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Conquer the Chaos: Training Your Mindset To Achieve Your Wildest Dreams With Brian Cain

Brian Cain works with some of the greatest athletes in the world, and it all starts with one thing: Training their mindset. Now, Brian is coaching entrepreneurs and helping them shape their mindset to reach their business goals. In this episode of Conquer the Chaos, Brian Cain joins Clate Mask to dive deeper into the importance of the mindset, why it matters for your business and how to train yours for maximum success.

Mentioned in this episode:

Transcript


Clate Mask: [00:00:00] Hi, I'm Clate Mask. And on the Conquer the Chaos podcast, I talk with inspiring business owners about what it takes to build a great business and a great life. That means more money, more time, more control, more impact, more freedom. So keep listening to hear the tough lessons they learned so you don't have to repeat them.

[00:00:23]
Welcome, everyone, to this episode of the Conquer the Chaos podcast. I'm Clate Mask, co-founder and CEO of Keap, and I am really excited about the guest we have today. It's going to be a ton of fun. So, without further ado, let's welcome Brian Cain. Brian, it’s great to have you.

Brian Cain [00:00:41]: Clate, thanks for having me, man. Excited to be here and help people conquer the chaos.

Clate Mask [00:00:44]: I love it. Give us a little snippet. I'm going to say something to the audience. So Brian's going to bring sports psychology expertise to the world of entrepreneurs. He does this in his everyday life. He's got an amazing backstory and a really cool, set of life experiences that he's going to be able to share with us here.

Clate Mask [00:01:04]: And I just love the conversation that we had just before, Brian, because there are so many similarities between high performance in sports and high performance in entrepreneurship. But why don't you, before we jump into it, why don't you give everybody a little bit of background so they understand why I'm so pumped about this.

Brian Cain [00:01:22]: Yeah, I mean, grew up in a small town in Massachusetts. I was a three-sport athlete in high school and, you know, growing up in a small town. It's kind of like being the best snowboarder in Mexico, right? Like you think you're great, but it’s relative to the people you're competing against. So I ended up going on a scholarship to play division one college baseball, and I failed miserably.

[00:01:38]: And I think, you know, at the time it was like the worst thing that ever happened to me. But you'll sense a theme here of making the worst thing that ever happened to you the best thing that ever happened to you, right? Adversity is your advantage and you turn your mess into your masterpiece.

[00:01:52]: So the thing that I needed the most was mental performance training because I was getting by on talent, not strategy. That’s what got exposed when I got to college. And I ended up coming across a book one day. I remember it clear as day. I walked into Barnes Noble, right across from Fenway Park where the Red Sox play, and I picked up a book called Heads Up Baseball by a guy named Ken Ravizza.

[00:02:10]: And I couldn't put it down. It was speaking to me in a way that was almost like it was a calling, you know? And I bought the book — the first book I ever bought. I went back and sent the author an email after reading the book in the car as my friend drove from Boston back to Vermont.

[00:02:25]: And I said, Ken, I love your book, Heads Up Baseball. I want to be a college coach. I know I'm not playing professionally. Do you have a master's in this Heads Up Baseball sports psychology? Well, next thing you know. I'm in. I'm going from Vermont out to California. I'm doing a master's underneath John Wooden and Ken Ravizza, who's like one of the greatest mental performance coaches of all time, which I had no idea going there.

[00:02:44]: And I'm a graduate assistant baseball coach with the Cal State Fullerton baseball team. So it was like the perfect storm, Clate, right? Like I was conquering the chaos, meaning literally learning the answers to the questions that I had when I was a failure of a college baseball player. And I was able to learn the strategies from a sports psychology standpoint to help athletes be more consistent: Be more confident, focus on the things they could control, how to prepare at an elite level because preparation is the foundation of confidence. And what I saw was a Cal State Fullerton baseball team go on to be the best team in the country in 2003, losing the world series and winning the national championship in 2004.

[00:03:20]: And what I then have learned over the last 20 years, which has gone by in about 20 seconds from that, when I left Cal State Fullerton was these skills that I was learning from Ken Ravizza. These weren't just mental games of baseball skills, right? These were the mental skills that people needed to flourish and perform at their best.

[00:03:38]: For the last 20 years, I've been carrying the torch in the mental game, and I truly had the privilege and the pleasure to work with some of the best athletes in the world — Eight UFC world champions, Olympic medalists, a Heisman trophy winner, four Cy Young Award winners as the best players in baseball, the best pitchers in baseball, and some top performing entrepreneurs and corporate organizations — literally helping them do the drills to develop the 10 mental skills that make what we call “the skill set of mental performance mastery” so they can perform their best when it means the most on a consistent basis.

Clate Mask [00:04:10]: I love it, Brian. That’s so so awesome and I think everybody can hear in my voice the enthusiasm because mindset is the first key to success. And you know I think we we talk about mindset so much, and obviously I do, but It's pretty in vogue to talk about mindset.

[00:04:28]: You hear it in all these different ways But that really is the key building block to high performance in any industry. And you've had the experience doing it in sports performance, but also now doing it in the business world as well. So I'm excited for our audience to hear how your work and the work of mindset that I teach really are one in the same and they're crucial to helping entrepreneurs get the results that they want. So we're going to get into that. And I loved your point that you made about the, the skills training. Like there are practices that we do.

[00:05:08]: Everybody who's read my book knows that I'm like big on practice. I say all the time: practice makes progress. I'm not interested in perfection. Actually, perfection causes all kinds of problems. It's the progress we care about and it’s the practice, practice, practice that makes the progress. You referenced 10 skills or 10 areas that they work on or skills that they practice. I'd love to dig in a little bit here during our episode. What is it that you found that high performers in sports do that high performers in entrepreneurship also do?

Brian Cain [00:05:46]: Yeah. And the beautiful part about it is it's the same thing. They're just applied differently within the context of the entrepreneurship or the athletic arena. So, if you think about it like this: People have always looked at mental performance training like you have it or you don't. That's where Carol Dweck and her research on fixed versus growth mindset proved that you can train your mental skills and your mental performance just like you train the physical skills as an athlete or like you train the job skills in the corporate sector. So I've built off of Ken Ravizza’s work when he passed away in 2018. I wrote a coach's certification and these are the 10 skills that we teach in that certification. If you think about it like this simple concept: You do drills and training to develop skills, and when you combine skills, it becomes a skill set.

[00:06:38]: So somebody in sales has a different skill set than somebody who's in operations. If you look at a baseball field, a pitcher has a different skill set than a catcher. But if you look at any performer in any arena, they all have these 10 mental skills. Now, depending on the arena that they're in, the skills are weighed differently in terms of importance, but here's the 10 skills that we develop.

Clate Mask [00:07:01]: Let me pause real quick. You covered something — You just passed over it so quickly that I don't want the audience to miss this. You do the drills to develop the skills you put together. And in sports, that's common. This is what you do. Every one of us who did any kind of sports, and I certainly didn't get D1 sports like you did, but we all did drills — Dribbled the soccer ball through the pylons, or we shot free throws over and over and over. We did different drills to develop skills, but in entrepreneurship, what you're saying is there are drills for mindset to create skills of mindset that you can put together in a skill set around mindset?

Brian Cain [00:07:55]: That’s exactly what we're saying. For example, journaling would be a drill to develop gratitude and intentional focus as a part of the skills of mindset, right? And when we look at the 10 skills, mindset's just one of them. Now, it's the most important, so it's number one.

[00:08:17]: So here's our 10 skills and we can talk about the infinite number of drills that we can do:

  • Skill one: Mindset

  • Skill two: Motivation and commitment.

  • Skill three: Focus and awareness.

  • Skill four: Self control and discipline.

  • Skill five: Your ability to put the process over the outcome.

  • Skill six: Meditation and mental imagery, which helps with preparation and self control

  • Skill seven: The routines and habits of excellence

  • Skill eight: Time management and organization

  • Skill nine: Leadership

  • Skill 10: The right culture.

So those are the 10 skills, and when you combine those, that's what we would call mental performance mastery — I've mastered this mental game and I'm going to be a consistent performer. You know what you're going to get. And I'm going to deliver results to the best of my skill set in the arena that I'm in. So mindset being the first skill of those 10, I also would believe that that is foundational, that if we don't get the mindset right, all those other skills are basically going to slip through the cracks. Instead, we get the mindset, and then we work on the motivation, commitment, focus, awareness, and we roll through 10 skills.

Clate Mask [00:09:20]: I love it. Well, right now we have a bunch of listeners who are trying to capture those 10 things. I know I'm kind of jumping to the end in case there's something you can provide to them, or should we put it in the show notes? How can we capture those 10 things so that people can get that in their minds?

Brian Cain [00:09:34]: Yeah, for sure. Absolutely. So let me give you a couple of resources. The first one is if they go to my daily podcast because I believe we develop any skill with consistent repetition. So I have a daily podcast that we can link to below called Mental Performance Daily, where, every day, I share (in two to three minutes, short form) some nuggets around developing those 10 skills.

[00:09:53]: The second place that I would go would be my book that I wrote called the 10 Pillars of Mental Performance Mastery. You can pick this up on Amazon and it's an inspirational fiction that runs you through all 10 pillars. If you are somebody who's looking from a coach standpoint or a parent standpoint and wanting to train your people in mental performance, I would check out our Mental Performance Mastery coaches certification, which you can get over at briancain.com. And then also you can engage with me on Instagram at Brian Cain Peak. Those are all places where I'm not saving any bullets here. I mean, we only get to do this one time, Clate. So I'm giving away everything that we can to try to make an impact because the mission here is to educate, empower and energize other people to be their best.

[00:10:35]: So the podcast, the book, the Instagram, the website — all of those are places they can get more.

Clate Mask [00:10:43]: Okay. Awesome. So the resources are there folks. Let's jump into the mindset. You start there just like I start with mindset in the six keys to success for entrepreneurs. And I hear in your 10 things, some things that are very similar to what I describe in terms of vision and rhythm of execution. Help us understand — What are the drills that you do to develop that mindset of success? What are some of the things that you recommend?

Brian Cain [00:11:14]: Sure. Well, let me give you the first one. I call it having a one-word focus. So your one-word intention, right? If, let's say, you divide the year up into quarters. So, let's say we're in quarter two, what would be one word that, if you could live in alignment with every day and check yourself against as an accountability partner with yourself, would give you the best chance to show up the best version of you?

[00:11:35]: For me, currently, that one word is clarity. And when I say clarity, I then dive a little bit deeper into it. Clarity. What does that mean? It means there are things I do and things I don't do. And the things that I do are fitness, family, work, coach and create. Everything else gets turned over to either delegation or automation. So for me, that one word has helped me with consistency. I'd have performers whose one word might be, energy, and their whole goal is to be consistent with what that looks like in terms of tracking sleep, whether it be with an aura ring or some other type of device.

[00:12:09]: Somebody might have a one-word focus of confidence. Then they would come back to how they're going to carry themselves with their body language. They might write down, every day, the reasons why they should believe in themselves. It’s kind of like making deposits into a bank account.

[00:12:23]: The one-word focus, setting that for yourself is a clear drill to develop the skill of mindset. Let me give you a couple more. Another one would be coming up with what I call your three keys to keep it simple. So, when you're performing your best in any arena, what are the three things that you do that are allowing you to be the best version of yourself?

[00:12:45]: So for example, I had a call before this one with a major league baseball hitter. He’s a top 10 hitter in major league baseball right now. And he said, “My three keys are see the ball, be easy and hammer it” — very baseball-specific. I had a call earlier today with somebody in sales, and they said, “bring energy, listen and ask.” And that was their three keys. They're bringing energy on the phone call. They're listening to what's being said, and they're asking questions and asking for the sale. If they just do those three things, they're going to perform at their best when it comes to a sales standpoint. So I think identifying, asking yourself and pressing pause long enough to go, well, I'm performing at my best.

Brian Cain: What am I doing to make those your three keys to keep it simple?

Clate Mask [00:13:24]: Yeah. Pressing pause long enough to be able to identify those three things. By the way, this is why to me, the morning mastery is so critical because it's in those morning moments that you frequently develop the clarity to start to go, “Oh, okay. This is what my one-word focus is for this period of time. This is what my three words are that I bring to anything that I'm doing successfully. But when entrepreneurs get so busy and so mired in the chaos that they don't slow things down, they don't actually see it.

[00:14:01]: And so I, I love the two drills you just mentioned: the one-word focus over some period of time — a quarter or a year — and then the three words that characterize how you're showing up when you're performing at a high level.

Brian Cain [00:14:15]: Yeah. And I think there are an infinite number of drills. Another one that I use most frequently would be coming up with your three affirmation statements. So you talk to yourself. I think when you're trying to conquer the chaos and things are moving fast and it's getting chaotic, it's easy to listen to yourself. It's easy to listen to the self-doubt. It's easy to listen to, “Can I do this?”

[00:14:18]: I learned this from working with UFC fighters where we're in the locker room getting ready to walk to the octagon and they're all scared. They're all nervous. And these are UFC world champions. And, they would say, “I got to learn to talk to myself, not listen.”

[00:14:47]: So saying things like, “Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better. I control the things that I can control, and I let go of what I can't. I love and serve my clients and family. I show up present and focus on process. When I prepare my best, I am my best.” Little things they say that they can come back to throughout the day would be another example of a drill for mindset.

Clate Mask [00:15:09]: I love that. So I worked with my coach, Steve Hardison, for years and years around my “I ams” and getting very clear on who I am for the world.

[00:15:21]: And one thing he taught me in probably the first year that I was practicing, that I didn't have a full appreciation for, I had the perception that maybe many of our listeners have right now that these I am statements are, um, you know, they're, they're, they're sort of truck. They might think of them as trite Stuart smallie type: I'm good enough. I'm smart enough But the thing is, what people miss is that they're actually psychological triggers for us, and they are emotional triggers for us. And they are choices that we put into place at a time when, if we're not careful, the default mode would take us down a different feeling or thought.

[00:16:06]: What I would say to people who are listening to this is that you might hear those statements and they may not resonate because they aren't your statements, they don't have that resonating trigger like they do when they're your statements. But when they're your statements, what they're doing is they're rerouting you off of some negative thinking or feeling. They're putting you on a positive one where you're in control and you're confident and you're able to get in the right frame of mind and the right sense of self. I've been a practitioner of what you've described for a long time. And I remember it wasn't until my coach helped me see, “Here's why you do this when you get in this moment and you're having maybe a tense situation at work or maybe in one of your relationships and the conversation isn't going the best way.” So how do you adjust then? Well, what I found is I come back to my “I am” statements. I come back to those statements, and sometimes I just need to excuse myself for a moment.

[00:17:11]: Sometimes I can center myself and just sort of take a deep breath, think about a couple of those statements and come at it from a better place, a better frame of mind. But for entrepreneurs, what happens is we get in the grind, we get going, and if we don't develop those little cues that move us off of a negative path and onto a positive, creative, collaborative path, then we miss the opportunity to perform at a high level in that moment.

[00:17:40]: And it's only the accumulation of those little moments that result in large results of high performance that we're after. So when we can figure that out in those little moments, the way you just described, it makes all the difference for entrepreneurs. I hope that we've unpacked that enough so that people hear the brilliance of what you're describing and don't think of it as, “Oh yeah, I've heard these affirmations.” No, no. It’s quite different for high performers and quite different for entrepreneurs.

Brian Cain [00:18:07]: Well, and I think this is just the tip of the iceberg, right? Like you're saying, It's the compound effect. It's the consistency. There are no big things, right? When we talk about just mindset, let me share something foundational: There are no big things. All big things are just a series of small things over time, right? Confidence is a choice. Confidence is not a feeling. It's an action. It's something you do with your body language, your focus and your self-talk. Stop comparing yourself and start competing with yourself, right?

[00:18:31]: Comparison is the thief of all joy. Focus more on execution instead of expectation. “It's supposed to go this way.” No, it's going the way it's going. What are you going to do next? That's the mentality, right? Turn your, “I have to” into “I want to” and “I get to show up with gratitude.” Because gratitude is the antidote for entitlement and complacency, which a lot of people will get sucked into as entrepreneurs because they think that they've arrived. No, you're always arriving. You've never become. There's so much to unpack with the mindset. We do a morning and a p.m.journal. The morning is one word, three keys, three affirmations, and the p.m. is three gratitudes, three wins, and a start stop continue assessment of my behavior. So the journal is just one of the drills that we do that encompasses all these things. But it's consistency over time, Clate, as you know, that leads to what the big results are.

Clate Mask [00:19:21]: That's right. And what you just described, you know I've done the five-minute journal — or it’s sometimes called the gratitude journal — I've done that for a few years. And I've shared this before, but I'll say it again, I didn't used to think of myself as a journaler. I thought of journaling as something I'm doing to create for my posterity, so later, they'll read about Grandpa or Great-grandpa or whatever else. That's a side benefit. It's a nice benefit. But what it really is, is mental clarity, and emotional strength. I look at so many people who struggle with anxiety or ADHD or any number of mental and emotional challenges, and journaling is such an incredible way to unpack that. Obviously I'm not saying it's the cure, but it sure helps.

[00:20:18]: And I could say from some of the toughest phases of my life when I journaled how powerful that was. And I love journaling now. I have a few different forms of journaling that I do, at least two that are very consistent, almost on a daily basis. I have my gratitude journal, which is just a five-minute thing like you just described, and then the free-form journal.

[00:20:44]: But I love it. It's amazing to do that and then to go back and review what you wrote for the last week, the last month, or what you wrote over the course of the year. I mean, when you do that over a period of time, and then you go back and review it, it's almost like getting divine guidance when you just read back what you wrote over a period of time.

[00:21:06]: It's just so incredible, so I'm all for journaling. I highly recommend it to anybody out there and especially if you've got a mental block around journaling like some people have a math block. The best way to get started in journaling, in my opinion, is doing that five-minute version that Brian just described. You get gratitude, you get perspective, you get clarity, and what you find is it creates a lot of interest and excitement instead of being in a rut or just going through the motions.

Brian Cain [00:21:35]: Well, and it creates a present-moment focus. It's like a grounding exercise where I'm setting my intention. And you mentioned the anxiety, and I think a lot of times where anxiety comes from is when people get so focused and obsessed about a future they can't control and all the infinite possibilities. Where their feelings of depression come from is when I go to the past and think what I shoulda, woulda, coulda done. But where optimal performance in anything — relationships, entrepreneurship, athletics — it comes from being where your feet are, so anything that we can do to help that, such as meditation, focus, exercises, journaling and you mentioned earlier, the a.m. routine. A staple of my a.m. routine is to sweat before screens.

[00:22:10]: I want to be creative before I'm reactive. And when I step into my workday, I'm reactive, coaching other people. I've got to be creative and invest into me first. Right? So I carve out that time in the morning. I don't bring my cell phone into the house or to the gym. It stays over here in the office. So I don't have that temptation because if it's in there, I'm going to be on it.

[00:22:07]: A lot of this is like behavior design, right? And you talk about strategy and behavior design versus relying on discipline and willpower. No, I'm going to rely on my design and my strategy.

Clate Mask [00:22:37]: Yeah, I love that sweat before screens. Did you hear that y'all? That's so good. Okay. We're going to keep this going, but first a quick message for you.

[00:22:46]: Conquer the Chaos listeners, let me talk to you straight for just a minute. You're running your business and it dominates your mind. It can be very difficult to take a step back and see what's needed to create balance in your business and your personal life and to create great growth and development and progress in your business and personal life.

[00:23:05]: One of the most powerful ways to gain the perspective that you need is to get away from things and immerse yourself in an environment where you're going to be inspired, where you can see possibilities, where you can create connections and where you can learn and grow and develop. And I know of no better place for entrepreneurs than Keap’s Let's Grow Summit. For years, we ran this conference as just an amazing mecca for entrepreneurship. Then, truth be told for a few years, we didn't run it. We got back to it last year, and this year, we're putting it on and it is going to be awesome. I am so excited about this, and I want you as our listeners to not miss out on this event.

[00:23:45]: It's going to be November 20-22 in downtown Phoenix with the main days being the 21 and the 22. You can register for it by going to http://keap.com/letsgrowsummit. That's http://keap.com/letsgrowsummit. And you can take advantage of our early-bird registration pricing, which expires at the end of July. So if you’re needing a reflection time and an opportunity to take a step back to gain greater perspective, inspiration, and most of all, see what automation — the fifth key to success — can do for your business, then make sure that you attend the Let's Grow Summit November 20-22 in Phoenix. I look forward to seeing you there. Alright, now back to our chat.

[00:24:29]: So let me ask you this. You and I know that when we put our routines in place and we work on these practices or these drills, our quest is for this consistency that stacks up the results, all the little daily things that turn into the longer-term wins.

[00:24:52]: And the enemy of that, in my opinion, is when we make mistakes, when we fall short. So, I'm always intrigued to hear how high performers deal with the letdowns and the setbacks, the personal ones. I'm talking about, “Hey, I set a goal. I'm going to journal every day for seven days,” and then you get to the end of the week and you did it once.

[00:25:13]: I'm talking about the rhythms and the routines that we have that we want to do on a consistent basis, but maybe it doesn't happen as consistently as we want. And I tell people all the time, “Look, I have my rhythms and routines, but I'm not perfect at them.”

[00:25:29]: I've got my workbooks and my notebooks. You can go look and you can see where something happened on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. It didn't work out quite right. The reality is I think most human beings over accentuate the shortcomings and they under-emphasize the consistency, the things they do. So if there's a week, and five out of the seven days, you got it done, we beat ourselves up because we missed it on two days instead of recognizing the five. I'm wondering if there's anything — you work with some of the top performing athletes in the world and they're not perfect and they make mistakes all the time — I would love to hear if there's anything from a Cy Young winner on a mound who figures out, “Hey, how do I deal with the shortcomings?”. “How do I deal with it when I didn't do what I said I was going to do? How do I. Overcome that and keep moving forward toward consistency and progress instead of beating myself up?” A lot of times high performers and entrepreneurs are very good at beating ourselves up.

Brian Cain [00:26:32]: Yeah, and a lot of my clients are professionals who beat themselves up too, right?

[00:26:36]: They're great. They're great at that too, but one of the ways we work with that is to focus on progress, not perfection and we realize that perfection is the enemy of greatness. And when we talk about progress, right? One of the things I come back to is Jim Collins and his book, Good to Great. He says you have to be consistent to be consistent over time.

[00:26:52]: You have to describe what you do as a process. So one of the first things I do with athletes or with any entrepreneur that I work with is say, let's be able to describe your process. So we start with a concept called the success checklist. And with that success checklist, it's all the behaviors that they want to do on a daily basis.

[00:27:08]: And they have to then be accountable to whether they did it or not. And those behaviors show up in three areas:

  • in their energy, how they took care of themselves

  • in their work, how they took care of others

  • and with love, how they took care of the people in their family and their closest people.

And then we track those behaviors.

[00:27:22]: And every time we get on a call, it's one of the first things we look at is that success checklist and say, “Are you living and behaving in alignment with what you said you wanted to do?”. Because what you say and what you do can often be different. And then we take the mentality, cause they'll often start with a lot of red marks, meaning they haven't done what they said they wanted to do. And we always celebrate that. We celebrate it by saying everything is data, and we're going to use that information to help us continue to get better. But if we are taught that we have to be positive all the time, well, I'm not going to be positive when I look at your list and a lot of it is red, meaning you didn't do it and you shouldn't be positive with yourself. But you shouldn't also hammer yourself and be negative.

Brian Cain: You should be neutral and have neutral thinking in control of yourself so you can be in control of your performance. That’s where the magic happens. And being able to stay in that neutral place makes you a more accurate evaluator. And you can say to yourself these three questions:

  1. What was I trying to do?

  2. What did I do?

  3. What's my next best decision?

And if you can literally make it that simple — What was I trying to do? What actually happened? What's my next best decision? — That's where you're going to get a lot of data from and realize that failure is feedback. Like if you're not failing, you probably aren't challenging yourself enough.

[00:28:34]: Right? And Kobe Bryant was asked one time what losing felt like to him. And his answer was phenomenal. He goes, “Oh, it's exciting. It's exciting because there are answers there. There are answers there for you to get better.” He's like, “and whether you win or you lose, your process of reflection has to be the same so that you can learn from it.”

[00:28:52]: And he literally goes into what we call a “well, better, how” in the field of mental performance training. He goes, “you got to ask yourself, ‘What did I do well? What can I do better? How can I do the things that did well again?’ How can I avoid the things that I didn't do well that I want to do better? How can I do them better?’” So that reflective piece I think, and being able to stay neutral and look at it all as data, really helps people continue to move forward and stack days on top of days, which turn into weeks, months, quarters and years. And you look back and go, “Man. I got a lot done in the past year because I just was biting the elephant.”

Clate Mask [00:29:22]: Oh, man, there's so much good stuff there.

[00:29:24]: I wish we had time I'm just to emphasize a few things about staying neutral. It's just data, right, and recognizing, “okay, what was I trying to do? What did I actually do? What's my next best choice?” These are all, you know, to our audience who's listening, the things that you just shared are so fantastic.

[00:29:51]: I want to encourage people to go back and listen to that a few times. Because the human experience is that we lose our momentum and we lose our energy to keep trying because we fall short of what we expect and idealized what was going to happen. And so there's this very tricky thing that we're doing as we're working to become our best selves.

[00:30:18]: If we just keep working at it and see “What was I trying to do? What did I actually do? And what's the next best thing? And what did I do well? What can I do better?”, we're just working on improving. And I love your very first statement: Progress, not perfection. Yes, yes, yes, yes.

[00:30:37]: Perfectionism is killing personal development. It's killing it. It hurts us so much from becoming our best selves because we think we have to be perfect and that's not it at all. So I love what you've shared here from some of the top athletes in the world. These things apply to entrepreneurship because in the world of small business, what we're dealing with every day is data and feedback.

[00:31:02]: That's something short of what we wanted. This is constantly happening, and in a normal nine-to-five job, it's very easy to point fingers at whoever else, you know, whether there's something else going on. But when you're the business owner, the buck stops with you. You can live a life of continuing to point fingers, but by the way, that lack of accountability will be the very thing that holds you back from the progress.

[00:31:31]: And I've learned that a few times myself. I wish I'd only learned it once, but unfortunately, I seemed to need to learn it several times. But it starts with accountability. It starts with recognizing, “Okay, we wanted to do this. We didn't. We did this instead. And now what are we going to do about it?”

[00:31:47]: It's data, you know. Daymond John Dave, Damon, John said one time, “You can get mad or you can get the data.” And Kobe Bryant said “You can get mad about losing, or you can see in it the seeds of improvement, the seeds of success.” And every great, successful thought leader that I know of recognizes adversity, which also can be thought of as a shortcoming or failure or as something less than what we wanted. Every great thought leader is pointing to that as the basis for the improvement and the success that we want. The way forward is through the problem, through the shortcoming, through the failure, as we might call it. So we need to recontextualize it and look at it differently.

[00:32:40]: Now let's apply this to businesses. And I would love to hear some of the things you've experienced with your entrepreneurs. You know, I certainly have been in many masterminds, many coaching sessions, and many strategy sessions with my executive team, and our leadership. And when you fall short of something, well, what do we do about it? I'd love to hear how you've seen these principles translate for entrepreneurs and business leaders that you've taught.

Brian Cain [00:33:06]: Yeah. And I can summarize it in three words: Awareness, strategy, action. Awareness: What happened? What's the data? Where are we at? Where do we want to go?

[00:33:15]: What's the gap between where we are and we want to go? That's awareness. Strategy: What are we going to do to close the gap with an action? We put those strategies into motion and then that cycle revisits itself, right? It's a cycle of awareness, strategy and action.

[00:33:31]: Every time we take action, we have more awareness, more data, more information, better strategy, and hopefully action and better results. And it keeps going, right? Because you're always doing two things: You're operating with the business that you have and trying to grow the business that you want, right?

[00:33:47]: And if, and as you're trying to make transitions and grow your business, what works this month might not work next month, right? What works this year likely isn't going to work next year, at least not all of it. So you have to stay ahead and you have to stay aware, and awareness is the first step to growth.

[00:34:04]: The biggest challenge I see, Clate, for entrepreneurs and small business owners is they don't have good enough systems and processes where they build awareness and processes into their daily routine or their weekly routine. So I like to share a concept that I call the four-step personal development formula:

  • Step one is set your intention: What do you want?

  • Step two, schedule it: Who's going to do what, by when, and what does your calendar look like? Don't tell me what you're going to do. Show me what you're going to do.

  • Step three, measure it: Get the data, whether it's a success checklist, whether it's a PNL, look at the data.

  • Step four, reflect and refocus: Well, better, how? Or start, stop, continue. What were we trying to do? What did we do? What worked? What's the next best decision?

Set your intention, schedule it, measure it, reflect and refocus, get the data, set your intention, schedule it, measure it, reflect and refocus.

[00:34:58]: If you stay in that cycle, you're going to get results because you're going to be ahead of the curb and you're going to be adapting and adjusting as you go. A lot of times the opposite of perfection would be your ability to adapt and adjust. And the best entrepreneurs, the best small business owners, they're able to adapt and adjust because they're aware.

Clate Mask [00:35:18]: Love it. And that awareness is something that comes about as you go through these evaluation practices that you've described and that I talk about in the Six Keys. On the personal side, the rhythm of execution is about creating that awareness. You're evaluating so you can go, “Oh, okay, here's where we are.”

[00:35:37]: And on the business side, in the strategy planning process, it's the same thing. You have a daily, monthly, weekly, quarterly, and annual execution rhythm on the business side. It helps you get that awareness and then figure out, “Okay. Well, what do we want? Let's schedule it. Let's measure it and see how it went. And then how do we adjust, adapt and make it make changes?” So that's awesome I'm going to say one thing about the awareness because I think this is this kind of relates to the point made a little earlier. I think a lot of times when we go through awareness exercises, we put the emphasis on what didn't get done.

[00:36:11]: In other words, we focus on the gap from what we wanted versus the gain from where we were when we started. And I think for people that are struggling with that feeling of being beaten down, that gap versus gain thinking is key — looking at our gain in the progress of where we were when we started and really dwelling on that.

[00:36:33]: So, I'll tell you a quick story. One time, at our quarterly offsite planning, we always start the offsite planning with some activities and some exercises that help us bring this awareness. And one of them is SWOT plus exercises. It's a number of things. And we always start with our accomplishments over the last quarter.

[00:36:52]: And we do that to kick off the entire two-day strategy session with the recognition and realization of progress that we've made. One time, at an event, I invited one of our advisors to come be with us, and for this session, we'll spend 20 minutes, maybe 30 minutes just, just getting on the table all of these accomplishments.

[00:37:20]: And it's fantastic cause the team members are like, “Oh my gosh, I can't believe that that was this quarter that we got that done and we accomplished this and that.” It sets a tone and it puts everybody in a positive mindset as you begin the exercise. About 15 minutes into it, maybe 10 minutes in, he said, “Yeah, you guys are going to throw your shoulder out patting yourselves on the back. Let's move on to the stuff that we really need to work on.” And so we did, and I felt kind of flustered. We did that, and it was the worst offsite we'd ever had. I looked back on it, and I thought, “You know, we broke our process because an outsider looked at it and said, ‘Oh, I don't like it that way.’”

[00:37:59]: And fundamentally we went against a really ingrained principle that I believe in that you start with the progress you've made, and then you look at what you need to do to improve to get to your ideal outcome. It's gap versus gain thinking. And we had a gain approach to start, then moved into the gap and he was like, “No, just jump straight to the gap. That's all that matters.” I don't believe that's the case. I don't believe human beings operate the best when we jump straight to what was our shortcoming. So for everybody that's out there listening and you're looking at your success checklist that Brian described, or you're looking at your strategy plans and you know, they didn't quite work out, look at what you did do. Look at how much you did accomplish because that usually creates amazing fuel to move to what didn't get done and how you can improve.

Brian Cain [00:38:49]: There's a ton of research that says that nothing succeeds like success, right? And for things like the success checklist, you check it, and it's either green for

[00:38:59]: I did it or red for I didn't. And they both provide awareness, but the ones that perform at the highest level when they're hitting that button green every day, they're getting a significant dopamine hit. And they're casting a vote in their favor to be a successful small business owner, to be an entrepreneur.

[00:39:16]: They're casting a vote in their favor with their behavior. And ultimately that's all success is, is behavior on purpose with purpose over time. That's all it is. Unless you get lucky, of course, but I don't think I've ever gotten lucky.

Clate Mask [00:39:30]: No, I think the old saying of, “the harder I work, the luckier I get” is another way of saying that when we stack together days, moments, hours, consecutively, those start to turn into big results.

[00:39:45]: And there are no big results that just happen. It's us working and stacking up those things. It's why you and I feel so passionate about the morning routine and the mastery that you create for yourself physically, spiritually, and emotionally in the morning that kicks off the entire day. And you start stacking those days up, man… I say all the time, in 10 years, what it's going to look like?

[00:40:09]: I mean, your life's going to look a certain way based on that morning routine.

Brian Cain [00:40:12]: Amen. Amen. And when I was 240 pounds with a 44 inch waist, my routine in the a.m. looked a lot different than it does now. 15 years later at 185 pounds with a 32 inch waist, right? My morning routine looked completely different.

[00:40:26]: It was ESPN. It was social media. It was no movement. And now it's all movement and self-development, and the results compound over time. So the idea is that your first win should be something that you do in the morning for yourself. And the other piece to it I think is life is going to happen.

[00:40:45]: Like I just went on a road trip. The first road trip since my second child has been born. I got so far out of routine. I was like, “Who is this guy on the road? Like, what's he doing? Or this is not how I normally live. It's not how I want to live.” And what I realized was sometimes life is going to dictate that you take an off day.

[00:41:03]: You know, life is going to dictate that you miss your workout day, right? And then, James Clear, in his book Atomic Habits, he talks about how you're going to miss a day. Just don't miss two because if you miss two, the research will show that it's habit suicide and you're probably going to miss the next 20.

[00:41:17]: So if you miss one, good. Be aggressive, and get right back into the game the next day.

Clate Mask [00:41:22]: I love it. That one's fantastic. The other thing I share with people all the time is to have a variation of your morning mastery. So my normal morning mastery is 90 minutes. I can flex it up to two or three hours if I've got more time that day.

[00:41:37]: And I really want to do it, but I can also do an hour version of it or a 30-minute version of it. And I have a 10 minute version of it as well. What I find is, because I'm a person that exercises, if I'm on the road and it's tougher, I might be doing 10-minute versions for, three or four or five days, but I stick with the routine.

[00:41:57]: I stick with the mastery and I do it because I love it. I absolutely love it because of what it provides to me mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. It's just such a gratifying thing, but I love your point about don't do it two days. I remember I was doing a pretty intense weight program one time and they said, look, it's a holi-day, not a holi-month.

[00:42:20]: And that's the point. Like you could take a holiday. Don't take a holi-week or a holi-month.

Brian Cain [00:42:26]: Yeah, it’s the accordion, right? It's the accordion. Be able to take the routine. Be consistent, not rigid. Be able to adapt and adjust and be able to accordion it from 10 minutes to three hours.

[00:42:35]: And I think the key with this is the flexibility, not the abandonment. And too many times it goes back to what we're talking about with perfectionism. “Oh, I can't do the whole thing. So I'm going to do nothing.” Or we hear all the time, “Oh, the hotel gym isn't good enough, so I didn't work out.” You don't need a hotel gym. You need a floor. You don't even need a floor. Just do whatever you need to do. I mean, you can get a workout literally in a phone booth if you're consistent and you want it.

Clate Mask [00:42:59]: Yep. Love it. Brian, this has been so fun. I appreciate you sharing with our audience what you've learned over years of practicing sports psychology and applying it to not only world class athletes — four Cy Young winners, eight UFC champions, and some of the top performing athletes — but also now taking that and applying it to entrepreneurship and small businesses.

[00:43:25]: And I know you coach and consult them as well, so as we wrap up, is there anything that we didn't cover that you want to make sure you share? And then just reiterate where people can learn more about you.

Brian Cain [00:43:36]: Yeah. I think the biggest thing that I would share is that, like you talked about, mindset is a trainable skill. My mindset is not fixed. It's growing. It's dynamic, and you can train it just like you have to train the skills of anything that you do in life. The other thing I would say is life is not a talent game. It is a strategy game, so if you get better strategies, you get a better life. And I would love to be able to share some of those strategies with You know the Conquer the Chaos community. You can get those if you go to briancain.com. I have a free coach’s course and a free course for athletes, which might as well be a free course for high performers. So you can check those out at briancain.com. You can get my daily podcast, Mental Performance Mastery, wherever you listen to those. And then obviously, if I can be of any service to anybody, my email is [email protected]. You can also just contact me through my website as well.

Clate Mask [00:44:22]: Awesome. Well, thanks so much for sharing this. It's been so fun as I talk to people who are reading Conquer the Chaos, practicing the habits, working on the six keys to success, and just hearing what it's doing in their lives.

[00:44:37]: And I appreciate you sharing and just adding some more color to what we do and helping people to become their best selves, both on the personal keys and then going beyond, conquering the chaos as well on the business side with strategy, automation and leadership. We didn't even get into the fact that you use automation in so many ways and have used Keap over the years to automate your business.

[00:44:57]: I love that, of course. But today we focused a little more on the personal keys and especially on mindset, because you're world-class at it.

Brian Cain [00:45:05]: And there is one more strategy if I can share. I call it getting 1% better, right? And everyone will hear that: Get 1% better, but literally 1% of your day, Clate, is 14 minutes and 24 seconds.

[00:45:16]: So, for people, busy entrepreneurs and small business owners looking for a place to get started (because it is the start that stops most people, right? The most energy is used at the start.), just get started by taking 1% of your day and investing it into yourself. 14 minutes and 24 seconds. It can be reading. It can be walking. It can be meditation. It can be yoga. It can be movement. Whatever it is for you, let's just get 1% better together.

Clate Mask [00:45:39]: Love that. Fantastic. Brian, thank you so much. To everybody out there, as you work on practicing the keys to success, mindset is number one for a reason.

[00:45:49]: And Brian's done a great job sharing with us a bunch of, a bunch of specifics around that. My main takeaway is, as you described, mindset can be trained just like our bodies. We can train our minds, and hopefully people heard some great things about how they can train their minds. So until our next episode, everybody be safe out there.




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