Intentional Performers with Brian Levenson
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

Listen: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify.

 

Ashley Merryman on Developing Mindset

Ashley Merryman on Developing Mindset

December 2, 2020

Ashley Merryman is the author of two New York Times bestsellers: NurtureShock: New Thinking about Children and Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing.

In this episode we discuss why she’s a Nationals fan (5:20), the power of sports and the community it builds (7:20), why she cares so deeply about excellence and competing (10:37), “flow” (14:15), emotional agility and grit (18:53), Angela Duckworth (25:40), differences among children and self-fulfilling prophecies (28:04), being perfectionistic in preparation and adaptable in performance (33:55), the importance of technical skill vs mentality (40:35), Ashley’s introduction to growth mindset (43:02), if her thoughts regarding growth mindset have changed at all over time, and the idea of fixed mindset vs growth mindset (48:12), if she believes people have innate “gifts” (56:15), epigenetics (1:01:25), if a fixed mindset could be helpful in performance (1:08:26), knowing your audience (1:17:43), strengths, weaknesses, faith, humility, and modesty (1:22:30), the humble leader vs the arrogant leader (1:30:25), why she became a lawyer and not a psychologist (1:36:38), the “challenge vs threat” concept (1:42:49), the value and process of competition (1:53:20), the relationship between growth and competition (1:54:40), and participation trophies (1:59:03).

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

You can check out Ashley’s website here. Also make sure to follow her on twitter @AshleyMerryman.

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

Dan Abrahams on Sport Psychology

Dan Abrahams on Sport Psychology

November 25, 2020

Dan Abrahams is a Sport Psychologist who works alongside individuals, teams, coaches, and organizations all over the world. He is known for his passion to demystify sport psychology and for creating simple to use performance techniques. Dan is a former professional golfer and holds a first-class Honors Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Sport Psychology.

Dan is extremely articulate, thoughtful, and intentional about the word choices that he uses, but he still does it with an energy and tenacity that is second-to-none. In this episode, Dan will talk about his mindset and how he approaches things. He will also talk about nuance and the value of nuance, personality’s role, and how working inside of a team is different from playing golf or another individual sport.

In this episode we discuss Dan’s ability to be skeptical and contrarian, and where his mindset of “and” instead of “or” came from (6:00), how science and art relate to his work (12:28), how he works with clients (18:59), consistency (25:21), language surrounding outcome, performance, and mindset and how they differ (34:09), Bryson DeChambeau (40:15), the similarities and common threads between working with individual-sport athletes and team-sport athletes (46:01), mental health in sports, more specifically how we can help athletes not only live with their anxiety or mental health challenges, but how we can help them reach a point of thriving (57:40), how Dan thinks about thoughts, feelings, and “thinking” (1:11:27), what he does to make sure he’s at his best when working with clients (1:17:25), and how personality affects responses to situations (1:21:22).

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

You can check out Dan’s podcast here and his website here. Also make sure to follow him on twitter @sportpsychshow, @DanAbrahams77, and @AbrahamsGolf.

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

Claude Silver on Leading With Heart

Claude Silver on Leading With Heart

November 18, 2020

Servant Leadership through the heart! Claude Silver is the premier resource for heart-based leadership because she has created it, executed it, taught it and lived it. She knows how to develop others with these skills so they can pull out their inner heart leadership and soar! Claude Silver is VaynerMedia's inaugural Chief Heart Officer, and she really does bring the heart to the agency by way of emotional optimism and emotional intelligence. She has shifted the agency’s way of working to ensure she is unlocking greatness in people. Letting go of traditional HR methods and leaning into human-to-human connection has allowed Claude to disrupt the traditional approach to building culture, and at VaynerMedia, she has done just that.

In this episode, we discuss her perspective on emotional agility (6:05), how she stays present and remains agile in serving people (8:34), what she does to make sure she’s at her best (10:48), what her childhood was like and how she came to be who she is today (12:52), the role of spirituality, faith, and religion in her life (21:32), her parents’ response to her “rebellion” (26:58), if she enjoyed playing tennis at Rollins (27:28), her “watershed” experience (28:30), her thoughts on formal education and the role it plays in society (33:45), where she sees human resources going (38:53), how VaynerMedia’s HR culture operates (42:25), why she thinks HR has led more to compliance than development (45:18), changing the narrative about when you have to “face” a person of authority (48:23), privacy as it relates to her family and personal life (51:55), how she thinks about “strong” skills as opposed to “soft” skills (57:19), and helping people find their voices (1:00:00).

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

You can check out Claude's website here and her LinkedIn here.

Additionally, make sure to follow her on Twitter and Instagram @claudesilver!

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

Matt Birk on Humble Preparation

Matt Birk on Humble Preparation

November 11, 2020

Matt Birk played in the NFL for 15 years. He came into the NFL as a 6th round pick after going to Harvard as an undergraduate. Matt played for the Baltimore Ravens, winning a Super Bowl with them, and he also played for the Minnesota Vikings for a number of years, which was his hometown football team. Matt was a 2-time All-Pro, a 6-time Pro Bowl selection, a Super Bowl winner as well.

During the episode, Matt will share how he wound up at Harvard, what that experience was like for him, and how it helped shape him for the pros. In the NFL, Matt thrived. He changed positions in the NFL, moving from tackle to center on the offensive line. We discuss what that transition was like and all that he had to keep track of being at the forefront of the offense. Matt will also discuss humble preparation in our conversation and how valuable that was during his career. Lastly, speaking from the perspective of someone who played a position where you only get recognized for making mistakes, Matt also discusses the importance of not getting caught up on failures.

In this episode, we discuss what life was like for Matt as a kid and his overall journey (5:07), the other sports he played as a kid and why he didn’t excel at them (11:05), if being overweight as a kid influenced how he was treated (11:57), his relationships with his siblings and how that impacted his sports career (12:47), if he played other sports in high school (16:42), his views on academics growing up and if it came easily to him (18:08), what it was like for him and what his comfort level was at Harvard (19:56), if he felt like he belonged academically and athletically while in school there (21:27), if he loved football (26:30), what his mindset on gameday was like (30:06), if he prepared during the week with a fear of failure on Sundays (30:45), his mindset as a center on a running play as opposed to his mindset on a passing play (35:30), if he was fully reliant on muscle memory as a center or if he had to shift between focusing fully on snapping the ball to the quarterback and focusing fully on blocking (36:55), how Matt would shift his mind between preparation and performance (43:31), Matt’s journey as an underdog and how that impacted his mindset on gameday to not only compete, but to excel at the highest level (47:28), if he felt like he had an “unfair advantage” in his levels of intelligence and his ability to remember plays, the role faith plays in his life, and if he would leverage those two attributes on gameday (50:05), what he noticed in his 15 years were the commonalities among high-performing, elite teams (55:52), and what he has hanging on his walls at home today (59:35).

You can check out Matt’s company “Matt Birk and Company” here, and you can follow Matt on Instagram @mattbirk77!

Thank you so much to Matt 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

Dan Helfrich on Building Culture while Pursuing Passions

Dan Helfrich on Building Culture while Pursuing Passions

November 3, 2020

Dan Helfrich is the Chairman and CEO of Deloitte Consulting. As CEO, he leads a $10 billion business comprised of more than 50,000 professionals who help clients solve their most complex business issues and shape their futures with confidence. Prior to this role, Dan led the Government of Public Services and advised government leaders in transforming into their most efficient and effective organizations, across areas of technology, modernization and innovation, human capital, strategy and analytics, customer experience, and enterprise operations, In addition to that, Dan serves as the play-by-play for Georgetown Men’s Soccer, which is where he went to college and played soccer.

In this conversation, Dan will talk about leadership, why he takes time to pursue things he’s passionate about, and what he believes the tenets of leadership and good human development are.

In this episode, we discuss what it was like for Dan growing up in a household as the oldest of 7 kids (5:35), why his family decided to adopt 3 kids after already having 4 (7:25), what his parents did for work and how that influenced him (8:30), how going to a Montessori school impacted him (10:20), how he views nature and nurture as it relates to his household growing up (11:00), what he was like as a teenager and how he’s changed since then (13:12), the role of sports in his life growing up (13:35), some benefits and drawbacks to being “a 30 year-old in a 15-year-old body” as he was growing up (15:10), if he had a life vision at the age of 15 (15:50), why he decided to play college soccer at Georgetown (16:40) and what the experience was like (18:25), if sitting on the bench at Georgetown was the biggest piece of adversity he had faced in his life at the time (19:46), what he learned about “leading from the bench” (20:38), where his confidence comes from (23:33), how he thinks about curiosity and conviction (25:22), what it’s like being the play-by-play commentator for Georgetown Men’s Soccer and how that aspect of his career came about (27:10), if he’s inspired others by taking on that role in addition to being a CEO (37:30), his career and journey to where he is now professionally (39:00), how important loyalty is to him (41:38) and the benefits and drawbacks of being loyal (42:40), how much time he spends on business/consulting strategy vs how much time he spends on creating a strong culture and developing people (44:25), everyday equations that he and his team have created (46:37), how he makes time and connects with the 55,000 other people in his organization (51:20), his relationship with sleep (53:20), some things he believes he still has room to grow on (54:55), if exercise and health are important to him (56:45), and his advice to today’s leaders (58:15).

Thank you so much to Dan 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

Jen Baker on Lifelong Leadership Skills

Jen Baker on Lifelong Leadership Skills

October 28, 2020

Jen Baker is just the fifth Director of Athletics and Recreation at Johns Hopkins since 1950 and succeeded Alanna W. Shanahan, who served in the position since July 2016. 

Baker has been an integral member of the department’s senior-leadership team since her arrival at Homewood.  She has overseen the day-to-day operation of the Department of Athletics with oversight in the planning, development and management of all fiscal and administrative operations.  As such, she has directed all revenue-generating initiatives and short and long-term budget planning for Johns Hopkins’ highly successful 24-sport varsity athletic program.

In addition, Baker has served as the sport administrator for the Blue Jay women’s lacrosse, football, men’s and women’s basketball and women’s soccer programs while also providing administrative support for men’s lacrosse.  She led the search to fill Johns Hopkins’ head football coaching position in early 2019 and has been actively involved in the hiring of two other head coaches, several assistant coaches and a number of staff members in athletics and recreation.

Among her many key initiatives at Johns Hopkins has been the launching of a unique leadership development program for Johns Hopkins student athletes (Blue Jays LEAD).  The Blue Jays LEAD program made its debut in 2017-18 with a mission of empowering student-athletes to actualize the leader within and inspire action in their communities at Johns Hopkins and beyond.  

Baker inherits a program that recently completed perhaps the greatest athletic year in school history.  Johns Hopkins placed second in the 2018-19 Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup Standings, claimed 11 conference championships, produced 10 CoSIDA/Google Cloud Academic All-Americans and had 45 student-athletes earn All-America honors.  The runner-up finish in the Directors’ Cup standings matched the best finish in school history and 20 of Johns Hopkins’ 24 teams competed in the NCAA Tournament or Championship.

Baker came to Johns Hopkins from Under Armour, where she served as a Senior Manager of Corporate Real Estate, Facilities and Operations.  She was responsible for the daily operation of all UA facilities at its nearby Port Covington headquarters and provided support to all UA offices outside of Baltimore.  That support included new facility activation, vendor relationships and energy management.  One of Baker’s key initiatives at UA was the activation of the company’s newest offices in San Francisco and Portland.

Prior to her time at Under Armour, Baker spent three years at Cornell University, where she ascended to the position of Associate Director of Athletics for Facilities and played an integral role in the oversight of all internal department operations as a member of the senior leadership team.  She was responsible for all athletic facilities, and integral in the budgeting, planning and programming of all related projects.

During her time at Cornell, Baker also designed and developed the Big Red Leadership Institute (BRLI), a program for more than 500 student-athletes across all 37 varsity athletic teams at the school.  The BRLI delivered key leadership concepts set in the athletics context with a mission of building confident leaders and followers who provided immediate impact to their teams and communities.

With the BRLI, Baker implemented five separate, but complementary, proprietary developmental curricula for five distinct student cohorts (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, non-captain seniors and captains).  Each group moved through a unique curriculum designed specifically for their class year and corresponding level of influence and responsibility.

Baker is a co-founder of Athletics Leadership Consulting (ALC), whose mission is to make leadership development accessible to all athletes, coaches and organizational support staff.  ALC leverages athletics as a tool for leadership education as it designs and delivers original content that allows athletes to develop leadership and teamwork skills as an integrated component of their competitive experience.

Baker graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a degree in aerospace engineering and was a member of the Academy’s women’s lacrosse club team.  After the Naval Academy, Baker spent seven years in the Navy, including three years as a pilot and four as a construction manager and facilities engineer.  She later earned an MBA and a master’s in mechanical engineering from Cornell.

A Baltimore area native, Baker attended nearby Hereford High School, where she was a member of the girl’s lacrosse program.  She later helped lead the club lacrosse team to a national championship at the Naval Academy.  Baker’s father (David Dowell ’66), uncle (Brice Dowell ’70) and grandfather (Robert Dowell ’38) are all Johns Hopkins graduates.

In this episode, we discuss Jen’s upbringing and what life was like for her as a kid (6:35), if lacrosse was popular for girls in Baltimore when she was growing up (8:49), if lacrosse came to her naturally (9:40), if she played other sports growing up (10:25), what it was like being in dance from a young age (12:40), her relationship with her brother and how they were similar and different (15:05), her relationship with her mother and what her parents’ divorce and relationship was like for her (15:45), if the values she learned from her mom were the same as the values she learned from her dad (19:37), which parent she’s more similar too (22:00), how she fell in love with lacrosse (23:25), how she decided she wanted to go to the naval academy (24:35), if she continues to feel motivated to prove people wrong (28:33), if she was fully committed to Navy when looking at schools, or if she also considered schools like West Point and Air Force (32:24), the role of women in the military (33:35), what was underneath her reasoning for wanting to become a fighter pilot (34:35), how she defines and thinks about competition (35:15), her lacrosse experience at the Naval Academy (38:25), she and her brother’s differences in competitive nature growing up (40:51), her first failure and her experience as a woman in flight school (42:10), if she had any thoughts at the time about what she would do after serving in the military (54:15), what it was like having the rug ripped out from under her when she discovered she had migraines and would no longer be able to fly (56:45), what she learned from that experience (58:38), what she did at Cornell and what the rest of her journey looked like (1:02:51), why she bypassed the “safe” choice of working at Deloitte and took the risk of going into sports (1:07:57), what she has found to be different about actually being an AD vs what she thought being an AD would be like (1:10:33), what she has learned about leadership along the way, as well as some things that are misunderstood about leadership (1:14:30),

You can check out Hopkins Sports at hopkinssports.com and @hopkinssports on Instagram, and also make sure to give her a follow on Twitter @_JenBaker.

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

Chris Wirth on Refusing to Quit

Chris Wirth on Refusing to Quit

October 21, 2020

Chris Wirth is somebody who cares deeply about positivity, resilience, and persistence. He thinks often about the question of “What does it take to be successful?” Chris has a podcast (No Quit Living), has written a book (The Positivity Tribe), and has many speaking engagements. Chris is also somebody who is all about refusing to lose and refusing to quit. Chris and I discuss what quitting is, and also what it’s not and what that distinction really looks like.

In this episode, we discuss Chris’s upbringing (5:00), how his younger sister’s passing away affected him (7:05), what his parents’ messages were to him at this time of loss and grief (8:09), some of the values his parents passed down to him (9:36), how he defines and thinks about love (10:28), how his thoughts on love have changed over time (11:15), what the opposite of love is (13:05), the conversations had in is household growing up about helping others, and also the conversations had about money (18:23), what he wanted to do with his life when he was younger (19:36), what he would do to set his mind before stepping foot on the basketball court, tennis court, or the acting stage in college, and how his mindset would differ depending on what he was performing in (21:10), how those experiences as a performer shaped what he does today (26:20), his parents’ involvements with Broadway productions and how that influenced him (28:18), what allows for the success of performers like the Jersey Boys (32:28), what acting and improv has taught him (39:04), his journey after college and where he’s at now (41:32), what his experience as a High School Varsity Basketball Coach was like (50:23), the transitions away from various things that he loved that have occurred later on in his life (52:20), the balance between taking care of your marriage and taking care of your kids (56:15), the idea that “quitting” is short-term and “changing” is long-term, and what pulled him into the world of self-help/personal development (1:01:52), what his vision is for 3-5 years from now (1:05:43), his new book “The Positivity Tribe”  (1:07:07), and what he does to intentionally set his mind (1:08:50).

You can check out the No Quit Living website here and feel free to send him an email at chris@noquitliving.com as well!

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

Carmelina Moscato on Soccer Leadership

Carmelina Moscato on Soccer Leadership

October 14, 2020

Carmelina Moscato is a Canadian soccer player and Olympic bronze-medalist. Today, she’s a coach. She played as a Center Back in professional soccer in the US and all over the world. She is someone who thinks deeply about leadership, soccer and how you can leverage leadership in soccer. She’s incredibly thoughtful and will share her mindset on what it was like playing for the Canadian National Team and how she thinks about coaching and the future of women’s soccer.

In this episode, we discuss the origins of her name (5:07), how she’s similar to her dad (5:50), where she grew up (6:37), what life was like for her growing up (6:55), some of the lessons she took away from her childhood, specifically what she learned from her brother and parents (8:05), what pride has meant to her throughout her life, specifically with her parents being immigrants (11:21), if soccer was something that her parents were passionate about (13:05), what drove her internally as a soccer player growing up (14:28), what her path would’ve been without soccer (16:42), why she decided to go to school in the US (Penn State) (18:12), what her soccer journey was like and what her ultimate dream with soccer was (20:00), what her response was to being told that she couldn’t play at a certain level (22:00), how hard of a decision it was to leave her job with the Louisville Athletic Department to go back to pursuing a career as a player (28:25), the differences between her mindset in preparation as a player and as a coach (29:50) and the differences between her mindset in performance as a player and as a coach (31:50), her relationship with John Herdman (33:00), some things that she noticed with the Canadian National Team with regards to good leadership and communication (37:20), “grow” culture (40:15), what her gameday routine looked like and her relationship with spirituality (43:50), how nervous she was for the 3 World Cups she participated in and what she noticed with regards to how she evolved and approached those games over the years (48:00), sportsmanship (50:00), her experiences as a coach and if her coaching style has evolved over time (53:35), “four corners” and what she learned as a coach in Australia (56:24), her vision for herself going forward and women’s soccer (58:45), if she would rather be the commissioner of a Professional Canadian Soccer League or the head coach of the Canadian National Team (1:00:30), if she misses playing (1:02:15), and what it will take to get a Professional Canadian Soccer League up and running and what that league would look like (1:03:15).

You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @CMoscato4.

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that is now available 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 on his new book Shift Your Mind

Brian Levenson on his new book Shift Your Mind

October 6, 2020

This episode is a little different. For the first time, Brian has someone interviewing him about his new book, Shift Your Mind, which was released today!

Chick Hernandez, a DC sports media professional, asked Brian all about the writing process, the different shifts, and what he learned along the way.

You can follow Chick on Twitter: @MrChickSports

Brian's new book is available everywhere books are sold including the following places:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2I6YFaB

Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/2SwYk2J

IndieBound: https://bit.ly/3noBFnp

You can also follow Brian on Twitter: @brianlevenson

If you enjoy today's conversation please write us a review on iTunes and if you like the book please write us a review on Amazon. 

With Gratitude,

The Intentional Performers Team

Jay Triano on Coaching Greatness and Cultivating Mindset

Jay Triano on Coaching Greatness and Cultivating Mindset

September 30, 2020

Jay Triano is a Canadian basketball coach and former professional player, who is currently the lead assistant coach of the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He previously served as the head coach of the NBA's Toronto Raptors and the interim head coach of the Phoenix Suns. A former Canadian national team player who competed in two Olympics, he has also had two stints as head coach of the national team.

In this episode, we discuss the mental part of the game (6:45), things that helped Jay perform as a player from a sport psychology standpoint (8:45), what his childhood was like growing up with his dad as a basketball coach (10:55), the relationship between coaching and sport psychology (13:45), what made Steve Nash special (17:13), where Steve’s belief that he belonged in the NBA came from (22:55), why Jay didn’t wind up being a hockey player (24:00), why he thinks Canada has fallen in love with basketball (25:06), his own basketball journey (26:54), how he went from being a towel-waver to the Canadian National Team’s leading scorer in one year (32:20), if there’s anything he would do on gameday to make sure he had a fearless mind (38:20), the difference between preparation and performance (41:50), what he and his brother had in common playing sports at the professional level (43:34), when he knew he wanted to become a coach (44:55), his transition from college basketball to the pros (46:20), the differences between being an assistant with the US national team and the head coach of the Canadian national team (48:35), what attributes make up a hall-of-fame head coach (50:48) and if those differ from the attributes that make up a hall-of-fame player (51:45), what it was like going from an assistant coach to a head coach in the NBA (52:45), what it was like playing football for a year (54:43), what his basketball coach’s reaction to him going to play football was (56:30), what his tattoos represent and mean to him (59:36), favorite songs (1:04:28), why he wrote his book “Open Look” (1:07:00), and why he thinks Canadians are so proud to be Canadian (1:08:17).

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that will be coming out in October 2020, and you can pre-order 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

Professional Soccer Player Tori Huster on Competing and Mindfulness

Professional Soccer Player Tori Huster on Competing and Mindfulness

September 23, 2020

Tori Huster is a professional soccer player for the Washington Spirit in the NWSL, where she served as a captain last season. She is also currently the Players Association president. Tori has been a pro athlete since 2012 after graduating from Florida State University. Tori is extremely competitive and has also leveraged mindfulness to develop herself on and off the field. She is honored to be the St. Jude Champion (ambassador) in the DC area as well.

In this episode, we discuss what life was like for her growing up (5:50), if it ever felt like she was an only child since she has a 7-year age gap with her sister (9:40), what other sports she played in the past (12:07), if faith was a big part of her upbringing (14:18), what some of the values she has taken from Catholicism are (15:45), her relationship with her mother (17:00), what she has communicated to her father about his relationship with her as a kid (18:50), how she would approach being a mom to a 12-year-old knowing what she now does (24:30), when it became apparent she would play soccer at the Division I level (29:42), what she loved, and continues to love, about soccer (33:05), how she created an internal drive (36:38), if she ever has had thoughts of quitting soccer or burning out (39:30), why she plays soccer (41:55), how close she’s been to the national-team level (45:21), what she does to prepare on gameday to make sure she’s at her best (52:35), what her mindset is before and during a training and how it compares to her gameday mindset (55:45), mental health (57:29), and if soccer coaching is in her future (1:06:43).

You can follow her on Twitter @ToriHuster 

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that will be coming out in October 2020, and you can pre-order 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

Leveraging Discipline with Josh Pastner

Leveraging Discipline with Josh Pastner

September 16, 2020

After guiding Memphis to five post-season berths in seven seasons as the Tigers’ head coach, Josh Pastner became Georgia Tech’s 14th head basketball coach on April 8, 2016.

Implementing a high-energy style of play and creative offensive and defensive schemes, and building the Jackets’ talent base for the future, Pastner has established the Yellow Jackets as one of the top defensive teams in the nation, while he and his staff have steadily improved the team’s offense to be ranked in the top half of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Pastner has tirelessly promoted the program on campus and throughout the city of Atlanta in an effort to re-create the major homecourt atmosphere that surrounded the Yellow Jackets throughout the 1980s, 1990s and into the middle of the 2000s. The result has been numerous wins, high excitement and 13 sellouts in four seasons at McCamish Pavilion.

Five of his players – guards Josh Okogie, Jose Alvarado and Michael Devoe, as well as centers Ben Lammers and James Banks III – have earned Atlantic Conference honors during his tenure. Okogie, in particular, developed from an under-the-radar high school prospect into a highly regarded NBA prospect, having been selected 20th in the 2018 NBA Draft, while Lammers has had a successful first two years as a pro in Europe.

In this episode, we discuss how he got into basketball (6:43), his relationship with his dad (8:30), whether or not he was pushed to pursue a career in playing basketball as opposed to coaching (14:30), the difference between inspiration and motivation (19:10), what his drive was, and is, to be a coach (20:30), how to be present (25:56), how he leverages discipline in his life (28:50), if he’s perfectionistic (31:30), why he’s never tried alcohol, soda, or coffee (37:15), if he struggled to connect with his teammates in college because of that (40:46), the relationship between eating and discipline (45:30), when he developed his 3 principles (47:50), what he would’ve done differently at Memphis (50:40), what he learned from John Calipari (53:00), and why he doesn’t allow his players to curse and if he’s experimented with meditation (58:38).

You can follow Josh on Twitter @GTJoshPastner and feel free to send him an email at jpastner@athletics.gatech.edu   

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that will be coming out in October 2020, and you can pre-order 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

Living with Adversity with Matt Long

Living with Adversity with Matt Long

September 9, 2020

Matt Long has been a competitive athlete his entire life. As a member of his high school basketball team, he was required to run in the Brooklyn/Queens X-country Championships. With no prior running experience, he finished fifth for his school, completing the race in uncomfortable high top sneakers. At Iona College, he competed in their Division I basketball program for which a high level of fitness was mandatory.

Strength and endurance became especially paramount in his life after college when he became a New York City Firefighter. It was around this time he took up distance running and began competing in Ironman triathlons, finishing his first Ironman race in 2005. He then set his sights on qualifying for the Boston marathon by running the ING NYC marathon later that year. With hard work, dedication and persistence, he trimmed 30 minutes off his personal best to run a 3:13, qualifying for the 2006 Boston event.

On the morning of December 22, 2005, Matt Long’s life changed in an instant. He was cycling to work in the early morning when he was struck and run over by a 20-ton bus making an illegal turn. The injuries he sustained pushed him to the brink of death. He received 68 units of blood in the first 40 hours after the accident and spent 5 months in the hospital. More than 40 operations later, he finally began a grueling rehabilitation regime. Matt found the psychological consequences of the accident nearly as hard to process as the physical severities. His doctor had told him he’d be lucky to ever walk again without a cane.

Matt fought through months of fear, despair, loneliness, and intense physical and psychological pain to regain the life he once had. His recovery was a miraculous one which included everything from learning to walk again and, a mere three years later, running in the 2008 New York City Marathon. “Running saved my life,” Matt says, and his determination and perseverance has turned him into a symbol of hope and recovery for countless others.

Matt’s story was covered in a wildly popular article in the March 2009 edition of Runner’s World magazine. Matt has since chronicled his life and journey both before and after the accident in his book The Long Run, released in October 2010. Matt has also started the I WILL Foundation which provides coaching, training and financial support to help people overcome adversity and challenges caused by illness or traumatic injury.  

In this episode, we discuss what his life was like as a kid (7:22), how he thinks having 8 other siblings has impacted him throughout his life (10:15), what values were passed on to him from his parents (11:05), what his mom was like when he was growing up (12:20), how going to Catholic school shaped him (13:05), why he gravitated towards basketball as a kid (14:30), what it was like getting cut from his college team three straight years before making the team his senior year (16:00), why he thinks he got an opportunity to be on the team his senior year (18:41), what if felt like when he heard he’d made the team (20:15), what he gained from playing basketball in comparison to playing rugby (21:49), what his vision for his career was in college (24:30), whether or not he felt a draw to go into the military (26:05), why he decided to become a firefighter (26:50), why he was originally drawn to Wall Street (28:59), what it was like being a bar owner at 25 (30:00), if he had any fear in being a firefighter (33:10), how his preparation and performance mindsets differed as a firefighter (34:45), if there was a debrief process after fighting a fire (36:40), what it was like for him on 9/11 (39:15) and how it’s shaped his life (41:00), what his dreams were prior to 9/11 (42:22), if there was a watershed moment that led him to seeking help (45:20), what training and competing in triathlons is like (47:15),  what he was doing when he got hit (49:20), what it was like living with adversity in his recovery (51:15), what’s different about his mindset today than 20 years ago (53:15), if his mindset changed on his relationship with life and death after his accident (55:30), and what he does to make sure he’s at his best on a daily basis (1:00:20).

You can learn more about Matt at www.mattlongspeaker.com, and give him a follow on Twitter and Instagram @443Long_Matt.

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that will be coming out in October 2020, and you can pre-order 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

Prepare like a Pro with Danny Manning

Prepare like a Pro with Danny Manning

September 2, 2020

Danny Manning is known for his passion, honesty, character, positivity and work ethic in helping young people succeed on the court in the game of basketball and off the court in the game of life. He is one of the premier names in the world of basketball.

Danny is an American college/professional basketball coach in transition and retired National Basketball Association (NBA) player who spent 15 years in the league. Most recently, Danny served as the men's head coach at Wake Forest University. After being born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and attending high school at Page High School (Greensboro, NC), and later Lawrence High School (Lawrence, KS), Danny went on to play basketball at the University of Kansas, where has was a part of four final four teams.

At Kansas, he won an NCAA national championship with the Jayhawks in 1988 as a player, and again as an assistant in 2008. Additionally, Danny is the all-time leading scorer in Kansas basketball history with 2,951 points. He was inducted to the college basketball hall of fame in 2008. As a college head basketball coach, Danny took two different programs to the NCAA Tournament in four years (2014 - Tulsa, 2017 - Wake Forest). He was the 2014 Conference USA Coach of the Year and 2017 Skip Prosser Man of the Year. He has coached 15 NBA draft picks, including 10 first-round selections and nine current NBA players. NBA draft picks who played for Danny include big men Wayne Simien, Julian Wright, Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson, Sasha Kaun, Cole Aldrich, twins Marcus and Markieff Morris, Jeff Withey and Thomas Robinson at Kansas, in addition to John Collins at Wake Forest. 

In this episode, we discuss Danny’s life and upbringing as a kid in a basketball town with a basketball family (4:59), whether or not moving around a lot in his childhood helped him to better navigate the world (6:15), the values his parents passed down to him and his sister (7:40), what he loved about basketball growing up (9:27), his other hobbies outside of basketball (10:30), where he considers “home” to be (11:10), if he knew he wanted to play college basketball at Kansas (12:10), what it was like playing in an intense and pressure-filled environment at Kansas (17:19), the similarities between the championship teams he was a part of in 1988 and 2008 (20:07), his thoughts and feelings during both of those championship runs (21:33), how he was able to interpret the pressure he faced during his career in a positive light (24:30), his mindset as a coach before, during, and after the 2008 championship (26:50), coaching with joy (30:40), how coaching is like parenting (33:25), why he chose to coach in college as opposed to the NBA (36:13), what it’s like navigating Lawrence, Kansas as such a recognizable figure (38:58), the mindset of sticking out as an all-star vs. being a role-player off the bench (41:00), whether he faced pressure to become more “selfish” as a player in the NBA (44:00),  how he navigated recovering from 3 torn ACLs (45:57), what he learned from being coached by legends (49:56), what his coaching philosophy is and the importance of education (52:30), his thoughts on the one-and-done era (55:39), how he would get his mind set on game day as a player (58:00) vs. as a coach (59:50), what it was like for him emotionally to have his jersey retired at Kansas (1:02:20), and the importance of being kind, understanding, and empathetic during these times (1:05:50).

Thank you to Danny for coming on the podcast. We encourage you to follow him on twitter @CoachDManning

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that will be coming out in October 2020, and you can pre-order 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

Improve your Sleep with Physician Meeta Singh

Improve your Sleep with Physician Meeta Singh

August 26, 2020

Dr. Meeta Singh joins us on this week’s episode of the podcast. Dr. Meeta Singh is a board-certified physician focused on the applied science of sleep. Her approach concentrates on improving sleep health with the aim of enhancing physical and mental performance, health, and quality of life. She has a clinical practice where she is a service chief of sleep medicine and section head and medical director at the Henry Ford Sleep Center in Michigan. She is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She also serves as a Consultant for multiple NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB teams. She has worked with college sports teams, large organizations and CEO’s aiming for success in this world.

In this episode, we discuss setting yourself up for success from a sleep perspective (6:00), how she thinks about sleep (9:00), how everything relates to sleep (12:30), sleep and the medical field (17:00), circadian rhythms (21:20), NBA schedule and sleep (23:50), her life as a kid (25:10), why psychiatry (28:50), what the art of what she does looks like (33:30), how to be an effective sleeper on the road (37:40), setting your schedule (43:00), what she does when working with a sports team (47:20), exposing yourself to light (50:00), darkness at night and brightness in the morning (51:30), what to do if you’re having difficulty sleeping (54:30), working smarter and not harder (58:40), working with sports coaches (1:01:10), why we sometimes feel better when waking up earlier (1:08:30), and what she does to be her best (1:09:30).

Thank you to Meeta for coming on the podcast. We encourage you to check out her website https://meetasinghmd.com/, and find her on social media on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that will be coming out in October 2020, and you can pre-order 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

What Makes an Effective Leader with Former CIA Clandestine Service, John Sipher

What Makes an Effective Leader with Former CIA Clandestine Service, John Sipher

August 19, 2020

John Sipher joins us on this week’s episode of the podcast. John is the Co-Founder of Spy Craft Entertainment which is a production firm providing content and talent to the entertainment industry. John is also a foreign policy and intelligence expert and social media influencer. His articles have been published in the NY Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Politico, and pretty much everywhere you get your news. He retired in 2014 after a 28-year career in the CIA, and served many overseas tours. He also served as a lead instructor in the CIA’s Training School and was a regular lecturer in the CIA’s Leadership Development Program. He also has a sports background as he was a Captain of the Lacrosse Team at Hobart College.

In this episode, we discuss how he thinks about pressure (6:10), shifting against your country vs. government (11:30), his upbringing (13:15), education and his parents (19:15), why they were so successful at Hobart Lacrosse (21:30), what he learned as a captain (23:10), the different ways of leadership (27:00), advice he’d give to himself as a captain his senior year (33:40), how you build trust (36:10), what a good mentor does (41:30), level 5 leadership (46:30), what led him to his career (50:30), why the CIA (52:50), what surprised him about being in the CIA (55:30), what it’s like to be undercover (1:01:40), being undercover vs being out front (1:08:00), what he misses about being in the action (1:14:20), what he doesn’t miss about the CIA (1:18:40), what he does to make sure he’s at his best (1:20:00), and what he’s up to now (1:25:10)

Thank you to John for coming on the podcast. We encourage you to check him out on Twitter @john_sipher and go to his company’s website https://spycraftentertainment.com/.

I wrote a book called “Shift Your Mind” that will be coming out in October 2020, and you can pre-order 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

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