Relentless Solution Focus | Dr. Ellen Reed Interview


About the Author Dr. Ellen Reed, a top performance coach for 15 years and Co-Founder of Level Up (levelupgameplan.com), works alongside renowned mental coach, Dr. Jason Selk. With a background in professional dancing, Dr. Reed brings the rare combination of deep academic and athletic background to help clients achieve success, health and happiness. Through Level Up co-developed with Dr. Selk, she also has turned their private coaching lessons, techniques and strategies to help countless clients achieve success and ultimately, great inner self-confidence who normally would not have access to their limited private coaching. With her background in academia and the performing arts, she helps athletes, students, and business leaders reach their peak performance by developing mental toughness. Dr. Reed received her PhD. in experimental psychology, with a focus on memory and cognition, from St. Louis University.

Best Book Bits podcast brings you Dr. Ellen Reed, a top performance coach for 15 years, and the co-founder of Level Up working alongside renowned mental coach, Dr. Jason Silk. With a background in professional dancing, Dr. Reed brings the rare combination of deep academic and athletic background to help clients achieve success.

Health and happiness. With her background in academia and the performing arts, she helps athletes, students, and business leaders reach their peak performance by developing mental toughness. She’s the co-author of the book, relentlessness Solution Focus, train Your Mind to Conquer Stress, pressure and Underperformance.

Dr. Ellen Reed, thank you for being on. Thank you for having me. No worries. Now I finished reading the book amazing book. So this podcast we’re gonna go through mental toughness, relentlessness focus, and all those great things as well. But take us back how you met the co-author Dr. Jason Selk.

I really was in the right place at the right time, . [00:01:00] So as you said, I have a background in dance, so I was, I’ve actually just somewhat recently retired from my professional career. But 15 years ago I was just about to start graduate school. I was dancing as much as I could be. And I had 15 jobs.

I was finish finishing up college, I was teaching dance. And so I was the dance teacher for a gymnastics center in town, and Jason on the weekends would volunteer to coach the men’s team. So we cross paths that. And we were introducing each other and I was like, yeah, I’m about to, I study psychology and I’m about.

Start graduate school, and he was like, oh you know what I do, he, at the time, was working with athletes and he was just about to start with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team as their director of sports psychology. And so he was at the time looking for someone to take on to help.[00:02:00]

Work on kind of the administrative stuff, so confirming appointments and things like that. So I’m like, sure. Awesome. At that point in my life I’m like, I’ll do anything . And so I started working with him by literally just, he would hand me his planner, his schedule, and I would call his appointments, and I was perfect for it because it was all these like superstar.

And I had no idea who they were, . So he was like, I remember him like us talking the first, time we were going through all this. He’s now Ellen, don’t get starstruck. , you’ll probably recognize a lot of these names. And I’m like, yeah, sure. And so I was really the perfect fit for it.

But so over the years, I went through graduate school, got my doctorate in psychology, and I. Really like a first front row seat to Jason’s program that he developed. And so I got to apply them to my own life as a dancer and as a person. And so I saw firsthand the impact that they have. And then also [00:03:00] as he started to work with more and more business professionals and I started to take on board the athlete clients.

And then I’ve followed that same progression where I work more with business professionals now too. But really, I’m so thankful for that day in that gymnastics center where we crossed paths because it really was just the perfect kind of combination of my two loves, which was dancing and performance and in both senses of the word really and academics.

And so that’s how we met. And I’ve been working alongside him ever since. We co-authored his latest book, our latest book, relentless Solution Focus Together, as you mentioned. And yeah, so that’s how we crossed paths. Wow. And that was over 15 years ago, is that correct? Yeah. Yeah. Isn’t it funny that sometimes in life we just need that we meet that one person that changes the direction of our life and we don’t.

But when we walk back we go, wow, that was that moment. And we all have moments of that in life as well. But also we are also going through those moments too, and we never know that [00:04:00] the person right now will, coming into our life tomorrow might change our life when we walk back. So just be open for those opportunities, but awesome stuff.

One of the questions I’ve got, so he was a director of mental training for St. Louis Cardinals. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. What is the director of mental training and why do, is this common in sports teams as well? To have head of mental training? Now it is. Now you’re gonna be hard pressed to find, elite level or professional athlete who doesn’t have some sort of a mental coach.

So Jason’s first book, it was called 10 Minute Toughness, and he outlined a training program for athletes in this book. He developed this thing called the Mental Workouts, and it was really the first. Of its kind that taught athletes exactly what to do to work on mental toughness. We all know we need it.

At least nowadays, people are hearing about it more and more. Like you watch a sports event on TV and the announcers usually talk about in some way, shape or form, mental toughness, but we don’t know how to do it. . [00:05:00] And so what started with work with athletes in that book 10 minute toughness, people started to pick this book up who weren’t athletes and say, Hey, I’m gonna apply this to my business life, or my career, or my marriage, or you fill in the blank.

But, so Jason started with a cardinal. Thousand and six, which also hopefully not coincidentally, was the year that they won the World Series for the first time in over like 20 years. So it was a really great start to that tenure with the Cardinals. And so really that propelled his program really fast.

Really fast. And really what’s interesting is that the fundamentals that we coach our athletes on are actually very similar to the fundamentals that we coach a business professional or a mom or anybody trying to make improvements in our lives. And so really these fundamentals for, quote unquote, And I feel like that word has a lot of connotations, but just happiness [00:06:00] in life, right?

However you define it. These fundamentals for success are really very universal. Your attitude at home is the attitude you bring to work and your skillset isn’t you. You don’t divide it between the roles you play in life as well. One of the reasons for having this conversation is I. I read the book 10 Minute Toughness, and I did the summary on it, my channel 10 years ago, and that’s why I reached out to yourself and Jason, that’s why we’re having this conversation now and then with the new book coming out.

So we’ll deep dive into the book. When did the new book come out and why why did you just write it together? What was the reason putting it together two years ago? So it was right 2021. I think so, like right in the heart of Covid, which was not planned obviously, but I really believe that it was great timing and that it was something that people really needed to hear at that moment.

And so I’ve been, like I said, I’ve been working alongside Jason for 15 years, using his stuff for myself, but teaching his stuff to others. And so [00:07:00] what. Think, I bring to the table is a, I’m a woman , which already brings a little bit of a different perspective. And I’m a mom and I work with real people.

These people that a lot of the examples in the book, we try to include examples of people who are just, off the chart, successful, but also people who are just like the rest of us, just mere mortals, right? Just that have, a mom trying to figure out how to get through the day and.

And achieve whatever she wants to achieve or a parent or anybody just trying to make improvements in life. And we started this thing together and it was Hey Ellen, you wanna work on this thing together? And we did. And we would each work on our stuff and then send it back to the other person and then continue that process time and time again to the point where really we would be reading our drafts and thinking okay, did I write this part or do you write this part

We’re a really great team in that sense. Yeah. That’s awesome. Yeah. Thanks for [00:08:00] sharing. You talk about being a wife and a mum as well, but in the book you also talk about working out five plus hours a day when you were in dance class and rehearsals, before transitioning to coaching your athletes and business clients as well.

What was the daily life and probably changed now, but what was that like in that period? And yeah, it seems very demanding. Yeah and I just retired. Let’s see, the beginning of the season, so August, so I just retired in August. So I spent, and I retired after a 12 year long career, which is a really long time for a professional dancer.

And throughout. Thank you. Thank you. And throughout that entire 12 years, I was also coaching. So I, my typical day, I would wake up and I didn’t always have kids during that time, but I would wake up, go to class, go to rehearsal until about 2 30, 3 30, and then sit down at my desk and get on my coaching calls.

And then I, had kids in the mix there. And honestly I don’t know how it worked. It just did . I have an awesome husband [00:09:00] and I love dancing. I love coaching and I loved that I had both of those kind of to balance each other out. And so now I am, I feel really. Really blessed to be able to just do the coaching.

I’ve, I love dancing, but I also at this point in my life, l life, love not dancing, . Now it all seems great on the surface and it all looks, very rosy. But in the book, you open up personally about your story, about waking up and just going straight into problem mode. And then you relate a story in the book you open up with with your two grandfathers and their death.

And you write that in detail as well. What’s the story behind this? I went through, let me tell you a little bit about me and my background just as a student. When I was younger, I was always an a plus student, so I was, I joined all the clubs. I filled my afterschool hours with dance classes and clubs.

I did all the extra credit, even though I didn’t need it , I was the kid that was like doing homework and studying during our like flex time, which is. [00:10:00] Recess, and on paper I was really successful, but I was stressed and. I didn’t even really realize it at a ti the time because it was so normal for me.

And I would wake up every morning, with this like really before my eyes would even open, like my heart would be pounding outta my chest with this like laundry list of things going through my mind. Okay, do I have anything due today? Did I, is my health okay? Is my family’s health okay? Did I.

X, Y, Z, right? My Rolodex of all the things that could potentially go wrong in life and that kind of level of anxiety, and I would say subtle anxiety and stress really didn’t even seem like it was a problem because it was so normal for me. And really the way I woke up every morning is probably not much different than the way a lot of us wake up every morning because we are just so wired for this perfectionist mentality where we’re quick to [00:11:00] shrug off what we’re doing well, and instead focusing right in on our struggles or our shortcomings or our.

It’s just the way we’re wired. It’s called problem centric thought. It’s chapter one in the book, and that p c t, that problem centric thought, unfortunately makes it really likely that we experience high levels of stress and anxiety. And so really I lived my life focused on avoiding problems and I, you mentioned my grandfather’s, my story about my grandfather.

I, my family is very important to me, very close to my family on both my mom’s side and my dad’s side. And my mom’s dad died when he was in his early eighties. He was the first person I lost in my life. And when he died, I remember thinking man, he really. He really won the game. Like he didn’t lose any of his children.

He hadn’t experienced any this is from my [00:12:00] perspective, I’m sure he did experience his fair share of adversity in trials in life. But any of those major kind of crises that we think of, and then my dad’s dad. When he passed away, he was one day short of 90 years old actually. He had lost his first wife to cancer.

His second wife was in a facility for Alzheimer’s, which is just such a horrible, as we all know, horrible disease for anyone to go through and to watch anyone that you love, go through. And my uncle, his son had died very tragically a few years before my grandfather passed away. He was killed in mile 99 of a hundred mile bike race.

And that is three things that right there. Dealing with any one of those things in life. Huge. And I just, at that time, I was reflecting [00:13:00] on my previous thoughts about my first grandfather he passed and thinking, wow, he really won. And when I lost my second grandfather, I was at a different point in my life where I had been working on these fundamentals that I now teach other people.

But I just remember thinking like my two grandfathers at their deathbed , I don’t think either one of them was, think. Man, some bad stuff really happened to me. I think they were thinking, wow look at my family, look at the life that I’ve built. Look at all the wonderful things in my life. And I thought, that’s what I want.

On paper they had very different levels of bad things happening to them, and at the end of their lives, I like to think, and I truly believe that just didn’t matter. And that there were so many other things that they were focused on, like all the good in life. And so that really stuck with me as really just confirmation of why it’s so important to shift our normal course of thought [00:14:00] from problems onto solutions.

And that’s really the mission of this relentless solution focused book and why we decided to write the book in the first place. Cause we’re like, we know the impact this has on our. , but we only have limited hours of the day. We only can work with so many clients at a time. Like we want everybody to get this.

And the science behind it too I think. Telling You mentioned before we started, you’re like, what did you say? You said, I can tell you’re an academic . Because the science of this stuff is important. We’re not guessing on this stuff. This is all a hundred percent backed by the research and that’s important.

Because there’s a lot of stuff out there that’s just not, that’s just, there’s not empirical evidence to back it up. Thank you for sharing the story of your grandfather’s. What I really got outta that was with the problem centric thought. The biological tendency to focus on problems and the negative that’s.

That’s natural. So you don’t have to do anything about that. There’s no effort involved. That’s a natural tendency that’s hardwired into us, but relentlessness focused solution, that’s [00:15:00] effort, but also it’s an action as well. So you can’t have mental toughness isn’t a thought. Mental toughness is an action.

So it’s not just a perspec. Yes, sure, it’s perspective first, but you actually have to do something. Which is what I really got from the book as well. So I recently had an experience before reading your book got to a situation of a business deal, whatever it is. And I could have just thought about the problems of why I couldn’t get the deal done.

But on my brain went straight into the solution. I found the solution acted on the solution. So it’s not just finding the solution, it’s actively acting on the solution. And then today I’m doing something about, and actually moving forward. Particular solution. So it can this particular thought that you’ve got the P C T and then the R SF can be done anytime, anywhere as well.

Do you want to ex Yeah. You’ve already expanded on it. It’s not just for athletes, this is for everyday people as well. Yeah. Is there anything I’ve missed in the opening chapter with P C T you’ve talked about? No, and I love that. I love the way you described it as, It’s an [00:16:00] action. It’s not just that, it’s an action.

And I think you nailed it when you said, P C T is normal. There’s no effort involved in that. We’re gonna do that regardless. That’s the way we’re wired. That’s normal and so relentless solution focus really is. Becoming abnormal. What we’re training people to do through this book and through these like really concrete exercises and tools is to become abnormal in the best way possible.

And I think you did a great job of emphasizing here that it’s not just gonna happen naturally. You’ve gotta put effort into it. We’ve got to do the things that are gonna literally re rewire our. Take advantage of that neuroplasticity, right? The ability for our brain to wire rewire and mold itself through training.

Now let me get into a little bit of the, okay, how do we do it right, , because it all sounds great, at least I hope it sounds compelling, but as you said, we gotta do something, right? We can’t just know, oh, okay, I gotta get my focus onto solutions. Because we know that, we’ve heard that before, right?[00:17:00]

We’ve heard that it’s good to be like optimistic and, think about the good and think about the solution, but we just haven’t been taught how to. And that essentially is exactly what relentless solution focus is it teaches you exactly how to become optimistic, how to be able to make your normal solution focused.

And so I always like there to be one thing, like one thing to take out of this, and we talk about this in the book a lot, don’t try to do everything , right? Don’t try to do all the things in the book right at once. Just pick one thing and start implementing that. And so the R S F tool, this is one of the tools that we teach in the book, comes in the form of a.

So I would encourage everybody out there listening, write this down, write this question down, and the question is, what’s one thing I can do that could make this better? It’s so simple. What’s one thing I can do that could make this better? This is the R S F tool. This is literally the million dollar question.[00:18:00]

And let me talk a little bit about why this question is so powerful. We’ve been doing some research actually just on the power of questions. We actually didn’t write about this in the book, but I wish we would have . There is this thing called the mirror the mirror measurement effect, where when you ask so about something, it’s gonna actually increase their motivation to.

So they’ve done research where they’ve asked people, for example, about their voting be behavior or their voting location. Hey, where are you gonna vote tomorrow? And asking them the question about it makes ’em significantly more likely to fall through, follow through with it. There’s also this thing in our brains when we’re asked a question called implicit elabo.

Now when we’re asked a question, what this means is that we can’t help but think about the answer to that question. This is just something that happens automatically. Just to pluck in. This is what I do on a podcast. Being a podcast [00:19:00] host. I ask you a question and then your brain automatically finds the answer and then you speak, but continue.

Yes. Yes, exactly. In fact, I instinctive elaboration. I misspoke. I misspoke there. Instinctive elaboration where when we’re asked a question, literally we can’t help but think of the answer. And so that’s why this little R s F tool question is so powerful. What’s one thing I can do that could make this better?

Your brain’s gonna start thinking of things that you can do to make that problem better. Now here’s the catch though, because there is one way that you can totally stop that instinctive elaboration process before it starts, and that’s by saying, I don’t know, . What’s one thing I can do that could make it better?

I don’t know. You are not allowed to say, I don’t know. Because of course you don’t know. If you knew it wouldn’t be a question, it wouldn’t be a problem you’re focused on to begin with. So the only rule here is that you’ve got to force yourself to come up with something you cannot say, I don’t know. And the way I want you to define [00:20:00] solutions here is any improvement to your current situation or your current problem whatsoever.

Don’t worry about what’s the solution to the problem or what’s the thing that’s going to get this situation to its completion, but what’s one thing that could help make it better? I’ll give you an example of that. Recently I suffered from a case of overwhelm, meaning I overbooked myself. I filled my calendar up, I overbook myself, family, business wise, everything.

My calendar was completely full and I was suffering from overwhelming. I got my calendar just behind me, so I’m looking at it. So what I. Oh, I said, what’s the solution here? I didn’t say that, but I took action. And the action was just to schedule things out and to actually phone people, call people, email people and said, look, I’ve gotta cancel.

And I just said, no. So a no to others is a yes to you. And I was like, I wrote that down. And so I’m looking, I’m all right over there. A no to others is a yes to you. So I just canceled things and you know what happened? I got rid of the overwhelm. I feel now I’ve got space to think some silence. I’ve got some free days in my calendar.

I can catch [00:21:00] up on life, catch up on house for catch up on the wife, the kids, all that stuff as well. So sometimes, that was just a story as well. I’m gonna shift gears in if anyone’s listening right now and they’re married, I’m married. You said you got a husband as well, so you’re married too.

But you talk about a story in chapter two, the expectancy theory, and this is a great one. So when you were going through graduate school, part of your training was in relationship counseling and in any relationship counseling they talk about the abc. So I feel when you in this situation, tell me about the story about the two people married for 30 years.

Oh my gosh. So this is actually, this happened to Jason, but this is a great. No, but this is a great one. So he was like fresh outta graduate school and okay, this is it. I’ve got my practice going and I’ve got a couple clients. I got my first set of clients coming in. It’s a husband and a wife, and I got this right, like I got my ABCs of communication.

I’m ready to go. So these two people, it was a physician and his wife, these two people came into his office and he lays the ABCs of [00:22:00] communication on him and just watches it go . And he’s I love hearing him tell the story too. He is oh, and it went. He said, when two people come into my office with X problems and leave with x plus problems, he’s no, I’ve got a problem

He’s I’m not gonna be able to be very successful as a therapist here when people are leaving my office with a lot more problems when they came in with, and so he really went to work researching and trying to find evidence for this ABCs of communication, which essentially to give you a little bit more background on what this.

It’s basically just inviting people to talk about their problems. When you do this, it makes me feel yada, yada, yada. So you’re talking about your problems focusing on the problem. That problem is getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Now, you mentioned expectancy theory, that which you focus on expands.

Expectancy theory is a theory in psychology. That’s really the basis behind most of the work that Jason and I do, that [00:23:00] what you focus on expands. So it’s a very real thing that we all experience in so many ways. And if you think about it, it’s like that algorithm on social media, which shows you what to see, right?

When you click on something or when you search for things, you’re gonna be shown more of that same. On your, the people listening to this are readers, right? So when you’re buying books on Amazon or wherever you’re buying them, you’re being shown other content that’s similar to what you’ve selected or what you’ve read in the past.

That’s the algorithm that goes on in our brain. It’s very similar that which we focus on expands. Now let’s go back though, cuz this is a really important connection to that P C T, that problem centric thought. Cause remember that we’re wired to focus on. Where we’re falling short or our problems or our shortcomings.

And when we’re focused on our problem becomes bigger. And this isn’t a, isn’t like a mystical thing. I think sometimes people think of this as man, like just throw it out there and it’ll come [00:24:00] back to you. This kind of mystical thing, like the secret, it’s very scientific.

It makes sense when we’re focused on our problems, it’s like taking a baseball bat to our self. Now self-confidence is important to consider here because it’s the number one variable for all human performance. Nothing is gonna affect the way that we’re gonna perform, more than our self-confidence. So when our focus is very normally and naturally on our problems or our shortcomings, our self-confidence keeps taking hit after hit, and then all of a sudden we’re not performing as well.

And so I, that expectancy theory, I’m so glad you brought that up because it’s just so important to me. It’s so compell. And the exciting part, the good news, like so far, I feel like I’ve just told people a bunch of bad news, but the good news is that we can use that for our advantage just as much as it usually works against us.

We can use that expectancy theory for us, for our happiness, for our solutions, for our [00:25:00] progress towards our goals, by focusing more on solutions. Cause as soon as you shift your focus from problems to solutions, All a sudden that what you focus on expands, those solutions become much more available to you.

You start to recognize them much more clearly, and you even become more motivated to act on them Again, going back to that mirror measurement effect. . When you ask yourself a question like, what’s one thing I can do that can make this better? And you answer it, you become significantly more motivated to act on that solution.

And just to clarify, after the second session where the couple came back, so Jason did two things. So he identified one thing about themselves that they wanted to work on improving for the sake of the relationship. And then after the session ended, spending time searching for solutions and figuring out how to implement the positive changes, but Also e established in a 10 minute rule, which after the first 10 minutes of the meeting, no one’s allowed to talk about problems and focus had to [00:26:00] shift on what can be done to make the solution better.

Yeah, just great story because everyone’s in a relationship and, we can always nitpick the problems. And the issue is the longer you’re with someone, you know all their problems and all the things that get on your nerves and you stop talking about all the good things. Cuz all the good things become normal and normalized and it’s just like a job or anything as well.

That’s just life. So we just focus on problems, we blow ’em up and then if we sit back and actually think about the. Solutions. Yeah, it’s just that shift, it’s just that shift as well. Yeah, I love that. And one thing I think that this is just really good piece of advice is that, if there’s parents on here and you’re sitting in the car with your kids after school or after their game, Or after their practice.

Think about how you might implement that. It’s really easy and normal for you. Be like, Hey, you really, you’re defense tonight or you’re still doing that one mistake that we talked about before, right? That’s normal, and that’s okay. You’re not broken. You’re not a bad parent. If that’s [00:27:00] you. If that’s you’re a hundred percent normal.

Just think about that when you’re dealing with your kids, your friends, your spouse, but most importantly, your. You talk about a really touching story in the book in chapter three, speaking of kids about a girl named Mary and her dad named Rick. Is that you or is that Jason, or That’s No that’s Jason.

Yeah. Oh, okay. Got it. Do you wanna touch on that or what that story’s about? Because that talks about relentless solution focus and there is always a solution. Always. So I still remember when Jason. So here’s how we did it. Lemme just give you a little bit of a behind the scenes of how the writing of relentless solutions.

So focus happened. Usually we would I would start working on a chapter and he would start working on a chapter and then we would switch. And so chapter three was one of the chapters that Jason started writing, and I remember when he sent it to me. To do. Like my first read through of it, I was like, oh, I don’t even wanna finish this.

I feel like I know what the ending’s gonna be and [00:28:00] I don’t even wanna finish it. Because you, as you’re alluding to Mary is a son of Rick and she’s killed by she’s playing on her bike before school and she’s killed by a driver. in the morning, I believe it was before school.

And, as anybody, as a human, as a mom, I was like I just, this is just hard to get through. But by the end of the chapter, it was so uplifting and just amazing to see the effects of R S F even in the face of something that you can’t do anything. , that’s a situation that you can’t do anything about bringing her back.

And so Rick had been a client of Jason’s for I think, several years before this happened. And so he was well versed in R S F and all the mental toughness fundamentals that we teach in the book. And he reached out to Jason [00:29:00] and they had talked about, just. Continuing for his himself and for his family after this event to say what’s one thing I can do that could make this better?

Sometimes the answer to that was to cry sometimes. The answer to that was to think about something about Mary that made them smile, and what I think was really touching about this story was that Rick, he had a. An easier time doing this for himself, but what he really made a priority for himself was to help his other kids and his wife through this, through that.

Now the end of the story is that Rick and his family had started They’d raised a bunch of money for I believe it was children and their goal, I can’t remember the numbers here, but they far exceeded their goal and Mary’s honor. And so you take something that is a problem that you can’t do anything about and they’ve still found a way to do something to make their situation.[00:30:00]

It’s a touching story that, yeah, with any tragedy, you do have a choice. And it wasn’t about, don’t feel sad because you know quite clearly, even Rick had to hold it back. And then Jason coached him through after it that he had to let go of that emotion and go through that grief as well.

So it’s important to have a balance of both as well. But there’s no right or wrong, but just a touching story. So I just wanted to share that as well. Getting back to the sci, getting back to the science of. S f you talk about cortisol or serotonin as well. Do you wanna explain sort of the differences biologically when you focus on problems, cortisol, solution, serotonin, how that works?

Yeah, that’s a great question. I, to me this is, again, like you said, I’m an academic, so I wanna know the science. I want proof , right? I don’t want somebody to just tell me what I should be doing. I wanna know why, and I wanna know that it works. So the science behind this, when our brain is focused on a problem, it signals our body to release cortisol, the stress hormone.

So really we can’t experience any [00:31:00] negative emotion without releasing cortisol. That’s like our signal to experience negative emotion. Now, cortisol, it’s good for us in certain capacities, right? We need it. We need it for certain levels of motivation and performance, but at even moderate doses, This stuff is like low dose poison coursing through our veins, and most of us are walking around on a daily basis with way too high levels of this poison going through our bodies.

So when we’re focused on a problem, Again, our brain signals our body to release cortisol. Now, the good news here is that as soon as you shift your focus from a problem to a potential solution, it doesn’t even have to be a good solution, A good answer, just a potential solution. Your body starts to release all these performance enhancing feelgood neurotransmitters.

Serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, all of these things make us feel so much better. [00:32:00] They increase our intelligence, right? That cortisol, again, it really is at moderate levels like those poison, it significantly limits our creativity, our intelligence. It. Makes us more likely for almost every major disease.

And so here’s my favorite stats, and it’s almost unbelievable , but it’s because of these chemicals that we’re talking about that people with relentless solution focus live on average up to 14 years longer than those who. It’s almost unbelievable. And in those 14 years, they’re happier, they’re healthier, they sleep better, they’ve got better, more long lasting friendships.

It really this is gonna sound maybe a little bit overkill, but I truly believe this. If there were a secret to life, I believe it would be this. It’s just hard to think of anything that can compete with that. Being able to make [00:33:00] your. To be able to shift quickly from problems and adversity to a potential solution doesn’t mean you’re not gonna experience problems.

And it doesn’t mean you’re gonna put on rose colored glasses and ignore them. It just means that you’re gonna get to work on the solution faster. And just to go off topic here a little bit. Recently, I’ve been driving my car in. And the reason I’m doing that is to not only just process things, but just to enjoy some silence.

So many times people are on their phone scrolling through social media, watching news, listening to News World events, and we know that the world has problems cuz we’re in it. The world’s always had problems, like it or not. We focus on external things that we can’t control and we very rarely stop and realize.

The things that we can control, which is our day to day. And this is about having control over the day as well. If you control your day, you control your life. If you’re just listening to problems all [00:34:00] day, watching the news, this, that, and the other, you are giving away control to someone else. You are distracting yourself with.

The circus of the world, which it’s, you try to understand it, but you just don’t. So people listening, get into silence a little bit. Focus on your own solutions and stop worrying about the problems of the world. So my dad used to say to me, stop worrying about things he can’t change.

And he said it for 15 years and always when I was young, he used to yell at the tv. And I look back now and my dad’s very quiet. And I understand what he meant. And then he would say people were in a hurry to get. People are in a hurry to get nowhere, and people trying to control things they can’t control.

That’s just a little rant. I want to just go back to the, yeah. Go back to the book. You talk about the most important 60 seconds of your day. What is that? Okay. So 60 seconds. So that is the meter we want you to use. So we talked about, okay, you gotta get from the problem to the solution. How long do you have

And that’s a really, this is a really important caveat. So think of your brain [00:35:00] having inside of it something like a called a mental chalkboard. So if you drew a line through the center of your brain on one side, you got problems. We’re experts over here, like you said, like we’d have all this filled in with really small print.

And then on the other side, we’ve got solutions. Now the name of the game here is to get from that problem side to the solution. Within 60 seconds. Now, the reason for the 60 seconds is because this is long enough for you to be able to recognize that your brain is focused on a problem, but not long enough that.

You’re getting that cord Isol released so you can get ahead of, stay ahead of that cord Isol released by forcing yourself to ask and answer that R S F tool question. That’s one thing I can do that could make this better within 60 seconds. Now the key here is that. You’ve got to be able to recognize that’s like the first third of the book.

We’ve broken it down into three phases. That phase number one is you gotta be able to recognize when you’re [00:36:00] even focused on a problem. And this is a struggle because it’s usually pretty easy for us to recognize when somebody else is focused on a problem. But for ourselves, it becomes much more difficult to self-assess.

Now, here’s the clue that I want everybody to use when trying to decide, Hey, am I focused on a problem? And you have this built in you. You don’t even have to think about it. You’ve got this critical alarm system that’s gonna alert you every time you’re focused on a problem and that you’re in need of rsf.

And that critical alarm system is basically anytime you’re experiencing any negative emotion whatsoever. In fact, you can’t be experiencing negative emotion unless your brain is focused on a problem. So frustration, anger, stress, worry, anxiety. Anytime you’re experiencing those, your brain isn’t focused on a problem and you need to ask and answer that question.

What’s one thing I can do that could make this better? Now, you may come up with something and [00:37:00] try it and cross it off the list within 10 seconds, and then you go back to that problem side. That’s okay. You get 60. It’s one thing I can do that could make this better. You shipped over to the solution side, you may bounce back a million times.

That’s okay, as long as you get off that problem side within 60 seconds. Don’t allow yourself to stay there. Doesn’t mean you’re gonna get off and you’re never gonna go back. That’s not realistic. This is life. We experience problems as a normal part of life, but we don’t wanna allow ourselves to live there for longer than 60 seconds.

That’s where the relentless piece of this comes in. It’s not just solution focus, it’s relentless solution focus. Absolutely. Do you recommend people to actually chalk this up on a whiteboard or something? So problems and solutions and then maybe scrub out the problems once they’ve done the solution?

Like I’m a I like to write things down. Do you encourage that or to journal it or what’s I love that. I love that. So we actually, Something that I’m really excited about is that we started a new app. It’s called Level [00:38:00] Up Game Plan. This is something that, since we’ve written the book, people have been asking us this for years.

You guys have gotta do an app. You’ve gotta do an app. Like we encourage people to do it like pen to paper, but they’re like, if I could just do this in my phone. And so we finally like the stars aligned. We’ve. Awesome team that has brought this to life in this app. And so we’ve got, what I love about it is that it’s short little snippets of this and then you act on it, and so it puts it all in this day-to-day app that takes you like.

Two minutes, three minutes a day. And it reminds you, it gives you just enough to be done with consistency at a time. And it takes you through developing a relentless solution focus And beyond it, it talks you through goal setting, the mental workout success logs, but it makes it mindless and makes it so easy.

And so really the hardest part of this, Michael, is like getting people to do it , right? [00:39:00] Like we can. We can know what we need to do, but the biggest piece of feedback that we’ve gotten from this app is oh my gosh. So easy to implement. And so the, that’s something I’m really excited about because I think that piece of it where you actually, write it out, use your phone, use a whiteboard, use the app.

You’ve gotta do those things that are gonna make it easier for you to visualize and easier for you to act on. Yeah. Perfect. That’s fantastic. So level level Up app, is that on Android and app on Apple as well? So level up game plan, you just go to the website and it’ll walk you through exactly how to.

Awesome. Awesome. I want to talk about one of my favorite motivational people that I’ve seen in person two weeks ago, David Goggins. You talk about in chapter six the plus one concept. I love improvement over perfection now. Yeah. David Goggins amazing. I’m not sure if you wanna discuss but the first a hundred Mile race that he run as well.

But do you wanna talk about[00:40:00] why you put him in the book? Yeah. First of all, a hundred. I, when I read that, at first I was, that was, yeah, I was like, and then I’ve heard of people doing like 250 mile races and that in and of itself, I’m like, oh, but he, yes, he really was very under prepared , as he said, and his mentality was all right, literally one step at a time, one step at a time.

And that got him through, and that sounds so cliche. But it is so true. There’s no other way to do it. Because what happens, and this is called the entirety perspective, humans have a tendency to, when they’re judging a situation, to take in the entirety of the situation. Now, there’s some good reason for that, some like evolutionary, like definite benefits to that entirety perspective.

But for 99.9% of the world, thinking about running a hundred mile race, most people wouldn’t even. But breaking [00:41:00] it down, hop an ass what’s the next thing I can do that’s gonna get me the next step here? What’s the thing I can do that’s gonna get me the next mile? Breaking it down? Because what we wanna do is we wanna get ahead of something called learned helplessness.

Help helplessness is a function that we have that really protects our self-image a little bit. Like we don’t wanna try at things if we think we’re gonna fail. But the problem is that when we’re judging our problems with the entirety perspective, we see all the different ways we can fail, and then we don’t even take the first step.

This is why you just gotta get off that problem side within 60 seconds, because remember, we’re experts at our problems. You don’t need to be a better expert at your problem than you already are. , it’s so much more impactful, effective. Happier, healthier, to get to the solution faster. It doesn’t even have to be the [00:42:00] right solution.

It doesn’t even have to work, but you’ve just gotta get onto that solution side of the board because I guarantee you, you’re gonna get to that solution that will work so much faster. Absolutely. Absolutely. And you just gotta chunk life down. Life’s moment to moment. It’s not, people say it’s day by day, week by day.

It’s not. It’s moment to moment and in the moment you can choose to stop, put the car in reverse. Relax. Have a nap, have a coffee. Just take a break, take a mental break and get back into it as well. You don’t need to have your foot on the gas all the time as well. So sometimes it’s good to double foot, double press the brake pedal with both feet sometimes and just pump that brake.

Jumping in. We’re running that at time, but there’s so much to unpack in this book. Anyone listening, it’s an amazing book. There’s so much scientific stuff in the book it’s fantastic. But you talk about the framework of achievement, and I want you to touch on that. So vision plus integrity equals happiness.

What’s the framework of achievement? Yeah. And this is actually the, it’s the last thing we talk about in the book, but it’s the first thing we talk about in the app. And I think the app actually even does a better job walking people through this than the book [00:43:00] does. But basically, first of all, you’ve gotta know what you want, , what are you working for?

And so this framework for goal setting, and the reason this has a place in a book called Relentless Solution Focus is because if you start out trying to apply this relentless solution focus to everything in life. It’s gonna feel overwhelming. And so we walk you through a goal setting framework to identify, okay, what are the most important daily activities you need to be doing that are gonna get you to where you wanna go?

And so we start with that vision, who you wanna be, what you want your life to be. And we’ve got some really clear guidance in there for how to get that. Cause that’s a hard question for people to ask. And then we ask, okay, here’s where you wanna be, the integrity piece of it. What do you need to be doing every day to get there?

It’s fine to know where you wanna go. In fact, it’s really important to know where you wanna go. But where most people stop is they don’t identify what I need to be doing every single day in [00:44:00] order to get there. And those are what we turn into what’s called process goals. And in the app is actually reminds you of exactly when you need to do your process goals.

It’s really awesome technology, but if you think about it like this, you know where you wanna. And you have the confidence and know that you’re doing what it’s gonna take on a daily basis in order to get. That does really powerful things for a person’s happiness, confidence, success, performance, and so that’s that.

V plus I equals success framework. My analogy of it is, you can kick the ball forward every day if you do that. For a year. You walk back and you kick the ball very far. And that’s just with life. You just gotta kick it a little bit forward every day. And then in the long run it’s gonna be late as well.

One last thing I want you to touch on. So I know the app, you probably go through the mental workout as well improvement’s key, you talk about perfection to performance, all that great stuff. But the last one, success log. How important is. With Success Log. Yeah. So [00:45:00] important, and I’m gonna sound like a broken record, but the app

What is so good about it? And it’s funny because we designed this for people that aren’t getting one-on-one coaching with us. And so I’ve been doing the app, testing the app, and now I can’t live without it. And I was already doing this stuff every day, and so now I’m finding myself recommending it to all my clients who are already getting coached by me on a monthly, weekly basis.

Because it’s like having a coach in your pocket every day and it reminds you, Hey Ellen, do your success log. I can’t get outta bed without filling out my app. And but lemme tell you what that success log is and why it’s so important. It asks you three questions on a daily basis, and the first of the three is, what three things did you do well in the last 24?

And this is a really simple question, but it’s pretty hard for people, , when they’re getting started with this. They’re like I don’t know. I didn’t really do anything well, but remember that expectancy theory, that which you focus on expands. We’re not wired to focus on what we’re [00:46:00] doing well. So every time you answer that question, what three things did I do well in the last 24 hours?

It’s like putting pennies into your piggy bank of self-confidence. And remember what I said about self. The number one variable for all human performance. So it’s a hugely impactful tool and nothing that we have you do in the book in the app is not incredibly important. . So Jason has been at this for a lot longer than me, and what he is a master at is simplicity.

Anything that has not been proven to be incredibly effective has been shaved off. And we’re left with the purest form of what is so impactful to implement and what can be implemented with consistency. The other things as well that you touch on with the success log on a 10 point scale, how well did I complete my professional progress goals 10 point scale?

How well am I completing my personal goals? One thing I can improve in the upcoming 24 hours, it’s re [00:47:00] this whole thing about the success log. It’s great. I’m gonna start implementing it. You start training your brain to actually look at the day of success. What things can I do tomorrow that’s going to be success because I know I have to log in.

So how can I intentionally do successful actions instead of just being in the state of problem focused and focusing on problems? How can I keep kicking that ball forward every day as well? Amazing book. Yeah. I think it’s a good time to wrap up the podcast, but where can people find out more about yourself?

Jason’s work, the book, the app as well. So where do you spend time and where can they find it? Go to jason silk.com or relentless solution focus.com. The app, you can get it on Level Up Game plan, but it should link to it on our jason silk.com website. We’re on Instagram. It’s dr. Ellen. On Instagram, we try to put some stuff out there that is helpful, free coaching tidbits on there.

But yeah, and the thing about the app is [00:48:00] that we want you to love it. And so you can try it for two weeks before you even have to enter any payment info. So get on there and try it. Just see we believe so much in this thing that we’re. We don’t even care to get people’s money, , just get on there and try it.

Yeah, I get it. Sometimes you make a great product or a book, you just want the world to know about it, and that’s the hardest thing in the world. That’s another podcast in itself. The great things that never gets seen or heard or used but but Ellen, thank you for being a guest on the Best Book Bits podcast and thank you for writing the book and doing all the work you’ve done as well.

So congratulations. And will there be another. In the future you reckon? Or what are you working on for the future? Yeah. Yeah. Every day we do a little bit of writing every day and gonna see how it wraps up. Absolutely. All right. I’ll stick, I’ll I’ll wait around for the next one to come out, but tomorrow’s out there.

Buy the book, buy the app, check out the app. Follow Alan as well, and implement the ideas and stop focusing on problems, then start focusing on solutions. But enjoy the rest of your day and we shall speak soon. Okay. [00:49:00] Thanks so much.

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