In Art Of Coaching Podcast, Podcasts

Without experiencing true difficulty, doubt, or adversity, it’s hard to know what any of us are really capable of. Truth is unless we’re thrust into such adversity, it’s nearly impossible to manufacture the type of hardship required to test our limits. 

Today’s guest, ESPN college basketball analyst Steffi Sorensen, has dealt with more than her fair share. And while she probably wouldn’t wish recent experiences on anyone, there’s no doubt she’s grateful for the resilience built along the way. Join us as we discuss her path and how she’s managed to turn doubters and difficult times into an advantage. 

Steffi was a former women’s basketball player at Florida, joined ESPN in 2011 as a color commentator, and is now a college basketball analyst and sideline reporter for SEC Network. She joined SEC Now as an analyst for the 2019-20 women’s basketball season. She was a sideline reporter for college football games on FOX Sports, as well as a fitness model and trainer. She spent one year playing professional basketball in France before starting as a color analyst for ESPN3 in 2010.

We discuss: 

  • Managing introversion as a public figure and professional speaker 
  • How to assert yourself and find your voice as a young professional
  • Finding your “on-air” personality without sacrificing authenticity 
  • Learning from and through mistakes made (even on national television)

Connect with Steffi:

Via Instagram: @steffi_sorensen

Via LinkedIn: Steffi Sorensen

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Brett Bartholomew  0:00  

It’s always nice to have you guys sitting back down with me, I’m going to keep this quick. You only have a few more days left to save 30% on all of our top selling online courses. If you’re somebody that’s followed us for a while, you know that we help people become better communicators, meaning navigate the tricky areas of life, especially on the social side, like, what do you do if you’re dealing with people in an organization that don’t want to change? What do you do? If you’re backed into a corner and you don’t know how to assert yourself? What do you do if there’s a difficult personality that you’re trying to lead, or you’ve heard about our resources, such as blind spot, that if you’re somebody that’s gone to bed at night, you think, man, I like my job. And I like a lot of things in my life, I’m really blessed. But I feel like I could be doing more. I just don’t know what idea to chase. I don’t know who my audience is, I don’t know if anybody would listen to me. And even if I did, I don’t know where I’d start. All of these resources that we provide help you with these things. And they are 30% off for the only time this year. 


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Welcome to the Art of coaching podcast, a show aimed at getting to the core of what it takes to change attitudes, behaviors and outcomes in the weight room, boardroom classroom and everywhere in between. I’m your host, Brett Bartholomew, I’m a performance coach, keynote speaker and the author of the book conscious coaching. But most importantly, I’m a lifelong student interested in all aspects of human behavior and communication. I want to thank you for joining me and now let’s dive into today’s episode.


If you’re somebody that you feel like hey, I’m trying to find my voice or how do I deal with unsolicited advice, or you’ve ever felt like, Man, I don’t get the feedback that I’d like as a communicator as a professional. Today’s guest can relate to that and she’s got great tips for you. And most importantly, she comes from a place that this advice is hits a little bit different because she works for one of the largest entertainment companies in the world. ESPN. Steffi Sorensen, is a former women’s basketball player at Florida. She joined ESPN in 2011 as a color commentator, and is now a college basketball analyst and sideline reporter for the SEC Network. She joined SEC now as an analyst for the 2019 2020 women’s basketball season. She was also a sideline reporter for college football games on fox sports. She’s been a fitness model and a trainer. And she even spent one year playing professional basketball in France before starting as a color analyst for ESPN three and 2010. And we get into a lot of things here. I mean, it’s fascinating to me how she learned to become a better communicator. I mean, you have to imagine and you have to understand that she literally has to interview people during some of the most enigmatic moments of their life. Did they miss the game winning shot? Did they make the game winning shot? How does she manage the emotions of those that she speaks to? How does she manage her own emotions, things that are tricky and not always talked about? We don’t always get a lot of tips here. So I’m very excited to bring you this episode. She’s very candid. And always guys, as always remember these are unscripted and we don’t censor people we want people to be their authentic selves here. So as we say before it foul language of any kind. And no matter how you define that offends you be discerning about who’s in the car. We don’t want to edit people we believe people should have the right to express themselves. We’re never going to be bombastic secure for you know, just throwing caution to the wind. But there is language in this episode, and you should always consider that for every episode. Most importantly, get your notebooks ready, lock and load because Steffi Sorensen is coming up now.


Hey guys, welcome back to the Arctic coaching podcast. I am here with Steffi Sorenson, Steffi, welcome to the show.


Steffi Sorensen  7:31  

Brett Thanks so much for having me. It’s good to be here with you.


Brett Bartholomew  7:33  

Yeah. My pleasure. Listen, to give audience for those of you to give context of those of you listening, Steffi and I first met when I was down at the RAC Athletic Performance Center, training two of my NFL guys, and I see Steffi, who I did not know at the time on the other end of the gym, just going blitzkrieg style through about every exercise imaginable. And I think that person over there has some drive some intensity, and maybe some demons, and I want to meet her. That was my first take on you. And then I remember you had Kim, you had come over and asked me a question about something. I think it was speed train, do you remember this?


Steffi Sorensen  8:12  

Yeah, it was some sort of technique or form, and I knew who you were. So I was like, he’s the right guy to ask. 


Brett Bartholomew  8:18  

Oh, yeah. It made me look good. In front of my audience. You had no clue. I was like, You’re some bearded weirdo training these guys?


Steffi Sorensen  8:25  

No, that’s not true. I’ve been following you. And like your style of coaching and the communication aspect, actually, like I knew of someone who worked with you on the women’s side yone of your employees. So I was very familiar. So it was it was strategic. Brett, you didn’t know it at the time. But it was a way to hey, let me get myself in here.


Brett Bartholomew  8:48  

I did not know that. Well, listen, this is a big reason why we have you on the show today, as I got to learn more and more about you and your background and everything that you’ve done in your career, and the strategic nature in which you’ve navigated personal and professional challenges. Your ideal for our audience, right? The people listening as I told you off the air, we’re all kind of these underdogs. We’re all these people who feel like we’re not the perfect fit to be a leader, or at least that’s what society has kind of told us. But in reality, you know, people that are trying to make the most of what they’ve gone through in their experiences to help others in an area or a world that’s really not black and white, it’s gray. And so if you wouldn’t mind just giving our audience a brief synopsis of who you are, what you do, and why the hell you do that.


Steffi Sorensen  9:30  

Right. Oh, it’s funny that your description of when you saw me at the gym is it’s so accurate because I’m a walking oxymoron. I really am. Look, when I went to the University of Florida I didn’t get in to broadcasting school. I now work as a broadcaster for ESPN. That so that in itself shouldn’t have happened, right? The only be I got my freshman year of college wasn’t public speaking. I now speak rule of living. That doesn’t make much sense either, right? And you know, just throughout my life, there’s been a lot of doubting, there’s been a lot of overcoming. And I think that that’s just kind of paved my way and made me who I am. I’m a full time college basketball analyst for ESPN. That’s what I do, seasonally, in my offseason, I’ve been through hell for the past three years. And I’ve fortunately have had a job that has given me some flexibility that I could attend to that. And we’ll get into that in the podcast, but a lot of perseverance I’ve learned about myself, and some of that goes way back into my journey. So yes, you saw some demons. But that’s, I got to exercise those and get them out. Because that is my form of training. And that is how I function as a human. If I don’t do that, that’s, you know, like, I’m not the same.


Brett Bartholomew  10:58  

Yeah, listen, I understand that for sure. In exercising your demons a little bit of a play on words with that, given how intense they saw you train, I do want to ask this not to button too early, but just given the obvious, right, and you’re the second member of ESPN to be featured on this show, by the way your colleague, or might go like has been on it, because I used to coach Mike, but when you mentioned that you’re you know, in a way, right, like you had gotten into public speaking and you essentially speak for a living now, I have to ask this has that always come easier, easy to you? 


And the reason I asked this Steffi is we get a lot of people that say hey, what kind of people gravitate to your workshops, or what you do at art of coaching? Are they always extroverted? Are they always this? I mean, would you classify yourself as somebody? That’s yeah, I’ve always had an easy time with communication. I’ve always been extroverted or does that not fit you?


Steffi Sorensen  11:47  

Right? I’m an introvert through and through, you know, I’m a shy person. I’m awkward, Goofy, I mean, you name it. See, the reason why I went up to you at the gym is like,I’m comfortable at the gym. Because like, sports, fitness, like all that, like I’m comfortable there. So like, I felt okay, I felt safe to go up and talk to you, you know what I mean? But outside of those realms, I’m definitely like a shy person, I’m more introverted. And it’s not in my norm to be a public speaker. I just had a passion for basketball because I played it my whole life, it gave me a life. And it’s a form of like giving back, you know, like, for just covering the sport. You know, Brett, people ask me all the time. So if you want you want to do the NFL, and I’m like, I don’t want to do that, well, why don’t you want to be on Monday Night Football, you’d be this and this. And this everyone projects like what I should be. And I’ve never wanted to be anything other than me. And I love covering college basketball, because it’s, you know, the very thing that I loved. And so ‘m sure we’ll get off topic a little bit on this podcast, but basically, if I were to give myself a grade and public speaking now, I would be at a C. That’s why I’m here with you today, because I need to get some help


Brett Bartholomew  13:04  

Yeah, well, I think you could definitely give me a lot of pointers. I have to ask this within that. And you mentioned your passion for basketball. And I love that you don’t let what other people project and say that you should do dictate that because we really, you know, this, people so often will say, Okay, there’s this thing they want to do, but they’re gonna throw it on you, right? And I have this in my own career as well. Why would you take this job? Why wouldn’t you take that job? That’s the job you want, by all means, right? But like, we all have different lives. Within that, though, if you’re an introvert, that your job is still to extract information from people and give insight and give context and kind of shape this environment. What do you do when there’s folks that you’re trying to talk to her speak with and don’t really open up so well, right? They feel guarded, or you’re looking for, you know, more than a sound bite, and you kind of have to work for it. And you have these intense time constraints? Can you give us an example? Or if that doesn’t make sense, I’m happy to clarify.


Steffi Sorensen  14:04  

Well, look, I work in live television, and a lot of things that I do especially like after a big game, and you’re dealing with a player and they and I’ve got three lights coming and a camera and we run over to them. They freeze up and a lot of time it’s on me, I will make the interview. Like, you know, I have to steer it. And so if I ask a question, and the player goes, Yeah. And you’re not prepared to follow up with another question. So I think what I do and this is more, not necessarily verbal, but it’s a physical cue is I’ll put my hand on their back and give them a tap and kind of bring them closer to me and it seems to relax a player or coach and to know that like, they’re good, you know, like maybe hit him with a little joke or something just before we come on camera, and they’re good to go. I mean, and you know this from the interactions with athletes now, their prime, they’ve been coming out of high school, they got cameras on their face, they’re tick talking all day like they’re not they’re used to You know, being in a space where cameras are on them. So but it still is a challenge. Every time I interview someone, you got to be able to weave in and out of awkward conversations but making people feel comfortable. And I think that’s my role as a commentator and as a reporter.


Brett Bartholomew  15:16  

Yeah. Well, I think about that. And I appreciate the specific example. And we talked about that in our workshops, what you use there as a form of haptics when we grade people and their speaking or communication, right? Do they utilize touch? Right? Do they and then kinesis what we usually reference is body language, right? Am I scowling? am I smiling all those pieces and so your right touch is therapeutic. And I think about it all the time of even you know, you’re in Florida, as we’re having this conversation. I’m in Atlanta, it’s so different even having these conversations over zoom, right? Like, I’d love nothing more than for you to be here. 


And we get that talk about projecting people say, hey, why don’t you have your guests come out to you, you know, Joe Rogan? And them do that I’m like, Okay, well, it’s a little bit different, you know, but. And it also does take a little bit more conversational skill on your end and my end, to facilitate this when we have this electronic barrier, right? Like you can’t relax somebody. And sometimes it’s hard to kind of place that hand on their back or anything. And so, but I think you bring up another interesting point that today’s athletes are different in that their use of these cameras in their face. And that’s something I wouldn’t have even thought about. When you think about Alright, well, how did this compare to 1989? Or this year? That year? I mean, the reality is, is sometimes it’s so hard for people in the moment to make sense of their emotions. But it sounds like you’re able to calm them a little bit. Do you get formal training on that being a part of ESPN? Or is this something that you’ve just had to refine on your own over the years, 


Steffi Sorensen  15:51  

I’ve had to refine it on my own. You know, ESPN was my first job I just share with you, when we opened up this podcast, like I didn’t get into broadcasting school, like I went a different way I went into like, business management, I was like, I’m never gonna work. In media, you know, I was always really good with media, like, just throughout my career, I became like the spokesperson for our team, I was just kind of naturally good with it. But so I didn’t know what to expect. And then, you know, ESPN wanted for more athletes. And they were kind of steering away from what they had been hiring, and they wanted former athletes, just maybe people who had been in those positions. And so like, 2011 2012 was like, I sat down to do a game and the light came on. That was it. There was no training. 


And since then,  I’ve had to learn all of my mistakes on national television. You know, that’s the advantage. When I talk to a lot of students that are in broadcasting school like they’re already doing games like in college, like they’re like three or four years ahead of like, where I was when I got into broadcasting like their mistakes. Come on tape. Mine Come on, when there’s a huge audience, and it’s just like, I look stupid. So it’s just like trial by fire you get in, I’m stuttering over a question, the coaches looking at me, like those are mistakes that I had to make, and just learn from but I always read out, my biggest thing was, if someone just coached me or told me, I would never make the same mistake twice. And that’s something I’ve always prided my career on, helped me in these moments, what do I need to do differently, and I won’t do it again. And that’s kind of been the story of how I’ve kind of elevated


Brett Bartholomew  18:21  

throughout my career, when it seems like to you being willing to make those mistakes, which sounds so obvious sounds so common sense. But we see it time and time again, whether it’s in coach development, leadership development, most people don’t even go and get training on any of this. And then unlike you, they’re also not willing to put themselves in those positions. So they can read leadership books, they can read communication books, they can do all these things. But they’re never willing to do that. I mean, we even see that in our workshops where we utilize improv and role playing. And, you know, generally the people that come to these workshops are not the ones who need to the most like, yes, they need practice and refinement, like all of us do, right? But there’s people out there that think they’re already great communicators, that they’re already great at these things, yet they never go, they never do what you did, they never open themselves up to training. And so then they go through life kind of just tone deaf for lack of a better term to like, where they might be the problem, and a lot of their social interactions. 


And I’m building that off of, you know, long winded one here. But you mentioned being willing to make mistakes. You mentioned work that you went to, if I call three different schools, you mentioned you were denied entry into broadcasting school. What has driven the resilience, your mindset, your willingness to make mistakes, just this hustle like, what is it in your past that most people don’t continue to go from here to here to here to here, they lose faith at some point you seem not to have?


Steffi Sorensen  19:46  

It’s good question. And as the older I’ve gotten, I’ve leaned on my mom a lot and asking her like, why am I the way I am? You know, like, why is it that you know, I stopped here and instead I’m doing this like I did this, Why did I always believe that? Like, I remember when I was in junior college. And I know I’m like the quintessential like transfer queen, like before it became popular. Three schools in four years. Like, I can’t say anything about transferring, because I did it a lot. But you know, I was in junior college, and it was in Gainesville. And I would go and watch Florida play. And I was like, damn, I was like, I feel like I can play with them. I really do. Like, I just, I can’t. It’s something internal. And my mom said that growing up from a very young age, she’s like, you just had this determination, whatever you were doing. And as I do have an older brother, she’s like, I just could see it in your eyes, if you want to get that ball was up here or whatever, you would find out whatever way to do it. It was just like a determination at a very young age. And I think that that’s just, I don’t know, you can answer this spread as if you think that someone is just kind of born with those qualities, because we can argue all day on leaders born leader built into a leader, you know, but the determination aspect is just I’ve always been that way. That’s all I know. And so throughout my career, it was just like, it was a no brainer to me, because the only person who is going to believe in me is me. And I can never waver on that.


Brett Bartholomew  21:21  

No, 100%. I mean, you’re right about the first thing without a doubt, these things that are inside of us and kind of subconsciously determine or influence our behavior. now I’m biased, admittedly, because anybody that’s listening has gone to We have this quiz. And one of the drives that you’re referencing is adversity, you know, and this is a drive that is part of me as well. Now, of course, nobody’s ever OneDrive their life like there’s adversity, there’s achievement, there’s some that are more unity focused, and they like bonding with others, and security focus where they have to have plans and they’re pretty risk averse. Those that are adversity driven primarily, right, they like having their backs up against the wall, they tend to also be very curious individuals. There are people that are just compelled by challenges, and we find that a lot of them too are very self competitive. Is that even just like how competitive they are with other people, like the ones that tend to stave off burnout, or just flame out early are the ones that are most self competitive, right? Because you somebody else’s race, and that gets tricky. 


And I think it also makes sense, because I remember you saying the last three to four years have been held for you. I mean, there seems to be inveterate in your family. If I remember correctly, your mom and around April 2018. Had Guillain Barre Syndrome, your brother Eric nearly lost his life in 2020. I mean, it sounds like your whole family is one big adversity drive because what they went through and I obviously don’t want to get too personal if you’re not comfortable sharing those things. But do those experiences, not just ones you add transferring and this and that in your athletic career to that, do they feed into that? And what does that taught you about how to communicate with others during times of hardship as well, for that matter?


Steffi Sorensen  23:05  

Yeah, I mean, you know, when my mom got sick, my mom’s definitely the rock of our family. And gowanbrae is such an interesting illness and that she was completely paralyzed for a year. So she had to relearn how to eat, drink, talk, sit, walk, the whole nine 


Brett Bartholomew  23:23  

a year, 


Steffi Sorensen  23:24  

perfectly fine. But she was on a ventilator for three months, couldn’t talk. And she spent the next year relearning how just to sit in a chair. I mean, it was like the most unreal thing I ever witnessed. And she was so determined. I mean, she was like, honored by the hospital that she rehab that because they had never seen anyone recover like that. So I definitely feel like God will the mom gene in me, you know, just the fight. Right fighting for her life. And just as she was getting better, my brother had a freak accident and he fell in my parents kitchen. Brothers a big guy. 6’4″ 6’5″. So you’re naturally kind of fall risk. That being that tall, and he just ranted awkwardly on the back of his head. And they had to lifeline him and it was like, you know, I was actually in Orlando doing a basketball game for CBS. And I got the call from my dad and just 120 miles an hour, two hours up the road to get to Jacksonville. And you know, my whole family was in the waiting. We didn’t know if he was gonna make that they were you know how it is at hospitals. And it’s very doom and gloom. 


Brett Bartholomew  24:32  

Yeah. Oh, for sure. 


Steffi Sorensen  24:35  

I think, you know, I shared personally, it took me a while to share it personally, but it was more like 80=20 Like, 80 not going to make it and that was about like six months like after my mom finally was like up and moving and like good and like he went to the same rehab hospital. She did. You know, like it was just like,  I couldn’t believe I was like back in the ICU. Back in the ICU. I can’t not believe this. And, you know my sister was pregnant again. So she was pregnant during my mom’s sickness pregnant during my brother’s fall, bless her heart pregnant and going through all this. And my dad is, you know, I’m going through the family tree here, Brett does work with me here. But my dad definitely was my, brother’s only son, it hit him really hard. And we just, you know, we had to stick by him really close, you know, he’s got his own demons and all that. And it was, you know, there’s some things that I, you know, don’t that are a little bit too personal, but that we had to fight for him with. So it was like all of my family all at one time, it was just like, I was like, thrown into this position to basically become like, the matriarch and Patriarch at the same time, like being having to communicate with everyone in the family everyday who came to the ICU, because like, my mom and dad, like, they could barely like, function. So it was like me that would meet everyone at the hospital. And like, give them the full rundown of like, basically, like, what’s wrong with my brother. And it was like, I never would have thought, like, just because I wasn’t a broadcaster doesn’t mean like you can deliver, like, today, we don’t know if he’s gonna make it, you know, to 25 family members. 


And it was just like, I don’t know, I got a weird a tattoo that I was talking to my mom. One day, I was given her shower. And I said that there’s one thing that’s come of this, and I said, I feel like I’m built for this life. You don’t want this life. But I feel like I’m built for this. It threw me into this weird position to just command everyone and lead everyone at a time where it was Rocky. And I learned a lot about myself, I had no idea was capable of that. And I don’t want to say like I would ever want to do it again. But, you know, through those hardships, I knew life was hard, you know, things in sports, you lose whatever, like, you go through stuff like that. And you’re like, This is hard. And this really carves out who you are as a person. And I’m just like, I’m thankful along the way that like I’ve been able to become a better person because of it.


Brett Bartholomew  27:18  

Yeah, well, you touch on something you touch on two things I want to hit but I mean, just to recap, because that’s, it’s insane. That I mean, like and first of all, before I get to the question, so what your mom was diagnosed with, and how did you pronounce it Guillain-Barre 


Steffi Sorensen  27:34  



Brett Bartholomew  27:34  

Okay, yeah, Is that an autoimmune disorder? 


Steffi Sorensen  27:38  



Brett Bartholomew  27:39  

Okay. And so literally, like she was paralyzed? Is she still paralyzed? 


Steffi Sorensen  27:45  



Brett Bartholomew  27:45  

Okay, so she was able to recover for that. And then your brother for I mean, and maybe our research is wrong on this. But I remember something you saying, like they were handed a pamphlet saying that your brother was going to be it was about or it was about how to manage somebody who is in a vegetative state.


Steffi Sorensen  28:06  

You better believe I tried to get her fired to0?


Brett Bartholomew  28:09  

Well, I think the reason like that I bring that up is, you know, this is near and dear to some of the stuff that we’re doing, in the sense that and I, I’ll send you this article off air, but you’ve got to read it. There is this article called when your doctor gets it and gets you the critical role of competence and warmth. In patient provider interaction. And, you know, when I was working on part of my doctorate, it learned that, you know, there’s like $12 billion loss, I think in like 2015, in the medical world, just in the US alone, based on poor communication, lawsuits, all these things and not only that, so many people don’t, doctors don’t get training on the art of delivering bad news. And so which is a big reason why we use sort of utilizing improv and role playing. And then we found out through more research that now there are certain universities like Northwestern and others that they are making doctors, they are making medical staff go through these. So imagine, me and my colleague Ali’s frustration, when we would hear some coaches be like, I don’t need to go do communication training. I don’t need to do this. Yet people that are literally having to give life and death serious, you know, they’re willing to go roleplay they’re willing to do this. They’re willing to do the pretend and yet still, look how far we have yet to go with that right for somebody to not have the social intelligence to understand like, Hey, maybe I shouldn’t maybe there’s some decorum here of how I handle this as opposed to here you go person going through trauma, here’s a pamphlet without much context without any warmth on how to handle somebody that might end up in a vegetative state. Like how do you even manage the anger the frustration that Who the hell do you think you are that you feel in that moment?


Steffi Sorensen  29:50  

So my mom was in the room with my brother when I guess the doctor walked in and didn’t say much but handed her the pamphlet you think about now knowing a little bit about my mom. She’s looking at that. And she’s like, No, the hell he’s not, you know, and who are you to come give me this pamphlet. And so when I walked in, and she was in tears, of course, if you have a doctor that comes in, doesn’t say anything, and then hand you your son’s going to be in a vegetative state and how to manage that, you know, what do you think? And so she was just in tears, and I just took it, I ripped it up, I threw it out, I knew the guy that was running the hospital. I called them. Needless to say, we got an apology and an explanation. in a few hours,


Brett Bartholomew  30:37  

I’d love to know what that explanation was some time. I just like, yes, yeah.


Steffi Sorensen  30:42  

You know, And I’ve had a lot of interactions, some good, some bad with medical, and I’m not here to bash anyone. But it’s definitely I think that that is so great that you’re taking that on, because talk about a difficult job, you know, like, you’ve got to deliver some of the toughest news heartbreaking news that people are on pins and needles on. And I’m sure that like, very few are actually equipped, you know, to actually unnaturally do that in an effective way in a way that like comforts people, but you, you’ve got to do it every day, all day. So that’s, great that you’re that’s something that you’re getting into, because boy do they need it


Brett Bartholomew  31:21  

Well, it’s been interesting, right? And I think, you know, again, full bias, like, I nearly lost my life, in part due to poor communication in the medical world, right, I was seen as kind of this, I was treated with kind of a one size fits all approach. And I know, again, my colleague, Ali Kirshner, you know, her partner lives in this world where she’s got to deliver some, I mean, horrendous news to expectant mothers and and other individuals. And you’re right, you know, if we’re giving grace to the other side, you know, does say, and I’m quoting some research here, for example, both adults and children form evaluations of another person’s warmth and competence, after just 100 milliseconds, exposure to a person’s face. So you know, there are some things that are almost out of our control in terms of how somebody perceives the way we interact or feel about somebody. And then some medical professionals are put into even more of a tough situation where I think they said, because of how overwhelming the healthcare system is, at least in the United States, on average, doctors and nurses can only get maybe seven to 10 minutes with a patient, right. And so that’s hard to win somebody over that quickly. But at the same point, there has to be some kind of evaluation, there has to be these things. And so when we went looked it on because we have an evaluation at our workshop, and I’m like, Well, surely, the medical world has something better and I can learn from it. 


But I mean, you still wouldn’t believe it Steffi. It’s like they’re grading professionals on medical professionals on Are they skilled communicators by this questionnaire, and I think it’s called the segue I’d have to look at it again. But it’s Did you ask the patient’s name? Yes or no? Did you ask them something else about what’s going on other than their malady or their illness? Yes or no? No, you cannot yes or no? Human? Hey, hey, Steffi, here. Are you glad you won the game? Yes. How do you feel? Yes. So I just feel like you’re a natural with that. And with that, you know, you said this is not the life or the role that I wanted, but it’s the one that I feel like I can do, I’m built for. 


I think that also speaks to a lot of listeners, were being somebody who cares so much, you’re an underdog, you’re empathetic, you’re adversity driven. You can be somebody that tends to take the world on their shoulders, how do you manage that? And also not getting burnout? How do you manage this kind of, you know, if you’ll allow me to use the analogy, work and rest the same way you do in the gym? Because I have to imagine you put a lot of pressure on yourself, especially during that moment?


Steffi Sorensen  33:49  

I don’t know. That’s a good question. Brett, I think about it a lot, just given the last few years is like, maybe I just don’t pay attention or give myself enough. Like, it’s I’m all about other people. And so I don’t take the time maybe to reflect on like, how am I doing? You know, that’s why, like, you probably saw me training, like, that’s my way of giving back to me. And maybe that’s crazy, but like, that’s just kind of how I’m wired. You know, like, if I get an hour and a half to myself, I’m just going for it. Like that’s, I’m not getting burnout because like that’s what’s given me life. So I’m still working on that. And that’s I think that’s probably question a good question for a lot of people that manage stuff like that is how do you take care of yourself?


Brett Bartholomew  34:37  

Yeah, well, I mean,  especially when you have to shoulder that much right? Because stress compounds and it’s not just oh, I’m busy, but when you have family stuff going on, you have work going on. You have your own things that these things compound and I think that it’s just something that I know a lot of our listeners say they struggle with is they sometimes they think they’re given back to themselves but real leader so they don’t ever want to seem selfish, or there’s so many other things going on. And they feel like, well, there’s so many other people that have it worse. And I always try to say, well, listen, you know, this isn’t, it doesn’t have to be the struggling Olympics, right? Eventually, we know, through the burnout research that the people that are most dedicated, are the ones that tend to burn out. 


And so I just thought, like, you know, where let’s pivot this? Where are you still the hardest on yourself, either personally or professionally? And how do you balance that with some sense of like, Grace? So you mentioned it earlier? You know, there’s times where you made mistakes on the air, but you’re also somebody that’s like, yeah, I will, I was never taught this. So if you just give me a second chance, I’m good. In a world of people that feel like they’ve got to get it right once or they’re screwed. Are there other areas where you’re still kind of trying to give yourself some grace that maybe you think they could still relate to?


Steffi Sorensen  35:50  

I think what I’ve learned professionally, and in terms of what I do, as a sports broadcaster, is in the moment, let’s say, there was a couple of times in a few previous seasons, big games sell out, and maybe I’m calling the game, or I’m rushing to the court to interview a coach. And it just it doesn’t feel good, the interview doesn’t feel good, or what I said didn’t feel good. And I watch it back. And I have come to the realization and I’ve applied this across the board is it’s never as bad as it seems. It’s never as bad as you think it was, I can go back and go, it wasn’t that and then you move on. Okay. Like, it’s not that bad when you think about it. So I think that that was a couple years, it took me a long time to get there to have like, the maturity and growth to watch it back, you know, with an open mind and being like, okay, like, I don’t soccer, you know, like, you can just totally criticize yourself. But there has, you have to have a little bit of grace, you’re on the fly. You’re, calling the game as is. And I think that that’s just kind of been my takeaway is like, is it’s never as bad as, as it seems life, sports, you know, whatever it is that you’re facing. that’s kind of just been my approach. Hopefully that answered.


Brett Bartholomew  37:11  

Yeah, absolutely. And I say it and I reflect on the things that I sold do. And my wife and I were talking about this as well, you know, I teach now communication and interpersonal skills for a living. And so it can be really easy for us to just crush ourselves on everything. Like there was a staff miscommunication the other day, that led to what there was an appointment that we had had a coaching call and miscommunication. So we missed the call. And I said, I go, this is so ridiculous. And I started beating myself up. I’m like, I run a company that teaches people how to communicate during the most impactful times in their life, yet a miscommunication just cost us the trust and respect in the business of a potential client. And I’ll just start going and going and going. And then I’m like, listen, like, just because you teach these things doesn’t mean you’re infallible, right? Just because I’m a professional baseball player doesn’t mean I don’t strike out. But you know, you have to give yourself grace because sometimes the world just won’t. Because it is a world of spectators by and large, right? There’s not always people that are dedicated to kind of sanding the rough edges of their own craft. Because the people that are most self aware are the people like you, Steffi, who are out there, you see yourself on camera, you’ll have to hear their tone of your voice again, and I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but when I hear myself or I see myself I cringe all the time. I mean, do you enjoy seeing yourself on camera?


Steffi Sorensen  38:33  

I have had to get over it. Yeah, in this, you have to get better at your craft. And by getting better at your craft. You have to hear what you’re saying. And so I think for most people, they hear their voice like on a video that they took on their iPhone or whatever. They’re like, Oh, God, my voice. And you know, I guess my voice is what dictates my paycheck. So my voice needs to basically be on point what I’m saying how I’m saying it, I’ve had to learn how to deepen my voice as a lot of what’s the word I’m looking for  


Brett Bartholomew  39:04  



Steffi Sorensen  39:05  

Yeah, that and just like just training myself based off of other people that I hear that are good. You know, Doris Burke, Sage Steelers, you know, there’s a ton that come to mind and their voice is their voice is everything. And that’s kind of the nature of our business that people I think, sometimes forget about because they just hear us but you don’t want to hear someone who’s annoying. You don’t want to get muted, you know? I don’t want to be muted.


Brett Bartholomew  39:38  

Hey, once again, quick reminder, if you’re enjoying this, if you enjoy hearing about communication and feedback and managing your career, take advantage of our 30% off for the last few days at Go there now whether you’re trying to get a better hold on burnout your career trying to figure out who your audience is how you can impact them more How To Become A better communicator, how to better understand people. All of those things are covered in our courses. And it’s only a few more days where you’re going to be able to get them for 30% off. And reminder, strength coaches, these are CEU, approved, bought in we’ll give you 1.8 CPUs. That’s And just enter the code Black Friday 30. That’s three zero at checkout to save all that cash. All right, back to Steff.


Steffi Sorensen  40:33  

You know, Doris Burke, Sage Steelers, you know, there’s a ton that come to mind. And their voice is their voices, everything. And that’s kind of the nature of our business that people, I think, sometimes forget about because they just hear us, but you don’t want to hear someone who’s annoying. You don’t want to get muted, you know? I don’t want to be muted.


Brett Bartholomew  40:53  

And this is where and I hope you’ll nerd out with me to a degree because our audience loves this stuff. Right. But that’s why it surprised me. When you had said, yeah, no, there’s no formal training, you know, or, you know, for us even just thinking about like we have, I don’t know what it’s up to now, because we just redid it, but it’s like a 24 point scale on our evaluation. And we kind of hinted at in our last episode, but for example, let’s say I was, let’s say you were evaluating me, you’re my boss at ESPN, and I’m an analyst and I’m on the road or, and I’m doing a broadcast, we’ll evaluate folks in our workshop on clarity, conciseness, fluency, tonality, tempo, we will look at from a nonverbal standpoint haptics, use of touch, can you six overall body language, Are you smiling? Are you frowning? proxemics how far your space from that individual? Your use of empathy during a conversation. So there’s really nothing like that, that you’ve ever gone through. I mean, because I’ve watched you I’ve gone back and watch broadcasts, I’ve watched clips of it. I mean, you’re incredible. And to hear that you haven’t had training or any kind of review on that. I mean, it’s amazing are these things that so they don’t even get talked about it like a year end review, or when people go through your evaluation, they just expect you to like, either got it or you don’t.


Steffi Sorensen  42:09  

Basically, if you get a callback to come, you know, it varies on people’s deals. You know, like, if you haven’t one year, two year, three year or whatever. I If you don’t hear anything, that means you’re doing good. And It is so strange. And it has been, you know, I just worked a lot the past few season with Andy Landers. He’s a Hall of Famer, he was a coach at Georgia. And he has been with me he was he called me when he first got into business. He said Steff. Nobody says anything to me. And I was like, What do you mean, he’s like, no one will criticize me. He said, I need you to watch my game and tell me how I’m doing. So I watched it. And I was like, talk way too damn much. And he was like, no one will say that to him. And so this profession, what is expected versus like the feedback? I think I’ve had feedback, like once every four years, this round of negotiations for my new contract? I really sought it out. I was like, I really want to know, like, how do I become like, better, I really want to be a, you know, like one of your best analysts. Because I am, like, still young, but you know, something to strive towards. And they actually suggested like doing a little bit of improv and like, that’s something


Brett Bartholomew  43:24  

Come do our workshop.


Steffi Sorensen  43:27  

I’m seriously Considering it like I


Brett Bartholomew  43:30  

listen, you would not be the odd person out. We’ve had FBI agents, we’ve had folks in their 60s folks in their 20s, folks, I mean, listen, it’s for everything, right. And like, that, to me, has been probably the biggest thing that I wanted in my career as well, right? Like, I got to a point probably in 2014, where I knew I could write a program for athletes, I knew I could coach this session, I knew I could do these things, right. And I could sit here and go into the weeds, like so many coaches in my profession did where we want to argue the smallest nuance of every exercise, but by and large, you know, it was like I needed to feel like I was growing elsewhere. And like you, you know, we wouldn’t really get that much feedback, you do your year end reviews, and people would say oh, you know, Steffi, you’re really dedicated you know, but you know, sometimes you might come off too passionate or Steffi. Hey, you know, we’d like to see you do this and that, but none of it was like craft related. It was always somebody’s perception. And so I remember and I’m sorry for my audience. It’s heard this before, I’ll keep it brief. But I remember asking I have 30 Guys, I was coaching I said, Why don’t you come to me it was almost like having a mini break down on the floor. And I kept bugging him and bugging him in there. You know, the other way you write workouts all the way you do this, I said, quit this shit. Like, why do you really come? And one dude was like, man, it’s just the way you coach and interact. So I remember I shut up then. I mean, I coach to the rest of the session, and I was stuck in a layover in Denver. You’re always stuck in a layover in like Denver or Minneapolis. If you’re traveling in the winter, right? And I just started writing down Why do I interact this way? Why do I speak that way? How do I alter my tone of voice. And I just started diving into this. 


And I’m like, it became clear to me that ironically, everything that I was doing as a coach tied back into the things that I wish somebody had done for me when I was in the hospital, instead of just communicating in this monotone, soulless, lifeless, non adaptable, one size fits all way, you’re the patient, you’re sick, this is how it’s going to be. I was hyper aware of all the other pieces, which is also ironically, why I think I’m a music buff, and I know when a rapper switch their cadence or the beats, and you just start becoming attuned to these acoustics. So it is therapeutic to teach these things because knowing there’s people like you, that you could pay attention to the purposeful change in tonality, or you know, when to smile on the other end of the interview. But how crazy it is that like you’re at one of the most massive entertainment communication based companies in the world. And you only get feedback if something goes wrong. 


Steffi Sorensen  46:02  

Yeah. I mean, you see, you know, the Tony Romo’s are that doesn’t happen, where he’s had no training.


Brett Bartholomew  46:10  

Explain that just for any audience member that we have an international audience. So what do you mean like is what did he excel at?


Steffi Sorensen  46:17  

Well, well, Tony Romo was the Dallas Cowboys quarterback. And he left he retired and took a job for CBS. And makes about 17 million a year calling about 10 football games. But he jumped into the booth and was amazing at it right from the jump. And that is something you just can’t teach. He just has that he has that. Most other people have gone through some training. And especially for like former athletes, there’s become more formal training. But it is kind of crazy to be in this business. And you don’t really hear anything, but I just want to this is off topic. But Brett, the first time when we were at the gym, and I heard your voice. That’s how I knew who you were. So good job. Great, voice. 


Brett Bartholomew  47:10  

I appreciate that. 


Steffi Sorensen  47:11  

And I was like, I feel like that’s Brett. And I know Brett Brett from Instagram. Artof coaching because I saw gold Jr. wearing your shirt on one of the shows.


Brett Bartholomew  47:24  

It was it was when him and his dad were still doing. Mike and Mike, you know, they were on that. And then he wore it a couple other times.


Steffi Sorensen  47:33  

Yeah, he’s what a good family. 


Brett Bartholomew  47:35  

Yeah, good. Really good people, you know, within what you just mentioned, and how he was able to seamlessly do that I have to put you in. Are you cool going into a little hot seat scenario? I have a question for you. 


Steffi Sorensen  47:47  



Brett Bartholomew  47:48  

Okay. Now, this is something we’re working on. So kind of half baked. So if you don’t really identify with any of them just be like, Nah, dude, this is trash. You can say that on the air. It’s okay. But in teaching people and helping them like become more self aware of what their communication styles and tendencies are. You know, one thing that we always say and everybody loves them an acronym is good communicators are rare, r a r e. So what we find is, let’s say we draw four squares Stephie. Okay, just basic kind of quadrants. And nobody’s ever one. So there’s no pressure for you to say one, I just want to know where you skew. So there’s communication styles that are more realist centered right there. Matter of fact, they’re going to kind of tell it how it is no bullshit, straightforward. They care about you, they’re just not going to mince words. Okay. Then there’s the analyst, the analyst is somebody that’s very, you know, they’re gonna use a lot of logic based appeals, they’re gonna always talk about data statistics, or, you know, they might even be very introverted in in their own head, but everything’s got to get broken down to the nth degree, right, very, kind of this is how it is, this is what the data suggests, pop pop pop. 


Then we have relators. Think of the relator like a visionary, they’re kind of life of the party, they can inspire a crowd, right? They’re, always getting everybody on board. They’re very warm and engaging and fun to be around. Then we have, you know, true just empaths people that are very Steffi How are you today and how are you know, they want to know, it’s so much of it is about the person, you know now to draw a clear distinction between an empath and a relator a relator is usually trying to get people together for some kind of common goal right? Or even if they’re just in a moment where it’s like God, everybody’s drawn to that person. They’re magnetic in that way, even if they’re not making it all about the individual they’re talking to 


so I’ll repeat it a realist matter of fact straightforward no bullshit. Okay analyst kind of cold hard facts in their own head, very choosy with their words, usually very focused on logic, black and white type statements. The relator live in the party or You don’t have to be they can just be very warm and magnetic, visionary or true empath. Hey, I just want to know how you’re doing. Oh my gosh, that sounds crazy. You know, I’m using bad examples there, but just trying to highlight kind of the field, where would you say if any of those you tend to skew in your day to day life? And then how does that change during conflict?


Steffi Sorensen  50:24  

is it? Can you kind of hybrid?


Brett Bartholomew  50:27  

For sure, like, for example, when I’m interviewing when we’re having this conversation right now, my goal is to be more of the relator I also want to be empathic right so it’s this dot almost like if I’m trying to get a cat to chase a laser pointer right into this. dot if the dot is the dot You right now that it’s always going to be skewing right? If I have to go give a presentation at a university, all skew analysts and realists you know, I might be related at the beginning. So nobody’s ever want it changes. I’m just asking, in general, like, what do you feel like? Yeah, if I’m having a backyard barbecue with some friends or if you and I are talking off air? Brett? This is where I’d skew What do you think?


Steffi Sorensen  51:07  

I would say that I skew more towards like, the realist but also relator so like, it’s kind of a hybrid between the two of them because I’ve always looked at myself as like a social chameleon is like I can kind of go into different crowds and whatever I need not that I’m a poser like I’m going to try and be sure I welcome to a group of these people like you know I can morph into let’s talk about this or if you want to talk about this let’s talk about that. I try to stay up and be educated on on everything just so you never know who you’re going to run into. It could be Brett Bartholomew at the rack and then maybe on my A game on using bands see know


Brett Bartholomew  51:47  

what you use right there is what we call it our workshops and ingratiation, tactics. So that’s where you get somebody to open up by getting them in a good mood and humor is always the best way. You know, as opposed to you go to a car lot when people use ingratiation poorly they’re always like, Oh, you look like a strapping young lad you in the mood for a Jeep Wrangler. You strike me as somebody if we shift gears a little bit. You strike me as somebody that loves good joke. You have a good sense of humor. You’re what like you said, You’re weird and you’re quirky. I need to know one of the weirdest like what’s one of the quirkiest things about you? Like? What is something that you’re just like? You view as goofy Is it that you can remember movie quotes? my wife trips all the time? You know, Ali, my colleague will make like the lead laces sometimes when she gets confused what is something that’s kind of weird and quirky but charming about you?


Steffi Sorensen  52:40  

I’m definitely clumsy. Everyone calls me a klutz. You know, I had so many trips and falls growing up as a kid, they interviewed my dad and see if he was like, physically harming him physically harming me, because I was just always falling. 


Brett Bartholomew  52:55  

Oh, wow. What really? 


Steffi Sorensen  52:57  

Yeah, it was like, they were we’re just having one story yesterday. And I guess like I, my brother through a wooden swing and hit me in the face when I was going to get stitches. And like paramedic steam like was when my dad assignment, I was a firefighter. And so he’s in his uniform, and I pulled him aside and like he said, they were talking to me, and I’m like, Well, how old was I? He was like, like, four. I’m like, Well, what the hell did I say it for? Like, my daddy doesn’t hit me, you know, like, just I’m like that, I don’t know, I’m a little socially awkward, I think but I can kind of, it takes me a little bit to get comfortable. But when I do, I feel like I’m very personable. That’s probably like a skill that I’ve learned to really hone in on is especially working in media’s is you have to build these relationships with coaches, and then you got to trash them on air. But it’s like you can be personable and find ways to weave like some humor in you know, when you’re talking to these coaches, you’re interviewing them for the games, leading up to a game and you want to get insight from them. But you know, you’re gonna see critical, you know, there’s a fine line and how you can, you know, make your personality work. And that’s been probably one of the biggest challenges for me is finding your personality and television. There’s some people that just are naturally just so good on camera, and it’s like, that’s been a little bit harder for me because my personality is a little bit more intense, right? I mean, you kind of saw one side of me, but that’s what made me good as an athlete. It’s made me I feel like achieve in life and it’s like, how do you turn that down? Or how do you become less intense? 


Like Pat Summitt was my idol. And why but she was also like, the stories always hereafter is like, how, kind and sweet she was, in addition to being like such so stone cold. And so finding like a blend of like a personality and then portraying it on television is very, very difficult. That’s why still learn it. Every day you learn in this business.


Brett Bartholomew  54:54  

well that was something I was gonna ask you, you know, to a degree you have to bake with the flour you have and if you’re a natural li intense person and an adversity drive, you know, I guess I’m going to ask you. And as always, I’ll clarify if I ask this poorly, has that, have you found that that ever worked against you? in one of my reviews, I would always get told, I’m kind of intense, or you can kind of come off intimidating. And in my mind, I was just listen, I have a strong purpose, and I have conviction. And most importantly, like, after nearly losing my life, at a young age, I have a lot of urgency. I have a lot of urgency. And I always felt sometimes, and I wasn’t mature enough to take that criticism for what it was then. But I felt like this says a lot about the other person, like, Why is this person complaining that I’m intense all the time, or I’m intimidating, I don’t do anything threatening to them overtly, if they’re just intimidated by my demeanor. Screw them is what I thought. Now, of course, I’ve grown since then, there’s still some things that you feel like, can be frustrating with that. But have you ever had that? Have you ever had somebody use your intent to act like, Oh, you got a chip on your shoulder, you better calm it down or anything like that.


Steffi Sorensen  56:01  

definitely, in the sports broadcasting world is, the number one criticism that I get the most is we want you to have more fun.


Brett Bartholomew  56:13  

Like, it might not have any fun?


Steffi Sorensen  56:15  

Well, I might be having fun, but what my fun looks like may not come across as fun. Or it’s just you might just be a little bit more more on the intense side, as opposed to the more like light and fluffy. I’ve never been light and fluffy. And, you know, I’ve talked to my boss about that. And, you know, I just gotta be me. But you can work, you know, on some of those things and kind of adjusting a little bit to being just more. More not necessarily likable, but just you know, relatable. Because people want to watch someone that, you know, they can relate to a little bit. So


Brett Bartholomew  56:49  

yeah, well, I remember when your boss reached out to me and said, hey, you know, when you asked me that question, you know, just make sure she knows that we viewed her as intense because at halftime, she’s burning ants. And that just seems, you know, really intimidating. That seems really intense. 


Well, when you say you talk to your boss about that, and you address it, that brings me up to and then only two more questions. And then you’re, you’re off the hot seat. That’s asserting yourself, right. And there’s this idea sometimes. And we’re going to do a whole standalone episode on this. But there’s this feeling sometimes in our world, where people think asserting yourself means you’re aggressive. Or, you know, you have to assert yourself in this way. But like, it takes a long time for people to learn how to do that. I know, in some respects, I’m still learning. What age were you when you felt like you really became comfortable asserting yourself? And what was it that made you like, what got you there? Right? What is even comfortable asserting yourself mean? What does it look like for you?


Steffi Sorensen  57:50  

I was 30. And I think, you know, as a female and I am pretty much you know, male dominated industry. You get a lot of unsolicited advice and how I should do and be as a broadcaster as a, you know, I did college football for a few years for Fox and I did not like how I was treated in that regard. You’re prop, you’re a prop, and I just I can’t do that. That’s not me. That’s not my style. It’s not my vibe, we’re talking for 45 minutes, you can already pick up like, that’s not me. So there was a person that told me that I would be better if I smiled more. I and He’s much older, much more accomplished. And I stood up to him. And basically just said, Am I allowed to say anything? Like, am I allowed to say whatever?


Brett Bartholomew  58:45  

Yeah, absolutely. It’s unedited,


Steffi Sorensen  58:46  

Basically, like, fuck off. Yeah. And it took me 10 years, basically, I would say eight to 10 years to get the nerve. Because I’d gotten that for like years, you know, you got guys coming up to you and telling you how to what to dress how to, you know what I should wear and how I should speak. I need to look this way. You need to look that way. And I finally was like, fuck you. And that was at 30 and be cut. And since then I can handle calls with my boss. What do you mean? Well, how can I do this better? Or what are you looking for then if this is what you’re saying, but like, this is how I’m projecting and or you know, whatnot. But that was a big moment for me in my career is to just stand up and finally like, find your voice and use it. And so I tried to especially like young females that reach out to me that want to get into TV. And I’m like, there’s gonna come a time. And fortunately, like more women are more empowered now where they’re like, they don’t really tolerate it. But t wasn’t like that. Even though it was just four or five years ago. So that’s kind of hopefully that is 


Brett Bartholomew  58:48  

Yeah, no I think that’s super helpful. I mean, sometimes the answer is just that simple. You know, I do have a follow up question on that. So I lied about the number of questions. But think about, you know, the obvious one there is, you know, you mentioned sometimes that unsolicited advice from men, but I’d have to imagine even with other females, that’s gotta be really competitive, is it not? I mean, that’s got to come. I see your facial expression. So I feel like there’s something there, run, run with it.


Steffi Sorensen  1:00:19  

I’ve gotten advice from women to a lot of women, a couple that have steered me to try and get out of the business because I was a threat. So the like, the concept of like men versus women, it’s like women versus women. I mean, specially more competitive, women versus women. It’s like, I don’t want out for themselves. I personally, like my philosophy when it comes to like, this business is like, if you’re better than me, then you’ll go like, Go ahead of me. Like, what I would never steer anyone or not help someone, because I didn’t want them to, like, overstep me. And I feel like, I’ve seen it, where people have tried to do that to me to try and get me out of the broadcasting industry, because maybe I would take their job. So I definitely do not approach that. And especially with young kids coming up, it’s just like basketball, it’s like, I’m gonna do everything I can maybe off camera to assist you, or, you know, talk about this camera angle or whatever, and feed that to you, if that makes TV look better. Like we’re a team. At the end of the day, like, if you’re better than me, and five years and you cross up. Cool. It’s just like, I’m not going to do people dirty like that, because people have done that to me. And it’s not cool.


Brett Bartholomew  1:01:35  

Yeah, it’s something that comes up and I appreciate you, go in there is, I’ve always felt like even even though now I’m not just a strength and conditioning coach, I always felt like there are a lot of strength coaches that did that. What I mean is, you’d look on YouTube, where you look on the internet of coaches, that would put advice for young coaches out there. And it was always it was disguised as well intentioned, and maybe in some cases it was, but it was essentially get your degree, get an internship get certified in your good, which was just such a load of bullshit. Because there’s so much more that, you know, you have so many coaches that get into the field. And, you know, they, they get into these positions where now they’re in real dire financial situations, they’ve checked those boxes, but they don’t realize there’s a completely different game to be played. And then they’re constantly gaslit, more and more told, Oh, by the way, you shouldn’t worry about the money. Oh, by the way, you should never worry about yourself. It’s not about you, you’re a  servant leader, it’s not about you. And next thing, you know, a lot of these coaches are looking around in their late 20s, early 30s, mid 30s. And they’re just in a shit situation, 


And  I don’t think that they realize that some coaches give that advice, because they don’t want to give you the real advice, because to your point, they don’t really want competition. There’s this scarcity mindset. And, yeah, there’s definitely this scarcity mindset. And for me, I know like, I’d always rather go down swinging in a pool of authenticity than to be in the spotlight because I was just full of shit. You know, and I don’t think sometimes people really take the time to think is this quote unquote, helpful advice that I’m getting really as helpful as it seems? Because if it seems a little bit too simple, you might need to reconsider that.


Steffi Sorensen  1:03:19  

Right? Do you find that to be the norm with strength coaches? Because it is a dog eat dog environment? And that?


Brett Bartholomew  1:03:27  

Yeah, I mean, without a doubt, I listen, I did. I made a course it was part love letter part dis record to the industry in that way called Valued that was all about, you know, think about how astonished I was that I said, Oh my gosh, you guys don’t get training on communication. And this, it might astonish you to know that literally prior to us putting out that project, there was nothing by any strength and conditioning governing body to help coaches manage their career, their finances, burnout, information overload. And because I knew that I was going to have to battle some of these larger organizations, because they don’t want private entities to get that kind of support. They want the money, right? So and because I knew that there would be people that would be like, ah, when I left the team setting, there were certain people that you know, they don’t want to listen to you because now you’re in the private sector. If you’re in the private sector, and the team setting there’s always this rift and infighting. So what I did is I got coaches together male female minorities, myself, right. I’m a white male, obviously, I got a whole collective of people together and said, We’re cutting the bullshit. We’re putting everything strength coaches should really no in this course right now. And by and large, to our surprise, then the governing bodies would not accredited for Con Ed certification for coaches. So we would have coaches that are like, Man, I want to do this. There’s nothing like it, and then the governing body wouldn’t certify it for continuing education. 


And Steffi because this is where it comes from. It always comes from some kind of source in any field, right there’s, and they said, Well, we’re sorry, we don’t view this as pertinent to this certification. that we offer. And I said some time out. You support strength and conditioning coaches, and they need to have sustainable careers. Because if the most important trait for an athlete and you know, this you played at extremely high levels is availability, that’s the most important ability you need availability, well isn’t the most important thing that strength coaches have then in their career is sustainability. So you don’t want to support that. And then of course, they didn’t, because that would require them to rewrite their certification. And that’s not going to make them money. And so without a doubt, it is still the, I think the only thing that started to change it Steffi is COVID, when COVID hit a lot of these strain coaches that were like, Ah, it’s not about me not feel bad. The course blew up, it was like one of those Colt movies that like didn’t do well in theaters, and then all of a sudden, like, and but that was sad, right? Like, that didn’t make me happy that the course started to make money. Because of that. It was like, why did it take that experience for you to realize that nobody’s coming to save you? Why did it take that experience for you to realize that you need to be an advocate for yourself? Why did it take that experience for you to wake the f up and take more control over your own career, so you can help other people for a longer period of time? Because an empty sack doesn’t really stand up very well on its own?


Steffi Sorensen  1:06:17  

Yeah, I think COVID highlighted so many things, you know, and you talked about the medical field, it’s like you think about now how they how directly, they have to communicate, you know, with through a phone, you know, and I’ve heard horror stories about that, just like no communication or little communication are just terrible. But yeah, I mean, just talking to coaches, after COVID and pre COVID, it was just like, their eyes is like, it was like, a whole new world after COVID. Like when it highlighted what they weren’t doing what they were, you know, like, so I feel like everyone learned a lot through that time 


Brett Bartholomew  1:06:56  

without question. All right, last one, cuz you have been a champion, and we have hit you. With all we’ve hit you with a lot. We like, I’m sorry, if you’re, you know, this is no walk in the park. And I know sometimes people are like, Hey, can you send us stuff in advance? It’s like, No, we just want, we want that real real. And you’re doing a good job of that. 


All right, let me decide how much I want to challenge you. You know, we’ll go a little abstract here. You can’t fail with this one. And also don’t feel pressure to go crazy deep. Take it wherever you want. But it’s been a while since I’ve asked a truly abstract question to kind of in this show. What’s something you believe that most people don’t? You can take take a minute, it’s fine. You can take I don’t have any cool music. Well, we’ll see if we have a don’t know if that’s the applause one. There’s another one here that I think it’s crickets chirping, but we’ll leave it what do you believe that most people don’t? It could be we had one person say they named a villain in a movie and they said I actually think that villains a hero. We’ve had some people say that, you know, they just think pizza’s awful. And then we’ve had some people that get really deep with some other stuff. So there’s no you can’t lose here. 


Steffi Sorensen  1:08:19  

We call it letting it breathe.


Brett Bartholomew  1:08:21  

That’s what it’s doing that makes wine better.


Steffi Sorensen  1:08:26  

I’ll give you an example of something that like I thought about recently, that was like, unpopular, because there was a rapper, Lil NAS X. And he had a video that came out. And it was for that Montero song. Interesting music video. I think a lot of people didn’t like it. 


Brett Bartholomew  1:08:46  

Why don’t you describe it for us?


Steffi Sorensen  1:08:49  

He gave Satan the lap dance. And I was watching it. And I you know, if you think about it, you could go what your opinions can be wherever. But most people I think were like, Whoa, like, way too much. Way too much. And I’ve kind of I’ve felt that way. And then I took a step back. And I was like, the creative genius that it took to think about this, visualize it, conceptualize it and then make it happen. And maybe that’s how he felt. And he portrayed it in a way that like he was mocking people. So I think it was like, the creativity that some people will get knocked for, because it might be like, oh, and all and all that. And I think that like sometimes like it’s okay to like if that was disturbing to watch. And like That’s okay, like, it can be disturbing. Like, that’s his creative process. And I actually didn’t hate it. I appreciate it. And like I’m religious, but like, when you watch that music video and your audience is going to watch it and be like, wow Steffi really


Brett Bartholomew  1:09:55  

doesn’t listen to anybody that lives This is our seventh knows that we’re about, like, part of the reason the world is so polarized as people don’t know how to play nice in the gray area, right? Like not everybody has to agree on everything. And that’s okay. Doesn’t mean they have to fight about it. You know, I would say so, you know, I would say we’re I’m on a similar track with you is, I think, you know what Dave Chappelle just got torn apart, right for his Netflix comedy special. And I watched that. And obviously, we have a member of the LGBTQ community as, like, she’s my business partner, and one become one of my better friends, right? Like, we love her. And like, we haven’t her and I haven’t had this conversation. But like, you know, Jay Z weighed in on this, and Jay Z was was said, Hey, listen, like, true art has to cause conversation. Like true art has to cause conversation. I mean, it just does. And that Chappelle documentary, cause conversation. And, you know, I remember my wife and I watch it. And, you know, we’re like, it seems like he’s making his point pretty clear to me. And the other side, just kind of wanted to be like, no, like, this is not okay. 


And it’s like, we have lost the ability to scale back and say, Why are we all so uncomfortable getting so uncomfortable? You know, even even when it pertains to things like nudity, 1000s of years ago, Greek and Roman statues can show the human body and it’s all of its beauty. Now, you can turn on TVs and people’s heads can get blown off, but heaven forbid you see a naked body. Heaven forbid kids get sex education, heaven forbid we train communication, heaven forbid we do anything that like could make us open our eyes to an alternative, adjacent possible future, or just, you know, what, just see something and say, That’s not for me. You know, you don’t have to be like, Oh, my God Steffi for you. I’m gonna cancel you when you’re, you know, no, that’s not for me, or Yeah, that’s interesting. But now everybody’s got to go. It’s wild. And I don’t know how you manage it. I don’t know. Because it’s got to affect you.


Steffi Sorensen  1:11:20  

I think like, you’re not allowed to openly interpret something without feeling boxed to one side. And that’s, I want to interpret something and I don’t want to be boxed in at all. And that you could inbox me in. But I love the Chappelle special, I watched it three times to see if I miss something that was like, totally screwed up, messed up. And you have to like, let the creative process flow, and we don’t let other people like interpret for themselves.


Brett Bartholomew  1:12:27  

And didn’t you think he was clear? I mean, I thought he was hyper clear, especially when he told the story of his friend Daphne, you know, and he said, listen, like this was, he’s like, I want to have this conversation. I want to talk about this. But like, I don’t know, I felt like of course, what if you watch it just up to 30 minutes? Or if you don’t watch the whole show? You’re gonna be like, No, not for me. But like, people don’t to use your language. They don’t let it breathe. Right, finish the whole thing. Review it again. And of course, they knew what he was doing right, sharp guy creating controversy got views. So nobody’s saying Dave’s got clean hands. We’re just saying that, like, look at the magnitude of the reaction. And is it always warranted? Is it always warranted? Or are we maybe not being discerning and open enough? I mean, what did you think about it? Do you think he was clear?


Steffi Sorensen  1:13:21  

I think he has a very special ability as an orator, as a performer, as a comedian to have very serious conversations and topics in a comedic way. And to have like, almost like an open forum of heavy topics that he brings all these people together, and they laugh, and they talk about it. And I, you know, the reaction, sometimes I’m just like, can you just let him do what he does? Because now you’re having a conversation. Maybe you weren’t going to have that conversation before, but we just aren’t quick to yell before we’re quick to listen. And that’s what really bothers me sometimes with the way that like, you know, I eliminated most of my social media, honestly, because it’s just like a hellhole. Like, I don’t know, you know, how many different platforms you use, but like, I basically just use Instagram now because it’s pretty much ads. But like, it’s, just not good for you. It’s not good for us.


Brett Bartholomew  1:14:16  

No, I mean, it definitely has become a pretty evil place. I’ve talked about this show before where, you know, I come at it in something in support of something and because, you know, I’m a white male, I got raked over the coals and then somebody saying, oh, boohoo, you’re a white male. We’re this and that’s and then it’s also like, Good lord, like now, I made one statement that I think this and then somebody says this and you don’t have it as bad as that person and it’s just, it’s so wild. Like you can’t win and most of these people that it’s become a zero sum game, which is the lack of social intelligence we need to move forward if I said all my arm hurts and you’re like, Yeah, I broke my leg, but like I’m not going to be the 


Well way to one up me Steffi. And I think it’s interesting because why and to close this out. And then we’re going to tell everybody where to get in contact with you. Because I could talk to you for like 20 hours and you’re coming to one of our workshops. Even if I have to kidnap you, you’re coming. Obviously on the house, I was trying after that chapels special to look up the the etymology of comedy, right? What was the origin. And as with anything, there’s some debates here, there’s debates that but I remember finding something from Oxford languages, that talks about the origin came from like late Middle English, and it was as a sub genre of drama. And I thought, well, that’s odd. And we of course, know that that symbolism of the arts, right, the laughing the to mask, one’s laughing one’s one sad, because some, some, are a tragedy, or a comedy. But that’s kind of what our worlds become, right? Because maybe we don’t know how to talk to each other. Maybe we don’t know how to develop theory of mind. And we’re taking people and life a little too literally, instead of giving people grace. And I don’t know, for me, that’s why you’ve got to focus more on communication. For me, that’s why I look up to somebody like you that’s out there doing that daily, the wide range of individuals under a wide range of contexts, all while trying to manage your own demons in your life. And that’s why I have so much love and respect for you.


Steffi Sorensen  1:16:13  

Brett I can probably talk to you for another hour. But I really enjoyed our conversation, I am going to come to one of your courses, I’m going to bring my sister, she’s an entrepreneur, we she opened up a restaurant with her husband, I invested in it, and I’m actually going to work there later tonight. And so for kids, has their own restaurant seats out 250 people and but communicating, especially with a huge staff, you know, like she has life of the party. But I would bring her and we’ll do it. This but this has been great. And I think that I wish we could have more of these conversations just like one in person, but like, especially in my industry, like one on one with you know, other people that do the same job and we just like talked, you know, and you know, we can all be better, you know, just doesn’t happen, unfortunately. But maybe we can move the needle. 


Brett Bartholomew  1:17:11  

Listen, I feel like all I gotta do is pitch during your next contract negotiation, an art of coaching segment on ESPN. And you and I can have our own show.


Steffi Sorensen  1:17:18  

The goal is not pitch that you know,


Brett Bartholomew  1:17:22  

yeah, I mean, I’d have to ask him go I’d promised a lot of things you know, and Mike’s Mike, he’s busy. I gotta give him a call. But I you know how to think of it. I think I’d rather co host with you anyway. So the art of coaching segment listen, you got update on injuries you got update on all these things. What about this? There’s a market for it.


Steffi Sorensen  1:17:39  

Yeah, well, what do you do is I’m not even kissing ass. I’m really not because it’s just such a market for it right now because like we don’t talk to each other anymore. And like, everyone needs to get better at at understanding talking to people and and listening. So  I’m looking forward to it. I hope you enjoyed the talk and hopefully I didn’t run on too much but get out of it. So that’s always good, right?


Brett Bartholomew  1:18:06  

Where can we support you? Where can people go to support all things Steffi?


Steffi Sorensen  1:18:11  

I use Instagram that’s my social media. That’s how people can get in touch with me. There’s an email link on my Instagram. It’s @steffi_sorensen. You know, I do some public speaking. I love talking to younger kids, people looking to get into the industry. I really enjoy doing that. I want to help younger kids because like no one really helped me come up. You know, that’s, kind of where I tried to give back as much as I can. So


Brett Bartholomew  1:18:37  

well, perfect. Well, guys, as always check the show notes. We’ll have all those links. So you can keep in touch and support steffi and as always, if you enjoy this podcast and the conversation, we try to keep it real. We try to keep these topics things that like, you know, stir up a little bit of emotions, but also give you real insight. So if it helped you, please send it along to a friend and Steffi. Thank you again for coming on to this episode of The Art of coaching podcast.

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