Learn to Soar

Brad Blazar breaks down the best message and underlying points from encounters he has had with some of the most influential people in politics, sports, and business and shares his notes in an enlightening way

Closer Look into Learn to Soar

"There are times when my body tells me to shut down over and over and over again, whether it's the hypothermia, lack of nutrition, or sheer inability to overcome the elements."

Darren Miller

This might not come as a surprise when swimming across the 18-mile Tsugaru Channel in less-than-favorable conditions. What may surprise you, however, is how Darren Miller overcame his physical and mental fatigue to complete the stretch 16 hours later.

Miller is the first guest to join Brad Blazar’s show, Learn to Soar.

In this episode, Blazar breaks down the best message and underlying points from encounters he has had with some of the most influential people in politics, sports, and business and shares his notes in an enlightening way. To get a better feel for Learn to Soar, take a closer look at his exclusive interview with Miller.

Blazar began the first episode of his podcast taking with Jeff Crilley about his book, “On the Wings of Eagles.” 

“I’ve truly been blessed to have met personally a number of the greatest leaders in business and politics, people like Joe Namath, Rudy Ruettiger, former President George W. Bush, and Magic Johnson. Each one of these individuals, being as great as they are, has an underlying message and theme, like ‘don’t give up on your dreams,’ ‘be totally committed’ [or] ‘break through obstacles.’ I was in my office looking through [a] large stack of notes when I said, ‘I bet this would make a wonderful book’ and started the project about two years ago.”

Blazar then elaborated Namath’s humility and Johnson’s incredible life story. Afterward, Mr. Crilley asked Blazar to explain a word he coined and trademarked, beliefology. Blazar explained:

“The art of beliefology is really something that I’ve developed to explain to people that as you grow up, you develop beliefs about yourself, about what you can do, about what you can become.

Some of those beliefs are very positive, and unfortunately, some are very limiting. So what I try to do throughout the course of the book is to explain that you have the ability to change and overcome these beliefs and really attain the level of success that you want in life.”

After explaining the manifestation of beliefology in his life, he introduced Miller as Learn to Soar’s first guest.

Miller’s athletic feats and charitable initiatives concerning Team Forever and the Forever Fund have touched communities on local, national and international scales. 

His story fits the narrative of Blazar’s book like a glove, Miller opening the interview with how he began running: 

“I got started when I graduated from college in 2005. I graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism and got to a dark period in my life. There were a lot of things I was engaged that I’m not proud of, but at the end of the day, it’s how you come through that darkness, how you overcome it. I found my path through endurance athletics.

I sat up on a bench press after smoking about a pack of cigarettes a day and drinking a little bit too much and I remember sitting up and thinking what am I doing right now? 

A friend of mine basically asked me to go and start running with her at the local track. I started running a couple of laps here and there, and ultimately, I never really ran anything other than that dreaded one-mile we all had to do in gym class. But I started feeling a lot better [and] a lot better about myself. My endorphins were just ripping, and I started to lose some weight.

I remember going to the starting line [of the marathon] a couple of months after I started running. I get there at 265 pounds, and I remember looking around thinking I could probably eat the people around me, but ultimately, what running 26 miles up and over a large mountain weighing about 265 pounds and 96 degree temperatures taught me was that I was capable of doing things that I didn’t think were possible. I get so fired up when people say ‘I could never do that.’

After I ran my first marathon, I wanted to qualify for Boston. Most people know the Boston Marathon is a pretty competitive running race, to get in you have to run an average pace of roughly seven minutes per mile for 26 miles. So I had to drop out an hour and a half off my first marathon over the next nine months. I lost about 80 pounds and just felt tremendous after I qualified for Boston that year in 2009.”

He went on to explain how he later performed an ultra-marathon, a 50-mile trail race in Ohio. Wondering what else he would be able to do in his life, someone gave him a book by Lynne Cox, an Open Water swimmer in the 70s and 80s who set records and performed incredible feats in her career. Cox’s story inspired Miller to start the Forever Fund at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. The fund helps ease the financial burden from families during their most difficult battle with illness by paying everything from mortgages and utility bills to prescription drug, food, and lodging expenses.

"I just get hair on the back of my neck, the hair on my arms stand up, I get a few tears in my eyes, get that snarl like Rocky would always talk about, and just keep pushing forward."

Darren Miller

After completing the 12-hour, 21-mile swim across the English Channel, Miller started his Ocean’s Seven journey, and the rest has been history. He is the first and only person to complete the Ocean’s Seven on his first attempt, a journey consisting of seven long-distance, open-water swims across the world. 

Currently inspiring local, national, and international communities as a motivational speaker, Miller explained his answer to the number one question he receives: What do you focus on or visualize?

“You cannot be successful in something if you do not see yourself see as successful. What that basically means is focusing on that start, how you want to feel after 3 hours, 6 hours, 9 hours, 12 hours, then seeing yourself successful on the other side.

That’s such an important fact of business and life; no matter what you’re pursuing, everyone has a passion in life and an opportunity to take what we have and make the world a better place. Every step or stroke I’ve taken has been to raise money for these kids and to inspire other people to say find that English Channel in their life, find that hundred-mile foot race in their life and go at it.

In endurance swimming, you have typically a guide boat that has your crew. They’re feeding you, guiding your swim, giving you the time. Sometimes you’ll have a paddleboard or a kayak in the water next to you, which is the second boat. The third vote is the boat that nobody sees, and that’s all part of the visualization.

There are times when my body tells me to shut down over and over and over again, whether it’s the hypothermia, lack of nutrition, or sheer inability to overcome the elements. How I get through that is I visualize that boat next to me, and when I’m at my lowest point, when I don’t feel like I can go any further, I look over and see the people that inspire me, the heroes in my life. It [could] be my grandparents who grew up in Pittsburgh; lack[ing] education, they did the best with what they had. They were given life, they gave back to their community, and the biggest piece I took from them was that it’s not what’s in your pocketbook that makes you successful. It’s how you treat the world around you and how you better the world around you by the gifts you have that’s everything.

So I see them on that boat. I see my friend, Summer. [She was] just a great friend growing up and long story short, through an act of violence, she was taken from me. She lost her life when she had the world in front of her. But at the end of the day, when I’m at my lowest and I can’t take another stroke, I look over and I see my uncle Mike Wright who passed from colon cancer.

Brad Blazar

As an author, Blazar's book shares the inspirational messages from business leaders, sports figures and others he has encountered over the years through speaking events and personal meetings. From Kevin O'Leary, Joe Namath, George W. Bush, Oliver North, Rudy Ruettiger and others the messages he shares will inspire you. "On the Wings of Eagles - Learn to Soar in Life" delivers a concise outline on how to understand where your limiting beliefs come from and how to overcome them.

In addition to being an author, Blazar is a confident and effective sales manager who has led teams organized to raise capital for some of the industry’s leading firms: Bluerock, Waypoint Residential, City National Rochdale among others. Over his career, he has raised $1.9 billion through the efforts of teams he has led. Representing best in class operators, he fosters long-standing relationships across numerous channels of the equity capital markets.

His relationships encompass broker/dealers, family offices, large advisory firms, endowments, real estate private equity, and other institutional investors. For those wanting to broaden distribution into new channels, Brad can be of assistance.

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