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Hall of Fame Mindset & the Science of Visualization

Mindset &Visualization: Keys to Greatness



Qualk (from WCCP 105.5 FM) and I, discuss the mindset that separates the Hall-of-Famer from the rest of the pack, including breaking down the 4 -tracks of thinking:

1) Auto-pilot: Disengaged, life is a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get

2) Negative: Ruminating on past mistakes, always anxious and expecting the worst outcome possible – reroutes your brain’s neurons away from focus, attention and motor control, and releases cortisol and other hormones into the body sending it on a track of sleeplessness, lethargy, fat storing and stress-related diseases.

3) Positive: Better than negative mindset, but can produce bad results – everything is NOT always sunshine, flowers, waterfalls and unicorns.

4) World Class Mindset: Utilizes CRITICAL THINKING skills, separates emotion from the decision making equation and relies on logic, has an execution-based focus, does not pay attention to stats, the scoreboard, or accolades.  This mindset reroutes the neural connections to bypass the reward center of the brain and sends signals to the areas directly controlling motor function.

Qualk and I, also discuss the science (biopsychology) behind Visualization and how creating an IMAX-quality movie clip of how you want to perform gets your body and your mind lined up to produce the results you desire.


Your Attitude is Yours and Yours Alone

“If I were immersed in constant melancholy, I would not be who I am.”
Elie Wiesel

attitude is a choice

Back in 2001, I was assigned to provide personal security for Auschwitz survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel. It was during the Days of Remembrance ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. After the event, I escorted Mr. Wiesel to his limousine. He asked about me, did I have a family, what were the children’s ages, etc. It was an amazing experience to be inside his space for that short period of time.

When we arrived at his car, he shook my hand, thanked me and asked if there was anything he could do for me. WOW! I told him there was one thing he could do, he could share with me how he made it through the Holocaust and yet was so kind and sincere, without a trace of bitterness.

“No prison, no tyrant, no war criminal, no dictator or persecutor can touch your attitude. They can destroy your body, but your attitude is yours, and that is what defines you.”

With that, he squeezed my hand, got into the limo and my time inside his space was over – but the impression will last a lifetime. Our attitude is our choice. It is the last bastion of freedom, a fortress that no human can breach, unless we open the gates from the inside.

Every situation doesn’t call for a “positive” attitude, for example in the midst of getting shot at, I have never found myself thinking “sunshine, waterfalls and unicorns” about those doing the shooting. Use your power to choose your attitude wisely, and deploy it strategically. But whatever you do, don’t open the gates to your citadel and abdicate your choice to others or outside circumstances, don’t give anyone or anything that power over you.

Your attitude is yours and yours alone.
Boo yah!

Give the Loaf Back

“Half a loaf is better than none.”  –John Heywood (c.1497-1580)

“Half a loaf sucks compared to owning the bakery”  — Andrew Wittman (circa right now)


How much is your dream worth to you? Would you consider giving up your dream for a job offer that was “too good to refuse”, or at least good enough to make you comfortable?

Maybe you already have sold your dream for the proverbial half a loaf. If you have accepted the half a loaf, you can either stop reading now and enjoy what’s left of the crust for the rest of your life, or read own, re-dream, and give the loaf back.

I have refused many such offers of the “half loaf”.  I’ve even walked away from some “whole loaf” offers, (to the angst of my wife).  The price of my dream is so high, almost no amount of money, comfort, “security”, benefit package, or safety net would be enough.  It’s unthinkable to me to give it up, and waste my one shot at life, building somebody else’s dream at the expense of my own.  Or worse, simply in the service of somebody who has already achieved their dream, living life as a hired gun, managing their headaches, whilst they play in the sun.

I don’t believe half is better than none.  I believe settling for half when you could have the entire bakery is worse than none.  If I walk away with none having risked going for the bakery, so be it.  You can get half a loaf at anytime, anyplace, without any effort.  How do I know? Just look around, we are surrounded by folks (maybe even glance in the mirror) gnawing on the “effortless half a loaf”.

I’d rather have none and have gone for my dream.  The half a loaf is crap, even the full loaf is crap.  Go for the bakery, if you fail, you can stand at the off-ramp of the interstate with a “Will Work For Food” sign, not mean it, and still come away with a full loaf.

Boo Yah!

Mirror, Mirror…

Don’t Mistake Bringing Clarity For Being Confrontational


As a Critical Thinking and Mental Toughness Consultant, I have been accused of being confrontational, nothing could be farther from being accurate. Often, bringing clarity, by offering a path to objective reality, is mistaken for being confrontational. In my role as a consultant, I offer a question or a series of questions for the client(s) to ask themselves. I don’t ask the questions to them, I offer them questions to ask themselves. And there is no right or wrong answer, no accusations, and no moral judgments attached.

In Mental Toughness we strictly judge results, e.g. Ask yourself:

Is my attitude helping me or hurting me?
Is not going to the doctor for a checkup helping me or hurting me?
Am I deluding myself in any area of my life? (Health, Career, Relationships, Finances, etc.)

Many times over, I have had clients react to the clarity they hired me to bring, by lashing out, “You should be nurturing and not so confrontational. We didn’t have these problems until you came here.”

As my wife’s sweet Southern Belle Grandmother would say, “Bless their darlin’ hearts.” That’s akin to going to the doctor for a physical and being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and blaming the physician, “I didn’t have Diabetes before I came to you!”

I can remember sitting in a series of meetings with a guy who said at least 6 times that he had twenty CEO’s lined up to present a project he was working on. Finally, after two months of these claims, someone asked him who they were, could he name them, or at least the companies. “Twenty” CEOs became “two” CEOs, and he immediately began complaining that folks were being confrontational.

Like the Queen in the fairy tale “Snow White”, no one likes to take an honest look in the mirror and have it point out anything unflattering, myself included. However, the momentary sting of objective reality has become something I crave, for without it, no problem can be solved –
Not in my health (not eating right or excising and then avoiding the doctor’s diagnosis doesn’t mean I’m healthy),

Not in my business (just because a customer says their word is their bond doesn’t mean I don’t get it in writing),

Not in my marriage (not putting my spouse first, like I affirmed in my marriage vows, can be spun anyway I want… but why should I think that approach would work? Divorce stats answer that question. And oh, by the way, not getting married and avoiding the vows, is like avoiding the doctor, the “divorce” still hurts, and Type II Diabetes can still kill you),

Not in my relationship with my kids (buying them stuff but not keeping my word and being there for them isn’t creating trust),

Not in my finances (still having available credit on my Visa to spend is not being prosperous).

Asking for clear, relevant, accurate and precise information isn’t being confrontational, it is critical thinking, it is objective reality, it is the basis and foundation of wise decisions that bring worthy and valuable results.

The mirror ain’t wrong, so don’t blame anyone else for what you see staring back at you. Oh, an avoiding the mirror, like the doctor, isn’t going to make you not have what you don’t want to see.

Boo Yah!

It’s All Relative, Sweetheart!

“There’s always a bigger fish.” – Qui-Gon Jinn


The first time I remember becoming aware that what I thought was “big”, was relative, I was in Honduras. It was early 1990 and I was deployed on a counter-terrorist op. As we were moving from the airfield to our bivouac area, I noticed a big hilltop estate, completely walled and gated. It was adorned with a huge satellite dish (an old school dish, the kind that pre-dated Direct TV and Dish). I asked our translator who the lavish villa owner was, surely a plantation owner or corporate big wig.

“Huh, that house up there? That’s the house of a retired U.S. Navy Chief.”

“What?” The mansion and estate was owned by a retired E-7, the same pay-grade as a Marine Corps Gunny? Full retirement pay for a Gunny, at that time, was about $2000 a month. What is NOT that big in the U.S. ($24,000 annual income), was HUGE in Honduras. That Chief figured it out, and he’s not the first; I ran into several hundred of those guys in the Philippines.

On the other side of the coin, during the time I was personally protecting one of the richest families in the world, I was assigned to the wife during a shopping trip to Manhattan. Prada, Bottega, Louis Vuitton, were just a few stops on the tour of seemingly endless luxury boutiques. Places where the retail clerk wears white cotton gloves to handle the merchandise from the display case, or off the shelf.

After hours of careful study, my protectee had decided on a handbag, it was ostrich skin. Oh, the price? $30,000.00 (yeah, you read that right, 30 GRAND). The wife looked at me during checkout and said, “You know Andrew, that’s somebody’s mortgage payment.” (And in the circle she travels in, it most likely was – in my circle, more like the price of a car.) For her, it wasn’t even like two hundred dollars. It’s all relative – the business empire, built by her husband, produces over a thousand dollars each and every second, of each and every day, and doesn’t take any days off.   (How he built that from literally nothing is a case study in itself.)

Does that shock you? Bother you? Did you find yourself saying, “I would never spend that much on a handbag!”?

Did the Navy Chief’s story shock you? Bother you? (The local Hondurans were thinking about the chief’s house, the same way you were just thinking about the handbag.)

Most of the entire planet lives on less than two dollars a day, they would most likely be shocked and bothered by your purchases and life style as well. As Haymitch, from the Hunger Games would say, “It’s all relative, sweetheart.”

I choose to aspire to being able to buy my wife such a purse, instead of decrying the extravagance of it. Just as my two cars and my 3000 sq. ft. house, with two flat screen TVs and indoor plumbing is extravagance to most of the population of Earth.

The next time someone (or you) use language like, “This is a really difficult problem,” or that something is “Expensive,” – try asking (out loud) “Compared to what?”

Boo yah!

Inconsistently Consistent?

“To be a consistent winner means preparing not just one day, one month or even one year – but for a lifetime.”

Bill Rodgers – Marathon Man


One of the saddest things to witness as a coach, is seeing a client do totally awesome for several months, lose body fat, gain lean muscle, look great, see their countenance change for the better, and then stop doing all the things that produced their success.  Sometimes they try to “get back on the wagon” of good habits, actions and behaviors, only to stop again after a few weeks.  Then on again and off again, with downward spiraling results and eventually finding themselves in worse shape than the beginning.

The on again/off again inconsistency in performance is one of the biggest killers of success I’ve ever come across.  Doing well for a few weeks, then coasting….then feel bad enough to start doing again for a few weeks, then backsliding some more.  Over and over, the only thing consistent is their inconsistency.

Yes, routine is boring sometimes. When I feel bored being consistent, I remind myself of the time I was flying in a corporate jet with an ex-fighter jerk, I mean jock, as the pilot.  He decided he was bored with consistent flight, and started doing some “Goose and Maverick” crap.  The boss wasn’t in the bird, we were dead-heading back home, only an aide, me, and Mr. Ex-fighter (and soon to be ex-corporate aviation) jock.  Fuel was burnt, stuff was launched across the cabin, coffee spilled, suit jackets stained,  and oxygen masks dropped…. but hey, he wasn’t bored.  Nor was he consistent.  I like consistency, a lot.  And so do you….

Can you imagine an inconsistent commercial pilot? There’s a news story for you. What about an inconsistent surgeon? Any volunteers to be his or her next surgery patient? Most of us get torn out of the frame if the garbage pickup isn’t consistent, or the mail runs late, or the cell signal goes in and out.  How about inconsistent cable or satellite TV during a big game, or the series finale “Breaking Bad“?  Power outage at the Super Bowl? At your house?

We don’t tolerate anything less than consistent performance from our entertainment service providers, not to mention our favorite franchise quarterback, who is prone to throwing the 4th Quarter interception,  but we’re usually okay with inconsistency in our own performances. Man DOWN!! What’s the number to 911 again? (What if the 911 Operators weren’t consistent? Just asking...)

Boo Yah!!

How Do You Respond?

Pop Quiz: What would you say in response to emotionally challenging information?  What if it was devastating information? How do you respond to change? What if it is life-altering change forced upon you?


First Response

I don’t like to think about these things, but I’ve found over the years, that if I have thought about my response to the unexpected, it helps….a lot.  I’ve also found that my initial response sets the course of how everything goes after any surprising news hits.

Several years ago, I had a coaching client that was diagnosed with the advanced stages of an insidious disease.  The client was told that he a certain amount of time to live, and to get his business in order.  This is an extreme example, and one I hope none of us will have to face.  I had given this client the Pop Quiz long before this incident occurred and he was prepared.  He responded by being grateful for knowing the problem and what he was up against, but decided he would rather live than die.  His initial response was to NOT roll over and blindly accept what he was told about the amount of time he had left on planet Earth.

His fighting spirit set the course for his aggressive treatment plan, and his attitude toward his family, friends, and his business/career.   If he hadn’t prepared his initial response, the news might have taken him out before he even started to fight.  Any professional will tell you that the “will to live” plays an enormous role in the outcome of a fight for one’s life.

Take the Pop Quiz and decide now to have an initial response that spurs you on to victory.  I hope we never have to deal with anything even close to this example, but no matter the case, commit to yourself to win any (and all) challenges life throws at you.  Big, small, huge, or tiny; decide to win, no highway option.


Boo Yah!

The Hamster Wheel – What a Waste

Are you wasting mental and emotional energy on maintaining the status quo, instead of focusing your efforts on getting to where you want to be in 5 or 10 years time?  Is being on the hamster wheel sucking the life out of you?

Most people I talk to are struggling like someone who is drowning. They’re flailing about, just to maintain the status quo of their lives.
Hey, I completely understand. I struggle too, but instead of thrashing about, I focus on my ultimate vision.
Ask yourself:
Is this how I really want to be living 5 years from now? In 10? What about in 20?
If not, what’s my plan?
To do more with less? Clip more coupons? Buy more stuff from Craigslist?
If you keep doing what you’re doing, why do you think your life will be any different?
Hey, if you’re waiting on the lottery, you have a better chance of an airplane crashing into your car, while you’re driving down the Interstate…just saying.

Boo Yah!