In Art Of Coaching Podcast, Podcasts

“Human beings under pressure are wonderfully unpredictable. Their nature is a puzzle to us all. When human beings are placed in an arena, and their hopes and fears are exposed in front of 1000s, they’re likely to do extraordinary things. This is especially true if somebody has told them, “Don’t let us down.”  – Pat Moore

When faced with one of life’s biggest moments- whether that’s giving a speech at a loved one’s wedding, interviewing for your dream job, or performing in front of a crowd of hundreds of strangers, the last thing we need to worry about is choking or freezing up. 

And yet, for many, that’s a very real concern. 

But freezing in big moments is not only avoidable, it’s something that even the most seasoned of professionals deals with. And it’s definitely not a reason to say no to these opportunities in the first place… 

In this episode, we discuss:

  • What choking is and why it happens (07:00)
  • How to reframe your thoughts about your physiological responses (12:30)
  • What a sound, realistic routine looks like and how to not become a slave to it (21:30)
  • Strategies to help you build the skills necessary to handle high-pressure situations and get the results you want (40:20)


If this is something you’re ready to dive into, to step out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in the experience you need to improve in this area, The Apprenticeship workshop is where you need to be.  This 2-day live event is centered around building the skills to perform – not just taking in more information.  Through experiential learning, we’ll provide you with the frameworks, tools, practice and feedback you need to truly enhance your performance in high stake situations.  Check out our entire live event schedule to choose your location today!


Referenced Resources:

E259: Understanding and Overcoming Perfectionism

Webinar: Impact of Influence

Quiz: What Drives You?

Mighty Network: Our private non-social media-based community

Facilitator Course: Get paid to teach with the AoC team


Speaking of high-pressure situations, if you’re a leader, coach, business owner, or if other people depend on you in any way, having a supportive community is an extremely beneficial tool to help you not get overwhelmed. This is why we’ve created The Coalition – a collection of committed professionals to bounce ideas off of, help you make big decisions, and offer a second opinion to make sure your blindspots are covered.  If you’d benefit from a group of experienced advocates in your corner, talk to our team and apply for The Coalition today! Spots are limited, so don’t wait.


Today’s episode is brought to you by Momentous. Just as all of us at Art of Coaching discuss the critical nature of the words we choose- none of you need me to tell you the importance of what you put in your body. I could care less if you’re a world-class athlete, more of the Uncle Rico Archetype or simply someone who sits at a desk all day in the corporate world- what you put in your body matters.  Momentous makes products that are no-nonsense, quality-tested at the highest level and for anyone who just wants to feel better without overthinking their nutritional support options.  Skip the fads, master the basics. Use Code: BRETT15 for 15% off your order.


Brett Bartholomew  00:01

Alright, let’s get into it. today’s podcast is all about how to not choke during pressure packed moments how to not choke during the times when you’re doing something that matters a great deal to you. And this is a wide range of implications. So this is relevant to all of you, regardless of the field that you’re in. Now, I want to reference this early, somebody that deserves critical recognition is Sian Beilock. She’s a cognitive scientists and the author of the book “Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain reveal about getting it right when you have to.” And she defines choking as suboptimal performance under pressure. In other words, choking tends to occur when individuals fail to perform at their best, or they’re perceived best in high stakes are high pressure situations, despite having the skills and expertise to be able to do that. And her research really suggests that choking results from a wide range of things, but predominantly from overthinking and over analyzing one’s actions. And that obviously increases stress and anxiety. And as many of you know, especially if you follow our work, where we’ve talked about the impact of perception on communication, and decision making, and even our work with power dynamics and influence tactics, and how these high stakes moments or interactions, right? These can really hijack the brain’s working memory, which can then impair and impact performance. But I really want to make this relatable, I want to make this even more practical and build off her work. So we want to look at some of the mental processes behind choking. And we want to go into why why does this lead to this over analysis of one’s actions. 


Brett Bartholomew  01:35

And by the way, this is also where we firmly believe in the value of roleplay. It’s just a fact. If people want to reduce the risk of choking, then they need to train in those environments that are most likely to bring it about. And I’ll bring this up a little bit later in the episode. But this coincides with a conversation I had with somebody recently that asked if our upcoming speaker school or any of our speaker school or workshops are streaming. And I understand the need, right, because people want to be able to attend from all around the world, people have constraints. But by and large, that’s why we stayed away from that we’re in the business of helping people build actual skills, not just giving people rote information. And this would coincide with a lot of Dr. Beilock’s research and that if you want to get better at something, or you want to reduce the risk of you overthinking of you freezing up anything like that, then you need to train in those environments, you have to actually be in front of other people, or you have to be in an environment where those stakes are present, then for many of you that are strength coaches, that should be pretty straightforward. It’s the said principle specific adaptation to an imposed demand. We understand that athletes get better as a lot of people, certainly not just athletes, by being forced to deal with that overload that constraint in real time. And that brings about those adaptations. So why is it so many of us as leaders, however you use that term, in your own context, think that we get better just by getting information and not getting that practice? Well, ironically enough, that is a lot of it. No matter what we say, for an excuse, we don’t want to put our ego on the line. And that keeps us from actually decreasing the risk of choking, because we avoid the situation settings and circumstances in which it most likely would come about because we don’t want to be faced with that idea that we might not be good enough. 


Brett Bartholomew  03:26

Now think about this in the context of what I do, just to take it out of your head a little bit. I, our entire business is about communication proficiency psychology, so it’d be very easy for me to think, Wow, if I say um, or like or have any kind of disfluency or stutter or stammer or go all over the place, I’m going to be judged on that. And nobody’s going to want our services. Because if I don’t script everything, and stayed at perfectly, then people aren’t going to think we’re great at communication. And it would be easy to then all of a sudden work yourself up in a tizzy. And all of a sudden, I wouldn’t be able to present anything. Well, no, I’m a normal person. And I’m a person that has the same constraints. As many of you. Even as I record this, typically, my wife has to leave the house with our toddler so I can get a quiet space to record, I don’t have the benefit of being able to have 13 staff around me that can script all this out and put it on a teleprompter, we have to go we have to deliver this content raw and we have to deliver this content with the perspective of a real life behind it. And it’s subjected to the same imperfections as anybody else’s circumstances. Right. So also, I’m about a week out from getting surgery because I essentially haven’t been able to breathe for the last three years, almost 80% of my nasal package passage has been occluded. So if I sit here and worry, all right, I’m gonna have to take a breath. I’m gonna have to slow down I might not deliver everything perfectly even though I know what I’m talking about. Then that’s just gonna get in the way and that’s essentially what happens to many of you, you get so worried about being judged, you get so worried about not living up to your own expectations that you then overthink, overanalyze, and then we freeze up, we freeze up. And this coincides also with that earlier case study, the individual who asked if it was streaming, later admitted, yeah, I could make it. I’m just worried I’m not going to be as good as the other people presenting. And we have to let them know like, listen, people come to our events for a wide range of reasons. Yeah, sure. Some of them are practice that what they do. Others deal with social anxiety, we’ve had people who are on the autism spectrum, we’ve had people that struggle in a wide range of interpersonal scenarios, or we’ve had people that are incredibly proficient, but know that you always have to sharpen that skill. And the fact that even if they’re great around certain people getting around a wider demographic is going to help them improve. So we’ve got to expose ourselves to those circumstances. Now, a lot of times when some of you are worried about choking, or you feel nervous, it also has to do with how you frame it, you tend to frame it as you’re not worthy, and feelings of imposter phenomenon come in, if you’re not familiar, just go to, you will find some really great free resources there. You think I’m not prepared, or a lot of people that reach out to us really have it baked into their head that, well, nobody’s really going to care about my perspective, I’m not special, right? There’s nothing new under the sun, you put all these negative frames around it, you tell yourself these stories about why nobody is going to be interested, or they’re why they’re going to view you as a Know-it-all, or a fraud. And then really, if you just analyze it a bit deeper, right. And you know, the things that you experience, along with these thoughts, physiologically, whether that’s increased heart rate, sweating, increased respiration, anything like that. Those are also the same things that you experience when you’re excited in a positive context. You know, when you think of that, from a positive standpoint, we forget that some of those exact same physiological responses really coincide with one another. Now, of course, there’s differences and neurotransmitter release and all that. But you know, this isn’t a biology class, we’re not going to get into all the neurobiology of this stuff. That’s not what’s important. What’s important right now, is that you learn how to reframe that and you quit thinking, I’m, I’m nervous, I’m sweating, my heart’s racing that must reinforce this internal narrative that I’m not prepared. I’m not worthy. No, that means we care, this matters to us, right? We’re here, we’re in this moment, those physiological responses are very, very similar. So be mindful of the stories you tell yourself, I’m not going to sit here and tell you frame everything in a positive way. There’s plenty of research that talks about why positive thinking doesn’t work. A lot of the time, I’m just telling you acknowledge the nuance there, acknowledge the fact that you know, what you feel or the fact that you get anxious is not indicative of your lack of preparation, it means you’re going to do something that you care about, and those stakes are there. There have been plenty of times where I’ve been presented with the opportunity to speak in front of large groups, something I have done a great deal at this point in my life. And I’ll just say it, and I’ll think to myself, Wow, this is incredible. And even if I get in front of that audience, and I start to let my nerves or anxiety get the best of me, there’s nothing wrong with just stopping and I’ve done this before, I’m like, let me start again. And I apologize, I’m not nervous. I just care a great deal. I have some adrenaline, and I want to get started off on the right foot. And usually you get some claps, you get people that laugh, they get it, they’re human. So there’s nothing wrong. If you do that, realize that you can start all over, you can start over, you can say if you’re in front of a group, and you’ve screwed it up, hey, I’m sorry. I’m just really excited to have all of you here. And that’s if you don’t want to do that. That’s okay. There’s plenty of other things that you can do. Just sometimes we forget to just be real, to quit worrying about saving face and let ourselves know that or and let other people know that. Yeah, we’re a little bit nervous. We’re a little bit anxious. You’re going to hear me talk about this a lot in the episode. 


Brett Bartholomew  09:19

A lot of this coincided with what I experienced to when I boxed competitively, right, I did Golden Gloves, and I felt like I was something was wrong with me when I was walking to the ring. And I was nervous yet then you’d hear people like Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield talk about how they always had those jitters, they always had those nerves. So that’s very, very, very common. And while this might seem like simple advice, I’m telling you, this is some of the most important strategies that you can really leverage. I love this quote, and this was mentioned in an article by Robin C. Jackson and Sian Beilock. I can’t remember the exact date of the article but it Referenced somebody that had written research in the year 1986, I believe his name was Pat Moore. And the quote was human beings under pressure are wonderfully unpredictable. Their nature is a puzzle to us all. When human beings are placed in an arena, and their hopes and fears are exposed in front of 1000s, or I mean, even in your guyses case, it might just be 1020, hundreds of observers, they’re likely to do extraordinary things. This is especially true if somebody has told them, Don’t let us down. Now. Now, conversely, you have to think about that term, extraordinary things that can be in the positive side, that can be extraordinary in terms of wow, we didn’t think they’d crumble that way, we didn’t think they’d let the moment get the best of them. But the point is, you need to know that you are joined by people over millennia that have dealt with this. So just internalize it, realize it’s part of the deal. Besides What’s the opposite, you’re not putting yourself in that situation, you not seeking growth, you hiding. And I think that’s something that might be useful to some of you. And I’m ad libbing a great deal here. But like, you think about that, quit thinking,


Brett Bartholomew  11:08

Oh, I’m not prepared, I’m gonna screw up. Think, Hey, I’ve showed up. Right? I showed up, I’m not hiding. And no matter what happens, I’m going to learn from this, I’ve showed up, and I’m going to learn and that’s just practical stuff. That’s practical learning how to reframe your thoughts, and your expectations. And those situations, that is just practical information, right, you’ve got to build that skill, you’ve got to be able to have that experience for you to be able to practice that. And many of you, that have been to our apprenticeship, our leadership development workshops, you know, we deal with conflict resolution, and assertiveness and things like that. And that’s where that role playing so huge, you have to deal with those emotions in real time. And that’s what’s going to separate some of you who even if you choke now, even if you’ve choked a lot, even if you’re like, man, I’ve almost always let myself down. If you engage in those situations where you have to deal with those emotions, you have to stare it down in real time, you are going to progress leaps and bounds ahead of those that don’t do that. And even those of you that are really practice and you feel like you’re good at it, that is a skill you can lose. Because all it takes is the right person to say the right thing. And just the way that triggers you or tweaks your emotions. And all of a sudden you’re off your game. Because all of you, every single one of you has a weak point. And this sounds perverse, but it’s become our profession at art of coaching, yes, people actually pay us to help them find their weak points. We give an analogy at at our workshops, and we say if there was an evil version of yourself, hypothetically, and they knew how to kneecap Yeah, they just knew the one thing, the one weakness, whether it was saying something, whether it was doing something non verbally, whether it’s using a certain influence tactic, if they knew it, what would it be, and we’re gonna make you face that in real time. Because all of you know, you have some little piece of kryptonite. And to get better, you need to practice that environment. And you need to practice that’s how you get better at thinking on your feet being quick witted, and put it by putting yourself in situations that necessitate on that, then put yourself in situations, put yourself sorry, in situations where you have to reflect on that. And that’s why experiential learning is the core of what we do at art of coaching. And it’s got to be the core of what you do. Right? It’s got to be the core of what you do. Now, let me let me think of another way to put this just to challenge you. And make sure that you understand that what we’re saying here is not some wishy washy fluffy mindfulness technique, right? It is just you saying like, think about all the things that you you tell yourself, and what is that for some of you, I might have already hit the nail on the head, I might have already said, Oh, I’m not prepared, or I’m not worth it. But I want you to just stop for a minute and write three of those inner thoughts down. What are the things that you say to yourself? And then whatever that is, then think of the root cause? What is the root cause of that insecurity? What is the root cause of that negative thought?



Like if you think I’m not prepared? Well, I mean, are you actually prepared? Maybe you’re not meant if you were, well, not as prepared as I like to be? Well, that’s life. You know, I’ve said this before Jeff Bezos and many other people. But Jeff Bezos was on record saying he had to make decisions at Amazon, based on about 70% of the information that he wanted. Nobody’s ever going to be fully prepared. And that’s the problem. I really, I would encourage all of you to go back and listen to our show on perfectionism. If you just search in any you could go into Google, you go into Spotify, iTunes, you just search Art of Coaching podcast, perfectionism, it’ll come right up or we’ll put it in the show notes. Some of you that hide behind that. You’re still engaging in a behavior that’s going to leave it more likely that you’re going to do Koch, that behavior is self handicapping. You’re constantly just going to tell yourself, it’s never good enough. It needs to be better. It needs to be perfect. And that’s another form of just hiding. 


Brett Bartholomew  15:10

Okay, another tip, create a routine. Now, I’m not a huge big morning routine person, that’s just not the reality of of my life. That’s not me giving a hard time. Anybody that has it. That is, unless you’re somebody that likes to just spout off all that stuff. Like you have the perfect routine. You know, you’re somebody that has had your kimchi on, let showered, meditated, written in your journal answered all your emails and gotten the world’s greatest workout done before 9am. Right, then that’s, that’s another thing. But for me, you know, I have a certain song, I’ll play I have a playlist that I’ll play. And it’s a song that really caught defies a lot of the culture aspects of what I baked into this company, the things that we believe in the competitive mindset, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is. That’s my song. But, you know, I have a playlist that I’ll play while I’m in the shower, before I speak, or before I lead an event, as as by the time you hear this, we will be what, four days out from leading our three day long facilitator course, where people from all over the world that have come to our workshops, and then now have the opportunity to get paid by us to go teach, right? It’s it’s three Intensive Days, it’s some of the most intensive yet fun teaching we do. And even then, I’ll wake up, I’ll take a shower, I’ll play some music. And I’ll kind of just get my mind right. And I don’t know if any of you deal with this, please let us know. If you do we especially those of you that are in our mighty networks, private community, let us know we love having that dialogue. If you’re on our Facebook group, that’s great, too. Or you can just write into us at We love to get to know you. But I have a little bit of sleep inertia. Yeah, no, I’m, I’m telling you things that probably would make you respect me less, I’d love to tell you, I just wake up in the morning. And I’m the purest morning person and I get out of bed and I’m so productive. But I’m not naturally a really like a morning person. That was the case during one period of my life where I had to wake up routinely at 430 and five o’clock you get used to it right? It’s habituated. But now just a reflection of my lifestyle with having kids and having to stay up late and, and dealing with other time zones when I travel. That’s just not me. So you know, when I do take that shower, that just helps me get some blood flowing. Something about the warm water on my skin just starts to bring me into this parasympathetic state. Hearing the music has a physiological effect, if you’re familiar with our earliest presentation that we put out there, the impact of influence. I talked about the research that shows that, you know, literally, whether it’s restaurants, bars and nightclubs, lounges, they will manipulate the music throughout the night throughout the time of day. Because there’s research that shows depending on the beats per minute, you can increase people’s likelihood to purchase more drinks, you can increase their likelihood to stay out later, you can increase their likely you can manipulate literally so much of their biology, just through music. There’s there’s no shortage of research out there that talks about how playing music decreases the perceived rate of exertion when you’re training, obviously. And so you know that music just gets me centered, it reminds me of certain things that I believe in. And you know, whatever, I might look at things one more time, but that’s it. You know, I wake up, get a hot shower, even if I shower the night before, play some music, look over things one more time. I don’t allow myself to look at it for any more than one minute, no matter how long this slide deck is. Because it’s time to go. You know why? Because I’ve learned and it still gets to the best of me at times, I’ll never try to tell you I’m perfect. I’m not I like I said some of you might turn away from my work. Because I’m I’m not going to live up to your expectations that I’m this perfect person with no struggles or whatever. But I’ve learned to use that anxiety. I’ve learned to use it, I want to go in there with that extra little bit of energy, that extra little bit of almost like it’s like free coffee. I look at it as free coffee. But yeah, I try not to get too dependent on that. And and I think of it as less of a routine. And I think of it as more of an anchor. Right and there’s a fine line between this full blown routine that can seem like it’s gonna give you a place of security to operate from where in actuality you almost kind of become a slave to it. And that’s why I like to just use one or two anchors, music and a shower for me. I don’t want to become a slave. Because if I do have this perfect routine, what happens when I’m on the road? What happens if my alarm goes off late? Or what happens if we’ve had times where like the internet doesn’t work? I’ve had plenty of times where the place doesn’t even have Hot Water has happened one time, it didn’t even have hot water. And what you’re just gonna let it all crumble, you don’t want that. You don’t want that. So you just want a little, just enough sense of control, just enough of a sense of stability, especially if you’re security drive. Right? If you’re a security driver, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, please just take a moment, pause the podcast, and go to, I think you’ll find it really helpful. But if you’re a security drive, that helps reduce some of that anxiety, you’re getting some of that control. Now, some of you that are adversity drives out there, and I’m a fellow adversity drive, right? There was a point in my career where being an adversity driven person, I would almost sometimes get too amped up. So just like I’m saying, those are that are security driven. And those of you in general, you don’t want to get too dependent on a routine, because you can kind of become a slave to it and decreases your ability to adapt. On the other hand, if you’re adversity driven, and you like those challenges, those high stakes you like getting fired up and amped up. Well, if that arousal is too high, that can increase the likelihood of choking as well. That can increase the likelihood of those. It can. It’s just like so manage your caffeine intake. If you’re somebody that drinks caffeine, and any other externalities, you don’t want to go into everything like this me against the world. I’m going to kill it. This is my only shot. I think the biggest time like if you were to ever to ask me have you choked the one time I can point back to and it didn’t manifest in that I froze up like be rabid in a mile. It was more just man. I don’t know if you could have followed me. I was so excited. There were people I really looked up to in the audience. I got so worked up it was it was just at the start. 


Brett Bartholomew  21:50

And you know what it was probably about three to four years prior to me starting art of coaching. And I just got amped up. I overcompensated. Now I’m not a huge coffee drinker or anything. But I remember I didn’t sleep well that night. I had jetlag. And so all of a sudden, I started just pounding coffee, because I was so scared, I wasn’t going to be in the right state. And I screwed myself over. It just I think probably after that, you know, and I got a lot of claps, but people were probably like, okay, yeah, yeah, I need a break. So just be mindful of that. Because a lot of your drives a lot of those subconscious influences or behavior will manifest themselves in certain preferences of that routine. But I want you to also stop and think where can my routine help me? And where can it hurt me? If I’m not mindful of it? What could I start to become too dependent on? What if I didn’t have access to the things that I want? Then what would I do pre mortem, these things out, be very practical about it be very practical, because you’re not always going to have what you have access to, you’re just not. And that could be as simple as breakfast, whatever. Now, and again, I apologize it periodically, you hear me breather sniff really trying. Like I said, if you didn’t hear the beginning of the episode, I’m about to undergo surgery to help me with some of my breathing issues that I’ve had over the past three years. So I apologize. Now, let’s talk about mindfulness and breathing. I feel like that’s an appropriate segue because these things can help bring down arousal. Now, I’m not one of those people that gets to new age. And, you know, I think there’s some people now that are trying to make breathing and mindfulness almost like in into a religion. And they are critical, right? So I’m not trying to be disrespectful. But I just want to be again, practical. Alright. There’s enough people out there sharing so much. Advice. That sounds good. But you’re like how do I apply this because it gets overwhelming. So I don’t want you to worry about 432758 this breathing mat breathing box tempos, this tempo, I just want you to think


Brett Bartholomew  24:02

in your nose out your mouth, chill a little bit. And I’ll bring this back to my boxing analogy. I typically add one minute in between rounds. So you’d have three minute rounds, 3 3-minute rounds, with one minute in between, or sometimes two minute rounds, and one minute break. Now this may or may not make sense to you initially. But think about it. I used to tell people I’d rather go 12 Three minute rounds. And then three three minute rounds, even though that one minute round was the was the break, because in that two to three minute round. And there’s a metaphor here or analogy, so just bear with me. You didn’t have much time to work. So if you watch amateur boxing or Olympic boxing, you’ll typically see people working at a really frenetic pace, because you’ve got to score points. You’ve got to do this. Two to three minute like two to three rounds isn’t much. So you’ve got to consolidate all of your effort all all got what it takes to win that match in that time period, you don’t have eight to 12 rounds to really, you know, get your opponent’s weaknesses and tendencies and to be able to expose that as quickly. So if you watch professional box and you see this, you know, there’s more of this relaxed, the first two rounds tend to be boring. They’re seeing what each other are doing, they’re throwing jabs are doing this, they’re throwing faints, they’re playing chess, not checkers. And then the intensity of the round subsequent to that tends to escalate. And of course, you know, even in those first two to three rounds, there’s there’s intense exchanges, but it’s very different phase than most amateur fights. Well, that’s along the lines, just to bring it back to that analogy and metaphor. That’s what can happen if you let your emotions get the best for you and think, Alright, I got 60 minutes, I got this amount of time, I got to tell them everything I know, I got to tell them everything. I know, I gotta, I gotta get all my passion across. No, you’re like a boxer. And they’re just throwing punches like crazy. And so you just gotta breathe, bring yourself back down to the moment, and be mindful of those expectations that you place on yourself, right? You’ve got to be mindful of that, and concentrate on the process, that might be something that helps you I think, Okay, I’m gonna come out on stage, I’m going to thank the individuals that invited me, if there was a host, I’m going to thank the individuals in their seats, because they’ve paid their time and money to invest in us to invest in themselves to invest in their improvement. And that’s time that I value, you know, very much. I’m a father, I’m a husband, I know what it’s like to leave your family, when my wife and I, all of our content budget comes out of our own pocket. You know, if there’s one thing that frustrates me is every now and then a customer will say, you know, I want to but you know, it’s I gotta pay for it. My work doesn’t pay for it. I’m like, okay, boohoo, like, that’s how the rest of the world works. People have to buy the things that they want our, our employers don’t pay for everything, you know, for us are anything that we do, and it hurts us more, you know, like, because we’re like, alright, we have to leave our business. We’re not generating income, we have to fly a family member out if we want to do Con Ed to watch our son because we don’t have family nearby. And it’s our money. Right? So I’m always appreciative when people come and give up their time and their money to be there. And we know this. So just saying that, for those of you that come out, you don’t believe you don’t know how much we appreciate that we do. So I just think about those things right. 


Brett Bartholomew  27:32

Now, after I’ve thanked the hosts and I think folks time to get to work time to honor their time. You know, I might think about one more thing, like what’s the story I’m gonna lead into in the key point, and then I’m off and running. And, you know, that’s, that’s how you want it to be, you want to just make sure that like you stripped out the first two to three points, because much like that routine. If you get too dependent on it, this is how it’s got to go. Everything’s got to fall in line now, then you’re gonna be screwed. You just are, you know, you’re you’re gonna get so old now I, I ended up this person’s face in the audience that distracted me now I changed this story. Oh, my God, no, I’m out of order. And I’m not even lined up with my slides. Then you freeze. That’s what somebody at our speakers school told us. They’re like, if I don’t stay on script, and the smallest thing happens, even if it’s a cough, I freeze up. Well, that goes back to just planning for those constraints, practicing in those constraints, and quit worrying thinking that everybody expects perfection. Maybe you watch me talk now, especially at our workshops, this is a little bit different than our 60 minute keynotes. But I break those expectations right out of the gate, in that if if something comes up, all all zoom out, I’ll exit out of the presentation, skip forward slides, skip back to slides. I show people behind the curtain because it’s part of our brand at art of coaching, we’re real. And we want you to know you’re gonna get a customized experience within boundaries, right? Like what we’re going to teach, we’re going to teach but if the conversation flows, or the presentation flows in a different way, great. Let’s do that. 


Brett Bartholomew  29:11

So just be a little bit more compassionate to yourself as well understand that, you know, it’s like Mike Tyson said, Everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the nose or punched in the mouth. whichever one it was. Your plans are supposed to go off course. Right? Like there’s a difference between tactics and strategies, you’re gonna have to change so quit beating yourself up. If something doesn’t go according to plan. If something goes according to plan perfectly, you didn’t challenge yourself enough. That’s just the reality. That is just the reality. That’s the reality. So think about that. You’re not going to be perfect. That will help you avoid these eight mile Eminem moments where he’s got so much bursting out of him. Yet so much self doubt and so much baggage and all this stuff. It’s This contrasts he knows he’s one of the best. But what if they boot them off stage? The more you have all these thoughts, all these dependencies, all these fears, all this internal monologue, and you frame it all in a negative way, the more likely you are to choke. Bottom line. Bottom line, that’s just the reality. So just reflect on a moment, reflect on some of these things. Think about where it’s getting the best of you. Right? How do you have realistic expectations? Are you reframing kind of the the physiological responses you’re having? Or do you have some anchoring things that you can use to kind of help you settle without getting dependent, anything like that? Are you practicing in those environments, you are not going, I’m gonna keep coming back to this. I know some of you hate me for telling you all the time to come to our live events or whatever, but don’t hate me, you should look at it and think, okay, just like there’s people that created hotels, there’s a business model off of hotels, because they knew people were going to need to get some sleep when they’re traveling, we created an environment where people can actually build skills, build the skills, they need to take information, they’ve gotten, internalize on some of the things they struggle with. And common environments, psychologically safe environments, where every person is there to get better and improve. That’s not us trying to take advantage of you. That’s trying to give you something the larger community that we just never believed existed. I mean, be realistic. You’re talking to somebody that’s paid a lot for Con Ed, how many things do you go to per year, how much Con Ed, do you go to or partake in, that really puts you in highly and heavily immerses you in situations, real interactive situations to help you get better, and then helps you reflect upon those things. Probably not many, probably not many. And for those of you that say you can’t afford it, think of it as your health either pay for it on the front end, by being proactive, getting a gym membership, or buying equipment, buying better food, whatever. Or you pay on the back end, the medical bills that are associated with not managing those things, the stress, diet or health. Same thing with communication, and speaking and all these business skills, all the things we teach either pay on the front end, with your time or your money to get in the environment, and get the perspective and coaching and guidance and feedback you need. Or you pay on the back end, primarily through opportunity costs. Because you’ve missed those opportunities, you’ve let those opportunities pass or you’ve choked, or you’ve made mistakes and didn’t get feedback or you’re taken advantage of or you didn’t express yourself correctly. Now all of a sudden, that’s your reputation. Now all of a sudden, that’s a possible job opportunity, a speaking opportunity. If you want to say you have a lifelong learner mindset, then get your butt in the places you need to, to build the competence and confidence that you’re so hungry for. None of that’s going to come easy, right? And that’s why so many people like to criticize athletes, or individuals or high performers that choke. They don’t know what it’s like to be in those situations. They haven’t put themselves in those stakes enough. So there’s more than a few tips here. I hope they make sense. 


Brett Bartholomew  33:10

I would love to hear some things from your life experiences. Where did visualization go right for you? What type of environments do you tend to struggle in most? What what things whether you’re 55 years old, and one of the most accomplished in your field, or you’re 15 years old, and you’re scared to talk to the person that you think you might love? You know what I mean? What? What makes you nervous? What makes you successful? What are you doing? Well, like, let’s think about these things. Let’s think about it, if you feel nothing. That’s concerning, if you’re one of the weird 1%. So I shouldn’t say that if you’re one of the rare 1% That’s like I don’t worry about any of this stuff. This is a waste of my time. Well, that’s concerning. As a human being you need to have some attachments, we’re emotional creatures. Let’s bring a little bit more back about into the world. You know, that’s this ties into advice for my son, you know, I created this YouTube video not long after my son was born. And I apologize if this sounds morbid, but there’s meaning behind it. That in the event that heaven forbid I died today knock on wood. Three of my closest friends and my family have explicit instructions to make sure that my son watches this video, especially as it gets older. And it’s the advices things from dad, hey, here’s some things that dad learned through his mistakes through his imperfections, things that I want to pass down to us on things that I wish people would have told me a little bit of preparation. And a lot of it can be boiled down to and it’s more intricate than this but a lot of it can be boiled down to just care more. If you care more about certain things in your life, not everything because not everything deserves 110% As much as we love that trope give it 110% If you care about certain things in your life, and you care more about it that’s going to impact how you show up. That’s going to impact how you prepare that’s going to impact to address your relationships, all the things that everybody else says they don’t have time for, they don’t have money for they don’t have this. If you care more, you find a way. And yeah, sometimes that’ll get you in trouble. Yeah, sometimes going into things with that kind of emotional tenacity, right? Like, and I learned this, I try to inject my willpower into other people sometimes, and that can push them away. And I don’t mean to, I just, you know, I sometimes find that if somebody says, you know, they want something, you know, it’s tough for me, because I can end up wanting it more. It’s almost like I want it for them more than they want it. Have any of you felt that way? Or you somebody says they want something, but upon you trying to help them or even listen to them, it feels like you almost want it for them more than they do. That’s a sticky wicket, you know, but if everybody went through life, just caring a little bit more, letting their emotions out a little bit more in healthy ways, obviously, and push themselves a little bit more, you can have a greater reach and a greater impact. 


Brett Bartholomew  35:58

And I think we’d be better off. Because right now, society there has this way to hopefully, it’s like this unrealistically rational mindset as if we can all just, you know, we got to optimize everything. And you’ve got to have the right choice. And what that’s really led to is more of a lean back mindset. People know they can’t meet this perfect expectation. So a lot of people just don’t do anything. And the YouTube views prove it, the amount of people that just want to sit and watch. And but how many times did they actually go do and practice and put themselves in that situation? With that 99 year old deathbed mindset? Yeah, I’m doing this. And it’s scary. But I’m all in. Right? Where does that get us other than an entitled society that doesn’t want to change doesn’t know how to relate to one another. And all that. And more importantly, just then is like, Well, why do I choke? Well, why do I fail? Give me the one answer and give it to me in 15 seconds. It’s not realistic. You know, it’s not it’s not realistic. So let’s go over a couple of things. As we wrap this up. Some key facts. Choking can be thought of as the failure to perform at one’s best or the expectation of one’s best and their abilities under pressure. It can result from overthinking over analyzing stress, hijacking the brains working memory, right, especially if they’re not preparing in those environments. If they’re not exposing themselves to those situations, settings and circumstances, aka the contexts in which those abilities need to be brought about. optimal performance occurs when people strike that balance between thinking, practicing and doing. And even if you’re just thinking and doing the practicing asked to be a part of that. reframing your thoughts and perspectives can help reduce that stress, it can help enhance your focus, bring it back more to a grounded reality. Right. So those strategies, then, again, practice under pressure, increase that familiarity and that competence and that unconscious competence, develop pre performance routines, but not too many, for just a slight sense of control, and consistency. And also create contingencies for when you don’t have the ability to get those routines. And we’ll go over this more in our speaker school course for those of you that are coming this weekend in our facilitator course and beyond. Engage in some breathing exercises just practical. Don’t if you know the knot if you know tempos and numbers that work for you. Great use them if you don’t even just go on are using the breathing thing on your Apple Watch. Any of that can help you plenty of resources out there. Got a great friend, and AOC supporter named Taylor Somerville, who does tremendous work in this area. Taylor Somerville, PJ Nestler, two people that I highly recommend, give practical advice. They’re not going to fluff Yeah, they’re not going to overcomplicate it, check them out. They’re great folks. Focus on the process, not the outcome. This is where I said Remember, I just tried to thank the people that brought me thank the audience, get through the intro that it’s often running, right? Let yourself beyond that moment.


Brett Bartholomew  39:07

You don’t want to get into these overwhelming thoughts that come with it’s got to be scripted, it’s got to be figured out. Be realistic with your expectations be a little bit more compassionate. Your stuffs not supposed to be perfect, right? I don’t have one YouTube video out there. Or one podcast that was ever read from a script in totality At most I had some notes I had this that we just we net we that’s not the kind of set up we had, you know, and so there’s gonna be imperfections with those imperfections comes relatability refinement in practice. If you do have a teleprompter and things like that, that’s great, then then use that, but you still need to prepare for the moments in which you don’t have that life is improv. It doesn’t come with a foolproof manual. Sure as hell doesn’t come with a teleprompter. It just doesn’t try to build a strong support network. That’s something that I think our events provide in our coalition provides. You’re gonna get around other people that know what it like to taste that blood to get better to have to do that. All these things, just embrace it, embrace and reframe failure, use it as a continuous learning experience. Put yourself in those situations, just keep going. I hope you enjoyed this one. Let me know if you want more like this, join our mighty networks community, you can go to At the very least just tell a friend about it. Tell some friends about it. You know, we’re really trying to do something positive here, we’re really trying to break the mold of the litany of non practical overly complicated, cliche advice that’s out there. Right? We do. This is a sample of some of the things we talk about in our mighty networks. And we usually try not to do podcasts on the same things. But every now and then I try to give you guys a little bit of a sneak peek of what we’re doing behind the scenes. But you know, there’s a lot of conversations and networking opportunities you can have. I hope to see some of you at speaker School, an apprenticeship or Brand Builder or our coalition in the future. You can find out more about all of those at schedule a call with our team we’d love to tell you more. And remember, you can always, always, always send us any questions you have at We love talking to you. We want to get to know you better. Until next time, take care and thanks again.

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