From “No Talent” to 2X Olympian & Gold Medalist ... A Conversation with Leroy Dixon

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What’s one thing we all have in common with world-class performers?

We all experience fear and doubt. These are two emotions that are felt at every level of performance, from novice to world-class. Striving for the next level and performing in moments that matter is scary, for everyone. There are also a couple fundamental differences that separates the best from the rest.

I was fortunate enough to interview Leroy Dixon recently, and he shared two of the most important factors that helped him go from “no talent” to 2X Olympian, gold medalist and (did I mention?) the 7th fastest man ever recorded in his event. Yes, Mr. Dixon has beaten Usain Bolt in his career as well. Maybe we are not going to be Olympians, but we CAN be world-class at what’s important to us. As a matter of fact, I believe we MUST. The army of do-gooders must prevail, so the time for us to level up is now.

Here...

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2018 Hack: Get Accountable Now!

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November is the new January! What I mean is, November is when to lay the foundation to have the best year ever. I am not talking about resolutions.

I am talking about forming world-class habits, so you can set yourself up for being your best in 2018. Whether it’s getting fit, earning a promotion or forming better relationships with your colleagues or family, there is one way that WILL help you move the needle now, so you can be off to the races by January:

Get Accountable!

Here are a few tips to get started that are backed by the research of Dr. Anders Ericsson, author of Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

  1. Find a Teacher/Coach to Be Accountable to:
    Preferably one who is an expert in whatever you would like to do. Making significant progress beyond a certain level of competency requires knowledge beyond what we can provide to ourselves. To use this (very important!) person effectively, be sure to be ready...
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One Secret to Next-Level What Matters Most

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Growing up, no one told me that life can be hard sometimes.

Raising kids, growing a business, running a marathon, and contributing to the community can be incredibly rewarding. And hard.

We can learn a lot from world-class performers. They dream big, do small often and consistently, and they fail (a lot). Are Olympians, accomplished musicians, senior leaders, and those who are starting movements to make the world a better place equipped with super powers, an abnormally high IQ (well, some are but not a prerequisite) or an extra "success" chromosome?

According to Angela Duckworth, the author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, the answer is "no." In order to be world-class at what’s most important to us, we must commit to attempting what’s hard for us. We must be intentional about pushing ourselves to do things that are difficult and then stick with it for a specific amount of time.

If you want to get better at...

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Why You Need Fear (Not Just on Halloween)!

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From an evolutionary standpoint, fear is useful. If you are in danger, fear triggers your body to release hormones that prepare you for fight or flight to get out of harm's way.

Fear could save your life. When it comes to high performance in a critical moment though, fear can be problematic if not managed properly. Fear of failure may stand in the way of getting started or encourage you to quit. Fear is also distracting. It can take you from the present moment back to a past failure or into a future irrational thought (i.e. ‘This is never going to work out’). Fear is normal in many cases but needs to be managed properly to encourage you to perform your best especially when it matters most. It’s even common for world-class performers to experience fear as well. The difference is they have the (learned) skills to manage their fear and deal with it at a time that is appropriate, not when they need to shine.

Let’s take it...

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How to Be More Purposeful

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Whether you consider yourself a world-class performer or not, you have a lot in common with those among the elite either professionally, academically or athletically.

You may sometimes fall off your purpose or lose it entirely. ‘Is this really what I am meant to do in the long-term?’ ‘What is my purpose or the best way for me to make progress today?’ ‘I need to switch gears , so how do find my (new) purpose?’ Athletes retire or get injured, senior leaders switch careers, academics change fields of interest, so they are not immune either! Lacking clarity on purpose can feel like the middle place, and it doesn’t tend to be too comfortable (at least not in my experience). Partly because we are not making progress towards something where we are making an impact for ourselves and/or for others.

The good news is that we can learn from what world-class performers do a little differently to be more...

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The First Step to Building an Influential Mindset

NEW!  Join the "Live" Mental Toughness Mastery Round Table with Q & A this Saturday Morning

Take a break in your morning to attend the 2nd of 3 FREE round table discussions via Zoom.us this Saturday, October 7th at 9:30-10:00 a.m. PST. I will be sharing Mental Toughness tips, tools and habits on building an influential mindset, and then open it up for plenty of Q & A. Log in details are below, and I encourage you to share with any colleagues, friends or family members you think would be interested in attending.

  • Mental Toughness Community Round Table #2: October 7, 2017 9:30 a.m. PST
  • Topic: "The First Step to Building an Influential Mindset"
  • Video conference log-in: http://zoom.us/j/6860194592
  • Or Telephone dial-in:US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 876 9923
  • Meeting ID: 686 019 4592

Now to today's topic: The First Step to Building an Influential Mindset

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There is a misconception about influence that it is reserved for the elite...

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One World-Class Tip to Control Your Day

NEW!  Join the Saturday Morning "Live" Round Table with Q & A

I wanted to let everyone know that I will be hosting FREE round table discussions via Zoom.us for the next 3 Saturdays at 8:30-9:00 a.m. PST (the first one will be September 30th).  I will be sharing Mental Toughness tips, tools and habits, and then open it up for plenty of Q & A.  Log in details are below, and I encourage you to share with any colleagues, friends or family members you think would be interested in attending.

  • Mental Toughness Community Round Table #1: Sep 30, 2017 8:30 a.m. PST
  • Topic:  World-Class Tips to Control Your Day
  • Video conference log-in:  https://zoom.us/j/339398229
  • Or Telephone dial-in:US: +1 669 900 6833  or +1 646 876 9923 
  • Meeting ID: 339 398 229

Now to today's topic: One World-Class Tip to Control Your Day

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Have you ever had a week where the sh%@t hits the fan? If so, you are most definitely...

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Confidence > 1 Confidence Hack You Can Start Right Now

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You work extremely hard to prepare for high-pressure or competitive situations, and it’s incredibly frustrating when results do not measure up to your effort.

There is one thing you can do to help boost confidence and encourage your best when it matters: Set Intentions.

Here’s how:

Intentions are things that you can or will do empower you to focus (that’s a bonus!) and believe in yourself. This increases your self-efficacy (your belief about your capability to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect your life.) For example, “At 4:00-4:30 p.m. today I will spend 30 minutes compiling research for a presentation.” So, the outcome of the presentation is uncertain, but there is certainty surrounding your preparation and execution.

Why it works.

Setting Intentions gives you control over what’s important to being able to do your best. It’s also an...

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Confidence > It's Time! (Secrets to Help Teens Step Outside Their Comfort Zone)

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There is a common misconception that being world-class is reserved for the elite few.

We can’t all be in the top .01% at work or in our sport, but we can learn how to think like those who are.

The result?

We start to make consistent progress at what’s important to us even after setbacks, failures and disappointments. One secret to get the ball rolling is to be at peace with getting outside your comfort zone.

According to Dr. Anders Ericsson, an international expert on the science of expertise and the author of Peak (amzn.to/2uXOX1Q), getting outside of your comfort zone is one of the most important factors in "purposeful practice."

Keep the following in mind if you want to dream big, do small and make consistent progress on being amazing at what’s important to you:

1.) Try Something You Couldn’t Do Before.
Maybe you’re told to try a two-handed backhand to improve your tennis game, or at work you need to take on...

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Confidence > 3 Steps to Boost Confidence

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World-class athletes are very deliberate in the way they practice and compete.

There are a couple things that we can do too to help boost confidence and encourage our best.

Here's how:

1).  Start with Clearing the Mind:
Sounds simple, but not always easy! One way to begin the process is to do a couple ‘box breaths’ before high pressure or competitive events. It’s simply inhaling for 5 seconds through their nose into their diaphragm, extending their stomach, holding for 5 seconds, exhaling for 5 seconds through their mouth, and holding for 5 seconds. So, in for 5, hold 5, out for 5, hold 5. They should be sitting or standing up straight, be comfortable and in alignment.

Here's why it works.

Research has proven that breathing exercises can change the pH of our blood, change blood pressure, and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which is the one that calms us down. This type of breathing also activates the...

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