Brandon Hawk, the author of You, achieved stunning success at a very young age. Through this, he learned firsthand that external success doesn’t change our internal reality. It doesn’t lead to fulfillment.
Since then, Brandon has made it his mission in life to help people, including athletes, celebrities, CEO’s and visionary leaders, reach that point of personal fulfillment. In his new book, You, Brandon shows readers how to reconnect with who they are, rather than who they feel they are supposed to be, and with that, everything changes for the better.
Brandon Hawk: I was born and raised in a very small town of 3,000 people. My dad was a professional bull rider and he didn’t want us to go that route, so we became tennis players. I became a successful tennis player at a very young age and was able to be on the US National Team as a tennis player at the age of fifteen and won a round in the main draw of the US Open at the age of seventeen. I accomplished my goal of playing in Wimbledon at the age of twenty. I was able to experience success at a very early age.
From that, I was able to partner with my dad’s business–a corporation that we created together. At the same time, I was pastoring a church and speaking three to five times a week with different programs and different services that I had created. That was my background. Then I took my school of transformation that I created when I was a pastor, and I turned that into a for-profit company that has now become my coaching company, where I coach elite achievers, CEOs, entertainers and professional athletes.
Both Sides of Success
Nikki Van Noy: Talk to me a little bit about what you mean by experiencing both sides of success?
Brandon Hawk: There was a great side of understanding some of the principles of success, especially external success. I was able to align to those and have the ability to accomplish some really cool things–travel all over the world from the age of fourteen to twenty-four, thirty to forty weeks a year. To be with people who were playing at the highest level of their sport and their craft and their field.
Then, also, to experience accomplishing my dream that I’ve had since I was a little boy and see that it did not fulfill me. That the outside does not fix the inside. Actually, all those years of bypassing my heart to produce a result, I had to come to terms with that. I had to feel all of that–I had to feel all of the emotional pain.
I was able to see at an early age that the outside doesn’t fix the inside and that once you do accomplish your external goals, there is a season that you will have to feel your internal emotional reality as well. That was huge for me. I think that’s the greatest gift that tennis gave me. Travel was one of the greatest gifts and also, getting to experience that the outside does not fix the inside.
Nikki Van Noy: You work or are around a lot of high-level, seemingly aspirational people. How common is it, even amongst this set, to conflate the ideas of success and fulfillment?
Brandon Hawk: I think it’s very rare for someone that has achieved a lot to feel nurtured by their success, to feel connected to their success at an internal level. That’s why business is booming for me, because so many high achievers may understand the science of success, but definitely do not understand the art of fulfillment.
What good is it to have external success if you can’t feel it? It only creates a bigger gap between you and what you’ve been able to accomplish. That gap is the gap that’s excruciating to these high achievers and the people that I work with.
Nikki Van Noy: Why does that gap occur in the first place?
Brandon Hawk: I have a process of unraveling and allowing these individuals to come into connection with the core of how they feel and who they really are, beyond what they do. We go back to some of the roots.
Why do you achieve, achieve, achieve, do, do, do, produce, produce, produce? What is it for? Why are you doing what you’re doing? For me, it goes back to some early childhood stuff of that’s how I received love. I received love through my achieving. I received value through my performance, I received a greater connection with my parents when I did well, versus when I threw a tantrum. My hyper-achieving definitely got me some of the needs of approval.
Some of those things that we need early on in our life, we receive, and we learn how to get or manipulate through our achieving and producing. What we uncover is that a lot of this achieving, a lot of this hyper-producing and hyper-performing is really about just wanting to feel loved and approved and connected to.
From Head to Heart
Nikki Van Noy: How do you help your clients move beyond that?
Brandon Hawk: We definitely find that spot on which they can build. It does take some un-layering. That’s what this book is about–it is that journey from the head to the heart, from performance to connection. It is that journey and how to get there on a micro level and how to get there on a macro level.
I go into my process, which I call the ‘down, down, up’ process. It is tough, and we have to go through a couple of different layers. The first layer is our identification with our role. You may say “I am Brandon the professional athlete. I am Tim the leader. I am Tim the good boy, the achiever.” We’ve got to break through that role, and that’s a tough layer to breakthrough because that mental construct has protected these individuals and has produced so much.
But now it’s also keeping the things that they desire out, it’s keeping love out, it’s keeping connection out, it’s keeping this deep connection with coworkers, family, friends, and children. It’s keeping all of that deep connection out. So, we have to break through the zone in that layer. You know, I am what I do, I am what I have, I am what other people think–that’s a big part of breaking through that zone.
Nikki Van Noy: I’m curious when people come to you, is there any sort of general tipping point that people reach?
Brandon Hawk: They start to realize that they’re the problem. People that come to me, there’s a measure of awareness and they say, “Okay, I’m the common denominator.” They don’t know how to fix it, but there is an understanding that “Okay. My business, my marriage, these things are important to me. I’m the common theme here.”
That’s why the book’s titled You. You are the answer you’ve been looking for, really. You are that which you have been seeking. The issue is that this process, you can’t go around it, you can’t go to the side of it. It has to go through you. That’s why there’s an intensity. There is an intensity to this process and there is a deconstruction. But what I’ve been able to do is help people deconstruct personally, so they don’t have to deconstruct everything else in their life.
Your Greatest Story
Nikki Van Noy: Is there one story that really stands out of someone who has been able to get down to that ‘you’, to their true essence, into the heart of what matters and what that transformation looked like for them?
Brandon Hawk: Probably my greatest story is myself. This book, even my work, is really an opportunity for my own healing. I teach this stuff because I want to work through it myself. I have worked through it and want to continue to work the program and the process. I can speak for me and I can speak for many of my other clients, but my own journey, from being such a hyper-achiever, to now actually being able to feel deeply with my children and connect to them on an emotional level, to be able to connect to my wife at a deep level of empathy and understanding, may be my highest achievement, because that’s not always been the case.
I have many stories like that from many clients. When you go inside of the heart, the heart energy is a very big, vast energy and it always pays dividends and profits. So, when you tap into this space, exponential growth, an increase in profits, those are some things that are a part of it. I mean, it just happens.
My clients and I would say that those things are great, those things are awesome, and a great perk, but the main thing is, I have found myself again. My friends, my family, they feel me, and I feel them.
Nikki Van Noy: How does that change your life on a day to day basis?
Brandon Hawk: On a day-to-day basis, just being able to be known and to be seen and to be felt and to be connected to. Even allowing your success to nurture you. That’s so beautiful. Think about this book that I’m writing that is coming out on the 3rd, and to allow this accomplishment that I’ve wanted to happen for a long time now, for that to be able to nurture me.
To connect with that success is a big deal. What happens to most high achievers is they do not allow themselves to connect emotionally to their success, so they end up resenting their success. Their businesses, the big things that they built, now become something that doesn’t feel good anymore.
When something doesn’t feel good anymore, what do they do? They’d end up using their power to tear it down. That is usually what starts to happen with these individuals, they’re in the process of tearing down these big structures that they have built, whether it be their marriage or their business, but they’re in the process of sabotaging themselves so that they can feel.
That’s the second stage and we go through that identification with role, that identification with our gifts, and we move beyond that to the next layer, which is the emotions. How you really feel. At that top layer is anger, frustration or oftentimes anger turned inward, which is depression. That’s not acceptable for most of these individuals.
We have to go through that layer of anger, rage, frustration, and depression and we go all the way down into sadness–I’m just sad that life has not worked out for me fully. I’m just sad that I feel disconnected from my family, I’m just sad that I don’t have a connection with my parents. There’s just a sadness that’s there. Once we get down into that sadness, you can’t selectively open.
Once you open yourself to the rage, to the anger, to the sadness, then you can also open yourself to the bliss and to the joy, and to the happiness and the excitement and the celebration. But you can’t selectively open. What starts to happen, once we process a lot of that stuff, and it’s a lifelong journey of processing how we feel, we now are able to open ourselves to joy, to bliss, and we’re able to now start to create from joy, rather than from suffering. That’s a whole different animal when a high achiever starts to create from joy rather than from pain.
Age of Wisdom
Nikki Van Noy: What do you have to say to people who are later in life and just beginning to crack this code that there’s something missing that they need to unravel and get to some of those deeper layers?
Brandon Hawk: There’s no greater journey and you’re never too late. There’s no greater gift that you can give the world, your family, your coworkers, your employees, than the gift of opening yourself. When we open ourselves emotionally, the byproduct of that is self-awareness. The greatest currency of our time right now is self-awareness.
For someone to be aware of themselves and aware of others, that level of connection, that level of value, that level of relevance pays massive dividends to yourself and to others. This would be so advantageous for someone who is older because it will only increase their connectivity and their relevance. Then you add the wisdom that they have on top of that–you want to talk about super relevant, right?
We’re stepping into this wisdom age. We have an information age, where you can access all the information on the internet that you need–we’re starting to see schools becoming obsolete, all these structures are becoming obsolete, because of all the information that we have. What it is moving us into is this emotional relevance that creates profound wisdom. We’re entering into this wisdom age, and people who take this journey will emerge as leaders, especially the older ones. Because they’re so rare.
Nikki Van Noy: Love that idea of a wisdom age versus an information age.
Brandon Hawk: We can’t transfer of our wisdom through a power over structure. The way to transfer our wisdom is through emotional connection. Through openness, through vulnerability at a heart level. And a lot of people have wisdom and knowledge, but they don’t have a bridge or a pathway to transfer that information. Think about a boss that has all this knowledge, but everyone tunes them out. Why is that?
Think about a parent that has all this wisdom that they’re wanting to pass on to their children, but their children tune them out. Why do they tune them out from the information and wisdom that they’re wanting to pass along? It’s because there’s not an emotional bridge, there’s not a vulnerability, there’s not an openness, there’s not a pathway of connectivity.
This process gives you that pathway, gives you that path to creating a transfer of wisdom where people really do want to listen to what you have to say. It comes through vulnerability. But that does take a person that’s willing to become vulnerable with how they feel.
That part right there, I call it the hell in the hallway. There’s a little hell in the hallway, there’s a little messiness that happens right there, the great sifting and the sorting inside of yourself, you have to really step into your emotional age and that’s uncomfortable, it’s awkward and there’s no other way around it. But the ones that make it through that part, oh goodness, it’s pretty special.
Nikki Van Noy: Once you move through it, it’s fine, you look back and it’s a blip on the radar but it feels like such a bigger deal than a little messiness in the hallway when you are in the thick of it.
Brandon Hawk: Well, because it is breaking down protective layers. It is breaking down that first layer. I am what other people think. I am my reputation. I am what I do. It is doing its job as well, it is breaking down that layer that you have protected yourself with, those mental constructs that have kept you safe, but also keep you disconnected. Those are the things that are being attacked by allowing yourself to live from where you really are emotionally.
What I see with these individuals that I worked with– these brilliant individuals with high esteem, but emotionally they are about eight. That gap from seventy-five to eight feels like a pretty big fall. But here is what I have seen in the events that I do, the different master-hearts or masterminds that I do, and I am a part of with these individuals–the ones that own their eight-year-old emotional self, they’re the ones that own the room.
It is interesting to see all of these individuals that are going through this process in this room together. The ones that own their emotional age, they end up becoming the leaders of the room, not the one who is trying to spout all of their great wisdom or trying to lead from their high esteem. It is the one who owns their eight-year-old emotional self the greatest, those are the ones that emerge the true leaders.
Nikki Van Noy: Does this come back to that idea of vulnerability?
Brandon Hawk: It definitely does. It comes back to the idea that vulnerability is power. It is the new form of true power. Science is proving it in quantifying the power of the heart, which is proving that speaking and living from the heart has an electromagnetic frequency that’s a thousand times greater than that of the mind.
So, all of these things are being proven at a scientific level, that vulnerability truly operates at a much faster, higher pace than any other frequency.
Think about someone that is a boss or a coworker that is opened up and they have led with their heart, what does it do? It sucks the room in. It’s like everybody is there, everybody is listening, everybody is connected. They all of a sudden become very relevant. So, think about a leader or a boss that is willing to live that way. The relevancy, the impact that they have is astronomical.
Nikki Van Noy: For listeners who are just starting to think about or feel these things, what are some little red flags in their lives that they are not fulfilled?
Brandon Hawk: You know that there is a massive gap. You know that you are over-giving, you know that you do not feel fulfilled. Yeah, you know all the signs and one of the biggest signs is over-giving. You give, give, give and do, do, do and produce, produce, produce, but you resent the people. You resent what you have created, you start to resent those things that you are giving to. You start to resent your job–you start to resent your marriage. Blame and resentment are massive signposts to show that you are trying to work this thing from the outside in rather than the inside out.
Boundaries of Value
Nikki Van Noy: There is research out there, I think it is from Brené Brown and I have stumbled upon it a couple of times and it hits me every time. I think it speaks to what you are talking about, which is this idea that the happiest and most engaged people out there are the people who have the most established personal boundaries.
Brandon Hawk: I call them boundaries of value. Boundaries of value are created by giving within your capacity and understanding that your capacity is like your fuel gauge on your car. If you’re always on empty, that is not cool and then what a lot of these individuals do is they write emotional hot checks. It ends up eroding the connection that they have with themselves, their families, their friends, and their employees. There are up-front promises, but they can’t bankroll those promises.
The capacity is not there and that does not lend itself to workplace synergy. It doesn’t lend itself to cohesion, it doesn’t lend itself to momentum. Giving within capacity is the quickest way to create momentum in your own life and in your workplace. The hard part is, like I said, to go from over-giving to giving within capacity, it will cause you to have to do some things differently. You will have to start saying no. ‘The sacred no’ is something I talk a lot about.
Having the ability to say no is a very powerful thing and it actually increases your value and protects the connection. For example, with your children, having the ability to say, “Not right now, but when mommy or daddy has more energy, you can guarantee that that energy is going to go towards you.” That is a very healthy thing to do.
Nikki Van Noy: Speaking as a parent, that is something that can be very difficult to put into practice, but it strikes me that in doing that, you are demonstrating to your children how to create those same boundaries and how to give within their capacity.
Brandon Hawk: Yeah, we train our children and we train our employees and we train everyone in our life how to treat us by giving within capacity. Here is the issue though. Why don’t we do that? It sounds so easy. Well to do that, you then will have to feel the feelings that come up when you say no.
When you say no to your child, what do you end up having to feel? Guilt, right? The unprocessed guilt that is in your body and is that second down I am talking about. You then have to feel some of those uncomfortable emotions and allow those things to come up. It is so easy to create guilt and shame exchanges with people that we love. So, instead of us having to feel our own feelings, the discomfort of that, we end up over-giving and we create codependent relationships built out of guilt and shame.
Whether it be a church, whether it be a family, whether it be a business, it happens in every structure–these codependent exchanges that are built out of guilt and shame protection. We end up giving, giving, giving to our children and they end up feeling not grateful. Why? They get the transfer of guilt and shame, not the gift that you are giving them. And you say, “I did all of this for you and I did all of this for you.”
And they say, “Oh no you didn’t. No, you didn’t. We did all of that for you.” That’s the breakdown. When you live that way with a child, when you live that way with an employee, when you live that way with a spouse, what you’re giving is not really a gift. You are actually taking in the form of giving, which is heavy. But it was also deep and great and awesome to see what a lot of my giving has been–and that is my own journey. A lot of my giving, a lot of my doing, a lot of my helping was really taking.
Nikki Van Noy: It’s honest. I think that is a point that probably a lot of people can resonate with.
Brandon Hawk: Now you start getting into some of the deep childhood trauma. I call it dense energy. Emotions are just energies in motion, right? They are just energies in motion that are in our body. Some of those get stuck–those dense energies get stuck inside of our body. They get triggered. Old trauma, and unhealed emotions or stuck emotional energy–all it wants is resolution, but we make a big deal out of it.
“Oh, that feels bad when you say that. That doesn’t feel good. Oh, I don’t want to do that, that person doesn’t feel good to be around.” Well, what are we really saying? My dense emotional energy is triggered when I am around that person or when you say that. So, instead of blaming those individuals, I teach my clients, and I am teaching the world, how to process that emotional energy without having to use blame and demonization.
An inability to process our emotional trauma has created the structures that we live in today. Take a large structure like our government and how people are elected in the way that we govern in the United States. Why is that level of demonization okay? Why is the great separation that we experience at that level, with blame and demonization, why is that even okay? Well, that is all a byproduct of unhealed emotional trauma.
It is a picture of what we do on a micro-level, and it just shows up on our macro structures. I have a belief that there is no greater work on the planet right now than this emotional work. This emotional work is what is creating these external structures of separation–these external structures of divide.
What happens to a person that comes into unification with themselves in everything that is happening inside of themselves, what do they end up creating externally? They end up creating in unity. But a person that is disconnected from how they feel, what happens to their rhetoric? Their rhetoric becomes very disconnected. Their structures become very divisive and disconnected. They are disconnected from a big part of their operating system. This new book is about my coaching journey. This is about my own journey of my own life. It is about the process I work through with clients.
It is also the beginning manifesto of how to create greater unity on the planet and how to unify some of these global structures that are built from separation and disconnection.
Nikki Van Noy: That is so powerful right now. I think for a lot of us, all the things that seem wrong or broken can start to feel very overwhelming. I love this idea of taking personal accountability and how that energy builds up and results in a larger change.
Brandon Hawk: It makes too much sense and oftentimes the hardest things are the things that are most simple. It is easier to blame our government. It is easier to blame people that are heads of government and heads of state. It is easier to blame a spouse. It is easier to blame someone other than saying, “You know what? My blame is a byproduct of emotional energy in my body that I am not willing to feel.”
It is easier for me to say that person is wrong and bad, rather than to deal with what comes up inside of me and what that person triggers or mirrors back to me. You know it is radical, but to say, “I am Trump,” and “I am Hillary,” I am these mirrors. To take that level of personal, and I want you to hear this word, responsibility. The ability to respond, to take that level of ability to respond to what is happening inside of you is very foreign to us. For the few that do, the level of congruence and empowerment, personal integrity–the world is seeking those individuals. Those are the individuals that are emerging as leaders on the planet right now.
Nikki Van Noy: So for listeners who are really feeling this right now and are motivated, what one little tweak can they do to start to bring this into practice in their life?
Brandon Hawk: I think it is getting aware of all the places in your life that you feel resentment and that you feel blame. All the places that you want to blame, or you want to resent, or you want to put your power outside of yourself. Just create a little space and say, “Okay, I see that I am blaming this person and I am seeing my blame and resentment isn’t working. I am willing to be right here and to do something a little different.”
Instead of going out with blame and resentment, I challenge you to go in and be with what is happening in your body. It is called the ‘three A’s’. Become aware of what is happening to you. Once you become aware, then you accept that feelings are going off inside of you. “Okay, I am not going to blame and resent these people or this situation, I am going to accept what is happening in me. This is new.”
Did you know when you feel it, you can heal it, but what goes unfelt can’t be transformed. Now you are allowing yourself to feel because you are accepting these feelings. Then what emerges as you start to feel and flow these energies and motion, what happens when you start to be with those is that they dissipate in about ninety seconds. There is a new level of clarity. There is a new level of inspired action.
You start to see situations, opportunities, and individuals with a whole new lens, not through the lens of your emotional pain. Now, you start to see these situations and opportunities through a whole new lens. Now the inspired action starts to emerge. Most individuals live for manic action out of scared energy or unprocessed pain.
Now you are living from inspired action. That is a whole different way of living. The potency level of what you are able to accomplish and do becomes exponential. So, the three A’s–awareness, acceptance and inspired action–leaning into that would be the first thing that I would start with.
Nikki Van Noy: I love that ninety-second stat. We can all be a little bit uncomfortable for ninety seconds.
Brandon Hawk: Yeah, we can be on that treadmill for ninety seconds, right? A little emotional fitness.
Nikki Van Noy: Exactly. Wonderful Brandon. Is there anything that you want to make sure you get in here?
Brandon Hawk: I am super excited about this journey from the head to the heart, whatever we want to call it. From perfection to connection, from religion to love, I have called it a bunch of different things, but it is the same. It is really the unraveling of fear, the unlearning of fear, and the reconnection back to our higher self and learning to live from our true you. Who you really are. Once we reconnect back to who I or you really are, we are able to create from that space and we start to step into our genius.
We start to step into a life that is lived from love rather than for love, from connection rather than for connection. That may just sound like wordplay, but it’s not. It is a radical shift in how we connect and how we live life. To bring success and fulfillment together, I don’t think there is anything better.
Here is what I want everyone to know–they can play together. It does take bravery, it does take courage, it does take a season of awkwardness.
If I can do it, if I can attempt this process and start to come out on the other side, anyone can do it. I would say I was the epitome of dysfunction in this way and programmed to live from the outside in. I just want you to know, right now, whoever is listening, that if this is resonating with your soul, there is hope and there is a way through and there is a way out. The answer that you’ve been looking for is not outside of you, but it is you. I would love to help you rediscover that you are the answer you have been looking for all along.
Nikki Van Noy: Beautiful. Thank you so much, Brandon, that is a lot to think about.
Brandon Hawk: Nikki, thank you so much for creating a space for this level of awareness and transformation to happen. Thank you.