There is no doubt about the skills that each of us possesses; what is often lacking is the right mindset to turn those into success. Charmas Lee, the Founder of Building Champions, has been transforming countless individuals in this regard for over 30 years. Charmas is a coach, motivational speaker, sports and fitness professional, two-time TEDx speaker, and the author of Think Say Do and other books. As he talks with host Bob Roark on the show, partake of the incredible wisdom he has accumulated over the decades in the areas of mindset, motivation, self-development, and personal mastery. With Charmas, you can learn how to make excellence a habit and success a default state.
Our special guest is Charmas Lee. He is the Owner of Building Champions and the author of Think Say Do: Disrupting Systemic Cycles of Faulty Thinking. He's the author of six additional books. He's prolific and a two-time TEDx speaker. He also speaks to Vistage groups across the country. Charmas, thanks so much for taking the time.
Thank you much for this opportunity. I'm glad to be here.
We're going to have some fun. Tell me about your business and who you serve.
The name of the business is Building Champions. We specialize in personal and professional development. I've been a coach for over 32 years, eclipsed the 10,000-hour rule 2.5 times. What I've seen is with victory in site, I've seen many people slip into mediocrity. We create comprehensive strategies for those who are trying to move in a different direction, provided with a purpose plan and a clear set of priorities and get them to knock the ball out of the park.
I read the Think Say Do book. I also was lucky enough to see you speak at a Vistage group. I am exposed to your work. You're working in the athletic arena at the Olympic level. You've done track and field.
I've had a chance to work with athletes in the National Football League, senior level of figure skaters, USA track and field, and the World Boxing Organization.
I think of figure skaters and boxers, they both got to move on their feet or bad things happen.
They've got to have excellent footwork, but more than that, they have to have the right mindset. They've got to bring the right mindset every single day, especially in the competitive environment.
[bctt tweet="Start with the vision and then move forward from there." username=""]
Maybe years ago, the mindset wasn't that much of a buzzword. I’ve got kids and I try to coach my kids and they're older. We talk about mindset and approach. Having mindset and keeping a mindset are two distinct skillsets. When you're working with the athlete that's on the long grind to get to a honed edge, what do you do to help them keep their mindset?
The most important factor is it's going to start with their attitude. My responsibility is to ensure that they bring the right attitude so that they'll have the right perspective. It’s funny how the mind works. Based on the attitude, it will determine how you see others and how others see you and it plays such a big role. The second thing is that we have to create a series of habits, practices, and rituals that they perform on a daily basis. I want them to get to a place where when they don't perform a habit, practice or ritual that we've designed, for example an AM or a PM ritual, by creating incredibly uncomfortable. What that will do is that will set the tempo and press the agenda for the day, whether it be in the training or the competition environment. We implemented mental fortitude routines. We call them mental mastery routines.
Sometimes they're amazing that these athletes are trained to put a full script together in black and white and memorize it, including sights sounds and smells and things of that nature of the environment they're about to go into. They can visibly or visually see what's going to take place during the competition, whether it be boxing or whatever the case may be. They already have a strategy in place on what's going to happen. For example, if I get hit or if I've got to go from left to right, or if I fall during my exhibition. They've already got this. I call it a Front Side Focus. My responsibility is to prepare them for everything. Condition the mind for success, the physical body for success, and have the right attitude as I invoke on this journey.
I think about the inventory of tasks. What are the proper steps to get their mindset? How do you visualize and anticipate without fulfilling what you visualize, like falling down? You go, “I visualize that so I did.” What are the building blocks that you see when you're working with an athlete that takes them from a challenging timeframe to where they can adhere to that mindset visualization process? What are the steps?
I think the first step for me, when I get an athlete, I perform an evaluation to determine where they are physiologically and psychologically. We do a full-blown assessment that determines what they are doing in their nutrition, with their sleep, with their exercise, what kind of attitude they bring to the table. It’s not just the athlete, it's the CPO or the executive director or whomever I'm working with at that time. We perform a full-blown evaluation and then I have to meet them where they're at. One of the mistakes I made when I was a younger coach was, I would mistake chronological age for biological age. You may have a young person who looks like they're 25, but is only sixteen. I would want to train them like they were 25. When they're sixteen, they're sixteen.
What I have to do is I have to be smart about how we communicate the expectations. We also have clearly defined expectations, consequences, requirements for our results, but also be pliable a little flexible about what's going on. Post-evaluation, we simply create a plan. We want to create a plan that's pliable for both of us. I believe that you should have a bit of fun when you're going down a journey like this. It's important to enjoy the journey. I should say when it's time to work, it's time to work and when it's time to play, I want you to play like there's no tomorrow. If we can forge a link between attention and excellence with the athlete or the CEO or whomever I'm working with or the eight-year-old soccer athlete, there's a good chance at success would be imminent.
The first piece is how can I establish rapport? How can we forge a link between attention and excellence? How can I teach them, Bob, to sell themselves on themselves? You're going to get hit if you're a boxer. You’re going to fall if you're a skater. You're going to get knocked into the stand if you’re a football player. If you're a world-class surfer, trust me, you're going to fall and it's going to hurt. You have to learn how to get back up, sell yourself on yourself, remove the excuses. I provide them with some friendly accountability with one of my morning mantras or something to that effect. We keep them on track.
There's a lot to consume. I think about the young CEO, they got in the job and it's the first time that they've been a CEO. They go, “I now have to go and drive this operation properly and there are sets of skill stacks requirement.” When you talk to that younger CEO or even the experienced CEO that's run out of bandwidth. You're looking at building blocks, for you and that client, when you start to prioritize those building blocks, what's your process to identify and then prioritize?
I think the first thing is vision. We want to reestablish the vision and I let the young CEO know. The CEOs are becoming younger and younger as you well know of some serious corporations.
It could be that we're getting older. We just think they're getting younger.
I asked them about the vision, and the vision that I want them to describe to me is the one where they're swinging from the chandelier. I don’t want to talk about the nansy-pansy vision. That’s for a different conversation and for a different coach. We start with this vision piece. I have this thing called the Successful Win. It's basically, do you have clearly defined expectations for yourself? Do you have clearly defined goals? Are you results oriented? Have you learned how to manage energy and not time like outstanding performance do? One of the biggest things that the CEO is telling me, “We don't have enough time.” Some of them have families and etc. It's not about time, you need a deadline. You have to learn to honor deadlines.
We go through this process. We look at the success when we find where they're lacking. For example, the gentlemen or the young ladies give themselves a score of three on a scale of 1 to 5 and its vision. I'll ask them a question. “What would your personal life look like in total victory? I mean total victory?” I would suggest that 65% to 70% of the time they have dismissed that aspect of their lives. They're there to serve and they're there to run a thing, but they forgotten about this personal piece. I talk to them about being selfish for the first 60 minutes of the day. Take care of yourself, invest in yourself first, make yourself the first check on your priority list.
For the remainder of the day, those other eleven hours you got to work, you can be selfless toward others. I also share with them about this vision piece. Most people understand that vision is not a place that you go to. It's a place that you come from. I heard that quote from someone else, “You have to learn to live it daily in every single dimension of your life.” It's about your spirituality. It's about your academics. It's about your professional development. It's about your family. How do you show up every single day? It starts with a clearly constructed vision. Those who have not designed a clearly constructed vision, when the obstacles get in the way, they seem to be the first ones who want to derail themselves from the prize. It's an easy thing to do. We start with the vision and then we move forward from there.
I think about the opportunity to be distracted. If you could see my desk, you can tell that I don't complete any single task at one time. It's the nature of the beast, the rituals to come back and get re-centered, then you go, “Did I get the priorities of the day done properly?” The gratitude and family and the things that are important and have you taken care of those, it’s lost easily and subsumed by something else. The thing that I found interesting is we were talking about periodization. What I thought was interesting is that as I was looking at the definition, it had a lot to do with physical fitness regimen. I would be interested to hear from you is, where you started seeing the physical regimen go over to the business regimen application of that technique.
[bctt tweet="Mindset promotes skillset." username=""]
I've been a coach for years. I've worked with various levels of sport, little guys all the way into the big guys and girls, etc. What I've been able to do is learn what it takes to become a champion both on and off the field. If you would have told me years ago that I'd be doing this professional speaking and coaching outside of the athletic arena, I'd probably said, “Bob, you're not telling the truth.” I wouldn't call you a liar, but I probably say you’re not telling the truth. It became evident to me when I began to watch people with what I call unrealized potential. Meaning that I could see what they had in them, but they couldn't see it. They would trip over the lines in the parking lot and I would think, “There’s something missing here.”
I simply took the same strategies that I use in the track or in the football arena, whatever the case, and I put together a curriculum. I began to test it out and it was an amazing thing. There is a direct correlation between those who could achieve in the athletic arena, whether they did have or did not have the giftedness skill or ability same in the academic or corporate arena. I determined that these skills of concentration and focus were the two primary pieces to affect actual performance. Here's how this happens. We speak at approximately 125 words per minute. We listen at 400 words per minute. We think of 48 thoughts per minute. The mind has much time to wander. We are constantly distracted and bombarded with many things. I got to determine that the first step, no matter who I'm working with is two boards that link between attention and excellence.
The first six minutes of any training session, no matter what group I'm working with, it's mental fortitude training. This is simply designed to remove the distractions that they're dealing with every day. We call it driving their attention forward. You drive the attention forward and you get the biggest bang for the buck. I’ll tell you how powerful this piece is. I used to work with athletes five days a week, a couple of hours a day. We got good at this aspect of the middle 42 training that we went from five days a week, two hours a day to 135 minutes a week total, and got the same or better result. Why? They were dialed in and focused. I can hold their attention for 45 minutes, three times a week. It was an amazing thing.
Once I realized that focus and concentration were essential, I began to drop into different environments and begin to teach that. I began to teach it because I believed in it. I also needed to work that within myself to learn how to attend and to attune by. I ended up doing a couple of things. I began to study Neuroscience and these other sciences outside of sports science. I recognized there a direct correlation to many levels on performance. I began to put the pieces together and let me share this. There's a rule out there called the 5/95 rule of human performance. It suggests that performance is 95% physiological and 5% psychological, but the 5% controls in 95%. It was Dr. Kenneth Henson who discovered this. I adapted that rule and I created a stepwise approach titled Think Say Do, so I could give other people a stepwise approach to winning in life.
It is nothing more than the 5/95 hinder performance wrapped up nice and neat in the language that you can understand from the perspective of the layman, not the athlete, driving that attention forward, putting the right habits, practice and rituals in place, committing to the habits, practice and rituals, bringing the proper energy and attitude to every single situation and demanding the most from yourself. If I'm working with you, you have different genetic ceiling than someone else would have. You may be able to achieve a whole lot more based on who you are. My responsibility as a coach is to close that genetic ceiling, year-after-year if you're an athlete, CEO or whoever so that you can become the best in the world you can do what's best for them. That's what I do on my side of the house.
Periodization simply a strength and conditioning model that's been around since the 1960s. We created what we call an undulating periodization model, which is effective for the corporate arena as well. Old days are big bouts of work, big bouts of recovery so you’d spike out this. Undulating is more I can keep you at 88%, about 364 days a year. When I'm doing the standard periodization, you're only good for about 4 or 5 races in a full year. At 88%, I can spike you from time to time. You can peak up to six times a year. We put these same models in the corporate arena and we teach our clients these things. One of the things that athletes are good at, they don't see time as time. They manage their energy not for time. How they manage energy is this. I'm 59. Energy is one of my strongest resources that I have to be careful. They keep the priority the priority. Time and energy sit on the same couch but we don't look at it.
Everybody has 24 hours in a day, seven days a week, 168 hours. It's how you use that time. If I'm going to keep the priority and remove the distractions, I'm going to get more done than the next guy. I can stay focused longer than the next guy and I'm going to win. All of those things from a strength and conditioning side, rest and recovery and hydration and fueling. How can we keep you operating at a certain level for an extended period where when you show up, not only do you show up, you show out? It’s like, “I want to be like that guy. There's something about him. Where did he get that?” When this individual walks into the room, he or she becomes the decisive element in their workplace. It's like, “Did you lose weight? Did you get your hair cut? Are you wearing a new suit?” “No, I changed my mind. That's all I did.” It's a mindset that promotes skillset.
Years ago, I was at a meeting somewhere and they talked about the corporate athlete. They're talking about the professional athletes in the arena for a short period of time by and large and said, “The corporate athlete can be in the arena for 40 years or more.” They talk about how you peak and recover, peak and recover to continue to perform for decade after decade. Some of the stuff that we were talking about before, you've got the corporate athlete. They're getting better at mindset and being aware of effective time and being aware of being on task and bringing the energy. Periodically, you get beat down, something happens, family issue. We have a pandemic. What's the ritual that you've suggested or trained into that person that lets them step back, assess, reset, and get going again?
The first thing I'll share with you is that I think restoration is equally important as working. It's important. my two cents to folks who are at this place where it's not quite burn out, but they're experiencing some quality thinking. They're a little disappointed or discouraged or they're fatigued. The first thing is you have to find a way to find 45-minute escapes per day. Every single day, we fall into finding 45-minute escapes. For me, I run-up to the local coffee house and I will sit there and I will warm up my imagination with a triple espresso with caramel and whip. I will celebrate. From time to time, I'll have a cup from China or some other place and I will imagine that I'm in that location. I'm telling you the mind is a powerful tool. What we have to do is we have to learn how to sell ourselves on ourselves.
We're going to get knocked down. There are things that we can do to make this happen. I’ll walk you through one example. One of the things that we share with whomever we're working with is upon awakening, be incredibly territorial. Remove all the distractions. When you first wake up, it's not the time to communicate a bunch of different things out loud or anything like that. As we speak, we create. The first thing we want you to do is to turn your attention inward and see what you're saying. See what your internal narrative is talking to you about it. It's called Metacognition, thinking about thinking. In this day and time, thinking about thinking is something that this doesn't take place. Once you determine what's going on in there, if the words aren't uplifting and powerful and complimentary, we have a responsibility to shift those words.
First, upon awakening, silence your mind. I call it serve the eviction notice to the freeloader that lives up there. You pay attention to the internal narrative and then you find the three words that would be empowering to you and you begin to think those. I talk about this process and it takes time. It takes a great deal for some self-improvement. I heard a psychologist one time say, “You’ve got a storm before you norm some time.” Things can get tough. Deal with that internal civil war. You find three words that are empowering. My words are powerful, impactful, and purposeful. Those are the three words that I'm going to have in my intro narrative and I'm going to think of those to myself. That's kind of the think part because I know as I think, I become.
The second piece is this. Once I think these things and what I have to do, I have to deploy those thoughts. I'm not saying some lightweight fashion. I have to deploy those thoughts, which means have to articulate those things. I will simply use those three words, powerful, impactful, and purposeful, and I will put the words ‘I am’ in front of them. I am powerful. I am impactful. I am purposeful. When I say I am, this means right now and in the present. What I wish I was or what I should have been or could have been right now and then I embrace those words for the rest of the day. Before I'm done, I thought about those words and I spoke those words. I have to take immediate action.
If I don't take immediate action, I will operate 100% incongruent to the person that I choose to be on that date. These words are mere words unless they're actionable words. I have to take an action that will suggest that I'm powerful, impactful, and purposeful. For me, it’s simple. I got a small breed Mastiff that sleeps with me. I rub him on the top of his head. I got a beautiful wife who lays next to that big old Mastiff. I give her a kiss. Powerful, impactful and purposeful, it can be anything I choose it to be on that day. That's how I start the day. When my feet hit the ground and I get out of that bed, I express my gratitude for one more day.
I express that gratitude and I am sincere about having one more opportunity to create a positive change in someone else's life because I can. This takes daily over the self-improvement. We call it, learn how to sell yourself on yourself. The brain processes between 45 and 60,000 thoughts per day, up to 80% are repetitive. How would we know what we're thinking unless we pause to reflect it and found out? Our thoughts become a physical reality. They can become a physical reality and we need to pay attention to what we're thinking. At any given moment, are we selling ourselves on ourselves or are we selling ourselves out? We have to stay in tune and check on those things. The first foundational piece, the first thing is to create this AM ritual.
This sounds juvenile as I'm speaking it. Most of us have exchanged an intellectual argument for the truth. It doesn't have to be fancy. It doesn't have to be these big, magical words. It’s called consistent persistence. You go to work, get the job done, recognize there's going to be a setback, but that's okay. The setback is a precursor to moving forward. It's part of the success formula. Put those bad boys in place and I tell you, you can make each day a glorified exhibition and radiance. That's the foundational model of the first step of probably seven steps and things they do. As I think, I become. As I speak, I create. I do the work with passion, courage and enthusiasm. I’m glad you’re here but the race is for second.
I think about the people out there that may well need this the most that will probably push back the hardest. They'll go, “This sounds like some happy talk, self-talk or whatever mess.” He says, “We're going to give it a shot because I don't have another alternative. I'm far in the weeds. I need help.” Clearly, in the current environment, there are challenges in the business arena given all the lockdowns and everything else that's going on health-wise in the country. When you talk to that person, how do you frame the expectation? “I want you to do this. I want you to anticipate that you're going to have these stumbling blocks.” What's that discussion like?
[bctt tweet="Learn how to sell yourself on yourself." username=""]
Many have lost their sense of self. The question is first, “Who are you?” People who know what they want and who they are seem to be able to move exponentially faster and are more powerful than the others. The question is, do you know who you are? We want to redefine the nature of your association with yourself and let's find out who you are. The conversation will then go like this, “Whatever you want to accomplish, and I believe that you can, if you're willing to do the work as designed daily, here's what it looks like.” You put the foundation together. I want you to commit yourself for the next 63 days to work on one habit. There’s a saying, “A rising tide lifts all ships.”
There's one habit in our lives that if we're willing to focus on and improve that habit, it will help affect the change in many other things. When I'm working with a high-performance sprinter, 100-meter dash kid or guy, I will work on the first three pushes 70% of the time. I'm training this athlete over a full 365 days or a full year. The first three pushes are the things that will set him or her up at 60 meters, then again at 100 meters. It's called ground force application. It's the same conversation we're having right now for the corporate arena. Those first three pushes are going to give you the foundation to run effectively with the economy of effort and highly successful at the 60-meter mark. Focus more on how you're showing up, not on how fast you're progressing.
The first three pushes are like the first three thoughts of the day. They can derail you for success or they can put you in a place all by yourself. That conversation is this, “It may not be simple. You may experience a couple of setbacks, but it's part of the success formula. Adversity and perseverance are also part of that success formula.” My responsibility is to provide that client with a blueprint for performance and achievement. That blueprint is my responsibility as a coach to give him or her what they need based on the evaluation process on what's going on and that friendly accountability. Would you want this face or this voice in your ear every morning? “Come on, Bob. Let’s get this done.” Maybe you would or maybe you won't. Maybe you'd be the kind of client who says, “Coach Lee, you don't need to call me today. I got this.”
You’ve got to want to be coachable. If you're not coachable, then you'd better be self-starting and self-solving and figure it out for yourself. The thing that I thought was interesting with what you said, in the racing world, my partner races cars. He said that depending on how you qualify and how you get off the starting line predicate almost where you end up. I think about the first three steps on an athlete, and further on the first three steps of the corporate athlete. What are the first three things you do every day? I wonder how much gravity people put on that or recognize that or aware of the first three steps?
I would share with you that it's a lost art. Those first three things we do in the morning, sometimes it becomes automatic that we don't even know it. They're called fixed action patterns. Typically, what I see especially with some of the younger CEO and these guys is that the first thing they do before they even kiss their wife is they reach for the phone, for the computer. When they do it, the first thing that happens is it's going to create information overload, decision fatigue. The studies have shown that if we reach for that phone first thing in the morning, we become more reactive than we are proactive. It makes us harder to deal with at any given time in that day.
The other thing is it becomes exhausting. We only have a certain amount of roller skate. My two cents on those first three things are these. Be territorial about your mornings. Brendon Burchard talks about this. He's an amazing high-performance guy. Be territorial. This is the time that you sell yourself on yourself to invest in yourself. You set the tempo, then you press the agenda. The first three things, like the ground force application for the spreader, pay attention to your internal narrative, remove all the distractions, define yourself based on that purpose and clear set of priorities, then stick to the plan. There's going to be a lot of competing agendas. Everybody needs something from you.
My responsibility as a husband, business owner, parent, community leader, I have a clear set of priorities wobble on every single day. From time to time, I may have to do what I call a micro pivot. It's part of life but ultimately, I've got my focus. I'm not going to get distracted by the fall. It's not going to happen. When I was going through this process years ago, I knew that this is the path that I was going down. I had competed agendas, friends, associates and other people who are wonderful people. At the end of the day, it became more of a timeless activity. I use an analogy that I heard from another professional speaker. He says, “You called the right number but you are calling at the wrong time. I'll call you back when I've gotten there and we can have another conversation.” If you love me, don't call me. I’m in it to win it.
I think about the choice of answering the phone call. Just because it rings does not mean you must answer. Many times, after you've been around, you've listened to several people talk about things you should do. Most folks are charged up and they go home and go, “This is what I want to do.” One, two or three days, and then the old creep and whatnot comes back on board. They can't stay with it or they find a reason not to. What do you tell that person?
Now we're moving into behavior modification. I would say, “What does that behavior paying you to give up on your dreams? What is quitting paying you to give up on the design that you want to have on your life? What steps are you willing to take and the actions to remove that process?” I would tell that person to make sure they have themselves a good coach who's going to keep them accountable. If you know your weakness, share your weakness. Let that coach know what the deal is and give him or her permission to ride you into the sunset. I have a coach. I have a guy in my life and we communicate once a week. He shoots straight with me. He says, “Charmas, this is the person you say you want to be. Are these behaviors reflective of the person say you want to be, your attitude?”
You need somebody in your life who's going to hold you accountable. I think friendly accountability is important. I also think that we have to be goal-oriented and at some point, you have to be honest with people. Commit or quit. Make a decision to win. Be the best person you can be. You don't have to be the best in the world, but it's about commitment. If we can get somebody to show up for twelve days in a row, the first twelve days tend to be the toughest days to affect change or create a habit. You go through those first twelve days and psychologically, your mind goes, “I don't see any changes. Why am I doing this?” James Clair calls it the Valley of Disappointment. “I haven't lost twenty pounds,” or whatever the case is so they reverted to old behaviors.
The fact of the matter is that we're building equity every single day. Right around day 31 or so, you wake up and you go, “How about the old ritual? I look good.” That little endorphin will take you through 63 days or and you'll learn how to sell yourself on yourself. You got to keep doing it. Habits are made to continue. You don't stop a habit. You keep doing it. I can tell you when you know you got a habit when you're uncomfortable you don't do it. You’re mad about it. That's a long way of saying you got to have some stick to witness. Recognize the fact that there are going to be some obstacles and barriers in your path. Don't let that be the reason why you should be quitting. Change takes time.
That's framing much about that. You can expect along the way, you're going to get to the point where you're disappointed that you don't see the immediate outcome. I've always been an early riser, but I've always been jealous of my early hours. I'm dangerous early in the morning. It’s about 8:00 at night and we're shooting. Early in the morning, it's quality time and the ability to think. Dealing with that chimp in the back of your mind that seems to have been active almost all the time and managing that little fellow. When you think about your prototypical or ideal corporate client, what are their problems or what do they look like by the time they reach out to you and go, “I've got this problem, issue and challenge. Can you come to help me?” Is it a specific industry or you crossing industry boundaries?
We're crossing boundaries. We see in education an extreme amount of burnout. There's a lot that's going on in the education field right now. We certainly see it in the corporate arena where there are tremendous demands. Some of them are self-imposed. Some of them are external. We see the athletic arena, the academic arena, the corporate arena. I think what we have to offer from our company perspective is a global opportunity to improve our human productivity. There are many people in our world, individuals, teams, organizations, who are simply struggling to speak from the sprint of their highest self. It's easier to operate from the strength of our lower self.
There's a charm and there's a harmless. I want charms to show up, but we are a microcosm of the world. Everything that goes on out there affects us no matter what environment we're in, academic, corporate, athletic, etc. The clients that we get to, typically they are close to burnout. They have lost their path. They've lost their focus or they feel like they're spinning their wheels. I can't tell you how to make more money. I'm not a financial guy, but I can teach you how to win in life. I'm going to teach you how to win in life and let that carry over into whatever dimension that it needs to be. We cross over many different dimensions, athletic, corporate, academic.
As you look across that spectrum, I don't know that athletics, life, business and performance are disconnected. As you go through the arena and you're working with a particularly challenging client or situation, family's livelihoods are at risk. There may be some behavioral issues and the senior leadership and you step back from that. What do you do to put that away or compartmentalize or make sure that that's not catching for you? Let's say that I'm the corporate CEO. I've got 427 pounds of bad stuff going on. He's got kids, family, lots of employees and you're inside the narrative of this person and his life. How do you step out as a professional and not own this stuff that you heard or you're trying to help? What do you do to put that away and not take it home?
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I establish clear boundaries for myself. I have to tell you that I had learned this hard way. I'll give you two examples. When I was a young coach, I thought that when an athlete lost, I was the worst coach in the world. What I learned was that I will give you the tools, but I accept no responsibility for your success and failure. I will simply give you the tools. I'm responsible to you, but I'm not responsible for you. That's part of the conversation that I have upfront with my clients. I want them to be crystal clear that I'm going to do my job. I'm going to swing for the fence for them, but I am not responsible for the outcome. I'm responsible to the outcome. I'm going to give you what you need from this perspective.
I have a ritual that when I pull into the driveway, I've got a sign on a grease board and it simply says, “Done.” It's my anchor word for the day. I pull in there because as I'm driving home, I'm thinking about stuff. There are many things that are going on and you don't want to fail a client. You don't want to fail your kids. You don't want to fail your family. Buddhist monks call it monkey brain. It's assaulted, toxic thoughts that come and go in there and they're playing with you. I've got a grease board of mine in my garage with big letters that say, “Done.” When I see that sign, pull into the driveway, close that garage door, I am simply done. Because I perform my end ritual like I'm supposed to, I can be done. If I haven't performed any in ritual, there's something about that I miss those days that that done sign doesn't mean anything to me.
I will cross the boundary and that also means that I'm not going to show up as loyalty for my wife, whom I love dearly. I'm not going to treat her with dignity and respect like I should. I know I do. That boundary in that garage door, done is done. I also compartmentalize times where clients and I will have conversations. I’m like you, Bob. I'm hot as the Chinese firecracker in the morning. I can solve the world's problems for the first couple of hours in the day. Most of my work, if it's going to be in a coaching session or something like that, once I've done my own training, that's what I want to front-load my client base because I want to be the best person at that time. I also know that there's a time of day where I am no good for nobody. I simply don't schedule a class during that time. I don't do professional development during that time.
When I show up, I want things to change. I think we have the ability to do that because as we speak, we create. We bring the heat and then you show up. Set boundaries. When we're doing leadership training, there are two things that are critical where I see where many of our clients struggle. Personal mastery and then leadership. Typically, it's leadership and then personal mastery. Personal mastery is mastering the behaviors, thoughts, and actions. Leadership is what leadership is. They do sit on the same couch but you have to master yourself first. It is all about you for the first 60 minutes of the day. That's how you set yourself up for a success. Personal mastery means, how are you leading yourself? How do you take care of these things? That's my favorite presentation. It's called inspirational cooperation. It's about personal mastery and leadership training. When we're done with that thing sometimes, I think the room's levitating. It could be my eyes.
For me, I come from a military background. You lead from the runt. You hold yourself responsible. You don't ask somebody else to do something you can't personally do or you haven't done. You look at those kinds of things or as I tell people, don't do anything you can't explain to your children. That's a fairly good benchmark. You have mileage. I have a few miles. If you took the Charmas of today and you could offer advice to that young Charmas of years ago, what would be the nugget that you would provide?
The first nugget I would provide is I'd say, “Charmas, your mom and dad were right. Listen to your parents.”
Your parents would be gratified.
Listen to what your folks have to say. They're not going to tell you anything that's going to take you down a destructive path. I think the second thing would be is, “Charmas, enjoy the journey. You don't know how long you're going to be here. Why white-knuckle your life? Enjoy the journey from 12 to 80, whatever the case is. Enjoy the sports, the school.” I'd also say, “Charmas, be a nicer person.” I wasn't always a nice guy. There were times where I didn’t even like myself so how could I be nice to you?
As you look back in your education, did anybody ever provide you a human operating manual?
They don't teach you how to think about thinking. They don't teach you necessarily critical thinking skills. They don't teach you cause and effect. You get beat up for a while or you try to save your children from beating themselves up. It’s the, “Go make a new mistake. Don't make all the ones that I made,” kind of thing. I think the value of being a lifelong learner and not reading what confirms your bias, challenge your bias, read something else, talk to somebody else with a different opinion, and be nice. I understand which seems to be missing in today's discourses is polite disagreement.
You said something that struck a chord with me there. It hit at a visceral level, challenge your bias. To do that, it takes courage to challenge your bias. It's easier not to challenge it. It's easier for me to confirm my bias.
What I found through the years is if you don't challenge your bias and go the what if the side of the house, it'll beat you to death somewhere. You go, “That’s dumb. Why didn’t I think about that further or talk to somebody wiser or surround myself with smart people?” That old thing was Jim Roan, “You're the average of the five folks you hang out with.” Be mindful. I like the advice to yourself. I would urge you to reach out to Charmas if you have a question or a thought or you go like, “We're struggling to get direction.” For them to reach out to you Charmas, how do they find you on social media?
You can reach out to me at CharmasLee.com. We can have a conversation. You can find me on Instagram, LinkedIn and also Facebook. It's Charmas B. Lee. It's also Charmas Lee Building Champions, but I'm out there on social media. Drop me a line, reach out to me. Let's have a virtual cup of coffee and let's figure some things out.
Most of my other shows before the distancing thing were in person. We're now doing the social media thing. Is there a parting piece of advice you might offer to the folks that are maybe struggling a little bit or looking for something they can bring tomorrow?
The same thing I would tell an athlete, “You're never only as good as your last race.” Learn how to show up and strive every single day. At some point, being consistently persistent, it will affect the change that you want to see in your life and also in this country, You and I, we've been through some things. The challenges and the trial that you face with introducing you to your sprints, your experiences at some point will pay off his equity, just like you can pull the equity out of your house after several years. You can use that equity in the same way to swing for the fence every single day. I'm living proof of it.
I think about where does confidence come from? Confidence comes from small victories over time, not necessarily the enormous victory, “I did this pretty well. I can do something else maybe.” You think about the building blocks of confidence and skillset, and that's exactly what I think you're talking about. Charmas, I can't tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time and sharing.
It’s been an honor to have this conversation. I hope that something that we've communicated will help someone in some capacity. Thank you so much.
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