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Season 3, Ep. 6: Healthy Stress

We so often view stress as bad, the negative thing in our life that disrupts our desire for comfort and ease. But what if stress actually serves as a motivator—inciting us toward health and growth? If we strive to avoid stress at all times, are we choosing comfort at the expense of change and progress?

Personal trainer and competitive power lifter, Brooke Rooney, explains how stress is foundational to strength training. You must continue to introduce new exercises and work different muscle groups to get stronger. By changing our perspective towards stress, we can view it as an opportunity to become healthier—both physically and mentally. Learn how you can apply Brooke’s strength training tips to your own leadership and welcome the stress that comes with growth.

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(We use an audio transcription service so please disregard any errors below.)

Daniel Harkavy (00:01):

Money work relationships, health politics. These are just some of the most common causes of stress in today’s modern world. And with the rate of change, uncertainty and unrest surrounding us, they seem to be increasing at a constant pace and come with the real cost experts estimate that job related stress costs, American companies, more than $300 billion a year in health costs, absenteeism and poor performance. According to the American psychological association, chronic stress is linked to the sixth leading causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, and suicide. In fact, more than 75% of all physician office visits are for stress-related elements and complaints with that type of a rap sheet. It’s no surprise that many of us see chronic stress as the villain, but what if in our efforts to round up and defeat stress, we are exposing ourselves to another danger comfort at the expense of change and progress. Maybe the key to achieving more lies in reframing how we see stress and actually finding ways to incorporate a bit more of it into our leadership and our lives. I’m Daniel Harkavy. And this is the billing champions podcast for the past 25 plus years. I and my team here at building champions have been helping top business leaders to improve the way they live and lead. Our goal for this podcast is to share stories and insights that will help you to become a better leader. And in this episode, we’re going to look at some different ways to think about stress and how embracing the concept of healthy stress can help bring out the best in us.

Brooke Rooney (02:08):

Stress has a negative connotation. Uh, pain has a negative connotation. And I remember the first time I worked with a client and I actually had to sit down with her, she’s turning 50 this year. And I literally had to explain to her what it feels like when your muscles are working and how that pain is actually not a bad pain. This is how we’re going to get stronger, but it is incredible how many people have never experienced that sort of physical discomfort in their life. That’s Brooke Rooney. I’m a personal trainer out of Portland, Oregon, and I specialize in strength training for women. And I’m also a competitive powerlifter of all things.

Daniel Harkavy (02:49):

It’s Brook’s job to help people become stronger, both physically and mentally, but like anyone who has ever exercised or worked out knows firsthand. That process comes with a certain amount of stress built in stress.

Brooke Rooney (03:04):

Literally the building blocks of exercise, you cannot have muscle growth without stress muscles literally formed by breaking the muscle down so it can repair itself and get bigger. That is literally the concept of working out. And we do that through volume training, through reps, sets loads, the weight you have on the difference of exercises, spicing things out, changing things here and there. Uh, and then even down to your bone level, your bones strengthen under the stress and load that’s put on them. So yeah, healthy stress and exercises is kind of the, the thing

Daniel Harkavy (03:40):

I love that Brooke refers to this type of stress as healthy stress researchers often break stress down into two broad categories. For those of us that choose to exercise, we’re willing to take on the discomfort and challenge because we know the benefits that come along with it, the benefits that we wouldn’t be able to enjoy, if we weren’t willing to enter into those uncomfortable and even stressful situations,

Brooke Rooney (04:07):

The nature is interesting. I actually ask this question a lot on my Instagram. I find it fascinating. Do you like the pain that comes with fitness? And I will get mostly, yes, people love the pain. They love the discomfort. They love the challenge, but there’s always a good 10% that doesn’t. I think there are some people that feel very safe, very comfortable, and they have absolutely no desire to step past that point.

Daniel Harkavy (04:35):

The difference between these two types of people often comes down to perspective. One group sees it as beneficial and the other not so much. And that perception is key. Whether we’ve used stress as a friend or a foe determines not only our reaction, but also whether it has a positive or negative impact on us. In fact, research shows us that the stress itself may not be the real problem, but rather how we perceive it. In one study, researchers interviewed over 30,000 us adults about their levels of stress over the past year. And more importantly, if they viewed stress as harmful or not, while people who felt high levels of stress were 43% more likely to die, that only held true for those who also believed stress was harmful. For those who held the opposite view, that stress was not harmful. They had lower risk than everyone else in the study. Even those who reported higher levels of stress. In addition to the health benefits, I know we’ve all experienced the performance benefits that come from healthy stress that helps us to focus and perform better. That right amount of pressure is often what we need to push through a challenge or a barrier and to rise up to the opportunities that are in front of us,

Brooke Rooney (06:04):

But it gives you that motivation to go in and do all those workouts that just suck or they’re grueling, or you’re just tired. You want to go home. You’re like, Oh, screw this. But it gives you that motivation that’s that that healthy stress pushes you to be better.

Daniel Harkavy (06:19):

So how do we harness the benefits of healthy stress without moving into that unhealthy state of distress and the anxiety that can come with it one way is to find that sweet spot between engagement and overwhelm, when it comes to performance. If we don’t have enough interest in the task, it’s easy to go into autopilot and not really engage our best thinking or efforts too much excitement. And we can become overwhelmed and stressed in a bad way as our fight or flight response is takeover. And when this happens, we can find it difficult to both think and perform well to create that right amount of interest. We need to make sure that we have a mix of both novelty and challenge.

Brooke Rooney (07:09):

The body’s ability to adapt and survive is mind-boggling like, it is always going to find a way, and this is a conversation I have with clients a lot. Um, because even with your food, with your diet, with your exercise, your body is so smart. So let’s say you’re the kind of person who just loves structure. And you’re going to do a 5k every Wednesday at 3:00 PM. Your body quickly knows what the hell is going on. It’s going to start storing things to prepare for it. It goes, Oh no, I’m not going to be caught unawares. And so if you also add to that, a bad diet or not enough calories or not enough, whatever, your body’s really smart, and it’s going to start storing a lot because it knows what’s coming. It is always going to find a way to survive. So to change things up, whether it’s even just down to the schedule or the timing of which you do things, the exercise, what you’re doing, the weights, all those things are important,

Daniel Harkavy (08:03):

Too much routine and predictability creates comfort. And that’s not a good thing. When it comes to healthy stress, we need new stressors, experiences, and inputs to spark that right level of interest that causes us to lean in and boost our performance.

Brooke Rooney (08:21):

I often say to people, especially as they’re trying to figure out their fitness journey, and I got in trouble so much in my last job when I worked for group fitness facility, because I would literally whisper to people. I’d be like, go try other things like change it up, do not do the same thing over and over and over again. Try Peloton, try a hit class, try CrossFit, tries Zumba, try everything because you need to find the thing that excites you and scares you, but still motivates you.

Daniel Harkavy (08:52):

But we need to be careful if new experience or challenge is too unfamiliar or confusing. It can again, trigger that fight or flight response.

Brooke Rooney (09:03):

So you can’t have healthy stress with too much confusion either. And that’s, that’s just the catch 22. You kind of have to find this really perfect, healthy middle ground

Daniel Harkavy (09:14):

Healthy middle ground is where it is new enough to excite and engage you, but not so unfamiliar that it overwhelms and overtakes you the same is true for the challenge component. It needs to cause you to want to stretch and sacrifice, but not be so daunting that it feels like you can’t ever win.

Brooke Rooney (09:34):

And usually for human beings, that’s the thing we’re already naturally a little good at. We’re good enough that we’re like, okay, I’m not failing here. I don’t feel like an idiot. I’m kind of motivated to get even better. And so that’s what helps create that really healthy stress, that good stress, that stress where you get done, the endorphins are released and you’re like, hell yeah, I did it.

Daniel Harkavy (09:53):

That’s an important piece to the challenge component. The activities should stretch you a bit and force you to leave your comfort zone. Think about the sweaty palms and the feelings of nervousness you get when you’re faced with a big challenge, but you shouldn’t feel too ill-equipped or unable to meet the challenge. Even if you don’t currently have the ability or resources at your disposal, that gap can be the drive to both engage and challenge you to rise up and meet the opportunity

Brooke Rooney (10:24):

For me finding strength training. Was it I got into CrossFit, touched a barbell for the first time and went, Oh my God, I suck at this. I’m a perfectionist. I love to be good at things. So for me finding something that I wasn’t quite good at, but liked it was the motivator. They all right. I want to try this. It’s said, screw it. I’m going to work just on barbell and strength training. And I made it to nationals, right? Like I did it. I mean, I am a competing nationally competing powerlifting athlete, and I’m going to go do a meet again next weekend with four shattered toes. But, um, it’s something that as a 30 year old to find that I’m good at and I can do, and I can keep getting better at is just addicting. It’s it’s everything I want. And then to throw in the fact that I’m a very small female and I’m challenging the norms of strength training for women. I, I can’t get enough of a high from it. Like this is every kind of healthy stress I want.

Daniel Harkavy (11:24):

And that’s what all of us need to be intentional about chasing after, but in our pursuit of healthy stress and all the benefits that come with it, we can’t forget the need for rest our bodies and minds. We’re not designed to be in a constant state of stress and agitation. Even when it’s of the healthy variety, we need to be equally intentional about incorporating rest and recovery into our routines. If you push too hard all

Brooke Rooney (11:54):

The time, you don’t give your body an opportunity to adapt. It’s it’s yes. Obviously recovery is the word, but think of it in this standpoint of healthy stress and bad stress and all this, you do not give your body time to adapt. If you’re always ramping up the stress level of it is always on high. You’re not going to regulate it. You’re not going to get comfortable. And that’s where in physical, the physical side of things, that’s where we get, um, injuries. That’s where we get complete fatigue. That’s actually where sometimes weight gain comes back on because your body is in shock and with that as well with healthy stress, basically, if you are pushed too far all the time, all the time, your body doesn’t get a chance to like calm down and bring it down. And the same as in like your life as well.

Brooke Rooney (12:37):

That’s I think where a lot of mental health issues start to come into play. I think that’s where a lot of gastrointestinal issues start to come into play anxiety, depression, your body doesn’t react to chronic stress. Well, so your body also doesn’t react to chronic overworking on a physical level. Well, either there has to be a give and take, and it’s hard for the mind to shut off, especially in today’s society where we’re all about go, go sleep. When you’re dead, keep going, hustle, hustle, hustle, people take that same mindset to fitness. They take it to their work life as well. It’s not always the healthy way you have to come back. Realign, get stronger by pulling back and then go out the next stage,

Daniel Harkavy (13:19):

Too much stress. And we can find ourselves overwhelmed and even paralyzed. Too little stress comes with its own cost complacency. So rather than always viewing all stresses as the enemy, we need to re-examine that belief and recast him as a powerful ally. One that if leveraged and managed properly can help fuel and drive us. Seeing stress in a new way can also help us see ourselves in a new way as well.

Brooke Rooney (13:51):

Safe things come without stress. You don’t realize what you’re capable of, unless you put yourself in situations that challenge everything you think you know about yourself. And it doesn’t even have to be fitness. It can be go travel to another country by yourself, go to it for two days. Who, who are you? How do you operate? How do you live? What’s going on? Like these, these are just fundamental things to ask yourself and challenge you. So, yes, I think you do need stress to have those good things, to have those good moments. And they’re usually the moments that aren’t good until they’re done.

Daniel Harkavy (14:26):

So if you find yourself in one of those moments, that feels too stressful and as the potential to overwhelm you pause, and remember that a shift in perception can make the biggest difference. Think about what you can learn from the situation and what it is making possible for you, because the moment will pass. But if we can see it the right way, then we can use it to grow and challenge us and become better as a result of experiencing.

Brooke Rooney (14:58):

Because I know now from experience from doing it enough and putting myself in enough stressful situations that as soon as it’s done and it will always be over, it will always end that uncomfortable feeling. I’m just going to feel just ecstatic on another planet. On another level, the bad feelings they do end the good feelings they do end keep them going by adding those little stressors, those little challenges, those little good things in your life and those big, scary stressors that were affecting you so negatively before won’t be so big and daunting anymore.

Daniel Harkavy (15:39):

Coming up, Todd Mosetter, our vice president of content development. We’ll sit down with one of our building champions, executive coaches to discuss some practical ways. You can embrace the concept of healthy stress to help you and your teammates push past comfortable so that you can all achieve even better results in your business and in your life.

Todd Mosetter (16:03):

Hi, my name is Todd Mosetter. I’m an executive coach and vice-president here at building champions. And today I’m excited to sit down with my friend and colleague drew. Uh, drew is not only a talented executive coach, but he’s also a doctor. So this topic is right up his alley drew. Thanks for joining us. My pleasure. So drew as a doctor and a coach, when you hear this concept of stress and healthy stress, what’s your first take of it. People are going to shy away from stress, uh, just as they shy away from conflict, but recognizing and knowing that stress is healthy in certain quantities. And in certain situations is very essential for our wellbeing and our ability to get better. So you said something earlier when we were preparing for this, that healthy stress is the only way to see stress. Can you unpack that a little bit?

Todd Mosetter (16:57):

Well, they’re doing a lot more research and studies, uh, in the arena of healthy stress and they talk about, um, I wouldn’t say repurposing, I would say, um, reframing stress. And they’ve shown that, you know, when kids who have testing anxiety, if they’re trained to say this is going to be an adventure, or this is going to be an opportunity or so they call it a, uh, positive stress mindset. You know, so if we can reframe stress because our bodies feel stress the same as our bodies feel excitement or energy. So if we can reframe it to recognize that this is healthy, to have some stress around preparing for a big meeting or preparing to take a test, then that’s going to make that stress healthy and productive for us.

Drew Lawson (17:53):

Yeah. We talk a lot about that perception of the stress. And I think one thing that’s helpful is typically I think as humans, when we hit stress, we often see it as a threat based response, right? It overwhelms us to a point that fight flight or freeze kind of kicks in. But to your point, if we can reframe it as a challenge based approach, that idea of I have the tools to do this, I have enough confidence that I may be scared, but I can get through it. It kind of is more of that growth, fixed mindset that we’ve heard lots about before when working with clients and you see them defaulting to more of that threat based response, how do you help them reframe to your point and see it more as a challenge based operation?

Todd Mosetter (18:35):

Well, you might laugh at this, but I’ve heard the phrase pet the lizard, feed the mouse, hugged the monkey. And so I try to look at it in those three categories petting the lizard is to recognize that the lizard brain, right, that amygdala is our century, you know, into our brain and all day long, it’s marching back and forth in our brain saying safe or unsafe. And so first we need to recognize that’s the mechanism and the gateway to our stress. And from that, we need to understand how to pet that lizard, how to soften or calm that stress overstress, amygdala response. Um, and what science has shown is the best way to do that really. Or the maybe one of the few ways is mindfulness and meditation. Um, and so two examples that I would give to my clients around this space are just around mindfulness.

Todd Mosetter (19:32):

The first being a, what we’ve probably talked about before is tactical breathing. And you can look this up in the internet, maybe on our notes at the end, we can give this as a resource, but it’s basically a four square breathing method that, uh, Navy seals use and clinicians train people to use. And it’s because our breathing is the only thing connected to our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems that breathing. That’s the one thing we can control and allows us to literally take our stressed sympathetic nervous system, and immediately start to slow it down and make it, turn it more towards parasympathetic. And so breathing tactically is breathing into a count of four, holding the breath count of four, breathing out one, two, three, four, holding at the end of expiration for four, and then repeating. And certainly I’ve been through COVID as an ER doctor.

Todd Mosetter (20:32):

And I know when I’m sitting there with this crazy mask on and I’m stressed, that is a game changer to allow me to modify or turn down the volume of my stress. So that’s the first one is that tactical breathing. And the second thing is there’s been some new research and I found it from a talk at Stanford and a neuro ophthalmologist at Stanford of all things was talking about switching to the horizon. And the idea is when we are in an overly stressed mode, we tunnel vision. And so we’ve got to shift from tunnel to horizon, which means as simple as looking out the window and looking at the flowers or looking up to the horizon, looking at the sun, you know, setting or coming up, you know, those kinds of things change our brain chemistry and allow us to turn down the volume of that stress. So, first and foremost at the lizard,

Drew Lawson (21:28):

I love that. I think in the moment that’s really hard to do, right? When that, when that stress boils up around us, taking that pause, being mindful and breathing can make such a difference, like you said, so number one was pet the lizard. Number two,

Todd Mosetter (21:43):

Feed the mouse, which is our body needs to be fed. Um, and I, under this category, I largely put sleep, exercise, diet, and taking breaks. And those are just fundamental things that you need to do to manage the stress. And then third was third was hugged the monkey, and that’s really tapping into our complex neocortex, you know, rather than the primitive brain we’re going now to the more advanced sophisticated brain. And that’s all about connection and communication. And I think that we, as leaders need to communicate our stress to ourselves. And that is in the form of journaling about stress, recognizing triggers that cause stress and then communicate to others, Hey, I’m stressed right now. And that takes first understanding ourselves to knowing that we’re stressed and then second being able to communicate clearly to our team. Um, and then the second piece is that connection piece, we have to constantly be, uh, we’re connecting animals. And so we need to connect with others about our stress. So those are the two things under hug, the monkey

Drew Lawson (22:54):

Pet, the lizard feed, the mouse, hugged the monkey. Yes, we should have t-shirts made. And for those of you that know drew, I was surprised that pet the pug wasn’t in there as a, as a four thing. Okay. So we have this opportunity in the moment to try and be more mindful to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves well, and to make sure we’re feeding that, that connection piece, which comes from acknowledging, labeling the stress we’re feeling rather than just trying to push it away. Um, Daniel talked in the first half about two of the ways to really leverage that idea of healthy stress is the first, it needs to be somewhat new, right? That idea that it has to be novel enough that we find it interesting, but not so new that it scares us when you’re working with clients about trying new things, what kind of advice or insight do you give them to up their routine, their rhythms, just enough to spark that stress without causing too much confusion. As we know, we’ve lived in a season of change over the past year, that’s been overwhelming. How do you help them find that sweet spot of mixing it up enough to be healthy, but not too much that it kind of unsettles things?

Todd Mosetter (24:03):

Yeah, it’s a great question. I think it’s a very nuanced question. So I don’t know if I’ll give you a crystal clear answer other than ever reminds me of a professor of social work named Bernay Brown, whose quote I’ve heard is if you’re comfortable, no learning is happening. So I think we need to put ourselves into that space where we’re feeling a little uncomfortable because that’s how our brain really functions productively and efficiently is when we are in that space. Um, so I think being mindful of that space exists, knowing what it looks and feels like, and then keeping hold of that space. And I think like we talked about before, one of the things is you’ve got to be aware of it, know what it feels like, and then you’ve got a break for it. You got to have times in your day where you’re, okay.

Todd Mosetter (24:55):

Now I’m going to go into, you know, kind of prep for it. Like, okay, I’m about to go into this place and I’m going to learn something new or I’m going to challenge myself for I’m going to learn and it’s going to be uncomfortable and I’m going to be okay with that. And then when you’re done with that, you’re going to need to like shut that down and then have something that’s pretty comfortable or you’re used to doing. I think we have to continue to, um, manage our workflow in a given day with places that we’re aware and going to lean in to uncomfortableness and then places where we’re able to recharge or regroup.

Drew Lawson (25:32):

I think that’s great insight as silly as it can sound. One of the things that I’ve been working with my clients on recently is, you know, the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have a problem. And we as humans love our routines so much more than we realize. So to your point, that experimentation of where they’re even little breaks in your routine, that you can do something different enough just to condition yourself to do it. Right. So for example, if, if we were still driving to work, go a different route, if you always have the eat lunch at the same time, eat at a different time, like identify where you have those rhythms that are so ingrained, that you’re not even thinking about changing them and start changing those, right. Even little changes there can condition your brain to be more receptive to new ideas and thoughts.

Todd Mosetter (26:19):

Yeah, I think that’s beautifully said. And I think Brooke earlier on in the podcast mentioned that, I mean, you can’t do, you can, but you’re not going to really see the growth and development in your muscles. If you don’t mix it up, that’s why it’s really important to mix it up and do, you know, different types of core workout and different types of leg workout. And if you don’t, your body gets used that one thing and you don’t get the growth that you’re looking for. I wanted to just double back on one thing that you said is be able to recognize the stress and recognize the things. And there’s a, um, from the seventies, there’s a website that you can take this home’s re stress inventory. I sometimes refer that to my clients because in it, even though it’s an older study, it’s really easy to take and it’s, I will have clients say, Oh, well, how I’ll say, how’s it going? And they’ll say, Oh, everything’s good. Everything’s fine. Um, feelings internalized never expressed, right. Uh, I just sold my house and got a new promotion. And if you look at this inventory, that’s high stress. Those things are high stress items. So we, I think we need to acknowledge and be a little more clued into all the stress that is truly going on in our, in our lives.

Drew Lawson (27:38):

Yeah. I love that practical advice to do that inventory. Um, when I’m doing webinars about mindset, one of the examples I use is that I like to consider myself as a guy who doesn’t feel a lot of stress. It’s almost part of my identity now, but with my Fitbit tracker, I noticed that over the months pre pandemic, I went from a resting heart rate of one spot. And when not really noticing it, I was like 15 beats per minute higher. And I hadn’t even realized it because the effect had been so small, the change, the change had been gradual over a couple of weeks. But when you look back, I definitely was under a higher level of stress. I just wasn’t aware of it. I think that’s where that mindfulness comes in and those inventories can come in because we may not be aware of some of those smaller changes that are actually having larger effects on.

Todd Mosetter (28:22):

And that’s the danger of our modern world. You know, one of my professors at Stanford wrote, uh, has written many books, but one of the books, he talked about the fact that we were originally supposed to be out there running around and either running from a tiger or trying to kill and eat a tiger. And there was a cycle to our stress. You know, we would run off our stress, so to speak. We would feel the stress and we would use it and then it would cycle back to rest. But now in our day and day life, and especially during COVID, our steady state of stress is what they call chronic stress. And that’s what leads to ulcers and heart disease and all these other conditions. So we need to be mindful that we also need, we need to recognize that stress to be healthy is a cycle where we actually close the loop on the stress and actually have a time of rest.

Drew Lawson (29:16):

Yeah. I think that any amount of stress, even if it’s healthy to your point, prolonged, it, it does have a negative effect on us that rest piece has got to be in there. So my, I guess the advice that comes to mind and what you just said, drew is even if you take away from this episode that I need more healthy stress, don’t miss the part that you still need healthy rest as well. There needs to be that balance of you can’t be in a constant state of stress where you will feel negative from that. Yeah. You know, one thought before we move on to the second piece is that I was reading a study about a research teams. And when they formed together, the first time, their ability to create novel research was very high. But in subsequent studies, when the team stayed together in tact, the novel illness of their research actually fell off a bit.

Drew Lawson (30:02):

And when new team members were introduced the ability to create meaningful research spiked again, and what I took away from it was this thought that even if we talk about routines, we can get comfortable in our teams and our routines of thinking as well. And sometimes a stressor that a new team needs is a new member, a new perspective. We talk about diversity of thought a lot. So in that quest for a healthy stress, I guess my advice would be, don’t miss the opportunity to stress the way you think as well. What are those natural inputs you can get into challenge, not just the way you do things, but the way you think about things.

Todd Mosetter (30:38):

Yeah. It’s a great reminder that, you know, in this age, we, that we’re trying to turn the volume up on all things diverse. That that is one of the reasons why studies support the fact that diversity in thought and many different ways are so important to us and our brain chemistry needs. We need like, right. We talk about it’s all about beliefs, feelings, and thoughts. That’s where the money is. That’s where our true success lies. So we need to be able to, um, maybe play with the way we think. I mean, I say a phrase that a lot of clients I think struggle with is celebrate failure. I mean, it’s that concept that we need to lean into stress. We need to embrace it. We need to reframe it. Likewise with failure. It’s another opportunity just to celebrate it and say, this is how we can stumble forward, or we can learn from instead of continuing to falter.

Drew Lawson (31:39):

Yeah. That’s such a great point. I, a new question I’ve been trying to introduce into my coaching is tell me about something you failed at in the past 90 days. And if an answer doesn’t come to mind pretty quick, my coaching challenge back is then you’re probably not swinging big enough because if you’re not hitting and encountering things that you can’t do as well as you want to, if there’s not that level of setback and then framed positively that well, did I learn from it? How can I overcome it? That could be a sign that we’re playing a little too country.

Todd Mosetter (32:09):

Yeah, I totally agree. And I think that holding that tension for us as individuals, it’s great if we have a coach, but if we don’t have a coach, then we have to call upon ourselves to hold ourselves accountable, to lean in and continue to new things, to novel things. I mean, that’s, there’s a lot of research and analysis to suggest that we need to be, you know, taking up piano and trying languages and doing that place where we all know we right now, I’m sure of us are thinking. Yeah, I remember that feeling. It’s very stressful to sit in front of a piano for the first time, or try to ride a bike for the first time. And we forget about that, but that is, as we continue to age, that’s one of the key ingredients to successful aging and successful leadership,

Drew Lawson (32:58):

Shameful admission. Mine is juggling, which I have been trying to learn for way too long. And I’m still, if you ask me something, I failed out in the past three months, I’ve I have not mastered the three ball cascade yet. We can work on that together. I had no doubt that you’d be able to help there. Alright. So part number one was new enough that it in that engaged us, but not so new that it overwhelmed us. The second piece was that idea of, of, of challenge, right? It had to be hard enough that it didn’t just come naturally, but not so hard that we felt the need to give up. We touched a bit on that with the failure piece, as well as some of the thinking. But when we think about that opportunity to try something hard, what advice insight do you give your clients to make sure they are tackling big enough mountains,

Todd Mosetter (33:44):

Curiosity and fun, make sure that you’re coming into this space as a space of curiosity and a space that’s going to be fun and adventure. It’s how you frame that space. I, you know, making it say, I’m going to go do some heavy lifting is hard to motivate and hard to get into that space. But if you say I’m going to go out on an adventure right now, or I’m going to, you know, walk into the meeting as an opportunity and as filled with curiosity, um, I think that’s where our brain, uh, is most open to learning and growing.

Drew Lawson (34:19):

Yeah, that word you used is a, is a, is a key buzzword for us around building champions in this age is that idea of curiosity. I think in an era where, um, many leaders feel like being sure knowing the right answer is, is so important that they fail to miss that opportunity just to be curious and what they can learn and with the proliferation of information and opinions and divisiveness that are out there, it’s, it’s almost like we’re being encouraged to have a side. If you will like a right and a wrong, this is what I believe, or this is what I don’t. And that type of black, white zero sum game with our thinking, the best antidote is curiosity. Like you said, rather than going in trying to defend a position, you go in curious, trying to learn. And when you take that approach, you’re naturally going to feel a bit more stress because you’re opening yourself up to hear things and experience things that may rub against some beliefs that you hold on to and naturally our brains, that’s a stressful place to be. Yeah.

Todd Mosetter (35:16):

I, I mean, I, I find them a much better doctor as a age because I know less and I’m willing to admit it. And I think if you step into a space, people will respond in kind, if you say, you know, I don’t know, but I’m curious and tell me more. And, and that motivates, um, I think the patient encounter, and also maybe motivated some physician to study up more and learn more and continue to grow

Drew Lawson (35:41):

When you work with their clients. Is that something that you find them struggling with a bit that desire to be genuinely curious?

Todd Mosetter (35:49):

Yes, because I think our corporate culture is oftentimes, um, you become an expert, a subject matter expert and you climb the ladder because you’re an expert. And so therefore as you move up the ladder, you continue to want to do what you did that was made you successful before, which is sit down and shut up. And let me tell you, and really the real superpower in leadership is to say, I don’t know, or, you know, say I’m curious and to ask questions. So one of the things I give my clients frequently is the assignment of, I want you to spend the rest of the day only asking questions and sure enough, I get a text within three minutes saying, whoops, didn’t last very long, but I think that’s a great thing for all of us to consider is can we hold that question, asking space rather than that telling space?

Drew Lawson (36:45):

Yeah. There’s all of these, um, all of these traits that we had when we were kids that were so good. And then at some point human nature, the world society, other people, voices in our head, they drowned out and curiosity is one of them, right? Creativity’s one like when you were a kid, you would draw whatever you wanted, whether you thought you were good or not, and hold it up, like you’re proud. And now we look at and go, I can’t draw on that. Any good. Right. We, this idea of making friends, it was so easy to walk up to somebody else and just start playing versus now it’s like, Oh, I’m scared to go talk to that person. And curiosity, like when we were kids, we ask why so many times, right. I still have five kids at home. And I know how frustrating that can be sometimes. Cause like, well, why, well, why? And then at some point we’ve lost that ability to just ask why.

Todd Mosetter (37:31):

Yeah. And I I’m reminded of my coach training where one of the assignments was to look under the sink and just look and just explore. And one of the, uh, coaches always the signal for him was rubbing his hands together and kind of excitedly like a little kid go, Ooh, what’s under here. And what’s going to show up here and what’s that and why does that do that? And where does that go? And I think we’ve lost that beautiful childlike wonder. And I think you’re absolutely right. We need to tap into that because that’s going to be, um, that helps us to embrace stress and look at stress as an adventure rather than as heavy lifting and painful and stressful for lack of a better word.

Drew Lawson (38:17):

So, uh, I know we’re heading up on our time here. So in a world that often talks about the negative effects of stress, hopefully this conversation and Daniel’s with Brooke helped our listeners understand that there is a healthy kind of stress that can’t be avoided. When you think about your clients in particular and

Todd Mosetter (38:36):

Your, your thoughts on what can they practically do to embrace this idea of taking on the right amount of challenge, the right amount of new ideas and curiosity, and thinking to break out of their rut in order to enter into a place of healthy stress to help them grow any last practical advice or thoughts, you’d give them, I think for me, it, you know, as I look back at what we’ve talked about, it’s, you know, pet the lizard, feed the mouse, hugged the monkey. You know, I mean, those are the parts of our brain that are responding to stress in our environment. And if we understand those parts and appropriately address each of those, I think that we can be excited about stress and we can grow from this stress and if not, the stress will overtake us. So I think those are the kind of simple key parts that would help with that. Again, if you’re looking for t-shirts, we don’t have them quite made yet, but if not people request them, we’ll definitely get them drawn up. Drew, thank you so much for taking time out. Uh, really appreciate your insights. I know that I’m better for it as I’m sure our listeners as well. Thank you for joining us anytime. Thank you.

Daniel Harkavy (39:48):

Thank you so much to our guest, Brooke Rooney for sharing her insights and experience around training and healthy stress. As a reminder, you can listen to other episodes and access relevant tools by visiting building champions.com forward slash podcast. And we’d love it. If you could share the podcast and leave us a rating and review in your Apple podcasts app, doing so helps people to find us. And it helps us to learn what we’re doing well and how we can continue to grow and provide our listeners with content that will truly transform their lives and their leadership.