Intentional Performers with Brian Levenson
Selam Bekele On Finding Her Voice

Selam Bekele On Finding Her Voice

August 21, 2019

This week on the podcast we are joined by Selam Bekele. Selam, who hails from Ethiopia, currently works as a development practitioner with more than 10 years of experience addressing critical social issues on the grassroots level and international development platforms. She now resides in Washington DC where she serves as a senior associate at Results Educational Fund. Additionally, Selam is the founder of Umoja, a non-profit organization that coaches and empowers young Africans to be positive change agents in their communities.

She also holds an MA in Economic Development from the Catholic University of America, as well as a Masters in Gender Studies from Addis Ababa University. At her core, Selam is an activist who deeply cares about those who are underserved and underprivileged. Education is at the core of everything she has done, and she has leveraged that education to try and make a meaningful impact. Throughout the episode, Selam discusses her upbringing as a woman in Ethiopia, the oppression she has faced, her life journey, and how all of those things have shaped who she is and the work she does as an activist and advocate for education. Additionally, make sure to give Selam a follow on twitter @selseladu!

Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman on Lifelong Learning

Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman on Lifelong Learning

August 14, 2019

Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman joins us on this week’s episode of the podcast. Charlie was a fighter in mixed martial arts MMA where he got up to the #7 ranked fighter in his weight class. He also won a contest in the reality TV show, “Pros vs. Joes.” Charlie has become obsessed with this idea of being a lifelong learner and learning how he can show up in his career, for his family, and what his mindsets should be for those scenarios. Today, Charlie is a thought-leader who focuses on giving talks, workshops, he has a podcast, he has written a book and is writing another book, and he’s really trying to help people learn how to be bold. He has developed a systematic approach to learning and teaching that is easy to consume and built upon the five elements of excellence – vision, values, success, accountability, and surroundings.

In this episode, they discuss where he got the nickname “The Spaniard,” (5:00), when wrestling came into his life (7:50), what his childhood was like (9:50), his mom (11:00), the values his parents gave to him (12:30), if he’s more like mom or dad (13:45), how he’s an emotional person (14:30), how he thinks about judgment and following what others do (18:30), his experience as a wrestler (22:00), if he liked wrestling (25:00), where the idea of sacrificing something now for something later came from (28:30), when he started to gain awareness (30:15), what triggered exploration into self-awareness (32:30), his thoughts on lifelong learning (35:30), how he sets his mind in different areas of his life (38:50), shifting from the preparation to performance mindset (43:30), why he went into teaching (44:30), what allowed him to change his mindset when performing (48:20), why he doesn’t still fight (50:50), how he leverages his warrior mentality (52:20), his lowest point and what he learned from being there (53:30), the brightest moment (56:40), his perspective on if his kids wanted to be MMA fighters (1:00:00), and his current business (1:02:20)

Thank you to Charlie for coming on the podcast. We encourage you to check out his book, “Driven: My Unlikely Journey from Classroom to Cage,” and also be on the lookout for his next book, “Becoming the World’s Toughest Lifelong Learner.” He also does speaking engagements for youth and for corporations. He has a show called the Spaniard Show and you can check out everything he does on his website at https://charliespaniard.com/ and charliespaniard.com/email is a great way to get signed up to receive his content.

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

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Jamion Christian on Love, Connection, and Competition

Jamion Christian on Love, Connection, and Competition

August 7, 2019

Jamion Christian joins us on this week’s episode of the podcast. Jamion is the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at George Washington University.  He coached last year at Siena and then the year before that he was at Mount St. Mary’s. At the age of 29, he was a Division 1 Men’s Head Basketball Coach. From an early age, Jamion was looked at as somebody who could lead men, and this also was the case when he was a 3-year captain at Mount St. Mary’s. He is somebody who has always been curious and is always learning. Today he will share the knowledge that he has learned in what makes a great team, what makes people perform at their best, and how he can lead those people to achieve whatever it is that they want to achieve.

In this episode, they discuss when he got introduced to the psychology of basketball (5:00), what led him to basketball (8:10), the conversations he has with his brother (10:10), what has led to him and his brother’s early coaching opportunities (12:30), his and his brother’s dreams at 14 and 18 (14:05), what it was like loving practice (16:00), what makes a great leader (17:40), how you build love and awareness in a team (19:00), how he makes players aware of their emotions but not let it hijack them (21:30), how he motivates his players (27:40), the thing holding him back from being his best basketball self (29:30), what gets in the way of him being at his best (36:20), his mindset as a coach (38:20), how he thinks about filling out a staff (40:10), what he looks for in players (42:30), how he cultivates culture/systems on his teams (49:30), how he cultivates connectedness on his team (52:40), the necessary parts of the fabric for a team (57:40), what he does to celebrate learning (59:00), what he is excited about for the next 10 years from a team perspective (1:00:30), and if he wasn’t coaching, what he’d be doing (1:02:30)

Thank you to Jamion for coming on the podcast. You can find Jamion on twitter @JamionChristian and Instagram @jamion_christian.

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

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Jake Thompson on Competing Every Day

Jake Thompson on Competing Every Day

July 31, 2019

Jake Thompson joins us on this week’s episode of the podcast. Jake has lived an intentional life. He was very into sports growing up and he will talk about points in his life that led to different changes. He is very open in this conversation about his past struggles, challenges, and failures, and how that has led him to become a combination of a teacher and entrepreneur. He is somebody who is trying to pour what he’s learned, and what he continues to learn, into others. He’s a speaker, podcast-host, brand and marketing expert that has launched an apparel line, and a writer.

In this episode, they discuss what life was like growing up (4:50), his experience working in sports (8:30), why he had a growth mindset in sports and not school (12:30), his thoughts on standing out (17:30), the values his parents passed down to him (21:10), how he’s intentionally created his career (24:10), how much of his job is a mixture of his parent’s careers (28:00), how he stays even while also having energy and passion (30:50), what it was like growing up in a small town in Texas (32:00), what he would do to pivot and go forward in tough times (34:00), if he was always interested in psychology (38:20), what he intentionally does to get his mind right (41:20), his morning and evening routines (42:50), how faith plays a role in his life (46:40), his mindset in each of the different facets of his work (48:30), how he looks at ambition (51:00), about people being interested in getting better (55:30), why compete is at the forefront of everything he does (59:20), how much of his branding experience is relevant to his other work (1:01:00), and what he needs to learn and his vision for the next 8-15 years (1:03:20)

Thank you to Jake for coming on the podcast. We encourage you to check out https://www.competeeveryday.com/. You can find more information about the apparel podcast on every platform, as well as the coaching and their events. If you are a parent and have kids in youth sports, check out https://raisingcompetitors.com/. The book is called, “Compete Every Day,” and it should be out at the end of this year. You can find them @CompeteEveryDay on every social media platform, and you can find Jake on Twitter @JakeAThompson and Instagram @lifeisworthcompetingfor.

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

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Yoga Instructor Jesse Cassady

Yoga Instructor Jesse Cassady

July 24, 2019

Jesse Cassady joins us on this week’s episode of the podcast. Jesse is a yoga-instructor, a deep thinker, and he’s philosophical. He thinks about how he wants to show up in the world and he’s extremely intentional. Jesse is extremely vulnerable and willing to share his story even if it can help just one person. Jesse is a giver and a teacher, and he loves sharing his knowledge in both the body and the mind. In his yoga practice, he brings together the body and the mind in an incredible way. In his business, he’s about to open a yoga studio in Washington, D.C. in the Georgetown area.

In this episode, they discuss what life was like for him as a kid (5:30), what it was like being the middle child (7:30), the qualities his parents passed down to him (9:20), the draw to being in the outdoors (11:40), how he thinks about religion compared to spirituality (13:20), when yoga came into his world (14:50), if he was a reader (20:20), if the accident helped him discover yoga (22:10), what allowed him to go towards something that was difficult (24:20), his thoughts on being and becoming (28:00), his thoughts on feeling (31:00), how pain led him to yoga (33:30), some of the dark spots of his childhood (34:15), when gratitude entered his life (37:00), what inside him allowed him to go towards gratitude as opposed to anger (40:00), why the President being elected affected him so much (42:10), his perspective on addiction (44:30), if yoga can help with addiction (49:00), his meditation practice (51:00), how he blends teaching and having a beginner’s mind (52:40), how he doesn’t judge people when they do something awful (54:30), what he would say to people that went through what he went through (59:20), and what he’d say to people struggling with addiction (1:00:40)

Thank you to Jesse for coming on the podcast. Jesse is opening a yoga studio in Georgetown called Uprising Yoga Center on O St. in NW Washington, DC. You can find more information at https://uprisingyogacenter.com/. We encourage you to check out his Instagram @thegratefulyoga and his business Instagram @uprisingyogacenter.

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

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Dr. Travis Heath on Narrative Therapy

Dr. Travis Heath on Narrative Therapy

July 17, 2019

Dr. Travis Heath joins us on this week’s episode of the podcast. Dr. Travis Heath is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Metropolitan State University of Denver which is also where he attended. He is a licensed psychologist working in private practice in Denver, Colorado, and is the Co-Founder of Rocky Mountain Narrative Therapy Center. He will talk about narrative therapy which focuses on shifting from multi-cultural approach counseling to one of cultural democracy. He really believes in the power of writing and how writing can help people shift their narrative and story, as well as elicit emotions. He is currently in the process of writing a book on narrative therapy. Travis is a psychologist, teacher, writer, and he wears all these different hats which make up a lot of his identity. He is also passionate about sports, but this conversation is mainly about humans and how he feels about the world of psychology. He has run workshops to share his work in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Norway, United Kingdom, and the United States of America. He is on sabbatical right now, so he’ll talk about that experience, and he is scheduled to teach in Auckland, New Zealand in November, Mumbai, India in January and Ystad, Sweden in 2020.

In this episode, they discuss what life was like for him as a child (5:40), if he does anything to just get lost and go wander (10:15), his family dynamics (11:30), the values his parents passed down to him (14:00), what it was like being an only child (15:35), what it was like when his father passed away (18:40), his psychology background (20:20), why people get scared about envisioning their future 5-10 years out (28:20), what he envisions for his life at 50 years old (30:40), what his book is about (34:40), his thoughts on emotion with performance and psychology (41:30), what it’s like wearing a lot of different hats (46:30), how he transitions from each of his different areas (51:00), the draw to stay in academia vs. going all in on entrepreneurship (54:40), and the meaning behind his tattoos (57:45)

Thank you to Travis for coming on the podcast. We encourage you to check out Travis on twitter @DrTravisHeath, and you can also email him at HeathT@msudenver.edu.

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

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Ticha Penicheiro on Fearless Basketball

Ticha Penicheiro on Fearless Basketball

July 10, 2019

Ticha Penicheiro joins us on this week’s episode of the podcast. Tina is a Portuguese sports agent and retired basketball player. She was just recently nominated to get inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. She is in the Old Dominion University hall of fame where she played her college ball. She was also a four-time WNBA all-star, and three-time all WNBA selection. When she finished her career, she was considered one of the all-time greatest point guards in the history of women’s basketball and led the WNBA in all-time assists and is now currently second in all-time assists. She won a WNBA championship with the Sacramento Monarchs in 2005, and she also led ODU to the national championship game during her time. Ticha is very free, fearless, lives for the moment, and focuses on controlling what she can control.

In this episode, they discuss what life was like growing up in Portugal (3:50), her mindset playing against boys on the playground (5:40), the values her parents passed down to her (7:20), the cultural items that influenced the person she became (8:20), why she ended up at Old Dominion (10:10), the vision she had at 18 years old (11:15), the experience taking ODU to the national championship (12:30), what made her teams championship-caliber teams (13:25), the locker room when they lost to Tennessee compared to when they won it with Sacramento (15:00), how she would cultivate fearlessness on a big stage (17:10), her thoughts on the preparation vs. performance mindset (18:40), how she thought about leveraging her emotions when playing ball (21:20), what she loved about passing (23:20), what makes a great passer (24:05), what makes a great leader (25:10), what it was like to represent her country on the national team (25:50), her thoughts on women’s sports and women’s basketball (28:00), the life of a WNBA player (32:20), what she was like at 23 vs. 33 (33:30), her pregame habits (34:00), playing overseas vs. playing in the WNBA (35:00), what she thinks the future of the WNBA will be (36:00), what drew her to becoming an agent and what she’s learned (37:10), what she does to make sure she’s at her best from a career standpoint (38:30), similarities and differences between being a point guard and an agent (39:30), what she loved about playing ball (41:20), what it was like becoming an American citizen (42:30), her passion for the special Olympics (43:00), how she thinks about the future (44:30), how she thinks about focusing on what you can control (46:00), what she does when she has negative thoughts (47:50), how she doesn’t bring perfectionism into the arena (49:40), any processes she did to make sure she was present (52:30), what she would say to an 8-year-old girl with dreams of playing pro basketball (54:20), and how she makes sense of her accolades and where basketball has taken her (55:00)

Thank you to Ticha for coming on the podcast. We encourage you to follow her on twitter @TichaPenicheiro, check out https://sigsports.com/team-member/ticha-penicheiro/, and her website http://www.tichapenicheiro.com/.

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

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Matt Bodnar on the Science of Success

Matt Bodnar on the Science of Success

June 26, 2019

Matt Bodnar joins us on this week’s episode of the podcast. Matt wears many hats; he has been named to “Forbes 30 Under 30” and he’s a partner in multiple “Inc Fastest Growing Companies.” He is a deal maker, strategy expert, and he has scaled businesses across multiple industries. He has done over $100 million in deal volume across 25+ transactions. He is Chairman of Fresh Technology, CoFounder and Managing Partner of Fresh Capital, and Managing Partner of Fresh Holdings. Matt will share with you some of his work in real estate, restaurants, and technology. He is always looking to invest and become a partner in companies as he really values ownership. He is an entrepreneur at heart, but his career started at Goldman Sachs where he learned a lot about finance and what went into that world until he decided to pursue a life that went along with his values and strengths. Matt is intentional about how he spends his days and his weeks, and where he’s looking to go from a career standpoint.

In this episode, they discuss when his entrepreneurial spirit came up for him (4:30), what brought him to Wall Street (7:15), if anything in his childhood showed his entrepreneurial spirit (8:30), how his travel shaped his view of the world (10:30), what he was like as a kid in the school system (12:10), how being the only one in the house with his parents affected him (14:50), how he feels about reading in the middle of the day (15:50), his daily routine and thoughts on productivity (16:50), how he uses Evernote for journaling (23:10), what’s the psychology behind getting yourself to put out content (27:30), what comes after meditation and journaling in his routine (32:30), how he thinks about exercise and fitness (34:10), what his conversation would look like if he had an employee that wanted to journal, meditate, etc. during the day (35:40), his career up to this point (36:30), how he makes the decision to delegate (38:40), how he compensates for always wanting to delegate (39:50), what makes him feel most alive (42:10), when he became interested in self-help and personal development (45:20), what he does to work on himself (47:05), and what he struggles with (50:50)

Thank you to Matt for coming in the podcast. We encourage you to check out his podcast at https://www.successpodcast.com/ and sign up for his email list. Matt also reads and responds to every email from everyone that signs up for the email list so if you email him at Matt@successpodcast.com he will respond.

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

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Heideh Shahmoradi on Being Kind

Heideh Shahmoradi on Being Kind

June 19, 2019

Heideh Shahmoradi joins us on this week’s episode of the podcast. Heideh has her own firm that some would call a lobbying firm, but she calls it an educating firm. She really has become a big player in Washington, DC and on Capitol Hill and has made a tremendous impact on the homeless community and transportation industry all over the country. Heideh has worked with some of the most influential people in our government and she will share how she came to get to that point, and also some of the challenges that she’s faced along the way. At the end of the day, Heideh is someone who is kind, grateful, and looks for the best in life.

In this episode, they discuss what Sasha Bruce does (4:40), her story and how she ended up at Sasha Bruce (5:30), her teenage years (7:30), how religion played a role in her life (8:20), her experience meeting her husband (10:00), when Sasha Bruce became a resource for her (11:00), why she ran away from home (13:00), what was so great about her experience at Sasha Bruce (14:50), what she thinks people saw in her (16:20), what it was like working in transportation (20:30), what she was like academically (21:20), her college experience (24:30), what it was like not having a permanent home (26:20), how she thinks about vulnerability (28:20), what she does to practice gratitude (33:40), if positivity is innate for her (34:50), when she shifted to taking advantageous of her situations (35:30), what she thinks makes someone successful (37:50), her experience working on Capitol Hill (39:30), the importance of relationships (42:10), what she liked about being in politics (44:50), what she’d be doing now if she didn’t go to DC (51:30), how she thinks about what she has gone through (53:50), how she sees religion today (56:20) , her relationship with her parents today (58:10), what she’s up to now (1:02:00), what she does for youth homelessness (1:05:30), what makes a good educator (1:06:15), and what she does to make sure she’s at her best (1:09:05)

Thank you to Heideh for coming on the podcast. If anyone is ever looking for guidance, advice, or consulting information on the work that she spoke about today they can reach her at Heideh@osstrategiesllc.com.

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

Thanks for listening.

-Brian

Stu Singer on Mindfulness and Sport Psychology

Stu Singer on Mindfulness and Sport Psychology

June 12, 2019

Stu Singer joins us on this week’s episode of the podcast. Stu has worked as a Director of Performance Psychology for the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, and as a Performance Psychologist for the University of Maryland Women’s Basketball team, Fordham University, Rice University, and the Connecticut Sun among other teams. Stu has served an integral role in helping the University of Maryland Women’s Basketball reach back to back Final Fours, and Fordham University win their first A10 Championship. Stu’s approach focuses on teaching and providing mental performance skills for athletes that have the pressures of competing at elite levels in high school, college, and pro sports. He also provides team trainings, clinics, and consultations with coaches on how to develop healthy and effective mental performance fundamentals for their athletes. Stu completed his doctoral coursework at the University of the Rockies where he specialized in sport and performance psychology and is also a professional member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. He additionally received his M.Ed. in Counseling from Shippensburg University. This conversation gets into the core of mental performance and he will talk about everything that he has learned up until now and where he sees the field going in the future.

In this episode, they discuss what life was like for him as a child (6:40), the path his brother was on (10:20), his parents’ family business (13:00), how sport came into his life (14:40), the values his parents passed down to him (16:40), when he became interested in sports psychology (18:20), why he majored in business (20:20), the art and science of people (26:00), how he thinks about confidence (29:05), his thoughts on self-talk (35:40), how he thinks about mastery in his world (39:40), what he does to work on his craft (45:10), what he does now that he wasn’t doing 5 years ago (47:50), where he’s going in the next 5 years (49:20), the app he created to train athletes (51:30), what his meditation practice looks like (55:05), what he does differently working with kids vs. college athletes vs. professionals (56:05), how he toggles between teaching and asking questions (59:10), how much of his work is focused on mental performance vs. the clinical side (1:03:00), and how much of his work is with the staff vs. athletes (1:06:05)

Thank you to Stu for coming on the podcast. We encourage you to check out his DoSo app and to check out his website http://wellperformancecoach.com/. You can also follow him on Twitter @Wellperformance and on Instagram @wellperformance.

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

Thanks for listening.

-Brian