[PODCAST] Mental Control Under Pressure, with Lanny Basham

Download Listen in a New Window iTunes Stitcher SoundCloud Leave a Review Clammr It Subscribe via RSS Subscribe on Android Lanny Bassham started off life as a loser. In elementary school, he could never win any of the races, so he decided he’d have a better chance in team sports. When trying out for Little League baseball, he was the last person picked, put out in right field and promptly got hit by the ball right between the eyes. Then he tried out […]

9 Ways You’re Already Mentally Tough

As you know, I think a lot about “mental toughness” and how we can train ourselves to have more of it. But I also think we can get so caught up noticing the times we aren’t mentally tough that we overlook or discount the instances when we are.  Mental toughness doesn’t have to be reserved for some high-stakes situation where we grit our teeth, put our head down and forge on. In my playbook, at least, it can simply be a moment where we overcome a part of […]

How I’m Breaking My Emotional Addiction

Standing at the crowded coffee bar, I waited patiently to catch the attention of the server frantically busy filling orders. A tall German woman strode up next to me and, with no hesitation, called out her order for two cappuccinos. I looked at her, incredulous, feeling the urge to slap her arm and say: “Are you serious?! Do you not see the rest of us waiting here?” The thing is, I wasn’t in New York, where a moment of indignant […]

Want to Bounce Back From Disappointment Quicker?

Do you know the story of the Chinese farmer? When his horse ran away, the neighbors came around to commiserate, “So sorry to hear your horse  ran away.” And the farmer said, “Maybe, too soon to tell.” The next day the horse came back, bringing seven wild horses with it, and the neighbors came around to say, “Oh, isn’t that lucky. What a great turn of events.” And the farmer said, “Maybe, too soon to tell.” The next day, his son was riding one […]

Are You Afraid To Go All Out?

In one of the more heart-wrenching stories from the Rio Olympics, US cyclist Mara Abbott was one of two leading the pack in the women’s cycling race as they climbed the steep 19% incline. Racing down the descent, the other cyclist crashed and Mara was alone in the lead — until, 200 meters from the finish line (and a gold medal), she was passed by a trio surging up from behind, and came in fourth place instead. Afterwards Mara said, “I was proud of the way […]

The Time I Got Busted Not Paying Attention

On Saturday afternoons, I take one of my favorite class workouts, Forza, based on samurai sword fighting, with martial arts fitness instructor Ilaria Montagnani. After the warm-up and technical exercises, we learn two combinations, each a series of 16 moves – half cuts, diagonals, horizontals, for example – combined with squats and specific footwork moving backward, forward, sideways and diagonally. Once we’ve learned the combination, we repeat it, without stopping, for five to six minutes. For years now, we’ve done […]

Are You Leveraging the Power of Curiosity?

My dad likes to tell this story from my childhood: I was three years old, we were eating dinner and my mom chastised me for chewing with my mouth open, saying “That’s how pigs eat.” My immediate response: “Do cows do it too?” Apparently, I’ve always been curious about behavior, bovine and otherwise.  Over the years, living in Japan and Europe and working in diverse company cultures, I’ve developed an endless fascination with understanding why humans behave the way they do […]

The Four-Letter Word Slowing Down Your Success

We say it all the time: “This is hard.” “This sucks.” “I hate this.” “This.” Sounds innocuous. But using it as a vague catch-all when we’re under emotional duress keeps us feeling helpless and out of control. It mires us in a place of “all or nothing,” where we lose our perspective, judge everything about a situation as wrong and make decisions we regret later. “This is bullshit,” says the SEAL candidate right before he gives up and rings out of Hell Week. […]

How To Stop Being A People-Pleaser (and Take Back Your Power)

“This feels too nice and polite to come from a ‘mental toughness coach,’” was my coach’s feedback when I asked him to review an email I had sent introducing myself to a high-profile entrepreneur.   “Well, yes,” I thought. “I am asking for his time and attention, I want to be respectful.” In fact, I was reaching out with an offer to be of service. In the process, I was tripped up by what Jean Tang describes in “Sorry, Not Sorry,” as women’s […]

How Much of Your Life Do You Want To Spend In Survival Mode?

In The Art of Possibility, Ben Zander tells this story: Inscribed on five of the six pillars in the Holocaust Memorial at Quincy Market in Boston are stories that speak of the cruelty and suffering in the camps. The sixth pillar presents a tale of a different sort, about a little girl named Ilse, a childhood friend of Guerda Weissman Kline, in Auschwitz. Guerda remembers that Ilse, who was about six years old at the time, found one morning a […]