Correcting a bad habit isn’t always easy. Figuring out and understanding the ‘why’ behind what is causing the bad habit is important. Getting motivated enough to stop the bad habit and align yourself is key. Coach Dana Cavalea, discusses what drives performance + techniques used to produce champions.

  • 2:24 – The similarities of coaching sports & business
  • 5:06 – Overcoming the doubts
  • 7:21 – How to ask for help
  • 8:50 – Finding your natural source of excellence
  • 13:17 – The life handbook to less self-doubt
  • 15:20 – Putting the ‘professionalism’ back into things
  • 16:48 – Champion kids become champion people
  • 27:33 – Breaking through the BS to get to the core
  • 32:42 – Managing the emotional state
  • 40:20 – Why companies should have strength & conditioning coaches
  • 43:37 – Keeping performance top of mind



Habits of a Champion – Dana Cavalea

Champion Kids: Johnny “The Jet” Saves the Day – Dana Cavalea

Full Episode Transcription :
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Todd: (02:35)
Dana, my man, thank you so much for coming on the show. Really excited to have you here.

Dana: (02:54)
Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

Todd: (02:56)
Yeah. So we’re going to dive right in. I know you’ve got a lot to share and I’m really excited to hear about some of the new stuff you’ve been up to and your, your book that’s out right now. But can you give whoever’s watching or listening an overview of, you know, quick overview of what you do and then really I want to, I want to go deep and find out sort of your why. Like, what has driven you to decide to focus on this for your career?

Dana: (03:22)
Yeah, yeah. So, you know, I spent most of my careers, the director of performance for the New York Yankees. You know, we won a championship in 2009. I had the opportunity to, to train and develop, you know, some of the greatest talent in the world. You know, guys like Jeter, A-Rod, Pasada you name it. And, you know, it was an unbelievable experience. Being able to work with that, that level of talent, that level of mind and, and just that, that type of person. So that was, that was pretty cool. And you know, in addition to working with these high level athletes, what started to happen was I started to get calls from high level business folks, you know, in the world of finance, wall street CEOs of different companies of different sizes. And I started to actually start to coach them.

Dana: (04:09)
They wanted to know what is it that you do with these high performers that have to show up, you know, and play 162 games plus playoffs with minimal rest. How do you get them ready every day? I need to be ready as well because let’s face it, business also is that that 365 day sport, you know what I mean? So, so I got pulled into the business space as well, having run some of my own businesses as well. It was a a great segue and partnership, if you will, between sports and business leaders and business leadership. So that’s, that’s kinda the, the origin of my story. I was also you know, when I got started, I started with the Yankees organization at 19 years old. I had to make my own decisions of whether I wanted to keep playing the game myself or if I wanted to get into coaching. I realized very quickly that my talent set was not good enough to play at the pro level, but I was good enough to become a coach because I required so much coaching as a young player who was trying to wring out the sponge and get every drop of talent out of my what, what major league baseball would classify as underperforming body and mind at the time.

Todd: (05:26)
Yeah, it’s awesome. It’s such a cool story to hear. And and as I’m talking, I’m flipping through your website just so people can see some of the companies you’ve worked with and the companies you’ve spoken to. But I’m, I’m taking a couple of notes already. This is, this is really interesting. So when you were in that moment well maybe it wasn’t a moment, maybe it was a phase where you realized, you know, you were good at what you did but not good enough. Did you ever have doubts that since you weren’t the best player in the world, like did you have doubts that you couldn’t coach people to be the best?

Dana: (06:04)
Yeah, I think doubt is a part of life. And I think anybody that says that they don’t have doubts is, is unrealistic. I mean, I’ve worked with, like I said, hall of fame players that have doubts. I’ve worked with billionaire CEOs that have built multiple billion dollar companies that have doubts. So to say that I did not have doubt, it would be an absolute lie and, an understatement. But there’s doubt. I have doubt every, every day. I think we all deal with that. It’s just how do we, how do we deal with that and do we allow that to become, you know, what, what either motivates us or what takes us away from where we want to go and what it is that we want to do and build.

Todd: (06:42)
Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s a really good point. And I think sometimes the fallacy is like when you, when you get an in, in contact with someone who is an expert, right? You’re working with, with Derek Jeter it’s total nonsense to think that he’s confident all the time. Right. And doesn’t have his own doubts.

Dana: (07:02)
Yeah. I mean, there’s days when I remember firsthand being up in Toronto and you know, we’d have to face two killer pitchers, you know, one in, in the late Roy holiday, and followed up by AJ Burnett, who would later join our team. And these elite players from, you know, a rod Jeter, all of them would say, I don’t an hour, we’re going to hit these guys today. They’re on, you know, and when those pictures are on, they’re very hard to hit. And people say, well, they shouldn’t talk like that. And if they didn’t talk like that, then they’d have a better chance. But sometimes you also have to be real and you know that the other guys bring it. It’s not that you don’t trust your talent, it’s just, it is what it is. You know, you go out, you give it your best. Some days you’re great, some days you stink. But the great thing about sports, the great thing about business and the great things about life is you get to go back out tomorrow and you get a redo oftentimes. So it is what it is.

Todd: (07:57)
Yeah, absolutely. So dive in a little deeper. I’m going to ask some questions that might sound really obvious or sort of awkward, but they’re, they’re phrased in a very particular way to draw out some of your core values. So here’s one. Why do you feel it’s important to help people improve themselves?

Dana: (08:19)
Well, I think why is, I think every person wants to, I think some people don’t know how to ask for that help at times. But I think it’s important that you realize that each person, no matter where they’re at in their life, has some area that they want to work on and be better at. Again, a lot of them don’t know how to ask for it. Others are wrapped up in their own ego and they feel like, you know, if I ask, it makes me look weak. So for me, if you can bring about great conversation with people, they’ll start to show you their hand and when they start to show you your head, their hand, that’s when you have a chance to engage at a deeper level with them and help work them through their own process and help them improve in that area that they may need improvement or, or strive for improvement. Or you may tell them, listen, you’re never going to improve there, hire somebody, you know?

Todd: (09:13)
Yeah, absolutely. From, from the people you’ve worked with on the actually be interesting to hear the difference between people who are in the sports world versus the business world. Do you see that I mean obviously there’s some natural born talent or ability, but do you find that the majority of people who are really successful are relying more on those natural talents or the mindset and just the, you know, deep desire to improve and to master their skill, whatever that skill may be?

Dana: (09:48)
I think it’s, it first starts with a doubled down on their talent. They know what their talent is and they go a hundred miles an hour at that talent, right? They know this is my talent. And they also most importantly know what is not my talent. They know what they’re great at and they also know what they’re not great at. And you have to make that distinction first in order to be great at anything. So once they recognize that, then they start to put the work in to their talent, right? They start to know, what does it take for me to maintain my talent and what does it take for me to elevate my talent to just another level, right? So when they figure that out, now that they know what they have to work on, where the people that I’ve worked with in the past that are less talented, naturally, they’re scattered, they’re working on everything. They’re, they’re using more of a spray tactic to try to get a little bit better here and a little bit better there. And therefore they end up being what I call them, mediocrity to them, you know in, in most things that they do because they’re so worried about being great at everything that they’re great at nothing. So they haven’t figured out where it is that their natural source of excellence lies.

Todd: (11:01)
Yeah. I love that. What am I, I loved him in these old timeless, like Chinese Proverbs and one of them, I don’t know if it was Confucius or someone else, but it’s man who chases two rabbits catches none. Right? Like I had to pick your rabbit.

Dana: (11:19)
Yeah. That’s the biggest issue I see with folks that are in business, especially, you know, entrepreneurs, those that are in, especially startups and even those that, that are starting to mature as a company. Sometimes they try to split in too many directions and ultimately they have some sort of a collapse that it always brings them back to their origination point. And sometimes the real artists coaching them back to origin and letting them know, if you double down on this, the results here will far exceed you spreading yourself so thin and trusting that. And believing it and sometimes have to take a flop in order to realize that. And you know, everybody learns differently. Some people it’s tough love and some people it’s, you know, they, they understand it, they see it and they’re quick to pivot. Others have to, like I said, go through the fire.

Todd: (12:08)
Yeah. I liked that. Go through the fire. When, when you said, winners know what they’re great at, right. They know what to double down on is do you run into people that are, that have a blind spot to it? Like it’s so it’s so innate in who they are and what they do that they don’t even see that that’s their number one talent. If that’s their one rabbit they should be chasing.

Dana: (12:34)
Yeah. I find, I actually find it’s kind of interesting, you know, when you start to work with people that have, have businesses that are doing hundreds of millions of dollars plus, right. Or they’ve shown immense success that you really don’t deal with that as much. Like when I coach individuals like that, that that never comes up. It’s usually coming up more with those that are you know, in that sub $10 million range in their business or sub 20. They’re just oftentimes it’s a little bit more confused. You know, they’re, they don’t trust what they’ve built. They don’t see where the momentum is coming from and where it’s being generated. They have trouble identifying what their their key performance key performers are in their own business. So I try to constantly reinvent and, and they try to create more profit centers and they forget that, Hey, I already have a main driver. I have a main entree, but I’m too focused on my side dishes. They’re trying to get the side dishes to catch the entree and it’s like, no more entrees, more entrees, more entrees. They’re here for the steak. Keep serving steak. Forget the mashed potatoes.

Todd: (13:44)
Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s really good. So is this, is this what you get into in your book? Is this a, is this a guidebook? Is it a book with step-by-step discovery processes that you lead people through? I mean, I’m, I’m on the page right now of your book. And there’s nine or 10 bullet points here. I guess the 15 lessons designed to help you win in every aspect of your life. I think it’d be, it’d be awesome just to go through some of these and pick out a few of your favorites you want to share today.

Dana: (14:17)
Yeah. You know, you know what it is. It’s more of a I call it a life handbook that helps you when you doubt yourself to doubt yourself a little bit less. That’s really what it is. Ultimately, you’re going to have situations come up. You’re going to have repetitive themes that come up. Can you get out of the way of these repetitive themes and redirect yourself? But there’s little rules in there. Like one that’s by Derek Jeter. He says, if somebody doesn’t respect your time, they don’t respect you. So I always say, listen, if there was $10,000 in that meeting that you want to blow off, would you show up or would you blow it off? We, we, it’s just a simple lesson, but it has to goes back to a time when, when I was working with Derek and you know, I got stood up by a player at the gym, very simple. And he, Derek was the guy I had to work with afterward. He said, what are you doing here so early? And I said, I was waiting for so-and-so. And he said, let me tell you a lesson about life. If somebody doesn’t respect your time, they don’t respect you, and he has a very, very tight relationship with time. If you abuse his time, take advantage of his time and don’t respect his time, you’re in trouble. So, you know that’s

Todd: (15:32)
I think it’s great. You know, and I agree. I think, you know, setting, setting parameters and establishing the fact that your time is really valuable with whoever you’re meeting. I mean, it’s not just time, it’s just a, it’s a representation of how you should be in a lot of areas of your life. Right. sort of, you know, have integrity in what you do and what time you book with people. And you know, easier said than done sometimes, but you know, it’s, it’s the saying how you do anything is how you do everything, right? If people are going to be two minutes late for a meeting with you, then how are they going to, how are they going to treat other aspects of your relationship? Right?

Dana: (16:18)
Yeah. And, and, and listen things, things come up, you know, but, but a guy like him, for example, if he was running 10 minutes late to his training session, he’s, he’s not texting and he’s calling you and telling you, Hey, here’s where I’m at and here’s the audible that I’m thinking. What are you thinking? It’s a conversation, right? So it’s just pro, it’s just being professional. And I think we’re in a space of time right now where that word professional, I don’t hear it that much actually. I hear athletes, I don’t hear professional athletes. I hear business people, but I don’t hear professionals. And I think that’s kind of a big issue that, that I see is like whatever you do, whether you work out of a coffee shop or you work out of a fortune 500 corporate office, you’re a pro. So you better act like that. And, and I’ve just spent a lot of time helping people realize how important that is.

Todd: (17:10)
Yeah, it’s awesome man. I’m, I’m drawn, I know I’m going to jump off topic of the main book here, but funny enough, my, my six year old who just started kindergarten today, his name is Johnny. So your book champion kids, Johnny, the jet saves the day. I just can’t, I can’t avoid asking about it. Can you talk a little bit about some of the things we just went into about, you know, being a professional and, and how you’ve taken those things and related them to, to this kid’s kid series, this children’s book series?

Dana: (17:44)
Yeah, no, I, yeah, absolutely. So that book comes out September 15th. We’re doing a preorder now, but yeah, Johnny, the jet saves the day is, you know, I see, I see. Often times you know, when I work with executives and leaders, they’re always complaining about their people, right? And it’s like, well, you’ve got to realize so many people that never actually been developed, their talent hasn’t been cultivated or developed. So you can’t expect people to just show up and be great all the time. There will be all stars that do that, but they’ll also be a lot of people that need coaching. They need development, they need a talent cultivation. So I realized, well, what better place to start? I always say champion kids become champion people. And if we could start teaching kids these lessons at a young age, it would be great. But like what is the Dale Carnegie series for kids? What is, you know, the rich dad, poor dad series for kids?

Todd: (18:40)

Dana: (18:41)
So I said, how can I create these sports-based characters that are basically going through different scenarios in life and learning what it’s like to deal with adversity through the book, deal with some problems in hardship, but also in the same book, learn how to overcome those things. And that’s what I, I’ve built, you know, champion kids on and champions kids is going to be a series. And the first book is Johnny, the jet saves the day. It’s about a kid that goes to school, he gets a baseball player, he’s going to a baseball game, he gets knocked off his bike and beat up when he’s on the way to the game. How does he handle that situation? And, and it takes you through that journey and it’s good lesson for kids. And it’s also subliminally some great messaging for adults as well.

Todd: (19:30)
Yeah, I love it. I mean, I’m going to get it immediately. So, so that’s what’s, what’s the age range? What is it? I saw on Amazon briefly, but what’s, what’s the reading level? Is this for kids to read or for parents to read to their kids?

Dana: (19:46)
It’s either or. I’ve had some parents read it to their kids and then for kids that are like, I think around 10 to 12 years old, they could probably read it themselves.

Todd: (19:55)
Got it. Got it. All right, cool. Yeah. Well anyone listening, or watching, you know, let’s, let’s jump on it. And grab a, grab a copy. I love it. Champion kids become champion people. You know, one of the things I focus on a lot here is, is the corporate environment and teams and, and getting people engaged. So, you know, I’m, I’m really curious from your background. I have a, I have an interesting question that comes up and I’ll, and I’ll phrase it as if it’s just a binary decision, but you know, a lot of people fall somewhere in the middle. I’ve got some former clients and friends that I’ve worked with. One of which comes to mind is Joe De Sena, who’s the CEO of Spartan. And Joe is a master of resiliency. But what he’s, what he’s built his entire company on is making people suffer in order to learn and like realistic, really, they suffered to learn how easy life can be when they’re not suffering, right.

Todd: (20:51)
And learn what they’re capable of. But you know, he has a way of smiling through that pain. Like nobody else I’ve ever met. I mean literally you look at all the pictures of him, he’s, you know, under barbed wire fences and climbing the great wall of China in a thunder and lightning storm and he’s got a big grin on his face. Right. But I bring it up because I think there’s two, there’s two very different ways you can teach. You can teach someone through suffering and pain or you can make something really fun and engaging and enjoyable. Right. And you can learn in both of those. What’s what’s your thought on what, which one of those works better or maybe works better for certain times or certain people?

Dana: (21:34)
Yeah, it’s an, it’s an interesting question. Kinda for me, it’s like, are you motivated by positive or are you motivated by negative?

Dana: (21:43)

Yeah. A lot. A lot of people say, Hey, positive, positive, positive. But I’ll tell you what, I’ve met a lot of guys that grew up in the projects of Brooklyn that they’re motivated by. I never want to go back there ever again. And that’s, that’s a pretty negative thing to be motivated by. So they live, you know, they run their companies, they run their businesses with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. And you know what if you don’t like that, don’t work for me. That’s the way they look at it. They are looking for other guys that are running with a chip on their shoulder too. And there’s a great special on Netflix called Muse that’s with Kobe Bryant. He said, listen, I tried to be positive and be that positive leader on the court. He says, but I, I’m not that, I’m not that.

Dana: (22:26)
He said, I go on the court and rage. That’s what I do. And I look for other people on my team to channel their rage while they’re on the court. He’s like, so that’s what works for me. So I, I think we have to really believe or understand what are we individually motivated by and filled our teams with people that have that same kind of motivation. Like, if you’re an overly you know, motivated by the chip on your shoulder, negative guy, and you build a team of people that need a lot of positive feedback and a lot of positive motivation, you’re never going to win. And I gotta tell ya. So many people in business consultants, authors, they, they create this ideal work environment that’s based on hugs and handshakes. And listen, when we won the world series, guys would fight each other in the clubhouse arguments.

Dana: (23:16)
There was tension, but that tension was always dealt with. And those same guys were at dinner the same night potentially. It’s just sometimes in life there’s conflict and you gotta address it. So the long and short of it is you’ve got to find out what motivates you as a leader and build a team with people that have that similar motivation and, and work off a similar operating system. Everybody’s different, but the operating system should be the same cause you can’t motivate unmotivated people. There’s, there’s certain things you can’t do, but, but ultimately you got to find what somebody operating system is and it should align with you, the founder, the leader or the manager. And that’s the best way to have a great team.

Todd: (24:01)
Yeah. Yeah. I think, I think there’s some, some real wisdom to that. A friend of mine who was on the podcast years ago with a, for, for the first season is a guy named Dave Logan and Dave wrote a couple of few, few books. One of which is there is most well known is tribal leadership. And last I spoke with him, he was working on a new book called the dark side of leadership. And he talks about this exact same issue. He says, you know, you can’t, it can’t just be butterflies and rainbows, right? Like you need to have an outrage. You need to be completely pissed off about something that you will not rest until you fixed that thing or addressed it or taken a stand. And I think that’s, you know, the chip on your shoulder idea is that you know, if everything is just happy and, and wonderful, you can just chill out, right? It doesn’t really drive a lot of action. So.

Dana: (25:03)
Yeah, it doesn’t, you know, challenges and problems oftentimes, you know, create, you know, very quick decision making. They create a lot of movement and a lot of, you know, gathering where everybody’s moving towards, you know, a solution, you know. So sometimes everyone says, I’m trying to have a business that has no problems. It’s like, well, first of all, no, there is no business that doesn’t have problems. I know guys, again that run massive hedge funds that oversee billions and billions of dollars. They have a lot of problems. But there, that’s just a part of business. And I know startups that have a lot of problems. So I don’t think that there’s ever a business that doesn’t have problems. It’s like business equals problems. Entrepreneurs, CEO, leader equals fireman. And it’s your job to put out fires really all day long as you move yourself closer to where it is that you want to go.

Todd: (25:55)
Yeah. So when, when you are working with people whether or not they’re, you know, motivated by fun and the carrot or the stick or works better with them, how do you, how do you make learning and growth stick? Like what, what do you do to, to, to make something resonate with someone or be impactful enough that it actually takes hold of, of them and makes a permanent impact?

Dana: (26:24)
Yeah. Well, well the first part is of of any kind of coaching journey is you get right to the core of things and you make sure that that person is not bullshitting themselves. And that’s, that’s the reality because a lot of people, you know, they kind of put their perfect foot forward or that, you know, they’re stepping with the ride and here I am and they give you their perfect pitch and perfect presentation. What I, what I’ve learned is nobody’s got a perfect pitch or presentation. And when you get under that layer, that’s when you can really start helping somebody. You can’t change habits if somebody thinks their habits are perfect, even though in their subconscious they know that they’re not perfect. So, so the first thing we do is we take a chisel and we take a hammer and we crack that exterior and then we start rebuilding.

Dana: (27:11)
You know, we, we take somebody that’s open their mass, their guard, their shell is now broken. And then we start actually talking real, real life, real business real goals, real vision, real mission. What are you all about? What is it you really want to do? And I’ll tell you what, so many people are doing things that they don’t even want to do. So that’s a pretty good place to start realigning that person and figuring out what it is that they actually want to do. And then we get them in gear and get them moving again. It’s an important part of, of the coaching process. So it’s a little bit of tough love but, but ultimately if you want to correct habits a simple way to change bad habits to stop doing bad habits, right, just stop. But the question is why can’t, why can’t people stop? And usually it’s because there’s other things that are not aligned. They’re out of alignment and they’re using those bad habits to cope with something that’s going on internally.

Todd: (28:17)
How do you, how do you get through? Is there anything like real tactical and relatively simple, probably simple, not easy. Anything that you can explain as a way to kind of crack through that shell or break through the BS to get to the core?

Dana: (28:31)
Well, you know, the first thing I do with people, you know, whether you’re a professional athlete or you’re a professional business person, is that I have you fill out an assessment evaluation, just asking you a bunch of questions and, and how you answer those questions. I’ve been doing it long enough where I could start to see where you’re actually at. So I, I, I get you to do that. And then I jump on the phone with you for 20, 30 minutes and we talk. And usually when people talk, if you ask the right questions, they’ll start to show again, different sides of, of who they are. And it comes down to asking the right questions based on some of their answers. And you go deeper and deeper and then you start to see who they really are, what they’re really thinking. And that becomes step one.

Dana: (29:17)
And you know, oftentimes when I, when I do interviews and things like that, people are looking for dislike super formula. And I’m like, listen, if you’re looking for that, like I’m not a marketing guy. I don’t have that formula. What I do is I talk to people and I get to know what it is that they’re, what they’re all about, what it is they want. You know, and by working through that process, that’s how you actually help people. I mean, that’s how you coach people at the highest level. You, you get to the core. And the tactic is, I mean I feel there’s some people that have empathy. There’s some people that are great communicators and there’s some people that really belong behind computers and not interacting with people. It’s okay, you just gotta you take a, a poor communicator behind the scenes person and you’re asking them to be a great manager, leader, coach there it’s going to be very difficult for them to get those answers that I’m talking about. Right. Just like, it would be difficult for me to be more of a behind the scenes person.

Todd: (30:20)
Yeah. Well it sounds like you’re, you’re super high touch, right? Like you really get in there and get your conversations. Is there anything, you know, like how do you scale that? How I mean I guess you, you talked to large audiences, but is, is any part of what you do scalable? Can you, can you turn it into like your assessment? Can that be some sort of digital assessment that a manager can give to their team?

Dana: (30:54)
Yes. Something that I’m working on now cause it’s a good question. It’s very hard to scale like this part of what I’m talking about because it’s so intimate. You know, I can scale it one of two ways. And, and the future will bring this for me cause I’m, I’m working on developing this part. One is actually finding people that have those natural high touch desires and tendencies and certifying them as coaches that can do that. That’s number one. But number two is I’m working on something called the performance leadership Academy, which will deliver this sort of content thought provoking content as well as exercises that go alongside the content to companies and organizations that they could you know, issue out to their managers leaders as well as their employees. So what I, what I do would that the goal is to put, put the tools in the hands of leadership, but also put the tools in the hands of everybody else that’s there so they could start working on themselves. Sometimes people don’t want to listen to their superior, it’s just what it is. But they’ll listen to an outside voice and as long as they’re working on themselves, it’s all good.

Todd: (32:09)
Yeah. And what do you see like that? That’s a great point. That, that last statement you just made it and thanks for sharing all that. It seems like, it seems great. I’d love to maybe after the show you know, as you develop, what is it, the performance leadership, what was it called?

Dana: (32:25)
Leadership Academy. Yeah. Performance Leadership Academy.

Todd: (32:27)
Yeah. I’d love to share that. You know, I’ll put anything in the show notes that you have for that or you, we can circle back when you’re, when you’re further down the path there. But you mentioned some of the very, the very statement was, you know, it’s important like for people that want to work on themselves, how do you, how do you, two questions, how do you find people that already have that? And if you’re already running a large company, you know, some of the listeners are executives or owners of, of much bigger corporations. If you already have a team and you know, it happens all the time, where a bunch of those people, they just haven’t ever had that drive. Right. Or at least not had it as it relates to their work environment. How do you instill that or how do you light that up in someone sort of an ownership thinking or growth mindset?

Dana: (33:17)
Yeah, I think it’s two part. It’s, you know, there are people that just, that, that don’t have that, you know, they’re just, they want to come, they want to do their job, they want to leave, you know, they’re more concerned with the security of the gig. And listen, every company needs people like that. You know.

Todd: (33:32)
The soldiers their workers, they get the job done and get out of there.

Dana: (33:40)
Exactly. I would say you can’t have all chiefs. You need some Indians. So, so you gotta have those Indians that want to show up. The goal is to make them feel good every day. So how do you make somebody feel good? Well, first you got to know what makes them feel good. So, you know, it makes people feel really good to just even oftentimes be recognized by leadership. But how many, you know, CEOs you know, executive team members actually, you know, engage people below them or are they so caught up in their next meeting and their next scheduled event that they don’t understand how coming by somebody’s desk and asking them how they’re doing, how far that actually goes. You know, they get caught up in their own, you know, zone and they sit up on the swipe access, you know, sixth or 10th floor and they never come down to meet those Indians and meet those soldiers.

Dana: (34:33)
So that’s a great way to start motivating people. You tell someone, Hey, you’re doing a great job. You know, not every day, but you let somebody know that they’re going to feel good. That’s gonna, that’s gonna have some carry on it. And that’s really what I found to be a great way to do it. Or send that impromptu email or that note. Or you have a conversation with somebody in the, in the food room at a lunch room. You hear something, maybe you send them a book or you send them something relevant to that conversation. So much of getting the most out of your people is managing people’s emotional state, but you gotta know what that state is. You got to know what motivates them, drives them, and excites them. And it doesn’t always have to be, you know, done through a personality test or a disc assessment or a Gallup, you know, you can just ask somebody how they’re doing and then shut up and listen.

Todd: (35:27)
What do you, do you see anything that people do that really just negatively impacts their team? Right? Like maybe just unknowingly, like you listed some really great stuff there. Just about, you know, small comments, showing appreciation. Even you heard some of them talking about something, a book that you think they would care about that would make an impact. But is there anything that people commonly do that just totally screws up their relationship or demotivates someone on their team? 

Dana: (35:59)
Yeah, I think it’s a, you know, there’s always a couple things, but one big thing is like I find is meetings like up, we’ve got another meeting and ah, here he goes again. Oh, here she goes again. And it’s like that classic meeting after we didn’t hit our sales goals or we didn’t hit our, you know, desired achievement level and it’s immediate meeting. It’s like what I call in my book a crisis meeting. People don’t need another crisis meeting. They need to have the meeting that prevents the crisis, you know, and then actually meet and give people objectives and hold them accountable to those suggested objectives. You know, so that, that’s kind of, you know, a big thing is like, stop meeting, don’t become white noise to your people and don’t become so predictable to your people where it’s like, God, we didn’t, hit our numbers meeting and then some BS rollout of how we’re gonna, you know what I mean? People don’t want that anymore. So figuring out other ways to motivate people and understand them is, is, is super important. That, that’s something that I think could really help an or an organization. 

Todd: (37:12)
Yeah. Can I have, I have so many questions I could ask you just cause you have got this really interesting experience with the corporate and then like literally physically, you know, working with people that rely on their physical abilities to, to win what, you know, what, what are some things that they cross over the barrier there, right? There’s a, there’s a great quote by a guy named Jay Abraham. I don’t know if you’re familiar with him and marketing wizard. He’s, he’s a great guy and he has a quote, he says, you know, something as simple as a dirt clod in one industry can go off like a nuclear explosion in another. So is there something from the sports world that you see highly, highly impactful in the corporate world and most people don’t realize or haven’t come across?

Dana: (37:58)
Yeah, it’s two parted. Like I do a lot of corporate speaking and like I said, a lot of corporate coaching and bringing a a no nonsense attitude to those worlds is something that they’re not used to because they’re filled with nonsense and they’re filled with BS and pacifying and just, it’s so many companies say, Oh, we’re just like a sports team and you’re not even close to a sports team. Because in a sports team we actually tell people how we feel. We actually aren’t afraid of conflict. We’re actually not trying to just cover our ass, we’re going after it. So that’s the big difference. So bringing a sports, a real sports mentality accompanies is something that works really well on the other end. You know, I always say like, what does it take to win? You need energy, energy wins. So in sports, what do we do to gain more energy and get more energy? We train, we get in great physical shape, physical condition. We don’t do that by using some BS, you know, wellness program where we’re counting steps during the day. Like we actually put our people on a training program because we know the better condition they are physically, the better condition they’ll be mentally and that yields great results in the world of sports and also in the world of business.

Todd: (39:15)
No wait, are you, are you speaking literally about training? Are you speaking about physical training or training for skill sets in the workplace?

Dana: (39:24)
No, no, no, no. I’m talking about training your physicality.

Todd: (39:26)
You’re talking about actual physical?

Dana: (39:31)
Yeah. I’m talking about training your workforce and getting your workforce in shape to play the most competitive sport in the world, which is the sport of business, right? I can’t afford you to be out of shape in any way, mentally, physically, skillset, etc. So why is it that oftentimes in companies they just forego the physical box. It’s like, ah, you know, we’re going to work on mindset. We’re going to bring in a communications expert. We’re going to bring in this, you know, you know, motivational speaker, but you can’t motivate people that are physical wrecks. How do you motivate somebody like that? That’s more blood pressure medication. And pills pumping through their body that are all have side effects of actually slowing you down and causing negative issues, you know, in terms of performance. So that’s why I think it’s a part of the equation that oftentimes is overlooked. You know, when I, when I work with CEOs and executives prime, we’ve got to get them prime. I got to get your physically strong, mentally strong and ready to play. 

Todd: (40:34)
Yeah, that’s awesome. 

Dana: (40:34)
Ready to lead. 

Todd: (40:36)
If you’re working with a company that you know up until this point has not focused or not prioritize physical fitness or just developing that core physical strength, they can lead to business success. What do you, where do you start?

Dana: (41:18)
Yeah, no. For me, I, I would say it, it starts with why. Right? You know, and staying on line with what we’re talking about is why is that not a priority to that company? Right? So many people are saying, how do I get more out of my people? Do I get elevated performance? And they neglect, like I said, that physical side of things. That’s a really important part. I’ve always said, much like pro sports teams have strength and conditioning coaches on the staff. Companies should have strength and conditioning and performance coaches on the staff to make sure that their team is ready and prepared to play in anybody. That’s not, that’s a problem, right? That should be something that’s reported and something that should be considered a for change. Yeah. This is split business is serious stuff. Business is about winning. Business is about growth.

Dana: (42:09)
Business is about, it’s not about friends and, and, and just putting ping pong tables in the middle of your, you know, office to buy people’s allegiance and it’s not what it’s about. It’s, it’s, it’s about a commitment to a mission and vision and goal that’s bigger than yourself. And aligning the right people towards that goal. And if people can’t, can’t cut it, then, then they have to go. In sports we just cut people. If you can’t, if you can’t get the job done, I got somebody else right behind you that can, you got to go. Yeah. Think about how motivated that makes you when you know that your paycheck is not guaranteed and somebody right behind you to steal it.

Todd: (42:47)
Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think that’s, that is something you, you can probably only get from a few environments. One is sports, right? You know, someone’s chomping at the bit to take your spot at any moment. It’s also if you run your own business or you’re a commissioned sales rep, right? Like it’s, it’s up to you whether or not you get your next paycheck. And you don’t just sit back and hang out and play ping pong. Yeah. It’s very much in alignment with, you know, just one of the themes is, is play to win. It’s not, it’s not play the play all right. Right, right. There’s a purpose of who actually wouldn’t give off a, you know, the physical aspect I think is probably one of the most overlooked, overlooked beneficial activities in companies, especially these days cause everyone, myself included is behind a computer almost all day long. Right. so the leaders yeah, it’s, it’s important and, and really overlooked. Well this is great.

Dana: (43:55)
Yea, something as simple as, as a, yeah, something, something as simple as a little bit of a stretch routine for people. I mean, you sit at a computer all day, your flow of energy is, is definitely going to become stagnant, right? Cause you’re not moving back joints. Everything starts to get locked up, you know, and if you start to have any sort of pain now your attention is focused on your pain and discomfort and no longer focused on the work.

Todd: (44:18)
Yeah. Well, awesome stuff. Well, I will link to the page. I think this is a great spot to wrap up. Is there anything else that it’s top of mind for you that you want to cover before we share a little bit about how can get in touch with you if they want to bring you in to speak or work with their team?

Dana: (44:35)
I just say, you know, you got to keep performance front of mind. If you’re not getting the results that you want from yourself, from your team, from your leaders, realize that, that there’s changes that could be made to help you get those results that you want. Sometimes we get stuck in our own patterns. We start actually we get tripping over our own trip wires. These things that constantly trip us up. It’s repetitive, so you just have to kind of course correct and sometimes, and what I found most of the times it’s very hard to do that on your own because of those blind spots because of your own ego. And what I will say about pro athletes, these guys are so receptive to coaching that they almost can’t do it alone. They rely on great coaches to be around them. And I said, if they rely on it to perform at the highest level, so should business people.

Todd: (45:24)
Yeah. Yeah. Fantastic. Dana, thank you so much. So where can people follow up? Is it your main site? Is that where everyone should go to if they want to get more involved or grab a copy of your book?

Dana: (45:37)
Yeah, is kind of my home base. You can get to YouTube and all that. I also do a daily blog that you can get on there and it talks a lot about this stuff. And I’m there on the site and they’re also on Amazon. So

Todd: (45:50)
And that C A. V. A. L. E. A. So Dana D. A. N. A. C. A. V. A. L. E. A. Dana, that was awesome. Thanks so much for taking the time and we got some great notes here. Thanks for sharing all, all you do. Really appreciate it.

Dana: (46:07)
You got it. Thanks so much.

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