In this episode Coach Jason talks about using your instincts to stay present and perform your very best–like the Beast Predators. Learn the what’s, the why’s and the how’s to trusting yourself and your skills regardless of the situation.
Listen to the podcast here:
Trust Yourself Like a Beast
Welcome to the Full Force Life, the show where we learn to live, love and play full force. When I’m talking full force, I mean when we get to that place where we have our vision, we have our goals in our lives, and we want everything aligned with them so we get there as fast as possible. We make sure we get intentional. We choose our thinking patterns, we choose our beliefs, our values, and our strategies on how we’re going to get there in the least amount of time and get there in the grandest of fashions. That’s what this show is about. Whether you’re an athlete or you’re a super achiever, I’m glad you’re here. There’s going to be great takeaways. I had an interview set up with an Olympian, a national champion. I cannot wait to bring her on to the show. It will be out. She is a hoot at the very least, a great way to describe her. She’s a lot of fun and she’s going to have tremendous insight for all athletes. I’m just turning on the microphone and seeing what comes out today because her internet was down and we were unable to do the interview.
There have been a lot of different things that have been coming up with clients and with some of the teams that I’m working with. What I thought for this episode was just to bring some of them up. As athletes, we go through so many things that are very similar. Regardless if it doesn’t feel like it, sometimes we watch other players, especially the ones that seem to be really great, whatever level you are at, even if you’re watching guys who are the very top, the professionals, the all-stars, the MVPs. You wouldn’t think that they would go through moments of doubt, of frustration, of stress, of fears. Yet, every level, no matter what stage of their career, everyone goes through it. The question is, is it going to be for three minutes? Is it going to be for three days? Or is it going to be for three months? How long are you going to live in this place of disempowering feelings, disempowering emotions of the doubts and the anxiety and the fears?
The best of the best, the champions, they don’t stay there for very long. They learn to shift their mind on to the things that they want to happen and not stay replaying things they don’t want to happen. They don’t sit there and replay it over and over and over again. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever been to a movie, on to the movie theater, watched a movie, hated it, you didn’t like it, and did you ever go back to see it again? It doesn’t happen. That’s what we do when we have failures. When we make mistakes, what do we do? We watch that movie again over and over. You watch it 10,000 times maybe over a month, a movie that you hated. You wouldn’t go do that to a movie theater. Why would you do it with the bad memories of your own life? Champions, the best of the bests, they’ve learned to shift out of that and to focus on other things.
A big topic over this last week with a lot of my clients has been about trust. It’s a different feeling than confidence but definitely trusting in your skills, your mechanics, but also just who you are as a player. Trusting that you’re a solid player, that you’re a great player, that you are going to get the job done; going into trust mode. When I think of trust mode, I think of BEAST mode too. When we talk about the BE A BEAST principles, when we take our lessons from the animals, what do animals do? How do they live their lives? They live on instincts. They don’t think. They don’t analyze. A lion doesn’t miss its gazelle and the gazelle runs away and the lion doesn’t pick itself up off the ground and drops its head, slouch his shoulders, and look at its paws and just say, “Why can’t I catch a gazelle? Why am I such a bad hunter? Why am I such a horrible lion?” No. The lion, he picks himself up and he walks with purpose, with intention, “Go find another gazelle or maybe a wildebeest,” or maybe the lion says, “I’ve had a great day. I’ve done my very best. I’m going to go home and take a nap for eighteen hours.” The purpose is they don’t think. They don’t overanalyze. They go back in the moment, they stay with their instincts, and they move forward.
When we go BEAST mode, we go into trust mode, we’re living in that same place. A place where if you’re ever been there you know what I’m talking about; there’s no thinking, everything just flows easy, effortless. They call it the zone. They call it a flow state. When we’re there, we are playing on our instincts into trust mode. The question becomes, how, as performers, do we put ourselves into that state more often? There’s a variety of things that we’ve done, many of them we’ve covered on this podcast before: the tools, the techniques. We’ve talked about using the peak state circle or visualization to cue us to go into trust mode when the game comes to us.
Another very useful tool is the principle RESPA. I find also too when I look at the different principles, I see that there’s predators and there’s prey. There is a lot to learn from the prey. When it comes to the actual principles, I see so much beauty in the animals that we associate mental skills, principles to the prey because so much of it’s appreciation it’s enjoying the moment. It’s having faith and trust. It’s about just enjoying the journey of it all. There’s beauty to it. When it actually comes to getting the job done, to go out there and hunt down the things that we want to hunt down, our goals, we need to act more like predators. That’s what we are, as mankind, we are the ultimate predators. Too often, we walk around and we wait to be attacked like prey.
We are influenced by our environment. “I am nervous so I hold back. That guy is really good so I don’t give it all that I’ve got. I just wait to see what I get.” Even playing conditions, “This field isn’t very nice, so automatically I’ve got to feel I can’t be my best today. Or the field is too wet. I can’t make a good throw today, the field is too wet.” Letting the environment dictate our own confidence, our trust in ourselves, that’s what prey does, not the predator. The predator rises above the environment. He dictates it all. I gave you the metaphor earlier of the lion hunting. Just think of a lion, maybe he just wants to go down to the watering hole. He steps out into the open lands and all the gazelles and the wildebeests and all the other prey are out there. They know it’s not hunting time because he would be on them before they even knew it. He would have stalked them down. They know that he’s probably going to the watering hole but they’re still nervous. They’ve got their eyes on him. They’re paying attention.
What does the lion do? The lion moves regardless of the environment. He moves with purpose, going exactly where he wants to go, doing the things that he wants to do. Maybe he’s scanning the horizon but he’s not worried. This lion, he’s not looking behind him. He’s not nervous and jittery, glancing real rapidly around, making sure that everything’s okay. He knows where he’s going. He’s just strutting across that open land until he gets to the watering hole and he takes what he wants.
How do we shift into that level of trust in ourselves as athletes, as performers? That comes into, for me, the principle of RESPA. When you talk about what animal is RESPA, it’s the crocodile; so much beauty, an amazing animal. If you think about a crocodile, they’re like dinosaurs. In fact, they’re cousins. In fact, they’ve been on the planet since the time of the dinosaurs, more than 100 million years is when crocodiles first came around. Yet, whatever killed off the dinosaurs, whatever forced them to go extinct, the rapid changes in the environment, changes in the food supply, whatever they could not survive, the dinosaurs, the crocodiles did. We know right off the very top that crocodiles, they rise above their environment, they are adaptable, and they are flexible. The old expression “Bend with the bamboo.” The mighty oak will fall and be knocked over in a big storm but not the bamboo. It bends right along with it because it’s incredibly flexible. It doesn’t let the environment dictate it.
When we look at these crocodiles, what else do we have to learn from the crocodile? The instincts of the crocodile, incredible patience. Have you ever seen a video, National Geographic or something, you’ve seen crocodiles, how they for days will inch closer and closer, just inches each day near the edge of a riverbank, so they come in and the animals are coming down for a drink, they just think it’s a log in the water. Day after day, just inches closer and closer, until it makes the decision to go ahead and attack. Crocodiles have the ability, when the dry season arrives and the water recedes, they’re able to burrow themselves in the mud, drop their heart rates to less than three beats a minute to survive. When the rains do come and the river is filled back up, you’ve seen those rivers, how murky and muddy they look. The crocodiles also have been blessed with a second eyelid. This eyelid that drops down through the murky water and these eyelids serve better than any super goggle that we’ve created, that we’ve ever invented. They’re able to see fine through all that murk.
When we talk about the name RESPA, it’s an acronym. Whenever we want to get into a place to perform better, to slip into that place called that trust mode, that BEAST mode, the first thing we need to do, we need to get into this moment and clear our minds, be present. The fastest way to do that is the R, it’s to relax. How do we really relax? What’s the thing we do? We take a deep breath. What I have taught my athletes, it’s not just taking a deep breath. A deep breath is not going to cut it, it’s not going to change your physiology fast enough. When we’re stressed, when we’re nervous, whenever we’re off, we’re not doing our very best, our heart rate is up, the only way to calm that down, it has to be more than just a deep breath. You’ve got to take an intentional deep, deep breath. What I’ve started suggesting, breathe in for a count of five, at least five, hold it for a second, and then exhale. When you exhale that breath, when you blow it out, make sure it’s at least five if not longer, make it six, make it seven seconds, and really learn to control that flow of oxygen. That’s going to give you even better results. That’s going to put you more in a relaxed state.
When you get into that relaxed state, your mind starts to get clear, it starts to declutter. You become present, aware of everything that’s going on in this moment. That lets you do the E, evaluate. I don’t know about you, but have you ever gotten stressed or overwhelmed and you’ve actually taken something that wasn’t that big of a deal and you made it into a huge mountain of problems? I think back to times when maybe I struck out two times in the game. I look back the next day or later that night and I’d say, “I suck. I’m a terrible hitter. I can’t do it. I don’t know how I’m ever going to hit again.” It was two at-bats. We all have hard times. That doesn’t even register, that doesn’t even compute as a hard time. We tend to make one at-bat or two at-bats or one game, we make it a way bigger deal than what it actually is.
When we relax, we take that deep intentional breath. We come to the present moment and we can start seeing things clearly how they actually are, just like that crocodile. That crocodile, when he drops down that second eyelid, he starts seeing things clearly. “It’s not too bad. That’s not the result that I want. I don’t want to strike out two times like that, especially those types of at-bats. I could have done better. I should have done better. Now, what do I need to do?” That takes us to the S, the strategy, the game plan. “I struck out a couple of times. What should have I done? I didn’t stick with my approach. I wasn’t trusting myself. I wasn’t using RESPA.” We come up with a game plan that’s going to best serve us to what we do want to happen.
Then that takes us to the P, the patience. I’m sure there has been times where you’ve walked through this process yourself in the past and maybe you came up with the wrong game plan and you just rushed off. You forgot this little P and you rested. You went out there and found out this game plan wasn’t any better than the first one. What we want to do is just use that little bit of patience, just to make sure. Let’s give it one more thought. Is this the right game plan, the right strategy to go forward? If so, let’s go do it. A is for action. Let’s go get the job done. We don’t have to sit there and make it a very analytical tool. We don’t need to go step by step because this is something once you get the hang of it, in an instant you can shift into it because it changes your physiology. The key to it all at the very least is taking that big deep intentional breath; slow everything down, calm yourself down, and get present. That’s the doorway to shifting into trust again.
It’s interesting, just this morning, another text message that I received was someone’s results from yesterday’s game. We had this great talk, did great visualization and we set some very specific goals for the big tournament this weekend. Right off the gate, we did not get the results hitting-wise that we had hoped for. Pitching has been going great but hitting has been a little bit of struggle lately. We really spend a lot of time talking about it, coming up with our intentions, our game plan, what kind of emotional state, trust mode, how are we going to feel calm and feel that composure in the batter’s box so that we can start performing our very best. Yesterday, we talked a lot about goals and a lot about specific results that we wanted to create.
In fact, there was actually even a goal, and usually I don’t suggest this but I decided to go with it because it works for some people. We made a specific goal for how many hits we wanted to get this weekend. He wanted to get a specific number of hits over the weekend. Boom, right off the gate, it didn’t work out; 0 for 3, a strike out, and two ground outs. I know he’s not in a slump, things are not progressing as quickly as his pitching. His pitching has been outstanding. What I suggested, going back to the data bank of some of the things that I did over the course of my career. Sometimes I share my own strategies and things that I did but I realize that what I did isn’t always the right thing for everybody. That’s one of the reasons why I bring in so many other athletes on to this show because I want to hear their strategies, the things that they did to get themselves out of slumps that I never even knew existed. That way, I have more options to present the people that I work with or the people that I get the privilege to speak to, much like this podcast or the YouTube videos or whatever form it ends up turning into.
The one that I relate to him is sometimes back in the day when I had my career, there would be times where I went 1 for 12 or 1 for 15, 2 for 20, whatever it was. I always wanted to stay above 300. There would be times I was hitting 318, I’m doing great, and all of a sudden for whatever reason it’s seems like as a hitter, you get down to 3-0-1 and you find a way. You’re like, “I need to find a way. I’m going to do whatever it takes to kick this thing in gear.” I remember one of the strategies that I used a lot was the shift. I would shift my mind from not worrying about the results. I would detach myself from the results. In today’s world, there are so many great people out there teaching to focus on the process, to focus on quality at-bats. That’s beautiful. That’s important and essential. But even sometimes focusing on quality at-bat, you can run to this problem where you’re frustrated from not getting the result of a quality at-bat.
I suggested to this client, “Let go of the results. Whether it’s a quality at-bat or you want to get a hit, whatever those results are, let those go. We’re going to determine a new result. What I want you to do,” and this is what I did, was I’m going to gauge myself on how relaxed and slow I can be in the batter’s box. As an athlete, you go through those rough spells, you go through those dry spells, what happens in your body? You begin to compound and build up the frustration and the stress of it all and the anxiety of not playing well. It starts to build up greater and greater. It started off not that big a deal after 0 for 4 but then 0 for 8, 0 for 11, now it’s starting to build up and you’re getting tighter and tighter. You want to get a hit more and more. You just keep getting tighter and tighter.
What I would focus on was I need to get this out of my body. I’ve got to let go of the results. I’ve got to focus on developing the right emotional state that’s going to help me perform my very best and just getting the habit of being in the batter’s box feeling like that again. What I would do is I think, “What’s the number? How do I feel right now?” I’m stressed. I’m overwhelmed. Zero to ten, ten being I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my career in the batter’s box, and zero, I feel horrible up at the plate. What’s my number right now? My number is a three. I feel tense, I feel doubtful, and I feel frustrated. I feel like a three.
I’d ask myself, “Let’s get to an eight. How do I get to an eight? What do I need to do? What does an eight feel like?” I try to remember, I try to think about it. I’m going to ask myself, that’s going to be my new result that I want. In an average game at the professional level, I was seeing twenty pitches every night, 20 to 25, how many of those can I feel like an eight in the batter’s box? That’s all I focused on. I remember I used to breathe really slowly. Ultimately what we do when we’re at our very best is one, we’re not thinking, and if we are thinking our thoughts are coming in very slow and our bodies seem to be moving slow. They’re not panicky, they’re not rushed. We slow our bodies down when we’re doing our very best. We’re much like those predators, that lion, walking down to the watering hole. He’s not in a rush. He’s moving slow, intentionally. That’s how we perform our very best.
I know I want to be an eight. I know I want to move slowly and intentionally because I knew that slow feet is quick hands in the batter’s box. A slow mind is quick hands. How do I have a slow mind and have slow movements? I know I need to breathe slowly. Even though I didn’t have RESPA specifically as a tool during my career, I reminded this kid to use RESPA to slow yourself down and really let’s just have RESPA be our outcome for this next game. That’s going to be the results. How many times can you effectively use RESPA, use that deep intentional breath to slow yourself down and feel relaxed, feel like an eight in the batter’s box? If you start taking pitches, you start consistently stepping in there feeling like an eight again, you’re going to react better and you’ll be having much, much better results statistically if you’re in this great state.
For you, remember the power of RESPA. Remember that we can step into this whenever we need it and that it is the gate, the way to slip into our trust mode, our own natural BEAST mode where we play on our instincts as well. My game plan for this last little bit, let’s go ahead and do another game ready. I know last episode we talked about the power of visualization. I hope you listened to that episode. If not, as soon as you can, go and check that one out. From this day forward, whenever I have these own solo podcasts, I’m going to incorporate the game ready because the more I walk clients through it, the more that I preach visualization, other than taking those deep breaths and learning to control our states, having great state management, I don’t think there’s a more powerful thing as athletes or as performers, achievers that we can do than use the power of visualization to create our results in advance. It grows skills, it grows beliefs, and what we’re capable of and grows the beliefs in how we see ourselves, what type of players we could become as well as just specific results on the field.
You’ve got a big game coming up. It shouldn’t be something that’s just done right before game time. It needs to be something that’s done on a daily basis because this mental stuff, this mental skill, it is no different than training your muscles. You don’t just go to the gym one time a week. You don’t go to the gym one time a month and expect to get huge strength gains and for your muscles to grow. It’s something that needs to be consistent, it needs to be done over time for the results to begin to show. Our mental skills are the same thing. What I love about visualization is regardless of the age, the power of it, in fact the younger you are the more you have to gain from it. I’m encouraging highly the younger kids to keep using it. It’s fun, it’s playful. I’m sure most of you like to imagine it and it comes naturally to the younger ages. It’s easier to pretend and to imagine at younger ages.
This is straight uploaded into your subconscious and it’s going to tell your brain how it expects your body to perform and you can take your game to a whole other level if you tap into this early on. Not only that, just think if you have another five extra years of practicing this skill how much better you are going to be at eighteen, how much better you’re going to be at 25 when people just start learning and actually applying this stuff. You’re going to have a true edge over your competition. If you start performing these game readies and some of the other visualization processes that we do in other podcasts. With that being said, let’s go ahead and do this game ready. From now on, whenever I have a solo podcast, that’s going to be my new shtick and make sure we end it like this. I want you to be able to walk through it whenever you want and to have new and consistent little variants to each game ready so you don’t get too bored either.
How do we always begin? We want to first establish what is our outcome. Earlier today, I had a call with one of my clients and he’s got this big all-star tryout game next Tuesday. From this group of 25 kids in his age group, the state of California, the best of the best in California, the best 25, they’re going to pick twelve. Those twelve are going to go on and play in this national tournament in North Carolina against all of the other best of the best of the states. His outcome was to make the team. His other outcomes that he had was just to grow his skills. He wanted to go out there and play his very best. Sometimes, we don’t have full control of the outcome of making the team but if I went out there and gave it my all and played the best of my ability, that’s a little bit more of our control and that was his outcome. I thought it was great.
We pick intentions. Whatever your outcome is, go ahead and think of it what you’ve got coming up this next week. What do you like to achieve or perform? How do you want to get better? Think of your outcome. Let’s pick some intentions. What are some performance statements that will help us to achieve this outcome? As I mentioned before, this young athlete, he says, “I want to be a confident player and I want to have fun.” Those were his reminders of what he needs to do and how he needs to be in order to achieve his outcome of making this team or being his very best. Now, you go ahead and you pick the intentions that you need to achieve your outcome. I’m going to remind you of those intentions and start the visualization.
Like always, we get grounded in the power of gratitude. We take the time to really focus on the feelings, the things, the people, the memories, the gifts, the events of our life that makes us feel really grateful. All it does is it attracts more things into our lives to be grateful for. That’s one of the things we’re wanting to do with this visualization. Go ahead and attract more things to be grateful for by going ahead and tapping into this power of gratitude right now. Feel it. Once you’ve got it, go ahead and close your eyes and see your gate. As you see your gate, I want you to go ahead and walk through the gate and come in to this beautiful place of nature. If you’re new to this, maybe it’s a place that you’ve been to in the past, maybe it’s just a place you just created in your own mind right now or maybe it’s a combination of both. Whatever it is, just enjoy it. Take a deep breath in. Take that RESPA breath. Breathe intentionally, five seconds in and hold it. Exhale six seconds out. Just take a look around and really appreciate how beautiful and amazing this place is.
Notice something right now, a little detail you didn’t notice before. Maybe notice a sound. Maybe just feel what you feel when you’re here. Is it trust? Is it calm? Do you feel relaxed, confident, happy, joyful? Whatever you feel, feel it now, and feel it stronger, maybe feel it begin to spread all over your body. Feel it spread from the top of your head to the tips of your fingers, down to the tips of your toes, whatever this place makes you feel, just feel it stronger now. Once you got there, go ahead and see a second gate. When you see the second gate, go ahead and walk through it. Now, you’re coming on to your life, where you want to perform, whatever this outcome is going to take place, go ahead and imagine it now. First, I want you to see everything like you’re watching you on TV, watch you performing these intentions. Who do you need to be? What is that person look like? How did they move? Do they move with purpose, with intention? Do they move slowly, in control like a predator going for a little stroll down to the watering hole? What’s the look on their face? Is it a smile? Is it calm? Is it focused? Is it determined? How does it need to look for you to achieve the outcomes that you want? Go ahead now, just make it a movie, make a big and bright movie close to your face and just play it over and over again.
The beauty of visualizing too is that while I’m talking, if you’re a hitter, I tell you to swing one time, you could be doing five swings, boom, boom, boom. The brain loves to perform fast. The brain loves to learn fast. Even if I tell you to perform one thing, you could be doing it over and over and over again before I lead you on to the next instruction. Just go with it, feel free. Use it how it serves you the best way. Now, a little something different, I want you to see a barrier. See something come up. See yourself not getting the result that you wanted initially. See how this person doesn’t get deterred by it. This person stays with purpose, with intention and blast through that barrier. In the next try, gets the results that they want. Begin building that belief that nothing is going to stop you from the outcomes that you want. If it’s a brick wall, see that person driving right to that brick wall and get in to the other side and achieving the result that they want.
Now what I want you to do is walk up right behind that person, this is you, and I want you to step into their body and see the rest of the performance, the rest of the day out your own eyes. Feel what it feels like to be in this trust mode, in this BEAST mode. Feel now how it feels to move like that predator. See the look on everyone else’s faces, see the results that you want out of your own eyes. Begin feeling how awesome it feels to be living this life like this. Feel the pride, feel the confidence, feel the trust in yourself grow as I’m speaking and as you’re seeing all these results. Go ahead now and make one more play or one more decision or whatever it is. Make it big, make it clutch, maybe make a routine because greatness comes from doing the fundamentals over and over and over again. Whatever it is, see it, feel it, own it. Own that this is you. Give thanks for it right now. Thank you. I am a BEAST.
Go ahead and celebrate now. Start celebrating with whoever we work with, whoever you’re teammates with, your friends, your family, just imagine that they’re all there and you are all celebrating your victory. Celebrate it now. Feel the pride now. Go ahead, I know it might be hard to get you to walk from this feeling now but go ahead and walk out the gate. Let it go, come back in this beautiful place of nature again and just appreciate it. Feel how amazing it feels to go out there and give it everything you’ve got. Feel the sense of pride that you have in yourself when you know you left it all out there. You were aligned and you were full force towards what you wanted. Now see off in the distance is a little waterfall. The waterfall is the coolest, clearest water you’ve ever seen. You see a cup there with your name on it. Go over there, grab the cup, fill it up with water and take a sip. Feel the coolness in your mouth, down your throat, into your belly, spreading all down your arms and your legs, every vein, every cell, replenishing you, reenergizing you, giving you everything you need because all you need is within you now. Go ahead standing tall, shoulders back, head up, feeling a trust in your body, the power of the BEAST within you, the power of RESPA. Go ahead and walk out that last gate because you are game ready.
You can open your eyes when you get there. I know probably now you’re a little slow to come out of trance. Sometimes it’s a little awkward after a call or doing one of these in person because they get little fluttering eyes. They said this is a great visualization and I’ve got to pat my foot and shake my head for a minute until they come to. I hope by now you’re back in present. It was an honor. It was a privilege to share my passion with you today. Until next time, aim high, swing hard, smile often and play full force.