This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Brian Levenson. Brian is a leading mental performance coach and author of Shift Your Mind – 9 mental shifts to thrive in preparation and performance. Brian is the go to performance coach for top athletes and organizations around the world.
He’s worked with everyone from the NBA to the top universities and the PGA. He is a consultant for the NBA and MLS combines where they use his processes for interviewing athletes to make sure they are the best fit and to determine their mental strengths and weaknesses.
Brian has a very special talent for helping athletes, entrepreneurs, and executives prepare themselves to perform at their highest levels and I wanted to have him on to teach you how to be your best.
When Brian graduated from college, he was a “lost puppy.” He was never one of those that knew what he wanted to do. He explored and went into sales for a couple years. One day, he had happened to have lunch a woman named Julie who worked with top athletes and organizations helping them to breakthrough in their performance. This really appealed to Brian as a big sports fan and loved helping others.
He went back to grad school for sports psychology and when he finished, he moved to DC to work alongside Julie and be mentored by her. This helped him get his business going.
Brian has become obsessed with increasing performance or as leaders learning how to open up possibilities and see the world in new and different ways.
Brian’s dad was an entrepreneur and entrepreneurship was in his blood, so he is pretty fearless about trying new things and constantly tests new ideas and concepts.
What does it mean to “prepare to perform?”
- There are distinctions between preparation, practice, and performance.
- Preparation is about readiness and building competence.
- Great practice blends preparation and performance.
- Performance is executing and the things you’ve done to prepare and in your practice.
- You have to look at all 3 like their own disciplines in which you need to hone your skill.
What are the differences between the performance and preparation mindset?
- It takes 9 mental shifts that have to happen – backed science and evidence.
- Here are a few…
- Humble in preparation and arrogant in performance
- Perfectionistic in preparation and adaptable in performance
- Work in preparation and play in performance.
- The shifts provide a framework for how to show up.
- To apply this is takes awareness and intention.
- You have to be aware and focused in which mindset you are in and at what times.
- Once you realize this, you then practice, practice, practice…
Can you share more of the mental shifts and what do people need to be “aware of” to maximize their preparation and maximize their performance?
- Future focused in preparation and present focused in performance.
- Using analysis in preparation and relying on instinct in performance.
- Experimenting in preparation and trusting process in performance.
- Being uncomfortable in preparation and stepping into comfort when performing.
- Leveraging fear in preparation and being fearless in performance.
- Being selfish in preparation and selfless in performance.
- Even though these seem counter-intuitive, they are what help people consistently perform at the highest levels and they are reality.
- You need to get clear on what you need to do to be your best and shift your mind.
At the 12 min mark, Brian gives examples.
“It is way easier to be mediocre, than to do the hard work on yourself and confront who you are and decide who you want to be.”
How do people truly breakthrough when it comes to maximizing their performance? What does it take?
- Useful self-talk is more important than positive self-talk. Accept reality.
- Positivity is a loaded term, like balance. Balance is a myth.
- Don’t put pressure on yourself to be “positive” in your self-talk, but to make sure it is “useful” instead.
- Learn to love the phrase, “Up until now…” because you can change what happens next. You have a choice to move forward from now into what you want for the future, the way you want.
At the 18 min mark, we discuss this in more detail… Tell us about the Strong Skills Model…
- Strong Skills are 12 Competencies that can help people and organizations thrive
- Diversity, equity, inclusion
- Emotional Intelligence
- Positive Psychology
- Decision Making
- Believe in the power of “And”
What are some of the biggest challenges you are seeing and helping to solve with Strong Skills?
- Right now, it is diversity, equity, and inclusion with what is happening in our world.
- In the past, it was just checking a box for most organizations to say they did it, and that is not the case any longer.
- Teaching people to work from the inside out and have the hard conversations.
- It’s time to run toward things than away from them.
From an entrepreneur standpoint, what have you found in your work about self-awareness?
- It’s amazing at how the body actually impacts our behavior. It’s called Somatics.
- By creating awareness and understand of your body’s actions or reactions to emotions or ways of feeling, you can recognize it and manage it better.
- This is where emotional intelligence links with self-awareness.
- We can prime our thoughts and feelings to happen a certain way, but we cannot always control them. This is why Self-awareness and Somatics come in to help us recognize and redirect them.
Pick 1 or 2 mental shifts that you think are most important for entrepreneurs and explain in more detail…
- There is a distinction between reacting and responding.
- Experimenting in preparation. As an entrepreneur, you need to experiment – but there is also a time to trust the process and move forward. Good entrepreneurs walk this line well.
- Trust and belief in your process and ability to succeed is another important piece for entrepreneurs.
- Give yourself space to experiment, but also trust your process.
What are the 3 C’s?
- Forget balance – focus on integrating things and being integrated throughout your life and work.
- We also need to learn to be where our feet are.
- It is also important to focus on the performance mindset and learn what that means for you.
Best Quote: “It is way easier to be mediocre, than to do the hard work on yourself and confront who you are and decide who you want to be."
Brian's Misfit 3:
- Take care of your marriage first and your kids second. Selfish first, then selfless.
- Self-determination theory: Autonomy. Confidence. Relatedness.
- Have conviction but be passionately curious.
5 Minute Journal: www.MisfitEntrepreneur.com/Journal