teaching children the value of balancing being the best in something with other important aspects of their life, like friends and family, gives them a strong foundation for success as adults. Let’s face it: the balancing act of life only gets more challenging. Whether you’re a pro MMA fighter or a fire-fighter, learning to develop and maintain a healthy work-life balance is critical. Charlie works to achieve this through his “Systematic Living”-a curriculum for life.

Positive Habits and Surround Yourself with the Right People

Developed from his own reflection on his past successes, Charlie created this curriculum to help others become successful in their own lives. Essentially, he “deconstructed” how he achieved each individual success and identified certain pillars: honing your positive habits, surrounding yourself with the best people, networking and avoiding negativity (Check out his links to find out more!). These pillars set you up for the greatest individual success in your own life.

Family is the First Priority

Of course, one common thread throughout the entire interview with Charlie is the importance of family. It is clear that he believes in dedicating himself to something greater than himself. In other words, keeping the needs and desires of those he loves at the forefront of his personal aspirations. By being the best version of yourself, you are providing the best example for those around you.

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