Innovation Nation
Innovation Nation

Episode · 1 year ago

Deleting Your Toxic Thoughts with Visualization w/ Laura Eiman


When today’s guest realized she was poisoning herself with toxic thinking and an addiction to junk food, she started imitating the Navy SEALS — and earned an Olympic gold medal in her 60s. She learned mental toughness.

Mental toughness starts with deleting your toxic thoughts by creating an exciting why and personal vision for yourself.

In this episode, I interview Laura Eiman, Gold Medal Olympic Weightlifter and Mental Toughness Leadership Coach, about techniques for becoming like a corporate Navy SEAL.

She and I discuss:

  • Her journey from toxicity to mental toughness and elite athleticism
  • Team building techniques of Navy SEALs that work in the office, too
  • Her advice for positivity during COVID-19
  • The relationship between innovation, determination, and excitement

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Innovation is all around us. In fact, everyone innovates, often unbeknowntes to themselves. Many mistakenly assumed the innovation is either a big capital project, a figurative bolt of lightning that brings inspiration, or the province of some exceptionally gifted person. This is the myth of innovation. But you can innovate as well. You are listening to innovation nation, the podcast where top executives and industry experts are sharing their insights on harnessing the power of innovation. We're here to help you stay ahead of the curve by driving your own innovation. Here's your host, Jasmine Martyr Rosen. Hi. Everybody, welcome to the to suit innovation nation podcast. Our guest today is Laura I'man. She's a mental toughness coach and consultant to corporations and college students, and she's been studying navy seals and Olympic athletes, and she herself is an Olympic athlete and winner, but I'll let her talk about more of that herself. Laura, thank you so much for joining the podcast. Thank you. I'm so excited to be here with you to day. Jasmine. Great can you tell us a little bit how innovation is tied to mental toughness. Is there any connection or yes? That's a great question. Innovation is kind of a hot topic these days because we live in such an ever changing environment, especially since covid and the economy and so things are changing so rapidly and if we are not mentally tough and my definition if mental toughness is if we are not living in a success based mindset instead of dwelling on our toxic thoughts, we're really going to break, because change is so, so ever present and I truly truly believe that it's so important to be able to be flexible and just start every day saying I really as part of living in a solution based mindset, whether it be at... or at home, I welcome change because I never know when it's going to come, but when it does come, I'll be prepared to deal with it. So Am I hearing you say that change and innovation go hand in hand? They certainly do. Can you tell us a little bit more about how mental toughness illustrated itself? Would you know the world that the NAVY SEALS TO? Everybody knows it's super tough to become a navy seal. Right, what does it take? Well, I was turned on by them about twenty years ago and all my life was in the gutter and I saw a documentary of them on TV and I saw how committed they were to themselves and their teammates, to personal growth, to physical growth, committed to working as a team together and how mentally tough they were. They always stayed in a solution based mindset. They never said I can't do this. And talk about innovation and Change. I've never been on the att'll feel Jasmine, but I can only imagine that that is an environment where change is constant and you have to be constantly innovating, not only yourself but with your teammates, because if you don't, you get killed. So it's a very dramatic example of how can I, when I'm working with my team at the office, for my family at home, how can I accept change and be an innovative person instead of stuck in my own negative ways all the time? So you're talking about reframing perspectives. Is that active? To see it reframing as a great word. Yes, let me look at this from a different Lens, going from a negative reaction to a situation, to a positive reaction, and it takes a lot of work. So I heard you say earlier. You reference toxic thoughts and thinking, and how does somebody you know give up the toxic thoughts to move to change driven mindset? That's a great question. You know, there's... much, so, so much talk these days about positive mental attitude and happiness, thank goodness, because we need that, but there's not a lot of talk about how do I get there? It's just you've got to be happy, you've got to get rid of those toxic thoughts. Will in my mindset coaching program I teach people how to actually delete their toxic emotions and I'll give you a couple of tips today. It really starts with going deep inside ourselves and saying what do I want to be, do and have today at work? What are my goals for this week at work? What do I really want for myself from my job? where I want from myself from my family? It's setting visions for ourselves, because when we do that, then we start to get excited about life instead of dwelling on the negativity around us. We can't get rid of toxic emotions unless we have a very exciting why? A personal vision and journey for ourselves. So you mentioned setting visions for ourselves. It's common knowledge that top athletes, especially Olympic athletes, visualize how. You know, they're scaling and Mount totop or, you know, winning that metal. HMM. Any suggestions how people can grow their skills of visualization? Yes, it does take practice and I love what she said. How can they grow their skills? You don't. You don't watch three youtube videos and become a pro at visualization. You know, it's all about reconditioning our thoughts and honestly, I think doing those mental pushups or a lot harder than doing those physical pushups. But when you're listening to a podcast like this and you're getting tips on how to set a vision for yourself, like I really want to win that gold medal at figure skating, well, that's a pretty cool vision. And then you chunk it down. You say, well, why do I want to win that gold medal? And everybody's reasons for their vision or going to be different and very personal. When you get a lot...

...of positive energy and excitement and juice going around your wise, then your vision and your visualization, it can become a little bit easier and it starts by taking a little baby steps. Maybe for thirty seconds or a minute, visualize yourself on the ice doing that spin in front of an Olympic audience and winning. And you say, well, I could never do that. Well, of course you can if you start taking the baby steps. And your vision can be anything. Can Be something at the office or something at home, but you start by literally picturing what you want in your mind and playing it out for ten year or five year old in your daydreaming on the beach. That's how it starts. It's so simple. Sometimes we think it's not going to work. Where's that negative bias coming from? I don't know. There's a lot of theories on the internet or belt where that negative bias comes from, like, oh, we're naturally hard wired from being, you know, the prehistoric cave man days. It's a way of protecting ourselves by from getting eaten by the Wolf, and people can go on and Google it. I honestly don't know, but it certainly seems to be there with us. But just knowing, jasmine, that GM I hardwired to be negative. You mean, I'm not crazy, I'm just like everybody else. But yeah, sure, but you could do something about it. You can change that hard wiring. So it's the power of it each yeah, you mentioned earlier that you too in your own life around you, I mean very you don't meet too many people that want a TV program I mean, if you think about it, old couch potatoes should have been Olympic athletes by now right and turned their lives around. That doesn't quite happen that frequently. Give you sighed television as your inspiration. How did you go bringing that to life? It was a very good example of pain is a powerful motivator, and I've been in pain for so much of my life. I was a sugar addict and a junk food junkie and I was killing myself on dove bars and donuts and I was...

...depressed, newly divorced, no job. I really hated myself and I was watching this TV program so it's kind of a case of when the student is ready, the teacher appears, and the teacher appeared in the form of these gorgeous, Honky Navy Seals on TV watching a documentary. I mean, what's not to love about these guys? And I really hastened to say it's not just the seals, the Army Rangers, the Marines. I appreciate an grateful to everybody in the military who does their fair share to keep my family and your family safe at night. So I just want to let you, let let the listeners know that. But I happened to be watching this navy seal documentary and and it was just the right time. I was so in despair over myself and my life and feeling so crummy, and so something clicked and changed. I said, I have a choice. You would stay in the gutter and kill myself with this toxic junk food, or I could be like a navy seal. I could have their mindset, I could have their physical fitness, I could have their commitment to themselves, their commitment to their teammates, and I it just took off. So that launch to the path of becoming an Olympic champion. Can you tell us? I well, I guess. I studied the Navy Seals. This was when I was forty eight years old. I now sixty seven. So twenty years ago I was before Youtube and the Internet was really up and running with all this cool stuff. I went to the library and I said to the library and excuse me, I want to learn about the navy seals. Can you point me to the direction of some books on the seals? And I literally started to study everything. They thought, their training programs, their habits, what they ate, what time they went to bed, and I literally started to copy them. And for listeners today, if the navy seals are not something that you know excites you find and meant or find a successful person, it could be a famous person or your neighbor next door, and literally start to copy them, copy...

...their mindsets. Keep it simple, just start doing what they do, study them and follow them, and that's what I did. And then I went on to study the Olympic athletes, because their winners too, and I clearly decided I wanted to be a winner and not a loser. And it was a long, slow build. Again, you don't watch for youtube videos and become a gold medal Olympic weightlifter, but I developed a four step mental toughness pro grant based on the Navy Seals and Olympic athletes, and from there it evolved into me starting to win in my life. Now, twenty years later, is when I took up. Well, if sixteen years later I started to take Olympic weightlifting at the age of sixty four and that's when I started to that's when I want a gold medal. But it took out. You know, it wasn't something I did back then, but I had been practicing my navy seal metal toughness steps, so like four steps. So you alot of its visualization and positive thinking. Interesting that. That's really helpful. So you mentioned you studied even would navy seals go to bed. When do they do that? Well, sometimes they're up at thirty in the morning doing a fifty mile rock they call it, which is a hike with a fifty pound weight on their back, or sometimes they're up at thirty in the morning, depending upon their training. So they may commit to going to bed at six o'clock at night. It depends on their training. Well, point is is that they they're living a holistic lifestyle of what they eat, what they think when they go to bed, what they drink, how they interact with others is all part of their success. So you know, you hear about major navy seal operations, right, and you know you visualize a team somehow and dark clothing, at least I do. kind of would masks on and there must be teamwork. A lot of times their approach to team work. One of the things that is fascinating about their team work is they do box breathing as a team together before they go out onto the battle field. And box...

...breathing, for listeners who aren't familiar with it, is a very simple process where you breathe three counts in, hold for three counts, exhale for three counts, hold for three counts. So you're establishing a breathing pattern in the form of a box that becomes very, very calming to the central nervous system. These guys cannot be storming the Osama Bin Law and compound as a team, all ramped up on Cortisol and moving in a bunch of different directions. So before they go into the compound or before they climb on that Black Hawk helicopter to go to the battlefield, collectively they box breathe for five to ten minutes to get themselves centered and common, confident and working together as a team. So it's also about trust. Ran from one big thing in when you're working with a team no matter what. I was just studying my navy seal podcast today because I'm training with Navy Seal Commander Mark Divine in California to get my Unbeatabul Mind coaching certification and he's talking today about teamwork in corporations, how courage and trust and respect are the three pillars to a great team working together. Again, think about if you don't have that on the battlefield, yield you're going to you're not going to live. Now in the in the corporate world, it's not as dramatic, but you can have big consequences if you're not working together as a team. You said courage, trust, trust and respect and it's something you learn and grow into. It's not, again, something you you learn after one podcast. So it's like the command performance. HMM, it's not command performance, it's practice. It's practice and it's leaving your your oversized and your undersized ego aside and having a right sized ego and training together. Can I really trust you? Can I really respect you?...

And it takes training and it takes good leadership to command that group of people working together. So what I'm hearing you says that they evolve a vision where they succeed together as a team and they, you know, fall and failed together as a team. Yeah, that's great. I like that Jasmine. Falling and failing together and as a team you learn to have courage to get up and start over again, not playing the blame game, but getting your teammates up and saying we've got this. I mean, I think it's in the marines. Of course they do this in all the Special Operation Forces. When one man goes down on the field, they stopped and they bring that man home, and that just gives me chills thinking about that. It's not the blame game, it's we are in this together, and imagine what that's like if you had that mindset in the corporate world. How exciting would that be? We you don't play the blame game. We're in this together. And again, it requires a lot of special training for everybody to be on board with that mindset. Absolutely law. In fact, that mindset is critical to driving innovation in the corporate setting. I mean innovation by default me is trying something new, a different way of approaching, and you have to be willing and open to stumbling and failing and falling and getting up and trying again. You have to be willing, that's right, and trained to be able to fail forward. In fact, my next goal, and I'm visualizing it, is doing corporate training for corporate teams to work together in the same fashion as the navy seals. That's my next goal because I think it'd be tremendously worth while, don't you, in the corporate setting, for small groups to train together and have that kind of dynamic cooperation to meet their goals. Absolutely, I could not have remore yes, very needed and there's fear. Right, everybody always wants to succeed. Nobody wants to show a failing result. So and it can be learned. It really really can be learned. Oh, it's okay for me to look like an idiot in front of you and...'re not gonna put not you're not going to talk about me behind my back or laugh about me. No, that's one of the first things you learn, is the trust for each other. It can be so exciting when you go to work in the warning and you trust your group. I think you have an unlimited opportunity and potential when you have that mindset the job market. So obviously that mindset would lead to learning organization, where the organization learns and evolves together. Right, and I yes, as yes there's Yep, it's all about training, and training starts with good leadership. Yeah, any finally, insights about leadership from Navy Seals. HMM. The navy seal has this almost irrational belief in themselves, and it's not an arrogant belief. They are very, very humble, but they say the only way you can stop me is to kill me. So for people in in this very difficult time right now, I say please, don't ever give up on yourself, don't give up on our country. Don't give up because covid seems to be winning right now. COVID isn't winning as long as you, as an individual, are willing to be able to be your very best version of yourself today and consider how you could be a better team player, because we will win out at the end of every day. The world does not need losers and toxic thinkers right now. And the Navy Seals, they say, well, here's my one other favorite favorite line that I can never say without getting old. Try I they say, when the bomb start dropping, we navy seals go to work and jazz. And wouldn't you agree, there are a lot of bombs dropping right now. So it means that we can like a navy seal or a marine or our neighbor next door who's doing great stuff. We can roll up our shirt sleeves and say, I'm going to go to work today. What can I do today to make my job, my workplace, a better place life? How can I be a better husband, better sister today?...

Because the bombs are dropping and we don't need another negative, toxic person out there contributing to that. Agreed. You know, Woody Allen has said eighty percent of successes in showing up. It goes back to saying keep doing your job. Well, yeah, showing up, it's great. So you can't do it without showing you and showing up in a solution based mindset with a yes, I can. How can I serve you today on the job? How can I serve my colleague today, on the job and being present? Yeah, being present, feeling like part of dissolution. Well, thank you. This was such an inspirational podcast. They hope to be a part of your podcast. You Inspire me, Jasmine, so much too. So feeling as mutual and really gratefully invited me. Thank you. Thank you, Lori really appreciate your joining our podcast today. This was INNOVASI nation with Laura. I'm and thank you. You've been listening to innovation nation. For more subscribe to the podcast in your favorite podcast player or connect with us on Linkedin. Thanks for listening.

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