4 Types of Resilience with Dr. Steve Bull, Author, Speaker and Psychologist

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Dr. Steve Bull is a Chartered Psychologist, speaker, author and high performance consultant. During his 30+ year career he has coached CEOs, Olympic Gold Medalists, NATO officers, professional actors and university academics.

He was the Great Britain Team Headquarters Psychologist at 3 Olympic Games and worked with the England Cricket Team for 16 years during which time they famously regained the Ashes from Australia in 2005 before going on to reach No.1 in the world rankings for the first time ever in the modern era. Over the course of those 16 years he fulfilled the roles of team psychologist, leadership coach and change management consultant.

Steve has worked in the corporate world as a performance psychologist since the late 1990s delivering development programs in high performance leadership, team effectiveness, culture change and resilience. He has consulted with a wide range of companies in Europe, the USA, the Middle East and Asia.

He is the author of 8 books – most notably “The Game Plan” which presents a practical guide to developing resilience in the workplace. The book has received considerable praise and sold in more than 10 countries around the world. Steve was a university academic and researcher for 15 years, earned a PhD in Applied Psychology.​

In this episode, Dr. Bull and Dr. Cindra discuss

  • How to develop the 4 types of resilience
  • How mental toughness and resilience are different
  • The difference between celebrating success and reviewing success
  • Ways to lead with your strengths
  • How the best leaders seek out challenges
  • Why it is important to carefully and considerately take risks
“Resilience is having the strength to stand up and got for a walk in the park, take a break, do some meditation and be greedy if that works for you, or go and play squash or do whatever you need to so that you can come back and go hard again.”-Dr. SteveBull
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“Performance Psychology is a set of common-sense principles not commonly applied.”-Dr.SteveBull
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“Our brains are wired to spend more time thinking about what goes wrong and what we’re not so good at, as opposed to focusing on what goes right and what we are good at.”-Dr.SteveBull
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“Celebrating success is not reviewing success.”-Dr.SteveBull
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Full Transcription:
Cindra Kamphoff: Steve I’m really excited to have you today on the high-performance mindset podcast to talk about your book The Game Plan, so thank you so much for joining us here today.

Steve: Thank you Cindra, it is a pleasure to be here and appreciate the invitation and the opportunity to speak with you.

Cindra Kamphoff: Absolutely so to get us started just tell us a bit about what you’re passionate about Steve and what you do now?

Steve: What a surprise anyone listening to know that my passion is high performance and always has been in any walk of life, I mean I spent a large chunk of my career working in high performance sport, but then migrated into the into the business world, applying the principles of sports psychology to business performance but yes, the passion really is to do whatever I can help people be the best that they can be to help people tap into their strengths. You know, to their own passions and to make the most of them. I’m not a great believer in the old adage that anyone can be anything they want to be, I think we all have a pretty unique set of skills and attributes and strengths and I’ve always viewed my role as a coach is in helping people figure out where those signature strengths lie and then giving them tools and strategies to help make the most of them that was always been my passion from day one.

Cindra Kamphoff: And I think about your career, you know you’ve been so successful in sport and then you know with business professionals and executives and I read your book several years ago and absolutely loved it. So really talk about just how we all can be high performers and what are the tools and strategies that we need to be able to do that so maybe to get us started, what do you see the best of the best do differently?

Steve: that’s a great question but not particularly easy to answer, because I do feel they’re all so different. I mean, there are some general commonalities you know high performance do tend to have pretty robust levels of confidence, you know, on the whole there they’re pretty good
at, focusing in the moment and executing their skills, under pressure um but, but those are pretty general points and just to build on the comment earlier, I do think it is about finding out what makes them tick and I couldn’t say that all the high performance I’ve worked with over the years that you know they are similar in lots and lots and lots of ways that they’re not I mean, even to the point where I have worked with high performance in the past, who are quite lazy. You know, and they yeah but particularly in sport, perhaps less so in business in the workplace, but you know people have this as natural talent that allows them to get by now that catches them out eventually, but certainly not my experience that all high performers in sport have this incredible sort of work ethic that we might associate with many do, and I think the fact that standards have gone up over the years it’s becoming more and more important to have that, but that’s just one example of you think oh surely a high performer isn’t lazy some of them are actually they you know they and that’s sometimes what makes them great under pressure because they have this you know fairly relaxed approach to life, and then they are deal

with whatever is thrown at them in that moment. Yes, that’s a difficult thing to teach someone, but yeah it’s an interesting phenomenon I’ve observed.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah really good insights there I think about my kids I think my youngest son is like really has this relaxed approach to whatever you know he works hard, but it also really helps him, be able to deal with failure and setbacks, you know he takes it, you know all in stride. And I admire him for that I don’t think that I was like that, when I was young.

Steve: But as I said just to reinforce the point I think ultimately that can catch up with you. Particularly these days levels for where the standard so high up and the difference between the top performers is so small have 20, 30 years ago, four years ago, when I started my career, there were more elite athletes around who were able to just if, dare I say we need, on the day and just really long on this natural talent, that they have, I think that’s much less so now I think standards are so the pressures of great the scrutiny is so forensic that you’ve got to put the hours in and that’s why I think also these days, perhaps we see more athletes coming through who might not have that natural talent that they might have done, years ago, but they’ve got their incredible dedication this incredible focus determination and the kind of sacrifices and the work ethic and certainly over my career give me the choice of working with an athlete who’s got incredible natural talent, but isn’t particularly coachable versus an athlete with perhaps more limited talent, but it’s very open to being coached and helps you know I’ll work with an athlete any day if I have, if I had the choice and ditto in the workplace as well. You know if these people i’m sure would relate to this, there are people in the workplace, who, in the early part of that Korea get by on this just natural ability or natural intellect here it’s a thinking, but eventually you get caught out eventually you’ve got to you’ve got to learn some other stuff to help you maximize those natural talents, as you progress.

Cindra Kamphoff: And I think is a really good way for us to segue into this idea of mental toughness and how its developed right it’s not just something that you’re born with and so give us a little insight Steve on how did you start studying this idea of mental toughness and then we’ll dive into the four types of mental toughness that you talk about in your book The Game Plan?

Steve: Sure, well, I guess, the first point I’d make is the term mental toughness in and of itself was very much in vogue when I started researching it back in the 1990s. It’s fallen out of favor these days for and tangible reasons and the reason is, is that it’s fallen out of favor is, in part, what got me interested in it, but these days I would generally, like many of my colleagues, use the term resilience rather, these mental toughness if I was publishing that book today, as opposed to 15 years ago when it came out I would use the term resilience work as opposed to mental toughness at work, but in the 90s that term mental toughness he has a residence people liked it and it landed, both in sport and business, but what got me particularly interested towards the end of the 90s in my work in sport, I was getting increasingly frustrated with the way in which commentators or coaches or anyone involved in sport, use the term mental toughness to describe some athletes and not others so you frequently hear all that athletes they’re really mentally tough all that one will never make it because they’re not

mentally tough and what frustrated me about that was what they were actually judging that mental toughness on so when you actually then sets the mood What do you mean by mental toughness. They couldn’t really say was just a sort of gut feel that these athletes great under pressure, therefore they’re mentally tough and this one isn’t there for them not. So that kind of frustrated me but got me interested and then I was equally interested by the assumption that people may find that an Olympic gold medalist was, by definition, a pinnacle of mental toughness because they say when a Olympic Gold Medal without being mentally tough and we’ve worked with quite a few Olympic athletes and one or two gold medalists who by their own admission wouldn’t call themselves, particularly mentally tough they had a lot of other attributes that enabled them to deliver and win that gold medal, but mental toughness wasn’t one of them, and then I found that these people were being invited into the business world to talk about mental toughness and I, and I had a conversation with them previously when they said to me I’m actually that mentally tough last quite interested. So, putting those things together, I got really frustrated with people’s use of liberal use of the term mental toughness without actually understanding what it was so I managed to get a piece of funding from me cricket board because, as you all know, I worked in professional cricket I promise not to talk about that today it’s I know it’s a bamboozling sport for people on your side of the ocean and but for those who don’t follow cricket it’s our equivalent of professional baseball, but I was doing a lot of work with the with the international Indian cricket team at the time, so I embarked on this piece of funded research to actually systematically investigate what it what this thing mental toughness is and that involved me interviewing loads of coaches loads of players, you know I compiled, you know, a compendium of qualitative data which I am my research team then meticulously poured over to analyze what was going on and what came out of that research was the fact that there are different types of mental toughness or to use the term these different types of resilience that really interested in it and what we then show was that you’d have some athletes some individuals who were very strong in one of these types, but not so strong in enough. What we found was the in order for you to be really successful at the top level, you have strong in at least two out of the four. Okay, if you were struggling or four great, but if you weren’t strong in at least two of them, you are going to struggle, but yeah so that was one of the main things that came out of the research, the other interesting point of know that came out of the research was that we found, and this sounds a bit old hat now but back in the late 90s was quite new thinking. And it was a point about the importance of the environment in shaping mental toughness or resilience and what we showed in our research was that you could have the best coaching the best sports psychology support around you know you can have everything there to help you if the environment wasn’t right then those mental skills would break down in the critical performance moments and that took us off into another area of research, where we started to explore what is the best type of environment for younger athletes to grow up and develop him to give them the best chance of developing that mental toughness as they got older and, of course, one of the key features that came out of that was that we showed that on the whole individuals who have this very strong level of mental toughness or resilience they had invariably experienced some sort of adversity or disappointment or failure previously in their career and they and the interviews that we did said that that that shaped their mental toughness and their resilience because that got us into some really interesting thinking about well how do we sort of ethically, if you like, manufacture

adversity and you know disappointment and failure with younger athletes, how do we artificially create that in order to toughen them up and that that got us into some really interesting conversations with the coaches, but that takes us off into another area. So you know the importance of the environment is crucial understanding individual differences crucial, but the identification of these four different types of mental toughness that then helped us to support and coach athletes a much more effectively, because we’re doing it in a targeted way and it also helped us explain why a lot of observers and coaches would disagree when assessing whether an athlete was mentally tough one to say, well, I think they are another one would say, well, I don’t think now that’s because they were using different reference points and the four types of the four types helped us sort of you know, get inside that, if you like.

Cindra Kamphoff: So Steve, the first question I have on that is tell us in your perspective, the shift from the use of the term mental toughness to resilience and do they now mean the same to you or were you know kind of said that mental toughness fell out of favor what are your thoughts on that?

Steve: yeah it’s a really interesting question um I mean I don’t use the term mental toughness very often at all these days I do tend to use us resilience. The first thing I’d say on that is one of the things that mental toughness immediately creates in people’s minds is the year of the tough guy image the struggling through the margin there. You know, on these assault courses, or you know dealing with this incredible sort of physical challenge kind of thing you associate with West point. Yes, know that kind of thing that when you say it’s a mental toughness you can use that image up and that’s a Lord assumption, because all the research tells us very clearly it’s not about that it’s not about that tough guy image is about a lot of other things, and, if anything, it’s certainly not if we relate this to the workplace it’s not about putting 16 hour days. No problem I’ve come across a lot in the workplace, oh so and so put five or six back-to-back 14 hour working days in they don’t take a lunch break they’re the first here the last to leave. Are they mentally tough is completely flawed, in my view, what you know the resilient performance of those that can really push themselves hard for a period of time, but then they stop and then they take a break, and then they recharge and then they go again, but then they know that they need to stop, and then they recharge and they go again that’s resilience and yeah in terms of we use that so I am very provocative when I go into workplace environments around the culture of working through your life, you know eating a brown bag lunch over your laptop I get really quite provocative about that not resilience, resilience is having the strength to stand up and go for a walk in the park, take a break, you know do some meditation deep breathing if that works for you or go and play squash or do we have an easy to do you can then come back and go hard again in the afternoon so that’s Point number one in terms of why I think mental. The other which is very relevant today, of course, is we were, quite rightly, where we really focused on mental health issues, these days, both in sport and the workplace. You have someone who’s struggling with mental health issues, to say to them come on just toughen up life’s hard you know just get on with it. We know that just doesn’t work, you’re counterproductive so there’s no way, in my view that the term mental toughness sort of sticks comfortably with what we understand and appreciate about mental health, these days, so I think resilience works much

better for us because he doesn’t have those connotations so as a fairly long art, so I hope that makes sense, but yes we’ve had this shift in terminology over the last 15 years.

Cindra Kamphoff: I agree with that, like, I see a lot of people just make the assumption that mental toughness is being tough and just toughening it up, but I think there are times, where that doesn’t serve people and you know the importance of mental health, would you just mentioned and so I’m kind of thinking see when I look at your book right turnaround toughness critical moment toughness, risk management toughness and endurance toughness and I was thinking that endurance toughness is exactly what you said is like resting pushing yourself, when you need to but also making sure you’re caring for yourself, do you think these are all four types of resilience as well and i’m wondering like what the connection there is between these and resilience?

Steve: When I run workshops, these days, I would use the term resilience for all four of those. Cindra Kamphoff: Yes, absolutely okay.

Steve: What is consistent with dictionary definitions, but I think you know, to help people understand what we’re talking about here these days, so yeah there’s four types of resilience, they are the status. But yeah let’s use that term perfect people.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah yeah. That helps me as I kind of think about where do we continue to go with the conversation because I thought the four types of resilience that you talked about in your book were really beneficial and I was thinking about that it’s helpful to know that it’s not just one of these things so let’s kind of dive into each of these and think about also what do they mean, but how do we develop this within ourselves, and I know I’m going to point out that you said earlier when we’re strong at two of the four, you know that leads to high performance so first let’s talk about what turnaround of resilience is and then let’s talk about Okay, how do we improve that?

Steve: yeah well, of course, just to preface any comments about to make none of this stuff is gonna sound typically complicated or innovative or overly scientific I mean my favorite definition of performance psychology has always been performance psychology is a set of common-sense principles not commonly applied. Yeah I love the start of talks workshops I run, I say to people look you’re not going to leave the room today saying wow that guy Steve both didn’t he have some really interesting innovative different ideas I say you won’t leave saying that your leave saying you know a lot of that was common sense, because it is, but the problem is people don’t do the common sense things. You know, people are not going to be blown away by this material, but the challenge is understanding which of these common sense principles are going to help you in different situations and then having the discipline to implement them so turnaround is basically about turning around your state of mind, after a poor performance, you know you had some sort of adversity. You know, whether that be in sport, you know, a losing streak or a loss of form, or in the business world or the workplace environment, you might have you know gone to a presentation that really went badly or you’ve had a poor

performance review from your from your manager or you’re just feeling your confidence is adding away and because that’s the essence of it in the turnaround scenario, it is fundamentally about a loss of confidence which has been triggered by some sort of disappointing external event and, as everyone knows, when people experience that that negative adverse event we tend to buy naturally spiral in to that negative cycle of thinking we start to self-doubt we start to question, am I really that good after all well one yesterday, maybe we’ll go wrong again tomorrow imposter syndrome starts to creep in and all those sort of horribly negative aspects of self-talk start to come to the front of our mind so the question about turnaround resilience is, you know how do we block those out how do we turn things around and get people back on to that sort of confidence crack because it just seems to be the case that our brains are wired to spend more time thinking about what goes wrong, and what we’re not so good at, as opposed to focusing on what goes right and what we are good at so I spent a lot of my career coaching people to just change the way they review performance and to teach them ways of getting much better at reviewing successful poor performance and I use this phrase reconnecting with previous accomplishments So yes, things have gone badly yesterday, or for the last week or for the last month, but you can change that and don’t forget all that stuff that’s gone before, because people tend to do that. So it’s a web it’s a question helping them reconnect with those previous accomplishments I’ve got a particular favorite coaching tool that I use to do that, which might I called my confidence peaks chart.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yes, look. I have it open to ask you.

Steve: They have been a go to coaching tool for me for for many, many years now, I mean it’s just a way of helping people reconnect with those previous accomplishments capture them review them, you know learn from them and embed them so that they can then use that process to create that stronger confident platform going forward and related to this also i’ll often talk to people in the workplace, about what has happened in the last 25 years or so, in sport, with regard to performance review and what I’ll say is 25 years ago when I was working in sport, if our team lost again the weekend. And we will come to work on Monday morning and the first thing the team would do is be they come into a classroom with some flip charts and they would review that loss, and they would you know learn some lessons figure out what they need to put right get a game plan for next week’s game right off we go 25 years ago if the team, one on Saturday, they would typically celebrate in some form on Saturday night come to work Monday morning and it would generally be straight out onto the practice field to prepare for next week’s game, but they wouldn’t go through that systematic review process that they would have a failed now that’s certainly my experience that that the elite teams i’ve worked with in more recent years now, if we win on Saturday Monday morning we review that performance in exactly the same way that we would need a loss and that’s really important all sorts of reasons, but it does create individual and team resilience, as well as learning from mistakes and modifying strategy, but when you’re done something well, you need to capture that you need to embed that you need to make the most of it and you’ll do that by systematically reviewing it. So then, when i’m in the workplace in the business world it’s a pet peeve of mine that’s all has been for forever actually that I don’t think business teams spend enough time reviewing success if they have a bad week or a bad quarter, you know they miss

their targets, the numbers are struggling yeah let’s have a crisis meeting, we need to get together what are we going to fix here, how are we gonna turn things around and get back on track, but if they have a great week or a great month I hear a lot of people in the workplace talk about the importance of celebrating success and I to believe that’s crucial so people have work hard go out for dinner, you know, have a bottle of champagne, or whatever you do toast the success celebrate grant but celebrating success is not reviewing success and that’s a different process so yes celebrate success but also review it. So, have a meeting, not just because there’s a crisis and something’s going wrong, but have a meeting to review what you’ve done so well over the last week or over the last month and how can you maximize your chance of repeating that, if not improving it next time. So all of this relates to the idea of turnaround resilience and it’s essentially for me about creating the habit of reconnecting with and reviewing performance accomplishments if you do that systematically, and that is part of your game plan that will develop your turnaround resilience and that will give you that strength next time something goes wrong, you know exactly what you need to do you reconnect you review the good performances and you are back on track quickly you turn things around quickly that’s around resilience.

Cindra Kamphoff: Steve there’s a few things I want to point out that you just said just for people that celebrating success and reviewing success is different, so in both are important, but yeah I think it’s really powerful to take a step back what led to the success, what do we need to replicate and I did really like the peak chart in your book about building confidence and for people who definitely should go grab the book again it’s called the game plan with Steve bull but what I liked about this is, you know the all these different peaks on this mountain chain provide moments where you’ve been really successful right and the peaks represent you say a significant achievement that you’ve accomplished in the past reflecting on those recording them on one of the mountains and you encourage us to think hard dive deep I just put this application in for this award actually at asked and It made me step back and think about all the things that I’ve done and if I think we tend to forget our achievements right because we’re so focused on like the here and now, and where we’re going next so tell us about the power of just reflecting on this kind of exercise and seeing the accomplishments that you have, how do you think that helps us?

Steve: Well, I think you’re absolutely right, most people without a little bit of coaching and cajoling we tend to forget the great things that we’ve achieved in the past, you know they tend to become a distant memory, because we’re not constantly reviewing them.
Steve: And that the main problem with that read emerges when we have an adverse experience when something goes wrong if we haven’t systematically connect reconnected with these performances and reviewed from learn from them, we can’t use them, we can’t access them when things start to go wrong. The other thing I think it’s fair to say is that perhaps less so in elite sport, but very much so, in the workplace, a lot of people i’ve worked with have a sense of well isn’t it a be a be immodest isn’t it a bit big headed use the word arrogant. I don’t want to beat myself up because I’ve come across as arrogant or overconfident and that holds some people back from sitting down and reflecting on the great things that they’ve done so I you know I really try to push people through that because this is not something that you’re going to

go and show other people, this is for you, this is a process that you’re going through, for you and for your mindset and for your resilience and when I introduce people to this mountain peach chart in a workshop. When I send them off to do it, I tend to get them to do in a pairs coaching sort of format, but when I send them off my final instruction is modesty is not allowed modesty from this, there is no place for modesty in this because it holds people back and the other thing that I throw in and you’ll notice this looking at the example peaks in the book is that was a peach chart from a guy. I think, Michael long time ago now, but I’m thinking, he was an investment banker of some sort, but he was in his 40s and it was a work related confidence picture and yet when you actually look at the conference peaks in there that are nothing to do with work and I like that and I encourage people to say, well, you can get confidence for the workplace from what you’ve achieved outside the workplace whether that be you know passing a piano exam or running a marathon or doing some charitable work or you know, being a great parents to your to your young child, and these are things that you can still get confidence from and then take that confidence into the workplace and, of course, the way the metaphor of the mountain range works is so you climb this mountain your performance peak and you put your personal flag in the top of that mountain. Now it doesn’t matter what happens to you in the future doesn’t matter how bad things go no one can take that achievement away from you, your flag is in that mountain peak forever so however bad things were great we go back that that’s why I chose that mountain range as the metaphor, because that achievement it’s there forever 20 year’s time, you could still go back to that achievement and use it, but coming back to your original question people don’t do this because their habit is to spend way too much time worrying and reflecting on a the things that go wrong and be the things that are not so good at. You know that’s one things that you and I, our profession, we try to help people break that cycle of thinking and get them more familiar with systematically tapping in to the incredible resource that they’ve got which has all their previous accomplishments.

Cindra Kamphoff: I do agree with what you said, and when I look at this example I love the parts, where it says like passing my sixth grade piano exam right, that’s a that’s a peek or my daughter school report so just this idea that things that happen outside of work can help you build more confidence in work and celebrating that’s really powerful. So Steve the other type of resilience that I want to talk a little bit about that, I think it would really help people and, by the way, before we move on, I would encourage everyone to do this, that Steve was suggesting fight you know, even if you grab Steve’s book and you could just make your own mountain range and put those the things that you should that really build your confidence your past accomplishments in in this mountain chain ,but let’s talk a little bit about risk management toughness or risk management resilience and this is about seeking out challenges and reframing your appraisal tell us what this type of resilience is and why you think it’s important to sport or the workplace?

Steve: yeah well I use the term risk management, because, in my experience in both elite sport and high-performance business you tend to find that high performers take risks. They are comfortable on getting out of their comfort zone and pushing themselves now I would go further and say that, in order to achieve high performance, you have to take some risks you’ve got to put yourself on the line now we’re not talking here about reckless risk taking we’re

talking about carefully considered confident risk taking, there is a big difference reckless risk taking our let’s just give it a whirl what the heck. No that’s not what I’m talking about I’m talking about having the confidence to actually push yourself beyond what you would naturally do and to reiterate what I said a moment ago, in my view, and in my experience in order to reach those you know elite levels of performance you don’t get there by standing your comfort zone you’ve got to take some risks. Now my theory has always been if you are asking people to get out of that comfort zone and take some risks they are going to be much more likely to do that from a position of confidence with a platform of confidence that makes sense doesn’t it if someone’s going to take a risk from a position of confidence they’re going to feel better than taking a risk from a position of wiring. So it’s a couple of things that come in here, firstly, all that stuff we just talked about with regards to turn around topics and reviewing previous accomplishments and reconnecting that builds confidence, but now what I adding in relation to risk management is the whole area of strengths coaching which you know Pete has been around for a long time now, since don Clifton a Marcus Buckingham published their first book thing was around 2000 miles on it, but I was a groundbreaking book where they really challenge our thinking around how much time we spend helping people fix weaknesses versus you know maximize strengths now I’m a big fan of this work and I’ve used it a lot we’re not, of course, saying ignore your weaknesses. You can’t ignore your weaknesses, you have to work on your weaknesses, to get them up to a level where they will not derail your performance, but once you’ve got them to that level, the chances are that you’re never going to really turn them into a real super strength so get them to that manageable level, but then invest your time and energy in maximizing your strengths and it’s just very relevant to risk management resilience, as I said problems we encounter here is that most people in my experience aren’t that great and knowing what their signature strengths are and they’re certainly not very good at deploying strategies to maximize those signature strengths. So what we need to do, firstly, is help people raise their awareness, you know what does make you different. You know where your real natural strengths are in your super strengths as we like to say, these days, how clear, are you in what your super signature strengths are people need help with that, and there are various ways, you can do that and then okay now having established what those strengths are let’s explore ways in which you can exploit those strengths. If we’re having all of this conversation within that sort of context of strengths, people are going to feel confident you know that when you start talking to people about their strengths, you can feel the confidence rising so with that rising confidence now we’ve established a strong platform to get out of that comfort zone to take those risks that’s what risk management resilience is about helping people create that strong platform where they’ve got the confidence to say I’m going to push out the boundaries today I’m going to get out of that comfort so I’m going to take a risk, but I’m going to take that risk from a position of strength, rather than a position of wiring.

Cindra Kamphoff: I really appreciate that Steve and I want to point out what you said carefully and you know being considered about the risk taking, coming from a place of strengths helps you have confidence, I take that I’ve taken the strengths Finder assessment as well, myself and do a lot of work on that because I do think it helps people, the people that I coach really understand what they’re great at and you’re right sometimes people don’t even know that they don’t see that within themselves, whereas other people might see their strengths, but you

know, sometimes we’re just kind of doing our work day to day and take a step back and think about what are we really good at, and what are we gifted at and, if I remember correctly, the way they define a strength is like a talent, that we have that we spend time developing.

Steve: Yeah absolutely and as we both said, you know my experience is that a lot of people need help with this, you know they need help, identifying those strengths and I would normally give people at least three different ways in which they can explore these strengths, because, firstly, you can do, one of the strengths Finder questionnaires that’s helpful, secondly asked for feedback, I mean that that’s a challenge, I often people in the workplace. You know how I say to how often do you go and talk to your peers and say, could you please give me some feedback on where you think my signature strengths are people generally tend not to do that, and you might get some really interesting and illuminating answers, but then, thirdly, and again to link back to turn around and the conference pitch chart I think you can explore your signature strengths by reconnecting with previous accomplishments if you look on that mountain peaks chart and start to think about all those accomplishments then maybe some of your strengths are going to become a bit more obvious because you’ll see patents oh seems like when I deliver real high performance success that I’m using X or y so doing a questionnaire or an assessment of some sort getting feedback reviewing previous accomplishment I there might go two ways of helping people established clarity around what their signature strengths are and, of course, this is an area that people really enjoy working you know the minute you start a talk to someone say let’s talk about what you’re good at again, what got over the modesty heard or once you can pass through that people are comfortable talking about that, and you know they enjoy it and it makes them feel good may go away from a coaching session buzzed because they’ve been talking about what they can achieve rather than this old fashioned performance review of focusing 90% on what we’re not doing well, more we need to improve.

Cindra Kamphoff: So the three parts that Steve just mentioned was take a strength Finder assessment to learn about your strengths, ask for feedback you talk in the book about being hungry for feedback. Do you know I don’t see a lot of people being hungry for feedback and then exploring your strengths by connecting with your previous accomplishments i’m Steve how about we have you back to talk about the other two types of resilience, which we haven’t got to yet, and the other two types that you talk about in the book is critical resilience and endurance resilience How does that sound?

Steve: That sounds great I mean they’re different again both of those are very different from the previous two so plenty more to discuss Cindra sure.

Cindra Kamphoff: Absolutely so tell us Steve where can people reach out to you, I know you’re available for speaking events, but also, you know grab his book The game plan your guide to mental toughness at work and you have other books so tell us a bit about what you have for us to learn more about your work?

Steve: Yeah the website is game plan coach.com so that’s pretty easy to find and everything’s referenced in there, I mean that the game plan book is a book for people in the workplace, I mean there are plenty of sporting anecdotes and stories in there, but it is essentially a book for people in the workplace, my other books tend to focus very much on athletes and the sports psychology and performance in the in the sporting arena, but essentially everything i’ve ever researched or ever written about has always been focused on how we can help individuals and teams aspire to that high performance mindset, to give them the best chance of making the best of what they’ve got their disposal.

Cindra Kamphoff: Excellent Steve and so i’m going to summarize what we talked about today, so we started talking about the differences that you see in the best of the best and you said, there are some individual differences, but you see confidence focusing on the moment executing under pressure, as some similarities, but again yeah there’s a lot of individual differences I loved how you define performance psychology is like common sense principles that are not commonly practice or applied, I thought that was brilliant and so true because it’s easy for us to share know this, but, but do we do these things that you talked about today. I really enjoyed our discussion about revealing successes and how they’re different than celebrating our successes and that a lot of people in the workplace don’t take a step back after they’ve been successful to like review that and think about that and just how our brain is wired to you know focus on things that that have gone wrong and then we talked about risk management resilience and the importance of carefully and consider it with the risk taking, but how that’s really essential to grow and you described the importance of like taking a strength based focus and using our strengths to be able to take risks, a little bit more often, and so you shared with us different ways we could do that. So Steve Thank you so much for joining us I’m grateful to spend some time with you, and thanks for bringing it on the podcast and sharing such a kind of valuable information with in a really practical way that people could implement.

Steve: Thank you Cindra, it’s been a real pleasure I enjoyed the conversation immensely.Thank you.

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