Handle adversity. Embrace uncertainty. Never settle.
Aug. 28, 2022

713. "Practice Simplicity With Constant Repetition." The Quickest Way To Developing Mental Toughness With Dr. Jason Selk


What if I were to tell you that you could develop your mental toughness in as little as 3 minutes a few times per week? It's not theory; it's science. 

Today I welcome Dr. Jason Selk, author of one of my favorite books, "Relentless Solution Focus."

On today's episode, you will learn:
~ The 3 legs to mental toughness.
~ Why mental toughness is abnormal.
~Anyone can learn to become mentally tough through a few simple steps. 
~ How to prevent from being overwhelmed through the method of Channel Capacity. 

Connect with Jason, subscribe to his newsletter, and grab a copy of this book and many others at www.enhancedperformanceinc.com

For more of The Sales Life, go to marshbuice.com 

The greatest sale you will ever make is to sell you on you. You're more than enough. Never settle. Keep Selling. 


What if I were to tell you that in as little as three minutes and 40 seconds, a few times a week, you could increase your mental toughness and to begin to make huge strides in your life. It's not theory. It's science today on the sales life. I welcome Dr. Jason Selk author of one of my favorite books stays on my bookshelf relentless solution focus while serving as director of mental training for the St. Louis Cardinals. Dr. Selk helped the team win, not one but two world series championships in a six year period. In addition to working with world class athletes, Dr. Selk helps business leaders, executives, and top sales people, developmental toughness increases confidence and focus and substantially grows the bottom line. That's what it's all about. More importantly, he helps his clients achieve the life balance and health because people who are happier are the ones who are most successful. He's also a licensed mental health profess. And has earned his doctorate in counseling, in sports psychology at the university of Missouri. His client list includes companies. You may have heard of real small ones. Morgan Stanley Ernst & Young Merrill Lynch, Edward Jones, Bacardi and enterprise renter car. Just the name, a few he's a regular contributor to Forbes and was also featured in publications. Such as success magazine, men's health and USA today. And you've probably seen him on TV C, ABC, CBS, NBC, and ESPN, his latest book, which he's here to talk about today. Is relentless solution focus and it's hit the best seller list multiple times and you're about to discover why. So with that, I bring you Dr. Jason Selk. . Dr. Selk, thank you so much for coming on to the Sales Life. Marsh thanks for having me. I love the intro. Let's get to it here. Let's go. Dr. Selk, how did you develop, mental toughness, in your own life? And at what point did you decide that you were going to, begin teaching it? Okay, so, you know, I don't get asked that question very much. Kind of putting it together right now, but I'm going to give you maybe three legs on this chair. Number one, there's a principle. I talk about it all the time, making yourself uncomfortable speeds up the process of mental toughness. I grew up in Cedar rapids, Iowa, very blue collar. You know, my high school was the most rural of my entire. Cities high schools. We were the farm boys. And so, you know, when you hang around that environment, when your best friends their families are farmers. You see a level of work ethic that, you know, I live in St. Louis now, and I'm, um, in the city, you just, you know, there's a different level of work ethic when you're talking about. Farmers and some of the country folk, and, and that's what I grew up with. And so that's the first thing. And, and then when you combine that with playing on sports teams with these guys and coming from that area, you know, we, we had very old school coaching where, you got it done, and if you didn't get it done, you got your rear end kick. And so I'd say that was, I guess that was. Foundation for me of my own mental toughness. Now, the second thing would be. Learning about process. I learned about process goals and the importance of getting those process goals done and process goals are okay. So in sales you might have a product goal, which would be, you know, I want to do 100,000 in sales. Well, your process goal would be what's the most important daily activity to cause the a hundred thousand in sales. And you say, well, I've got to do 10 outbound sales calls every day. And on those sales calls, I got to tell one story. I got to ask one question to really get them to think, and I got to give one effective analogy and then nailing the process. That's also a way of really driving mental toughness. See a big piece of mental toughness is knowing that when you commit to something you're going to get it done. And process was really the first way I personally learned how to do that because it was, uh, not only was it a game plan, but it was also a unit of measure. I mean, I knew, okay. My process is 10 calls. I knew every day that I get it done or did I not get it? And I learned when I got it done, it developed, it made me even more mentally tough because I was learning about myself that whatever I say, I'm going to do, I get it done. Okay. Now the third piece, when it comes to the mental toughness is really what I learned educationally, you know, going through, I went all the way through school to understand how the brain works. I'm licensed as a mental health professional, but I've had all kinds of classes on cognitive neuroscience and the brain and so forth. Understanding that the brain is a muscle fairly similar to the bicep and, you know, I can't pep talk my bicep and being stronger. I want my bicep to be stronger. I have to train it. I have to do, you know, three sets of 10 curls, three times a week or whatever it might be. Well, the same is true for the brain. And you know, the great thing about my schooling was I felt like I was learning things that really gave me an advantage over the competition because I don't think most people understand how the brain works and how you can make it work more effectively. So, you know, again, to answer the question, I'd say three things. I come from a pretty tough environment two I learned the importance of when I say I'm going to do something do it. And then three, I've learned how to train my brain. And I talk about that in the book, relentless solution focus, you know, when you get to chapter 7, 8, 9, it really boils down for a pep talk to the training of it. And it's three minutes a day. One is a success log takes about 60 seconds, just, just answering four simple questions. And then the second piece of the training is doing mental workouts, which is a minute and 40 seconds. And, you know, I'm a big believer. I'm not going to ask a client of mine to do anything. I haven't done myself and no works. So I've been doing success logs and mental workouts for 20 years. And I'm just kind of got to a point where I feel like mentally speaking, I'm not going to necessarily say I'm the mentally toughest person. I know, but I'm not afraid to compete with people in terms of mental. Yeah. What I like about is it's not easy, but you design it. simply, And reading Tim Grover's book relentless. When you read a book like that, and you read about some of the legends that he's coached from Michael Jordan to Charles Barkley, Dwayne Wade, Kobe, when you see the title of relentless for his book, and you read that many times, people think that there are no match and there's no way how can somebody be more relentless. Yeah. So I got to share this with you. When I first saw Grover's book, come out I was so mad because I love the word relentless. And you know, I've been talking about relentless solution focus for 20 years, and I feel like he, he got out there. He's kinda got, got to punch in before I could. So I was, I read the book and, and, you know, there's so many great things you can learn from the book. But you're right. You know, and this is one of the things I want people to understand. And then I try to cover that it's very, very clearly in the book is three things. Number one, mental toughness is abnormal. Like I said, the brain's a muscle, just like the bicep and all of us are built. We're born in a way that we're mentally weak. That's totally normal. Just like when I'm born, my bicep is physically weak. Okay. So that's the first thing it's totally normal to be mentally weak. It's abnormal to be mentally tough. Number two, everyone. And everyone can learn to be mentally tough. It's not just for those superstars business Titans, exceptional people. That's not it at all. And it just boils down to what I've learned biologically about the brain. Our brains are all built the same way and we can train. Okay. So the third step is it only takes three minutes or less a day and as little as three times a week. And it's really not difficult for me by some girls. You know, I experienced physical pain when I do bicep curls. That's how it's supposed to work with the mental training. It's three minutes a day, do it as little as three times a week, but it's enjoyable. Most people actually find the exercises enjoyable instead of painful, but either way. If you want to develop the relentless, it's not a pep talk. You know, Tim Grove will be the first to tell you about that. Jordan will be the first to tell you about that. These greats that have been through it, they didn't get there because it was easy. They were willing to do things other people couldn't or wouldn't do. And what I've tried to do in the book is like you said, very simply outline what is it that I need to do from a mental standpoint? If I'm going to become abnormal, if I'm going to improve or develop mental toughness, and I'll tell you this, if you put the effort into it, you can't not have it give you the result. You're looking for you. Can't not improve on the mental toughness. Just like if I do the bicep curls, I can't stop the bicep from becoming stronger. Many times with mental toughness, we think that we have to hit the adversity and then it's a test of our mental toughness or that's when we become mental mentally tough. And what you speak to is, that it's ongoing training. as you write it, it's like getting vaccinated, taking the flu shot after you already got the flu. What you're saying is, there are steps that you can take every single day. Walking through the, the mental toughness, workout yeah. Yeah. So I won't be able to go through the whole thing and probably take me 30 minutes to walk people through but I'll just kind of give an outline. So the mental workout, remember there's two parts to the three minutes. One minute of the three minutes is answering. four simple questions. The other minute, and 40 is something called the mental workout. Now the mental workout for me, I actually developed the first version of the mental workout back in late 1999. And it just was kind of like lightning in a bottle. And it's really what took me from a graduate student to one of the top sport psychology consultants in the world in a very short period of time. The reason being. For the pro athletes that I worked with. It was three minutes and 40 seconds, you know, again, that was the first version. And for those super high end athletes, they need it to be a little bit longer because we need to get muscle memory connected to the mental work. And it takes a little bit more visualization to actually create muscle memory through the mind, which is doable, but we don't need that. You know, normal life or business world, we don't need muscle memory. We just need the mental memory. So it's only a minute 40 seconds and it's five steps the first step is a centering breath. It's really just, you got to get your biology under control. I'll give you the details of the centering breath. Cause it's a really easy one. And I think, you know, with the centering breath, people say to me all the time, man, that's centering breath really works. You know, thanks for giving me that one. It was kind of a quick and easy. Way to improve performance. You just breathe in for six seconds. You'll hold for two, and then you breathe out for seven. And what happens is you control your heart rate. See what most people don't understand is when we go into a performance and remember you don't need a bat or a ball or a stage for it to be a performance, a phone call. One of those proactive sales calls that people are doing on a daily. Running a meeting. Those are performances. Okay. And what the normal biology response to a performance is an elevated heart rate. It goes back to fight or flight, and unfortunately fight or flight hundreds of years ago was really, really helpful for our survival. But now that we live in this day and age of, you know, even coming through a pandemic, this is by far the safest time human beings have ever been alive. So what used to serve us hundreds of years ago for survival really today is become quite counterproductive for performance. If we don't know how to control it. And one of the most. The ways to control the heart rate is that centering breath, you breathe in for six. You hold for two, you breathe out for seven because if I can't get my heart rate under control, what happens is my brain. Starts to go to fight or flight. What that means is it just disables itself for the ability to have detailed think I'm just curious. Do you think it would ever be a good idea? Whether you're a professional baseball player stepping in and face a pitcher, that's going to throw, you know, mid to high nineties, whether you're a professional hockey player, getting ready to take the. Or a salesperson or even just a husband, trying to have an important conversation with his wife about our parenting or our relationship. Do you think it's ever a good thing to lose the ability for detailed thinking in any of those circumstances? Absolutely. No, but it's totally normal. The centering breath controls the heart rate, which allows the brain. To operate more optimally. Right? So that's the first step centering breath. And then it's an identity statement. It's really just learning that. Do yourself in a positive manner. Third step is something called the personal highlight reel. It's a very detailed version of how to use visualization specifically to get where you want to go and perform well. And we upcoming day. And then step four is you repeat the identity statement again and then take another centering breath all in all it's a minute and 40 the thing is it just flat out you can't not have your focus confidence mental toughness improve if you're doing mental workouts on a regular basis and how often is it recommended to perform this workout? I would say, you know, again, I always kind of look for bare minimum of greatness. . I, I think the perfectionist mentality really screws people up. So, you know, people might listen to this podcast and say, okay, well, I got to do that every day. I even have some clients that learned the mental workout. And so I got to do it in two or three times every day. Well, nobody's going to be able to do that. You can't do that for long periods of time. And this isn't about what can you do in any one given day it's how many days can you consistently do it? Yeah. So I'd tell you a minimum three days a week, you'll feel the results. I don't encourage people to ever set this expectation that it's gotta be every day or that I've got to do it multiple times a day, because like I said, if I can just get you doing it, you know, three, four times a week, just once a day. Good things are gonna start happening for you. And you're going to start to have an advantage. You're going to start to have more control over what goes on in between your ears. And I like that. You build in margin to that too, with the 72 hour role where your muscles begin to deteriorate, after 72 hours, Not performing some sort of physical activity in much the same way for you to become more relentless solution focused. Even if you miss two days, you still stay out of that condemnation zone of I just can't do that. That's right. And again, it's science. It's not Jason Selk's opinion. That book is not my opinion. That is science. I'm not going to go in front of the people that have hired me and talk about things that could in any way be argued, you know? So it really, it's just the science of it is, muscle atrophy begins within 72 hours of your last workout. Your brain's much like your bicep. If I go. Three days or loud doing a mental workout. Some of the strength that I developed by doing the previous mental workout starts to go away just as I do the bicep curls and I wait four or five days to do them. Again. Some of the strength that I put the effort into on the last workout has started to go away. I'm a big believer in efficiency. I don't want to lose the strength that I currently have. Yeah. And it's keeping the momentum going for sure. So Dr. Selk, there seems to be with. The influx of so many things that we want to accomplish and change and attack, and whether it's coming from our professional lives, from our personal lives, through social media, we just get inundated and worn out. Mentally with everything that's coming at us. So what is one thing that we can take away from hearing you today that we can begin to apply to our, to our Sales Life? And Marsh I think you hit the nail on the head with that one, but these days we're all overwhelmed. I mean, we just are trying to do so much. Yeah. You know, it, it really causes a break down of human spirit. And I think you've seen that, you know, with how people treat each other, we're just, we've gotten to a point where it's so quick, you just, you know, somebody does anything to irritate you and look out, you know, we're ready to throw down immediately these days. And it's just, it's really the science behind it is called channel capacity and it's the biological bandwidth of the human brain. And no doubt, these phones. The way the world is kind of operating right now, everybody, I would tell you is overloading the channel capacity. And when that happens, you're going to get a breakdown in spirit and certainly a breakdown in performance. So a technique for that would be, I was called organized tomorrow. Today, today, I'm going to write down the three most important things I need to get done for tomorrow and of the three. So it's not three-plus one. The three most important of the three I'm going to circle. The one that is absolutely most important. And what I'd tell you is if I let myself leave the office today, shut it down today. And I've identified my three most important things and of the three, the one must for tomorrow, what happens is it gives me a sense of confidence and peace and I'm ready to go for tomorrow. So that's a really good thing, but even better than that, I'm going to show up. I got my three most important things there. And if I only have to focus on getting those three done, and I always believe start with the heavy lift, you know, if I'm going to the weight room, I want to do the hardest activity first and then maybe certainly warm up and stretch out. But I want to get the hardest stuff done first, because when you do that, Everything else is easier. And so if you could just get up and nail that one most important activity, do the best she can throughout the day to get all three of them done. I'd tell you, you'd be starting to honor channel capacity and performance will go up. Stress and anxiety will go down three most important one must and at bare minimum nail your one must every day and good things, right. Practice simplicity with constant repetition. Ah, John wooden, one of my all time. Favorite quotes. I just love that quote. Well, Dr. Selk thank you so much for being on the sales life. Where can people learn more about you, and connect with you? Yeah, so I would just probably go to Jason selk. com We try to give a lot of stuff away for free. We can't give everything away for free, and I certainly have a business to run, but we understand that there's a lot of things that we can give away to people for free that will make a positive impact. So visit the website, Jason Selk , S as in Sam, E L k.com. There's all kinds of stuff. I'd encourage. Sign up for I don't want to call it a newsletter. It's called mental toughness Tuesday. It's a one-page article that comes out once a week and it's just one mental toughness concept. The whole idea is if once a week I can get you thinking about mental toughness. I think it's one of those things that good things are gonna start happening. Absolutely. Thank you so much for being here. Everybody get the book, relentless solution focused. I'm telling you the book is, is so powerful. It's almost spooky because when you read it, That's all I have to do. And it's really, all you have to do is not any wound stuff is not Pollyanna. It's expecting the adversity and some tools that can walk you through the adversity. Cause we're all gonna get smacked in the mouth and Dr. Selk will show you how to get through those moments and not just survive, but also thrive as well. Marsh. I love the, that may be one of the best compliments I've heard. It's so good. It's almost spooky. I'm going to replay that over and over and that's great. I appreciate it kind words. And I, and again, I agree and I want to give some credit. I wrote the book with my colleague, Dr. Ellen Reed so there's a female perspective in there as well, but our goal was make this as easy and simple for people as possible. Last thing people need right now is to make things more complicated. So thanks for having me. I appreciate it. If there's ever anything I can do for you, please. Yes, sir. Take care. Thank you. Thanks for being a part of the sales life for more on the sales life. Go to marshbuice.com that's M a R S H B U I C E. Be sure and subscribe to not miss any future episodes. New episode every Sunday. Remember the greatest sale that you will ever make is the sale you own you because you're more than enough. Stay amazing. Stay in the sales life.