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April 25, 2021

S7 Ep04: Pressure, Performance and Resilience

Dave Alred MBE PhD

On this week’s episode of the WarriorU podcast, Bram and Trent are joined by high-performance Coach, Dr Dave Alred MBE PhD, to discuss how a positive mindset in sport can be transferred to business, leadership, and even parenting. By the end of the episode, you will understand how simple changes in language, thought and teaching process can help you and your team flourish.

A Glimpse of the Guest

Dr Dave Alred MBE PhD is widely acknowledged as one of the best coaches in the world, specialising in the mental preparation need to achieve high performance in high-pressure situations. Working with everyone from professional athletes such as Jonny Wilkinson and Luke Donald, to corporates, dolphin trainers, pilots, surgeons and skateboarders, Dr Alred aims to re-define people’s way of thinking and help them to realise their full potential. A motivational speaker and creator of the ‘No Limits Programme’, he is also the proud author of The Pressure Principal – a book about how to handle pressure in every aspect of your life.

Food for Thought

[2:57] “People don’t like failure and society today is very intolerant of failure. The ethos of work and commitment we aren’t really interested in. We would rather be cool and successful and talented and effortless. And I think that flies in the face of getting people to develop.”

Top Tips from this Episode

  • The definition of resilience and a good leader: While many people go through the motions of learning, their mind is focused on avoiding failure, rather than achieving their intention. Resilience is the ability to try again, despite having failed and despite the fear of failing again. “The best coach creates the environment that allows the player to totally commit to a process and fail with no loss of self-esteem”.
  • When coaching and when leading, empathy is crucial: When trying to teach a new skill, or change/reinforce a behaviour, you need to understand how that person’s mind works. Ask them: how did that feel? What went right? If you had that shot again, what would you do differently? And when they make a mistake, squash any feelings of failure. “If I want to teach you to goal kick, I have to understand your map of reality. Because your map is the only map that counts.”
  • Change your language, change your life: How you speak to yourself and how you speak to those you lead, matters. The human brain doesn’t work in deletions – don’t tell people what you don’t want them to do; tell them what you do want them to do! “Language is the oil that makes the engine work.”

Episode Highlights

  • Learn why teaching needs to be individualised: Using examples from his time coaching athletes, Dr Alred describes the difference between red thoughts (deliberate thoughts) and green thoughts (subconscious thoughts), and how these impact the way a person performs a certain task. The take away? Every person is different, and you need to adapt your feedback and language accordingly to instigate change [36:46] “When you give someone a conscious thing to do, subconsciously they do four or five other things.”
  • How to stop putting limits on your improvements: Improvement is what matters and your potential is limitless. Is the way you think about your own performance and the performance of your team putting a ceiling on your abilities? At [51:55], Dr Alred explains how people are using the wrong metrics to think about and measure their success. “There’s actually no limits to your improvement, at your margin.”

Top quotes

[5:38] “I ban the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’ – there’s no such thing as a good shot and there’s no such thing as a bad shot. But what we really look at is how much did that shot match your intention?”

[23:21] “Learning from zero is the deepest learning.”

[29:10] “If you don’t go to the point of no return where you are falling, you won’t jump far enough.”

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