Episode 5 - Isaac Brown

Uncategorized Jan 05, 2021


 [00:00:00]Welcome to the real secrets of magic podcast. The show that celebrates possibilities and reveals the practices that you can use to create them. On today's program. I welcome former professional football player and current strength and conditioning coach for the Hamilton tiger cats football club, Mr. Isaac Brown. 

Brandon: [00:00:27] Isaac also known as Ike. Welcome to the podcast. Thanks for taking time to join me today, man.

Isaac: [00:00:33] Appreciate you having me, brother.

Brandon: [00:00:35] As listeners and watchers of the show will know by now, this program is all about connecting with people who are making magic. Not necessarily magicians doing tricks of course, but people that are creating possibilities. And I think that your work is, is fascinating for a lot of people out there who are interested in pro sports.

You've sort of walked the walk and talked the talk a bit. Can you tell us [00:01:00] a little bit about what you do now? What's the magic you're making on a regular basis?

Isaac: [00:01:06] Right now I'm training pro athletes and training people. And it's it's something that I've been doing for the last seven, well, eight years straight.

And I was doing it, you know, when I was playing pro ball, I was doing it as a player for about two years. So 10 years total. But, it's it's been it's been a development type thing. I didn't always think I would be doing what I'm doing now. I thought I would be playing the game for longer.

Right? But things changed. It was more submission to, to God and what he wanted me to do, you know, and that is, you know, [00:02:00] I guess instead of using the word magic, I think for me, it's, it's more submission, you know, and just giving up what I wanted, you know what I mean? And sometimes you can't explain that, you know, and, and, and magic is stuff people can't explain.

Right? So the submission part is it's hard to explain, but when, when I just sat back in, you know, Let God lead. This is where he led me. So I'm happy.

Brandon: [00:02:27] Sweet man. Yeah. So you, you did, you played football and you're not from Canada originally. You now live here with us up in Hamilton, but tell us about like,  what was it like in high school for you?

If you had this football mindset?

Isaac: [00:02:47] So in high school you know, I had my, so me and my brother, my second. My brother just, just above me and I have three brothers, three sisters but the brother closest to me in age, his [00:03:00] name's Jake. We, we actually played high school ball together and we played college ball together.

So in high school it was it was a great experience because I had him there. And he was, you know, I kind of followed in his footsteps, tried to learn from some of his mistakes and some of them, I made the same ones, but my high school experience was it, it was amazing, you know, because it was my family was at every game.

And that's, you know, that's the most memorable thing for me, my family, the support. And I'm not just talking about my parents. I mean, everyone, they were, they were at every game. Right. And it's a small city, it's a small town. But they, their, their support was so strong and that continued into college.

When I went and followed my brother to central Michigan, and we played college ball together. And he left, went, went on and tried the [00:04:00] NFL didn't happen. Same thing happened with me. I tried the NFL. It didn't happen. Then I ended up here in Canada. But to answer your question, but the high school experience, it was awesome.

Mainly because of my family. And you know, when you play high school ball, you're playing ball with people you grew up with all your life, right? And it was tough. You know, I was trying to get into the big colleges, you know, I wanted to get into Michigan or Ohio state or Florida state who I grew up loving.

But the, the academic part was the part I kind of overlooked. And, and they, you know, they didn't pick me as the athlete they wanted, but I ended up where I was supposed to be. 

Brandon: [00:04:46] I love that the you are where you need to be at all times kind of mentality is, is totally a healthy and productive way to think about things for sure. You can stress your, the [00:05:00] rest of your days away thinking you're not where you're supposed to be.

Isaac: [00:05:04] You gotta be grateful.

Brandon: [00:05:06] And so yeah, having that kind of background in football, that sort of, you know, sense of familial familiarity, I mean, it like your family was there. This was like such a major part of your life.

You get to college, you try out the NFL, you end up here in Canada. Did you play in the CFL?

Isaac: [00:05:25] Yeah, I played in the CFL four years. So from 2009 to, well, 2009, 10, 11, and 12, and then 2013. That's when I was let go. But that, that shot me out to launch my coaching career. So it was amazing. Yeah.

Brandon: [00:05:43] And yeah.  Tell us about that, like that  making that shift.

And what was that like? Because I know, and I've said this on this podcast before everybody who has found some success or made some magic, has a [00:06:00] story, or has a moment where it was almost hopeless or like, where are they, they felt failure or they felt like that, you know, there was no- they'd reached the end in some way.

And it's always the beginning that follows the end of something. Right. So maybe you could tell us a bit about that emotionally. And what was that like getting cut from the team and having to pivot?

Isaac: [00:06:24] Yeah, it was very, it was very tough for me, I want to say ego wise first, first of all, because you know, I coming out of - I'll backup a little bit - coming out of college, you go to the NFL. And first of all, I wasn't drafted. Right. I signed as a free agent and I felt like I should have been drafted. Wasn't drafted. Then I get there. I went to the Falcons, then I get there. I get injured. And then that's it that's [00:07:00] over. Right. So I went back to college, finished my degree, which I didn't finish before I went to the Falcons.

So I went back and finished my degree. And then I was kinda at the point where I'm like, okay, what do I do now? You know? And I was getting tired of working out every single day, hoping that another team would call me And no team called me. And then finally in March it was the same time as you know, spring break was coming.

So I decided to go to Vegas with a couple of my former college teammates, but I was back there. So I'm like, all right, let's go to Vegas because I need a break and I'm tired. And it was in Vegas that I got the call to come play for the Ti-Cats. So I come up. Yeah. Yeah. So it was crazy, you know, and it's, and it's kinda like right at the end, end of your rope, when you're ready to throw your hands up.

That's when [00:08:00] it's given to you, your next opportunity, you know, and so I came here, I came here and in my mind, I'm like, I'm going to dominate this league. I'm going to dominate. And the games now, now in four seasons, I only played a total. I think of 18 games. You play, you play 18 games in one season.

Right, right. Yeah. Now reason being one reason was first year I was on and off the practice squad. And then my third year I missed the entire year because of the injury tore my ACL. And then my, my fourth year I missed three quarters of the season, because I tore my quad and my second year is when I played the most.

So most of those games happened in my second year. And it was that year was promising and then the next year was down the drain. So my career, [00:09:00] honestly, he didn't go the way I wanted it to go. It was riddled with injuries and yeah, just not, not what our plan. So. That's what I mean, when I, when I got cut in January, 2013, it was an ego, it was a kick in my ego because I'm like, I did this thing for four years, but I did not do it how I wanted to, I feel unaccomplished.

I feel like I didn't accomplish anything. You know, I never really got a chance, but it was, it was time to let that go, you know? So I actually ended up making a list of goals December. 2012. I made a list of goals, which I I've never, I don't think I've ever written down goals and been serious about them, you know?

And one of those goals was that I wanted to work in strength and conditioning with a major sports team. That was the goal. Right. So, and this was actually on the 31st, [00:10:00] it was on new year's Eve that are, that I made this. And, and then, you know, Less than two weeks later, I get cut from the Ti-Cats right?

And then, but then check this then a month and a half later, I get the call to go to the university of Tennessee and be an assistant strength coach with their football team, now that's a major sports team. Right. Totally. So, you know, I set the goal out there and I had to get cut. I had to leave what I thought was my dream and go into something else that was actually my gift and my calling and my purpose. Right. So I had to humble myself and I had to submit, you know, and I didn't try to keep playing in the CFL. When I got cut. I was like, okay. This chapter is closed. I felt good about it, but at the same time, my ego said, [00:11:00] well, you didn't really do anything in the league.

You didn't prove anything. I had to-  I had to humble myself at that moment and just let it go, you know, and once I let it go God stepped in and said, Here's Tennessee. Boom, right? Yeah.

Brandon: [00:11:14] That's, that's really powerful because one of the things, you know, that I remember being taught, maybe not explicitly, but implicitly is like with hard work, you can accomplish anything and its not untrue, right?

It's not like -  hard work is, is necessary to create. And often even when you're up against the wall, there's a way to create possibilities, but it's not always going to look like how you maybe imagined it. That's, that's the thing. So I can imagine the sense of frustration, like for my own sake, for years, I thought I was going to be a doctor.

Somebody told me I would, I would make a good doctor and my last name's love. So I was like, Oh, sweet. That's what I'll do. [00:12:00] Right. But and I, I feel like five years of my life, I dedicated thinking this was a good fit for me. And then I didn't get into med school and I felt so -  I remember the moment when I opened up the thin letter, like, like it was yesterday because it was such a momentous occasion where I just felt like all the last five years of my life are wasted.

I didn't do it. And, but at the same time it was a crack in my perceptions. And then I was like, for the first time I'm allowed to ask, like, what do I, what am I actually interested in? What do I actually want? It's right. And then doors started to open. So I, I love that you say, you know, it's not about having necessarily the answer it's about being open to the opportunities.

That's right. So great, man. It's not, that's not a common story in our culture. I think we want to have answers. There's a lot of like the need [00:13:00] to know, and I think it holds us back a bunch, but yeah. So this is really cool. So now you, do you strengthen and, and conditioning for, you've gotten to Tennessee with the Volunteers somehow you ended up making it all the way back up to the team that started you off in the CFL.

When does that happen?

Isaac: [00:13:22] So this is how that happened. So I was there at Tennessee for five years. Okay. And we did it well it was kinda like a roller coaster. We took off a little rough, we hit a peak. We did well. And then we went back down, you know, and in college football, there's just not a lot of tolerance for that when you're, you're demanded, especially in the SEC, they called the SEC conference in extension of the NFL.

So it was very competitive. Yeah. And you know, we had a bad, yeah, a rough rough year, really rough year in 2017. So they decided to [00:14:00] fire us and you know, When the head coach gets fired, everybody's gone with them. Right. So that was another turning point for me though, because I, again, you know, I didn't didn't know what was next.

You know, I loved my time at Tennessee. And once that ended, you know, I went into, you know, I, I got fired in February and I didn't get called for this job until June. End of June, right? So I was unemployed for all those months and I'm just thinking what's next, you know, is there, is there something completely different I'm supposed to be doing, or will I get another call? Will I get another job?

You know, kind of the same thing when I got cut from the Falcons, it's like waiting for a call and I started to be proactive and, and I'm like, you know what? I want to go back to Canada. Because my daughter is here. I [00:15:00] have an opportunity to really be there for her more than I have been. So I'm going to start looking and applying and I started looking at gyms like tons of Good Life gyms. I promise you, I, I may have applied to every good life show from Hamilton to Toronto and, you know, and even, even the ones out near Ottawa where she lives. And every time, you know, they wanted me, right. And there was other small gyms and they wanted me, but the two questions that I had to answer no to was, "do you live in the country?" And "do you have a valid work permit?" And the answer to both those questions were no. And therefore the door was shut. Right? So then I finally just said, you know what, I'm not going to force this. I'm just gonna figure it -  I'm just gonna figure it out and let God [00:16:00] do his work.

You know, I'm just going to sit back. And when I did that, you know, three weeks later, I got the call and, and it was so weird because -  so the current strength coach that was here in Hamilton, me and him basically wanted to switch places because he was from Arizona and his, his, his family was there and he wanted to get back to Arizona with his family.

And he got a job at the university of Arizona to go be a strength coach there. So he wanted to leave here and go back to university football with his family. And I just left varsity football and I wanted to come back up here to be with my friends. Right. So it worked out so perfectly. It worked out so perfectly.

And and, and that was June, July 1st is when I officially signed my contract and I've been here ever [00:17:00] since.

Brandon: [00:17:00] Wow. Yes. So that's amazing, man. I think this theme of of letting go surrendering, submitting it's that's it, I, you know, not I, I really enjoy that as a, as a, as a tip like it, because it's not easy to do either.

You know, it, it is something that takes practice and I don't, haven't been really talking so much about this pandemic we're in which we are, and I think everybody's sort of tired of talking about it, but I wonder if, you know, given your experiences with pivoting, you know, with having things kind of ripped away.

Certainly the CFL was shut down as a result of COVID-19. I don't know much about the business side of things, but I know that they're not in a great position now, you know, there's a lot depends on season by season in that league. [00:18:00] So certainly your job came under maybe fire a little bit. And I wonder how do you, did you feel equipped to, to deal with with circumstances when everything hits, like given your experiences having to pivot, or was it just as, as a tumultuous a time for you as for everybody else?

Isaac: [00:18:27] No, to be honest with you, I have not struggled at all with the quarantine or anything. And here here's why like plain and simple.

All of my trust is in God. Right. I don't worry about a single thing. Because I know his track record with me and ask, first of all, you know, all I gotta do is take a look back and that, and that's the reason I journal so much and I write so much [00:19:00] is because I like to remind myself what God has done for me in my life.

You know? So when this happened, you know, Things did change for me. You know, they shut our facility down, our season got canceled you know, I had to take a pay cut at work. All these things happen, but I never flinch because, you know, I know who holds my, who holds my life and my future. Right. So I'm not worried about it.

And what I did was just adjust and do what I can do, you know? So I had to start doing home programs with my players and I had to, you know, I had a couple of personal training clients and I had to find another place to train them. So I started training people out of my garage a little bit. And, you know, just, you just gotta, you just gotta go with what you have, you know, and that's what I had.

So I didn't, I didn't worry at all with the quarantine. And, and, and through it, I've, I've learned so much [00:20:00] more about myself because obviously along with everyone else, you get more. I can't say everyone gets some more alone time because some people have families, a house full, but me, I live alone. Right.

So I got even more alone time with myself. And I started reading. I started writing even more and just, just started creating new ideas and new possibilities and stuff like that. So I use this time, I took advantage of it. Because it kind of was a flashback of my unemployment back in 2018, it was a little flashback of, okay, I'm not going to work.

What do I do now? Right. So I kind of took that time and I made the best use of it. I could.

Brandon: [00:20:47] So that's great, dude. It's yeah, congrats. And, one of the one of the things I like to talk about, or I I've learned from magic that I think is [00:21:00] undervalued is trust. You know, and as a magician trust is how we learn magic, right?

It's, it's a game of secret keeping trust is also super important in performance. I've got to trust the audience in so many ways. I've got to trust myself. And I've got to trust the process. I've got to trust that when I put effort into whatever I'm practicing, if it doesn't yield results right away, that it will, you know, if I just keep that, keep leaning in.

As you mentioned, trusting God and trust in that your path, you know, is sort of out of your hands. As long as you're open to the opportunities of making what you making the best you can with what you've got. I sort of had to paraphrase you a little bit there if you had to give, so the goal of the podcast again, is to get to that real secret.

And we've sort of touched on a bunch of really valuable stuff, I think. But if you were giving somebody advice you know, are empowering [00:22:00] somebody with a practice. That they could do on a regular basis that would help them, like it's helped you make magic. What would that secret be? What's the little nugget of wisdom that you think people would benefit from?

Isaac: [00:22:16] Oh  I would say number one, submit and trust in God. And if you're a person that doesn't believe in God, submit and trust in, in, in whatever it is you want to submit and trust to, but it's, it's more about letting them go, let, let go of what you want, you know, because I've learned that, you know, what I want is not always what's best.

Right because I'll put it this way. I believe we were all put on this earth to serve a purpose that benefit humanity, that [00:23:00] benefits other people. Right. And often times some of our biggest dreams are just for us. They're only for us, you know, my biggest dream, which was to be a pro football player. That didn't benefit nobody but me.

Right. And when I let that go, I was put in a position where I've been a fit, a lot of other people, right? A lot of other people. So I would say, look, look for your gift because your gift. Is what is going to benefit other people. Your gift is like your lamp and your lamp doesn't just provide light for you.

It provides light for everyone around you, right? So, so look for your lamp, whatever that gift is. And it, and I said it the other day, you know, your gift is, is, comes from inside of you. And that's why when you operate in it, you feel so fulfilled [00:24:00] because it's from the inside. Right. So look for your lamp, look for your gift.

Brandon: [00:24:06] Beautiful. I love that metaphor, man. It's instead of looking for what we want, let's look for how we can serve. How we can give, and that is in itself the most fulfilling  -

Isaac: [00:24:19] You never go wrong. You'll never go wrong when you're, when you're serving other people.

Brandon: [00:24:25] Beautiful. Beautiful stuff my man, that's that's why I knew I needed to have you on this podcast. I hope, you know, it's these soft skills there are things that, that we can all do that will take us places I think we, we just don't see yet. And so I hope people listening to this will trust the wise words of Isaac Brown and and put more trust in your path and maybe let go, and we'll see what this world can look like.

Ike I [00:25:00] gotta say, thanks so much for again, carving time out of your busy schedule and sharing some of your story and secrets with us. I know I'm grateful and it's, it's so great just to hang out for a little bit and catch up too. So yeah. Thanks for your time, man. And I look forward to the next time we can connect.

Definitely, man, I look forward to it too.

Thanks for tuning into the program. Be sure to follow me on Instagram at Brandon Love magic for more possibilities. And if you really liked the show, feel free to share this with a friend or even give us a review on Spotify or iTunes. We'll see you next time. 


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