Interview with Performance Coach and Best-Selling Author Dr. Jason Selk

jason-selkDr. Jason Selk is considered one of the premier performance coaches in the United States. He helps numerous well-known professional and Olympic athletes, as well as Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 executives and organisations to develop the mental toughness necessary for high-level success. He utilizes his knowledge and experience of working with the world’s finest athletes, coaches and business leaders to help individuals and organisations outperform their competition.

As well as performance coaching, Dr. Selk is a regular contributor to publications such as Forbes and INC, and has been featured in USA Today, CNBC, and Men’s Health. He has also had numerous radio and television appearances on channels such as ABC, CBS and ESPN.

Dr Selk's second book, Executive Toughness, is a best-selling business book, and his first book, 10-Minute Toughness, is set to be one of the best-selling sport psychology books of all time. Today we are discussing his latest book Organize Tomorrow Today, which has been predicted by USA Today as one of the Top 10 best business books of the year. So without further ado, allow me to introduce today's guest, Dr. Jason Selk.

Hi Jason, thanks so much for stopping by the Activia Expert Insights – could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I live in St Louis, MO with my best friend and wife, Mara, and our three wonderful children, Jackson, Layla and Genevieve. I am most passionate about having fun and helping people. My occupation is a perfect fit for me and I love what I do.

How did you initially become involved in mental training?

As a high school athlete, I was injured and unfortunately cut my dreams of playing in college short. Working through the injury was difficult, but with the help of a physical therapist I was able to move forward. I realized that along with the physical rehabilitation, she was also providing me "talk therapy" that allowed my to emotionally heal as well. It was that experience that opened my eyes to the importance of counseling and sport psychology.

Your book, Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life, is coming out in paperback later this year – could you tell us a bit about it?

The 8 tools in the book are proven tools that highly successful people have used to take their game to the next level. My favorite thing about the book is how simple yet effective it is. It's not one of those books that you need to read the whole thing to get value. In fact we advise people to really only focus on 1 tool. Pick one tool then attack -  more often than not, this is enough to help an individual take their game to propel success.

What similarities are there between training elite athletes and business leaders?

Too many similarities to count. My favorite similarity is what I call an "obsession for improvement". Whether you are an elite athlete, or destined for greatness in the business world, there is typically a drive and hunger for improvement. The most successful people are looking for ways to get better in life. Its very enjoyable and exciting to work with people who want to grow.

organise-today-tomorrowAre you working on any new projects at the moment that you can share with us?

Organize Tomorrow Today has done so well that our publisher has asked us to write another book focused on the patterns of highly successful teams. Tom and I started researching and writing a few weeks ago, and are hopeful to create another great resource for people who are looking for ways to get the edge.

Can you explain the difference between time management and time maximization? 

Time management refers to working with the time you have, time maximization actually allows you to create MORE time throughout your day. People are often surprised to discover how many hidden time blocks there are throughout their day that they could be utilizing. For example, a client is running five minutes late, or you arrive to a meeting 10 minutes early. Having a plan for the types of things you can get done in those short, discovered blocks of time allows you to get significantly more done each day, leaving room for more time to spend on the most important aspects of your work.

What, in your opinion, are some of the worst and most common time-wasting habits most of us are guilty of – and how easy is it to eliminate these from our daily routine?

One of my favorite quotes is that “the noise of the urgent creates the illusion of importance” (Stephen Covey). Highly successful people NEVER get everything done in a day, but they ALWAYS get the most important things done in a day. Anything that is not on the list of the most important things to get done in a day would be considered a time-waster. People tend to get the lesser important things done first because these are typically easier and require less stress or brainpower, but this makes it less and less likely that they will get to the truly important things that require more energy. I recommend that people identify the 3 most important items to get done in a day, and commit to completing those FIRST, if at all possible.

What advice would you give to someone who is very easily distracted?

The first and most important thing to remember for anyone, especially someone who is easily distracted, is “channel capacity.” Channel capacity refers to the mental bandwidth of the mind. The mind has the capacity to focus on up to three things at a time. Think of it like juggling. Most can juggle three balls, however, if a fourth ball is thrown in the mix, the tendency is to drop most of the balls. This is an example of overloading channel capacity. When making improvements from the book, the magic number is 1. Focus on making only one improvement at a time. Don’t try to implement everything or do too much.

What do you think is the most common reason for your clients' disorganisation?  

One of the most common phrases I hear from new clients is, “There’s just too much to do that it’s impossible for me to get everything done.” This is exactly right. I’ll say it again: highly successful people NEVER get everything done in a day, but they ALWAYS get the most important things done in a day. Prioritizing is one of the most influential determinants of success. People are really good at making mile-long to-do lists that are impossible to complete in a day. These unending lists increase stress and anxiety, and leave people with no sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. This makes it incredibly easy to spend way too much time on unimportant tasks.

Finally, is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?

It's obvious that if you are reading this, you are one of those people with the "obsession for improvement". That is a really good sign, you should be proud of that and continue to work to nurture that desire to improve. The one thing that often snuffs out the positive fire is not giving yourself credit where due. Highly successful people have a tendency to overlook the things they do well and to only focus on their shortcomings. Work to replace that perfectionist mentality with what is called the performance mentality. Best way to do so is to simply take 60 seconds per day and write down on paper 3 things you have done well in the previous 24 hours. Don't think you must cure cancer for it to qualify as a "done well". Remember, anything that promotes personal or professional health, even by an inch, counts as a "done well".
Search for the small things you do well and big things will happen.

Jason's book Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life is available to order on Amazon. Or if you'd like to connect with him via Twitter, you can find him at @Jason_Selk.