Intentional Performers with Brian Levenson
Kevin Eastman on Leading with Truth

Kevin Eastman on Leading with Truth

May 5, 2021

Kevin Eastman is a corporate speaker and an internationally known basketball clinician who brings knowledge and experience from sports to the business world. He speaks on various topics, including championship culture, teamwork, leadership, motivation, and individual success. Kevin has over 40 years of experience in the game of basketball, and he coached basketball at all levels, including 13 years in the NBA. While he was in the NBA, he was the top assistant for Doc Rivers when they won the NBA championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008. Most recently, Kevin served as an assistant coach and Vice President of Basketball Operations with the Los Angeles Clippers. Kevin has worked with and coached an impressive number of current and future NBA All-Stars, both as a coach and as a Nike Basketball Director of Player Development for the nation’s elite college and high-school players. He continues his work with young, elite players through USA basketball and speaking to Nike audiences.

In this episode, we discuss what Kevin’s upbringing was like and how he became himself (6:20), his relationship with his stepmom (11:30), parenting (12:56), if he’s gone back later in life to become more educated on his mom and what she was going through before committing suicide (14:50), how he thinks about mental health (17:06), shootarounds and how they’ve shifted in the NBA (24:18), how you get a team to be selfless and buy into something bigger than themselves while still giving individuals the freedom, autonomy, and joy to operate independently (27:48), motivation (29:51), what qualities make an elite leader (35:08), what sports coaches can be doing better to make sure they are healthy, both mentally and physically (40:27), his W.I.L.T journal (45:14), if he’d rather be a head coach or an assistant coach starting tomorrow (51:00), his mindset both as he prepares for and during a speaking gig (52:25), gems he shares with his audiences about leadership and culture (56:37), and what he misses about being in the locker room and on the bench (1:04:46).

You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kevineastman and on Instagram @kevineastmanspeaking. Additionally, if you’d like to reach out to Kevin feel free to send him an email at kevin@kevineastman.net. Lastly, I’d encourage you to check out Kevin’s website kevineastman.net.

Thanks so much to Kevin for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

Josh Linkner on Innovation and Creativity

Josh Linkner on Innovation and Creativity

April 28, 2021

Josh Linkner is somebody with lots of range who wears a lot of different hats and is not afraid to step into these different parts of himself. He calls himself a “creative troublemaker.” He passionately believes that all human beings have incredible creative capacity. He’s on a mission to unlock inventive thinking and creative problem solving to help leaders, individuals, and communities soar. At his core, Josh cares deeply about helping, impacting, and influencing people in a positive way, and he does so through speaking and writing. He’s written 4 books, he’s a keynote speaker, and he’s been the founder and CEO of 5 tech companies (which have sold for a combined value of over $200 million). He’s invested in and/or mentored over 100 startups and is the founding partner of Detroit Venture Partners. Josh is passionate about his hometown and it’s influenced him in a variety of ways, including how much he’s obsessed with, and interested in, and loves jazz. Today, Josh serves as Chairman and co-founder of Platypus Labs, an innovation research training and consulting firm. He’s twice been named Earns and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and is the recipient of the United States Presidential Champion of Change Award.

In this episode, we discuss Josh’s upbringing and the role of music in his life (5:45), what it was like being exposed to so many cultures through jazz in Detroit (7:44), what it was like for him having his parents get divorced when he was very young (9:00), his siblings (9:53), when business became something he was interested in (10:31), if he’s more like his mom, his dad, or someone else in his life who nurtured him and helped to shape him (11:50), if there is a downside to saying “I’ll show you” when someone says they don’t believe in you (15:51), what motivates him today (16:44), how to unlock creativity in people (18:41), his favorite techniques to unlock creativity (20:15), how constraints can drive creativity (23:51), nurturing creativity in children (26:56), if he had 24 hours to live, what he would do to fill that day (34:11), why he continues to be involved in the business world and what his relationship is with business (35:31), what he looks for when he’s hiring people (36:45), what he looks for when investing in people and companies (40:28), arrogance (43:22), what he’s learned about writing and what his process is like (48:43), what he does to set his mind before going on stage for a speaking event (51:43), what makes a good mentor (53:06), why he’s so passionate about Detroit (54:49), and how he makes sure he’s setting his mind to be the best version of himself every day (57:28).

You can check out Josh’s new book, “Big Little Breakthroughs,” as well as his full website here. Additionally, feel free to send him an email at josh@joshlinkner.com.

Thanks so much to Josh for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

Andy Friend on his Coaching Journey

Andy Friend on his Coaching Journey

April 21, 2021

Andy Friend is the Head Coach of Connacht Rugby based in Ireland. We will talk about his experience and his journey, as well as what it’s like to set the culture at that club and how he thinks about leadership. This conversation is also about Andy’s journey, which has spanned over 26 years and 21 homes, and what he’s learned along the way. He has travelled all over the world to places like England, Japan, Australia, and now Ireland. Andy is someone who thinks deeply about leadership and how he cannot just have the best leadership for himself, but also how he can develop leaders within his club and within his organization. Andy is very intentional about how he can use transformational leadership to help his club be the best that they can be.

In this episode, we discuss what life was like for Andy as a kid (6:46), what the relationship was like with his brothers growing up (9:33), what he learned from moving between 3 different cultures and countries (11:34), if moving around so much helped him gain skills in emotional intelligence that still help him today (14:58), what character traits he possesses in a large group setting (16:42), how he balances teaching people the basics while also letting them go out and discover for their own (19:04), how he thinks about parenting and consequences (22:34), why he fell in love with rugby (28:28), his wife (31:42), what has led to he and his wife having a strong partnership (35:55), if it’s harder to make new memories and excitement during Covid (41:14), his coaching journey (43:58), sport science in Australia (46:49), what it was (and is) like to be an Australian coaching in Japan and Ireland (50:43), if he had to adjust his coaching style to each of the cultures he was in (56:26), what he does to develop relationships with and develop the athletes he works with (57:48), staying connected on a one-on-one level to his athletes (1:00:50), how he maintains a transformational leadership style in a transactional world (1:03:41), how he develops leaders on his team (1:06:03), leadership (1:07:37), how he empowers his staff to do the work that he’s not able to do or that they are better than him at doing (1:13:52), and how he thinks about culture with his team (1:16:15).

You can follow Andy on Twitter @andyfriend2011.

Thanks so much to Andy for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

Cara Brookins on Building

Cara Brookins on Building

April 14, 2021

Cara Brookins built her own 3500 square foot house by using YouTube tutorials. The impetus for her decision to build that house with her four kids came after surviving domestic violence. When that occurred, she was faced with the stark challenge of providing for her children but with no means and no one to turn to but herself. In desperate need of a home, but without the means to buy one, she did something incredible: she built one from scratch. And when I say built from scratch, she built it using her hands, using her kids, they built it together. She was the electrician, she was the plumber, she was the contractor. And she in turn helped to rebuild her family and help them develop confidence and ultimately thrive.

Cara’s story went viral in more than 75 countries and has been viewed more than 2 billion times. She’s appeared on many networks and done amazing interviews all over the world, but this conversation is going to be about more than just building a house. Cara is extremely vulnerable and real in telling her story and some of the challenges and hardships that she’s gone through in her life, and yet how she still remains optimistic, a creator, an innovator, and a mom.

In this episode, we discuss what life was like for her as a kid (6:14), her relationship with her brother (7:55), how old she was when she started caring for him (8:38), what it was like losing her mom (9:29), what her relationship was like with her parents (14:04), which parent she is more similar to (15:49), what led to her parents getting divorced (16:53), if she is religious (18:41), how she thinks about the relationship between conviction and curiosity (19:56), her experiences with marriage and domestic violence (27:08), how she trusts others, especially men, when factoring in what happened in her three marriages (36:21), her advice regarding safety (42:35), what was underneath her desire to undertake the project of building a house (50:28), “getting out” of an unsafe community (54:07), what the reaction from others in her community was when she said she was going to build a house (58:14), what the last year has been like for her in the pandemic (1:02:27), what “being” looks like for her (1:06:10), why the story of building her house with her kids was so popular (1:08:22), if she has a philosophy that guides herself around creativity (1:16:55), and what she learned about herself going through the process of building the house (1:19:48).

You can find everything you need to know about Cara on her website, carabrookins.com.

Thanks so much to Cara for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

Gregg Berhalter on Process and Results

Gregg Berhalter on Process and Results

April 7, 2021

Gregg Berhalter is the Head Coach for the United States Men’s National Soccer Team. Before that, Gregg was the Head Coach for the Columbus Crew in the MLS. He also worked in Europe, where he was the first American to be a Head Coach of a European soccer team. Gregg also played for the US National Team from 1994-2006, also playing with the under-20 National Team in 1993. He played professionally in the MLS and all over the world, spending a lot of his time overseas.

In this episode, we discuss why Gregg likes cooking (5:50), if he finds it to be an escape from constantly coaching (6:55), if his cooking style is analogous to his coaching style (8:28), what it was like to grow up with Carl Yastrzemski in the family (9:23), why he didn’t pursue baseball (10:11), if he thinks growing up around Yaz gave him an advantage over his peers in thinking about what’s possible (10:40), the values passed down to him through his family (11:21), how he would set his mind for gameday as a player (13:07), if he ever was an overthinker as a player (14:42), how he helps bring his players more clarity as a coach when they are stuck or cluttered (16:02), if there was a coach that really impacted him and influenced how he coaches and how he played (17:25), why he took notes as a player and how that has helped him as he’s progressed (18:46), what he loves most about soccer (19:41), how being a coach is different than being a player, as well as what it was like to have to “pause” during the pandemic (21:48), how he organizes what he wants to accomplish (23:49), how he develops people and makes sure they’re heading in the right direction without using “young” as a crutch or an excuse to not compete right now (25:47), what sort of environment and culture Gregg is creating (27:06), his scoring system in training and how he’s trying to create a competitive culture (28:43), how he stays process-oriented in a results-oriented business (32:04), going towards challenge and skepticism (34:02), what it was like to be the first American head coach in Europe (34:58), how he maintains relationships with players no longer on his team (37:08), what his offer to players to come play for the US is (38:17), some things he focuses on from a player development perspective (39:25), how club teams are developing their players (41:26), what’s changed in the develop of soccer players in the last 20 years that’s led to the birth of so much young talent on the US team (43:43), how he thinks about home-field advantage versus playing on the road in a hostile environment (46:30), how he addresses playing at home versus on the road with his players (48:31), how he balances the data and the measurement tools with his instincts and gut feelings (51:46), talent selection (53:55), clarity in goals (56:19), what he intentionally does to make sure he’s healthy and well in the midst of his stressful job (58:44), if there’s a book that’s changed how he sees the world (1:00:00), Ted Lasso (1:00:47), and leading with authenticity (1:02:24).

Thanks so much to Gregg for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Brian Levenson’s Pandemic Reflections

Brian Levenson’s Pandemic Reflections

March 31, 2021

This week Brian shares his reflections on the past year. He shares his struggles, how he's experimenting, and what he's been grateful for during the pandemic. 

As we move forward, in a post-pandemic world, how can we better support ourselves and each other? 

If you want to connect and chat more and share your experience feel free to reach out via Twitter or Linkedin @Brianlevenson or email Brian at Brian@strongskills.co.

Suneel Gupta on Becoming Backable

Suneel Gupta on Becoming Backable

March 24, 2021

Suneel Gupta teaches at Harvard University and is the author of BACKABLE – exploring how to get people to believe in your ideas. The book is rooted in Suneel’s journey from first-time entrepreneur to being named “The New Face of Innovation” by the New York Stock Exchange. Suneel’s ideas have been backed by firms like Greylock and Google Ventures, and he served as an Entrepreneur in Residence inside Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He has personally backed startups including Impossible Foods, AirBnB, 23&Me, Calm, and SpaceX. In 2019, Suneel established the Gross National Happiness Center of America in partnership with the Kingdom of Bhutan.

In this episode, we discuss Suneel’s mom and his family story (5:59), what the communication was like between Suneel and his parents when he was a kid as it related to dreams (8:33), where he and his brother got their performance skills from (10:48), what his relationship was like with his brother growing up when factoring in the age gap they have (12:28), how he has evolved in thinking about fame and being recognizable (15:17), why every great speech should include “I,” “you,” and “we” (20:19), what he would do if his ideas were getting shut down and what makes a backable circle of people (27:21), when he feels most alive and when he has needed to shift from a place of boredom to a place of being alive (34:20), how he balances being in a niche while also focusing on trying to be alive (39:48), who he wrote “BACKABLE” for (43:36), what inspired him to run for office (45:48), his future political aspirations (50:09), curiosity and conviction (52:59), and what’s inevitable for Suneel right now (1:03:38).

You can follow him on Twitter @suneel, on Facebook and Instagram @suneelgupta, and on LinkedIn @suneelkgupta.

Additionally, make sure to order and check out the website for Suneel’s new book “BACKABLE” at backable.com.

Thanks so much to Suneel for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Kyle Korver on Mastering a Specialty and Exploring Possibility

Kyle Korver on Mastering a Specialty and Exploring Possibility

March 17, 2021

Kyle Korver is one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in the history of the NBA. He’s 4th most all-time in 3-point field goals made and 3rd highest on the all-time list for 3-point field goal percentage. But Kyle is so much more than a shooter. He was an all-star in 2015 and he played in the NBA for 17 seasons. Kyle also won the sportsmanship award in 2015.

In this episode, we discuss misogi and its role in Kyle’s life and career (6:34), if he’s always embraced challenge and adventure (11:13), how misogi helps him navigate COVID (16:09), how he thinks about perfectionism and adaptability in relation to his gameday mindset (18:25), how he expanded his game to be more than a shooter as he got older (22:40), what he would do mentally to prepare on game day, before practice, and in the offseason (26:28), what he would do during the game to bring himself back if he got off kilter (29:27), if he would talk to himself (30:55), his upbringing, what it was like to be around his father who was a pastor, and the role of religion in his life (32:30), the values his parents instilled in him and his brothers (34:33), what it was like going from LA to Iowa (36:17), how he got his love for basketball (39:25), how much of shooting is nature and how much is nurture (42:26), where his eyes tend to go when he’s watching a basketball game on TV (43:46), how the tragedy with his younger brother has impacted how he thinks about life (44:39), his experience with therapy (46:53), race relations in the US and being a part of walking off the court with the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA bubble (51:46), what he did that intentionally led to his success both on and off the court during the 2015 season (56:51), if he considers himself to be a leader and what makes a good leader (59:20), what he has learned from his wife and how she has influenced him (1:02:34), and raising kids intentionally (1:07:20).

Thanks so much to Kyle for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Nik Wallenda on Facing Fear

Nik Wallenda on Facing Fear

March 10, 2021

Nik Wallenda has 11 Guinness World Records and has completed a list of never-before-seen death defying feats. He has written his name in history as the king of the highwire. Additionally, Nik has performed live in every state in the US and all over the world. He has garnered the support from tens of millions of viewers on network television specials on ABC, The Discovery Channel, and others. Nik has completed such accomplishments as walking a highwire over both the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls with no safety net, as well as walking blindfolded across skyscrapers in Chicago.

In this episode, we discuss Nik’s traumatic experience and his vulnerability (6:45), what he does to help people overcome their fear of high-wire walking (8:30), how he makes sure that both he and others are where they need to be before a performance (10:23), how he treats pressure (11:53), if there is ever a part of him that will relinquish his hands-on nature (13:43), the similarities and differences between what he does and selling a product (16:27), how his mindset differs and is similar when he’s doing a team vs. a solo act on the wire (19:39), if he prefers walking with a team or walking by himself (21:31), how his traumatic experience has impacted him (22:16), if he still believes it was the right thing to do to go out and perform the day after the accident (28:48), sweeping trauma under the rug (32:00), what he did to improve as a leader and to handle the shame (34:23), Brene Brown and vulnerability (37:21), the vast breadth of trauma in so many people (39:00), who he is an awe of/who inspires him (44:18), his messages to his kids about their future inspiring and entertaining people (51:01), how kids decide on their futures (55:32), and if there is a downside to always thinking about what’s next, as well as revitalizing the circus (58:02).

Please check out Nik’s book “Facing Fear” as well!

Thanks so much to Nik for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Nicole Lynn Lewis on Teen Pregnancy, Education, and Mentorship

Nicole Lynn Lewis on Teen Pregnancy, Education, and Mentorship

March 3, 2021

Nicole Lynn Lewis is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Generation Hope, a nonprofit organization that surrounds motivated teen parents and their children with the mentors, emotional support, and financial resources that they need to thrive in college and kindergarten, thereby driving a two-generation solution to poverty. A former teen mother herself who put herself through the College of William & Mary with her three-month old daughter in tow, Nicole now works every day to change the statistic that less than 2% of teen mothers will earn their degrees before age 30. Generation Hope rallies around teen parents to help them earn college degrees and forge a path to economic opportunity and is now expanding its work with young parents beyond the D.C. region by sharing its best practices to help colleges and universities across the country better meet the needs of the nearly 4 million parenting students who are working toward their degrees.

Nicole is a member of the board of trustees of Trinity Washington University and a National Advisory Board member of The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. She has received various awards, including being honored as a CNN Hero and the national grand prize winner of the Roslyn S. Jaffe Award, and has been featured on major news outlets including “Good Morning America,” CNN, “NBC Nightly News,” and The Washington Post. Most recently, she was honored with the inaugural Black Voices for Black Justice Award, which “recognizes incredible leaders who have been on the frontlines working to dismantle the deep-rooted, racist systems that have plagued our country for centuries.” She is also a nationally known author and speaker with her next, highly-anticipated book, Pregnant Girl, to be released by Beacon Press in the spring of 2021.

Nicole holds a Master’s degree in Social Policy and Communication from George Mason University and a Bachelor’s degree in English from the College of William & Mary. Nicole and her husband, Donté Lewis, live in Maryland with their four children.

In this episode, we discuss the day Nicole found out she got into college and what that was like for her (5:26), why she was interested in journalism (6:38), where her drive to write came from (7:35), what her parents did for a living (8:05), getting her envelope from the University of Maryland (9:43), what it was like when she found out she was pregnant (10:31), how becoming pregnant impacted her identity as a high schooler, as well as some of the stigmas that came along with it (12:48), what emotions she would use to label what that experience was like for her (14:45), what her boyfriend’s reaction was (15:55), what her parents’ reaction was (17:12), who else influenced and impacted her decision, if anyone, to still go to college (18:52), why she decided to go to William & Mary (20:02), what the William & Mary experience was like for her (21:41), how she wound up homeless (24:00), who was supportive of her during this time (25:42), her tumultuous senior year of high school (26:40), receiving her William & Mary acceptance letter (27:38), what it was like on campus with a 3-month-old (28:49), what was driving her to get her college degree (31:27), if writing was something she did (i.e., journaling) at this time (32:38), what she thought she was going to do with her life after college (34:07), what her situation was like with regard to taking on debt and paying bills, and if that ever played a role in deciding whether or not to stay in college (36:00), how she was able to graduate as an Honor’s student (37:22), her first jobs after college and how she got started with Generation Hope (40:33), why she decided to pivot to non-profit work when she was doing very well for herself and her daughter in the for-profit world (44:06), what she has learned as she began running her own non-profit (47:40), how race plays a role in the work she does (53:29), why she is so passionate about fighting for pregnant teens to get a degree (57:14), what makes a great mentor, what makes a great mentee, and what she has learned about mentoring over the years (1:01:12), how she sees herself today (1:05:06), being a black CEO of a non-profit organization (1:09:55), and how she continues to lean into her gifts and her calling without intimidating people and instead fitting in and connecting with others (1:13:17).

You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @NicoleLynnLewis, and you can also follow Generation Hope on those same platforms @SupportGenHope. Additionally, you can check out Generation hope on Facebook at facebook.com/SupportGenerationHope.

Thanks so much to Nicole for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Brendan Suhr on Coaching U

Brendan Suhr on Coaching U

February 24, 2021

Brendan Suhr is one of the most respected figures in basketball, as he has nearly 30 years of coach and executive experience in the NBA, as well as 13 seasons as a coach at the collegiate level. He has been part of some of the most historical basketball teams of all time, while winning back-to-back championships with the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons, also working as an assistant coach on the 1992 Dream Team. Brendan has also worked for hall of fame coaches such as Chuck Daly, Hubie Brown, and Lenny Wilkins. Today, Brendan works with people in the corporate world. Brendan is someone who cares deeply about relationships and pouring all of the wisdom he has learned over the years into coaches and, in turn, into the basketball community.

In this episode, we discuss what life was like for Brendan growing up (5:55), the values he got from his parents (11:04), the value of education (14:13), range/specialization in education (19:07), why not to go too narrow in studying specialties (22:07), what it was like to have Hubie Brown as his high school head coach (24:50), how Brendan’s “presence” developed over time (28:28), what Hubie saw in Brendan that made it so Hubie wanted Brendan to help him just 10 years after coaching him (31:17), taking advantage of every opportunity that came his way (35:45), the commonalities Brendan found amongst the great coaches he’s played for and worked with (39:27), the differences between those coaches (41:05), how he stayed true to who he was while still “stealing” attributes from the other great coaches he was around (44:53), why he went in his own direction and considers himself a “softer” coach (48:57), serving others and serving oneself (53:21), how he and Chuck navigated working with the Pistons and the Dream Team differently (55:50), how Rick Mahorn navigated and changed who he was on and off the court (58:25), anger (59:50), what made the Pistons great (1:02:35), the expectations for the Dream Team and how that played into the coaches’ messaging to the players (1:07:08), what makes a great assistant coach (1:14:44), what it means to be coachable (1:16:56), Coaching U and MindVue (1:24:21), and what drives Brendan today.

You can follow Brendan on Twitter @BrendanSuhr. Additionally, you check out Coaching U’s website here, as well as follow Coaching U on Twitter @Coaching_U. Lastly, you can visit MindVue’s website here.

Thanks so much to Brendan for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Lauren Johnson on Constant Progress

Lauren Johnson on Constant Progress

February 17, 2021

Lauren Johnson works as a mental performance coach. Additionally, she’s a keynote speaker, a writer, an entrepreneur, and she’s curious, obsessed, and interested with how the lessons in sports translate to the corporate world. She’s given keynotes to such notable organizations as the FBI, Johnson and Johnson, and Mass Mutual. Additionally, she’s worked for the New York Yankees as their mental conditioning coordinator.

In this episode, we discuss her taking the leap to putting out video content despite being somewhat insecure and hesitant about it (6:07), if she received negative feedback on the videos early on (8:05), why she didn’t give up on it (9:15), the importance of learning how to fail (12:34), if there was a particular moment in one of her videos that made her proud and what she learned from that (13:57), how she is choosing to see the good during these tough times (18:52), empathy, anger, thoughts, and feelings (28:06), when she leans into empathy and when she chooses to focus on something else (30:52), handling difficult and uncomfortable situations (33:30), soccer and the influence it had on her, as well as why she decided to become a mental performance coach (36:51), what it felt like when people would laugh at her degree in performance psychology (42:59), how she thinks about motivation and inspiration as it relates to performance (46:07), aspiration (49:52), what inside Lauren allowed her to be confident in her work with the Yankees (54:31), what she does intentionally to show up as her best self (56:58), what she likes to read (59:45), how to best synthesize information to help it stick with you (1:01:19), what she has learned from working in baseball (1:03:42), and how she defines mental toughness (1:07:51).

You can follow her on Instagram @laurennicolejohnson.

Thanks so much to Lauren for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Rachel Tipograph on Building MikMak

Rachel Tipograph on Building MikMak

February 10, 2021

Rachel Tipograph considered herself amongst the digerati since the moment she became an eBay power user at 13. Forbes listed Rachel as one of its “30 under 30 Who Are Changing The World,” Marie Claire named her one of “The 50 Most Influential Women in America,” Fast Company named her one of “The Most Creative People in Business,” AdAge named her one of “The Most Creative People of The Year,” Adweek named her one of “The Young Influentials Shaping Business and Culture,” Entrepreneur named her one of the “50 Most Daring Entrepreneurs,” Goldman Sachs named her one of “The 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs,” Business Insider named her one of “New York Tech’s Coolest People”, Refinery29 named her one of its “Rising Female Tech Stars,” The Wrap named her one of “The 11 Change Agents Disrupting Hollywood,” and LinkedIn named her one of its “Next Wave: Top Professionals 35 & Under.”

 

After being the Global Director of Digital and Social Media at Gap where she oversaw strategy, implementation and measurement, Rachel traveled the world solo and then founded MikMak, the enterprise marketing eCommerce platform that helps brands better understand consumers by connecting digital investments to online retailer insights.

In this episode, we discuss what life was like For Rachel as a kid (5:16), her family’s relationship with Modell’s (6:12), her parents’ lessons on entrepreneurship (7:23), if there was a downside to having her parents work so hard and be so passionate about what they did (10:16), what she did as a kid and what she was like (12:45), why she was initially against IPO-ing (14:24), what it was like for her to come out of the closet to her friends and family (15:17), how she classifies her identity (17:17), if she was always a leader (18:27), how she thinks about leadership from a hiring and development standpoint (19:13), how she maintains a company where people are healthy with themselves, healthy with their organization, healthy with their team, and healthy with their customers (24:45), the values she looks for in people that will align with her organization (30:14), when it is appropriate to say “I” and focus on yourself as opposed to the team (34:14), if there are ever moments where she needs to step into and embrace ego (40:06), the biggest takeaways she’s gotten from therapy and executive coaching (41:20), what it was like for her to be innovative at a big company (GAP) when she was 24 years ole (45:03), if she’s able to take what she learned at GAP and apply it to MikMak or if she has to use new muscles now (50:43), what she says to people who are “young” for their job (52:46), why she enjoys public speaking (55:22), her advice to people who are forced into working remotely for the first time (58:43), what she does intentionally to make sure she’s taking care of herself (1:00:06), and what MikMak does (1:02:21).

You can follow MikMak on Instagram @mikmaktv. Additionally, you can follow her on any social media platform @racheltipograph. You can also check out the company on LinkedIn here as well as Rachel’s personal LinkedIn here.

Thanks so much to Rachel for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Ryan Hawk on Learning Leadership

Ryan Hawk on Learning Leadership

February 3, 2021

Ryan Hawk is a keynote speaker, author, advisor, and the host of The Learning Leader Show, a podcast with millions of listeners in more than 150 countries. He is the author of Welcome to Management: How to Grow from Top Performer to Excellent Leader (McGraw-Hill, January 2020). A lifelong student of leadership, he rose to roles as a professional quarterback and VP of Sales at a multibillion-dollar company. Currently, as head of Brixey & Meyer’s leadership advisory practice, Ryan speaks regularly at Fortune 500 companies, works with teams and players in the NFL, NBA, and NCAA, and facilitates “Leadership Circles” that offers structured guidance and collaborative feedback to new and experienced leaders.

In this episode, we discuss the transition from high performer to excellent leader and coach (5:33), what makes someone a great manager, what makes someone great at sales, and why are those considered “bad” words (8:14), where people struggle with helping people get to where they want to go (13:14), what helps people transition from focusing solely on their own success to focusing on the success of the team (18:57), his upbringing, what it was like in the Hawk household growing up, and the values that were instilled in him and his brothers (23:13), what it was like to be on campus with Ben Roethlisberger at Miami (OH) and to compete against him every day (30:15), how he defines competition (32:58), focusing on the process instead of the results (38:20), why some people prefer to stay in a sales role as opposed to a manager/leadership role (42:48), how he thinks about the process of getting some people to manage others (47:29), what people should do if they have a bad boss who doesn’t empower them (50:24), what it means to say “compliance can be commanded but commitment cannot” (52:24), what he thinks of the phrases “servant leadership” and “buy-in,” and if they suggest compliance as opposed to commitment  (56:13), what makes a good boss (57:47), what his days look like and what he does intentionally to make sure he’s at his best (1:00:05), and if there is a downside to his desire to be a learning machine that never stops (1:05:37).

You can follow Ryan on Instagram and Twitter @RyanHawk12. Additionally, make sure to check out his podcast, the Learning Leader Show, and his website here.

Thanks so much to Ryan for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Haley Skarupa on Going for Gold

Haley Skarupa on Going for Gold

January 27, 2021

Haley Skarupa is a member of the 2018 United States Women’s Olympic ice hockey Team who took home a gold medal from the Winter Olympics this past February in Pyeongchang, South Korea. She is a three-time World Champion and also a Four Nations Cup Gold Medalist for Team USA as well. Haley graduated from Boston College in 2016, majoring in psychology. While at Boston College, she was named an All-American Collegiate Athlete and is currently the second highest points leader in Boston College hockey history, men or women, with 115 goals and 244 total points in her four years. Out of college, she was drafted 5th overall into the National Women’s Hockey League and was a unanimous All-Star Selection her rookie season for the Connecticut Whale. She is originally from Rockville, Maryland and graduated from Wootton High School in 2012. Most recently, she has joined the Washington Capitals organization as their Hockey Ambassador. She has brought her background and experience to help promote the growth of the game in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. She also works in Business Development for Klaviyo, a marketing automation software company in Boston, MA.

In this episode, we discuss what Haley’s life was like as a kid (6:40), her experience as the only girl on a boy’s hockey team (8:35), where her courage and willingness to be brave came from (9:44), if there was ever a time her parents dissuaded her from playing hockey (13:07), the differences between playing on an all-boys vs all-girls team (16:57), would she have preferred to stand out or fit in when she was younger (23:07), if there are times in different hockey contexts where it was required for her to stand out or required for her to fit in (24:55), her experience at Nationals (28:57), what her experience was like at the Olympics and how she shifted her mind to be able to perform on the biggest stage (34:17), the mindsets of figure skaters (37:50), what it was like for her to get cut and how she handled it (42:04), role clarity (51:54), seizing opportunities (54:38), being able to change your role if necessary (57:01), what it was like winning a gold medal in 2018 (58:27), the response the community gave to winning the gold medal (1:00:30), the state of professional hockey for women and its goals (1:02:43), and promoting women’ sports in the US (1:05:11).

You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @Skrooops28.

Thanks so much to Haley for coming on the Podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Rahul Vohra on Creating Superhuman

Rahul Vohra on Creating Superhuman

January 20, 2021

Rahul Vohra is the CEO and Co-Founder of Superhuman, the fastest email experience ever made. He previously founded Rapportive, a popular Gmail plug-in that was acquired by LinkedIn.

In this episode, we discuss what Rahul was like as a kid (7:15), how he began coding at the age of 8 (8:26), how his parents instilled a love of learning in Rahul and his brother (12:11), how he showed up emotionally and mentally during his educational journey (17:05), if there was ever a time his parents, who were doctors, pressured him to become a doctor (23:28), why he was built to be an entrepreneur (25:42), what he wishes he knew when he was younger that he knows now (27:49), where his love for psychology came from and when it came in (30:30), his experience with executive coaching (33:36), how he thinks about partnership and bringing on other people to help him (36:05), why his personal values are the same as his business’s core values (37:27), how he operates Superhuman and lives his life intentionally (39:59), adapting, or not adapting, to a set schedule (44:09), when he got into bodybuilding and how he thinks about it (47:44), why Superhuman is a referral-only and waitlist product (50:22), why Superhuman has an onboarding process to show customers how to use the product (53:48), how Rahul continues to lead as his company grows in size (57:00), what he does intentionally throughout every day to make sure he’s the best version of himself (1:02:58), how he thinks about empathy as a leader (1:05:27), and where he goes for inspiration and motivation (1:07:31).

You can Learn more about Rahul and Superhuman at superhuman.com.

Additionally, feel free to follow Superhuman on Twitter @superhuman, on Facebook, and on Instagram @SuperhumanCo.

Thanks so much to Rahul for coming on the Podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Rae Ringel on The Art of Facilitation

Rae Ringel on The Art of Facilitation

January 13, 2021

Rae Ringel is a certified executive coach and founding President of The Ringel Group. She is a faculty member at the Georgetown University Institute for Transformational Leadership and founding director of their certificate program in the Art of Facilitation and Design. She is also adjunct faculty at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Rae is in high demand as an innovator in the areas of coaching, facilitation and training across sectors. She enables a growing list of executives in some of the most successful Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits and government agencies to become more effective managers and stronger communicators with a formidable leadership presence.

In this episode, we discuss how Rae helped Brian to get involved with executive coaching (7:51), how she thinks about competing and competition (8:59), what her childhood was like (11:41), her thoughts on stopping things as opposed to staying with them (15:18), the first thing she fully committed to (17:29), why she values relationships and friendships so much (19:17), what she intentionally does to make sure the relationships in her life are strong (22:11), how she thinks about sabbatical and what that experience was like for her (24:05), how she maintained her relationships with people in the US while she was in Israel (26:33), fostering independence and agility in children (29:42), when she got started with facilitation and her professional journey (32:42), how she thinks about the differences between training, coaching, and facilitation (37:46), what she loves about facilitating (41:07), how she sets her mind for a performance (44:16), gratitude and vulnerability (48:18), what makes a successful virtual meeting or conversation (52:18), how she translates what she’s learned in virtual meetings to in-person keynotes (59:30), what possibilities lie ahead for Rae in 2021 that would make it a successful year for her (1:03:20),

You can check out Rae’s website here!

Thank you so much to Rae for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Sue Enquist on Lessons Learned from Coaching

Sue Enquist on Lessons Learned from Coaching

January 6, 2021

Sue Enquist is a legendary softball coach who coached the UCLA softball team for 27 years. She has won 11 National Championships, 1 as a player and 10 as a coach.

However, this conversation is not about anything related to her impressive resume. Sue is much more interested in talking about her failures, what she would have done differently, coaching today, and how coaching has evolved through the years.

In this episode, we discuss why Sue doesn’t like talking about winning (5:00), how she thinks about her legacy (5:45), if she thinks winning can get in the way of growth or if there’s a downside to winning (8:32), how she has adapted in her ways of thinking (10:30), why she does what she does today and how that’s evolved over the years (14:02), how she saw polarity show up in other legendary coaches she was around at UCLA (17:52), how she thinks about expectations (24:52), how vulnerability plays a role in coaching (32:25), focusing more on the process than the results (38:06), coaching coaches (43:36), watershed moments in her life (47:07), what chasing excellence means to her (50:12), rest, recovery, and mental health (58:19), why she hates the word confidence (1:00:12), how she remains both curious and convicted (1:04:32), how she feels about being called a legend (1:10:20), and onesoftball (1:14:30).

Thank you so much to Sue for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Dee Ann Turner on Betting on Talent

Dee Ann Turner on Betting on Talent

December 16, 2020

Dee Ann Turner is a 33-year veteran of Chick-fil-A, Inc. Prior to retirement in 2018, she was Vice President, Talent and Vice President, Sustainability for Chick-fil-A, Inc. Selected as the company’s first female officer in 2001, she was instrumental in building and growing Chick-fil-A’s well-known culture and talent systems. During her long career, she worked closely with Chick-fil-A’s founder, S. Truett Cathy, and other key leaders as an architect of their organizational culture. Turner was responsible for thousands of selections of Chick-fil-A Franchisees and corporate staff members. Additionally, she led Talent Management, Staff Learning and Development, Diversity and Inclusion, Culture and Engagement. Most recently, Dee Ann launched and led the Sustainability function focusing on Chick-fil-A’s strategy to implement sustainable practices at the then $10.5 billion company.

Today, she leads her own organization, Dee Ann Turner & Associates, LLC, writing books, speaking to over 50 audiences per year and consulting and coaching leaders globally. She is the author of Bet on Talent: How to Create a Remarkable Culture and Win the Hearts of Customers was released in September 2019 and her new book, Crush Your Career: Ace the Interview, Land the Job and Launch Your Career will release in March 2021.

In this episode, we discuss her book (6:42), why saying “It’s my pleasure” landed at Chick-fil-A (12:50), the innovation of S. Truett Cathy and what Dee Ann learned from him (19:08), how he figured out who to give opportunities to and what qualities he would look for in those entrepreneurs (21:38), Dee Ann’s leadership journey (26:52), her role in human resources at the start of her Chick-fil-A career (33:28), the alignment of faith with Chick-fil-A (37:29), how she thinks about people selection and betting on talent (42:15), how she evaluates talent (43:57), what can get in the way of someone working well at Chick-fil-A (46:05), what percentage of corporate had come up through the restaurant industry (49:47), the importance (or lack thereof) of a resume and a good education when looking for talent at Chick-fil-A (51:08), her perspective on the Chick-fil-A retreats and how they play a role in culture (53:39), what is underneath great customer service (1:00:59), what it means to her to have been the first female VP at Chick-fil-A (1:04:17), what men can do to make sure they are allies in helping women thrive in business (1:06:16), her advice for raising kids while still crushing your career (1:08:48), what it’s been like for her as an entrepreneur after being a part of a big corporate organization (1:11:37), and her next book “Crush Your Career: Ace the Interview, Land the Job and Launch Your Career” (1:14:11).

Make sure to follow her on Facebook here, on Instagram @deeannturner, on Twitter @DeeAnnTurner, and on LinkedIn.

Additionally, check out her book “Bet on Talent: How to Create a Remarkable Culture that Wins the Hearts of Customers,” and also make sure to visit her website here. Additionally, get ready for her new book “Crush Your Career: Ace the Interview, Land the Job and Launch Your Future,” coming out in March 2021!

Thank you so much to Dee Ann for coming on the podcast!

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that was released in October of 2020, and you can order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Additionally, I have launched a company called Strong Skills, and I encourage you to check out our new website https://www.strongskills.co/. If you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Eric Musselman on The Details of Coaching

Eric Musselman on The Details of Coaching

December 9, 2020

Eric Musselman is a basketball coach through and through. Today he is the University of Arkansas Head Men’s Basketball Coach, but he’s also coached in the NBA. Previously he served as the Head Coach of the Sacramento Kings and the Golden State Warriors. He also coached previously at the collegiate level for the University of Nevada, helping their program to thrive.

In this conversation we dive into the the art of coaching, leadership, and what it takes to build a successful team. Eric is a hard-working guy whose attention to detail is through-the-roof.

In this episode, we discuss his upbringing with relation to basketball (5:03), if he knew he wanted to coach when he was the ball boy for the Cavaliers in 10th grade (8:34), what his dad was like as a coach (11:12), what Eric is like as a coach (12:58), how he “shows up” for preparation and performance (17:54), how he defines “competitive” (21:08), if competitiveness is nature or nurture (23:30), team buy-in (25:28), if there’s a dark side to high levels of competitiveness and the will to win (28:50), the world of Coronavirus (34:00), how he’s managing coaching during COVID (36:22), how he approaches communication with his staff and players during Coronavirus (40:34), how he thinks about coaching against legendary coaches (44:05), if he watches a lot of the NBA (46:30), if he watches games of specific teams as if he were the coach making the decisions for them (49:56), what his mindset was like as a player and if it was different from his mindset as a coach (51:41), what he loved in a coach as a player (54:20), things he intentionally does to make sure he’s where he needs to be when he needs to be there (55:50), how he’s able to shut down and separate from basketball when with his family (1:00:18), and what it’s like to be at Arkansas (1:04:18).

Make sure to follow him on Twitter @EricPMusselman.

Thank you so much to Eric for coming on the podcast!

Lastly, if you liked this episode and/or any others, please follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

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