maximize the transitions in life


maximize the transitions in life

How to Crush the Transitions in Life

If we use the bathroom 10 minutes a day, we will have spent over 6 months of our lives in the bathroom.

The average person spends two hours a day watching T.V. (wow).

We will also spend about 1 year of our entire life just cleaning.

Dated research revealed that we spend over 2 years of our life merely waiting (traffic, lines in a supermarket, etc.). Although, online apps have now changed our entire behavior by being able to pre-order. This is cool of course but doesn’t help with our patience.

How To Achieve Patience   I Can’t Wait To Be Patient 

William Penn once said, “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”

One way to build everyday Mental Toughness is to crush the transitions in life. 

A transition is a process.

We can have major transformations, like changing careers, mid-transitions, such as waiting in an airport and minor changes, like driving from the gym to work.

Crushing the minor transitions is the BEST way to get BETTER. The goal of a successful transition is that we are in the best spot mentally when we arrive. Patience is needed…

Since we are busier now than ever before and if we are a leader, then we need to become more of a fire marshal than a fire-fighter. We need to understand and act when needed, but also, when to rest, wait, and simply avoid action.  

Here are 8 ways to crush the transitions in life

1) Evaluate-

Where am I right now and where do I need to focus?

Is it urgent?

Is it important? 

Do I need to relax more, address my business, gain more knowledge, or connect with others?

2) Breathe-

 The absolute perfect time to focus on our rectangle breathing is now. Get centered. Get relaxed, take a break. 

3) Listen to a podcast-

I drive a ton and while I’m paid to read, I also try to crush audio-books and podcast episodes. Martin Rooney, Jocko, are killer one’s. The transitions in life are meant to be utilized. 

Hey, check out our Mental Toughness podcast- 

Best Mental Toughness Podcast With Dr Rob Bell

4)  Turn off the agitator-

The mental game is more about subtraction than it is addition. 

It is often about removing things that do not make us better.

There is a lady who constantly talks on her phone while on the treadmill (Yeah, she doesn’t work hard). I HATE IT. 

But, you know what, that’s not her problem, that’s mine. I hate treadmills and avoid them when possible. I just have to remove myself from the situation.

5)  Make a Call- 

The opposite of isolation is connection.

Reach out and contact a friend, coach, colleague, family member, or business associate. Make a connection with others a goal of your transitions in life. 

6) Remove the phone- 

When we have a minute of downtime we pull-out the phone and check twitter, facebook, Instagram, whatever.  

I do this too much and it becomes a habit-” I can’t wait to be patient.” 

Unfortunately, it’s become a HUGE distraction and time spender. It also becomes an instant way to go to negative town inside of my own head. 

7) Gratitude list

Gratitude is memory of the heart! It is tough to be hateful and grateful at the same time. It also represents a way to show our perspective and humility. 

Write out 10 people, places, or things that you are grateful for. 

8) Pray-

And if that doesn’t work, Pray again.

God usually answers, “ask me again tomorrow.”


Prayer is an active form of perspective and also one of the best ways to crush the transitions in life. 



dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes. Some clients have included three different winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

The worst why to build mental toughness

 Avoid This “Why” to Build Mental Toughness

I was a good athlete when I was young.

But I changed.

I’m not sure exactly when it happened, maybe I lost a race, had an error in the field, or struck out. But, I started to think way too much, and I would get in my own way.

No-one could really ever help me either, which is one reason why I became a Sport Psychology coach.  I was stuck, frustrated, didn’t know how to work hard, and had off the field issues that caused emotional pain. 

I slacked, and people got better than me.

I drank, and people got better than me.

I partied, and people got better than me.

Then, it was all over.

Falling off a cliff will do that. 

I was never in touch with my passion until after my playing days were over. After college, my reasons became to prove something to myself.  It was to prove to myself that although I squandered younger years, I wasn’t going to quit. If you ever get a second chance at life, you’ve got to go all the way. 

So, I ran marathons, Completed Ironman, broke a 20-minute 5k, benched pressed 300 lbs, made a hole-in-one, completed a toughmudder, swam under 1:00 in the 100 freestyle, and finished a 1/2 Ironman.

I’ve heard most elite performers “why’s.” 

Prove people wrong, Because I love it, Be a role model, it’s fun, Be outside, Escape from life, Be fit, Being in the moment, The feeling of the actual movement, Competitiveness, To beat others, Make my parents proud, Winning.” 

I think some are stronger than others and I am not sure which WHY is the BEST.

I do believe however that we need to avoid this “why” to build Mental Toughness. This “why” is toxic, malicious, and contagious. If we don’t recognize and treat it, it becomes necrotic to our entire self.

Avoid this “why” to increase mental toughness which is: I’m GOOD at it.

The path toward greatness at any level is difficult. But, our best changes as we get better and tenacity becomes more important than talent. Those with a why of I’m good at it, simply can’t achieve their full potential. 

Burnout in any performance field has a why to build mental toughness of I’m GOOD at it. If they’re GOOD at something, but do not have a deeper passion, then at some point, they become trapped.

Most people that are GOOD,  have their identity, future, and sometimes career so wrapped up in their performance, that they can’t quit. Quitting would bring severe consequences. So, they stay in performance mode without a “why” and the disease takes hold. It’s better to have these mental toughness skills instead! 

When trapped, they resent their sport or job, can’t work hard, frustrate their peers and coaches, and since they can’t quit, they find other ways to cope that make them feel better. The better performer that they are, the more trapped and frustrated they feel.

If you’re going to be GOOD at something, but not love it, be good at math or science, not performance.

3 Tips for Your “Why”

  1. Develop your why as your talent develops, before it’s too late. 

  2. Re-adjust and re-focus your why as you progress in life. 

    Our “why” changes over time.  I knew athletes who were so driven to prove people wrong, (which is a powerful motivator) but after they had success, it became an “okay, now what” moment? They had to re-discover their own why.

    Your own “why” a few years ago may not be your why today. 

  3. Stay in touch with your why. If you know your why, you can come-up with any “how.”

top mental toughness coach

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books on Mental Toughness-

What Blocks us from Mental Toughness

One of the most difficult things in life is to let go of old ideas and ways of thinking. The sexy term nowadays is having a growth mindset compared to a fixed mindset. Here’s how it plays out.

Hope you enjoy this brief Mental Toughness video. 

“The secret it to move with the punch” – Jake LaMotta

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books on Mental Toughness- 

mental health tips

 Two Specific Mental Health Tips 

When you HEAR mental health, do you automatically think Mental Illness or depression?

Mental Health = Health = Mental Strength 

If you look up Mental Health, the first listings have to do with mental illness. If we define mental health, it is the LACK of mental illness. When I hear physical health I don’t automatically think of a broken leg? That’s why the stigma with mental health exists and why we isolate when we struggle. 

Mental health is akin to mental strength because the brain is a muscle, we have to train it, and not just treat it. That’s where receiving mental health tips begins.

Mental Toughness or Mental Strength also has a stigma to it, when we hear mental toughness, I think we hear “physical exertion” or “do it on your own” or “suck it up.” Those are not mental health strategies, that’s stupidity. Trust me, I know a lot about being stupid.


Can we define Mental Toughness?

It is performing well under pressure AND how we cope, handle, & deal with the struggle and setbacks and adversity of life (Loehr, 1986).  Click here if you want to view the precise Hierarchy of Mental Toughness 

Remember- Mental Health = Health = Mental Strength 

There are many different ways of building mental toughness, but the main common theme is that there has to be some kind of present adversity! 

Here’s some Examples of Mental Toughness- Check out the article on 17 famous examples of mental toughness  

Example #1 of Mental Toughness-  Dealing with a Challenge. It was May 7th on a Saturday evening and I was planning my schedule to meet with my professional athletes for later in the month.

Then, an invite for a ½ Ironman came across my email.

The race was in 2 weeks.

On May 20th, I crushed a ½ Ironman in less than 2 weeks. I don’t recommend this strategy on how to build mental toughness. 

 Example #2 of Mental Toughness- Coping with Anger and Frustration

It was the beginning of August and I got a call from a good amateur tennis player who lived in California.

However, at that time, he was suspended from the USTA because of his on-court behavior. He just couldn’t control his emotions. 

After working together on how to build psychological toughness for exactly 1 year, he became the first unseeded player ever to win the USTA National Championship.

 Example #3 of Mental Toughness- Patience & Persistence. 

A professional golfer and I started working together on how to build mental toughness while he was just a mini-tour player. He had the heart of a lion and wanted to reach his full potential. 

Three years later, Scott Stallings, he won his 1st tournament on the PGA Tour.

Example #4 of Mental Toughness- Preparation Meets Opportunity 

I started working with a professional tennis player, Rajeev Ram before the Australian Open, the first major of the year.

Normally a doubles player, he had a season-long goal of top 50 ranking in the world. He received a call during the summer to play with Venus Williams in Rio at the Olympics!

By the end of the games, he won a Silver Medal. 

Mental Toughness is a common theme in every one of these examples. But, every one of these examples manifested in different ways.

The brain is a muscle, and there is no one way to build mental toughness and mental health because no matter what, we must be faced with adversity!  

We can’t predict the future, we can only prepare for the unpredictable.

I love helping people build Mental Toughness and taking people where they want to go, but only if performance is crucial to their success.  

Most people like talking about mental toughness, grit, resiliency, but few people actually act on it. I think the lack of action is because there isn’t a quality how to build mental toughness. The mental health tips in this article are specific, but not exhaustive! Here are just two of the step-by-step directions. 

Want to know the IMPORTANCE of building Mental Toughness? 

Two Ways To Build Mental Strength

Here are the first two mental health tips…



Step #1-


Have you ever broken an arm?


Want to know why mothers have more than one kid?

It is because we forget about the pain.

Try and remember the worst physical pain you ever had and while you remember that it really hurt, it’s impossible to recall the exact amount of pain you were in.

Hence forgetting about the pain is a huge strength, but it also makes us more like deer crossing the highway.

We forget about the pain and it becomes “what are those headlights?”

When we struggle, we need to be able to go back and look at the reasons why we struggled, what was our adversity and notice our emotions around it, and what we did to get better and overcome. 

However, just like our pain, success leaves clues.

We need to go back over and recreate our successes and everything occurring during those times. 



If you don’t write out the details, you’ll forget about it.  No matter how small our success or large our defeats, we need to write them out, to build our confidence and get better. 

Step #2


Stress and pressure flow downhill. Unfortunately, we can’t handle much overflow.

There are so many distractions in our life that we can become agitated, upset, or down and not even know why. Was it that person in traffic, or that so-called friend who hasn’t replied back? 

We multitask so much, I’m not sure we even know what multi-tasking is anymore. Doing more than four things at once or twenty?

We are also perfectionists, and that means our minds are constantly running, always churning.

We are all so busy that we don’t spend any time to recharge and refocus.

We need to maximize the transitions in life. We simply need to allow ourselves time and space to focus and decompress. 

Focus is one of the major skills in the pyramid of success. We can begin training our focus by becoming deliberate about our focus.

Mental health tips always incorporate breathing and I suggest we start at just 3 minutes a day.

The best way to train our breathing and improve our focus is to follow this step-by-step process.

On the breathing audio, you’ll begin deliberate breathing by doing rectangle breathing. You’ll breathe in on 6, hold it for 2 seconds, out 6 seconds, hold it for 2 seconds, and so on…

When thoughts pop in the mind during this exercise, just bring your focus back to your breathing and listen to this audio.

I did a session with a baseball team once and after a few minutes asked them to raise their hand if they did it without any thoughts popping in their head.

All raised their hands!

I thought to myself, Yeah right!! So, I’m the only insane crazy one that couldn’t shut my mind off?

Focused breathing is about progress, not perfection.

We all have to focus and become deliberate about our breathing….

My thoughts still raced every time I did this exercise, but something happened, and I don’t know exactly when, but a change started to occur and I could focus better.

What we hope to do with ease, we first must do with due diligence.


Mental Toughness isn’t necessary to be comfortable in life.

But, then again, you don’t thrive in the middle, you survive.

Strong Mental Health is required only if you want to excel and win. I’ve presented to you the first two steps for building Mental Toughness.  



 Here are several bonus resources to help build Mental Toughness. 

First, I’ve provided you the exact audio file that will begin your improved focus under pressure. 

Second, as stated, I’ve put together a step-by-step process of mental health tips.  Simply Click on the link below and start accessing your step-by-step process. 


30 Day Challenge to Mental Toughness 

top mental toughness coachDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & Associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books on Mental Toughness- 

Mental Toughness is built off of the field?

Not only does our best change as we get better, but Mental Toughness also becomes more about what takes place off the field than on the field. We are who we are when we are alone.

What happens when the door comes off the Hinges? If you hear a creaky door, it’s not the door at all, it’s The Hinge.  Here is a story about the athlete that you know because he/she is simply the best athlete in town.



Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- 50 Ways to Win: pro Football’s Hinge Moments 

training mental toughness

Are We Testing Mental Toughness OR Training Mental Toughness? 

On a long run , I passed two people and asked them for what race they were training. She said a half-marathon, but hedged her statement with, “If my speed work is good enough.”

I gave her unsolicited advice and told her she was ready and just to sign up that night instead.

I’m not sure she agreed. I felt like an idiot so I just ran faster.

She was basically doing what we all do. She was testing herself for the race instead of training for the race.

She was playing the if/then game.

If her runs were good enough, then she would sign up.

Testing, testing, 1…2…3…

We test the microphone.

Bands do a sound check. Plays and weddings have rehearsals. 

The difference is that they’ve committed to the event, they are preparing. Imagine instead if a band did a sound check weeks before the event and only if that went well, then they would do the gig. However, that’s often what we do.

Teachers in school don’t give a final exam and then prepare you later. That’s what life does, life gives you the test first and then the lesson comes after.

When we test ourselves, we are operating under the mentality of, “Am I good enough right now?” or “If today was the event, would I be ready?” 

Testing ourselves is brutally flawed thinking and it adds undue stress.

The flawed thinking is that the event isn’t here yet, so while it would it be nice if we were ready, we don’t HAVE to be.

When we are testing mental toughness, we are also in constant comparing mode, comparing ourselves to our future and ideal self, the one that is near perfect. Comparing ourselves to our future self also means taking us out of the moment, which is dangerous.

There’s a difference between training ourselves as opposed to testing ourselves for an event.

This small shift makes a huge impact on training mental toughness.

Instead, when we are training ourselves instead of testing ourselves, our mindset changes.

What’s the training mindset of mental toughness

When we train, we no longer evaluate if we are ready, but approach it more as if “what do I need to work on?” Yes, we will still think about the event and compare ourselves, but now there is a context and a backdrop. Instead of testing ourselves, we are now training mental toughness.

We operate in training mode by first recognizing when we actually need to be ready. 

A poor training session can then be learned from because the event isn’t here yet, so we are still preparing. We are training ourselves. We are also training our grit and resilience by staying in the moment and not thinking too far ahead, which again only adds undue stress.

Remind yourself- I will be ready when the event is here! 

Someone asked the other day if I was ready for a talk I was giving to a company. I said,”NO, I’ll be ready then.”

I wasn’t speaking at that exact moment, so I didn’t need to be ready.

No need to test myself, I was still in training mental toughness mode. 

I went home and prepared some more. 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes. Some clients have included three different winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Thanks to Coach Martin Rooney and Training for Warriors for the Pformula for greatness!

It’s Not a typo, sound it out- Pf Pf Pformula. Just see if you can adhere to the 5 Principles for greatness. Winning & success are not a sometimes thing, they are habits. Here’s 5 step formula for greatness.

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Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent books on Mental Toughness-

People will pay top-dollar to sit there while others will do everything they can to actually avoid sitting there.

When people “get-to” pay to sit there, there are often few seats available.  However, when one doesn’t “have to” pay, there is always plenty of room. MC’s at workshops or presentations will even announce “there’s plenty of room in these seats”…I know many collegiate coaches who also ensure that their athletes always sit in these seats in class.

It’s the Front Row!

Sitting here requires Mental Toughness. Mental Toughness often means doing the things that we don’t want to do.

HOF baseball coach Tommy Pharr and Collegiate World Series coach Tim Corbin both sit in the front row. I see it at every conference. They even compete to see who can sit there FIRST. That’s the only evidence I needed to sit here as well.

Looking further into the front row culture. It’s a lifestyle.

Some view sitting in the front row as a risk. They see it as stressful because something bad could happen. The presentation may not be very good and what if they have to leave? Can they check their phone up front? They also see a threat because they’ll have to be more engaged, they may get called upon, others could be looking at them, and it may not be considered cool.

Sitting up front does involve a risk, but it also offers a reward.

Those that DO sit in front row however, see it as a possibility. They look at it as something good can happen. It allows them to be more engaged, which means they will retain more information. They want to get called upon and even be a part of the show or presentation, and they think it’s the coolest place to sit.

Research revealed that students sitting in the front, middle, and back rows of class scored 80%, 71.6%, and 68.1% respectively on course exams. I don’t see that as coincidence.

Sitting further back in the audience is safe, but offers little incentive.

There is a game that I play with many of my audiences, where I hold up a $20 bill, sometimes a $100 bill. (I can’t divulge the game) but those in the front row usually win it.

No one can make you sit in the front, just like no-one can pick up the seat and move it to the back.


Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kids: Build Their Mental Toughness   


ed sheeran technique

Courtesy of Valleycrest Productions

The Ed Sheeran Technique of Building Mental Toughness

No, this isn’t Ed Sheeran, More on his technique for building mental toughness in a minute. 

This is Ogi Ogas , a genius who was on the show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. He actually knew the answer to the Million Dollar question, but just couldn’t PULL the trigger.

Watch it unfold as his focus switched from knowing the answer to the wobbly chair, the audience, and the stakes…He became too focused on walking away with $500,000 instead of the answer. 

It’s why I’m not the biggest fan of Alex Trebek.

I’d look smart if I had all of the answers in front of me as well. I even forget my neighbor’s names sometimes.

Pressure can burst a pipe because there is no space for the water to go.

Our capacity for attention under pressure is similar. When we are in those “have-to” moments, and with time to think, the pressure can get to us, and we can only focus on one thing. 

Under pressure, since there is so much attention on the task at hand, very little mental energy can be consumed for anything else. It’s like if you are freezing, the body will conserve all warmth to the major organs first, and it means goodbye fingers. In building mental toughness, communication is the first limb to go.

Whenever I’m stressed, I stop communicating. When teams get tired, all communication stops. When we lose confidence, we isolate. Fatigue makes cowards of us all.

The Ed Sheeran Technique of Building Mental Toughness

Airlines and pilots discovered a better method for pilots and co-pilots to communicate. Some pilots were so head-strong that they operated under the guise of “When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.”  Not the best way to operate in a team setting.

Airlines changed their way of training, they introduced: 

Pilots were trained to Think Out Loud!

Get it? The song! Clever, I know, but it’s true.

Pilots had to verbalize all of their maneuvers before take-offs and landings.

Communicating by thinking out loud accomplishes two goals.

First, it makes pilots better by including the co-pilot into the actual thinking process and it eliminates the mind-reading. Second, co-pilots were trained on how to also think out-loud and address a pilots decision.

  1. State the facts- Co-pilots were instructed to merely state the facts. “Our angle is incorrect.”
  2. Challenge- They stated the pilot’s name and added a qualifier. “Mike, our angle is incorrect, Check the angle. “
  3. Assume control- If unsuccessful at the 1st two, The co-pilot stated, “ATC, we are coming around again.” Once the Air Traffic Control heard the message, they canceled the order and the pilot had to comply.

Rarely, did it make it to point #3.

The Ed Sheeran technique of building mental toughness forces us to be confident.  

When we verbalize our thoughts, it ignites the dominant force of commitment. Thinking out loud makes us commit to the process. Thinking out loud also opens us up to feedback and makes us think through any ideas or strategies. Thinking out loud is why people have accountability partners and why we share our goals. It forces us to execute.


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes. Some clients have included three different winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens.