Helped launch a reality television show about touring car racing
Sat in the front row for Tony Robbins' UPW (Evan Carmichael brought me along)
I'M MARK DRAGER
I'm a father of 4, husband to my high-school sweetheart Jacqueline, entrepreneur, branding and positioning expert, and podcaster.
Now, you may know me from We Do Hard Things or the live events I've hosted, but what you may not know is I...
Lost 70 lbs in my late 30s
Shot Evan Carmichael's very first YouTube video (found here)
Completed the gruling #ChunkToHunk 90-day challenge (check it out)
Worked with NBA players
Had a Boeing 737-800 for the day, twice
Started my branding & creative agency, Corethree Brandworks at 23 with no money and no clue
Never went to university (but went to film school)
Had a commercial campaign blow up in the national press
Married my high school sweetheart, 22 years & 4 kids later we still standing
(Alongside my team) have won on over 30 industry awards
Was berated by a billionaire
Lived in and around Toronto, Canada for my whole life
Am training to get a top 10 finish in a Spartan Super (10km) OCR
MY CURIOSITY DROVE MY TEACHERS CRAZY.
NOW I MAKE A LIVING ASKING PEOPLE SMART QUESTIONS.
WHEN YOU ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS, YOU UNLOCK NEW WAYS OF THINKING.
Whether we're having a once-in-a-lifetime talk in front of thousands or digging deep in a one-on-one strategy session, asking the right question in the right moment unlocks life-changing breakthroughs.
Having interviewed thousands of people over almost 2 decades, I've learned the secret formula for creating break-through moments, never-heard-before talks, and unignorable brands and content:
Set a vibe to create the right environment.
Build immediate engagement by tailoring everything to the audience and the moment.
Say what only we can say, in the way we can say it, for the reasons we say it.
LIVE OR REMOTE, A GOOD CONVERSATION IS A GOOD CONVERSATION.
I'VE HOSTED TALKS ON STAGE AND VIRTUALLY WITH...
Vishen Lakhiani - CEO of Mindvalley
Tom Bilyeu - Founder of Quest Nutrition, host of Impact Theory
Grant Cardone - World's #1 sales trainer, bestselling author, real estate mogul
Debbie Millman - Host of the Design Matters podcast
Charley Boorman - TV Presenter who road around the world with his mate, Ewan McGregor
A.J. Jacobs - Editor at large for Esquire, New York Times Best-selling author
Dr Benjamin Hardy - World's leading expert on the application of the future self science
Katie Hoff - Olympic medalist, former world record-holder in swimming
David Meltzer - Sports marketing legend, speaker, author
Julia Cameron - Creator of The Artist's Way and morning pages
Rand Fishkin - Founder of Moz, author of Lost and Founder
Dan Millman - Author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior
Dr. Anna Lembke - Stanford professor, author of Dopamine Nation
Les Brown - Motivational speaker
Mirna Valerio - Endurance runner, advocate, author
Evan Carmichael - YouTuber, author of Your One Word, Built To Serve, and Momentum
Lisa Bilyeu - Founder of Quest Nutrition, author of Radical Confidence
Tony Horton - Creator of P90X
Zach Bitter - Ultramarathon runner, former world record holder of 100-mile run and 12-hour run
James Altucher - hedge-fund manager, author, podcaster, entrepreneur
Dr. David Spiegel - Stanford professor, leading expert in hypnosis
Anthony Trucks - former NFL Athlete, American Ninja Warrior, host of the Aww Shift podcast
James "Iron Cowboy" Lawrence - endurance athlete who completed 101 Ironmans in 101 days
Apollonia Ponti - Male dating and relationships expert and coach
Jeff Lerner - Founder of ENTRE Institute
Leah Goldstein - World Kickboxing Champ, former Israeli Commando Instuctor, Ultra Endurance Cyclist
And a lot more...
HERE'S MY BACKSTORY.
IT'S HARD FOR ME TO REMEMBER A TIME WHEN I FELT COMFORTABLE.
I remember these moments as a kid. I can still feel it in my body if I send myself back there. Panic. Worry. Heart pumping so much I could feel it in my ears. Wishing for nothing more than to melt into the background. Daring not to breath, not to make a sound, not to be noticed so I wouldn't become the next target of a grown-up's cutting comments or bitter anger.
So I got really good at reading the room, trying to get in front of things when they were on edge, and when things got bad, dare not do anything that would make things worse.
But there were times, where the suppressed anger overtook the fear, where consequences be damned I was going to stand up for myself or others and hold my ground. Stand tall. Try to look them in the eyes while also holding back tears. Basically, pull the pin and throw the grenade, full well knowing it would make things much much worse.
But in the end, my shaky voice and the tears always betrayed the boldness I attempted to muster.
This was my childhood. Because from the age of seven on I was raised in a home where I was always on edge, never sure if what I said, or what I did, or how I acted would get me into trouble.
I realized the anxiety, fear, and feeling of never being good enough lead me to my ultimate purpose: to help others crush the fear & doubt that's keeping them from building an #Extraordinary life.
One moment everything was cool and the next I was told I was the most ungrateful, worthless, and pathetic waste of space.
That's what comes from growing up in a home dominated by a bitter, alcoholic step-father who had mental health issues.
And so that was my home life until I couldn't take another day of it. At 16, my older sister gave me a way out and we moved into our own place.
It took me a long time to get comfortable with my childhood. And to understand how it shaped me into the person I am today.
YOU GOT TO FIGHT THE FEELING OF NOT BEING GOOD ENOUGH.
But despite all that, even though I've been responsible for over $12-million of strategic content produced, although I have helped launch startups and transformed international brands, although I've had the chance to share the stage with some of the most remarkable people the world has ever seen, I still wake up every morning struggling to shake that feeling of being the little boy who's a waste of space.
It's that feeling of not being good enough. Not impostor syndrome. More like a total lack of belief in yourself.
Every day I have to face it. To either give into the fear and doubt and lack of belief, or work like hell to prove that I'm good enough.
As I write this I have everything an outsider would see as indicators of success.
At 39 I'm a father of four amazing kids (ages 8 to 16).
I've been with my wife for 22 years (married for 17).
I founded a marketing agency (phanta.com) and over the past 15 years grew it from nothing to a multi-million dollar business, and then through a series of bad decisions watched as it crumbled around me.
But I survived startup (barely), the great recession (even more precarious), and the pandemic (which kicked the shit out of us). So today, through the hard lessons learned and working to not make the same mistakes twice, we focus less on “keeping the machine fed” and more on creating an environment where awesome people can make extraordinary work for awesome people.
MY GREATEST HOPE FOR YOU.
There used to come a time in client meetings when I'd have the overwhelming sensation to jump up and get down on my knees in front of the client and beg.
The feeling would become so real that I'd almost have to hold myself back. Otherwise, there I would be, literally begging. Not for the business. Not for the money. But for the opportunity to help them.
Because more than anything, deep down I want to help people like you build the most extraordinary and meaningful things possible: a business, a product, an experience - it doesn't matter.
I love being a part of the process, as small as it may be, that leads to the moment when others look at what you've done and say, "you did that?"
Because I know what those of us who have something to prove are capable of. You have the chance to build something that you’re proud of. To do something that matters. And I can't wait to see what you do.