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Mental Toughness is a Voicemail Away

One speaking event at my alma mater, Shepherd University, I made sure to invite my professor, Dr. Joe Merz. He made such an impact in my life. If not for him, then Sport Psychology and the passion I live out everyday would not have happened.

I received a voicemail from him after the event.

The voicemail was about a minute long and went in-depth about and what an amazing job I did and how proud and impressed he was. 

It felt good. I saved it. It built up my Mental Toughness. It’s still on my phone today.

That same week though, I probably left a dozen voicemail and text messages to various people. But, I could not begin to tell you what I said or wrote.

We can listen to all of our voicemail messages right now on our phone. But, we have no idea that messages we left during that same time.

Life is the same way.

We remember the most impactful people in our lives. But, we often have no idea the impact we made on someone else. We can’t know.

On a much simpler level, perhaps we remember the person who waved to us today or held the door. But, we don’t know the effect of our own kind gesture today.

We are literally and figuratively leaving voicemails all the time for people and it makes a difference, good or bad.

If we want to KEEP our mental toughness, we HAVE to give it away.

Every transaction we have with someone has the potential to be transformative. We can’t know who or what will be the hinge. People will remember how we made them feel even for an instant and it has the potential to connect them to someone else.

So are we intentional about our messages?

We give away what we possess ourselves. All of us has fired off an angry email or perhaps left a not-so-friendly voicemail. If we are filled with resentment, contempt, hatred, or lack of confidence, then that is the message of our transactions. It usually effects those closest to us as well. 

However, if we can be deliberate about leaving messages that are encouraging, positive, filled with confidence and hope, then a miracle occurs. We actually start to leave ourselves a message. If we act and behave in ways that are focused on others and building their own mental game, then we act our way into right thinking and our own mood and outlook changes.

That’s how Mental Toughness works. We have to give it away to keep it. 


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

champions adjust


All Champions ADJUST Find A Way


In the fall of 2008, a 47-year-old businessman, divorced father of four, went to his crack dealer. He was on a fourteen-day binge and was so bad off that his dealer actually refused to sell him any more until he got some sleep. It was this man’s low point.

After one final party binge about a year later, Michael Lindell quit alcohol and drugs. A success story in itself, but more impressive is that he grew a business empire from a drawing he sketched on his kitchen table.

One early morning after a night of pitiful sleep, he drew a sketch of a pillow with all sizes of foam that could be adjusted however a person would desire. He told his daughter “I’m going to create the worlds best pillow.” That evening MyPillow was created.

The journey for Lindell was not smooth, as his business since 2011 oscillated from extreme growth and successful infomercials to hemorrhaging money. At one point, he owed $30,000 to a fabric manufacturer with only a few days to pay or MyPillow would be forced to shut down. It was only after a chance meeting with an individual that was he able to get a meeting with investors and get the $30,000 loan with no collateral. He paid the manufacturer with just hours to spare.

MyPillow has become one of the top five telebrand products and has sold more than 26 million pillows with a workforce over 1,500 people. Michael Lindell’s dream is to become a $1 billion dollar company.

It’s not about the setback; it’s about the comeback!

A boat is off course 99% of the time. The way that a sailboat finds its destination is by tacking. A series of zigzagging maneuvers by a sailboat adjusting the sail back and forth to use the wind. Adjusting is how sailboats reach their final destination.

That’s how champions adjust. They just keep moving, making minor changes and course corrections along the journey.

One of the amazing things is that once Michael Lindell, now a Christian, shed his demons, he remained devoted to his own style and vision. His own infomercials and personality became a huge part of MyPillow appeal.

In all areas of life, champions adjust find a way.

Mental Toughness isn’t needed when things are going great. It is needed most when bad outcomes are happening, we are stressed and things are going wrong. How do we respond and adjust?


Build Mental Toughness

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- 

An Attitude of Gratitude is a Myth

 

Viktor Frankl was a holocaust survivor. His immediate family died in the concentration camps, but he survived. He talks at length in the amazing book- Man’s Search for Meaning -about how he survived while others did not.  

He concluded that we actually find meaning through our suffering.  Frankl stated it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.

It was through his suffering as a prisoner that he was obligated to find meaning, to focus on the smallest of gratitudes, like a a sunset, or a memory. 

It was NOT his Attitude of Gratitude. It was his ACTION of Gratitude.

  • He would have a virtual conversation every morning with his wife even though he didn’t know if she was still alive.
  • Prisoners who were starving would give their last pieces of bread to another to help them survive.
  • His freedom came as a result of his refusal to give up hope, even though survival was thin.

His attitude of gratitude was a result of his action.

We need to take certain action steps to exercise our attitude muscle.

Some of us have a greater sense of thankfulness than others, just as some of us are faster or better-looking but, what matters is are we willing to take certain steps?

Here’s some ACTION of gratitude steps:

  • Write out as gratitude list-  

Once we start listing our blessings, it gets tough to stop. It is too easy to focus on where we lack, or where we come up short. Basically, all advertising focuses on telling you that you need this product in order to be happy. It’s not enough to think about our gratitudes, we need to write them out.

  • Keep a Gratitude Jar- 

On our dining room table, we have a jar that fills up with small pieces of paper from the week. We express our gratitude for someone in the house when they do something we are thankful for.

  • Change the way you treat somebody- 

Want to change the way you feel about somebody, change the way you treat them. This is difficult if you have an anger or resentment toward someone, so start small, send a message, email, or ask them a different question.

  • Forget the weather- 

We could have a cold, brutal winter and not after a month of warming up, people will start complaining about how it’s too hot. Really? Simple action step is to find the benefit in the weather, no matter the condition. I’ve trained my family that we are mudders. We LOVE the poor weather, because we play better.

  • Pray and if that doesn’t work, Pray again- 

There are three kinds of prayer, 1. God- Help Me! 2. God- Give Me! and 3. God- Use Me.

Prayer is an action. Pray as if God has already given you the gift that you want, give thanks for that, and ask God to help you help others. God, Thank you for the patience that you have given me so I can be a good father and husband. 

  • Find The GOOD-

Basically, here’s the way to approach all challenges and obstacles….Check out the video by GOOD by Jocko


 

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  

6 Ways to Build Pre-Season Mental Toughness 


  1.  Set the Mental Tone. Everyone is optimistic, driven, and enthusiastic during pre-season. Determine how you and your teammates will approach the entire season with unshakeable belief. Adversity will hit so start preparing.


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-

Everything we want in life is on the other side of our comfort zone. Building mental toughness means being comfortable getting uncomfortable.


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   

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As Good As its Gets Tri-Star Pictures

As Good As its Gets
Tri-Star Pictures

When I first heard the Beatles song, HELP  in high school I loved it, but actually thought it made little sense.

When I was younger (So much younger than) so much younger than today
I never needed anybody’s help in any way! 

But as with life, songs that were just cool, Glory Days, & The Summer of 69′, actually began to change and deepen their meaning over time.

I always enjoyed listening to a coach’s Hall of Fame acceptance speech, as they thanked their partner! It made sense, rightly so, but like the songs, I couldn’t really get it until later in life! No one gets there alone, and especially without a loving, supportive partner! A coach’s husband or wives are the one’s who make the biggest sacrifice!! My wife is the best! I needed her help.

My life used to be predicated on the erroneous belief, that if it needs to be done, “Rob, you better do it.” That’s the wrong song to play in my head. The issue was that in many ways it was effective. Running a marathon, publishing 4 books, starting a business, working with elite athletes, caddying on tour, was on my own strength, right? ha, wrong! It’s only after things go bad, do we understand how much that we need others!

Mental Toughness is not doing it all by yourself, it’s actually being able to ask for help!  People want to help, but ironically no one wants to ask for help! It is best to know what type of help that we want and are we willing to take it?

Here’s five ways to ask for help!


  1. Can you watch this?

    These are a coach’s favorite words to hear! A coach is someone who helps you get somewhere that you want to go. They want to help, so be prepared to be willing to receive the feedback they offer.

  2. I’d really like your opinion on something…

    I have found that most people don’t expect you to solve their issue for them, but to just listen! However, too often we feel the need to sweep in and try and fix it. If we do this, then they may not turn to us later, or worse, expect us to always fix “it.” Either option actually build’s dependency, not capacity.

  3. Have you ever struggled with?

    Just be honest! Lay it out there and you’ll see how many people will connect with you. A true friend or coach is someone who can tell you, “Hey, I get it, it’s okay.”

  4. How do you?

    My friend Matt Tully is a good golfer, but every time we play, he starts asking me questions about swings, mechanics, strategy, tour players, etc. Then he proceeds to shoot 74 and beats me. This isn’t a game by him, (he actually is the best guy ever) so I concluded that he really wants as much information as possible just so he can get better.

  5. I look forward to hanging out with you…

    The things that people miss most are just hanging out with one another. That’s why so many    relationships are built on the golf course. Peyton Manning said it during his retirement, the thing he will miss most is the time in the locker room, just hanging out with one another. So, be sure to  tell whomever your going to hang out with that you look forward to talking.


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   

The Difference Between Arriving & Starting Practice


Head coaches Jim Mora & Tom Coughlin have had success at the collegiate and NFL ranks respectively. They are also well known for their policies on meetings. Players arrive 15-minutes early for meetings, because the meetings actually start 10 minutes early.

Tom Coughlin has even fined players for showing up just 2 minutes early. These coaches stressed the importance of arriving at practice…

Head coach, Mike Lingenfelter, of the country’s best volleyball program, Munciana, bases his philosophy around starting practice instead.

Think about it, if it’s a bad start, then the next ten minutes are usually a coach getting upset, followed by another 10 minutes of having to re-start and re-focus. That’s 30 minutes! This coach stresses the importance of starting practice.

A simple way to instill trust, discipline, and excitement is to address the difference between arriving and starting.

Arriving to practice should involve an emotional and team-oriented approach. Dynamic stretching, warming-up, and bonding between the players and the coaches are all part of arriving both mentally and physically. The arrival period of practice is also the best time for a coach to re-connect with players and get a sense of “what’s going on.”

Arriving early and establishing that expectation helps tremendously with the starting of practice.

Next, how do you emphasis the starting practice. This is the time that you expect your team to be focused and dialed in. If the arrival has been taken care of, chances are the start will be effective as well. Once the start of practices becomes commonplace and energetic, the start of games, matches, and meets will also become more consistent.


 

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- 

                                      How to End Practice


I would never said goodbye at any party or wedding. I always left exactly the same way.  I hated giving the formal goodbye, because people never let you leave  without some sort of guilt play.

So, I would duck out the door.  No goodbye. Like ripping off a band-aid.

It’s probably how most people do it today in real life. No two-weeks notice, no official break-up, and especially not face to face. Just a text. Here’s how to end practice.

My daughter hates that I’ve implemented the principle of how we end everything. We Thank the Coach! She is six and gets it.

Coaches and mentors are the most important person in our lives. Everyone needs a coach!

Coaches Mark James and Brain Satterfield end practice the same way, they shake each player’s hand. Simple, yet powerful. NO matter the type of practice or outcome of game, the ending is the same. It was created as a way to put any type of closure to a good or poor day, a way to END it positive. 

Players even started looking forward to it. The worst punishment coach could ever deliver is telling one of their players, “I don’t want to see you after practice.” They got it together pretty quick.

A positive ending is essential because we can’t know the last time we are ever going to see someone. Travis Smith played golf at Ball State and I distinctly remember seeing him at practice before I left for Nashville. I don’t recall saying goodbye… He died in a car accident in 2007. There’s no amount of money his parents wouldn’t have given to spend just a few more moments with him.

Money isn’t the most precious resource, its time. Make sure you end everything with a handshake and a thank you.

 

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- 

don’t question your mental toughness


 

There is “no question” about it. Did this cliche’ emerge in sports? I’m not sure, it’s just where I hear it most often.

What I’ll hear from competitors is how often they question themselves. “how did I do that?” “what are you doing?” “why am I out here today?” ” What are YOU DOING!?” 

Mental toughness doesn’t ask questions. I don’t hear an athlete playing well, ask themselves “how are you playing so well?”  “How are you so awesome?!” 

Questions during competition emerge after mistakes and they make sense, but they are rhetorical, and they aren’t answered. All they do is lead to more questions or merely go unanswered.

If you want to become more mentally strong then do this instead!

Don’t question your own mental toughness!

Things will go bad, and we aren’t going to always play our best, so we will need to make adjustments. But, questions don’t lead to many positive adjustments, just more questions.

So, we need to give ourselves instructions about what to do NEXT.

Try statements instead.

We are either listening to ourselves or telling ourselves.

“Okay, next play,” “wow, that wasn’t the best,” “stay aggressive,” “find a way.” 

These statements can even be motivational, but I’ve found that the best make slight instructional adjustments.   We don’t need questions about ourselves or our play, we just need to develop a habit of telling  ourselves what to do next.


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

James Altucher’s podcast and book stated the three types of business that SELL themselves. If you can help others out with one of these three issues, you’ll be rich.

We need mental toughness in order to achieve our goals, and my fun 4-minute talk was given on the mental skill needed to accomplish one of these…

Check out the awesome SPARKS Talks here…


 

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-