Braeden Rhys – Authenticity is Your Superpower

Braeden Rhys
Braeden Rhys talks about his experiences as an individual, as a professional in marketing and PR, and as a trailblazing entrepreneur. He discusses his journey as a gay man, from being a youth minister to becoming an escort and a drag queen, and how these experiences shaped his approach to business and personal growth. He shares his insights on embracing authenticity, persevering through hardships, and shaping one's own future. Hosted by Robert Hossary

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About Braeden Rhys

Braeden Rhys is a trailblazing marketing and public relations professional, celebrated as one of Australia’s Top 100 Entrepreneurs. With a portfolio of multi-award-winning brands, including Sweet Release Agency, the world’s leading Adult Industry marketing and PR agency, and Axis Global Co, ranked among the top 100 growth marketing agencies globally, Braeden has made an indelible mark on the business landscape.

His journey to success was a testament to resilience and the power of authenticity. Raised within the confines of the ministry, Braeden grappled with the conflict between his true identity as a gay man and the strict beliefs he was taught. Denying his sexuality and convinced that he could “pray the gay away,” he eventually found the courage to break free from the confines of the church, embracing his true self with pride.

Unafraid to explore uncharted territories, Braeden embarked on a journey of self-discovery that led him to the deep end of the Adult Industry. Adopting the alter-ego name, Jett Black, he thrived as a male sex worker, defying societal norms and leveraging his success as one of the most respected ambassadors in the Australian adult entertainment world.

Drawing from his genuine passion and love for the Adult Industry, Braeden established Sweet Release Agency, which quickly gained acclaim as the top marketing and PR agency in its field. Simultaneously, he revealed yet another facet of his identity as Kara Zmatiq, Australia’s Premier Live Singing Drag Queen, captivating audiences with soulful performances and earning accolades on platforms like Australia’s Got Talent.

Braeden Rhys faced adversity head-on, finding strength in humility and authenticity. His journey from sex worker to celebrated entrepreneur showcases his resilience and determination to overcome challenges. Despite creating unique brands and personas, Braeden never lost sight of his roots, remaining grateful to the Adult Industry for accepting him without judgment.

A firm believer in the power of authenticity and genuine passion, Braeden Rhys attributes his success in life, business, and relationships to staying true to himself. He constantly emphasizes the importance of dynamic education and making a positive difference in the world, inspiring others to embrace their true identities and pursue their dreams apologetically.

With an unwavering commitment to self-improvement and a passion for blazing new trails, Braeden Rhys continues to redefine success on his terms. Guided by authenticity and an unyielding desire to leave a positive impact, he remains a beacon of inspiration for all those striving to live their best lives while embracing their true selves.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: The Customer Isn’t Always Right 04:52
Lesson 2: Authenticity is Your Superpower 11:44
Lesson 3: Craft Your Personal Brand 23:40
Lesson 4: The Power of “No Learn to say “no” when necessary. 28:04
Lesson 5: Banish Toxic Influences 31:17
Lesson 6: Humble Beginnings Lead to Greatness Stay humble and grounded. 35:54
Lesson 7: Creativity Fuels Innovation Cultivate your creative spark. 40:49
Lesson 8: Own Your Sexuality and strength. 44:25
Lesson 9: Write Your Future Take control of your destiny. 48:37
Lesson 10: Embrace Change with Open Arms. 52:38

Braeden Rhys – Authenticity is Your Superpower

[00:00:08] Robert Hossary: Hello and welcome to 10 Lessons Learned, where we talk to sages and gurus, leaders, and luminaries from all over the world to dispense their wisdom for your career, business, and life, in order to make the world wiser, lesson by lesson. My name is Robert Hossary and I’m your host for this episode.
[00:00:28] Robert Hossary: Our guest today is Braeden Rhys. Braeden is a trailblazing marketing and public relations professional celebrated as one of Australia’s top 100 entrepreneurs. With a portfolio of multi award winning brands, including the Sweet Release Agency, the world’s leading adult industry marketing and PR agency, and Access Global Company, ranked amongst the top 100 growth marketing agencies globally.
[00:00:57] Robert Hossary: Braeden has made an indelible mark on the business landscape. Unafraid to explore uncharted territories, Braeden embarked on a journey of self-discovery that led him to the deep end of the adult industry.
[00:01:13] Robert Hossary: Adopting the alter ego name Jet Black. defying societal norms and leveraging his success as one of the most respected ambassadors in the Australian adult entertainment world. Drawing from his genuine passion and love for the adult industry, Braeden established Sweet Release Agency, which quickly gained acclaim as the top marketing and PR agency in its field.
[00:01:39] Robert Hossary: Simultaneously, he revealed yet another facet of his identity, Cara Zmatic, Australia’s premier live singing drag queen. Captivating audiences with soulful performances and earning accolades on platforms like Australia’s Got Talent.
[00:01:55] Robert Hossary: With an unwavering commitment to self-improvement and passion for blazing new trails, Braeden Rhys continues to redefine success on his terms, He remains a beacon of inspiration to those striving to live their best lives while embracing their true selves.
[00:02:12] Robert Hossary: Welcome, Braeden. Welcome to the show.
[00:02:15] Braeden Rhys: Hey Robert, thanks so much for having me on 10 Lessons Learned. It’s a joy to be here and an honour to be invited, so thanks for having me.
[00:02:22] Robert Hossary: Hi, you are more than welcome. It’s us that are honoured by having someone as accomplished as you here to talk to our audience about authenticity, which is something that All of the 10 Lessons team strongly believes in.
[00:02:36] Robert Hossary: So, Braeden, normally we ask our guests this question to start things off. So I’m going to ask you, what… Would you tell your younger self, with all the knowledge and all the experience you’ve had and all the trials and tribulations in your life so far, what would you have wished that you would have known when you were younger?
[00:02:58] Braeden Rhys: There’s one quote that I stick by today in everything that I do in my life and in my business that I use as like a bit of a mantra with what I do with my life and how I live my life today. And it’s a Dr. Seuss quote. and very simply it says, why fit in when you were born to stand out?
[00:03:16] Braeden Rhys: Now, that’s something that I live by today and something I wish I told my younger self. Had I have stumbled across that quote a lot earlier; I would have lived my life on my terms earlier and tried not to fit in as much as what I was doing. So that’s a mantra I stick by daily.
[00:03:36] Robert Hossary: Look, that’s a wonderful quote to live by.
[00:03:39] Robert Hossary: And I think all of us in one way or another can relate to that. I certainly can.
[00:03:45] Robert Hossary: It’s the societal norms that get me. It’s trying to fit into what society thinks you should be.
[00:03:51] Braeden Rhys: Exactly. You know, I might have taken that quote. To the nth degree and then circled back around and did it again, with what I’ve done in my career and what I’ve done with my body and, and what I’ve done in my, my personal life.
[00:04:05] Braeden Rhys: but I do believe that if people lived by that mantra or stumbled across that quote and reinforce that through their lives. I’m sure the world would be a heaps more positive and less judgmental place.
[00:04:20] Braeden Rhys: And I’m constantly told throughout my life. to this day that I am a square peg trying to fit into a round hole and there’s just no space for that. So, I live by that and I’m proud to be that square peg fitting into round holes because I definitely don’t fit in.
[00:04:35] Braeden Rhys: But that quote’s one that definitely sticks out. And I’m like, you know, you don’t have to fit in to stand out. So why do it
[00:04:42] Robert Hossary: well, that, that’s a wonderful way to start. I think it’s great. And I’ve never read Dr. Seuss and the first time I’ve heard that quote. And, if you don’t mind, I think I will use it as well.

[00:04:52] Lesson 1: The Customer Isn’t Always Right

[00:04:52] Robert Hossary: All right. Let’s just jump straight into your first lesson.
[00:04:58] Robert Hossary: Lesson number 1. The customer isn’t always right. So yeah, tell me about that.
[00:05:05] Braeden Rhys: Look, it stems from my career in hospitality and tourism. I started my career very early on thinking I want to run hotels. I want to own my own hotel chain. and in that industry and I, I dabbled, I wanted to do. And I was very good at solving problems and I always wanted people to feel welcome and, and have a great experience, but I didn’t really know.
[00:05:28] Braeden Rhys: where that would take me later on. But I wanted to have my own hotels, I worked in hospitality, I won a scholarship, I studied hotel management and became a hotel manager. Very quickly I realized, once I got to management level, That the customer wasn’t always right. And throughout my career, working on the front line as a food and beverage attendant and a front office receptionist, a night manager, which is just a glorified receptionist that stays awake from 11 PM till 7 AM.
[00:05:56] Braeden Rhys: mind you, you don’t have much of a social life because you sleep all day, but those experiences across different hotels that I’ve worked with. I very quickly realized that as a manager behind the scenes, my job was to put fires out. and when I spoke with these guests and spoke with the staff, I very quickly realized that as the manager of hotels and of divisions within hotels, that the customer was not always right, but my job was to make them feel like they were.
[00:06:23] Braeden Rhys: And in those moments as a manager, I felt like I was lying to myself and part of this, I guess, this machine of an industry and an environment where lying was acceptable, that denying the truth was acceptable behaviour. and in a way I felt part of something that I’ve just, I lost passion in because I wasn’t being truthful to myself and authentic.
[00:06:48] Braeden Rhys: So, noticing that while customer feedback is always valuable, it’s still essential to stand by the principles and expertise when you know what’s best for your business. And I was a hotel manager telling people and customers, you know, yes, you’re the customer. You’re right. We’re wrong. We’re sorry this happened, even though you caused it to yourself.
[00:07:09] Braeden Rhys: and when I stepped out of that industry and walked into other industries, it became okay for the customer to be wrong. I stand by that rhetoric today with what I do in business, because one thing that’s followed me around with that notion of the customer isn’t always right, is the fact that in marketing and PR and what I do today with my career, if the customer was right, they wouldn’t necessarily take that step to contact me.
[00:07:37] Braeden Rhys: That’s one way to look at it, which is, I guess, less confrontational. It’s very much, if the customer isn’t always right, they wouldn’t be asking me for help because they would know what to do. They would already be where they want to be. And in that particular journey for themselves, they wouldn’t need me because they would have already done it and worked it out. So as a marketer and a publicist, I stand by the fact today that a customer isn’t always right because you’re reaching out to someone for help because you’ve done something wrong or there’s something wrong with what we’re currently doing. That’s where I kind of stick to that lesson in my career, because in hospitality, I was told the customer’s always right, make them happy, keep the business. But denying the fact that the business was suffering because we were saying to the customer. Yes, sir. Yes, ma’am. Three bags full, sir. Like, it comes a time where you need to draw a line in the sand and go, no, actually, the more we keep letting people get away with this, the more damage we’re causing than good.
[00:08:35] Braeden Rhys: We, you know, in hospitality, I had staff that were becoming demotivated and as a hotel manager, I’ve got to keep my team morale high, but how can I do that if I’m letting customers walk all over them, guests walk all over them? It’s the wrong thing, but you’re in the wrong because I have to be. It has to be that way.
[00:08:50] Braeden Rhys: I wasn’t comfortable being part of that machine. So, my climbing the ladder to hotel manager became a very short-lived career. Once I got to the driver’s seat and decided, you know what? Hotels aren’t for me, but I can definitely support an industry that I was passionate about and do the things that are right for the business, that stand by the principles of.
[00:09:14] Braeden Rhys: You know, truthful, honesty, positive experiences, treating your staff with respect, but also coming at the businesses from the notion that you’re allowing these things to get by, that are causing more damage than good. And people don’t want to be part of something that’s not positive or adding value. So that’s where I get that lesson of the customer isn’t always right.
[00:09:35] Robert Hossary: I labelled myself a sales profession. And that lesson, was drummed into me. Well, the, the antithesis of that lesson, the customer is always right. Was drummed into me from my early career, but I soon realized exactly what you’re saying.
[00:09:54] Robert Hossary: And only when I got to the stage where I was in charge, that I understood you can fire a customer.
[00:10:01] Braeden Rhys: Yeah.
[00:10:02] Robert Hossary: And people don’t get that. You know, you don’t have to service every client. If they’re not suitable for your organization, fire them. So, if they’re going to continue to complain while they’re in the wrong, then I don’t want to deal with that.
[00:10:18] Robert Hossary: So, well done, and I totally agree. The customer isn’t always right, ladies and gentlemen. Don’t have to put up with, we don’t have to put up with that. Not anymore.
[00:10:28] Braeden Rhys: No. And it definitely, when you take on a client that wants to be the stick in the mud or they don’t want to contribute to the process, I’m no stranger to having those types of clients.
[00:10:39] Braeden Rhys: I’ve had many of them and I have been in a position where I’ve had to fire clients. It’s not the most comfortable experience to have because they’ve come to you for help. But at the end of the day, if they’re not. wanting to be part of the process and not to acknowledge the problem or the elephant in the room.
[00:10:55] Braeden Rhys: Sometimes the only way to help them is to let them go. and I’ve had to do that quite a lot throughout my career, but I guess the good thing that comes in when you remove those people or you remove that sort of toxic energy from yourself and your business is the fact that you allow space for positive to come forward.
[00:11:14] Braeden Rhys: So, it’s always kind of good to remember that, you know, while the customer isn’t always right, there will be a customer that will be part of the process and respect the process and contribute in a way that’s positive.
[00:11:26] Robert Hossary: It’s a very valuable lesson, Braeden. It’s a very understated, lesson.
[00:11:34] Robert Hossary: People just don’t get it because they’re still caught up in the old mantra, but I think it’s very powerful. I think it’s very valuable and people, you need to listen to this.

[00:11:44] Lesson 2: Authenticity is Your Superpower

[00:11:44] Robert Hossary: all right, well, let’s move on to lesson number two. because I think it’s you to a T.
[00:11:49] Robert Hossary: Lesson number two, authenticity is your superpower. Talk to me about that.
[00:11:55] Braeden Rhys: I denied who I was because the world around me was telling me I needed to fit in. Going back to the Dr. Seuss quote, you know, it’s, it reigns true that I was doing the absolute opposite. I thought I had to fit in to stand out. and in that moment, I thought How do I fit in in a world that doesn’t accept me?
[00:12:20] Braeden Rhys: I was lost in myself. I was lost in my sense of self, my sense of belonging. I was questioning all of it. And this is back when I’m in my, early teens, trying to work out who am I going to be in the world? Who do I want to be? And, and what do I, what legacy do I want to leave behind? These were things I was thinking.
[00:12:37] Braeden Rhys: Very early on, and I entered the doctrine, so I became indoctrinated into the Christian Anglican community, and for me at that time, I had a lot of people saying who you are is not acceptable. who you say you think you are on the inside doesn’t fit with us, so you need to get rid of that because that’s toxic, that’s bad.
[00:12:57] Braeden Rhys: And that feeling for me was the fact that I knew that I wasn’t straight or identified as heterosexual. I identify as a homosexual and I’m very passionate about that. But back then I questioned it a lot because the people I was around were saying it’s not okay if you go down this path. God doesn’t love you, you’re not involved, whatever.
[00:13:19] Braeden Rhys: But back when I was a youth minister, I honestly thought I could pray the gay away. and what I mean by that is I thought if I stayed true to what the world said I needed to be, all the people in my world at that time were saying I needed to be, I would…
[00:13:33] Braeden Rhys: Miraculously be heterosexual all of a sudden. And I would belong to this community of people that say they don’t judge other people, which I very quickly worked out. It was very judgmental. So, I had a lot of kids telling me that they didn’t know where they fit in, and they were coming out to me and.
[00:13:52] Braeden Rhys: It became this situation where it became a mirror. These kids were reflecting who I knew I was on the inside and how I was feeling about myself, but I’m getting told by the church, you can’t be that way. And then I’m being told by the church, help the kids understand to be themselves so they can be their most authentic self.
[00:14:10] Braeden Rhys: And same time being told the complete opposite for myself. So, I eventually, it became enough was enough. I had to Have those conversations with myself and with my family that are very supportive and still are to this day and they know everything about me and have been part of every journey. But it’s a moment in time where I had to stand up for myself and go, look, you want me to be this certain way, but that’s not appropriate for me because if I do that, that’s not authentic.
[00:14:40] Braeden Rhys: That’s not who I am. And that’s making me change myself to fit your narrative. And so, I left the church. Well, more luck a better way of putting it, I was dismissed from the church and my, my working as a youth minister. And so, I had this identity crisis. Where do I fit? I’ve gone from a community that was supportive and loved me as long as I did what they said I had to do, to being banished.
[00:15:04] Braeden Rhys: from this life in this community outside the family unit. My, like I said, my family is very supportive. They may have gone to church with me, may have not, some did, some didn’t, but their unwavering support and love for me has always continued to be a thing. And so, I’m very lucky to have support within the family unit.
[00:15:23] Braeden Rhys: But outside that, there’s a big question mark over my head as to who am I in the world and, and who do I want to be? And so, not the most conventional route to take, but, I decided to throw myself into the queer community and embrace all of its colours and, and all of its life and all of its debauchery, for lack of a better way of putting it, and became a male sex worker where I dabbled in many different things very quickly.
[00:15:52] Braeden Rhys: If I could snort it, if I could lick it, if I could ride it, if I could meet it. I did it. in a very short period of time. And got to know more about myself through those experiences than watching what I saw on TV that said all gays are going to get HIV and die. At that point in time, that’s what the media was spinning.
[00:16:12] Braeden Rhys: That if you were gay… You’re going to get sick, you’re going to die, or you cover yourself in glitter and you parade down the main street of Oxford Street in Sydney and do the Mardi Gras and have sex with anyone that’s in it. Like, the media was projecting this image that my family was subjected to.
[00:16:27] Braeden Rhys: And so, they were scared because they only knew what they saw on TV. I only knew what I saw on TV up until the moment that I went out there and went, oh hang on, there are subgroups here. You don’t have to be all of it. You can be one of it, or not any of it. And so. Throughout that experience. I very quickly learned who I wanted to be and that came in many forms because I became the sex worker under the name Jet.
[00:16:55] Braeden Rhys: I became the drag queen under the name Kara Zmatiq, that sings and, and does weddings and corporate functions. Mind you, the drag career started at Stonewall on a Sunday in a little event called Polly’s Follies where all of the drag queens, all the baby drag queens, people that have just entered the world of entertainment and I wanted to throw on a frock and a wig, performed on a Sunday and that’s where my first exposure to that part of theatre and art and performance, became a thing and I loved it.
[00:17:24] Braeden Rhys: So, I knew I was always into music and theatre when I was younger and always played instruments and sang, but I never thought I would end up putting all of that together. In a community that celebrates it and embraces it, as art and theatre, it’s okay to dress up in drag if that’s what you want to do.
[00:17:42] Braeden Rhys: But I also learned that many people did it for different reasons. And so, I got to see different people’s takes on their truth and who they wanted to be. and I kind of learned by doing. Both physically and mentally, as a sex worker, as a drag queen, I was doing a lot of different things. But throughout that journey, I met so many people of different ages, backgrounds, cultures, and I asked questions because I wanted to know what set them apart.
[00:18:11] Braeden Rhys: Who they were as an artist or who they were as a person and how they adapted that to their lives, their careers. And that’s kind of where I learned how to apply who I am to my businesses and my brands by. Embracing all of me, but breaking it into smaller parts, because there’s, there’s so much going on.
[00:18:31] Braeden Rhys: There’s the creative me, there’s the business guru me, there’s the, you know, branding nerd. then you’ve also got me currently studying law. So, you add all that together and you’ve got this book nerd that likes to throw out a pair of heels and a wig and perform and sing at weddings and functions.
[00:18:49] Braeden Rhys: But then you’ve got this guy that’s quite an introvert. And I’m learning to break out of that shell, as I get older, which is good. So, you wouldn’t think I’d be an introvert, but I definitely am.
[00:19:00] Robert Hossary: I was just about to say, I, can’t see how you could be an introvert when you’re performing.
[00:19:07] Braeden Rhys: Yeah, when I put the mirror, when I’ve got that mask on and you’ve got the costume on, you embrace a completely different side of yourself.
[00:19:14] Robert Hossary: Yeah, no, I understand that.
[00:19:16] Braeden Rhys: You’ve got that mask on and it’s very easy to adopt a character and be out there and creative. But then when I wash it all off and I just like want to crawl into a hole with a book and a bit of music or, you know, jump on, and watch Netflix.
[00:19:31] Robert Hossary: Well, let me, let me ask you. because I understand your journey and your discovery of what authenticity is and how you applied it.
[00:19:41] Robert Hossary: How do our listeners apply authenticity? How do, how do they turn their authenticity into a superpower?
[00:19:49] Braeden Rhys: I think the best way to Tackle authenticity for yourself is not to copy other people. It’s very, it’s easier said than done because when I was younger, I was what my friends at the time were referring to as a chameleon.
[00:20:05] Braeden Rhys: I would go into one friendship group a certain way or behave a certain way or have certain conversations and then walk into another group of people and mirror their conversations and their energies and everyone would know me for different reasons. What I think the listeners need to take away from that is that when you do that, the moment you make a mistake, when you walk into group number two with group number one’s energy thinking, oh yeah, I’m in the right place.
[00:20:30] Braeden Rhys: And you’re like, oh shit, I’ve got the wrong outfit on. And they’re like, we don’t know this version of you. That is when I think the worlds collided for me, where I realized very earlier on. If I’m going to be authentic and be myself, I need to unapologetically be myself. It sounds easier than, it’s easier said than done, and because for that people will either accept you for you, or they will project their insecurities onto you, which I have experienced, where they will say,
[00:21:01] Braeden Rhys: You don’t fit in here. You’re wrong. I’m right. Rah, rah, rah. And it usually comes out of two places. Fear. Or misinformation or misunderstanding. And people will project that fear onto you and make it sound like you’re the problem because you’re not them or you’re not mirroring who they are. But then you get the people in your life that see you for you and don’t want you to change you.
[00:21:28] Braeden Rhys: Those people are the right people for you. And for me, and when I was discovering who I wanted to be, I had to make a hard call in my life with family, some of them. And with friends, who I thought were friends, and cut them from who, from being around me and being involved with me, which sounds quite brutal in a way.
[00:21:54] Braeden Rhys: But for me, it was the best thing I could do for myself, because if people are not there to support you and sing your praises and back you a hundred percent, and they want to change you all the time, and you know in yourself and in your heart that I’m doing what I feel is right for me, then those people that don’t want to just accept you as you are not the right people for you.
[00:22:17] Braeden Rhys: And I’ve cut family out of my life that weren’t there to support me, that judged my sexuality. I haven’t spoken to them for years, but again, I don’t need the negative energy in my life. And if they’re not there to support me, then… They have no place.
[00:22:32] Robert Hossary: Well, that’s one of your other lessons. We’ll get to that one.
[00:22:36] Robert Hossary: Yeah. But you’re absolutely right. So, ladies and gentlemen, authenticity, from my understanding, from what Braeden’s saying, authenticity is exactly what he said. Be who you are. Be who, be who you are in the mirror. That’s who you are. You know, learn to love that person, and bring that person out. Because trying to please everyone, you’re going to end up pleasing no one, including yourself.
[00:23:08] Braeden Rhys: And it runs you into the ground.
[00:23:10] Robert Hossary: People, this is the nub of authenticity. Understanding who you are and accepting it. And the good, the bad, the ugly, accept all of it and work on it. by the way, none of it is either good, bad, or ugly.
[00:23:25] Robert Hossary: It is what it is. It’s up to you to accept it, or change it, or embrace it. it’s as simple as that. Now, I love that, and being authentic is so important to a lot of people. It took me a long time, Braeden.

[00:23:40] Lesson 3: Craft Your Personal Brand

[00:23:40] Robert Hossary: Well, let’s move on to lesson number three, craft your personal brand.
[00:23:45] Robert Hossary: Now, as a PR guru, as a marketing, you know, specialist, I’m sure that you, you have a reason for this, but crafting your personal brand is lesson number three.
[00:23:55] Braeden Rhys: Yep. Crafting a personal brand. It’s a calling card. For me, it’s a calling card. it’s important, I guess, for, for anyone with their own brand to work out who, what that is.
[00:24:06] Braeden Rhys: I’ve created multiple brands. with that process, being able to… Each brand shine individually was hard because it’s still me. Like there’s the escort version of me. there’s the drag queen version of me, and then there’s the business version of me. And then I’ve gone and created companies off the back of my own personal brand.
[00:24:26] Braeden Rhys: in that process itself, knowing yourself and applying those particular parts of who you want to identify as. I guess, for me and how I do it is wearing your heart on your sleeve. I wear things about myself on my sleeve and they’re front and centre. And one thing that reigns true with me, which I used to think was a negative, was people saying you’re very shrewd.
[00:24:47] Braeden Rhys: And I thought, oh, is that a negative or is that a positive? Like do I own that word, or do I push against that word and go, hmm, But the more I looked into that word, I eventually worked out that, you know what, it’s actually a good thing. Because I basically call a spade a spade and that’s part of who I am as a professional and it’s very much who I am as a person.
[00:25:08] Braeden Rhys: I denied that part of myself and just, you know, wanted to be the people pleaser, tell people what they want to hear. But the best thing I did for myself in crafting my own brand has been becoming known for being shrewd.
[00:25:21] Braeden Rhys: I straddle this fine line of wearing your heart on your sleeve and interpreting people for, for who they are and for understanding who they are, but with my personal brand itself.
[00:25:32] Braeden Rhys: It’s always been about making that character truthful and honest, even as a drag performer. The parts of that for me in my brand as Kara Zmatiq are more feministic and more approachable. I’m way more approachable in drag than what I am on the street in a suit if you met me.
[00:25:52] Braeden Rhys: Then you got me as Braeden, outside drag, and they’re like, oh, he’s very Sharp, direct, shrewd. If I ask a question and I want an honest answer, I’m going to get it. but do I really want it? Am I ready to hear it? And so, I’ve crafted a brand on that alone. And so, for me, creating a brand for both me as a professional and me as a drag queen and as a businessman has all been based on each one of my brands having their own unique characters and values, but more importantly, they’re all me.
[00:26:27] Braeden Rhys: And these brands all have a personal connection to who I am and, and who I am as a person.
[00:26:32] Robert Hossary: So, in your case, you’ve got multiple brands because you’ve got multiple businesses and multiple endeavours for our listeners. What does crafting a personal brand mean? How do they go ahead and craft their own personal brand?
[00:26:49] Braeden Rhys: Your values. So, who you want to identify as a person and your values. For me as a drag queen, it was values of creativity and passion and flamboyance and unapologetically being as gay and as camp as I possibly can be. letting your pride flag, fly and shine. Like that’s what it’s all about.
[00:27:06] Braeden Rhys: Glitters and confetti. Glitter cannon, explosion, that’s Kara Zmatiq. that’s a brand in itself, but it’s something that I wouldn’t do every day. I’m much more reserved. So, it’s knowing the values that you hold dear to yourself. And wanting to understand those values for you as a person,
[00:27:22] Braeden Rhys: if you want to be known as the person that people could go to for honest opinion, then project that. If you want to be the person that’s inviting and warm and supportive and has that more counsellor, cry on my shoulder, I’m your best friend, then project that and you’ll get the people that want that in return.
[00:27:39] Braeden Rhys: So, your personal brand is very much driven by your values. I’ve applied each aspect of myself that I’ve created to the personal brand.
[00:27:47] Robert Hossary: No, I love it. And that’s an excellent answer because that’s exactly what you need to do for a personal brand. Live your values. That brand will create itself.
[00:27:57] Robert Hossary: If you live your values and you’re authentic and people get to know you, then that is your brand. So, a great answer. I love it.


[00:28:04] Lesson 4: The Power of “No Learn to say “no” when necessary.

[00:28:04] Robert Hossary: All right, let’s go to lesson number four, which when I read this, I went, you know what, this is, this is linked to lesson number one. lesson number four, the power of no.
[00:28:15] Braeden Rhys: Exactly. This is a hard one because you never want to say no, generally speaking, because it’s a confrontational word in some respect, or it’s not what people want to hear. You know, people will respond positively to yes. even when you learn sales psychology or you go down the path, you want people to be in green brain or red brain.
[00:28:35] Braeden Rhys: and in this process of saying no, especially when it’s necessary, the power of saying no gives you more power in yourself because you’re taking control of a situation. You’re putting yourself in the driver’s seat to confidently go in yourself, you know what, I don’t agree with this. And I don’t accept this as being true to who I am and what I stand for.
[00:28:59] Braeden Rhys: And so being able to say no, whatever it might be, and you know that in yourself the answer is no, it’s not just ah flippantly no, it’s like if I feel it in my gut and my instincts are saying this is wrong, I cannot continue because I’m denying myself, then the power of no is very powerful.
[00:29:18] Robert Hossary: and what I mean by that, it frees you to focus on what truly matters, is because in my life, I was in the church community.
[00:29:26] Braeden Rhys: I was in a religious community that was denying me, and I wanted to be my authentic self. And in that process, I stood up for myself. I had the vivaciousness and confidence at that point to go, you know what, enough is enough. I’m going to be me, and if that’s not good enough for you, well then I’m sorry, you are a no, you have no space in my life, and that allowed me to take a journey where I could be my authentic self and explore who I was as a person, without fear.
[00:29:55] Braeden Rhys: So, no is a very powerful word.
[00:29:58] Robert Hossary: Well, let me just clarify that we’re not talking, we’re not talking about just saying no, because we’re all taught, as you pointed out in sales and psychology, it’s a yes and, answer that we all need to do. We’re not talking about just rejection; we’re talking about being true to your values.
[00:30:20] Robert Hossary: Again, everything seems to be linked back to authenticity and values. So, the power of no that you’re talking about is knowing how You say no to a situation that you don’t agree with, that goes against your values, absolutely. Against your grain.
[00:30:37] Braeden Rhys: This particular place itself is internal. It’s an internal, no. Yeah. It’s that guttural response to a situation where you go, this is wrong, where you instinctively know. With a K! The answer is no. So, absolutely. It’s a guttural response.
[00:30:57] Robert Hossary: Excellent. And I agree with, that. it’s not something to be confused.
[00:31:02] Robert Hossary: this is to our audience; you need to understand the difference. and you need to understand what Braeden has just said. So, please, feel free to rewind and listen to all this again. and I would recommend you do that anyway, because a lot of these lessons are pretty deep.

[00:31:17] Lesson 5: Banish Toxic Influences

[00:31:17] Robert Hossary: All right, let’s go to lesson number five.
[00:31:20] Robert Hossary: And this goes back to what you were saying earlier, banish toxic influences.
[00:31:25] Braeden Rhys: Yeah, and again, going back to what I said earlier, it’s surrounding yourself with positive people, removing toxic people who drain your energy to hinder your growth. I, like I said earlier, I cut family off. People think that that’s like, oh my god, I can’t believe you did that.
[00:31:40] Braeden Rhys: But the, I, put it in perspective of the fact that these people in your family have always said they loved you and supported you. and then as you get older, you identify as someone of the LGBTQI plus community. All of a sudden, your family in some respect refuses to support you or accept you because why would you do this?
[00:32:00] Braeden Rhys: And we don’t support you if you’re going to be that way. that was very draining for me. Because it didn’t matter what I said or, you know, you were always there for me as my auntie in the past and you were raising me and things like that. And this is a real situation because they weren’t about it or they didn’t accept it.
[00:32:18] Braeden Rhys: And they kept pushing those views and opinions on me, but I already knew by that point, and I had gone through what I had gone through and I’m, but they weren’t happy that I was happy. And so, it was in that moment where I needed to let that energy go. and I did give them the choice. I’m like, you loved me before.
[00:32:37] Braeden Rhys: If you can’t love me now, then I’m sorry. There is no space for you in my life. And I haven’t spoken to those family members for a very long time. but again, if you look at friendships I had, I had friendships that were wanting something out of me. Like they weren’t genuinely there. These were people that Looked at me and went, he’s going somewhere, I want to ride on his coattails.
[00:32:59] Braeden Rhys: And it wasn’t an element of give and take or a balanced relationship. These were people that thought they could benefit. And only were always take, take, take. It didn’t matter how much I gave to them. There was never any sort of reciprocation. Not that I sought that from anybody, but they became this leech of an energy where they just wanted to take and would expect it.
[00:33:23] Braeden Rhys: And so it was in those situations that I worked out that these people were also not the right people for me because they weren’t uplifting me, they weren’t trying to inspire me, they weren’t supporting me or standing by me as much as I stood by them when they had issues. I’d be there for them, and I would go, look, I’m your friend, I’m here to support you, but when I was is in trouble.
[00:33:45] Braeden Rhys: they weren’t there. So, I very quickly learned that having toxic influences was very draining. And I went from having quite a large friendship circle to just a few key people now. But the key people I have in my life now support me to the end of the world. We see each other equally and there’s no judgment and we cry on each other’s shoulders, and we hear each other’s stories.
[00:34:12] Braeden Rhys: We go through the pains together, but we look to the positive for each other and we uplift each other. We, we, we’re there for each other and they’re very positive influences.
[00:34:24] Robert Hossary: And that’s very, very important. We had a guest, I think in our first season, André Alphonso. and André had, one of his lessons was banish psychic vampires, which is exactly what you’re talking about.
[00:34:37] Robert Hossary: People who just suck the energy out. you go a little deeper than that because the people, that you want to get rid of those toxic influences, as you said, they, they take, I’m a giver. You’re a giver. I mean, I, I don’t want anything in return. I want to give back as much as I can, but we’ve all got limits.
[00:35:00] Robert Hossary: And if someone keeps taking, taking, taking, and not giving, you’re a human being, you reach that limit and you go, you know what? Enough.
[00:35:08] Robert Hossary: I’m right with you. Get rid of those toxic influences in your life. Because you’ll find that it’s going to make your life much, much better.

[00:35:18] Affiliate Break

[00:35:18] Robert Hossary: We’re going to take a quick break now, and we’d like to thank our affiliate partner Audible.
[00:35:23] Robert Hossary: Audible is an amazing way to consume 10 lessons learned and books and other podcasts, allowing you to build a library of knowledge all in the one place. You can start your free 30-day trial by going to audible trial.com/ With Audible, you can find your favorite lessons while at home or on the go.
[00:35:43] Robert Hossary: Once again, you go to audibletrial. com/10lessonslearned, all lowercase for your free 30-day trial. The link will be in the show notes.


[00:35:54] Lesson 6: Humble Beginnings Lead to Greatness Stay humble and grounded.

[00:35:54] Robert Hossary: So, our guest today is Braeden Rhys, entrepreneur, performer, CEO. Braeden, all these lessons so far have been fantastic. So, your lesson number six sort of builds on that.
[00:36:08] Robert Hossary: And it shows me, at least, that the humility that you have is part of your authenticity. So, lesson number six, humble beginnings lead to greatness.
[00:36:19] Braeden Rhys: They do. And I would be lying if I said I was lacking humility I was definitely that person that did not stay humble. I definitely wasn’t grounded.
[00:36:32] Braeden Rhys: I was flitting all over the place, changing myself to fit in with people. And at the same time was like, yeah, I won an award, look at me. And that didn’t get me very far as much as I thought it was. I thought you had to flaunt your success to get somewhere, but people don’t like that. And I very quickly learned that that sort of thing was so ego driven and, and
[00:36:56] Braeden Rhys: I had to stop and reflect on that because I had people that were like, you don’t need to rub our face in it. We know you’re successful. We know you’re creative. The people that know of it will gravitate towards you. You don’t need to ram it down our throat. And I was that person that thought they had to, you know, wear all these achievements, like a badge of honour and go out there and brag about it.
[00:37:21] Braeden Rhys: But. The moments I’ve had to get where I have gotten in my life, even though I won those things and did those things, what I need to remember and what I do remember now and what I reflect on is where I came from. There’s this essence of humility that comes from understanding where you came from. I came from nothing.
[00:37:40] Braeden Rhys: I came from a situation where I was denying myself and had supportive family, which I’m very lucky to have. But at the same time, I took all that for granted because I had a family that was so supportive. supportive. My parents are supportive. I’m an only child. They’ve always supported me. They’ve always been there through good, bad, the ugly, and, and every version thereof.
[00:38:02] Braeden Rhys: But there’s a part of it where my achievements were starting to be something that I was… professing all the time. But for me, what was important was to not to do that for myself. It’s like, yeah, I did that. That’s a tick for me. That’s a win, but I don’t need to harp on about it. And the other side of it as well is to always, like I said, remember where you came from, because if I, I do find value in the fact that if you go back to where you came from and remember that you came from somewhere of a trial or a tribulation or a place of trauma.
[00:38:35] Braeden Rhys: And you’ve come out the other side of that. Remember that there were people along the way that helped you get there. Remember that you didn’t do this by yourself. And to inspire others to follow that same journey, to remember that you’re not alone in this world, that you have gotten to where you are because you put yourself out there.
[00:38:54] Braeden Rhys: But there were people along the way that sang your praises and supported you. Remember where you came from is the foundation for success. And it’s, it’s something that I know is very true to me because I can’t just turn around and say on face value, I did all this by myself because I didn’t. Without my family support, I wouldn’t have gotten here.
[00:39:15] Braeden Rhys: Without my education, I wouldn’t be here. Without the people I met, I wouldn’t have created what I’ve created. But because they were there and those moments that appeared and those people were not Sucking the energy out of me, they were there to support, and we supported each other. I’ve gotten to where I’ve gotten so far in my career and my life because of these people.
[00:39:34] Braeden Rhys: And because, like on this podcast show, I’m on 10 Lessons Learned. They’re part of the journey. You’re part of the journey. So, it’s though, it’s recognizing that there are people in your path and people you meet. And that’s what takes you to success.
[00:39:49] Robert Hossary: It’s very important to know that. It’s very important never to forget, where you came from.
[00:39:56] Robert Hossary: It’s also very important to remember very clearly as part of the same lesson that nobody cares. what you did five years ago. So, by hanging that shingle up and saying, look, here’s an award that I won in 1990. And you’re talking to someone who won a national award in 1993. Who cares? Who even remembers that besides me?
[00:40:23] Robert Hossary: So, all your past successes, great, fantastic. They, you build on those to give you the skills you need to do what you do today. But nobody cares. You know, don’t, don’t hold them up and think that you’re important because of something you’ve done in the past. Be humble. Remember where you came from. Just like Braeden said.
[00:40:46] Robert Hossary: That is a wonderful lesson, Braeden. Wonderful.

[00:40:49] Lesson 7: Creativity Fuels Innovation Cultivate your creative spark.

[00:40:49] Robert Hossary: Lesson number seven. Creativity fuels innovation. You will get no argument from me, but I’m really interested in your story behind this.
[00:40:58] Braeden Rhys: So, for me, how I connected myself to my career and my brands, I was the different people struggling with their marketing and created a brand off the back of my escort career. that helps them with the marketing and the advertising.
[00:41:13] Braeden Rhys: The drag persona me was a part of me with my creativity, creating a character for myself because I just wanted to perform. I was doing it for me. I originally did not set out to be a drag queen for other people’s entertainment, although I was working as an entertainer. I just missed the stage. And so, as Kara Zmatiq I embarked on that journey of just having an outlet, an opportunity to sing and perform and creatively let loose rather than being this stiff marketing PR person.
[00:41:45] Braeden Rhys: And that creativity allowed me to be free and have a sense of freedom. But in that process, Kara Zmatiq very quickly turned into a brand and a business, which is now weddings and corporate functions.
[00:41:59] Braeden Rhys: is something that I was passionate about because not many performers out there to go, hey, we’ll give you a stage, we’ll give you an opportunity. And so, I created this production show. It’s called Soiree Cabaret Productions that allows dancers and circus performers and singers and other variety acts to be part of a show that I created that they can showcase their talent in.
[00:42:24] Braeden Rhys: Now, that came from drag just because I wanted to perform, and I enjoyed it. But it, you know, it’s not what I set out to do, but the creativity there innovated a business. And that show now is a corporate thing and a festival thing. And we did a show for World Pride and there’s another few booked for next year.
[00:42:43] Braeden Rhys: And it’s been a success. And I’ve been able to, I guess, provide a spotlight for people that are aspiring performers to be part. of something as a creative community that supports each other. And then the marketer in me just wanted to challenge the status quo and be part of businesses from the outside without rose coloured glasses.
[00:43:04] Braeden Rhys: And that’s where Access Global came into existence because I wanted to help businesses and people live their most authentic selves, but also create businesses that they’re passionate about.
[00:43:15] Braeden Rhys: that led to the creation of Axis Global, where I can still be the marketer within the, what people would say is the real world, as opposed to the adult industry, which, you know, is a bit taboo and, and not the everyday for some people. But out of that creativity of creating a character and Kara Zmatiq and the brands, what has reigned true across all of it is the fact that I’m still Braeden.
[00:43:40] Braeden Rhys: And.
[00:43:42] Braeden Rhys: That’s where I believe creativity fuels innovation because your creativity still has to be connected to who you are as a person. You can’t create something if you’re not passionate about it and your creations won’t be successful if you’re not passionate about it, because in order to create something, you’ve got to be passionate about it because that’s where the driving force comes from.
[00:44:01] Robert Hossary: it’s that love of, and that passion. that will then not only create, but the creation will then fuel the innovation. How do I make it better? How do I move it forward? How do I get it out to more people? And it gets, it’s all connected, but it’s all connected back to authenticity, which I love.
[00:44:21] Robert Hossary: I think this is great. All right. thank you for that, Braeden.

[00:44:25] Lesson 8: Own Your Sexuality and strength.

[00:44:25] Robert Hossary: Lesson number eight is a bit controversial. I’m thinking, yeah, okay, but I’ll wait for your comments on it. So, lesson, number eight, own your sexuality.
[00:44:37] Braeden Rhys: This one kind of comes with a disclaimer, I think, and it’s only because, it’s only because I controversially approached this and my parents, I think, you know, God love them as, as lovely and as supportive as they are, mum said never to do anything by halves, and I honestly think I probably took that too, literally.
[00:44:57] Braeden Rhys: with my experiences and what I’ve done in my life but owning your sexuality for me was really important because I denied it, and it was part of me and it’s part of everybody. But for me, I probably took it really literally because for me to understand my sexuality, I became a sex worker. I’m not saying that you have to do that to own your sexuality.
[00:45:18] Braeden Rhys: That’s only if you feel you need to, your own identity. For me, I just want to be identified as Braeden, and for me, that’s enough. I don’t need the label. but in terms of my sexuality, for me, it was important for me to look at it from different perspectives.
[00:45:32] Braeden Rhys: And as a sex worker, I met young people, older people, people that were in their 70s, 80s, that had gone through… The riots, overseas in the U. S. through the queer community riots. We’ve got the, the, the campaigns when Mardi Gras wasn’t a thing. It was a march. It was a protest. And… You know, in those moments, I met these people and had these conversations and they explained to me what owning their sexuality meant to them, to be unique and authentically them, and to own it, to own their sexuality as a beautiful part of who they are.
[00:46:07] Braeden Rhys: But own the sexuality from a place of confidence and strength. There’s a lot of people out there that would say, you know, they have different views and perspectives on whether being straight’s right, whether gay’s right, whether transgender is right. It’s what’s right for the person. And it’s not so much about what the world says you need to be, which is going back to that Dr.
[00:46:27] Braeden Rhys: Seuss quote of why fit in when you are born to stand out.
[00:46:31] Robert Hossary: So, for me, owning my sexuality means more than just the physicality or, or the, the person that I’m attracted to. For me, it’s more about my head space and how I value myself as an individual. And it’s not the projected views of other people. And how they perceive my sexuality should be.
[00:46:50] Braeden Rhys: For me, it’s about my personal identity. And a lot of strength and confidence comes from owning my personal identity. And, you know if that comes with glitter, great. If that comes with a little bit of eyeliner and some makeup, perfect. But at the end of the day, it’s your own sexuality, and it’s something that shouldn’t really be challenged or a conversation.
[00:47:12] Braeden Rhys: And I hope the world changes. as we go ahead in life.
[00:47:16] Robert Hossary: Yeah, look, I’m with you. I, I hope they change too. for me, if I may, this lesson, for me is a metaphor and it’s pretty much what you said right at the end. Own your identity, again, it comes back to authenticity. I mean, I understand.
[00:47:31] Robert Hossary: in your community, in your world, why this is an important topic. I totally get that. it just doesn’t resonate with me because it’s not, it’s not an issue, um, that I have. However, as a metaphor for being my own person, absolutely, totally understand what you’re saying. I understand the importance to you, and I understand how I can now apply it to me.
[00:47:58] Robert Hossary: That’s what 10 lessons is all about. Take from the lessons, what you need to take and apply them in your life. Some of the lessons don’t apply. I mean, we’ve had 120 episodes. Some of them, some lessons out of those 1, 200 lessons that we’ve had won’t apply. That’s fine. That’s perfectly okay.
[00:48:20] Robert Hossary: But it’s the wisdom behind it. so, I understand what you’re saying. I absolutely agree. It’s very important to own your sexuality, own your identity, but own who you are and be, again, authentic to that.


[00:48:37] Lesson 9: Write Your Future Take control of your destiny.

[00:48:37] Robert Hossary: All right, lesson number nine, I love. I just love this one. I just wish I had done it a long, long time ago.
[00:48:45] Robert Hossary: Lesson number nine. Write your future.
[00:48:49] Braeden Rhys: Correct. And that comes in many forms. it’s education, it’s relationships, it’s direction, it’s setting a clear goal for yourself and knowing that You can determine your own future. it’s a statement there in itself that determine your own future. I went to a primary school, kindergarten to year six in St.
[00:49:09] Braeden Rhys: Helens Park in, in Sydney, Australia, that had that as the school motto. Determine your own future. Now, I probably took that too literally, with everything I have done. But again, you know, I was one to go, you know, I don’t do things by halves. I’m that person that’s all in or not at all. And so, writing your own future and taking control of your destiny and determining your own future and working out.
[00:49:36] Braeden Rhys: Who you want to be and how you want to get there and setting those clear goals or having a clear vision for how you want to get there and what you want to achieve. And, persevering through it. Very early on, I was that kid that was like, Oh, it’s too hard. I then had, like I said, really supportive family and I still do.
[00:49:54] Braeden Rhys: They were championing me along the way, making sure that I stayed on track, And I’m lucky to have that sort of family, but if you don’t have family like that, you may have friends, you may have work colleagues. There’re people there that are championing you on, and then keep them in your circle because they are your, your army, they’re your fans.
[00:50:15] Robert Hossary: They’re your cheer squad.
[00:50:16] Braeden Rhys: So, keep them there in the wings.
[00:50:17] Braeden Rhys: Exactly, your cheerleaders even. So, you know, they’re the people that are your biggest fans out there singing your praises and driving you forward. Definitely shaping your future through determination. There are many different things where I could have been steered off course and I’ve gone through both physical trauma and mental trauma earlier on.
[00:50:37] Braeden Rhys: I’ve had very toxic romantic relationships that I had to navigate. I’ve had difficulties with clients in a business when I first started, and I’ve had family that questioned me.
[00:50:49] Robert Hossary: Geez, Braeden, it sounds like you’re human.
[00:50:51] Braeden Rhys: Yeah. I know, right? And I think that’s really important to own the fact that we are, that if we sit back and go, look, I’m not invincible, this is going to be hard.
[00:51:03] Braeden Rhys: Life is not easy. But if I stick at it, if I work hard, if I am determined enough to achieve what I want to achieve, I will get there. If I set clear visions and goals for myself and I tick them off as I go, break the big goals into smaller pieces. If I did that at a younger age, who knows where I’d be today.
[00:51:24] Braeden Rhys: But I’ve had a lot of, you know, difficult situations to get to where I am now, and I’ve learned from those. And there, things I probably had to go through, karmic lessons, life lessons, but to get there, there were goals that I ticked off as I went through them. I never made the same mistake twice. And that’s another thing to kind of keep a little book about, I guess, as you go through your career and through your life is to take note.
[00:51:49] Braeden Rhys: I stuffed up here on this day and I did this. So, when you go through life, you’re like, hang on a minute, I’m, I’m on track. I’m working hard. I’ve got a clear vision of my goals and where I want to be in my life to shape my future, determine my future, write my future, control my destiny. Don’t do that again.
[00:52:07] Braeden Rhys: Don’t do that mistake again. Reflecting on that, and I still keep a little book where I write down, you know, these are the things I’ve done wrong. Don’t do that again. And remembering to use those as tools, not to like bash yourself up over. It’s not about going, oh, I made a mistake. I’m defeated. It’s learn from the mistake.
[00:52:27] Robert Hossary: Yep.
[00:52:27] Braeden Rhys: And. You know, apply that to your goal or your career or your personal life.
[00:52:34] Braeden Rhys: All right, well, let’s move on to lesson number 10. The 10th and final lesson.

[00:52:38] Lesson 10: Embrace Change with Open Arms.

[00:52:38] Robert Hossary: Lesson number 10. Embrace change with open arms. I absolutely agree with that. over to you, Braeden.
[00:52:48] Braeden Rhys: For me. My life and my career has been constant change and I could either sit back and just go, oh, well, I’m not going to evolve.
[00:52:57] Braeden Rhys: I’m not going to, you know, develop my skills and change my trajectory just because I feel that where I am is enough. I don’t believe there’s ever a time when us in life, and I’m only in my thirties. And for me, I look at my career and go, I’ve changed so much, but I’ve embraced those changes.
[00:53:17] Braeden Rhys: I could have easily stayed the, the sex worker and looked at all the people around me and went, you know what, you need help. I’m sure you’ll find it. But instead, I went, you know what, I’m going to upskill myself and help these people because They trust me, they respect me, and I genuinely want to help these people.
[00:53:36] Braeden Rhys: There was a genuine desire to help others. And that’s what led to the creation of Sweet Release. And Axis Global was backed off my career early on in marketing, wanting to make changes in an industry. It wouldn’t let me because I was too part of the machine, and then stepped out of it and came back and went, Okay, now I’ll make some positive changes.
[00:53:57] Braeden Rhys: So It allowed me to grow my career and grow who I am by looking at my life as I got older and more mature in my decisions without just sitting in the corner or, you know, best way to probably put it is I used to go out clubbing every weekend and see the same people at the same clubs, drinking the same alcohol, listening to the same music, watching the same drag show.
[00:54:23] Braeden Rhys: And that got boring. But then, I took a gap for like, maybe five, six years, and then went back to the same club. The same people, listening to the same music, drinking the same drink, watching the same show, are still there. Those people haven’t embraced change. They haven’t evolved. They, they like where they are, and they’re comfortable where they are.
[00:54:47] Braeden Rhys: Which is fine, because maybe for them, they’re happy. They’ve hit Where they want to be. But for me, I see life as a constant change because in order to grow, evolve and keep up with the world and upskill your expertise and continue to add value to others and grow yourself and understand yourself and continue to build what your legacy is.
[00:55:10] Braeden Rhys: And for me, it’s about helping others. I’m currently studying law. Very soon I’ll be a graduate of law. I want to move into commercial and maybe elements of family where I can still on their journey and to navigate things from a legal sense. And that’s because it comes from a place of personal connection to that, because I know there’s changes in their lives and changes in their businesses.
[00:55:32] Braeden Rhys: And the ones that need me as a lawyer at that point in time are ready to embrace that change themselves.
[00:55:38] Robert Hossary: Yeah, what a wonderful way to emphasize that particular lesson. You have personified embracing change with open arms. I really hope that our, our listeners understand that lesson. I do. I have embraced change, maybe my arms weren’t so open.
[00:55:57] Robert Hossary: Braeden, but I have embraced changes throughout my career. look, I just think these 10 lessons were really great. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your journey with us on 10 lessons.
[00:56:10] Braeden Rhys: We’ll finish here today. You’ve been listening to 10 Lessons Learned. Our guest today has been Braeden Rhys, sharing his 10 Lessons Learned. This episode is supported as always by the Professional Development Forum. Please tell us what you think of today’s lessons.
[00:56:26] Robert Hossary: you can email us at podcast at 10lessonslearned. com. Go ahead and hit that subscribe button, turn on the notification bell, so you don’t miss another episode of the only show that makes the world wiser, lesson by lesson. Remember, write your own future. Thank you and goodbye.

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

Braeden Rhys

Braeden Rhys – Authenticity is Your Superpower

Braeden Rhys talks about his experiences as an individual, as a professional in marketing and PR, and as a trailblazing entrepreneur. He discusses his journey as a gay man, from being a youth minister to becoming an escort and a drag queen, and how these experiences shaped his approach to business and personal growth. He shares his insights on embracing authenticity, persevering through hardships, and shaping one's own future. Hosted by Robert Hossary

About Braeden Rhys

Braeden Rhys is a trailblazing marketing and public relations professional, celebrated as one of Australia’s Top 100 Entrepreneurs. With a portfolio of multi-award-winning brands, including Sweet Release Agency, the world’s leading Adult Industry marketing and PR agency, and Axis Global Co, ranked among the top 100 growth marketing agencies globally, Braeden has made an indelible mark on the business landscape.

His journey to success was a testament to resilience and the power of authenticity. Raised within the confines of the ministry, Braeden grappled with the conflict between his true identity as a gay man and the strict beliefs he was taught. Denying his sexuality and convinced that he could “pray the gay away,” he eventually found the courage to break free from the confines of the church, embracing his true self with pride.

Unafraid to explore uncharted territories, Braeden embarked on a journey of self-discovery that led him to the deep end of the Adult Industry. Adopting the alter-ego name, Jett Black, he thrived as a male sex worker, defying societal norms and leveraging his success as one of the most respected ambassadors in the Australian adult entertainment world.

Drawing from his genuine passion and love for the Adult Industry, Braeden established Sweet Release Agency, which quickly gained acclaim as the top marketing and PR agency in its field. Simultaneously, he revealed yet another facet of his identity as Kara Zmatiq, Australia’s Premier Live Singing Drag Queen, captivating audiences with soulful performances and earning accolades on platforms like Australia’s Got Talent.

Braeden Rhys faced adversity head-on, finding strength in humility and authenticity. His journey from sex worker to celebrated entrepreneur showcases his resilience and determination to overcome challenges. Despite creating unique brands and personas, Braeden never lost sight of his roots, remaining grateful to the Adult Industry for accepting him without judgment.

A firm believer in the power of authenticity and genuine passion, Braeden Rhys attributes his success in life, business, and relationships to staying true to himself. He constantly emphasizes the importance of dynamic education and making a positive difference in the world, inspiring others to embrace their true identities and pursue their dreams apologetically.

With an unwavering commitment to self-improvement and a passion for blazing new trails, Braeden Rhys continues to redefine success on his terms. Guided by authenticity and an unyielding desire to leave a positive impact, he remains a beacon of inspiration for all those striving to live their best lives while embracing their true selves.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: The Customer Isn’t Always Right 04:52
Lesson 2: Authenticity is Your Superpower 11:44
Lesson 3: Craft Your Personal Brand 23:40
Lesson 4: The Power of “No Learn to say “no” when necessary. 28:04
Lesson 5: Banish Toxic Influences 31:17
Lesson 6: Humble Beginnings Lead to Greatness Stay humble and grounded. 35:54
Lesson 7: Creativity Fuels Innovation Cultivate your creative spark. 40:49
Lesson 8: Own Your Sexuality and strength. 44:25
Lesson 9: Write Your Future Take control of your destiny. 48:37
Lesson 10: Embrace Change with Open Arms. 52:38

Braeden Rhys – Authenticity is Your Superpower

[00:00:08] Robert Hossary: Hello and welcome to 10 Lessons Learned, where we talk to sages and gurus, leaders, and luminaries from all over the world to dispense their wisdom for your career, business, and life, in order to make the world wiser, lesson by lesson. My name is Robert Hossary and I’m your host for this episode.
[00:00:28] Robert Hossary: Our guest today is Braeden Rhys. Braeden is a trailblazing marketing and public relations professional celebrated as one of Australia’s top 100 entrepreneurs. With a portfolio of multi award winning brands, including the Sweet Release Agency, the world’s leading adult industry marketing and PR agency, and Access Global Company, ranked amongst the top 100 growth marketing agencies globally.
[00:00:57] Robert Hossary: Braeden has made an indelible mark on the business landscape. Unafraid to explore uncharted territories, Braeden embarked on a journey of self-discovery that led him to the deep end of the adult industry.
[00:01:13] Robert Hossary: Adopting the alter ego name Jet Black. defying societal norms and leveraging his success as one of the most respected ambassadors in the Australian adult entertainment world. Drawing from his genuine passion and love for the adult industry, Braeden established Sweet Release Agency, which quickly gained acclaim as the top marketing and PR agency in its field.
[00:01:39] Robert Hossary: Simultaneously, he revealed yet another facet of his identity, Cara Zmatic, Australia’s premier live singing drag queen. Captivating audiences with soulful performances and earning accolades on platforms like Australia’s Got Talent.
[00:01:55] Robert Hossary: With an unwavering commitment to self-improvement and passion for blazing new trails, Braeden Rhys continues to redefine success on his terms, He remains a beacon of inspiration to those striving to live their best lives while embracing their true selves.
[00:02:12] Robert Hossary: Welcome, Braeden. Welcome to the show.
[00:02:15] Braeden Rhys: Hey Robert, thanks so much for having me on 10 Lessons Learned. It’s a joy to be here and an honour to be invited, so thanks for having me.
[00:02:22] Robert Hossary: Hi, you are more than welcome. It’s us that are honoured by having someone as accomplished as you here to talk to our audience about authenticity, which is something that All of the 10 Lessons team strongly believes in.
[00:02:36] Robert Hossary: So, Braeden, normally we ask our guests this question to start things off. So I’m going to ask you, what… Would you tell your younger self, with all the knowledge and all the experience you’ve had and all the trials and tribulations in your life so far, what would you have wished that you would have known when you were younger?
[00:02:58] Braeden Rhys: There’s one quote that I stick by today in everything that I do in my life and in my business that I use as like a bit of a mantra with what I do with my life and how I live my life today. And it’s a Dr. Seuss quote. and very simply it says, why fit in when you were born to stand out?
[00:03:16] Braeden Rhys: Now, that’s something that I live by today and something I wish I told my younger self. Had I have stumbled across that quote a lot earlier; I would have lived my life on my terms earlier and tried not to fit in as much as what I was doing. So that’s a mantra I stick by daily.
[00:03:36] Robert Hossary: Look, that’s a wonderful quote to live by.
[00:03:39] Robert Hossary: And I think all of us in one way or another can relate to that. I certainly can.
[00:03:45] Robert Hossary: It’s the societal norms that get me. It’s trying to fit into what society thinks you should be.
[00:03:51] Braeden Rhys: Exactly. You know, I might have taken that quote. To the nth degree and then circled back around and did it again, with what I’ve done in my career and what I’ve done with my body and, and what I’ve done in my, my personal life.
[00:04:05] Braeden Rhys: but I do believe that if people lived by that mantra or stumbled across that quote and reinforce that through their lives. I’m sure the world would be a heaps more positive and less judgmental place.
[00:04:20] Braeden Rhys: And I’m constantly told throughout my life. to this day that I am a square peg trying to fit into a round hole and there’s just no space for that. So, I live by that and I’m proud to be that square peg fitting into round holes because I definitely don’t fit in.
[00:04:35] Braeden Rhys: But that quote’s one that definitely sticks out. And I’m like, you know, you don’t have to fit in to stand out. So why do it
[00:04:42] Robert Hossary: well, that, that’s a wonderful way to start. I think it’s great. And I’ve never read Dr. Seuss and the first time I’ve heard that quote. And, if you don’t mind, I think I will use it as well.

[00:04:52] Lesson 1: The Customer Isn’t Always Right

[00:04:52] Robert Hossary: All right. Let’s just jump straight into your first lesson.
[00:04:58] Robert Hossary: Lesson number 1. The customer isn’t always right. So yeah, tell me about that.
[00:05:05] Braeden Rhys: Look, it stems from my career in hospitality and tourism. I started my career very early on thinking I want to run hotels. I want to own my own hotel chain. and in that industry and I, I dabbled, I wanted to do. And I was very good at solving problems and I always wanted people to feel welcome and, and have a great experience, but I didn’t really know.
[00:05:28] Braeden Rhys: where that would take me later on. But I wanted to have my own hotels, I worked in hospitality, I won a scholarship, I studied hotel management and became a hotel manager. Very quickly I realized, once I got to management level, That the customer wasn’t always right. And throughout my career, working on the front line as a food and beverage attendant and a front office receptionist, a night manager, which is just a glorified receptionist that stays awake from 11 PM till 7 AM.
[00:05:56] Braeden Rhys: mind you, you don’t have much of a social life because you sleep all day, but those experiences across different hotels that I’ve worked with. I very quickly realized that as a manager behind the scenes, my job was to put fires out. and when I spoke with these guests and spoke with the staff, I very quickly realized that as the manager of hotels and of divisions within hotels, that the customer was not always right, but my job was to make them feel like they were.
[00:06:23] Braeden Rhys: And in those moments as a manager, I felt like I was lying to myself and part of this, I guess, this machine of an industry and an environment where lying was acceptable, that denying the truth was acceptable behaviour. and in a way I felt part of something that I’ve just, I lost passion in because I wasn’t being truthful to myself and authentic.
[00:06:48] Braeden Rhys: So, noticing that while customer feedback is always valuable, it’s still essential to stand by the principles and expertise when you know what’s best for your business. And I was a hotel manager telling people and customers, you know, yes, you’re the customer. You’re right. We’re wrong. We’re sorry this happened, even though you caused it to yourself.
[00:07:09] Braeden Rhys: and when I stepped out of that industry and walked into other industries, it became okay for the customer to be wrong. I stand by that rhetoric today with what I do in business, because one thing that’s followed me around with that notion of the customer isn’t always right, is the fact that in marketing and PR and what I do today with my career, if the customer was right, they wouldn’t necessarily take that step to contact me.
[00:07:37] Braeden Rhys: That’s one way to look at it, which is, I guess, less confrontational. It’s very much, if the customer isn’t always right, they wouldn’t be asking me for help because they would know what to do. They would already be where they want to be. And in that particular journey for themselves, they wouldn’t need me because they would have already done it and worked it out. So as a marketer and a publicist, I stand by the fact today that a customer isn’t always right because you’re reaching out to someone for help because you’ve done something wrong or there’s something wrong with what we’re currently doing. That’s where I kind of stick to that lesson in my career, because in hospitality, I was told the customer’s always right, make them happy, keep the business. But denying the fact that the business was suffering because we were saying to the customer. Yes, sir. Yes, ma’am. Three bags full, sir. Like, it comes a time where you need to draw a line in the sand and go, no, actually, the more we keep letting people get away with this, the more damage we’re causing than good.
[00:08:35] Braeden Rhys: We, you know, in hospitality, I had staff that were becoming demotivated and as a hotel manager, I’ve got to keep my team morale high, but how can I do that if I’m letting customers walk all over them, guests walk all over them? It’s the wrong thing, but you’re in the wrong because I have to be. It has to be that way.
[00:08:50] Braeden Rhys: I wasn’t comfortable being part of that machine. So, my climbing the ladder to hotel manager became a very short-lived career. Once I got to the driver’s seat and decided, you know what? Hotels aren’t for me, but I can definitely support an industry that I was passionate about and do the things that are right for the business, that stand by the principles of.
[00:09:14] Braeden Rhys: You know, truthful, honesty, positive experiences, treating your staff with respect, but also coming at the businesses from the notion that you’re allowing these things to get by, that are causing more damage than good. And people don’t want to be part of something that’s not positive or adding value. So that’s where I get that lesson of the customer isn’t always right.
[00:09:35] Robert Hossary: I labelled myself a sales profession. And that lesson, was drummed into me. Well, the, the antithesis of that lesson, the customer is always right. Was drummed into me from my early career, but I soon realized exactly what you’re saying.
[00:09:54] Robert Hossary: And only when I got to the stage where I was in charge, that I understood you can fire a customer.
[00:10:01] Braeden Rhys: Yeah.
[00:10:02] Robert Hossary: And people don’t get that. You know, you don’t have to service every client. If they’re not suitable for your organization, fire them. So, if they’re going to continue to complain while they’re in the wrong, then I don’t want to deal with that.
[00:10:18] Robert Hossary: So, well done, and I totally agree. The customer isn’t always right, ladies and gentlemen. Don’t have to put up with, we don’t have to put up with that. Not anymore.
[00:10:28] Braeden Rhys: No. And it definitely, when you take on a client that wants to be the stick in the mud or they don’t want to contribute to the process, I’m no stranger to having those types of clients.
[00:10:39] Braeden Rhys: I’ve had many of them and I have been in a position where I’ve had to fire clients. It’s not the most comfortable experience to have because they’ve come to you for help. But at the end of the day, if they’re not. wanting to be part of the process and not to acknowledge the problem or the elephant in the room.
[00:10:55] Braeden Rhys: Sometimes the only way to help them is to let them go. and I’ve had to do that quite a lot throughout my career, but I guess the good thing that comes in when you remove those people or you remove that sort of toxic energy from yourself and your business is the fact that you allow space for positive to come forward.
[00:11:14] Braeden Rhys: So, it’s always kind of good to remember that, you know, while the customer isn’t always right, there will be a customer that will be part of the process and respect the process and contribute in a way that’s positive.
[00:11:26] Robert Hossary: It’s a very valuable lesson, Braeden. It’s a very understated, lesson.
[00:11:34] Robert Hossary: People just don’t get it because they’re still caught up in the old mantra, but I think it’s very powerful. I think it’s very valuable and people, you need to listen to this.

[00:11:44] Lesson 2: Authenticity is Your Superpower

[00:11:44] Robert Hossary: all right, well, let’s move on to lesson number two. because I think it’s you to a T.
[00:11:49] Robert Hossary: Lesson number two, authenticity is your superpower. Talk to me about that.
[00:11:55] Braeden Rhys: I denied who I was because the world around me was telling me I needed to fit in. Going back to the Dr. Seuss quote, you know, it’s, it reigns true that I was doing the absolute opposite. I thought I had to fit in to stand out. and in that moment, I thought How do I fit in in a world that doesn’t accept me?
[00:12:20] Braeden Rhys: I was lost in myself. I was lost in my sense of self, my sense of belonging. I was questioning all of it. And this is back when I’m in my, early teens, trying to work out who am I going to be in the world? Who do I want to be? And, and what do I, what legacy do I want to leave behind? These were things I was thinking.
[00:12:37] Braeden Rhys: Very early on, and I entered the doctrine, so I became indoctrinated into the Christian Anglican community, and for me at that time, I had a lot of people saying who you are is not acceptable. who you say you think you are on the inside doesn’t fit with us, so you need to get rid of that because that’s toxic, that’s bad.
[00:12:57] Braeden Rhys: And that feeling for me was the fact that I knew that I wasn’t straight or identified as heterosexual. I identify as a homosexual and I’m very passionate about that. But back then I questioned it a lot because the people I was around were saying it’s not okay if you go down this path. God doesn’t love you, you’re not involved, whatever.
[00:13:19] Braeden Rhys: But back when I was a youth minister, I honestly thought I could pray the gay away. and what I mean by that is I thought if I stayed true to what the world said I needed to be, all the people in my world at that time were saying I needed to be, I would…
[00:13:33] Braeden Rhys: Miraculously be heterosexual all of a sudden. And I would belong to this community of people that say they don’t judge other people, which I very quickly worked out. It was very judgmental. So, I had a lot of kids telling me that they didn’t know where they fit in, and they were coming out to me and.
[00:13:52] Braeden Rhys: It became this situation where it became a mirror. These kids were reflecting who I knew I was on the inside and how I was feeling about myself, but I’m getting told by the church, you can’t be that way. And then I’m being told by the church, help the kids understand to be themselves so they can be their most authentic self.
[00:14:10] Braeden Rhys: And same time being told the complete opposite for myself. So, I eventually, it became enough was enough. I had to Have those conversations with myself and with my family that are very supportive and still are to this day and they know everything about me and have been part of every journey. But it’s a moment in time where I had to stand up for myself and go, look, you want me to be this certain way, but that’s not appropriate for me because if I do that, that’s not authentic.
[00:14:40] Braeden Rhys: That’s not who I am. And that’s making me change myself to fit your narrative. And so, I left the church. Well, more luck a better way of putting it, I was dismissed from the church and my, my working as a youth minister. And so, I had this identity crisis. Where do I fit? I’ve gone from a community that was supportive and loved me as long as I did what they said I had to do, to being banished.
[00:15:04] Braeden Rhys: from this life in this community outside the family unit. My, like I said, my family is very supportive. They may have gone to church with me, may have not, some did, some didn’t, but their unwavering support and love for me has always continued to be a thing. And so, I’m very lucky to have support within the family unit.
[00:15:23] Braeden Rhys: But outside that, there’s a big question mark over my head as to who am I in the world and, and who do I want to be? And so, not the most conventional route to take, but, I decided to throw myself into the queer community and embrace all of its colours and, and all of its life and all of its debauchery, for lack of a better way of putting it, and became a male sex worker where I dabbled in many different things very quickly.
[00:15:52] Braeden Rhys: If I could snort it, if I could lick it, if I could ride it, if I could meet it. I did it. in a very short period of time. And got to know more about myself through those experiences than watching what I saw on TV that said all gays are going to get HIV and die. At that point in time, that’s what the media was spinning.
[00:16:12] Braeden Rhys: That if you were gay… You’re going to get sick, you’re going to die, or you cover yourself in glitter and you parade down the main street of Oxford Street in Sydney and do the Mardi Gras and have sex with anyone that’s in it. Like, the media was projecting this image that my family was subjected to.
[00:16:27] Braeden Rhys: And so, they were scared because they only knew what they saw on TV. I only knew what I saw on TV up until the moment that I went out there and went, oh hang on, there are subgroups here. You don’t have to be all of it. You can be one of it, or not any of it. And so. Throughout that experience. I very quickly learned who I wanted to be and that came in many forms because I became the sex worker under the name Jet.
[00:16:55] Braeden Rhys: I became the drag queen under the name Kara Zmatiq, that sings and, and does weddings and corporate functions. Mind you, the drag career started at Stonewall on a Sunday in a little event called Polly’s Follies where all of the drag queens, all the baby drag queens, people that have just entered the world of entertainment and I wanted to throw on a frock and a wig, performed on a Sunday and that’s where my first exposure to that part of theatre and art and performance, became a thing and I loved it.
[00:17:24] Braeden Rhys: So, I knew I was always into music and theatre when I was younger and always played instruments and sang, but I never thought I would end up putting all of that together. In a community that celebrates it and embraces it, as art and theatre, it’s okay to dress up in drag if that’s what you want to do.
[00:17:42] Braeden Rhys: But I also learned that many people did it for different reasons. And so, I got to see different people’s takes on their truth and who they wanted to be. and I kind of learned by doing. Both physically and mentally, as a sex worker, as a drag queen, I was doing a lot of different things. But throughout that journey, I met so many people of different ages, backgrounds, cultures, and I asked questions because I wanted to know what set them apart.
[00:18:11] Braeden Rhys: Who they were as an artist or who they were as a person and how they adapted that to their lives, their careers. And that’s kind of where I learned how to apply who I am to my businesses and my brands by. Embracing all of me, but breaking it into smaller parts, because there’s, there’s so much going on.
[00:18:31] Braeden Rhys: There’s the creative me, there’s the business guru me, there’s the, you know, branding nerd. then you’ve also got me currently studying law. So, you add all that together and you’ve got this book nerd that likes to throw out a pair of heels and a wig and perform and sing at weddings and functions.
[00:18:49] Braeden Rhys: But then you’ve got this guy that’s quite an introvert. And I’m learning to break out of that shell, as I get older, which is good. So, you wouldn’t think I’d be an introvert, but I definitely am.
[00:19:00] Robert Hossary: I was just about to say, I, can’t see how you could be an introvert when you’re performing.
[00:19:07] Braeden Rhys: Yeah, when I put the mirror, when I’ve got that mask on and you’ve got the costume on, you embrace a completely different side of yourself.
[00:19:14] Robert Hossary: Yeah, no, I understand that.
[00:19:16] Braeden Rhys: You’ve got that mask on and it’s very easy to adopt a character and be out there and creative. But then when I wash it all off and I just like want to crawl into a hole with a book and a bit of music or, you know, jump on, and watch Netflix.
[00:19:31] Robert Hossary: Well, let me, let me ask you. because I understand your journey and your discovery of what authenticity is and how you applied it.
[00:19:41] Robert Hossary: How do our listeners apply authenticity? How do, how do they turn their authenticity into a superpower?
[00:19:49] Braeden Rhys: I think the best way to Tackle authenticity for yourself is not to copy other people. It’s very, it’s easier said than done because when I was younger, I was what my friends at the time were referring to as a chameleon.
[00:20:05] Braeden Rhys: I would go into one friendship group a certain way or behave a certain way or have certain conversations and then walk into another group of people and mirror their conversations and their energies and everyone would know me for different reasons. What I think the listeners need to take away from that is that when you do that, the moment you make a mistake, when you walk into group number two with group number one’s energy thinking, oh yeah, I’m in the right place.
[00:20:30] Braeden Rhys: And you’re like, oh shit, I’ve got the wrong outfit on. And they’re like, we don’t know this version of you. That is when I think the worlds collided for me, where I realized very earlier on. If I’m going to be authentic and be myself, I need to unapologetically be myself. It sounds easier than, it’s easier said than done, and because for that people will either accept you for you, or they will project their insecurities onto you, which I have experienced, where they will say,
[00:21:01] Braeden Rhys: You don’t fit in here. You’re wrong. I’m right. Rah, rah, rah. And it usually comes out of two places. Fear. Or misinformation or misunderstanding. And people will project that fear onto you and make it sound like you’re the problem because you’re not them or you’re not mirroring who they are. But then you get the people in your life that see you for you and don’t want you to change you.
[00:21:28] Braeden Rhys: Those people are the right people for you. And for me, and when I was discovering who I wanted to be, I had to make a hard call in my life with family, some of them. And with friends, who I thought were friends, and cut them from who, from being around me and being involved with me, which sounds quite brutal in a way.
[00:21:54] Braeden Rhys: But for me, it was the best thing I could do for myself, because if people are not there to support you and sing your praises and back you a hundred percent, and they want to change you all the time, and you know in yourself and in your heart that I’m doing what I feel is right for me, then those people that don’t want to just accept you as you are not the right people for you.
[00:22:17] Braeden Rhys: And I’ve cut family out of my life that weren’t there to support me, that judged my sexuality. I haven’t spoken to them for years, but again, I don’t need the negative energy in my life. And if they’re not there to support me, then… They have no place.
[00:22:32] Robert Hossary: Well, that’s one of your other lessons. We’ll get to that one.
[00:22:36] Robert Hossary: Yeah. But you’re absolutely right. So, ladies and gentlemen, authenticity, from my understanding, from what Braeden’s saying, authenticity is exactly what he said. Be who you are. Be who, be who you are in the mirror. That’s who you are. You know, learn to love that person, and bring that person out. Because trying to please everyone, you’re going to end up pleasing no one, including yourself.
[00:23:08] Braeden Rhys: And it runs you into the ground.
[00:23:10] Robert Hossary: People, this is the nub of authenticity. Understanding who you are and accepting it. And the good, the bad, the ugly, accept all of it and work on it. by the way, none of it is either good, bad, or ugly.
[00:23:25] Robert Hossary: It is what it is. It’s up to you to accept it, or change it, or embrace it. it’s as simple as that. Now, I love that, and being authentic is so important to a lot of people. It took me a long time, Braeden.

[00:23:40] Lesson 3: Craft Your Personal Brand

[00:23:40] Robert Hossary: Well, let’s move on to lesson number three, craft your personal brand.
[00:23:45] Robert Hossary: Now, as a PR guru, as a marketing, you know, specialist, I’m sure that you, you have a reason for this, but crafting your personal brand is lesson number three.
[00:23:55] Braeden Rhys: Yep. Crafting a personal brand. It’s a calling card. For me, it’s a calling card. it’s important, I guess, for, for anyone with their own brand to work out who, what that is.
[00:24:06] Braeden Rhys: I’ve created multiple brands. with that process, being able to… Each brand shine individually was hard because it’s still me. Like there’s the escort version of me. there’s the drag queen version of me, and then there’s the business version of me. And then I’ve gone and created companies off the back of my own personal brand.
[00:24:26] Braeden Rhys: in that process itself, knowing yourself and applying those particular parts of who you want to identify as. I guess, for me and how I do it is wearing your heart on your sleeve. I wear things about myself on my sleeve and they’re front and centre. And one thing that reigns true with me, which I used to think was a negative, was people saying you’re very shrewd.
[00:24:47] Braeden Rhys: And I thought, oh, is that a negative or is that a positive? Like do I own that word, or do I push against that word and go, hmm, But the more I looked into that word, I eventually worked out that, you know what, it’s actually a good thing. Because I basically call a spade a spade and that’s part of who I am as a professional and it’s very much who I am as a person.
[00:25:08] Braeden Rhys: I denied that part of myself and just, you know, wanted to be the people pleaser, tell people what they want to hear. But the best thing I did for myself in crafting my own brand has been becoming known for being shrewd.
[00:25:21] Braeden Rhys: I straddle this fine line of wearing your heart on your sleeve and interpreting people for, for who they are and for understanding who they are, but with my personal brand itself.
[00:25:32] Braeden Rhys: It’s always been about making that character truthful and honest, even as a drag performer. The parts of that for me in my brand as Kara Zmatiq are more feministic and more approachable. I’m way more approachable in drag than what I am on the street in a suit if you met me.
[00:25:52] Braeden Rhys: Then you got me as Braeden, outside drag, and they’re like, oh, he’s very Sharp, direct, shrewd. If I ask a question and I want an honest answer, I’m going to get it. but do I really want it? Am I ready to hear it? And so, I’ve crafted a brand on that alone. And so, for me, creating a brand for both me as a professional and me as a drag queen and as a businessman has all been based on each one of my brands having their own unique characters and values, but more importantly, they’re all me.
[00:26:27] Braeden Rhys: And these brands all have a personal connection to who I am and, and who I am as a person.
[00:26:32] Robert Hossary: So, in your case, you’ve got multiple brands because you’ve got multiple businesses and multiple endeavours for our listeners. What does crafting a personal brand mean? How do they go ahead and craft their own personal brand?
[00:26:49] Braeden Rhys: Your values. So, who you want to identify as a person and your values. For me as a drag queen, it was values of creativity and passion and flamboyance and unapologetically being as gay and as camp as I possibly can be. letting your pride flag, fly and shine. Like that’s what it’s all about.
[00:27:06] Braeden Rhys: Glitters and confetti. Glitter cannon, explosion, that’s Kara Zmatiq. that’s a brand in itself, but it’s something that I wouldn’t do every day. I’m much more reserved. So, it’s knowing the values that you hold dear to yourself. And wanting to understand those values for you as a person,
[00:27:22] Braeden Rhys: if you want to be known as the person that people could go to for honest opinion, then project that. If you want to be the person that’s inviting and warm and supportive and has that more counsellor, cry on my shoulder, I’m your best friend, then project that and you’ll get the people that want that in return.
[00:27:39] Braeden Rhys: So, your personal brand is very much driven by your values. I’ve applied each aspect of myself that I’ve created to the personal brand.
[00:27:47] Robert Hossary: No, I love it. And that’s an excellent answer because that’s exactly what you need to do for a personal brand. Live your values. That brand will create itself.
[00:27:57] Robert Hossary: If you live your values and you’re authentic and people get to know you, then that is your brand. So, a great answer. I love it.


[00:28:04] Lesson 4: The Power of “No Learn to say “no” when necessary.

[00:28:04] Robert Hossary: All right, let’s go to lesson number four, which when I read this, I went, you know what, this is, this is linked to lesson number one. lesson number four, the power of no.
[00:28:15] Braeden Rhys: Exactly. This is a hard one because you never want to say no, generally speaking, because it’s a confrontational word in some respect, or it’s not what people want to hear. You know, people will respond positively to yes. even when you learn sales psychology or you go down the path, you want people to be in green brain or red brain.
[00:28:35] Braeden Rhys: and in this process of saying no, especially when it’s necessary, the power of saying no gives you more power in yourself because you’re taking control of a situation. You’re putting yourself in the driver’s seat to confidently go in yourself, you know what, I don’t agree with this. And I don’t accept this as being true to who I am and what I stand for.
[00:28:59] Braeden Rhys: And so being able to say no, whatever it might be, and you know that in yourself the answer is no, it’s not just ah flippantly no, it’s like if I feel it in my gut and my instincts are saying this is wrong, I cannot continue because I’m denying myself, then the power of no is very powerful.
[00:29:18] Robert Hossary: and what I mean by that, it frees you to focus on what truly matters, is because in my life, I was in the church community.
[00:29:26] Braeden Rhys: I was in a religious community that was denying me, and I wanted to be my authentic self. And in that process, I stood up for myself. I had the vivaciousness and confidence at that point to go, you know what, enough is enough. I’m going to be me, and if that’s not good enough for you, well then I’m sorry, you are a no, you have no space in my life, and that allowed me to take a journey where I could be my authentic self and explore who I was as a person, without fear.
[00:29:55] Braeden Rhys: So, no is a very powerful word.
[00:29:58] Robert Hossary: Well, let me just clarify that we’re not talking, we’re not talking about just saying no, because we’re all taught, as you pointed out in sales and psychology, it’s a yes and, answer that we all need to do. We’re not talking about just rejection; we’re talking about being true to your values.
[00:30:20] Robert Hossary: Again, everything seems to be linked back to authenticity and values. So, the power of no that you’re talking about is knowing how You say no to a situation that you don’t agree with, that goes against your values, absolutely. Against your grain.
[00:30:37] Braeden Rhys: This particular place itself is internal. It’s an internal, no. Yeah. It’s that guttural response to a situation where you go, this is wrong, where you instinctively know. With a K! The answer is no. So, absolutely. It’s a guttural response.
[00:30:57] Robert Hossary: Excellent. And I agree with, that. it’s not something to be confused.
[00:31:02] Robert Hossary: this is to our audience; you need to understand the difference. and you need to understand what Braeden has just said. So, please, feel free to rewind and listen to all this again. and I would recommend you do that anyway, because a lot of these lessons are pretty deep.

[00:31:17] Lesson 5: Banish Toxic Influences

[00:31:17] Robert Hossary: All right, let’s go to lesson number five.
[00:31:20] Robert Hossary: And this goes back to what you were saying earlier, banish toxic influences.
[00:31:25] Braeden Rhys: Yeah, and again, going back to what I said earlier, it’s surrounding yourself with positive people, removing toxic people who drain your energy to hinder your growth. I, like I said earlier, I cut family off. People think that that’s like, oh my god, I can’t believe you did that.
[00:31:40] Braeden Rhys: But the, I, put it in perspective of the fact that these people in your family have always said they loved you and supported you. and then as you get older, you identify as someone of the LGBTQI plus community. All of a sudden, your family in some respect refuses to support you or accept you because why would you do this?
[00:32:00] Braeden Rhys: And we don’t support you if you’re going to be that way. that was very draining for me. Because it didn’t matter what I said or, you know, you were always there for me as my auntie in the past and you were raising me and things like that. And this is a real situation because they weren’t about it or they didn’t accept it.
[00:32:18] Braeden Rhys: And they kept pushing those views and opinions on me, but I already knew by that point, and I had gone through what I had gone through and I’m, but they weren’t happy that I was happy. And so, it was in that moment where I needed to let that energy go. and I did give them the choice. I’m like, you loved me before.
[00:32:37] Braeden Rhys: If you can’t love me now, then I’m sorry. There is no space for you in my life. And I haven’t spoken to those family members for a very long time. but again, if you look at friendships I had, I had friendships that were wanting something out of me. Like they weren’t genuinely there. These were people that Looked at me and went, he’s going somewhere, I want to ride on his coattails.
[00:32:59] Braeden Rhys: And it wasn’t an element of give and take or a balanced relationship. These were people that thought they could benefit. And only were always take, take, take. It didn’t matter how much I gave to them. There was never any sort of reciprocation. Not that I sought that from anybody, but they became this leech of an energy where they just wanted to take and would expect it.
[00:33:23] Braeden Rhys: And so it was in those situations that I worked out that these people were also not the right people for me because they weren’t uplifting me, they weren’t trying to inspire me, they weren’t supporting me or standing by me as much as I stood by them when they had issues. I’d be there for them, and I would go, look, I’m your friend, I’m here to support you, but when I was is in trouble.
[00:33:45] Braeden Rhys: they weren’t there. So, I very quickly learned that having toxic influences was very draining. And I went from having quite a large friendship circle to just a few key people now. But the key people I have in my life now support me to the end of the world. We see each other equally and there’s no judgment and we cry on each other’s shoulders, and we hear each other’s stories.
[00:34:12] Braeden Rhys: We go through the pains together, but we look to the positive for each other and we uplift each other. We, we, we’re there for each other and they’re very positive influences.
[00:34:24] Robert Hossary: And that’s very, very important. We had a guest, I think in our first season, André Alphonso. and André had, one of his lessons was banish psychic vampires, which is exactly what you’re talking about.
[00:34:37] Robert Hossary: People who just suck the energy out. you go a little deeper than that because the people, that you want to get rid of those toxic influences, as you said, they, they take, I’m a giver. You’re a giver. I mean, I, I don’t want anything in return. I want to give back as much as I can, but we’ve all got limits.
[00:35:00] Robert Hossary: And if someone keeps taking, taking, taking, and not giving, you’re a human being, you reach that limit and you go, you know what? Enough.
[00:35:08] Robert Hossary: I’m right with you. Get rid of those toxic influences in your life. Because you’ll find that it’s going to make your life much, much better.

[00:35:18] Affiliate Break

[00:35:18] Robert Hossary: We’re going to take a quick break now, and we’d like to thank our affiliate partner Audible.
[00:35:23] Robert Hossary: Audible is an amazing way to consume 10 lessons learned and books and other podcasts, allowing you to build a library of knowledge all in the one place. You can start your free 30-day trial by going to audible trial.com/ With Audible, you can find your favorite lessons while at home or on the go.
[00:35:43] Robert Hossary: Once again, you go to audibletrial. com/10lessonslearned, all lowercase for your free 30-day trial. The link will be in the show notes.


[00:35:54] Lesson 6: Humble Beginnings Lead to Greatness Stay humble and grounded.

[00:35:54] Robert Hossary: So, our guest today is Braeden Rhys, entrepreneur, performer, CEO. Braeden, all these lessons so far have been fantastic. So, your lesson number six sort of builds on that.
[00:36:08] Robert Hossary: And it shows me, at least, that the humility that you have is part of your authenticity. So, lesson number six, humble beginnings lead to greatness.
[00:36:19] Braeden Rhys: They do. And I would be lying if I said I was lacking humility I was definitely that person that did not stay humble. I definitely wasn’t grounded.
[00:36:32] Braeden Rhys: I was flitting all over the place, changing myself to fit in with people. And at the same time was like, yeah, I won an award, look at me. And that didn’t get me very far as much as I thought it was. I thought you had to flaunt your success to get somewhere, but people don’t like that. And I very quickly learned that that sort of thing was so ego driven and, and
[00:36:56] Braeden Rhys: I had to stop and reflect on that because I had people that were like, you don’t need to rub our face in it. We know you’re successful. We know you’re creative. The people that know of it will gravitate towards you. You don’t need to ram it down our throat. And I was that person that thought they had to, you know, wear all these achievements, like a badge of honour and go out there and brag about it.
[00:37:21] Braeden Rhys: But. The moments I’ve had to get where I have gotten in my life, even though I won those things and did those things, what I need to remember and what I do remember now and what I reflect on is where I came from. There’s this essence of humility that comes from understanding where you came from. I came from nothing.
[00:37:40] Braeden Rhys: I came from a situation where I was denying myself and had supportive family, which I’m very lucky to have. But at the same time, I took all that for granted because I had a family that was so supportive. supportive. My parents are supportive. I’m an only child. They’ve always supported me. They’ve always been there through good, bad, the ugly, and, and every version thereof.
[00:38:02] Braeden Rhys: But there’s a part of it where my achievements were starting to be something that I was… professing all the time. But for me, what was important was to not to do that for myself. It’s like, yeah, I did that. That’s a tick for me. That’s a win, but I don’t need to harp on about it. And the other side of it as well is to always, like I said, remember where you came from, because if I, I do find value in the fact that if you go back to where you came from and remember that you came from somewhere of a trial or a tribulation or a place of trauma.
[00:38:35] Braeden Rhys: And you’ve come out the other side of that. Remember that there were people along the way that helped you get there. Remember that you didn’t do this by yourself. And to inspire others to follow that same journey, to remember that you’re not alone in this world, that you have gotten to where you are because you put yourself out there.
[00:38:54] Braeden Rhys: But there were people along the way that sang your praises and supported you. Remember where you came from is the foundation for success. And it’s, it’s something that I know is very true to me because I can’t just turn around and say on face value, I did all this by myself because I didn’t. Without my family support, I wouldn’t have gotten here.
[00:39:15] Braeden Rhys: Without my education, I wouldn’t be here. Without the people I met, I wouldn’t have created what I’ve created. But because they were there and those moments that appeared and those people were not Sucking the energy out of me, they were there to support, and we supported each other. I’ve gotten to where I’ve gotten so far in my career and my life because of these people.
[00:39:34] Braeden Rhys: And because, like on this podcast show, I’m on 10 Lessons Learned. They’re part of the journey. You’re part of the journey. So, it’s though, it’s recognizing that there are people in your path and people you meet. And that’s what takes you to success.
[00:39:49] Robert Hossary: It’s very important to know that. It’s very important never to forget, where you came from.
[00:39:56] Robert Hossary: It’s also very important to remember very clearly as part of the same lesson that nobody cares. what you did five years ago. So, by hanging that shingle up and saying, look, here’s an award that I won in 1990. And you’re talking to someone who won a national award in 1993. Who cares? Who even remembers that besides me?
[00:40:23] Robert Hossary: So, all your past successes, great, fantastic. They, you build on those to give you the skills you need to do what you do today. But nobody cares. You know, don’t, don’t hold them up and think that you’re important because of something you’ve done in the past. Be humble. Remember where you came from. Just like Braeden said.
[00:40:46] Robert Hossary: That is a wonderful lesson, Braeden. Wonderful.

[00:40:49] Lesson 7: Creativity Fuels Innovation Cultivate your creative spark.

[00:40:49] Robert Hossary: Lesson number seven. Creativity fuels innovation. You will get no argument from me, but I’m really interested in your story behind this.
[00:40:58] Braeden Rhys: So, for me, how I connected myself to my career and my brands, I was the different people struggling with their marketing and created a brand off the back of my escort career. that helps them with the marketing and the advertising.
[00:41:13] Braeden Rhys: The drag persona me was a part of me with my creativity, creating a character for myself because I just wanted to perform. I was doing it for me. I originally did not set out to be a drag queen for other people’s entertainment, although I was working as an entertainer. I just missed the stage. And so, as Kara Zmatiq I embarked on that journey of just having an outlet, an opportunity to sing and perform and creatively let loose rather than being this stiff marketing PR person.
[00:41:45] Braeden Rhys: And that creativity allowed me to be free and have a sense of freedom. But in that process, Kara Zmatiq very quickly turned into a brand and a business, which is now weddings and corporate functions.
[00:41:59] Braeden Rhys: is something that I was passionate about because not many performers out there to go, hey, we’ll give you a stage, we’ll give you an opportunity. And so, I created this production show. It’s called Soiree Cabaret Productions that allows dancers and circus performers and singers and other variety acts to be part of a show that I created that they can showcase their talent in.
[00:42:24] Braeden Rhys: Now, that came from drag just because I wanted to perform, and I enjoyed it. But it, you know, it’s not what I set out to do, but the creativity there innovated a business. And that show now is a corporate thing and a festival thing. And we did a show for World Pride and there’s another few booked for next year.
[00:42:43] Braeden Rhys: And it’s been a success. And I’ve been able to, I guess, provide a spotlight for people that are aspiring performers to be part. of something as a creative community that supports each other. And then the marketer in me just wanted to challenge the status quo and be part of businesses from the outside without rose coloured glasses.
[00:43:04] Braeden Rhys: And that’s where Access Global came into existence because I wanted to help businesses and people live their most authentic selves, but also create businesses that they’re passionate about.
[00:43:15] Braeden Rhys: that led to the creation of Axis Global, where I can still be the marketer within the, what people would say is the real world, as opposed to the adult industry, which, you know, is a bit taboo and, and not the everyday for some people. But out of that creativity of creating a character and Kara Zmatiq and the brands, what has reigned true across all of it is the fact that I’m still Braeden.
[00:43:40] Braeden Rhys: And.
[00:43:42] Braeden Rhys: That’s where I believe creativity fuels innovation because your creativity still has to be connected to who you are as a person. You can’t create something if you’re not passionate about it and your creations won’t be successful if you’re not passionate about it, because in order to create something, you’ve got to be passionate about it because that’s where the driving force comes from.
[00:44:01] Robert Hossary: it’s that love of, and that passion. that will then not only create, but the creation will then fuel the innovation. How do I make it better? How do I move it forward? How do I get it out to more people? And it gets, it’s all connected, but it’s all connected back to authenticity, which I love.
[00:44:21] Robert Hossary: I think this is great. All right. thank you for that, Braeden.

[00:44:25] Lesson 8: Own Your Sexuality and strength.

[00:44:25] Robert Hossary: Lesson number eight is a bit controversial. I’m thinking, yeah, okay, but I’ll wait for your comments on it. So, lesson, number eight, own your sexuality.
[00:44:37] Braeden Rhys: This one kind of comes with a disclaimer, I think, and it’s only because, it’s only because I controversially approached this and my parents, I think, you know, God love them as, as lovely and as supportive as they are, mum said never to do anything by halves, and I honestly think I probably took that too, literally.
[00:44:57] Braeden Rhys: with my experiences and what I’ve done in my life but owning your sexuality for me was really important because I denied it, and it was part of me and it’s part of everybody. But for me, I probably took it really literally because for me to understand my sexuality, I became a sex worker. I’m not saying that you have to do that to own your sexuality.
[00:45:18] Braeden Rhys: That’s only if you feel you need to, your own identity. For me, I just want to be identified as Braeden, and for me, that’s enough. I don’t need the label. but in terms of my sexuality, for me, it was important for me to look at it from different perspectives.
[00:45:32] Braeden Rhys: And as a sex worker, I met young people, older people, people that were in their 70s, 80s, that had gone through… The riots, overseas in the U. S. through the queer community riots. We’ve got the, the, the campaigns when Mardi Gras wasn’t a thing. It was a march. It was a protest. And… You know, in those moments, I met these people and had these conversations and they explained to me what owning their sexuality meant to them, to be unique and authentically them, and to own it, to own their sexuality as a beautiful part of who they are.
[00:46:07] Braeden Rhys: But own the sexuality from a place of confidence and strength. There’s a lot of people out there that would say, you know, they have different views and perspectives on whether being straight’s right, whether gay’s right, whether transgender is right. It’s what’s right for the person. And it’s not so much about what the world says you need to be, which is going back to that Dr.
[00:46:27] Braeden Rhys: Seuss quote of why fit in when you are born to stand out.
[00:46:31] Robert Hossary: So, for me, owning my sexuality means more than just the physicality or, or the, the person that I’m attracted to. For me, it’s more about my head space and how I value myself as an individual. And it’s not the projected views of other people. And how they perceive my sexuality should be.
[00:46:50] Braeden Rhys: For me, it’s about my personal identity. And a lot of strength and confidence comes from owning my personal identity. And, you know if that comes with glitter, great. If that comes with a little bit of eyeliner and some makeup, perfect. But at the end of the day, it’s your own sexuality, and it’s something that shouldn’t really be challenged or a conversation.
[00:47:12] Braeden Rhys: And I hope the world changes. as we go ahead in life.
[00:47:16] Robert Hossary: Yeah, look, I’m with you. I, I hope they change too. for me, if I may, this lesson, for me is a metaphor and it’s pretty much what you said right at the end. Own your identity, again, it comes back to authenticity. I mean, I understand.
[00:47:31] Robert Hossary: in your community, in your world, why this is an important topic. I totally get that. it just doesn’t resonate with me because it’s not, it’s not an issue, um, that I have. However, as a metaphor for being my own person, absolutely, totally understand what you’re saying. I understand the importance to you, and I understand how I can now apply it to me.
[00:47:58] Robert Hossary: That’s what 10 lessons is all about. Take from the lessons, what you need to take and apply them in your life. Some of the lessons don’t apply. I mean, we’ve had 120 episodes. Some of them, some lessons out of those 1, 200 lessons that we’ve had won’t apply. That’s fine. That’s perfectly okay.
[00:48:20] Robert Hossary: But it’s the wisdom behind it. so, I understand what you’re saying. I absolutely agree. It’s very important to own your sexuality, own your identity, but own who you are and be, again, authentic to that.


[00:48:37] Lesson 9: Write Your Future Take control of your destiny.

[00:48:37] Robert Hossary: All right, lesson number nine, I love. I just love this one. I just wish I had done it a long, long time ago.
[00:48:45] Robert Hossary: Lesson number nine. Write your future.
[00:48:49] Braeden Rhys: Correct. And that comes in many forms. it’s education, it’s relationships, it’s direction, it’s setting a clear goal for yourself and knowing that You can determine your own future. it’s a statement there in itself that determine your own future. I went to a primary school, kindergarten to year six in St.
[00:49:09] Braeden Rhys: Helens Park in, in Sydney, Australia, that had that as the school motto. Determine your own future. Now, I probably took that too literally, with everything I have done. But again, you know, I was one to go, you know, I don’t do things by halves. I’m that person that’s all in or not at all. And so, writing your own future and taking control of your destiny and determining your own future and working out.
[00:49:36] Braeden Rhys: Who you want to be and how you want to get there and setting those clear goals or having a clear vision for how you want to get there and what you want to achieve. And, persevering through it. Very early on, I was that kid that was like, Oh, it’s too hard. I then had, like I said, really supportive family and I still do.
[00:49:54] Braeden Rhys: They were championing me along the way, making sure that I stayed on track, And I’m lucky to have that sort of family, but if you don’t have family like that, you may have friends, you may have work colleagues. There’re people there that are championing you on, and then keep them in your circle because they are your, your army, they’re your fans.
[00:50:15] Robert Hossary: They’re your cheer squad.
[00:50:16] Braeden Rhys: So, keep them there in the wings.
[00:50:17] Braeden Rhys: Exactly, your cheerleaders even. So, you know, they’re the people that are your biggest fans out there singing your praises and driving you forward. Definitely shaping your future through determination. There are many different things where I could have been steered off course and I’ve gone through both physical trauma and mental trauma earlier on.
[00:50:37] Braeden Rhys: I’ve had very toxic romantic relationships that I had to navigate. I’ve had difficulties with clients in a business when I first started, and I’ve had family that questioned me.
[00:50:49] Robert Hossary: Geez, Braeden, it sounds like you’re human.
[00:50:51] Braeden Rhys: Yeah. I know, right? And I think that’s really important to own the fact that we are, that if we sit back and go, look, I’m not invincible, this is going to be hard.
[00:51:03] Braeden Rhys: Life is not easy. But if I stick at it, if I work hard, if I am determined enough to achieve what I want to achieve, I will get there. If I set clear visions and goals for myself and I tick them off as I go, break the big goals into smaller pieces. If I did that at a younger age, who knows where I’d be today.
[00:51:24] Braeden Rhys: But I’ve had a lot of, you know, difficult situations to get to where I am now, and I’ve learned from those. And there, things I probably had to go through, karmic lessons, life lessons, but to get there, there were goals that I ticked off as I went through them. I never made the same mistake twice. And that’s another thing to kind of keep a little book about, I guess, as you go through your career and through your life is to take note.
[00:51:49] Braeden Rhys: I stuffed up here on this day and I did this. So, when you go through life, you’re like, hang on a minute, I’m, I’m on track. I’m working hard. I’ve got a clear vision of my goals and where I want to be in my life to shape my future, determine my future, write my future, control my destiny. Don’t do that again.
[00:52:07] Braeden Rhys: Don’t do that mistake again. Reflecting on that, and I still keep a little book where I write down, you know, these are the things I’ve done wrong. Don’t do that again. And remembering to use those as tools, not to like bash yourself up over. It’s not about going, oh, I made a mistake. I’m defeated. It’s learn from the mistake.
[00:52:27] Robert Hossary: Yep.
[00:52:27] Braeden Rhys: And. You know, apply that to your goal or your career or your personal life.
[00:52:34] Braeden Rhys: All right, well, let’s move on to lesson number 10. The 10th and final lesson.

[00:52:38] Lesson 10: Embrace Change with Open Arms.

[00:52:38] Robert Hossary: Lesson number 10. Embrace change with open arms. I absolutely agree with that. over to you, Braeden.
[00:52:48] Braeden Rhys: For me. My life and my career has been constant change and I could either sit back and just go, oh, well, I’m not going to evolve.
[00:52:57] Braeden Rhys: I’m not going to, you know, develop my skills and change my trajectory just because I feel that where I am is enough. I don’t believe there’s ever a time when us in life, and I’m only in my thirties. And for me, I look at my career and go, I’ve changed so much, but I’ve embraced those changes.
[00:53:17] Braeden Rhys: I could have easily stayed the, the sex worker and looked at all the people around me and went, you know what, you need help. I’m sure you’ll find it. But instead, I went, you know what, I’m going to upskill myself and help these people because They trust me, they respect me, and I genuinely want to help these people.
[00:53:36] Braeden Rhys: There was a genuine desire to help others. And that’s what led to the creation of Sweet Release. And Axis Global was backed off my career early on in marketing, wanting to make changes in an industry. It wouldn’t let me because I was too part of the machine, and then stepped out of it and came back and went, Okay, now I’ll make some positive changes.
[00:53:57] Braeden Rhys: So It allowed me to grow my career and grow who I am by looking at my life as I got older and more mature in my decisions without just sitting in the corner or, you know, best way to probably put it is I used to go out clubbing every weekend and see the same people at the same clubs, drinking the same alcohol, listening to the same music, watching the same drag show.
[00:54:23] Braeden Rhys: And that got boring. But then, I took a gap for like, maybe five, six years, and then went back to the same club. The same people, listening to the same music, drinking the same drink, watching the same show, are still there. Those people haven’t embraced change. They haven’t evolved. They, they like where they are, and they’re comfortable where they are.
[00:54:47] Braeden Rhys: Which is fine, because maybe for them, they’re happy. They’ve hit Where they want to be. But for me, I see life as a constant change because in order to grow, evolve and keep up with the world and upskill your expertise and continue to add value to others and grow yourself and understand yourself and continue to build what your legacy is.
[00:55:10] Braeden Rhys: And for me, it’s about helping others. I’m currently studying law. Very soon I’ll be a graduate of law. I want to move into commercial and maybe elements of family where I can still on their journey and to navigate things from a legal sense. And that’s because it comes from a place of personal connection to that, because I know there’s changes in their lives and changes in their businesses.
[00:55:32] Braeden Rhys: And the ones that need me as a lawyer at that point in time are ready to embrace that change themselves.
[00:55:38] Robert Hossary: Yeah, what a wonderful way to emphasize that particular lesson. You have personified embracing change with open arms. I really hope that our, our listeners understand that lesson. I do. I have embraced change, maybe my arms weren’t so open.
[00:55:57] Robert Hossary: Braeden, but I have embraced changes throughout my career. look, I just think these 10 lessons were really great. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your journey with us on 10 lessons.
[00:56:10] Braeden Rhys: We’ll finish here today. You’ve been listening to 10 Lessons Learned. Our guest today has been Braeden Rhys, sharing his 10 Lessons Learned. This episode is supported as always by the Professional Development Forum. Please tell us what you think of today’s lessons.
[00:56:26] Robert Hossary: you can email us at podcast at 10lessonslearned. com. Go ahead and hit that subscribe button, turn on the notification bell, so you don’t miss another episode of the only show that makes the world wiser, lesson by lesson. Remember, write your own future. Thank you and goodbye.

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

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