In Art Of Coaching Podcast, Podcasts

As we mature into adults, we become a smorgasbord of the good, bad and ugly experiences we endure growing up; Each has a hand in shaping who we become as leaders, coaches, parents, teachers, mentors, and friends. 

But regardless of where we begin, the decision to either re-write these narratives or succumb to their self-fulfilling prophecy is the most important one we can make in our development.

How will who I grew up as, define who I am going forward? 

In today’s episode we hear from Coach Joel Sanders, a strength & conditioning coach at EXOS about how his upbringing shaped who he decided to be as a coach, parent and mentor. 

In addition to being a parent of 5, Joel has mentored hundreds of strength and conditioning interns over the last 15 years and has had his work featured in Men’s Health Mag, Women’s Health Magazine, Men’s Fitness, & Men’s Journal. 

We cover:

  • The importance of choosing the right life partner 
  • 5 key principles for mentoring or developing interns
  • Parenting in the modern world (lessons from 5 kids)
  • Re-writing a family history and leveraging your story & struggle 

Connect with Joel: 

If you haven’t already heard, we’re running a 30 Day Conscious Coaching Challenge – starting April 1st, 2022!

This is 30 days of exclusive & essential content, direct access to our team, accountability from a group of coaches and leaders, PDF printouts & assignments, AoC gear and swag and a private online community. It’s only $99 and spots are filling up! Go to for more!

Today’s episode is brought to you by Dynamic Fitness & Strength and Momentous. Dynamic is our title sponsor and our go-to equipment guys. If you need anything for your home or full-sized gym- they offer the most affordable, customizable, durable equipment on the market. 

Momentous is our oldest partner, but they are STILL improving their product. If you are looking for the best tasting and cleanest protein out there, look no further. Code: BRETT15 gets you 15% off!


Brett Bartholomew  0:00  

Hi everyone, Brett here special announcement, I think we can all agree that time is the most valuable commodity we have. And these days, it’s harder and harder to come by. I know this as a parent and somebody trying to run a business, and somebody that often feels torn in a wide variety of directions. And we know it’s also not always feasible to commit to another online course, another book, another six month program, another invite to meet up with friends for dinner. But we also can’t afford the obstacles that arise due to poor communication and leadership. I mean, one way or another poor communication is going to cost you in your personal life or professional life. So I want to let you know that this April, we’re bringing you something brand new, it’s a 30 day challenge 30 days of if you want to call it micro content and interactions designed to really upgrade the way that you communicate using a system. Now you might think that’s boring by the sounds of it all the way. I mean, nobody wakes up thinking I want to be a better communicator. But yeah, you do. You wake up thinking, I wish I had less drama with this person, I wish I was on the same page with somebody else. I wish I didn’t always have so much trouble expressing how I feel, we all really have to deal with those things on a daily basis. 


So my point is, on your own schedule. When you join this challenge, you’re going to be able to follow along with a lot of new material that we’re teaching, you’re going to new lessons, once a week, you’re going to have some week, short weekly assignments, personal challenges, reflections, things that don’t need to feel intimidating, they’re inclusive. If anything they should be revealing, they should give you a lot of aha moments, you’re going to be able to ask questions on a weekly zoom call, including a little bit of a happy hour element to that, you’re going to be able to engage directly with our team, and most importantly, enjoy being with a community of other like minded professionals. Remember, this isn’t just for those of you that want to improve in your professional life. This is for those of you that need to improve in your personal life. And guys, I’m one of those people as well. There are many times that despite my knowledge of communication, I put my foot in my mouth. And the difference is, is I actually enjoy working on those things, because I know it will bear more fruit in the future. And there’s very few things that give us ROI, like that. 


So if you want to learn how to become better and more at peace with dealing with conflict, if you want to build deeper relationships, if you want to waste less time, get your message across more effectively, make sure that you lock into this, we’re going to be announcing all the details soon for now. Go to and we will send you a message when this opens up. We’re only accepting a limited amount of folks, please give it a chance we know you’ve done 8 million fitness challenges make room for something that can actually help and deepen your relationships. 


Okay. Also I want to thank LMNT that to this episode is brought to you by one behavior I constantly have to strive to improve aside from give me an occasion is my hydration and like anybody I get sick of the taste of just plain water I’m sure LMNT would like me to go into the science of hydration and all that. But sometimes it’s as simple as I need something other than water. And yes, I also need to get hydrated. So LMNT provides the perfect solution for both problems. And they don’t lace their product with a bunch of additives and other nonsense. It’s simple, it’s effective. It’s a favorite of mine. It’s one of the things I go to right in the morning. claim your free sample today you only pay $5 for shipping in the US by going to For art of coaching one more time, that’s a Also a huge thanks to our patrons. These shows are brought to you if not by sponsors just by our own pocket book. And so it’s nice, I appreciate so many of you that just leave a little tip or a little show of gratitude. If you want to drop a nickel in the hat so to speak, it’s important to show go to Nothing’s expected, but we always we always of course greatly appreciate the gesture and the support.


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 in communication. I want to thank you for joining me. And now let’s dive into today’s episode.


Mentoring has been described as a brain to pick an ear to listen and a push in the right direction. Now, this has many applications. I think about myself as a father, I think about my years as a coach. And I think about indirect and direct roles I have as a mentor in other people’s lives and where this may be true. And that is the theme of today’s episode in a variety of contexts as well. Today, we are talking to Joel Sanders, who is a strength and conditioning coach in Phoenix, Arizona, and Joel has mentored hundreds of strength and conditioning interns over the last 15 years. His work has been featured in Men’s Health magazine, Women’s Health magazine, Men’s Fitness Men’s Journal, and he has worked with people in Fortune 500 industries, world class athletes and youth that barely know how to swing get married, at the same time as it pertains to their coordination. 


And Joel is also the Father. And this is perhaps his toughest job of all of five kids. So today, in the context of mentoring, we talk about tough lessons learned, both in parenthood and when trying to develop others. We talk a little bit about his coaching journey, both on the performance side and also what it’s like to be on the other end of it, coaching athletes, youth athletes, his daughter’s team, we also get into some deeper topics about suicide and his upbringing, and how that has impacted the way that he communicates and connects. Guys, if you come to this podcast to be able to hear about the messy realities of life, and leadership, and how you can use those and extract them to help you better navigate the gray area of all that you are going to love this episode. Now. I always encourage you guys to stay for the long term. These are improvised actual conversations. And like real life, sometimes these conversations take a little time to warm up. Some of Joel’s best stuff comes midway through the episode. And don’t get it twisted. There’s great things that book in it as well. But make sure you stick around for the entire episode or if you’re on the road to work bookmark it because this is something that you want to listen to beginning to end to get the full context. All right. Without further ado, today’s conversation


everybody welcome back to another conversation within the art of coaching Podcast. I’m here today with friend and former colleague, Joel Sanders. Joe, how are you?


Joel Sanders  7:39  

Great, man. Good to be here.


Brett Bartholomew  7:40  

Joe, you’re looking good. You’re looking youthful. You know, I feel like you got a little bit of that, like Goldie Hawn in ya that she just, you know, she didn’t age up until a certain point. I don’t know what that point is gonna be like for you. But I feel like you could probably go like, how old? Are you now? Go ahead and date yourself?


Joel Sanders  7:57  

Well, I mean, I was in the group in the Superbowl halftime performance. They’re like new every word of Dre and Eminem and 50 cent song. So that puts me in born in the 80s. So I’m 36.


Brett Bartholomew  8:11  

It’s, I mean, it’s a wide spectrum. But I’m always amazed that like, given the internal tension that I know you have that you probably hide well from everybody else. But I know that just from working with you, you take your job very seriously, you take parenthood very seriously, we’re gonna get into all these things. You take mentoring very seriously, but that stress doesn’t seem to have an impact on you. Whereas I am going to be 36 in March. And I feel like I look like I’m about 53 I feel like I’m, I look weathered, I look like an Ewok met, you know, some kind of like, just I feel like I’m cast in between like this Ewok and an orc and everything else, but it never gets to you man. Like so let’s start with the obvious being in a competitive profession having five girls but you’re gonna get to and you know, everything that you hold yourself accountable to? How do you find any semblance of peace balance, routine structure? Anything you want to call it within your day to day?


Joel Sanders  9:11  



Brett Bartholomew  9:12  

Yeah. How did I know you were gonna go there? How did I know that you’re gonna go there with a system that’s not a former athletes performance kind of thing at all. But you know, I want to dive into this because we’re on a real note, we are going to get into all things mentoring, parenting, how these things coincide with one another how we handle the development of people in our lives, personally and professionally, as well as ourselves, and more importantly, how you even find time to give back to yourself when you have all these responsibilities. So I want you to take that jump off point, wherever you will, I mean, gotta balance a great deal of these things. How do you just manage the chaos of your day? I’m not looking for a nuanced morning routine, just trying to get an idea of how you manage your life.


Joel Sanders  9:55  

Now well, I mean, when I say systems, you know what system stands for? Right? You break it down, say Save yourself time, energy money. So when you’ve got five kids and jobs, you’ve got things pulling in you all the time. So, I mean, one of my keys is, I know you’re the opposite, but I have to wake up early. Because if I can wake up at 5am, and get my workout in, and start in on some creative things before my kids wake up, I’m already winning to start today. But it starts the night before that, like I’m, my wife, Kristen would stay up and watch Netflix and binge until midnight. But I’m like, nine o’clock clocks. 9:30pm, lights off in the bed, you know, room blacked out. And so I have to go to bed early. I gotta get up.


Brett Bartholomew  10:47  

Hey, I mean, that’s part of it. Right? Like, so We get that, you know, there’s so many different types of Chrono types. There’s going to be people that wake up early, stay up late, but still is there really like you have your kids are everywhere from like, 8 to infant right now? Is that correct?


Joel Sanders  11:04  

Yeah. So we’re, you know, consistency is king. So we’ve got 8 6 4 2. And then we just had one born a couple months ago.


Brett Bartholomew  11:15  

So within that getting up early, I mean, I remember I only have one, you know, but like, whether we liked it or not, you’re waking up during the night, you know, my wife would have the baby monitor right by it, you know, the bed and any kind of peep anything like that. I’m up. I’m a light sleeper. She’s not. But I mean, is there such a thing? Like, going to bed late waking up early? Like how you’re going to be waking up in the middle of the night? How do you guys have that laid out? Because here’s the thing that I want our audience again to we’ve talked a lot about a lot of different things on this podcast. I mean, we’ve touched on everything. We’ve touched on issues related to race, we’ve touched on disability, we’ve touched on money. We’ve touched on sport, business, self doubt, imposter phenomenon. But I think the one thing that a lot of young professionals forget is that no matter what kind of systems they use, at one point in their life, at some point there is going to be a breakdown, right? There just is I mean, I would think that even in your life is systematized as it is, you can’t predict everything, you can’t account for everything. So how do you manage that? How do you manage the inevitable chaos, whether it comes in the form of a baby, or a life event? Or anything else that you feel like young you kind of would have scoffed at, but now you’re like, Yeah, you gotta roll with it.


Joel Sanders  12:24  

Yeah, well, it starts with picking the right partner. And I think 90% Of Your happiness is picking the right person. And Kristen, is that for me? And so, I mean, I think we like Brett, and for me managing and being able to juggle five kids starts with I mean, I tell everyone, my wife is the rock star. And so I think we have a little bit more traditional roles where, you know, like, we’ll see, take the nighttime routine that she was talking about, right, some dads get up and they’ll change the diaper and bring it to the mom or they’re splitting up. I’m a heavy sleeper, Kristen does all the nighttime duties. And so don’t shoot me when I say this, if you know 


Brett Bartholomew  13:10  

Nothing on my end


Joel Sanders  13:11  

So Kristen takes all the nighttime. And so we’re like Why have two people be sleep deprived, when you can only have one person here. So it’s nighttime, and then I wake up early, you know, six or 6 30 After I get my workout, and I’m taking the kids taking them to school making them breakfast and their school lunches. So I think us being really clear in our roles of like, Hey, there, this is gonna be your responsibility as the parent, like your chief responsibility. And here’s where I’m going to pick up the slack is that makes it so like, I don’t have to wear the parent hat all the time, even in the middle of the night.


Brett Bartholomew  13:49  

Ya no, and sticking on this within the parent theme. And we’re gonna get really into kind of the day to day how you manage that, because I think that’ll be very useful for any professional that transitions. I mean, this is one thing that we haven’t been able to cover a lot on the podcast yet this transition into parenthood professional, like how this professional evolves, you know, when parenthood becomes a very real thing, but within that, and I got to think about how I want to phrase this question. You know, when you think about how you approach many aspects of your professional career prior to becoming a parent, and then also beyond that first chapter of maybe becoming just a parent to one to two, to then being a parent to three, or four, and now five, how has that perspective really changed? 


And if you could just to help you answer this thing from the role now of the individual listening, whatever field they’re in, who right now their job is just the most important thing, right? Like they maybe have a relationship with a slow cooker, and nothing else, like Where were you at that point. And then kind of take us piece by piece with how any of those things, whether it’s your goals, how you approach stuff, I won’t use the B word because balanced doesn’t really exist in the truest sense. But like, just give us insight into your head is how that has changed and progressed over the years.


Joel Sanders  15:07  

Yeah, I think I mean, have you ever seen when, you know when someone’s having their first baby and they’ll pull us like, oh man, my world just changed. Yeah, now the little life Canada mine. Mine wasn’t like that. And it actually took me some time. It was a slow boil into parenthood and like feeling like, Man, I’m a father. And this is one of my major responsibilities is raising kids and a family and doing that. So when you know when I’m in my 20s 3 kids and and I’m a strength coach. And that’s like a one all the time. I think what I had to cut out is what I call the man temptations. And the man temptations were on the weekends, I’m playing fantasy football. I’d like locking in my roster. I mean, now, I think there’s more when you say temptations for especially for guys, you know, you can open up Robin Hood, their sports betting it, you know, there’s gaming, like


Brett Bartholomew  16:15  

seeing a theme emerge here. By the way. This is a later, I’m making it note. We’re getting into gaming and gambling later. keep going keep going.


Joel Sanders  16:23  

So right, I think I had to realize that it took a while for me to say, especially like weekends free time. It’s not just my day, it’s their day to and so that I think I still spent just as much time reading, tinkering in the gym, working out designing clients programs, as I did in my 20s. But now my free time isn’t just my time. It’s their time it’s their day too


Brett Bartholomew  16:52  

Yeah, no, I think  that’s a good way to look at it. You mentioned something else about having the right partner. And this is where I hope you’re okay going here. Because this is kind of what our listeners value most. Getting into some personal weeds when it comes to choosing the right partner. I mean, I’m just gonna call it what it is, I have some close friends. And I think everybody has close friends that can relate to this, who, you know that they’re in tough situations with that, you know, meaning that their partner maybe can hold some resentment about certain things, and their partner may not want these traditional roles, their partner may have different ideas of what parenthood looks like, their partner might have different ideas of what compromise is, right? That’s human nature. None of us all kind of think and perceive things the same way. And so I guess what I’m wondering is, how did you or Kristen’s background, both as individuals inform how you’ve kind of attacked parenting as partners? And if that’s not clear enough, what are some things that you guys have felt like, all right, you’re pretty fortunate to be on the same page about that you maybe haven’t seen in other relationships? 


And if that’s not clear enough, what arguments are you still even having, because that’s the thing with a lot of these, podcasts and episodes that that people put out is, you would think that no leaders in any field have issues with their significant others that they don’t have to work out, you would think that it’s all just like, oh, well, thank God, my partner understands everything. I guess, what I’m saying is, how did you and Kristen in come to this mutual understanding beyond the obvious shared values kind of answer?


Joel Sanders  18:27  

Right. So that, I think so here would be an example of where we were different to start is, So Kristen grew up in a Catholic household has a degree in theology, and I was Christian. I grew up with Baptist in Georgia. But, you know, the first time I went to a Catholic church with her, I’m like, you know, people are standing up and sitting down and sign of the cross. And I felt like I was like, I was out of place. And so I think there was one with our kids where I wasn’t Catholic. She was a devout Catholic. And we had to decide, like, when it was time for our oldest Mia to go to school is do we want her to go to a Catholic school. And one of the things that Kristin has taught me is, she doesn’t push. She like she’ll plant seeds, but then just kind of like, you’re slowly you’re like, let it work itself out and let it grow and flourish a little bit. So, you know, with Catholicism, I would, she knew where she stood. And then she never pushed it. Like, you know, people who can push religion, right? What happens when they push right? You know, this? Yeah. You, put up your fence, so she never pushed and, you know, fast forward a decade later. And, you know, I converted. I’m a Catholic, converted Catholic as of a year ago. And our kids are now going to Catholic school. And it’s something that I’m so glad that we did it. And so I think that one was like private school, public school, I wanted to go, I was like, Hey, I went to public school. Look how I turned out. I don’t know if that helps.


Brett Bartholomew  20:23  

You guys can’t see perfect hair I already talked about doesn’t age, right? This is all in the water it like, you know, that’s the nature of it. 


Joel Sanders  20:31  

Yeah, sure.


Brett Bartholomew  20:34  

So but to that point, right. And you mentioned not pushing any right there’s a phrase, right, you can’t really, you can’t push a string, right, you’re gonna have to pull it. Same thing with a Chinese finger trap. What happened when you get those little 50 cent things, we need to win it at some arcade, right? The more you push inward, the more trapped you are right like or like, the more you sorry, the more you pull in that instance, the the more you try to force that the more trapped you get, you have to gently kind of push inward, and piece by piece kind of let it go. 


But I mean, Joel certainly like when you’re talking about and I know, we have listeners that have written in about this, even when it comes to differences in religion, and it seems like you know, you said you’re a converted Catholic, you’re gonna have different ideas about what you expose your kids to. And I think of a primary example of somebody once upon a time reached out, I think it were in our first 100 episodes. And man, they lit us up pretty good on email. And they said that I should be ashamed of myself, because I think a guest had cursed on the show, something that we tell people like, listen, we have a real conversations, people are gonna cuss. We don’t edit that. But they said, you know, my kids are in the car. How dare you, like you or anybody else cuss on this show? And I remember thinking to myself, you know, everybody’s opinion is their own. But I thought, you know, listen, there’s kind of this buyer beware that everybody needs to be a little bit more responsible for their own life. And while you know, cussing is not for everybody, I think there’s a lot worse things that people can be exposed to, and you need to be judicious in how you handle that. That said, I thought about, you know, the things that all exposed my kid to while I maybe take him to a bill burr comedy show at age four, probably not, you know, but am I going to think that my son is never going to hear certain things be exposed to certain things? 


Where do you and Kristen in knowing that you have kids, again, as old as eight, and that middle ground? Where do you guys draw the line between what you want them to be exposed to in terms of the reality of today’s world and just how it is and what you shelter them from. And I’m using those terms purposefully.


Joel Sanders  22:38  

So you, have to be really intentional with what you expose your kids to, but I mean, Brett, it starts with their environment. Right? Like you if your goldfish is dying, the first thing you need to do to help it live is to change the water. So the you know, what we did with, it’s all starts, like we have a fairly tight bubble is we have school and our neighborhood and our friends groups. We have our church. And then we have their like their other activities, sports and Girl Scouts and the coach and me as basketball team. And so I think we just like when you look at those places that they spend time in is, like, we want to know what type of community they’re in the values and virtues of those places. So, you know, we’re not just gonna let them spend the night at anyone’s house if we don’t know them. I want to be the basketball coach and me as team because I want to put the fun in fundamentals. 


I mean, Brett, I had a, I had a girl on my, I coach a third through fifth grade basketball team, we’re the Spurs. And I had a girl who was in fifth grade, and her mom says, Hey, I nicknamed her maxilla. And she’s our center. And she said, Hey, she didn’t play last year. And I just want you to know why. Because our coach yelled at her. And so she just she decided not to play. And I was like, Well, you’re not to worry about that with our team, because we’re here to have fun. I hope we win. But we’re here to have fun first and foremost. So, you know, I think this probably isn’t a perfect answer to your question about boundaries. And but, you know, it’s all about the culture of places that we spend time in our neighborhood, our schools, sports teams, etc.


Brett Bartholomew  24:35  

Yeah, no, I think that’s a fine answer. I mean, there’s no one size fits. All right. I know. For us, a big thing that we like about Atlanta is in many ways, depending on where he goes to school, Bronson is going to be the minority. You know, you have a diverse aspect of kids in the south and I want our kids to be exposed to that. I want him to know what it’s like, you know, he’s going to go to some places like when we go back to Omaha, you know, and visit family and westermo That’s predominate. The White population, certain parts of Atlanta, it’s gonna be a predominantly black population. And just like in my career, I’ve taken like, great pride as I know you have and working with a diverse subset of people you want, like, we want our kid to feel those things and ask those questions and be involved with a wide range of cultures. I mean, we probably traveled more states with Bronson already than some people do as adults, you know, by the time that they’re 40, because he needs to feel both secure, and loved. But there’s periods in his life where he needs to feel uneasy and challenge through like the exposure of other cultures and ideas and thought processes. I don’t think anybody’s made to be better by like being shielded from that. 


And so I just remember, like, you know, as part of our mission, or our larger vision of art of coaching, is to change the way the world interacts when it matters most. I think that’s really cute to say, in a tagline. But I think sometimes that people don’t really always do it in their life. Or if they do it, they don’t maybe encourage others within their wheel of influence, or their kids to do the same. I mean, we shield ourselves from a lot of topics in society. 


Now, you mentioned that you’re coaching. And you know, I know that this is, I don’t envy your position, because there’s so many things we talked about that we’re going to mention on the show, and we will, but you dropped too many nuggets in the course of like natural discussion. I can’t not go there. One of the most common questions we get is how do you build buy in with pushy sport parents? Now, I’ve done a whole episode on this. We’ve talked about it, but I always tell people like, have you taken the other perspective? Have you ever coached kids? Do you have kids that are involved with sport? You know, I try to get? So my court question is, is you as a coach, right? in many different contexts? physical performance, the fitness side now in basketball, and youth basketball, is that? How does that make you view this umbrella term of difficult personalities? And how you deal with them a little bit differently? Does that make sense? And if it doesn’t, I’ll get more clear.


Joel Sanders  27:02  

Are you asking me from the player’s perspective or parents like how to deal with parents? Or how to deal with the player? 


Brett Bartholomew  27:07  

Yeah, I think it comment, like in this case that how to deal with pushy parents, right how to deal but like, colloquially people, I tend to notice put these difficult personality like terms or umbrellas on anybody that just doesn’t see something the same way they do. And they tend to just rationally it doesn’t make sense to them why somebody behaves a certain way, because they’re usually not locked into the fact that like, we’re emotional creatures. So yeah, I mean, as a coach, in all these contexts, how does that change how you perceive to be a pushy personality, whether it’s a client, whether it’s a parent, whether it’s anybody that you serve?


Joel Sanders  27:45  

Yeah, well, I want to change it. Maybe the question or the, the answer just a little bit, say, I think coaching kids has changed me. It made me realize that I was too pushy as the coach, which is crazy, because I, you know, I’ve been doing this 1015 years of getting people to do maybe what they don’t want to do. And so, with kids, with kids, especially, is I’ve had to learn how to make everything fun. Every, like, if I’m trying to teach man to man defense, or help side defense on basketball, I’ve got to find a way to make it to them. So I’m going to rebrand it. And we talked about protecting the key. And the key is the honey. And what is the honey and we’re a pack of bees protecting the key. 


And so, within a basketball practice Brett, we’re gonna go over concepts like that. How are the bees protecting the honey, we’ll play basketball and musical chairs. I’ll have them tuck a jersey in the back of their shorts, and we play like dribbling DuckTales where you have to grab the jerseys out of the back of their shorts. And so these are games that I never thought about I never tried before. You know my first practice. I’m like, Alright, line it up. Let’s two lines, layups, everyone ready, set, go, you know, and they’re just going all over the place. So I think I’ve had to learn how to have fun, how to grab their attention and get buy in which I know you’re, huge home. And so I think that’s how I’ve had to change instead of worrying about other people.


Brett Bartholomew  29:33  

Yeah, no, I think that’s a good piece. I mean, that that touches on something that I was going to ask you have, you know, things that you wish you would have learned sooner, both from your parents or as an intern or as a young coach, or any of these things, and it also ties into what I’m gonna ask you next, 


Joel, it’s clear, you have a lot of systems based thinking around things, whether it’s games strategies, the way you attack your mornings, any of these pieces. So you know, When I first would connected with you, and we were talking about some things that we really felt like we could bring, you know, you mentioned that you have five core strategies around fostering growth in children and aspiring professionals. And there’s a lot of tie ins here. But, you know, let’s get into that a little bit. Let’s get into these,  kinds of pieces, everything that you’ve learned and kind of codified over your diverse experiences, and maybe help the audience even understand why you would kind of group these two, not necessarily in terms of like saying they’re similar, but like, in terms of you saying that these are areas that you feel like you have unique insight in, let’s talk about these strategies, and why these two populations in general?


Joel Sanders  30:45  

Yeah, so I think the two populations in my life right now that I get to raise are, we’ve talked plenty about kids, but I get to work with young professionals, and specifically interns, all the time. So I’ve seen hundreds of interns, you’ve seen a lot. And you know that development like that, point in your life when you’re going from, I just took four years of college learning about exercise science, or whatever. And now I’m getting ready to launch my career. And where I’m going to live is, it’s huge. It’s really impactful. And I think what, you know, with interns in particular, I think I used to think about it as like, what can the interns do for me? Right, like, they’re here for me. And I had it all wrong. The fact of the matter is, is we’re there for them. Right, just like I said, you know, it’s it’s their day with my kids, right, I had to cut out a lot of temptations for myself. Same thing with interns. We’re there for them. And I’m here to make them grow. And so there’s five strategies that I think crossover. There’s a little amoeba osmosis flow, that five things that I use to develop interns, and, you know, our kids and within my household,


Brett Bartholomew  32:14  

we got to hear him, I gotta listen to him. I’m, we’re maybe going to have number two at the end of the year, you know? So like, I’m waiting with bated breath. You gotta you gotta lock and load. I don’t have the cheat sheet here. 


Joel Sanders  32:26  

All right, well, if you’re gonna go man to man defense, instead of defense, be great. So the first is Rules without relationships lead to rebellion. Right. And, you know, I mean, I think about So here would be an example of when I messed up, is I had an intern Anthony. One day day one. Anthony. I look over in his kid, he’s got earrings on. He’s got like a, you know, a mohawk, like really slicked up tight Mohawk. And for some reason, you know, it just triggered I’m like, I’m gonna go tell this kid What’s up, and like, show him, you know, hey, this is how we dress around here. This is what a strength coach should look like. So I go up to him, You introduce myself real quick. And I said, Anthony, take a look around here at the coaches. And he looks around and said, are any of them wearing earrings? He say’s No. I said, how are they? You know, was their hair their grooming look like? Like, pretty fairly sharp, right? Like, kept well put together? He’s like, Yeah. And I looked down. I said, Well, what do you think you look like right now. Now, what do you think Anthony’s response was?


Brett Bartholomew  33:48  

I mean, I could see that guy in a lot of ways. I could see that I could see that as Anthony just doing the interns. Like, you know, because I want to answer honestly, there. I could see some interns being like, Oh, my God, I didn’t read. Yeah, of course, then I could see some being like, all right, bro. Like, I’m an individual when I’m supposed to look like you. There can’t be diversity here. They can’t be this. So I couldn’t see it going either way.


Joel Sanders  34:09  

Yeah. That was the latter. Right? He took offense to it. And he, in my opinion, he took offense to it, because he didn’t know me. And I didn’t know him. Right. There was rules, but there was no relationship. Like Brett, I don’t know if you ever had a but if you had a coach growing up, you know, when you played sports, that was maybe overbearing, strict, and never really got to know you. Maybe they didn’t know your parents. And you look at that coach, and you’re like, This coach is an asshole. And so, with interns, you’re now there’s I’ll give you three examples of what I do to not have that situation so that we can build relationships. So one is we get them drinking the Kool Aid day one. So I think you like you have a new employee Come on, and you’re so eager to get them set up on their operations and their email set up and tell them how to open the facility and clean up. But you’re not getting any buy in until you get them understanding the culture, how you do things, how the company started, so they can understand. 


And this is what Disney does, right? Disney brings in when they have new employees and their imagine years, they don’t. All they talk about is the culture of Disney because they want people to drink the Kool Aid. So that’s one example. You know, two more are. Here’s my favorite icebreaker game. So we have a we have a group of interns sitting around day one. Yeah, normally, it’s like, Okay, everyone, go around, tell me your name and where you’re from, and blah, blah, blah. And one interesting thing, like I always love that one. Tell me one interesting thing about yourself. And they, can’t think of anything. So with us, we’re going to do our icebreaker game is tell me your worst. Your worst injury, or your worst job? One of those two,


Brett Bartholomew  36:11  

why that strategy? 


Joel Sanders  36:13  

What’s that? 


Brett Bartholomew  36:13  

why that strategy? I mean, aside from its good, like the negativity bias, right, everybody remembers bad things easier then good things. I love that. But like, what, made that come to just for anybody listening? Why?


Joel Sanders  36:27  

You know, specificity? Like specificity breeds creativity, or constraint promotes creativity. I think everyone’s had either a crappy job or a crazy freak injury in their life. So it’s just a way to get really personal, really quick. And you know, it’ll give you something to remember someone by you know, 


And the third is we talked about changing environment. I mean, one of the things that I’ve done is, when I have new interns, I invite them into my home in that first week, because, like, do you remember when you saw your Did you ever see your safe third grade teacher at the grocery store growing up? Like our 


Brett Bartholomew  37:09  

I mean, I had to cry i had  massive crush on my third grade teachers. I mean, but yeah, without a doubt, I one time I remember seeing her, I think it might have been the same time I hit puberty, ironically. But yes, I remember seeing Mrs. Greenwald at the grocery store one time and it was a dream come true.


Joel Sanders  37:25  

Well, I saw Mrs. Cooper at the grocery store. And I mean, I was frozen. I’m like, and not because I had a crush on her. But because


Brett Bartholomew  37:34  

be so lucky. 


Joel Sanders  37:35  

I’m like, What does miss Cooper doing at the grocery store? You know, I go up at my mom. And, you know, sometimes you need to remove yourself from the environment. So I will my interns to get to know my family and my kids and see me outside of you know, this it’s time to grind and get on the training floor. And let’s talk about queues and movements. So I think those three things on the front end, which are gonna drink the Kool Aid, do an icebreaker game that’s really simple. And invite them into my home to break bread with me are ways that I like to build relationships on the front end, whereas I probably didn’t do that early on. 


Brett Bartholomew  38:15  

Yeah,no, I think those things are selling. And one of the things we talked about in our larger kind of our system or roadmap of you is so to speak is you know, there are a number of things that drive behavior. One is our own internal drives or our selfish innate desires, two environment, as you alluded to, it’s no different than when we talked about the weight room can be a very positive place for some people not so positive. For others. I think it my friends and many listeners in the corporate environment that tune in, right like they, if you mentioned a conference or workshop, it becomes in their mind’s eye very clear about this nondescript conference room, where the really bad coffee and name tags, there’s, of course, social factors, the people that were around in different environments as well as around and then of course, timing, you know, and so what you’re alluding to is all great representations of that thing of those things. You’re getting people in your environment, they’re seeing you in a different context, engaging socially in different ways. The timing is outside of traditional work hours, and you’re able to address and get to know different aspects of what drives them, because it’s not all centered around that work environment. So what I see there is a super comprehensive approach. I love it. All right, what’s strategy number two?


Joel Sanders  39:26  

Number two, shout praise, whisper criticism. 


Brett Bartholomew  39:32  

Shout, praise,  whisper criticism, right? Lock in.


Joel Sanders  39:36  

So I think as coaches, what do we do? What do we look for? We look for what you’re doing wrong. We look for what you can improve on. And so that’s our bias is we’re always in that mode. And with so take interns is, you know, I’m always like, You didn’t set up that benchpress correctly. You know, set it up at Wrong. I’m always up the whiteboard. What kind of handwriting is that on the whiteboard? You know?


Brett Bartholomew  40:06  

WJoel? Do you remember my handwriting?


Joel Sanders  40:09  

The chicken scratches.


Brett Bartholomew  40:11  

You couldn’t even call it that it’s somewhere between Wingdings, and my son, scribbles? I neither here nor there, keep going.


Joel Sanders  40:18  

So instead of, I mean, yes, they’re going to need to improve on things. And I’m going to need to help them do that. But now, I’m going to look at if they give a great cue, like, I’m going to have them coach, they give a great cue. I’m telling them right there, right in in front of the athlete or client. That was a great cue. Or, like, I can remember, as an intern, we had a kind of intimidating strength coach Luke Richardson. And you know, him Brett


so, you know, he’s got his hair slicked back, like, Keanu Reeves, and he’s got, you know, tase tatted up, and I was an intern working with combine day one. And I spot a guy on benchpress. And I’m, like, nervous that I’m doing everything wrong. And guy gets done with his 225 bench, and he racks it. And Luke came by me and said, hey, hold the spot right there.


Brett Bartholomew  41:24  

Hey, quick break in the episode, just to remind you to go to Now, for our latest material, something cool we’re doing in case you didn’t hear it in the intro, we are starting a 30 day challenge for anybody that wants to be a better communicator, in their personal and professional life. And remember, guys, this isn’t woowoo rah rah stuff. This is the stuff that we’re trying to teach people in terms of how to navigate some of the stickiest moments in their life. So whether it’s with your significant other, whether it’s with another family member, whether it’s with your boss, and sometimes Yeah, even if it’s with yourself, how do you navigate some of these tough interactions when you feel stuck? not heard? not understood? So go to, all right, that Joel


Joel Sanders  42:16  

has got his hair slicked back, like Keanu Reeves. And he’s got, you know, tase tatted up and, and I was an intern working with combine day one. And I spot a guy on benchpress. And I’m, like, nervous that I’m doing everything wrong. And guy gets done with his 225 bench. And he racks it. And Luke came by me and said, Hey, hell, the spot right there. And that one, I can still remember that compliment from 15 years ago.


Brett Bartholomew  42:47  

Joel, I remember Andy Barnett telling me that I got one question a day. So make it a good one. I remember walking in as an intern, and this cat all of five, six, and I love him. So if he’s listening, which is not, but if he is listed, I think he’s off in New Zealand somewhere. But he was five, six. The socks pulled up to his shins and had those glasses on, you know, the old kind of like not Oakleys but those baseball kind of coaching sunglasses that you can probably get at the Circle K for like, $1.99 he’s got old trusty, like the stopwatch that, you know, has been with him at least, you know, five or eight different stops and I think he had worked with the New York Giants University of Wyoming Lake Placid training center for a Olympic training center all this stuff. And the guy just was like you get one question a day make it a good one. But I have so many tell me to and I’m sitting there like shaking after lunch. I’m like, which one? Do I ask what might lead to more elaboration? But no, I would have 


I agree man. I think that’s a great example like with somebody especially like Luke, right? Or especially with somebody that could be perceived as this intense, irascible demeanor, when something unexpected comes from that, that little bit of praise that makes it even more powerful. Conversely, same thing with a coach that’s really positive and, jubilant and joyful, and oh my gosh, everything is just the best ever, when they really get down on you that hits because you don’t see that person and that’s the power of contrast. Right? And you gotta utilize that ratio within your coaching. So I think that’s a phenomenal example. Is there a more you want to say on that one?


Joel Sanders  44:27  

No, I mean, I Well, so I think really Brett is whether you’re, given a compliment, or you need to give some criticism, is taking advantage of those five second windows. I mean, life happens in real time. And, like if I last week, I’m eating dinner with my family and our third kid Abby, your she’s sitting there, she’s four years old and she’s talking to me, and I caught myself. Just like looking into her eyes. She’s got these Browns saucers eyes. And I like in the past, you know, I would have thought how many this girl is just adorable, like her eyes are so pretty. But I would have kept that to myself and you and just kept listening. But I’ve really had to work on this is something personally is if I think a compliment, say it, like say in the moment. And I think that’s helped with some of my relationships with my wife saying I love you more telling my kids that tell Abby I just said I stopped right there and said, Abby, you got some beautiful brown eyes. And it’s been like, I used to have to grit my teeth to say those things. 


Brett Bartholomew  45:44  



Joel Sanders  45:46  

Well, I mean, I don’t know how,  historical you want to get 


Brett Bartholomew  45:50  

I want to get historical, you know what I’m asking? 


Joel Sanders  45:52  

Yeah, I mean, a lot of is to do with your roots and your upbringing. And for me, I mean, I come from a man I grew up in South Georgia, my dad grew up on a tobacco farm and ate ketchup sandwiches for lunch, he was poor. And you, we just grew up in a household. That was we didn’t tell each other. Like, I don’t think I ever heard my dad say, I love you. You know, and those were. And so growing up in that environment where you just don’t share your feelings. You don’t say I love you, you don’t give compliments you just work hard, is what you do. And so I really never learned how to exercise my, you know, emotional muscle in that way. So I’ve had to be intentional about it


Brett Bartholomew  46:49  

is your dad, still around?


Joel Sanders  46:53  

No, I mean, it. So literally was part of the death of my my dad committed suicide when I got out of college. So it like he, you know, he was a guy who, you know, he was going to provide the meat and potatoes, Guy work seven days a week. And then, you know, my mom recently told me he’s like, I think when you moved out of the house, so I’m the oldest of four. I think a hidden that he just spent the last 20 years, you know, working and not raising his kids.


Brett Bartholomew  47:30  

And when you think about that, obviously, it’s tough to put yourself in, that kind of headspace. You know, like, what do you think? What based on what you know about your father, what might have contributed to him even being like that. I mean, these things are learned behaviors to a degree, right? It’s nurture and nature all the Liz and I had this conversation the other day. I mean, her family also struggles with expressing what they feel for many reasons. And part of that is, you know, they just plow ahead, right, a lot of farming background, they’re just keep your head down. But what do you know about as you investigated into that further? What did you find out about your father’s side of that family, and maybe how he was raised?


Joel Sanders  48:09  

Yeah, his dad was alcoholic who, you know, beat my grandma, and may I he said, they were poor, right? He, had to go work on a tobacco farm. And the wages that he got as a kid, he helped pay, like their electricity bills, things like that, you know, and like I said, he literally, I’ve never heard of this, but he ate. My wife talked to my grandma, he said that they would make ketchup sandwiches. But apparently, that’s something that can sustain you a little bit. So he so yeah, I mean, Brett, when I think about these things that we’re talking about, about developing and raising kids and interns, I mean, for me, this is about changing my family tree.


Brett Bartholomew  48:58  

I think right there is the goal of this episode so far right? Not to take away from anything that you said prior. But that’s a lot of what I know, we and everybody in this like, broader community of our listeners look for is out of all the shit we read about, like start with why all these other books, things that are well intentioned, all respect to their authors. But very few people get to the core of it in a way that you just did. Right? And, also like using that vulnerability as an opportunity for people to get to know you and understand those things better, right? Like you can’t really understand somebody until you know what they’ve been through and what they want out of life. So one, I just want him to acknowledge, I appreciate you sharing that. I know that’s not easy. I hope that you know that that will make a difference in a lot of listeners just even hearing that case. Suicide is something that has been discussed. And I think you in general when these episodes dropped five to 10,000 people here on that day, and you look at the statistics, somebody within that cohort will have dealt with suicide in their family, you know, 


and so I just I appreciate you go in there. And I think for me, it’s something that I mean, we weren’t together for what at least four years was about four years. I moved out there in 2011. 


Joel Sanders  50:10  



Brett Bartholomew  50:11  

Never knew that about you, you know, never knew that about you. And, you know, I think there’s probably things that you learned about me over the course of that time, too. And that lends insight into a lot of unique things. I want to almost do an entire podcast on that. But I don’t want to take away from your strategies. But I do want you to keep tying in I want to encourage you, as we go to Strategy three now, continue to help us understand how that links back to what you just said, you know, because these lessons do matter in that way. So what strategy number three?


Joel Sanders  50:41  

Yeah, I touched on a little bit, but love is spelled t i m e. Your time. There’s nothing more valuable than giving of your time to people. And so, I mean, when I mean Brett, I was, this sounds silly looking at your, you know, the pro athletes jerseys on your background. But I was the MVP of my high school basketball team.


Brett Bartholomew  51:09  

I know about your jump shot, 


Joel Sanders  51:10  

right Yeah. More polls. My more Tim Duncan post up game. But yeah, so my dad probably came to like three or four of my games, you know, my high school career. And so for me, I’m always thinking, how can I spend quality time with my kids? So I’ll give you like, one, I’ll give you a couple of ways that I made sure we spend quality time is one, my phone stays on the charger, until I’ve taken them to school. Meaning I it’s not you because everyone’s like, Oh, yeah, keep my phone away. And but no, they literally keep it on the charger, like keep it hooked in the bedroom. And then on Sundays, I don’t take it off the charger until after lunch. And so I’m pretty strict about this. Because the phone what most people don’t understand is when you’re on your phone, you’re in a different world. And so when I’m in my world, and I’m scrolling on my phone, and then my kids come up to me, it’s almost jarring, you know that they like break me out of the trance. And then when you’re jarred, you’re annoyed or surprised. And so it doesn’t, that mixing phones, and caring for kids is just, it’s a tough mix.


Brett Bartholomew  52:31  

Yeah, that’s when Admittedly, I haven’t always been able to master because my family kind of hits me from the opposite perspective of it seems like every time I’ve kept my phone away from me, now part of this is my parents just getting older. They’re, you know, I just remember the other night, my phone was off. I wake up this morning or that morning, and I’m just berated via number of texts, your mom’s in the ER, why aren’t you picking up your and I look at Liz. And I’m like, this seems always happened to me. I go literally every time I keep my phone off. Now, it’s also a little bit different, right? Because not that you don’t you know, run a business. But it feels like there’s always some fire I’ve got to put out. And so even when I do and there are times, I’m able to keep my phone off me for about four or five hours. And definitely when it comes to kids and Bronson unless I’m videotaping him or anything like that. But I swear these last three years, I’ve just been anytime that phone’s off happens to be the time where I, I missed that call from that person, or my family needs this or whatever. 


I remember one time, you know, just because we talked about this as a conversation on podcasts. Even in thanksgiving, this past year, I woke up or at a friend’s house, I’m going to help them into noon. I don’t need my phone on me. I’m gonna like my parents. I’m gonna call them and let them know Happy Thanksgiving, whatever, voicemail by my uncle. Hello, it’s Thanksgiving, how do you have your phone off? You know, it’s a holiday, somebody’s just calling to say they love you. And I’m just like, Oh, my God. And so my point with that being is I love that strategy. Because I also think that it makes other people rethink their expectations of you. And I’ve had to have that conversation a number of times, I’ve had to say, Hey, guys, aside from obviously family emergencies, but I remember that conversation with my uncles, and I understand to you, you want to wake up and call and say, Hey, happy, whatever. But you also need to be understanding of the fact that I might have been in the shower, I might have been changing Bronson’s diaper, I might have been outside with him. I don’t owe it to somebody to be on the phone every time. And I think about that, even in terms of how I conduct my business. Recently, we’ve had to talk to some clients and just be like, we want you to know we’re here for you. But there are boundaries to that, right? Like, I am not on the clock 24/7. Now, if you want to pay for that kind of concierge service, we can come up with that vertical, we can make that work. I’ll give you a Google phone number, and we’ll go through that way. But it makes people rethink their expectations of us. And it makes us rethink our expectations of ourselves. So I appreciate that. 


And I also appreciate you not going to like a preachy route with it. Because sometimes people go off into all like just technology runs our lives, and it’s like, it’s so easy to demonize technology on all fronts. But not all technology is bad all the time. So I appreciate the way that you frame that up. Anything you want to add before we go to number four?


Joel Sanders  55:11  

No, I think that’s like, I think that’s good. I mean that the you know if I switched, it up and talk about spending time with interns, Brett, is we hear this every time and post surveys is weekly at weekly dedicated education sessions with them. And, you know, we so often expect them, you know, to just stick to my hip pocket here and learn from me, youngster. Because of that adage, and but carving out time for someone new says that they’re important. And so I think that’s like when you talk about dedicated non negotiable time for young employees and interns to be mentored by you. Yes, I mean, don’t get me wrong. You know, a lot of learning happens inside conversations and in real time right there. But having a non negotiable weekly session just for them has made a huge difference. 


Brett Bartholomew  56:14  

Yep. Definitely. Alright. And number five.


Joel Sanders  56:20  

Yeah, so number five. This one’s not too deep. But it’s the power of special handshakes. So here’s do this. And maybe we can include a link is Google. Barry White Jr. and I don’t know if this is like the Barry White Jr. I’m guessing it’s not. But Google Barry White Jr. Handshake. Teacher handshake.


Brett Bartholomew  56:49  

Ah, no, I remember this. I’m pulling it up. Yeah, I remember this.


Joel Sanders  56:53  

Right. So Barry White Jr. is a teacher in North Carolina, at a middle school. And he has every day, his classroom of 20 some odd kids. He has them line up in the hallway. And as they enter the room, he’s got an elaborate handshake, you know, where they’re dabbing and like all kinds of, you know, soccer kicks and backslaps. 


Brett Bartholomew  57:17  

This was on Good Morning America in 2017. so it’s given that to audience for you guys. When you see that? Yeah, I remember, Okay, keep going.


Joel Sanders  57:26  

So, when you see that, and when you see those kids light up, and they feel special and they’re in the room is, you know, handshakes like special handshakes to me, they’re like, your secret password for me and your relationship that only you and I have? So I have special handshakes with my kids. So we do this instead of like them giving me a kiss on the cheek or, whatever we do. When they get out of Amazon dropping them off to school. We do especially in shake interns every day when I come on the training floor. Special handshake. Yeah, and so I know it can sound silly and trivial. But the power of the special handshake is real. 


Brett Bartholomew  58:13  

Yeah. Well, it coincides to it the power of touch, right. And we’ve seen that even in when they study classic sports teams. The impact that when there’s more touches handclaps, you know, dabs on the shoulder, whatever, those things make a difference. And listen, the overall theme of this episode is one of development, you know, whether it’s insurance kid yourself, and those things don’t have to be complex, they don’t have to be deep, the most majority of development. These concepts are simple in theory, but people forget to do them. Or they don’t add any kind of nuance to them, so they don’t stick. So I appreciate those things. And we’ll definitely have that link to the bottom. All right. Within this now we got some hot seat questions for you ready for these?


Joel Sanders  58:51  

All right, is it rapid fire style?


Brett Bartholomew  58:53  

I mean, like it’s, you can be thoughtful, you can be playful. Yeah, we’re not the normal podcast here. You talked about, you know how you’ll ask people, what’s one of your worst blank, right? Because we were talking about just gets very specific. I’m going to ask you, what is one of your most embarrassing or worst coaching moments, right? I know you take your craft seriously. So do I sort of many of our listeners, but we all know there’s times we did some dumb things. So what is something where you’re just like, yep, like, that was not my best day.


Joel Sanders  59:25  

Oh, I had a group of executives from like a fortune 500 company. They pulled all their top executives, they flew him out to Phoenix. And I’m taking all there’s about 20 people and I have them lined up on a field and I’m taking them through movement prep. And you know me I like to give really vivid shoes, right? So if you’re doing the world’s greatest stretch, I’m like, you know, take rock back, take your foot off the gas pedal and shoot flames to the sky when you reach your hand up and all these visual things. And I don’t even remember the exact queue. But I pull a guy out of line to demo like here, watch. Sam here. And so I use his, I use SAM. And I’m like, So Sam, you know, pretend you’re on a date with a young lady. And I start to go down this road of this queue. And everyone is just, I’m looking over and everyone’s starting to roll around. And they’re, everyone’s laughing and Sam. Well, Sam doesn’t go on dates with ladies at all. And so my whole presentation that I was ready to drop on, you know how to hit and fire your hips forward. fell flat


Brett Bartholomew  1:00:49  

just goes a little bit abou a little bit of regret, but like, that’s the thing, right? Like, you’re never gonna about 1000. And that, to me has always been the love affair with coaching. And today, I mean, really the love affair we have with communication, you know, is you don’t perfect these things. I remember in our conversation with Robert Greene just talking about why we call one of our workshops, the apprenticeship, you know, it’s in the spirit of like, you’re not going to magic, you’re not gonna master this stuff. And there’s always gonna be these moments. And that’s, I don’t know, I’ve always found that part, the most addictive part of coaching. So I appreciate that. 


All right, here’s another one. Now, you’re very open guy. We’ve talked about a lot of things, not only on this podcast, but inside conversations over the years, a topic other than religion and politics that you often avoid. Now, even if you don’t avoid religion, and politics, hopefully, you know, what I mean by that is most people say, hey, you know, none of these at the dinner table. My point is, is what is a topic that when it comes up, you’re like, oh, boy, you and Kristen have a special handshake or you’re like time to go, or you just kind of sit back in the chair, grab your bourbon, and you’re like, let’s see what everybody else says. What’s the topic you tend to avoid?


Joel Sanders  1:02:03  

Ah, well,  here’s a topic that, I’m like, starting to get uneasy answering is when people ask me my favorite music.


Brett Bartholomew  1:02:16  

Okay, I was I wasn’t expecting that.


Joel Sanders  1:02:18  

And easy answering it, meaning, you know, I’ve got five kids, I mean, the girls, but I’m still like, dirty south, rap and hip hop, 


Brett Bartholomew  1:02:27  

edited playlists for that you can listen to every little everybody in the edited. 


Joel Sanders  1:02:33  

I was about when I was gonna say not Little John, because you can’t edit that. But no, I mean, my mom, when my mom was out visiting us last. She’s like, a you don’t, you know, still listen to that, that rap stuff. Do you know like, No, Mom? No, no way. I listened to that, you know. And so I think that’s my, you know, that’s one of my probably things that I still like Guilty Pleasures almost. But it’s like my coffee. So,


Brett Bartholomew  1:03:04  

hey, I appreciate that. All right. Now, something communication oriented that you still struggle with. And I’ll put it in this context. Every year you see people doing these fitness challenges, hard 78? Or, hey, well, I’m gonna do this, like, you know what I mean? Like, there’s all these fitness challenges online. Imagine you had to do like a communication challenge, or a coaching challenge. What would be some things there that you’d be like, damn, I struggle with this. And I actually need to own it and work on it. And it might even be both fun and intimidating to work on. I know, that’s a hard one. So feel free to take a second. Just think about areas of communication could still be better, what that might look like in the context of a challenge, anything like that?


Joel Sanders  1:03:47  

Well, you know, I talked about my five second windows to give a compliment. I would say, I’ve had to work on saying I’m sorry. 


Brett Bartholomew  1:04:00  



Joel Sanders  1:04:03  

I mean, again, Brett. I mean, I think it I don’t know, it was just one of those things that I never really learned how to give, or just wasn’t great at giving a sincere, sustained apology when I was wrong. Yeah, my and so this has been a great part about having a partner who keeps me honest with Kristen is even when I was wrong, you know, I’m always trying to tap dance around it and say well, come up with excuses. So I’ve had to learn to say when I’m wrong, suck it up and say I’m sorry. And but now it’s reached another level. Were you saying I’m sorry to your kids? Because I think that’s one thing is with your kids you can get caught up in forgetting that especially as they I mean yeah, saying I’m sorry to a two year old may not mean that much. I mean, Bronson 


Brett Bartholomew  1:04:58  

back off. I hit him with a ball, a plastic ball the other day was supposed to go in the hoop and it smacked him in the dome. And he gave me one. And I did say I’m sorry that he goes out, okay?


Joel Sanders  1:05:09  

Really, I figured you would have just told him to tuck his bottom lip back in. 


Brett Bartholomew  1:05:12  

I didn’t I pushed it down.


Joel Sanders  1:05:13  

Yeah, that sounds more like it. But that, you know, that’s one of the things that like, I remember when Misa when she turned, and she’s in that like five to six year old range, and they’re starting to get some age of reason. And thought process is one time I snapped at her. I’m putting her to bed, and I’m agitated it is the end of the day, I’m tired. And she’s just not, you know, she’s not getting into bed. And so I snapped at her for really no good reason. And so I’m sitting there, and I’m singing her song, and I can see her tearing up. And I’m like, there was no reason for me to do that. And so I’m thinking, I’m sitting there thinking to myself, gosh, do I have to say I’m sorry, to a five year old? And I’ll tell you what I did. And I apologize and ask for forgiveness. And she said, Yeah, you know, it’s okay, dad, gave me a kiss and hug. And I think saying I’m sorry, to your kids is important too so that’s one of my communication challenges.


Brett Bartholomew  1:06:14  

It’s spot on. Now, I’m going to take away the last question, in terms of changing it dramatically, because I’m going to give you an even harder one, and then we’re going to let you go. What would your answer be for Kristen? And I’m putting you in the vise here. What would your answer before Kristen this dangerous territory?


Joel Sanders  1:06:37  

Can Yeah, we may have to edit this. 


Brett Bartholomew  1:06:39  

no, you got to do it. This close relationships gotta get tested. Let’s go. I’ll go first. So I get in trouble first, with Liz, it’s self disclosure. Without a doubt, I talked about how she comes from a family that tends to internalize and keep a lot of things in, or they channel it in other areas. And we’ve had this talk where, you know, my family sometimes can be perceived as one that likes conflict. When that’s not true at all, we just, we would rather get it out as opposed to kind of just passively let it fester. But I know Liz has been really working on kind of expressing actual thoughts, feelings, favorites, strong dislikes, for things and having to actually dig deep on those things. So you know, that’s a big one that we continue to work on. And I have my own. But what’s Kristen’s? So I’ve gone first? Don’t you mean anything soft? Either?


Joel Sanders  1:07:28  

Have I given you anything soft?


Brett Bartholomew  1:07:31  

I mean, we’ll have the audience score it. 


Joel Sanders  1:07:33  

Okay. I think for her has been learning when she has something on her mind. Especially like, maybe somebody she doesn’t agree with that I’ve done or I’ve done something wrong, is she’ll instead of like coming out and saying it, I can see her like the worry on her face. A lot of times she’ll like kind of start to tear up, and it’ll take a while. So similar to yours is instead of and when she cries, you know, it’s one of those where I’m like, I have to go through the whole day in my head like, Okay, what did I do wrong at this stage in the day? And so I think for her, she’s done a better job. And there’s been whatever challenges is to, is to say it and communicate, like what’s going on in her head, instead of kind of showing her emotions and her body language first. And so I think a little bit more verbal communication for her. she’s, a pillar based person.


Brett Bartholomew  1:08:39  

Yeah, no, I appreciate that. I think that’s one area that we found the strategic and adapted use of improv to be helpful with these things, because you just like you can have a faulty movement pattern, right, and a squat, hinge, push, pull, whatever, and you have, quote, unquote, correctives, to help improve that, we use a lot of like role playing or improv based exercise to help people isolate and improve aspects of those communication pieces, you know, and I think also, it kind of takes the heaviness out of it, right. And that’s something that even I know I have to do a better job of, to be transparent in my own communication is sometimes even when we talk about the things that we provide an art of coaching to help people professionally because I never had like this, mentor that walked me through every part of my career by any means. We sometimes forget to advertise what it can do personally, you know, because that’s really where communication base issues are felt most. And it was my very first intern that pointed this out to me recently, a communication flaw of I said, hey, you need to get to an apprenticeship. We’re going to be iin Iowa soon and he’s, you know, in the Midwest, and he said, you know, man, right now, I’m not super career focused. And I think he thought that I was gonna judge him for that because he kind of hedged his answer. He’s like, I think you’re gonna judge me for this. I’m like, I wouldn’t judge you that at all. Like, why would I judge you for that? He’s like, Well, I just think right now most of my development needs to be on like my wife. And my family and all that. 


And I said, Well, you know, Matt, that’s a big part of like what we do these workshops really help you with that aspect of it. It’s not just like a how to do a resume. This is like, Where might I be the problem in general and working around that. And then it dawned on me because he’s like, Oh, I guess I never thought that because on your website, and so many other things, it just talks about growing as a professional need more adaptable as a coach. And I realized that man, I went so far the other way of trying to differentiate ourselves from like, the Tony Robbins and everything because, you know, obviously, those people are wildly successful. But that’s we don’t teach communication in the sense of like, rah, rah inspirational hope, we teach it in the way that like how to navigate some of life’s toughest moments. But I found that my own communication weaknesses, sometimes I just continue to go too deep down into things. And I forget, like, the base layer of these pieces is people still struggle, mainly in their relationships with others and themselves. And we tie that into helping them personally and professionally. But sometimes we don’t always cover that, first side is much, you know, so that’s again, the fun of it, man. 


You know, I think I wake up every day, and I look at my own flaws. And unlike when I probably worked with you were I let them just gnaw at  me and fester. Now I’m like, Alright, this is a really cool opportunity to work at it. And that’s where I’ve made my life’s work, something that I’ll inherently always to some degree suck at. And I appreciate that about you. It’s why I wanted, I felt like there was a great time to get you on the show. And I’m glad you reached out when you did. I don’t think you’ll ever be happy with yourself. I think that you know, you’re always a work in progress. Maybe I’m speaking incorrectly there. I think you’ve found peace, whatever that is. But you’re never gonna let it make you complacent. I mean, my fairly accurate in that.


Joel Sanders  1:11:44  

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’m not the way like, back to you. And I agree with you on your, communication. And like, I think it’s because I sat in a desk right next to you, is your wheels are always turning. But as the beauty of you now having podcast and art of coaching and books is like you can now express that. Yeah. And that’s one thing. It’s beautiful for you 


Brett Bartholomew  1:12:13  

got to find your vehicle.


Joel Sanders  1:12:15  

Yeah, hey, I do have before we go, I do have a bonus tip.


Brett Bartholomew  1:12:20  

Give me a bonus tip. And then I also want you to tell everybody where they can go to support you connect with you learn from you. So bonus tip. And then everything else you mentioned will be linked in the show notes. And we’ll have that all locked in. Go ahead.


Joel Sanders  1:12:34  

Our bonus to is when you’re raising kids, and you got your business, especially your let me start this a little bit differently is what is everything? What does everyone say the typical saying with kids is? It goes by so fast, right? You just you snap your fingers and boom, they’re out of the house? Well, it’s true, like the days go by slow, but the years go by fast? Well, I’ve picked up one habit, it’s helped me slow down and take note of the little awesome moments that happen with your kids and family and stuff. And so that the strategy is called homework for life. 


And homework for life is it was brought to attention by a guy named Matthew Digg. And it’s really simple. If you had to tell a cool story from your day today, what would it be? And so I keep a note in my phone called homework for life. And it’s not every day I do it. But when like when something happens, it’s really funny. In my day, it can be with my kids up like just a random interaction with a stranger. I’m gonna like write that little story down. And it’s become such a great, almost like, you know, it’s my form of journaling. It’s so important to me now after I’ve been doing it for a few years Brett, that if you asked me like what’s the most you know if the house is burning down? What’s the one thing you’re grabbing from your house? I’m grabbing my homework for life file because it’s got so many cool little stories and moments from my kids and etc. That I can’t recommend it enough so I’ll have to give you a podcast episode where Matthew dig goes into more explanation on it. 


Brett Bartholomew  1:14:39  

Yeah, no, I appreciate that. Oh, Joel if there is one resource that we can go to to support you connect with you. Where’s the top place you want people to go? And if there’s a secondary one, throw that in there as well.


Joel Sanders  1:14:53  

The best place to find me and thanks on Instagram @coachjoelsanders and send me a message is following me. I think that’s the best way to stay in touch.


Brett Bartholomew  1:15:03  

Perfect. Well, listen, I know, you know, we put you in a lot of different situations here. And for you to be candid about everything from family life, to religion, to coaching, to communication to your own history and, and talking about everything with your father, you know, we don’t take it for granted. It’s very hard to put skin in the game. There’s a lot of people that listen to podcasts and think, Oh, I could do that. I could hop on there. And I think, you know, there’s this illusion that it’s question answered question answer, then it’s all fully formed ahead of time. I mean, you go into this, like every guest does. It’s fully improv. You never know where it’s gonna take you. You handle it like a champion, and I appreciate you being so transparent with us.


Joel Sanders  1:15:40  

Hey, man, I was honored to come on. Appreciate you having me,


Brett Bartholomew  1:15:43  

guys for Brett Bartholomew and Joel Sanders. This is the Art of coaching podcast. We’ll talk to you next time.

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