Our nation is crying out for bold leaders who will stand for the principles that have made America great. However, too often when we see something that needs to be done, we think someone else should do it. Whether it is writing an important book,...
Our nation is crying out for bold leaders who will stand for the principles that have made America great. However, too often when we see something that needs to be done, we think someone else should do it. Whether it is writing an important book, educating employees or others on policy issues, running for office in hopes of protecting freedom, or simply volunteering to help someone in need, it is easy to assume someone else will act rather than take action ourselves. We can be content to sit on the sidelines as others make the plays that greatly impact our lives and freedom. Dr. Brad Bark is Linda’s guest, and his story of triumph over loss reminds us that life is too short to sit on the sidelines. If we want to see positive change happen, we must get in the game to make a difference. Brad’s story reminds us of the impact one person can make if they boldly step out in faith to serve God and others. Life is short. Get in the game!
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Linda: Welcome, thank you for tuning in to this episode of the Prosperity 101 Breakroom Economics Podcast. My name is Linda J. Hansen, your host, and the author of Prosperity 101 - Job Security through Business Prosperity: The Essential Guide to Understanding How Policy Affects Your Paycheck, and the creator of the Breakroom Economics online course. The book, the course, and the entire podcast library can be found on prosperity101.com. I seek to connect boardroom to breakroom and policy to paycheck by empowering and encouraging employers to educate employees about the public policy issues that affect their jobs. My goal is to help people understand the foundations of prosperity, the policies of prosperity, and how to protect their prosperity by becoming informed, involved, and impactful. I believe this will lead to greater employee loyalty, engagement and retention, and to an increased awareness of the blessings and responsibilities of living in a free society. Listen each week to hear from exciting guests and be sure to visit prosperity101.com.
Thank you for tuning in today, as you may know, my guest list often varies from nationally known leader and policy makers to other individuals who are making a difference at their local level. In each episode, I hope to encourage people to get involved, to stand up for freedom, and to protect their rights under the Constitution, encouraging employers to educate employees, parents to educate children, or simply encouraging the average citizen to become more involved to preserve our nation is at the heart of what I try to do. Today my guest is Dr. Bradley Bark. Dr. Bark is a chiropractor, small business owner, and active citizen in Muscatine, Iowa, where he lives with his wife and three children. He established Bark Chiropractor Clinic and Point Above Properties and designed his businesses to not only serve the public, but to be part of updating the downtown Muscatine area to benefit the entire community.
I first met Dr. Bark or Brad when he was a young teenager where we lived in the same small town in Wisconsin. Our families became good friends and one of my daughters taught piano to Brad's sister. Years have separated us, but we reconnected in the past year, and after hearing his story I invited him to be a podcast guest, for I believe he can inspire us all to stand up for our beliefs and to take actions to lead positively. So with that, I welcome you Dr. Bradley Bark.
Brad: Thank you so much, thank you.
Linda: It's a pleasure to have you here and it's great to see your family, your businesses, and how you have grown to be a leader in your community, and just knowing how your family's doing, I know you recently lost your dad and your grandfather, and my condolences on that, those were losses that were hard to take in the past year, and you said you lost a good friend too, and I know those losses have impacted your decisions and your life in a huge way. Would you like to just give a little bit of testimony about especially your dad or your grandfather?
Brad: Yeah, absolutely, 2020 was just one of those crazy years for all of us. And it started off by losing a contractor/friend in early January, and then my dad ended up getting COVID and so did my grandpa, and drove back and forth for many hours, just so many miles on my truck, and my dad was my hero, my principal, my high school football coach, and Christian brother the past 10 years, which was just amazing. And my grandpa also had a strong faith as well, just like my dad, and Linda, it's one of those things that it's such a bummer losing both of them, all of them, but as I've told people that kept on asking how I'm doing, I'm like, "You know what? Every day that goes by it mentally gets better, but every day that goes by I'm closer to seeing them again." And I'll tell you what, that's just the hope that we have in Jesus, and I'm so thankful for him.
Linda: Yeah, well, me too, and some of my listeners know that I recently lost my mother, and that hope that we have is amazing, she actually passed away while I was singing the 23rd Psalm to her, and she died on the last verse that says, "And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." So, listeners, if there's anybody out there that is missing someone or looking at potentially losing someone, there is a hope with heaven, and so we hope one thing that we can pass that on, but there's other things we want to talk about in this interview, your businesses, your chiropractic clinic, but also your community involvement. So, first I'd like you to talk about your chiropractic clinic and your businesses, tell me how started those?
Brad: Yeah, when I was about ready to graduate from Palmer Chiropractic College in Davenport, Iowa, my wife and I drove to the East Coast, to the West Coast, we went to Chicago, I'm like, "Would we just start up a place by ourselves or start up with someone?" And then we were like, "You know what? The Midwest is just absolutely amazing." And my wife is an environmental engineer at a local engineer firm, Stanley Consultants, and we decided to stay here in Muscatine, Iowa, and at that point we decided, "Let's just start up a chiropractic clinic from scratch." And the odds were against us right away, people were telling us that there's too many chiropractors in Muscatine, I'm like, "Oh, okay, but I'm going to try, I'm going to do a little bit of a different spin and try to love everybody and just try to pour into as many people as possible."
And I've been in basically clinic for 10 and a half years, and started May 2nd of 2011, and recently moved our clinic into a brand new building, another remodeled building that we own, and that was June 6th of 2020. So yeah, and it's been good, it's gotten to the point where now there's four chiropractors there that work, and then also we have a massage therapist, a reflexologist, we have a nurse practitioner of psychiatric care, and a mental health counselor as well, but one of the things that is near and dear to my heart, as we talked about earlier, is having basically just to keep on feeding ourselves with some good music throughout the day. So, we've got K-Love playing constantly at the clinic, which is great, and then back in like 2015, we ended up remodeling a couple buildings downtown Muscatine, so we have a five story building that has multiple businesses in there as well, then we have a three story building where the clinic is currently in right now.
Linda: So, you have really poured into the community in a variety of ways. You've worked to take care of them with their physical health, but also their mental health and then their spiritual health and economic wellness in terms of how you can bring prosperity to the community.
Linda: Yeah, and I'd really like to highlight that because I think that's something we can all do in some way, shape, or form. We are all part of local communities and we all have gifts and talents and abilities, and if we just decide to take a step to move positively in another direction that helps other people, we can have an enormous impact. I mean, you deciding to stay in Muscatine and then building your businesses there, I'm sure you're touching so many lives through what you do as well as what your wife does and through the things your children are involved in. I mean, there's just so much, and that has led you to care greatly about the community and the community members, and that led you to take another step, would you like to tell the listeners what that is?
Brad: Right, and to kind of go back to what you were just talking about just like a couple minutes ago, a couple seconds ago, my big belief is, in the healthcare realm specifically, chiropractic cannot fix everything, medicine, massage therapy, it doesn't matter what discipline it is, they cannot help everybody, but if we all work together as a team, it's the best case scenario for that patient. And you can take that same process into city government, into any kind of business where we're all equally important in that business, in that organization, in that group, we all need to work together for the good of whatever it may be. So, I just had to add that in there as well.
Linda: Oh, and that is really great. You have cared for the community as well, and that led you to step your foot in the water of politics. So, would you like to share with the listeners what led you to do that and what your new role will be?
Brad: Of course, so again, kind of going by back to last year, I decided after everything happened after I had some heart issues also, I was like, "You know what? I need to start listening and trying to listen to what does God have in store?" And at that point I realized like, "I don't want to stay on the sidelines anymore, I need to get into the game, life is way too short." It is way too short as we found out last year with my dad and the young gentleman also, life is way too short, you got to get into the game and do something and make something happen. And I ended up having surgery with my neck, June 24th of this year, and at that point started losing some strength in my hands, so I had to walk away from chiropractic.
It's been about three and a half months now, so I've got the other team running the show right now while I'm gone, but I could have been sitting down, moping, and getting down on myself, but I was like, "You know what? No, life has handed me lemons, I want to make some really good lemonade." And at that point the outpour of the community members that were reaching out to me, "Hey, Brad, you should run for mayor of Muscatine." I'm like, "Really? Okay, well, I'll look into it." Went by, people kept on doing it, I'm like, "Okay, well, you know what? I'll look into it." Most importantly, my wife was behind me too, most important, and once I got the green light from everybody, I'll never forget, it was that Monday, because I said, "I'm going to pray about it for a good five days."
Well, on a Monday I started to like, "Okay." Well, I didn't hear an audible, "Yes, Brad you shall," or, "You shall not run for mayor." But he spoke to me through just a past couple Facebook posts. The Facebook post that day is from like eight, nine years ago, it's a Michael Jordan quote, "You miss a hundred percent of shots you don't take." I'm like, "Okay, wow, that's pretty good." And then the reading for that day talks about God, if he so chooses, if it's God's will and God's will always will be done, but if it's his will he will put people into a position if he sees fit. So, I took those two, put them together and I was like, "Okay, well I just need to put my name into the hat, why not?"
And so, I did, and right at that point people were telling me it's impossible because there's people that were in the race back in June, July, and I came in about six weeks to election, and they're like, "You're 37 years old, you're not from Muscatine, you're going against a mayor that's going for her fourth term, and it's just impossible." And I'm like, "You know what? Everything's possible, but you got to try, right? You got to just do it." You miss a hundred percent of shots you don't take, right?
Brad: And after I made the announcement, the outpouring support of just Muscatine community, and then also there's several communities in Wisconsin that were just like rallying also, I'm like, "Wow, this is cool."
And all of a sudden this past Tuesday I was elected. I'm going to be the mayor of Muscatine in 2022, and I'm so excited about the opportunity, and kind of looking back, it's like you don't realize why things happen the way they do, but when you take that look back, it's like, "Oh, okay, now I see your plan." And I'm just extremely thankful to be here in Muscatine, to have a wonderful wife, to have three wonderful kids and just the citizens of Muscatine are just absolutely amazing. And I know most of them just from the past profession as well.
Linda: Well, that's really inspirational, and I'm sure that there's people listening who might be thinking about throwing their hat in the ring in some way, shape, or form. And as we have seen the uprising of parents who have been so upset about what's being taught in public schools, I mean, we've seen it especially in Virginia, that's been the most publicized of late. However, whether it's critical race theory or things that look and sound and contain critical race theory content but maybe called something different, or whether it's teaching through pornographic curriculum or whatever, parents are rising up and saying, "No, we want our children to have a solid education, we don't want all this cultural society changing information given to our children." And so, the parents have risen up and we've seen so many parents running for school board and running for city council or things at their local level, and this is what truly can make a difference.
I just was listening to an interview yesterday of a woman who was raised in China and endured the rise of the Chinese Communist Party, and she said that as she has been an American citizen now for many years, she has been on the sidelines watching as this societal takeover has slowly been happening here in America, and she decided to finally get involved, and so she stepped up to the plate to be a leader in her area, and this is what we need to do. So, you have basically entered the arena and this is an unfamiliar territory, but your faith and your leadership skills, and your past experiences, and the people that you have around you will help you as you lead the citizens of Muscatine as mayor. So, that is just really great.
And I want to tell you, thank you, because I know from my own life, too, politics can be messy, it can be stressful, it can be really hurtful sometimes because people say things that aren't true about you, it can be rough and tumble, but yet those of us who can truly make a positive difference. So, thank you for doing that and thank you to your wife and family and all those who support you because we need people with that positivity and a sense of community and faith, and really a sense of servant leadership, and I can see that in you, and I hope that that is something that is inspirational to all the listeners.
Brad: Yeah, and it's one of those things too, as my big thing is, and on my license plate, I have Ephesians 6:11, "Putting on the full armor of God," that's on my license plate on my truck. And it's just one of those things that I believe is just a protection. And you know that the fiery arrows are going to be coming in if it's being typed out, if it's verbal, but just having faith that we're going to get through this, he's not going to let us break at all, and be thankful in the ups and downs in life because going against the wind, you're going to fly that plane, and that's just the hope that I hold onto and that my family holds on to as well.
And just knowing that we are not as a society going to please a hundred percent of people, but again, we can all have different views, but when it comes down to it, we just need to hold onto each other's hand, hand in hand, and just keep on moving forward because there's going to be adversity, there's going to be negative things, there's going to be many positive things, but just keep on moving forward in life as well.
Linda: Well, and you represent a young generation of leaders who are stepping up to the plate, as I say, to actually lead in their communities, whether it's through getting involved at their local political party, they can be involved as precinct chair people or they could be poll workers where they volunteer just a few days a year to actually help ensure the integrity of elections. I mean, there's people stepping up in a variety of ways and it takes all of us because this government, this country is truly designed to be run by we, the people. And if we, the people do not step up, then those who want a different form of government, a different maybe tyrannical type of rule will then be leading and we will be following. So, I thank you for setting the example of leading and being able to be a young person who can inspire others. So, at 37 years old, there's a lot of life ahead of you, and do you anticipate that you'll get back into chiropractic once maybe your rehab and everything is done from your injury?
Brad: I hope so for sure, but we're just going in for second opinions and everything coming up, so just praying about that, and I encourage people, no matter what, it's not going to be us that changes things, it's going to be God that changes things. And I just highly recommend that for people just to pray about the situation, pray, pray, pray, pray about any situation, and it could be pray for your local law enforcement, pray for the teachers, pray for government, pray, pray, pray, and that's how things get done.
Linda: Exactly, and for those who maybe don't have that same faith in God that you and I share, I would just encourage them to be open, to just be open to that because just because someone is a believer in Christ or has deeply held religious beliefs, whatever, it doesn't mean that they're going to make that the rule for everybody, it just means that they're going to lead by a certain set of principles that are important to them. And you mentioned some, building up others, leading with love, praying for those... That humility and that servant leadership is so important, and I'm sure you couldn't build a positive, growing chiropractic practice or your other business with the property ownership, and you couldn't be as involved in your community if you didn't have a sense of humility and a willingness to serve others.
And so often now young people, and I say young because you're young compared to me, and younger, I mean, it's like we've entered into an entitlement society. We can see it all the time, everyone's expecting to just get taken care of by the government or they're expecting that their employer will take care of them, and there isn't that sense of self-reliance or self-responsibility, and it's just great to see someone such as yourself stepping up and saying, "Life is short, I need to make a difference, I don't want to sit on the sidelines anymore." And I think back when you first said that to me, "I don't want to sit on the sidelines anymore," I remember watching you play football back in high school, and it's like there's players on the sideline and there's players on the field, and usually every player wants to be on the field, and in life we get to be on the field if we choose to do so. So, we need to step up and find out how we can play on the field and make a difference in whatever position we may have.
Brad: And I'll never forget, and I've used this analogy many times going through the campaign, and we kind of talked about it a little bit, but I'll never forget when my dad, who was my head football coach for varsity, he said, "Who do you think the most important person is on a football team?" And I'm thinking, "Well, it's got to be the quarterback and running back, head coach." And he's like, "Wrong." I'm like, "Okay." And at that point he's like, "No, it's not just about them, it's about the fans, it's about the second team, it's about the third team, it's about the cheerleaders, water boy." If you don't have that water boy feeding you the water, your team's going down fast.
So, I mean, well said though, too, I mean, there's those players that want to get into the game, but really we're all one, we're all one heartbeat, and that's the way it should be in life, we are all in this together, different backgrounds, I understand that, you have the running back, you have the wide receiver, you have the defense, the offense, the cheerleaders, the fans, but you know what? When all comes down to it, we're here for the same purpose.
Linda: Well, and that's a really good analogy, and for those who may be wondering where it is you played football and where your dad was coach, it was Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, which I know my listeners have heard of, I feel like the podcast has highlighted several people from Prairie du Chien over time just because I think it's great to show how small towns can raise great leaders. And it's so often you hear more about the big cities in America that are raising leaders or having impact, but there's all these small towns all across the country that are just like Prairie du Chien that are raising really great leaders and wonderful things are coming out of these communities because of the values that the community members hold and the way that they support one another. So, your dad, Dwayne, he was a great guy, and just so thankful, he has left you a legacy, and you are carrying that on in new ways, and I'm sure your family will be blessed by your legacy as well.
So, as we close, I'd like you to give three points to anyone who'd potentially like to be involved, maybe they're a business leader or a parent, but they see things happening in their community or in their country that they think could be done more positively, and they'd like to get involved, what would you say to them?
Brad: I would say again, don't sit on the sidelines, just do it. Everybody says, "I'm going to wait, I'll just wait until it's better for me, it's better for them." Nope, just jump in right now, jump all in and just do whatever you want to do. Whatever your dreams are, just do it, shoot for the moon, if you miss you will fall upon the star, right? So, just do that. And so, definitely just keep on pushing through, and number two is, again, life knocks you down a lot, this is the whole Rocky thing, right? You're going to get knocked down time and time again, but it's not that you're losing, you're learning. And that's just a wonderful way to put it, is you're going to win and then you're going to learn, you're not going to lose. Every experience that we have in our life is a learning process 100% of the time, and then on top of that, all knowledge is experience.
And number three is, reach out to the people that have been there, done that. Mental health is an extremely serious thing in the world today, right? So, mental stress, mental issues is a huge part. And just for the people listening, you guys can't do it alone, I can't do it alone, we need a team surrounding us, we need that comradery surrounding us just to add as that security blanket to protect us as well. And you're going to definitely have those bumps and bruises, but you know what? They're going to heal. And then you become stronger. I tell people in my clinic, I'm like, "You guys, you lift weights, you're doing some curls and all of a sudden your arms start hurting you, right? But with the muscles all tearing up and ripped up, what happens? The pain starts to go away, and all of a sudden your muscles are stronger because of all the tears that you had, and that's because of the experience of actually lifting weights."
And so, those are the three points that I definitely was glad to share. And so again, follow your dreams, surround yourselves with positive people, like-minded people, and if I could add a fourth, pray, pray, pray, and just get involved in groups, local groups, and for me, there's several local groups, I have local church, I have local businesses, and then friends, so just surrounding with positive people, like-minded people, and don't be afraid to go that extra mile every single time.
Linda: Those are great recommendations, and when you were talking about surrounding yourselves with good people and be connected, and we can't do that, we can't bring about this positive change necessarily all by ourselves, it made me think of just the phrase, "United we stand and divided we fall." And right now in our culture, there are so many influences seeking to divide us, whether divide us by race, or by vaccination status, or whether we have masks or don't have masks, or what our gender is. All these things seeking to divide us, and we really need to look past that and say, "What are the things that truly unite us?" Because I believe if we look at the basic things about each individual, there's more that unites us than divides us. And as a nation, whether it's a nation or a family, a community, united we will stand and divided we will fall. So, thank you for just bringing that forth and reminding listeners of that need for community and that need to work together with like-minded people towards the goals that you share, so thank you.
Brad: Yeah, absolutely, and the last thing I'll comment on is be the light in your community, be the light, be that beacon, because I mean, you could have a 100,000 square foot open space of a warehouse, and it could be just pitch dark, but you could have one little Christmas light in there, just one little white Christmas light, or whatever, red, blue, you're going to see that, you're going to see that little light. So, I just strongly urge people be light in your community and be that spark that will just light everything on fire, and that's what I truly would like to push to people as well.
Linda: Well, that is just great and inspirational, and as we enter into the holiday season too soon, just maybe people will be thinking about that when they see the Christmas lights, that you can be that little light that brightens things for your community, for your nation, and for the world. So, it all starts with one, right?
Brad: Yes, that's right.
Linda: Right, so if people want to contact you, how should they do so?
Brad: Yeah, so they could contact me via Facebook, it's just Brad Bark, or I have an email, it's Bradley, B-R-A-D-L-E-Y.Bark, Bark like a dog, so Bradley.Bark@gmail.com.
Linda: Okay, that's great, and you can also just search more about him and his chiropractic clinic in Muscatine, Iowa, and we wish you all the best in your new role as mayor. So, you are mayor elect of Muscatine and thank you for putting your hat in the ring and showing others that it's okay to step out and to wade into unknown waters, and lead, and learn as you lead, so thank you.
Brad: Yeah, thank you so much for having me, I appreciate it.
Linda: It's been a pleasure, thank you.
Thank you again for listening to the Prosperity 101 Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share, and leave a great review. Don't forget to visit prosperity101.com to access the entire podcast library, to order my newest book, Job Security through Business Prosperity: The Essential Guide to Understanding How Policy Affects Your Paycheck, or to enroll you or your employees in the Breakroom Economics online course. You can also receive the free ebook 110 Tips for Helping Employees Understand How Public Policy Affects Their Paychecks. Freedom is never free, understanding the foundations of prosperity, and the policies of prosperity will help you to protect prosperity as you become informed, involved, and impactful. I give special thanks to our sponsors, Matthews Archery Incorporated and Wisconsin Stamping and Manufacturing. Please contact us today at prosperity101.com to let us know how we can serve you, thank you.