In this week's episode, Billy and Brian talk to Scott Welle--author, speaker, and founder of Outperform the Norm, a global movement that helps people achieve peak performance in their personal and professional lives--about:
--how he got started running marathons and doing Ironman triathlons
--the pivotal moments in his life that helped him reach optimal peak performance
--how self-limited beliefs get in our way of outperforming
--the need to blend hard work with soft skills
--the difference between discipline and motivation (and which one you need more of)
--why the best athletes and CEOs work with coaches around performance goals
--how doing what you love is still considered work (and why it's dangerous to say otherwise)
--the role risk plays in our ability to outperform the norm
--landing a speaking gig at Lambeau Field despite being a long-suffering Minnesota Vikings fan and the inner turmoil that gig is causing him to feel.
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Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life second half. Join your hosts, Billy and Brian, a couple of average dudes who will serve as your armchair life coaches as we share our life experiences, both the good and the bad, in an effort to help us all better understand how we can enjoy and make the most of the life we have left to live in a more meaningful way. Take a deep breath, embrace the present, and journey with us through The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
Billy: Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I’m your host, Billy, and, as always, I’m joined by my good friend, Brian on the Bass. Brian, how you doing over there, man?
Brian: I am preeminent today.
Billy: Preeminent. That sounds rather royal and regal.
Brian: It means very distinguished in some way so I’m very distinguished.
Billy: What is making you feel so preeminent today?
Brian: The gray in my beard. That’s what it is. It’s just a little bit, it’s like the salt and pepper thing right now, like George Clooney. Ladies go crazy.
Billy: My dad has always said that just because you have graying hair doesn’t mean that you’re extinguished, it means that you’re distinguished.
Brian: Ah, I see.
Billy: Yeah, wise man. Dirty mole man but a wise man.
Brian: Why don’t we get your dad on?
Billy: Oh, God.
Brian: What do you think?
Billy: You know what? Maybe we could. Maybe we could sometime.
Brian: How about we get your dad and my dad on at the same time.
Billy: Oh, that would be a fun episode.
Brian: That might be fun.
Billy: I like that. I like that. Once again, you are always taking it to another level, just like our guest today, Scott Welle, he is going to be here to talk about outperforming the norm. He’s always taking things to another level. Scott is an author, speaker, and founder of Outperform the Norm, a global movement that helps people achieve peak performance in their personal and professional lives. Scott also hosts a podcast called Outperform the Norm that you can find wherever you get your podcasts. Scott has worked with professional athletes in the NFL, Major League Baseball, and the PGA Tour, elite level triathletes, CEOs, stay-at-home moms, and everyday heroes who all had one common goal: to improve and be better today than they were yesterday. Scott enjoys pushing his own physical and mental limits, completing five Ironman triathlons, 29 marathons, and a 100-mile ultramarathon run.
Billy: Yeah. That’s very impressive.
Brian: I’m tired after hearing you say that.
Billy: Yeah, those are some accomplishments right there. Scott’s nine bestselling books, articles, videos, podcasts, and online programs inspire hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Scott has a master’s degree in Sports Psychology and is an adjunct professor at St. Olaf University. He regularly speaks and consults with top performing executives, sales professionals, and entrepreneurs as well as elite athletes, all with one common goal, to outperform, my goodness gracious, we welcome, Scott Welle.
Scott: That’s quite the intro. Thank you very much. I don’t even know what to say. It’s great to be here though.
Billy: Those intros write themselves, man. I mean, those are some accomplishments that you have. But, usually, we have our guests talk about their 10 roles but I think we’re already curious about these triathlons and the marathons and the ultramarathon. So, can you just start off by talking about those? How did you get into those? Because I’m very curious.
Scott: I mean, there wasn’t necessarily one big light bulb moment or anything that went off where I just started doing them. I’ve just always been okay with taking on big challenges. I guess, I’ll go all the way back, when I signed up for my first Ironman Triathlon, I’ve never done a triathlon before, and kind of the story behind that is, I mean, I’d never done a triathlon, I was held back in swimming lessons growing up. Of course, I had a bike but I only really ran if someone was chasing me. It was kind of a football-basketball thing where if I was going to run, it was going to be sprinting. So I didn’t have a background in any of the sports and then, all of a sudden, I got out of graduate school and came back and I had a couple of friends that were doing this Ironman thing and they were kind of needling me and I think they saw something in my personality where they’re like, “We can probably get this guy to do an Ironman with us if we just push him enough,” and sure enough, they got me to sign up for it and kind of the rest is history.
Brian: I don’t know if I’d call them friends if they do that to you. That’s usually what people who don’t like you do. Hey, go run for 100 miles.
Scott: It’s definitely a twisted kind of friendship, yeah, absolutely.
Billy: So did you get into the triathlons before marathons?
Scott: Let me go all the way back to it. I did my — I think I’d done one or maybe two marathons when I signed up for my first Ironman because I did my first marathon when I was still in graduate school. That was my second year of grad school, I was living down in Georgia and I knew I wasn’t going to be coming home for Thanksgiving and they have the Atlanta Marathon on Thanksgiving so it’s like, well, I’ll just sign up for this because it’ll give me a good excuse to eat a lot afterwards and feel like I’ve actually earned it so I signed up and did it, went okay, and maybe that was kind of the ball that I guess got everything rolling a little bit but there are huge differences between running marathons and doing an Ironman. So, yeah, I guess that’s maybe where it all started.
Billy: If you had to guess, how many cities have you run a marathon in? How many states? How many countries? How many continents?
Scott: I ran the Rome Marathon so we’ve only got two continents. Darn you, COVID. I mean, I’m sure there would probably be more.
Billy: Yeah, can you talk about where you were supposed to do your 40th birthday?
Scott: Gosh, I don’t want to play the woe is me sob story because everybody has something that was cool that got canceled during COVID. So, whatever, I’m just one of many. But I turned 40 years young in April when COVID first hit, we had this killer vacation plan, my girlfriend and me, where I was going to be running the Ibiza Marathon in Spain, it was going to start at four o’clock, we’d be finishing running right along the coast at sunset, it’s just going to be a kick-ass vacation. It really was and it was all planned out and, of course, none of it happened but we’ll get back to it at some point.
Billy: I know a guy who was really disappointed that his 40th birthday was canceled. They were going to take a boy’s trip to Vegas and he was feeling really down about it and when I was talking to him, I’m like, “Listen, a 41st birthday is just as much fun as a 40th birthday if you plan it right so just get after it, it’s just a number attached to it,” so it’s really the experience that goes along with it. So I hope that you get an opportunity to run that marathon in Ibiza.
Scott: I absolutely will at some point. And I mean, in addition to that, we were supposed to rent bikes and we’re going to bike in the Spanish Pyrenees and we were just supposed to do a bunch of cool stuff. We were going to fly into Bordeaux and just taste some wine beforehand and it was going to be a cool vacation. But, anyway, that’s the only part of the sob story I’m going to say. We’ll get it back. I know it’ll happen at some point. Everybody got something canceled but that was mine.
Billy: Yeah, so you are a triathlete and what other roles do you play in your life?
Scott: You know, let me first say this. This was a very interesting exercise for me to write down because this is something that I have a lot of my clients do. Going all the way back to when I’d work more full time with athletes doing sports psychology and now working with business leaders, I always just tell them that these roles that we play are like spokes on a bicycle wheel and I think where our life falls out of balance is when we’re just focused and we just only see ourselves as one spoke and we don’t actually see all the different roles that we play in the different aspects of our life. And what will happen, especially if we’re talking from an athletic perspective and some people will do it from a business perspective as well is they will just put such immense pressure on themselves to succeed in this one area and then if things are not going the way that they want, now, all of a sudden, everything is just completely out of whack in terms of their life. So I think seeing yourself as somebody that’s well rounded in terms of all these different roles is a really critical exercise, not just for the people that you have on your podcast to go through that exercise but I think for the people that are listening, for them to ask themselves that as well. It’s just really powerful. I don’t know if you wanted that background but I just wanted to acknowledge you for a great question.
Billy: No, I’ve said many times on the show that one of my love languages is words of affirmation so hearing that from you and knowing that we’re doing something right on this podcast has just filled my whole heart with happiness right now. So thank you very much, Scott.
Scott: Billy, you are doing many things right. I will continue to affirm you throughout the rest of this podcast.
Billy: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. So, what are those spokes on your bicycle? What are those roles?
Scott: Well, I could actually have a ton of these but if we just want to condense it down to 10, author, speaker, coach, stepdad, my girlfriend has a 10-year-old son, boyfriend to her, obviously, Christian, my brother is a Franciscan friar and a priest so faith is a big part of my life, athlete, entrepreneur, I’ve gotten big into cooking in the last few years so chef is one of them, and the last one that I simply had to put down on there is tortured Minnesota sports fan.
Billy: Yeah, you and me both and what’s sad is we’re sitting here with a disgusting Green Bay Packers fan.
Brian: I don’t know though. It’s probably a good year for you guys right now with everything that went on with Aaron Rodgers and everything, I was hearing it all summer long. “Oh, about your boy,” and all that stuff.
Billy: But you still have Aaron Rodgers, that’s the problem, and we still have Kirk Cousins who won’t get a damn vaccine.
Brian: That’s true. Plus, I think Aaron Rodgers was just playing for the chance to win the Super Bowl.
Billy: It’s just going to be another one of those years. I mean, that’s just the way it is when you’re a tortured Minnesota sports fan. And I don’t like, Scott, that you said that you were looking forward to this in the second half of your life. You want to continue being a tortured Minnesota sports fan? Are you just assuming that that’s going to be your course of action in life?
Scott: No, I mean, I’m looking at it glass half full and I’m saying, okay, in the second half of my life here, it can’t continue to go bad. I mean, I guess a couple things on that. Well, maybe, but this last weekend, we obviously, I don’t know if you saw what the Minnesota Twins did but they celebrated the 1991 World Series team that won and that is the last major championship that we’ve had in any of the four major men’s sports. We haven’t won anything since then. It’s crazy to think that that’s 30 years ago, but it can’t possibly go on like this forever, can it? I mean, eventually, the Wild, the Twins, the Wolves, the Vikings, somebody’s got to win a chip.
Billy: Thank goodness for the Minnesota Lynx and Suni Lee for holding up Minnesota sports as we crumble each and every single year. So shout-out to you ladies out there. So, of those 10 roles, what are the three you’re most looking forward to?
Scott: Well, one is certainly the stepdad part of it. I’m not a father but it’s been a very interesting, kind of — my girlfriend and I have been dating for a few years and, again, her having a 10-year-old son that’s just about to turn 11, just started up fifth grade, it’s just been something that’s been very outside of my comfort zone. It’s obviously been a huge learning experience, a huge time not only for me to grow but for me to think about how can I try to make somebody else’s life better, how can I help raise him to be a good small human being now, eventually a good larger human being, and how can I just make an impact in his life? So, I’m really looking forward to that. I am looking forward to the entrepreneur slash speaker part of it. Business is going very well. Obviously, things changed a lot during COVID where a lot of my speaking engagements shifted from in person to virtual, made me learn some different things, but never let a good crisis go to waste so I saw the opportunity in that and saw how I could expand some of my things online and do some different things that way I think have really benefited me. And then the athlete part of it as well. Now being 41 years young, I can’t do a lot of the things that I used to be able to do back when I was in my 20s, the way that I did it then and it was just easy, but I do enjoy the simple part of still challenging father time and still seeing strategically how you can do different things, how you can keep kind of Humpty Dumpty back together again, and how you can challenge yourself knowing that you can’t just wake up, bolt out the door and go and sprint five miles or do a hard CrossFit workout. I enjoy that part of it as well. And I don’t at all listen to what a lot of people say, “When you get to 40 years old, everything’s just gonna start to hurt, you’re not gonna be able to do that anymore, you’re not gonna be running when you’re…” whatever age insert that they say. I don’t buy into a lot of that mainstream nonsense, in my opinion, so I appreciate that part of it as well.
Billy: I think we’re going to steal that never let a good crisis go to waste line right there because that was very beautifully said. Just out of curiosity, you work with athletes and you do a lot of coaching, how much of that do you rely on as being a stepdad?
Scott: Well, a lot of it. I mean, I thank God every day that my background was in first psychology and then sports psychology because I think it’s — I mean, it’s not stuff that we’re taught in school. The basics of focus, of resilience, of grit, of discipline, of the ability to set and achieve goals, I mean, just a lot of these very basic life psychology things because, I always just say sports psychology is just life psychology that’s just more specialized towards athletes, so I think taking some of those concepts and being able to pivot them and being able to have an understanding of, okay, if he’s doing this or not doing this or doing that or not doing that, what is perhaps the underlying psychological reason, not to go too deep on it but I think to have a greater understanding beneath the surface of how to tap into, I mean, it’s my thing that I do professionally, how to tap into people and how to be able to get the best out of them. It’s also something that I use to hopefully be able to inspire and empower and motivate him in the right way to be the best version of himself.
Billy: Well, I think your life experiences lend well to your ability to coach and most likely to stepparent as well so what we’re going to do is we’re going to take a quick break and then when we come back, we’re going to continue to talk to Scott about those life experiences and how he learned how to outperform the norm. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
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Billy: Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We are here with speaker and entrepreneur Scott Welle. He’s here talking about outperform the norm and, as a speaker, Scott, you just told us here that you got a big time gig that you’re a little bit conflicted with and it has something to do with what we were talking about in an earlier segment. Can you talk about that?
Scott: Yes, comes back to being the tortured Minnesota sports fan where I am a Vikings fan just through and through, I want them to win, I want them to do great things and then I get contacted about three weeks ago to speak at, of all places, Lambeau Field and I’m like, okay, I originally get the contact, I’ve never spoken at US Bank Stadium so I’m saying, really, is the first football stadium that I’m going to speak in really going to be cheeseheads and really going to be Lambeau Field? Can I really do that? So, yeah, I took the engagement, it’s at the end of September, it’s right around, so it happened to be a week that I don’t know if the Packers are either on bye or if they’re playing away but there’s a lot going on in that area during that time because the Ryder Cup is also going on in I think Whistling Straits but it’ll be a super cool engagement. I’m really looking forward to it, but very conflicted going in as a Vikings fan into enemy territory of Lambeau Field.
Brian: Scott, there is always room for everyone on the green and gold bus, okay? I just want to let you know that.
Scott: I don’t want to be on that bus, man. I’m good on my bus.
Brian: Looking good on the bus, man.
Scott: I’m good. I’m good on my own bus, I don’t think I should be on that with beer and cheese curds, man. I don’t need that.
Brian: And there’s lots of beer and cheese curds. Lots of them.
Billy: I think I would rather be on my broken down bus stranded on the side of the road somewhere than being on a Packer bus. God. So, Scott, your biography is such a fascinating read so could you walk us through the pivotal moments in your life that led you to where you are today? What beliefs did you uncover about yourself that served you and how did you amplify them and which ones did you uncover that didn’t serve you and what did you do to rid yourself of those limiting beliefs?
Scott: Well, there’s a lot going on in that question. I don’t know how long you want me to talk for, but —
Billy: As long as you want.
Scott: Yeah, right. So, sort of like the marathon triathlon part of it, I don’t feel like there was one light bulb moment, ringing voice from God that necessarily changed my life. I think it was a series of small steps built up over time that ended up having a massive difference. And one of the things that I often come back to and I talk a lot about almost regardless of what audience I’m speaking to is self-limiting beliefs are the governor on our individual potential. Just simply mean that they hold us down. And sort of like a governor holds down the speed of your golf cart or name whatever we’re talking about, you’re never going to perform to your fullest potential or what you’re capable of if you have self-limiting beliefs holding you back. And I had a few of them growing up, I’m not going to go into all of them but I know one of my biggest ones was that I didn’t believe that I was smart and part of it is not to blame my brother, who I mentioned before, is a Franciscan friar, but he’s a complete academic, Director of Graduate Studies over in Rome, and just an extremely smart guy so I’m not blaming him, I’m not blaming my parents, but for whatever reason, I got it in my head very early on that I wasn’t smart. And I thought no matter what I did, I wasn’t going to be smart and I wasn’t going to be as smart as my brother, then that led to obviously feelings of demotivation, disempowerment, never really tried very hard in school, and for the longest time, all the way through my junior year of college, I was a C student and I was just average. And I mean, this was one that I guess if you want to talk about a defining moment, for whatever reason, I do remember waking up one day and literally saying to myself, because I was paying my way through college, saying to myself, you know what, Scott, you’re paying a lot of money to be average. You’re paying a lot of money to get C’s. And, okay, maybe you’re not going to be the next Einstein or maybe you’re not going to be as smart as your brother but what if you adopted simply a different belief system? And what if you actually adopted a belief system that, what if I actually applied myself and if I actually tried at this the way that I did with athletics, I mean, it’s interesting, the dichotomy of the belief systems that I had between athletics and academics, I thought that I could do anything athletically if I worked for it but I didn’t think of things academically that same way. But looking at it and just saying, you know what, if I adopt a different belief system and what if I try something differently, how might that affect my behaviors, my results, and get this spiral going back the other way. And then that summer, had experimental psychology, tough five-credit class that all psychology majors had to take, I got an AB in the class which I still to this day, consider the best grade I’ve ever gotten in my life, that kind of spun to better grades my senior year of college, kind of spun me into grad school where I got almost straight A’s and I really feel like that was the thing that got the ship or got things steered and going the other direction instead of me just mindlessly going down this path of a self-limiting belief system.
Billy: And another thing that really impresses me about your story is that when you were younger, you had a stutter and now you’re on your way to do a presentation at Lambeau Field. So, can you talk about how that played a role in how you put yourself into situations where you’re like, “Okay, if I’m gonna overcome this, this is what I need to do.”
Scott: Yeah. I mean, I think for all of us, and certainly for the people listening, if you’re not periodically doing something that scares you to a point where you’re literally like, “Whoa, this is seriously uncomfortable,” whether it’s doing a race or writing a book or starting a business or launching a podcast, whatever it might be, but if you’re not doing some of those things periodically, I just don’t think you’re living your life because that’s when you feel most alive, that’s when you grow, that’s where you have the good juice for life and you just feel the zest for getting out of bed every single day and doing something. So, I mean, the stutter part of it, yeah, I hated public speaking. I mean, I was the shy kid that sat in the back of class and when the teacher would ask a question, I would put my head down just hoping he or she wouldn’t call on me because I didn’t want to have to talk in front of the class. I was scared to death of it. And then it was one of those things that, again, kind of throughout time, and to be completely honest with you, I never necessarily set out to be I think a “motivational speaker” and to be doing gigs at Lambeau Field and other spots, it was something that just periodically happened over time and happened as a little bit of a byproduct of me writing books and people asking if I would come in and I would speak on that, and I was at a point in my life where I was more confident in the things that I could do and getting up in front of a group now later in my life where I didn’t have the stutter and having the confidence to be able to overcome that and then feeling the energy of putting a message out there and then having that good energy come back to you, it was something that I just really embraced and I just said, you know what, I want to make a career out of this, I want to look at it as a skill and it’s something that I want to do with excellence.
Billy: You know, one thing that I always like about your messaging and your podcast and in your blog posts and anytime that we’ve chatted is that you blend the soft skills that are important with doing the actual work. So it’s not just, hey, you need to have grit, you need to have resilience, you need to be able to communicate, you then outline, hey, you need to put in some hard work too and you speak very passionately about that. So, when you combine those things, what is it that sets outperformers apart from the norm?
Scott: Well, I guess, let me affirm you again, Billy and say that was an excellent question —
Billy: Thank you very much.
Scott: — that you just asked and, I mean, no, it really is a very interesting question because I feel like this is a lot of what’s missing in my world of let’s just call it motivational speaking, self-help, personal development, I feel like you’ve got people that are on two different sides of the line. You’ve either got the people that are almost all kind of the soft skills and they’re like, “Oh, I’m gonna kinda coax and coddle you,” and it’s just like, “Everything will be okay, you’re good enough,” like glass half full sort of positive psychology. And then you’ve got other people that are like, “If you want it, you gotta be grinding it out.” It’s the stuff you see on social media 24/7, 365. Come on.
Brian: You sound like my trainer.
Scott: And there’s just not a lot of overlap between, yes, you need to put in the work but, yes, there are some of these softer skills and some of these nuances that we have to embrace as well. And I mean, I guess, to come back to the second part of your question, the single biggest difference between the norm and outperformers is just their psychology and what they say to themselves every single day. I mean, if you want to know the progression or the — I call it the cycle of peak performance but it’s based on what I said before, our belief systems. Our belief systems impact our thoughts, what goes through our head every single day. Those thoughts impact our feelings, our feelings impact our behaviors, our behaviors drive our results, and then those results either reinforce, well, usually, will reinforce whatever our initial belief system was. So, from my belief system that I’m not smart and I think no matter what I do, I’m not going to be as smart as my brother, that leads to feelings of disempowerment, the behavior is I don’t study, I don’t try very hard. The result is I get C’s. When I’m sitting around getting C’s, that only further reinforces my belief system of I’m not smart. And that’s how we, it’s not actually a round and round thing, it’s either a spiral upward or downward, but that’s really how it works and I think, I mean, the place that I would start everybody in terms of the difference between the norm and outperformers is outperformers just tell themselves a better story. They tell themselves a better story about the past, present, future. Past, what has happened, what has not happened. Present, what is happening, what is not happening. Future, what may happen, what may not happen. Those narratives become our life and we all know somebody that we’ve been around that no matter what good is going on in their life, they’re suffering through a Shakespearean tragedy, like it’s just they can’t find the good in anything that they’re doing. And I think if you just ask yourself every single day, “What is the story that I’m telling myself? And is it a good story?” and the starting point to outperforming the norm is to just at any point in time, whether we’re talking about past, present, future, tell yourself a better story.
Billy: I think that’s one thing that I think about all the time is what is the narrative that I am spinning in my head. And it’s easy to get lost in those limiting beliefs. It’s funny how easy it is for us maybe to compliment others but not compliment ourselves and show ourselves love and just express, “Hey, gosh, we’re actually doing a better job than what we are giving ourselves credit for.”
Scott: One of my favorite parts about watching sports now, because obviously I’m a huge sports fan, is when they have athletes mic’d up and regardless of what sport we’re talking about, I love it when they mic up athletes and coaches. In the heat of competition, you can actually hear what they’re saying to other people, to the coaches, to competitors, to everything else. You can hear that out loud. And I always just say if we were to mic you up, as far as what you say to yourself every single day, what would that look like? Because the bottom line is whether it’s you or me or anybody else, the quite honestly crap and garbage that we say to ourselves is not anything we would ever say to a teammate, we would ever say to a spouse or a boyfriend, girlfriend, a kid, a friend, a peer, anybody else in our life and we say those things to ourselves and then those end up feeding the narratives and that cycle that I brought up before. It’s such a huge thing and it sounds almost so painfully simple but what you say to yourself every single day matters so much.
Billy: As a perfectionist, I like when you say being your best matters more than being the best. I’ve heard you say that before. And so can you talk about what you mean by that and how do you implement that then in your trainings with athletes, with business professionals, with individual clients?
Scott: Well, this was actually a lesson that I got from my mom, God rest her soul, way back in the day and I didn’t acknowledge it at the time, but golf was my big sport growing up and we never had a ton of money, couldn’t always stay in a lot of hotels and stuff so she would often drive with me or drive me to some of these golf tournaments when I was in high school and we’d get up at the butt crack of dawn in the morning, drive to wherever in Minnesota to be able to play in these tournaments, and she used to say the same exact thing to me before every single tournament. She would say, she always called me Scotty, she’d say, “Scotty, just do your best out there.” And, of course, I thought my best meant winning. I thought my best only mattered if I won the tournament, because I was a pretty good player and I was fortunate to win some tournaments. And then it was only when I got to a part later on in my life and I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of high achievers in a lot of different industries that I’ve since realized that what really matters more than anything else is giving your maximum effort towards something and doing your best instead of just solely focusing on the comparison being the thief of joy that Teddy Roosevelt always says instead of saying, “I need to be the best,” focus on being your best. And, usually, if you show up as your best and if you give that maximum effort, usually, the outcomes will take care of themselves. And I’m not saying you’re always going to love them, you might not win, and you don’t have to love it, but you’re going to be able to accept it better. And the really interesting part of doing your best at something is, again, it doesn’t matter if it’s a parent, if it’s a spouse, if it’s a coach, or if it’s anybody else, no one can ever tell you whether you’ve really tried your best at something except you. It’s only a question that can be answered when you look in the mirror, when you’re falling asleep in bed at night, and you can say to yourself, “I really tried my best at this or that, I really put myself out there,” and if you can answer that question with yes more times than not, those outcomes are going to take care of themselves.
Billy: So you’ve talked about the difference between discipline and motivation and it sounds like what you’re talking about in terms of doing your best falls more under discipline, like it’s the little things that fall in line with being consistent. So, can you talk about the difference between discipline and motivation and how you use the two to help people tap into their peak productivity?
Scott: Well, I mean, I think they kind of relate but to be honest with you, mainstream, again, self-help, personal development, what people think they need or what people want is strategies so they can become more motivated, what they actually need is strategy so they can become more disciplined. Because we just got done with the Olympics, right? Okay, so, normally, Olympic athletes, I mean, in reality, they’ve been training their whole life for something but let’s say they’ve been training the last four years for this, in this case, with COVID, they’ve been training the last five. Thing that I will always say is do you think any of these athletes wake up every single day motivated to go do their training? No freakin way. No way. Not at all. And you’re talking about, name your sport, track and field, swimming, gymnastics, anything else, you’re talking about four to five years of getting up and probably putting in 4, 6, 8 hours a day to, what? Maybe take a tenth of a second off? I mean, we’re talking about a little itty bitty micro improvement so stop running the narrative in your head that, “Oh, I need to wake up and I just need to find a way to tap into this motivation every single day to be able to do what I wanna do and to be able to get what I want,” because it’s never going to happen, it’s never going to be there. What you actually need to think about is ways that you can be more disciplined or kind of in my language, do what you should do when you should do it regardless of whether you feel like it or not. You need to find ways to be able to create those habits, those patterns, those routines, and those disciplines that some days you will wake up and you will feel like doing whatever it is that you need to do but on the days where you don’t feel like it, how can you still make that happen? That might be a good old fashioned accountability partner, it might be some type of social support, it might be something where, I track a lot of my workouts on my Apple watch and I love getting in and looking at the data, you might be someone that just is really motivated by the tangible numerical part of doing something. It might be a competition. It might be something where, you know, what a way that I get more discipline is if you know you’re a competitive guy, like I’m gonna bet Billy that I can do more pushups than him in the month of August. And little things like that really matter and keep you on track when you don’t have that internal motivation to get you to do whatever it is that you want to do every single day.
Billy: And that’s oftentimes where a good coach comes in. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to take a quick break and then when we come back, Scott’s going to talk about how he coaches both businesses and athletes around performance goals and then we’re going to pick his brain a little bit about what he means about developing an alter ego in order to achieve your goals. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
Thanks for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We will do our best to put out new content every Wednesday to help get you over the midweek hump. If you’d like to contact us or if you have suggestions about what you’d like us to discuss, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Instagram at @Mindful_Midlife_Crisis. Check out the show notes for links to the articles and resources we reference throughout the show. Oh, and don’t forget to show yourself some love every now and then too. And now, back to the show.
Billy: Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We are here with Scott Welle and we’re learning all about how to outperform the norm. Scott, you were just talking about Olympic athletes who develop discipline and almost every Olympic athlete, almost every athlete has a coach, but you also work with business leaders as a coach. So, regardless of what field they’re in, it’s good to have a coach. So how do you approach those two groups of people similarly and differently?
Scott: Well, I would say the different part of it is if you’re working with an athlete, you have to be talking about strategies where they can perform in the heat of competition. Unless you’re maybe a C-suite executive, let’s say, that you’re responsible for getting up there and maybe giving a huge keynote or something in front of a group or maybe you’re someone that’s negotiating a huge deal and there’s a certain kind of pressure to perform in this context or in this situation, not a lot of business leaders will have that same sort of game day pressure that athletes have so that’s probably the biggest difference in talking about daily strategies for peak performance versus “game day” strategies for peak performance. But as far as some of the other things that you work on, I mean, certainly the ability to take, I call it OPP, yeah, you know me, but OPP in this case stands for Outcome Performance Process, not the old school hip hop song Naughty by Nature. Did you get me on that? Did you get that?
Brian: That’s fantastic.
Billy: Oh, yes, yes, that was greatly — we’re a bunch of 90s guys here, we’re greatly enjoying that reference.
Scott: It always gets laughs from any audience that I’m speaking to the OPP. But everything, whether we’re talking about athletics, we’re talking about wins or losses and championships and things like that or whether we’re talking about businesses and hitting your metrics, your targets, your deliverables, your KPIs, both of these things are driven by outcomes, the O part of the OPP. Those things are great because it provides motivation and direction but it’s difficult because we only ever have indirect control over whether we accomplish and whether we achieve that. So we have to be able to take that outcome that is somewhat out of our control, strip that down into the first P, the performance part of it, where we set up benchmarks, checkpoints, milestones, kind of the different stairs on the way to get to the top of the staircase, that’s the first P in terms of performance goals, and then the process goals is where we look at it, where we think about instead of just, “I need to make up a freaking to-do list of what I’m going to do every single day,” it’s, “No, these are actually —” and I get on my clients big time about this. When they say they’re going to make a to-do list, I say, “We don’t do to-do lists, we do strategic priorities lists because it’s different.” The way that you look at allocating your time and energy towards something, you can go out there as an athlete and you can just go through the motions or you can go out there and you can invest your time and energy in the stuff that actually moves the needle and the stuff that actually makes you better. Business leaders, no different. You can go out there and you can do a bunch of stuff and you get done with the day and you can say, “Well, that was super busy day,” or you can invest your time and energy in the things that matter. And then, at the end of the day, you’ll say, “Wow, that was a really productive day.” And which one do you think matters more in terms of the results you get? So, there’s certainly the goal setting process part of it, there’s strategies for how you can actually stay focused on some of those things, strategies for how you can bounce back from change, from stress, from pressure, from adversity. I guess those are some of kind of the quick parallels between business leaders and athletes as far as the coaching and the work that I do.
Billy: Do you see a correlation between the productivity and the discipline between business leaders who are also active and engage in athletics or sports or fitness in some way, shape, or form? Is there a correlation or do you work with business leaders who maybe they don’t do a whole lot of sporting or athletics or fitness, that kind of thing, but they still have innate drive, they still have innate discipline?
Scott: Well, a lot of them are former athletes and, by that, I don’t mean that they’re like former professional athletes or anything like that. They might have not even played in college, but chances are, the same mindset that they took to whatever their competitive sport was back in the day is the same thing that allowed them to become a senior manager, a C-suite executive, an entrepreneur, whatever it happens to be, like that same mindset still applies so they get the part of the parallels between maybe the sports psychology and how that transitions into business psychology. I’m not sure if this is what you meant when you said it. Not all of them go and do races, do marathons, do 100-milers and stuff like that but all of them do take that most powerful performance-enhancing drug on the planet that is exercise. All of them do that. All of them, because they know it makes them better physically, mentally, emotionally. There’s nothing else that replicates the benefits that we get from daily movement and daily exercise. How that manifests itself is different for each individual client but they know it’s something that makes them better.
Billy: So you do speaking engagements and you do work in front of professional athletes and with high-level CEOs, that kind of thing, and we’re having Teresa Sande come on in a couple of weeks to talk about impostor syndrome and one thing that you have talked about in your podcast is developing like an alter ego. And so, I’m wondering, as you’re standing or maybe in the early stages of your career, when you were doing early speaking engagements and working with high level, high achieving performers, did you have to create an alter ego? Did you experience impostor syndrome? If you had an alter ego, how did you not lose yourself in that alter ego? Almost like a Me, Myself and Irene type of situation.
Scott: Yeah, I mean, the impostor syndrome thing is very interesting. I’ve done a lot of study on that. It is absolutely something that exists. For people that geek out over this stuff, I’d encourage you to look more into it. So that’s fascinating if you’re having her on and she’s going to talk about it, I’m sure that’s going to be great. The alter ego part of it is something we all need. It’s the fastest way to enhance our performance. And it really comes back to some of the belief systems and some of the things that I was talking about before. And to be able to actually create or to be able to tap into your alter ego, you have to be willing to use your imagination. And, for some reason, when we get to a certain point in our lives, we’re like, well, I mean, like I’m an adult now, I don’t need to use my imagination like I did before, I think of last year, I brought up my, in the first segment, I brought up my girlfriend’s 10-year-old son, he’s big time into football. He went out and had a really good football game last year where he just ran the ball like a madman and he’s a good athlete and it was by far his best game of the year and I walked up to him afterwards and I said, “What were you thinking about when you were playing in that game?” He said, “Well, I just imagined I was Odell Beckham Jr.” So, for the people that are listening, if you don’t know who that is, he’s a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns but —
Brian: And a fantastic one.
Scott: He’s good. He’s really good. Yeah, and has a huge following. I mean, dude is great. But he imagined that he was something else to better prepare him and equip him to be able to handle a specific task. That’s what an alter ego is, is it allows you to overcome any amount of worries and fears and judgments and insecurities that we all have, a lot of it going back to our earliest belief systems of when we were growing up, things that happened to us or things that did not happen to us, we carry those things with us and then they manifest themselves in our later behaviors. So you brought up my stutter before, okay? So when I first started speaking, there was the part of me that I would be going up and literally the way that you read my bio right at the start of this podcast is the way that I’m introduced right before I go on stage for a lot of these speeches and I remember sitting there for some of my earliest speaking engagements and they’d be reading my bio and I’d be sitting there and even though I probably haven’t stuttered in, I would say, 25, 30 years, still that little voice in the back of my head say, “Well, you better not stutter, Scott. You better not get up there, you better not stutter, Scott. What if you stutter?” Now, if that’s what I’m saying to myself, can I really go up on stage and be the best version of Scott Welle? No, absolutely not. So my alter ego revolved around Michael Jordan. I was a huge Michael Jordan fan growing up, still have his book by my bedside, I Can’t Accept Not Trying, I love so many things about Jordan and just his mentality and, of course, The Last Dance documentary coming out I absolutely loved as well that came out during COVID, but his mentality towards going out there and being willing to, “I’m going to put myself out there and I’m going to be okay with failing, whatever that looks like, but I can’t accept not trying,” so then I would just imagine that, okay, this isn’t — we’re going to put Scott Welle aside for the time being, we’re going to put him aside, he’s going to sit off stage, because that belief system and those worries about are people judging you, are you going to stutter and those fears and those insecurities, those don’t serve me when I get up on stage. What does serve me is me being very confident and being able to go out there and being able to execute and being able to do this thing. And the only other thing that I want to say about this, because this could be a totally separate podcast in and of itself, but the single biggest question that I get from people when I talk about this concept is, “Well, Scott, if I create this alter ego that we’re talking about, won’t that make me look fake?” And absolutely not. Let’s just think about it from my perspective. I mean, is the real version of Scott Welle someone that’s up there on stage wondering if he’s being judged, afraid that he’s going to stutter? I mean, I can name so many different athletes. Bo Jackson had one. He was — Jason Voorhees, like the Friday the 13th guy was his alter ego. Beyoncé had Sasha Fierce. There are examples of this everywhere where they allow us to overcome some of these things from early on and they’re not things that make us fake, it’s actually the realest, truest version of us because it’s allowing something that’s been laying dormant deep inside of us, it’s allowing us to actually take that and enhance it and allowing it to come out.
Billy: I think, for me, it’s not so much being fake but it’s being perceived as arrogant because if I’m doing my thing, I’m feeling real good about myself and I will then project a sense of cockiness when I’m in that mode. And so, I’ve actually had — I feel like I’ve had to dial it back because I don’t want people to perceive me as arrogant. But then, at the same time, I feel like I haven’t been as confident and I haven’t been as productive having dialed back that alter ego a little bit. So I think it’s really interesting that you bring that up.
Scott: Okay, so we can dig into this a little bit right now. So, if you’re worried about coming across as cocky or as arrogant, I’m just going to say that maybe humility or being humble or authenticity is perhaps something that will be good for you to look at as a trait that your alter ego would actually have. And when I walk clients through this, it’s thinking about, physically, how do you want that alter ego to look? Mentally, what are their dominant thought patterns? Emotionally, what are the feelings that are going throughout their body? So, Billy, when you think of an alter ego or something that you can step into to be a better version of you, who is someone that you think about that may be, let’s say, very confident? Because, I agree, I never want to come across as cocky or arrogant either but I’m okay with coming across as confident. Who is someone that you think of, real or imagined person, that comes across as confident but still has that humility and that part of they’re not coming across as too cool for school or cocky?
Billy: The first two people that come to mind are Dave Grohl and Henry Rollins. Those are the two people that I want to emulate because I just admire the two of them so much, particularly Dave Grohl because when Dave Grohl is on stage and he’s doing his thing, he is just so captivating and talks about how much he rocks. Even Jack Black too, because he can mix in that humor as well. So like the three of them, I feel that’s what my goal would be. And I love how you described that you would add humility into that character. It feels like you’re creating a video game player.
Scott: You are, yes.
Billy: I love that. I love that.
Scott: Yeah, yeah. And that’s exactly what you’re doing. So if I didn’t articulate that correctly as I was going through it, I apologize, but an alter ego is not just something that you do to enhance your confidence to a point where you’re bordering on being arrogant, because I never want to come across as that either. I’ve come across a lot of speakers that are out in my circuit that are like, “Look at me, look at my big house, look at my nice car, look at my private jet.” It’s BS, like I never — my brother is a Catholic priest that took a vow of poverty, I can’t live that life so there’s a part of I want Scott Welle to come across as the best confident version of him but I also want to have a level of that authenticity and that humility as well. So this is where we can direct people to a website where they can download it, it’s a relatively long PDF where you can really map out your alter ego, but it goes through all of these different things and for you to be able to tap into those individual characteristics that make you your best and overcome any of those self-limiting beliefs is an incredibly powerful thing for you to use in any area of your life.
Billy: Is that PDF on your website, Scott?
Scott: It’s somewhere on my website, certainly. It’s just go to scottwelle.com and then there’s a link for free training, I think if you put in your first name, email address after clicking on that, it should redirect you to a page that actually has it on there.
Billy: And we will make sure we put those in the show notes as well. Scott, on your website, you have some blog posts that I’ve enjoyed reading and they’re real short, they’re real direct, they’re to the point. I like reading through those just as a quick affirmation in the morning just be like, “Oh, yeah, yeah, that’s a good point. That’s a good point there.” They’re a good bathroom read. And I mean that in the sincerest way possible, because it doesn’t take you long to go through them and there really are just these motivational tidbits and these reality tidbits in there too. And one of those reality tidbits is that you dismiss the idea of “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” and I love that you dismantle that concept. So can you elaborate what you mean by that?
Scott: First off, thank you for the affirmation on some of my blog posts.
Billy: You’re welcome.
Scott: Yeah, Scott Welle needs affirmation as well. But I try to cater to people’s short attention spans by writing short blog posts and things that you can read in the bathroom or you can read in a short period of time. But as I move forward in my journey as a speaker and as a thought leader, I find myself trying to dispel some of the mainstream myths and a lot of what you hear out there more and more, because some of it is good but a lot of it is just what you hear and it’s just, quite honestly, not reality, as far as what works on the field of play of athletics, of life, of business, or anything else. And that whole concept of, “Oh, do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Okay. Well, if you believe in that and if you run the narrative in your head that if I do what I love, I’ll never work a day in my life, what happens if you’re doing something and it feels like work? What do you do? Okay. So if something feels like work, then that will usually lead you back to saying, “Well, then that must mean that I’m not actually doing something that I love.” And you will go and you can continue to play this rabbit hole shell game where you’re chasing something that, “If I can just find my purpose, if I can just find what I love, then I’m never going to have to work a day in my life,” and it’s just not reality. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a job, a sport, a partner, or anything else. You might always love that person but there are going to be times where it feels like work. It just does. The training, the things that we do in business, the work that we need to put into our relationships, that stuff will feel like work. So I always just tell people you should absolutely 100 percent love what you do and for the people that are out there listening to this, I hope you do. And if you love what you do, there are going to be a good number of days that doesn’t feel like work at all. But some of those days, it is going to feel like work. And when it feels like work, that’s okay, but if you’re doing what you love, you’re going to enjoy those days that much more. So just be careful of the narratives that you run in your head.
Brian: Can you feel achievement without having that work too, you know what I mean? Like it’s things that are out there worth obtaining are worth working for, you know what I mean?
Scott: If you look at the greatest accomplishments and achievements, I won’t put either of you on the spot right now but for you two thinking about this as well as anybody listening, if you think about the things that you value most in your life, you are going to think about something that was not given to you, something that was incredibly meaningful but something that, you know what, maybe you couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or you had no idea when you were going to get to that finish line, you’re like, “I don’t know when I’m gonna get through this thing,” or you were tried and tested and it was really hard and there were probably times where you maybe even doubted yourself, but you got to the other side. And because you were willing to do that work, that accomplishment, that achievement, or whatever it is that you were thinking about has that much more meaning to you. So don’t cheat the work. It’s part of the process. Hopefully, you’re doing that work towards something that you love and towards something that you find meaningful because that is why we’re put here on the earth as humans, but just don’t run that narrative thinking that, “Oh, I just —” it almost relates a little bit to the motivation thing that we talked about before, sort of like not thinking about how I need to wake up every single day and be motivated. Also, don’t run the narrative in your head that every single day, it’s not going to feel like work, and if it does feel like work, something’s wrong.
Billy: It’s easy to connect that all to our love languages, episode 2, because it talks about how you’re in that honeymoon phase at the beginning and you’re kind of in love with being in love but then after that honeymoon phase, say about two years, that’s when you really have to understand your partner and understand their love languages and you have to put in the work to understand it. And in terms of like what we’re talking about here, I feel like if you start to love your job, you’re going to be lulled into a false sense of complacency where you’re just running on autopilot and then you’re not seeking out the hard, you’re not seeking out ways to grow because then if you get frustrated with it, then you might not enjoy it as much, you might not love it as much, but that then limits your ability to continue to grow and I think that plays a big role in what we talked about with risk and we have John Wessinger coming on next week to talk about his book, Ride the Wave, where he talks about the importance of developing a healthy relationship with risk. So, where do you see risk taking as an asset in outperforming the norm?
Scott: Well, I guess, at the risk of answering a question with a question, what exactly do you mean by risk? And when you say risk, are you talking about getting comfortable being uncomfortable or what are you referring to exactly in regards to risk?
Billy: Well, I think that’s a good question. I think it’s anything that is a healthy risk that could better your situation, better your mindset, better your approach, better your discipline, better your ability to motivate yourself, not something that is going to be a detriment to you or someone around you. So, for example, you have a couple of examples here, like starting a business or doing a race, those things I think are healthy risks whereas gambling your life savings away in Vegas, probably not the best risk. Jumping out of an airplane in a wingsuit for the first time ever jumping out of airplane, I don’t know that that’s a necessary risk to take. So, something along those lines.
Scott: Yeah, I mean, I just think a certain amount of risk taking is necessary for growth. And, usually, what holds us back, I think, from doing that is we can just equate risk with change and the way that we typically perceive change is that it’s negative, it’s threatening, it’s fearful. We look at it like that and we play out the worst case scenario in our head. Well, I mean, I’ve always wanted to start a business but what if I do it and insert negative outcome? That’s what we think in our head, and that’s all fear is is what if insert negative outcome. Fearlessness is what if insert positive outcome. So, a lot of times, I mean, for most of the risks that I think we probably go through on a day to day basis, they’re not huge, monumental risks that are going to kill us or are going to lead us to a life potentially without shelter and food and different things like that, they’re little itty bitty incremental risks that if we would be willing to do the fearlessness part of what if insert positive outcome would allow us to grow a little bit more and would allow us to overcome the part of, “Well, I’m just not going to do that because what if this bad thing happens.” I just think that it’s something that, again, to bring it all back to the psychology part of it, we have to be careful on whatever we’re saying to ourselves and the narratives that we’re playing in our head if we’re unwilling to put ourselves out there and even try something. And really just, as simple as it sounds, what’s the worst that can happen? It’s a great question to ask yourself. Really, what is the worst that can happen? Now, when I went out on my own and when I started my own business, it was before I was dating my girlfriend, I was in my 30s, I didn’t have anybody depending on me necessarily, it was just me and I always knew that I wanted to start my own business, I knew that I wanted to write, there was a part of me that thought I might want to speak but I knew I wanted to coach, I knew I wanted to help people. And I just said, you know what, if you’re not going to do it now, when are you ever going to do it? Because there might come a time where you have, for people listening to this, if you ever thought about starting your own business, I’m not going to say that you should necessarily do that if you have a few kids and you’re putting them through school and you got to put food on the table, it might not be the right time for you to take a risk that large but is there some way that you can move incrementally towards that or what’s the future vision of being able to at least go in that direction? So I think everybody maybe just has to calibrate their own risk with where they’re at in their life and be careful not to just play out the worst case scenario and let that hold you back from ever trying anything.
Billy: So do you not subscribe to you’re either all in or you’re all out? Are you more of a let’s incrementally work to a point where we can be a bit more comfortable? I always have a problem with we need to get out of our comfort zone and my belief is that we need to get to the outer edge of our comfort zone, because I don’t think we’ll ever do anything if it’s outside our comfort zone but I think if we do things that are on the outer edge of our comfort zone, it’s kind of like pizza dough as we push those edges out a little bit further and further. So I’m just kind of curious, are you more of a, “Hey, let’s grow out of this risk level that we will take” or are you, “You’re either all in or all out”?
Scott: Well, I guess I’m more towards there’s no plan B if you’re fully committed to your plan A, I guess. I’m more towards that. I don’t know that I’m all the way there but I do believe that if you want to do anything meaningful and worthwhile in your life, you have to be committed to it and you have to be committed to it for the long term. It escapes me right now who said it but there was someone that said something to the effect of “Don’t even try to do something unless you’re willing to do it 100 times or 100 days straight.” So instead of like, “Well, hey, I’m gonna try this new diet,” it’s like no, no, no, no, no, don’t even try that unless you’re willing to do it for 100 days straight. “Oh, I really wanna start a podcast.” Don’t even try to start a podcast unless you’re willing to do 100 episodes. And what that does is I’m a 100 percent believer that, you can call it what you want, but I think in our pursuit of accomplishing meaningful, worthwhile, great things in our lives, at some point, the universe is going to put up some resistance and it’s going to say, “Do you really want this thing? We’re gonna put up a little bit of resistance here. You’re gonna be going into a headwind and are you willing to continue to push through to the 100 podcast episodes,” if you’re only in your 30s right now, or, “Are you willing to continue to write this book where you’re only halfway into the first chapter?” You have to be willing to overcome that and I think at least that mentality to knowing what you’re signing up for and pushing through that. Now, if you get to the other side of that and you’re just beating your head against a brick wall and maybe something’s not working out, well, okay, if you gave it a fair shake and really tried your best at it, well, then, I mean, there’s no shame in saying, “Hey, I tried this, it didn’t work. I learned something from that,” I always say there’s no failure, only feedback, “I got some feedback from trying that thing and I can use it towards this next thing that I’m going to do.” There’s nothing wrong with that, but I think, initially, knowing what you signed up for is a critical part to any risk, any change you’re looking to make in your life.
Billy: Well, Scott, we really want to thank you for taking the time to talk to us about all the ways that we can achieve peak performance. You can find Scott’s books on Amazon. We’ll add links to those in there. You can listen to his podcast. You can go to scottwelle.com and learn more about him there. If you want to schedule Scott to be a speaker at your engagement, you can contact him there as well. Scott, we hope you’re having a great week and taking care of yourself.
Scott: Thank you, guys. Keep outperforming. Appreciate the opportunity.
Brian: Thank you.
Billy: Thank you. So, for Scott, for Brian, this is Billy, thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy, and loved. Take care, friends.