Creating a High Performance Mentality: Lessons from Athletes and Business Owners

Creating a High Performance Mentality: Lessons from Athletes and Business Owners

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Mr. Biz Radio: Creating a High Performance Mentality: Lessons from Athletes and Business Owners

Unedited transcription of the show is included below:


Welcome to Mr. Biz radio, Biz. Talk for Biz owners. If you're ready to stop faking the funk and take your business onward and upward, this show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth.


All right. Welcome to another episode of Mr. Biz Radio with me, Mr. Biz Ken Wentworth. And you guys might notice those who are watching, our viewers. I've never worn this, so if you're listening, you have to bear with me. I'm actually wearing a baseball jersey today, a Mr. Biz nation baseball jersey. I've never worn this for the show, and I wore it today in honor of our guest. And we're going to talk today to our guest about business owners, and everyone talks about, oh, man, go get them and do this and do that. And everyone's got the rah rah thing. And you want to have high performers and things like that, but how do you actually create that environment? How do you foster a high performance mentality on your teams? So you might have that and you might get frustrated when people on your team don't have that same mindset.


Look, I'll tell you, it's frustrating for me sometimes in my powerlifting career, and some of the guys I train with didn't have that mentality. And it was just super frustrating for me. You hear about some of the greats in the game, the Kobe Bryants and the Michael Jordans that got frustrated and were like a lot of people say were pretty much jerks to their teammates because they didn't work hard enough. And they would say, why should I pass you the ball? I'm working five times as hard as you are, and why should I throw you the ball? Right? You didn't work hard. I'm not going to throw you the ball for you to screw up.


So how do you foster that, especially in a business environment, not only from a sports perspective, but in a business environment that get people to think more along those lines? People don't have, they're not wired that way. So we're going to talk about that today. Our guest today, because of my jersey is Samantha Card. She's a former NCAA Division one softball player at the University of Pittsburgh.


I'm from near Pittsburgh, so I'll go with the Panthers there. She's an NBA graduate, Fortune 100 company trailblazer and level up expert epitomizes the athlete who has hit it out of the park. When she transitioned from her sports career, Samantha passionately crystallized her abilities, curated her knowledge, capitalized her assets, and catapulted her athletic career finale into a mega corporate and life success Samantha, once referred to as Sammy from Miami. We're going to find out about that.


Is on a global mission to teach student athletes, coaches, administrations, and corporate athletes how to develop a proactive championship routine from day one that can be leveraged beyond their current capacity and role. Samantha, or should I call you Sammy from Miami? Welcome to the show.


Thanks for having me. I love your show. So I'm really looking forward to the conversation today. You can call me Sammy. Sammy from Miami. Whatever you feel comfortable with.


Well, I got to tell everyone. So we were talking before we started the show here. So I met Samantha over a year ago and we talked. And I'm telling you, if it was 60 seconds, I'd be surprised. I think it was less than 60 seconds. She told me about coming on the show, and I said, I'm in. Let's do it. And we had some scheduling things, some on our end, and I think she had to reschedule once. And so, literally, it's been like a year since she was originally supposed to be on a show. So I've been looking forward to this. And that's why I was doing show prep the other day. And I'm like, oh, man, I'm going to be cool and wear a jersey because we're talking to a former athlete.


So before we get into all this stuff, Samantha, tell us, and I'm sure people are curious to hear being an athlete and everything, but tell us about. And then going into the corporate world, tell us about your career. Entrepreneurial journey, if you would.


Yeah. So, originally from Miami, Florida, thus the name Sammy from Miami. So we'll hit that right out of the gate. Born and raised in sport, played since I was four years old. Competitively at eight. Never had a summer off, never had a winter break off. It was an all in type of thing for me. I didn't ever think that I was giving up anything because I loved sport. It was who I was for a really long time.


And I literally decided that that was going to be my vehicle to pretty much make it in life. I didn't know how I was going to do it. I just knew that was what was going to happen. Ended up getting recruited at the University of Pittsburgh, full scholarship, and majored in chemistry. Didn't really know what I wanted to do with it, but pretty much when I graduated in nine women's sports, in terms of making a full time career, just wasn't there yet. So I aspired to be in the Olympics, and I said, well, why can't I parallel past a degree that will be versatile?


Really wanted to work on kind of the analytical skill sets that I didn't really have. I was really a lot more creative. And then at that point I graduated. And this is where it gets really interesting. They had taken top out of the Olympics that year, so all of my goals were slated to playing at the highest level. And guess what? I was face to face with a cliff dive of identity crisis. I didn't plan for it. All I knew was sports for my whole entire life.


And I had this fancy chemistry degree in a financial crisis in front of me. So either I was going to let that define me and I would just have to survive or I was going to figure a way to thrive. So I gave myself two weeks. As athletes, we don't like to ask for help, but I took my ego to the side, which is the first step. And I literally said, hey, all I need is a door. Let me get in. I need to hone in a more business acumen because I felt like that was something lacking in my ability to get to that next level in my career outside of sport. So as you can imagine, I had a bleak resume, a great softball career, bunch of accolades. But when you go to do an MBA program, you're really trying to cross pollinate with others that are already in the industry that have two to three years of work experience.


Well, guess what? A lot of people go into an MBA and they are primarily going for either a title bump or they're trying to do cross functional collaboration. For me, I had the leadership, experiential skill sets. I just needed to learn the skills. So I essentially then got into that. And then at the point there, I literally lived abroad. Graduated on a Friday, I started work on a Monday with Honeywell International.


And the rest is history. Created every role I was ever in and by 26 ran $10 billion merger acquisitions. So you can't tell me what you can't do. All you have to do is take the first step is something that I've lived through my whole entire life.


Well, and that's like a motto for entrepreneurs, you probably have heard. I think someone said, not the definition, but like an entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and figures out how to build a plane on the way down. And I had a similar experience. I didn't know when I left the corporate world what I was going to do. I just knew I would figure it out. And I think a lot of it was my confidence from my athletic career as well, is like I've always been able to figure it out.


I know that I'm going to put everything in and I'm going to figure it out. I don't know what the heck it's going to be. I don't know what it's going to look like. I don't even want to try to define it at this point. I'm just going to keep charging ahead, jumping off that cliff, and I'm on my way down, and time's running out. Let's figure this out. Let's MacGyver this thing, right? It sounds like you did that as well.


Yeah. I mean, look, you can either let things define you or you can create your pathway. And as an athlete, that's what you do every day. The thing you have to do is we play in this finite game, in this infinite world of success, right? So it never ends. It's never going to be enough. So you have to kind of curate those moments of who you are, what you stand for and why, and live inside out instead of what you think the world wants to see in.


And so many times, athletes, we kind of go towards that way. But what if it works? As a softball player, I was batting 350. That was great, right? But that means I was failing six and a half, seven out of ten times. So how do I connect the dots to really turn that into something that is next level in my pathway outside of sport?


Well and mentally, that's a great point. They talk about in major leagues, you can fail 70% of the time and make the hall of Fame, right? You only bat 300, and you can make the hall of Fame potentially only batting 300. But that means to your point, you're quote unquote, failing 70% of the time to get on the base, on base. So that is a critical thing, I think another thing that builds athletes, whether it be baseball, softball or any other, it the failure. You have to be able to deal with those things. We're going to hit a break here, guys. You can find out moreat We'll put this in the show notes as well. Follow on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn. We're going to come back. We're going to find out more about how she helps people.


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All right, welcome back to the show. It is time for the Mr. Biz tip of the week. And this one is, I like to call this pricing psychology 101. If you haven't realized this, when I tell you this, you're probably going to be like, have the light bulb go off above your head and you're going to be like, oh, the last time I was in fill in the blank, target, wherever, right? You were shopping somewhere. And that is, and they did a study on this. This is from the Harvard Business Review. So this isn't like some janky, whatever website or something.


When consumers are given two different choices, two price choices, 80% of the time, they'll choose the higher priced item. They feel like the lower price one is cheap. It's a piece of crap. They don't want it. Right? If you give them three choices, 85% is a little bit higher. 85% of the time, guess what? They choose. The middle one. I call it the glutylocks theory. This one's too hot. This one's too cold. This one's just right. So keep that in mind and keep, especially as a consumer, be mindful of that. As well as that's a pricing marketing ploy that a lot of places do to really try to funnel.


What they want you to do is buy the middle one. Right? They give you three choices. They want you to go to the middle one. They want to make sure you stay off the cheap one. And some people will buy the higher price one just because they're highfalutin or trying to be bougie or whatever. But that's what they're trying to do, is get you towards that middle one that you feel like there's more value and things like that there.


Also, if you're a business owner, keep that in mind with your pricing. So keep that in mind. Pricing psychology 101. Goldilocks. There is, I call it, that's Mr. Biz Tip of the week this week again, talking this week with Samantha Card. You can find out more at she's on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn as well. So look, before we even get into it, I want to talk about how you're helping people nowadays, but I don't know, someone whispered in my ear. Someone told me that you may have maybe done a little something recently at some major, massive sporting event.


Just a little something. I think it's called the Super bowl. It's just something there, right? No, it's great. It's part of a founders live event, which really is congruent with what I'm doing now. And it's providing a safe haven ecosystem for athletes to think beyond sport. And some want to be entrepreneurs, some want to enter into a small business, some want to get into corporate America. And this is essentially a platform to really show others that they can do it. And they have to effectively pitch in less than 90 seconds and the audience votes. So it's been an exciting experience.


Yeah. And it reminds me, and we were talking about this a little bit in the first segment, but going back to the whole athletic mentality, when I was at JPMorgan and I would recruit people, I did some recruiting at Ohio University and a lot of my peers would make fun of me because I'm at know financial institution, white shirt and tie with the guys and all that stuff, right? And I would look for athletes and maybe I was partial them because I was. But I think more so it's that mentality that we're talking about here, that as an athlete you have to have that high performance mentality, right? You don't have a choice, otherwise you're not going to be an athlete very long.


And I would rather have someone who is an athlete and had a 3.3 GPA versus someone who has no social activities, no leadership, no anything, and they got a 4.0. I'll take the three, three athlete eight days a week over the 4.0 person because not only the social skills and everything like that, but working within a team, even if you're an individual sport, let's say you're a wrestler, you're still within a team, you're still working with teammates day in and day out. And there's a whole aspect to that I think that's super important.


Let alone on a team sport like you were with softball, basketball, whatever it might be. I think that's super. And so how do you see, Samantha, some of those skills, especially in your own career, but as well as some of the people you're helping now that translate over from the athletic field or court into the corporate world or what have you? Business world.


Yeah. Well said on your side, and it resonates extremely well. And I kind of walk the walk on that piece of it. And I think the biggest thing, too, is the concept of athleticism and reframing what that means. Because a lot of times as athletes, we feel that we can't connect the dots between sports and life. And there's a lot of hard and soft skills like you were alluding to that are really congruent with the next stage in life. They're not siloed.


Right. And what I do is I try to help bridge that gap, connect the dots of the unknowingness of what's next. Right. Sports is something that is an area where we've leaned into, and for a lot of us, was our solitude, our scape, depending on your background, right. So when you no longer have sport, it's really around reframing the concept of corporate athleticism. So it's the same concept. Like, you were in the gym and you're on Max day, and you literally went to failure. That is what Max day is. Well, the same concept in the workplace. Right. Athletes are not afraid of failing. And a lot of times, there's a lot of complacency in these corporate environments and just clocking in and clocking out.


And what happens is you tolerate problems. You're not really root cause analysis, analyzing and having analysis on. Well, really, what is the root of the issue at hand? Well, athletes will hit you straight on with it. Now, we may be radically candor, maybe we overspeak, we show passion, but you can't teach heart, you can't teach grit. It's something that you learn through experience, and it's something that for me, because of my ability to fail, I've learned how to fail faster. So a good way to think about it is when I was up at bat as a freshman versus when I went up to bat as a senior, I still was the same player. But the way I processed the game and how it slowed down for me changed.


Same thing in the corporate right. In the business world, when you're a freshman, when you're new in it, you're overwhelmed, all your sensitivities are hitting you you're exhausted by the end of the day. Right. So when you're up at bat, a lot of times if you're not swinging well, maybe as a freshman, you're going to let it get to you. And now that one up at bat becomes three bad at bats becomes a slump for a couple of games, and you really have to go deep inside and figure out how to get out of that rut. Right.


Whereas a senior, right, when you become a manager, you get the promotion, you feel seen, heard and valued. In the corporate environment, your ideas are valued. Right. There's collaboration among the culture, same concept. You thrive in it. Right. As a senior, I literally was making in bat correction. I wasn't even waiting to the next at bat. If I had one bad swing, I said, well, she got me on that one, right? There was no ego in the game.


And for a lot of times when you go into the workforce, you go after power and success. And listen, I got really tied to that because that is measurement. And athletes, we like measurement. But then when you step back and you think about legacy, well, legacy isn't about you. Legacy goes beyond. When you're on this earth and it's around fulfillment and contribution, what can you help others to take and make it their own?


And that's where I think athletes make a really good corporate athlete. Beyond sport.


Well, and I think the high performance mentality that you're talking about and that you coach people on, going back to your analogy, as a freshman, you have that performance mentality, and you might be fighting for your job, right? You might be trying to overtake an upperclassman. So you're every at bat, you're like, oh, my gosh, if I go over three today, I might not start the next game. And then if she goes on a run, I might not play the rest of the season until. Unless she has it.


Whereas a senior, you're more established, but now it's not like you just sit on your laurels and you go, oh, I'm the starter. I'm good to go. I was all conferenced last year. Now it's different things. Right now, I'm batting third, I'm batting fourth, I'm batting fifth. There's runners on base when I come to bat, so it's a different thing. But it's still that always raising the bar mentality of that whole aspect of it.


Yeah. And you nailed it there. Right? So the way I thought about it was, what is the role I need to play for the team? Right? There is no I in team but there is an m and an e in it. Kobe Bryant said that. And the reason he said that is if I can't work on myself and bring my best self forward, how am I going to hold other people accountable for the common team? And if you're not going to operate at the level I'm going to operate, I'm not going to pass you the ball. And that's.


Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Guys, we're in our break here. We're going to come back. We're going to pick Samantha's brain a little bit on how to be able to foster some of this high performance mentality with our teams.


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So definitely go check it out. I wanted to pass that along. All right, Samantha, it is time to pay the piper. Give us some tips on what we can do. I know you talk about this, I know you had mentioned a little bit, but how to fail faster, have that mentality and things, but maybe that is incorporated in some of this. But how do you get that person on your team that just really doesn't have that sort of mentality? How do you sort of foster that and grow that with people on your team?


Well, I think the first step is knowing that not everybody thinks the way you think. So you have to think outside of yourself a little bit and maybe take the time to learn their why. Why are they there? It sounds really cliche, but it's extremely impactful. People like to talk about themselves. People like to feel seen, valued and heard. So hear people value them and really listen to hear, not listen to speak.


A lot of times we talk about, oh, communication is key on teams. I actually think that's bogus. It's comprehension. You can talk all day, but if someone's not receiving it in the manner that is best for them, where are we really going? Nowhere. It's like the hamster wheel. So I think it does kind of go together because if someone doesn't feel seen, heard and valued, if they're not really comprehending what you're saying, even if it's a top down initiative, now you have a problem, and now you have to tolerate the problem, and now you're putting a band aid instead of going straight at it because you're afraid of controversy.


You don't want to have your nine to five issues, right? So it becomes this ripple effect of now it's so far out of your grasp that now it feels like you have to climb a mountain. Well, it's not the mountain you have to worry about. It's the pebble in your shoe.


Yeah, I love that.


A lot of times we always are just looking at that big mountain, those big numbers. I have to hit my quarter numbers. The cost, my expenditures are up. My cost to serve is there. And these are important things to consider. Right. But at the end of the day, if you don't love what you're doing or you find value in what you're doing, you're going to get burnt out and you're not going to show up your best self, and then you're going to impact someone else, and then it's just going to be a domino effect of horrible. Right.


So I think that's one of the biggest ways that that all kind of connects.


Yeah, I love that it's a little bit sort of a tangent to what you're talking about, but what you described is I look at when people do that, they're treating a symptom and not the problem. Right.


Perfect. Well said.


I hurt my knee and I'm just going to take ibuprofen and wrap my knee every time instead of getting my knee fixed. Figure out what the heck, how did I hurt my knee? Because if I don't figure out how I hurt my knee in the first place, I'm going to keep hurting my knee. I'm going to keep needing to take anti inflammatories and wrapping my stupid knee. And maybe even if you get surgery and fix it, if you don't figure out how you messed it up in the first place, you're going to end up with another surgery.


Fix the problem and not the symptoms. And I think people do that too often. And I use that per your pebble in the shoe versus the mountain, don't worry about get this pebble out of your shoe and you can climb that mountain a lot easier than having the pebble in your shoe and trying to climb the mountain at the same time.


Of course. And I think this is something that I feel if you're okay for me to share to your audience is I worked in manufacturing, so I worked for Honeywell just because I'm in sports now. Right. There is no traditional pathway. And a lot of times as athletes, we like to do hard things as high performance individuals. You don't have to be an athlete to have a high performance mentality of I just want to go at it, I want to be challenged. Right. But just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.


And that's a huge one, too. And to your point about the symptoms and stuff, it's all around taking a step back. And sometimes if you actually simplified, you wouldn't need to streamline something because if you simplified the process, you could really bypass a bunch of the things you were going to streamline in the first place. And one of the projects I worked on was simplifying the product. Skus. It seems simple and arbitrary, but why do you have 150 skus when in reality you're only really selling three.


And the ones that you're selling that you aren't making a lot of money, those customers that aren't paying you a lot. Exactly. To your tip of the day, if you're not having someone paying a higher value and stuff, they're probably going to give you a little bit more headache, right?


Absolutely. Yeah.


So it kind of all goes together.


Yeah, for sure. But I love what you said. I want to back up a little bit. I love what you said about initially about not everyone thinks the way you do because I think that's a really challenging thing for someone who's a high performance, goal oriented. Typically an athlete has that mindset is it's difficult for them. Think about how many hall of fame players in all sports are awful coaches. They're awful coaches.


And I think a lot of this alludes to what you said, Samantha, is they just expect, number one, maybe they have natural talent and so they don't get why you don't know that on an two count with a runner on second that they're probably going to throw you an off speed away. They're like, that's just natural. Why don't you think that way? Right. Because they don't have your talent, but also they don't have your work ethic, maybe your teamwork, all the things you talked about earlier. And so I think that's an important thing as a high performing person because otherwise, I think it's easy for someone like that to just steamroll people and say, you stink, you're not working hard enough, get out of the way.


Like I alluded to earlier, like Kobe Bryant was known to do that to some teammates and Michael Jordan trying to motivate people. So I think that's a big thing that really, especially in the corporate world, can lead, know combative relationships and bad situations with that.


Yeah. And I'll tell you, when I first entered the workforce, right, burst in, last out, control my controllables, all the things we hear all the time. But what became interesting about that was I had to shift my Bolna China cabinet mentality because not everyone wanted it the same way I wanted it. And I treated everything like I wanted to win. Winning, to me is everything still is. But the definition of winning and success has changed and it's not about me.


And I took myself out of my ego driven desire to win and said, well, hold on a minute. If it's not about me, what do I need to change? What do I need to look inside myself? Right? And even though I may not like it, even though I may not resonate with that. I'm going to listen, to hear and understand. I'm going to comprehend. I don't have to agree, but I have to understand where that common ground is so we can have thoughtful debate.


So then that person that maybe won't vocalize because they're not as loud has the ability to sit at the table and actually come with their best ideas because guess what? They probably have some good ones. They just don't feel seen, heard and valued. And it always goes back to that for me. So that was kind of one of the things that I learned. Right on. And that's because you try to create that identity in different ways.


Yeah, I love that. I found that out the hard way when I became a leader and thinking everyone else would think that way. So we're running out of time here, but I know you'd casually, I, yeah, I did some stuff at the Super bowl. But you also have another pretty exciting thing coming up here with the NFL combine, right?


Yeah. So we have just launched our success beyond game day mind pilots. So they're mind labs. So what we're doing is we're helping to actually break down heart, grit, emotion, resiliency, storytelling. And we're helping them hone in and connect the dots to articulate who they are beyond the game. So we're combining, helping these guys perform at the highest level on and off the awesome.


That's awesome. Again, we'll put it in the show. Notes,, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn. Samantha, we're out of time, but thanks so much for coming on the show.


Thank you so much for having me. It's always a good time to talk with you.


Yeah. Appreciate it, guys. Have a fantastic rest of your week. Thanks for watching. Thanks for listening, as always. And don't forget, cash flow is king.


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