Transcript: High-Performance Mindset for Overcoming Obstacles with Dina Cataldo
Any time we want something, we're going to encounter obstacles.
It's how we think about them that determines whether we overcome them or not.
Think about what you want to create in your life.
Got it? Good.
Have that in mind as you listen to this episode.
You're going to learn how to
– think about obstacles in the way high performance athletes think about them
– distinguish true obstacles from what we believe are obstacles to achieving our goal but are not
– uncover your specific obstacles, so you can knock them down one by one
And you'll want to listen all the way to the end because I talk about the biggest hurdle that you or any of us will face when it comes to creating a high-performance mindset.
This is one of the episode I recommend going back to and listening to a couple times. Especially if you're new to this work, just listening to this episode will help you make shifts.
On your way to achieving what you want: a loving relationship, a thriving practice, a lifestyle where you can enjoy time freedom, whatever it is, there will be obstacles.
Each obstacle is a game you must play.
Each game you play and win gets you one step closer to creating what you want.
I read a quote from Michael Jordan a while back. What he said was that when he was leading a team of players to the championship, he focused what they thought about. He told them never think about what's at stake. Just think about the one game you're about to play. Once they start thinking about who's going to win the championship, they'll lose their focus on the game in front of them.
Let me break this down further, so you can see how this applies to getting what you want.
When an athlete wants to win a gold medal, a championship, to be the best player of all time, they focus on one obstacle at a time.
That means they focus on one performance at a time, one game at a time, one gym session at a time.
They ask themselves powerful questions like:
– “What's one action I can take right now that will help this performance?”
– “How can I create the best odds of winning this game?”
– “What will help me the most towards my goal during this gym session?”
What they don't do is ask themselves “what if” scenario questions:
– “What if this performance is awful?”
– “What if I lose this game?”
– “What if this gym session isn't enough?”
They also don't focus on what's not a a real obstacle like:
– “That player is such a jerk.”
– “This game is going to be so hard.”
– “I really don't want to do this gym session.”
Other people, a game, a gym session aren't the obstacle, and they understand that.
The true obstacle is how they're thinking about them.
When we hear inspirational quotes, they've made their though processes second nature, which is why we believe it must be so easy for them.
We believe they've never complained or had a hard day.
They do. But they've practiced refocusing on what's most important to help them achieve their goal over and over until it becomes second nature.
Everything elite athletes think about are the most impactful actions in this moment that will help them in this moment in time because they've practiced thinking that way.
When you hear people talk about being present, this is how being present impacts achieving your goals.
When you hear people talk about enjoying the journey, this is how you enjoy the journey towards your goals.
Keep returning to the current obstacle at hand.
That's what happens when my clients hit the outcomes they want. They've practiced thinking about what's most important and it becomes second nature. That's why once you start seeing results you start to see them faster and faster. It's because they've learned to override their autopilot brain to come back to the present moment.
Once you start thinking about how you could be disappointed and never find a relationship, once you think about how hard it is to build your practice, once you think you're overwhelmed and don't know where to start, you've removed yourself from the present moment. You've removed the enjoyment from your journey.
If you think about what's at stake, you've lost the game.
Focus on the immediate game in front of you.
Here's an example of how this might show up while building your practice.
Let's say you have a monetary goal. You want to create $300,000 in your practice.
There will be obstacles.
First, you may not have a plan to attempt to get there. Maybe you have a plan to work day-and-night until it happens. That's not how I work, and that's not what I expect you're here for if you're listening to this podcast. Chances are you've done that before, and it worked for you to some extent. But you can't hustle your way to multiple six figures and beyond and expect to keep expanding. You must focus your time and attention differently or you will kill yourself and never have a life.
The first focus is creating a plan. A plan is really a guess at how you're going to hit your goal.
My favorite quote about plans right now is from the Flash. One of the characters says, “There are only four rules you need to remember, Make the plan, execute the plan, expect the plan to go off the rails, throw away the plan.”
This is true for business. We can have a great plan, but as we go along, we need to tweak it. Obstacle: Facebook ads don't work as expected. Tweak the plan. Obstacle: Consults don't sign up from the webinar: tweak the plan. Just keep refocusing on the game in front of you.
One of the obstacles you may have is not distinguishing true obstacles from what we think are obstacles but aren't.
When we don't intentionally look at our brain to distinguish what a true obstacle is from a false one, we can waste so much brainpower thinking about the false one that we never take action on the true one. If your brainpower is focused on the messy desk and what it means about you and how you never clean your desk and how you're never going to get through all this work, how you're behind, how you don't have enough time, then you can't focus your attention on the true obstacles to your goal.
The true obstacle in this scenario could be a few things: no or poor systems in place, taking clients or matters you don't really want to take, not charging enough for your work, not delegating, or all of the above. The reason you can't see it is because you just haven't trained your brain the way an athlete has trained their brain.
Another way of looking at this is that the messy desk is just a symptom of an obstacle you haven't tackled yet. OR more likely, you've been avoiding tackling your true obstacles because of what you think about creating systems, taking clients matters, how much you charge for your services, and delegating.
To tackle those obstacles, you must change how you think about them just like an athlete thinks about their true obstacles.
Athletes didn't pop out of the womb thinking the way they do. They had help finding their true obstacles and overcoming them. If you need help with this, I am the coach for you, and you should book a call with me ASAP. This is the work I do with my clients, and it's why they create the crazy results that they do. They keep their attention where it matters the most.
Simone Biles is another athlete who does this work on herself. She focuses on reconnecting with the feeling of fun in each gym workout and each performance she does. Does she have doubts? Yes. Does she get nervous? Of course. She has a human brain just like all of us. She has a plan, focuses on the one task at hand right now, and she takes it one step at a time. She knows in that moment she's going to be the best version of her that she can be.
When I start working with new clients, they do something that's the opposite of this, and we work on retraining their brain to see it's just a thought and not reality. What they do is they come to me with their goal, and they have a lot of thoughts about why it's never worked before, and it's never going to work because of all the things they've experienced in the past.
They haven't trained their brains yet to see that these are just thoughts and that they don't mean anything. Once we start working together, they begin to see things differently.
Let me share with you part of the process we work through together, so you can start applying it in your life.
Step One: I help them decide what they want.
Not what they think they should want. Not what they've wanted in the past. What they really truly want.
Step Two: Once we do that, then they decide what that means.
If you want a loving relationship, what does that mean to you? Get specific. Does that mean that your partner gets you flowers on your birthday? Does it mean they listen to you with rapt attention any time you open your mouth? Decide what it means to you.
How do you think you'll feel when you have that?
We focus on the feeling because we're motivated to want things based on how we think having them will make us feel. Will you feel loved? Important? Name the feelings you think you'll have when you get your desired result.
If you want a thriving practice, what does that mean? What does your practice look like? How much money do you want to create in a year? How many clients do you have? How much do you WANT to earn from matters? You get to decide. Don't listen to the part of your brain that says, “Well, what's realistic to expect is…” Michale Jordan and Simone Biles didn't achieve massive success because they were thinking about what's realistic for the average basketball player or gymnast, and neither should you! If you got the desired result, what would that look like?
How do you think you would feel when you had that result? Proud, accomplished, safe, relieved?
If you want time freedom in your business, what does that mean to you? The ability to travel whenever you want? The ability to pick up your kids after school? How do you think you'd feel when you had that result? Happiness, freedom, powerful?
Once we've dialed this in, we work on connecting them with the future version of them that has the outcome they want.
Step Three: We get inside her future version's head.
The athletes who create amazing performances have human brains just like us. The reason they achieve outsized results compared to the “average” player is because they had a focus on what they truly wanted. Then they kept focusing their brain on the most helpful thoughts that would help them overcome the obstacles. I walked you through some of those already.
They learned what thoughts were helpful and hurtful to their goals, and they practiced the helpful thoughts more than the hurtful ones.
Getting into the head of your future self who's already accomplished the goal helps you uncover the helpful thoughts and practice them.
We've already gone through some of the unhelpful thoughts, so I'm not going to repeat them, but I am going to take a deeper dive into them more in Step Four.
Step Four: In Step Four I help my clients uncover their true obstacles and anticipate them as bets we can.
Remember, each obstacle is a game you're playing. It's a match between the part of your brain that wants a specific outcome and your brain that's on autopilot. What determines the part of your brain that wins is the one that you practice the most. It's the one that you decide to make the strongest.
I say it that way because for a long time, I didn't think I had an option. My brain just did what it did. I had to decide to take start working out that part of my brain that wasn't used to being focused on a goal. I got help with that from great coaches along the way, but first I had to take a leap of faith in myself. I had to be so tired of not getting what I wanted that I was willing. Willing to do something different. And believing that I could figure anything out with enough help and enough practice.
Kobe Bryant is a great example of this. When he was missing free throws, he didn't tell himself, “Well, I guess I'm just not the kind of player who hits free throws.” He knew what his goal was and realized that this was just one obstacle that he needed to overcome. He knew he'd figure it out. We can't always anticipate the obstacles. Remember, we've got to tweak the plan along the way. So a new part of his plan became to analyze what was happening with his free throws and correct it, so he could get the easy points from the free throws. He looked at game playback, he saw his shots were perfectly in line with the basket, but they fell short, he saw other players free throws, he hypothesized that he needed stronger ankles to get the lift he needed to make the shots, he worked out his ankles in the gym. The result from believing that he could figure anything out is that he started hitting free throws.
If you haven't practices this work before, and even if you have — remember, we all have human brains — we can't always distinguish the true obstacles.
If your goal in $300K, you may think the obstacles are your messy desk; your clients, opposing counsel or judge; the amount of hours in the day.
When we connect with the version of ourselves who's already accomplished the goal, we can start seeing that none of those are a problem. The future version may say something like, I created systems, had criteria for matters I'm willing to take on, raised my prices to filter out clients, focus on myself instead of worrying about what other people are doing, prioritize tasks that are the most important now and not play on social media. Only you know for sure, so ask your future self what you did differently to accomplish your goal.
For any of your goals, connect with the future version of yourself who's already achieved the outcome you want, then ask what the obstacles were along the way.
Step Five: We discern between true obstacles and what their brain only thinks is an obstacle.
Step five can be tricky. This is probably the biggest hurdle when it comes to creating a high-performance mindset around obstacles.
We're trained by society to believe our problems are outside of us, so the brain naturally wants to blame what's outside of us for what we think has gone wrong.
If you've ever had a conversation with another human, then you know that everyone believes that if a person or organization behaved differently that the world would be a better place. If all of X items were eradicated from existence that the world would be a better place.
This en masse, societal thinking has been something we've practiced since childhood. If your parent ever told you that you should be nicer to Bobby because you hurt his feelings or you need to clean your room or mom or dad will be angry with you and take away your toys, you've learned that your actions had the power to make people feel a certain way.
Our actions aren't what create feelings.
Our thoughts create feelings.
Those feelings fuel our actions.
What we feel determines how we behave.
So when our partner is playing on their phone when we're talking, we truly believe that if he stopped playing on the phone we'd feel more loved.
When we look at our desk, and we feel overwhelmed, we truly believe it's the papers on the desk that's making us feel overwhelmed.
When we feel trapped, we truly believe that the job that we're at is the cause of feeling trapped and that we'd feel free if we weren't working there.
This runs deep. You're not alone if you've thought these things.
This is how you overcome these.
Whenever you feel something, know that it has nothing to do with the circumstances. You're having a thought about the circumstances. And that thought — your mindset — is the true obstacle. It's not a problem. Don't beat yourself up for having thoughts. That's not a helpful thought. Just begin to observe and be the watcher of your thoughts. Begin to discern thoughts.
If you want a loving relationship, the true obstacle isn't that they're on the phone. The true obstacle is how you think about your partner and yourself and how that impacts how you talk to and about your partner. The true obstacle isn't that there's 24 hours in a day. The obstacle is the thoughts your brain has about the time in the day and how that impacts how you prioritize your time. The obstacle isn't the dating website. It's how you think about the website and how that impacts how you use them.
If you want a $300,000 practice, the true obstacle isn't the papers on the desk, your to do list or the number of emails in your inbox. The true obstacle is how you think about your practice and how that impacts your desk and to do list. The obstacle isn't your clients, opposing counsel, or the judge. The obstacle is how you think about them and how that impacts how you show up on matters.
Same goes for creating a practice with more freedom. The obstacle isn't the job. It's how you think about your job and how that impacts how you show up in it. The obstacles isn't the boss. The obstacle is how you think about your boss and how you think about yourself in relationship to them. This impacts the willingness you have to have difficult conversations, to ask for what you want or even to go after what you want.
This was so good.
I know there's a lot here for you to digest. Listen to this episode again. It will start changing how your brain processes information and how you look at your obstacles.
Stay present. Enjoy the journey. Be willing to match up against your autopilot brain and practice what you learned here.
I have such appreciation for this work because I've seen how it changed my life and the lives of my clients.
When you're ready to take this work deeper, work with me. You can book a call with me at dinacataldo.com
Thank you so much for being here.
I love you, and I appreciate you.
Talk to you next week.