SPEAKER. AUTHOR. PERFORMANCE EXPERT.
Alan Stein, Jr. is an experienced keynote speaker and author. At his core, he’s a performance coach with a passion for helping business leaders change behaviors. He spent 15+ years working with the highest performing basketball players on the planet (including NBA superstars Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Kobe Bryant). Through his customized programs, he transfers his unique expertise to maximize both individual and organizational performance. Alan is a dynamic storyteller who delivers practical, actionable lessons that can be implemented immediately. He teaches proven principles on how to utilize the same approaches in business that elite athletes use to perform at a world-class level.
Welcome to another episode of The Wireless Way. I'm your host, Chris Whitaker, and as always, I'm grateful that you've made time to check out this episode. I really think it's gonna be I, I don't know. I'll go as far as to say, possibly even life changing for you. So I'm glad, I'm glad you're here. And it's just a reminder, you know, this is called The Wireless Way. And, you know, you can listen to a while. You know, I talk a lot about wireless technologies and all things technology, but what I love about the wireless sway, it's a double entendre, no wireless, no strings attached, no judgment in the ways, the path, the journey, and the venture. So today, we're not gonna touch a whole lot on technology. Maybe not at all at least not the kind of technology I hit on, but it's really more about the, the path, the journey of the venture.
So today, I'm really excited to say Alan Stein Jr's with us today, and he's an experienced keynote speaker and author. That's how I met him. And it is core. He's performance coach with passion for helping business leaders change behaviors. I mean, listen to that change behaviors. Don't we all wish that was an easy button? He spent 15 plus years working with the highest performing basketball players on the planet. Yeah, that in that includes superstars, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Kobe Bryant. Through his customized programs, he transfers his unique expertise to maximize both individual and organizational performance. Again, those two things go hand in hand, right? Alan's a dynamic storyteller who delivers practical, actionable lessons that can be implemented immediately. And I'll witness that firsthand. He teaches proven principles on how to utilize the same approaches and business that elite athletes use to perform at a world class level. Isn't that the kind of level we all wanna aspire to? So, Alan, thanks so much for making time. I know you're a busy guy. We had to go back and forth a little bit, but man, we're here. Thank you.
Oh my gosh, it's my pleasure. It's so great to be with you. I guess it's been a few weeks since we've seen each other at that event, and no, I'm looking forward to a fun conversation.
Yes, man, I tell you so our sales kickoff is, he is referring to, so you listen, as you know, I'm with Telarus and we had our sales kickoff, and Austin, an ice storm came in. It was great. But ever since, I'm telling you, man, the, you've kind of changed our vernacular at our company. You know, the, the next play is probably the one that's the most common one. <Laugh>, we all, we all loved it. Hey, next play, next play. So we'll maybe we'll talk about that. So I kind of hit on your bio and that's what's in the back of your, your books and your, you know, your, your guides and whatnot. But as always, I'm always interested, you know, what's not in the bio. What else can you tell us about, you know, yourself and how did you get here?
Well, what's not in the bio is I am very amicably divorced and have three children. I have twin sons that at the time of this recording, they'll be turning 13 next week. And I have a daughter that will be 11 in June. I get along very well with my ex-wife which is why, you know, I chuckle when I say amicably divorced, cuz most people don't hear those two words in the same sentence. But we're, we're good friends and we make great co-parents. And, you know, outside of what I do for a living which does occupy a, a, a, a lot of my bandwidth I love being a father. I love watching my kids play sports and do the things that fill them up. And I'm super into personal growth and, and development and self-care. So I don't have very many traditional hobbies.
You know, I'm, I'm not a typical quote unquote guy that, you know, watches every N F L game or smokes cigars or works on cars or, or plays golf. I really don't do any of that. Most of my time I spend, if I'm not with my children or doing something for a client and focusing on work, I'm just trying to improve myself and, and I'm trying to grow and evolve as a human being. And, and I do my best to make sure that, that, that translates into the messages that I share both on stage and on page.
Man, you know, I gotta compliment you first. I actually have a question for you on that, what you just said. But, but you know, one thing, I I, you know, not only have a podcast, but I, I I love public speaking. I used to hate public speaking, but, you know, once I got into the business world and realized, you know, that no one wanted to get in front and talk, I said, well, gosh, I, I'll, I'll, I'll be that guy, <laugh>. I mean, I, I'll get in front talk. How back can it be? They're not gonna, they're not gonna kill me. But so when you came out and you, I, I loved how when you came out to deliver your keynote it was pretty unique because so many keynote speakers come out and it's like, Hey, glad to be here. How you doing? You know, while it's cold outside, man, you came out swinging and you went, you jumped straight in. And I don't know, I I, it, it made me just pay attention even more. So, I really appreciate your technique and how you delivered your keynote. That was awesome.
I, I appreciate you noticing that. I'm gonna pull on that thread for a moment because that is very intentional and I, I, I do that for a few reasons. First and foremost, I firmly believe that time is our most precious resource. You know, time. And then therefore our attention is, you know, the most valuable currency we have to play with. And because I believe time is so important and so valuable, I wanna be very respectful of other people's time. And, and as a keynote speaker, I want to be super respectful of my audience's time. So, while, as you mentioned, other speakers do like to kind of come out and, and, and, you know, kind of warm up and, you know, engage and talk and say they're happy to be here and see how the audience is doing. And there's nothing wrong for folks that, that works for them.
I'm, I'm never here to judge or criticize what anybody else does. But I, I have so much respect and reverence for my audience. I want them to find value in every second that I'm on stage. So, as you mentioned, the moment I take on stage, you know, after a quick smile, I jump right into my first story, which will then lay the foundation for the rest of the program. That's one reason I do it. The second reason I do it. And I'm, I'm so grateful and thankful that you noticed. It's a little bit of a separator. I mean, it, it gets people to kind of perk up and lean in and put their phones down, you know, cuz most people, I think have the expectation that when someone takes the stage, they're gonna spend the first 60 to 90 seconds covering stuff that I'll just call fluff.
And it's like, all right, I got another 60 seconds to finish this email or to check this tweet and then I'll put it down to pay attention. I try to eliminate that option for folks and say, Hey, I'm coming in hot the moment I step on stage, and I'm gonna do my best to deliver unparalleled value for you until the moment I step off stage. And the only downtime they'll be is when I have a very intentional and distinct pause to accentuate a point or a story. So my goal is to, to give as much value as I can while I'm in front of the audience.
Well, you, you do that well, and I, I got a question about that, but I don't want to forget the question I had about your, what's not in the bio. What sports do your kids play?
So with present, all three of them are playing basketball, which I'd say with a huge smile cuz that's certainly been my driving passion since I was a youngster. Now they have played a multitude of different sports and activities. Their mother and I have encouraged them to try a lot of different things and, and they have tried a lot of different things, but they just keep coming back to basketball. And, you know, they're at the age now, as I said, almost 11 and almost 13 that, that we want them to have some autonomy and we want them to be able to make many of their own decisions. So at this point we don't force them to play anything else or to try other things. We encourage it, we let 'em know, we'll support it, but ultimately they have a say. And right now the only thing all three of them want to do is focus on basketball. So I'm okay with that. And if and when that were to change in the next couple of years, if they want to try something else we'll certainly support that too.
And that's fantastic. That makes a lot of sense. So another question. You know, one of my first podcast guest was a guy named Michael a lasso. And he's, he's a, a Vistage chair. He's a producer, director speech coach keynote speaker himself actor. Great guy. So it makes me think, I mean, we, we know you're, you're your game on the court solid. You're coaching solid. I mean, did you have to go, did you go get an any kind of coaching or you know, consultant to kind of help you hone your craft as a keynote public speaker?
I absolutely did. It was the very first thing I did. Once I decided to make the leap to do this as a profession I'm a huge, huge believer in advocate of just the coaching model and the coaching dynamic, which should be obvious cuz I've been a coach for most of my life. But yeah, I believe that, that if you want to improve your acumen and skillset in any area of life, whether you want to become a better piano player or guitar player, you want to get better at basketball or, or pitching a baseball you want to get better at sales or you want to get better at singing or, or, you know, keynote speaking, then it's in your best interest to hire someone that does that at a high level and knows how to teach that at a high level. So yeah, the very first thing I did was, was hire a, a coach.
I am a huge advocate of Michael and Amy Port that run a business called Heroic Public Speaking. I've done several of their programs and, and they helped me tremendously. And they were, were the ones that suggested that when I step on stage, I start right with my signature story about Kobe Bryant since that story's kind of the red thread that holds the rest of my presentation together. But they're the ones that suggested, you know, not to, to ask the audience how they're doing. Not to say, I'm happy to be here, not to thank, you know, the nine people in the front row that that allowed me the opportunity. All of that stuff is fine and it's important but I think there's other places that you can work that in. So they're the ones that said, Hey, you, you, you wanna separate yourself in this space, step on stage, smile and start right with a story and you will capture people's attention.
And then it's your job as a keynote speaker to be captivating enough to hold their attention throughout. So yeah, big shout out to Michael and Amy Port of Heroic Public Speaking. And, and I'll say I, I have coaches in every area of my life. You know, when I decided to write my first book, raise Your Game I hired a coach or a writing coach and a writing partner. You know, I I can say with a huge smile that for most of my adult life, I have not made the best financial decisions. So, you know, several years ago to try to, to to course correct that ship, I hired a, what I just call him my money coach, but he's, you know, a, a wealth advisor, a financial advisor. So yeah, I, I've, I'm a big fan of therapy. When I was going through a divorce I would just call my therapist my relationship coach. You know, even though these people technically have different titles it makes me more comfortable and I resonate more when I call someone my coach. So I've had a, a writing coach, a speaking coach, a relationship coach, a money coach. I've had fitness coaches. So yeah, I'm a, I'm a big believer in hiring someone to be able to help get you to a level that you probably can't get to by yourself. And there is nothing wrong with being able to acknowledge that,
Man. I love it. Well, that's inspirational to me cuz I a couple of episodes ago had Johnny Armstrong, Armstrong on, and he's a health fitness coach. And we've been going back and forth, but man, I'm gonna pull the trigger. I, I'm definitely, cuz you know, that's something, you know, in my fifties now and my whole life, I've been fairly healthy in good shape, but it's getting harder and harder, right? So it also reminded me of a, another episode with my niece on here. She's a licensed practitioner, a psychiatric nurse, and she was telling me it's like, you know therapy is it, you know, should be very normalized. You know, people think therapy means, oh, you got a problem. She goes, Hey, I got news for you. We all got problems. Everyone could benefit from therapy. You go to the doctor to get your heart checked and your lungs checked and your blood checked. But we all have to forget about our brain and our mind and our soul, and all those things need, need coaching too. So I love how you put that, that that's pretty cool. You know, at what point did you realize that you had this desire to make that pivot from the court? I mean, to the stage? I mean, is there like a first memory where you had this, was it more revolution or revolution or how, how did that happen?
It, I'm so glad that you asked that cuz this is something that I didn't really fully comprehend until about a year ago when I actually looked backwards and started to connect the dots. But when I did, I realized that in 2006 I was working as a basketball performance coach and absolutely loved what I was doing. And, and I was doing an event for the N B A Players Association. They have an event called the Top 100 Camp where they take current and retired N B A players and coaches, and they run a camp for the top 100 high school players in the United States. And I was fortunate enough to be asked to be the performance coach there. And while I was at that event, they brought in a motivational speaker gentleman named Walter Bond. And Walter's still a very renowned speaker to this day.
He's a former basketball player. He had a, a, a very short stint in the N B A. But, but very similar to what I do now. He kind of draws on lessons and strategies he learned from basketball and shows people how to apply those to his life and his business. And, you know, here it is in 2006, I'm a relatively young performance coach and I'm sitting here watching this guy, and I was mesmerized by him. I mean, he was, he was funny, he was charming, he was charismatic, he was a brilliant storyteller. You know, he, he got this group of, I mean, let's be honest, alpha males to, to think, he got us to laugh. He even got us to cry. I mean, he was just tugging on, on the heartstrings of our emotions. And I remember sitting there vividly thinking, I wanna do that one day.
Like that guy was a rockstar to me. And, and I thought, you know, I don't wanna do it now. I love being a basketball performance coach, but one day I want to do what he's doing. Well, if you fast forward a full decade to 2016 where now I'm more of a veteran and established basketball performance coach and still enjoying what I was doing, but I started to, to feel some burnout I, I started to notice that I didn't love being in the gym with the players as much as I had years prior. I found that I wasn't near as, as curious or as fascinated by the craft of improving athleticism as I had been in years prior. And I just wasn't as excited to do the things that had really, you know, filled my bucket in years prior. So as I, I felt myself moving towards burnout.
I knew that I had to make a change and that I had to make a pivot, and the stars kind of aligned, and I just remembered that seed that had been planted 10 years prior and thought this would be a great time to make the leap and to see if I can get that seed to bloom and become a, a keynote speaker or a motivational speaker, if you will. So the seed was planted a decade prior, but then I realized, you know, 2016 was the time to do it. Kind of got my ducks in a row and, and appropriately kind of phased out of the, the basketball stuff. And I dove headfirst into the corporate keynote speaking space in 2017 and haven't looked back. So I'm, I'm now in my sixth year as a full-time professional speaker, and it is one of the best decisions I've ever made, and I still give full credit to Walter Bond for planting that seed.
Walter doesn't know who I am outside of me just shaking his hand that day at camp, you know, we've never met since. But I, I smile because I, I'm going to attract, attracting to my life the fact that one day he and I are gonna share the stage and one day in the green room, you know, before we take the stage, I'm gonna tell him that story and let him know that, that he literally changed the trajectory of my life and he doesn't know it. And, and one of the lessons that I pull from that now is a speaker myself, is I have a tremendous amount of pride and gratitude for the fact that I have no idea who my message is reaching or who it's touching or, or how it may be able to help somebody in their life. And yeah, I'm, I'm very thankful for that opportunity.
Wow, that's a great story and I'm glad that we're documenting it right here. So when it happens, we can always come back to the tape here. We, we can watch the tape or listen to the tape, I should say. That's fantastic. You know, as you were talking to, made me think about another question that I hadn't thought about prior. But okay. So for disclosure, confession, I'm not a huge athletic I, I was a track, I, I ran track and I was in the army for, you know, for 10 years. And we did, we played basketball a lot for pt we call it a physical training. But so I, I don't know if I understand this. So what's the difference between a basketball coach and a performance co a basketball performance coach? Talk to that, that's real quick.
Yeah, no, that's a beautiful question and I, I appreciate the humility in asking it. So, as a performance coach, my job was to help players improve every area except for the skills of the game. So it was never my responsibility to teach players how to shoot, how to pass, how to rebound, how to defend. It was my job to improve, first and foremost their athleticism to help bulletproof their bodies against injury. So, make their ankles, knees, and hips and shoulders stronger make them more explosive and more powerful. Make them quicker and more agile, help 'em improve their hand eye coordination get them in great condition so that they would be just as fresh at the end of a game as they'd be at the beginning of the game and then on the other side. So that's kind of the physical components.
It, it also was for me to help them work on their mindset. And, and I know we, we kind of teed up at the beginning, you mentioned the vernacular of next play and the ability to be in the present moment, you know, control the controllables, focus on the process, focus on the next play. All of that stuff fell under my domain as well. So really my job was to kind of fill in and around the blanks of, of the actual coaches that taught the skills of the game. So if a player can improve their athleticism and their mindset, then it will allow them to execute the skills of the game at a much higher level.
Wow. Yeah. And what track record there, you know, so back to the book, you know, raise your game again, all my colleagues just, I, I think it's it's left a, a very positive mark, but you know, you, you remind us that your success starts with commitment. There are no hacks or shortcuts, and I have to agree with that. You know, where I met my life, I realized, you know, there's only one way to do things. That's the right way. And the right way is rarely <laugh>. There is no shortcut to that. It, it's usually requires some sweat equity. But having said that, you know, what trends have you noticed while coaching others? I mean, are there common obstacles that, that, you know, you could share with us and maybe we, we need to do an internal inventory to kind of check ourselves. I mean, what, what are the obstacles some people will give you or have you seen that, you know, prevent people from improving?
Well, for the most part human beings are very good about getting in their own way, <laugh> human. And, and this is myself included. I mean, I wanna say in the spirit of full transparency, that everything I share on stage and everything I share on page that I'm not coming from a place of mastery. These are all principles and strategies and concepts that I'm still working on myself. Now, what I can say with a huge smile and a tremendous amount of pride is I'm very pleased with the progress that I've made, and I'm very proud of the direction at which I'm going. But I haven't figured all of this stuff out either. But the, the process of evolving and growing and improving and developing and trying to figure out some of these things so that I can get in my own way a little bit less in 2023 than maybe I did in 2022 I is something that inspires me big time.
So, you know, I threw this concept of perfection out the window many years ago which was convenient because I wasn't anywhere close to perfect. But, but I came to the realization that life is not a perfect game. Business is not a perfect game. Sports are not a perfect, perfect game. You know, their mistakes are going to happen. And it's, it's how we choose to view these mistakes and what we choose to take away from them and learn from them that ultimately determines not only how we perform and how successful we are, but how fulfilled we are as well. And I would say that the overwhelming number of obstacles that get in our way are simply our perception. They're not real. They're, they're not, they're not a truth. They're, they're a story that we've told ourselves. You know, most of the limiting factors in our lives are not genetically encoded in our dna.
They're things we've told ourselves. You know, I can't start a business right now because the economy isn't doing very well. I can't write this book because I just don't have time because I've got, you know, a full-time job and I've got, you know, three kids that I have to look after. You know? And I'm not saying that those aren't valid observations or valid reasons that something would be challenging, but those aren't obstacles unless you make them obstacles, unless you give them power and tell, tell yourself that those things are true. There've been plenty of people that have started thriving businesses amidst an economic downturn. There's just as many people that have written bestselling books when they've had other things on their plate. So those things can't be truths if, if other people are able to do them. So one of the things that I try to do in my own life is to make sure that I'm not manufacturing and falsely creating obstacles to get in my way.
I, I, I try my best to move towards limit, you know, living a, a limitless type life. And where I'm, you know, not anywhere close to, to mastering that. I'm better at that today than I was a year ago, five years ago, or 10 years ago. So, I like the direction I'm going. And, and kind of on on point with that is something that I shared at the Tallis sales kickoff on stage was, you know, all of this has to do with our mindset. And, and really, to me, the best way to alleviate obstacles is to simply do the best you can with what you have wherever you are, and don't fall to the temptation of making obstacles bigger by blaming, complaining, and making excuses. That's a trilogy of behaviors that most people have unconsciously set to an automatic default, that when there's an obstacle in their way, they blame, complain, and make excuses.
And I use absolutes very sparingly, but blaming, complaining and making excuses will never make your life better, will never move you forward. And they certainly aren't gonna help remove any obstacles from your path. In fact, it'll only make it worse. So I'm at a point now where one of the main things that I'm trying to do in my life is not let the outer world circumstances event or perceived obstacles dictate my inner world, my attitude, my mindset, and my perspective. I want that to come from within. So I say with all of the empathy and, and grace and compassion in my heart that anyone listening to this right now, it's okay if you're struggling. It's okay if you're being challenged or hit some adversity. And it's okay if you think there's some obstacles in your way, but I think if you can level up your mindset, you'll see that you're more than capable of, of getting past them and to really dissolving them in the first place, because technically they're non-existent,
Man. Yeah, great words, man. Thanks for sharing that. I mean, it, it, it reminds me of the word fear. Someone once told me, maybe I can't remember, I've read in a book years ago, you know, it's an acronym fantasized experience as appearing real. I mean, we spent a lot of time worrying and being fearful of things that oftentimes never even transpire. It, it also reminded me of a friend of mine, Jeffrey, per, he posted a, a, a survey on LinkedIn last week or so, and he said, everyone has greatness inside. And your options are, I agree, I don't agree, yes, but don't want it. Or, yes, but don't know. But 8% said, I don't agree that everyone has greatness inside. And I thought, well, maybe you should have said everyone has potential for greatness inside <laugh>. Cause a lot of people, for whatever reason, again, this has mystified me for, you know, my whole life you know, would that be a friend or colleague or j a stranger that I witnessed?
And I just, some people seem to be very, I don't know, almost satisfied with I don't, you know, not achieving, you know, the, what their true potential is. And I guess, and then I, I, you know, remind myself of who am I to say what, what's right for that person if they're, if they're happy with what, where they are in life mean, you know, so be it, right? But it is interesting how some people have have some way of either justifying not being you know, a go-getter or achieving, you know, promotions or making more money. And again, it kind of goes back to, is making money is not always what's most important. I think you nailed it, man. You know, your family, your friends, and feeling good about what you're doing and making a difference that matters. And, and it's, you know, it's kind of cool that you are where you are, cuz obviously you make a good living doing it. But isn't that is interesting though, how some folks just for whatever reason never get in gear. You know? I don't understand that, but yeah,
Well, I, I think that, I think that's an incredibly insightful observation and, and my assertion is the problem is when we let others, and I'm saying that in air quotes, even though this is an audio podcast, yeah. When we let others, or we let society define and dictate what success looks like or fulfillment looks like, or achievement looks like, when we need to be the ones that, that define that for ourselves. You know, you, you and I respectively have the right to decide what does a good life look like for ourselves. And, and it's not for me to tell you what you should be striving for or what you should be trying to achieve, or how you should live your life, you know? So I'm trying to always make sure that I, I maintain my power and I never give my power away. So I do understand that generally speaking, historically, society has always looked at quote unquote success as what type of car you drive or what type of house you have, or what your title is at work, or how much money that you make, or, and now in today's day and age, how many Instagram followers you have, you know, they use these, these superficial external metrics to define excellence or define success.
And, and I try not to prescribe to that. You know, for me, it goes back to what I said just a few minutes ago. For me, anyone that consistently makes the effort to do the best they can with what they have, wherever they are, and limits their temptation of blaming, complaining, and making excuses, I consider that person a high performer. I consider that person successful. I consider that person doing the best they can with the tools that they have at present. And if their goal is to continue to grow and evolve and develop and level up those tools, then even better. I mean, I, I have more tools at my disposal today at 47 than I did at 37, and certainly a lot more than I had at 27 or 17. And, and to me, that's how I choose to define it. So, you know if we get, if, if we allow others to define what a good life looks like or what success looks like, then we're always at the mercy of of their opinion, of their affection and their adoration.
You know very in line with the theme of your show, there will always be strings attached and someone else can kind of manipulate us like a puppet if we're only trying to do the things that they believe we need to do to be happy, fulfilled, and successful. So I, I, you know, I'm, I try not to prescribe to that and, and it's not easy to do. So for me, what I'm ultimately saying is I try to focus much more on the process than I do want the outcome. Now, I enjoy favorable outcomes just as much as the next person. And I'm not here saying that I wouldn't prefer to have more money in my bank account or have more Instagram followers, but the difference is I don't let those things define myself worth my, my, my confidence. You know, that that's not who I am as a person.
You know, for me now, the things that are most important in my life, you know, one, am I physically, mentally and emotionally fit? You know, am I, am I doing everything I can to evolve into the best man that I'm capable of? Number two, do I have a strong connection and fulfilling relationship with the people that mean the most to me? You know, my children, my family, my friends, my clients colleagues, you know, and three, am I doing work that I believe is in service of others and adds value to other people's life? You know, I, I live by a mantra that a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. And I wake up every single day inspired to try to light as many people's candles as I can. You know, sometimes that's in a one-on-one conversation. Sometimes that's on stage in front of a few hundred people.
Some of that sometimes that's on a podcast like this with, you know, who knows how many people are, are listening. But my goal is to wake up every day and add value to other people's lives. So for me, if I'm doing the best I can in those areas, I I, if I'm working on my own physical, mental, and emotional fitness, if I'm forging strong, connected relationships with the people I love, and I'm doing work that I believe is adding value to the world around me, then it really is irrelevant what any of the external metrics say. I feel good about who I am as a man, and I feel good about the direction that I'm going.
Man, fantastic. Now, and you should, Alan, cuz no, you're, you're preaching the right stuff, man. You know, attitude of gratitude and love. You know, the, you can't go wrong with those. I mean, you're, you're gonna be doing the right thing and you're gonna be adding, adding value for sure. I love ironies. You know, I, you know and I thought it was really cool and I wanted to ask you about it. The conclusion of your book at the back is tied normally a ch a chapter called The First Step would be in the front of the book, <laugh>.
Yeah, no, I'm glad that you brought that up. And you know, I, I love this concept of first step because I'm such a process-oriented thinker and, and I believe in systematic, incremental, progressive progress. You know, I kind of alluded to this earlier but like my goal for goals for, for 2023 is, can I make slightly better decisions consistently this year than I made last year? Can I have slightly better habits this year than I did last year? Can I elevate my mindset just a little bit this year over last year? And, and because I believe in the process, then I respect every step along the way. My good friend and mentor, Jay Billis of ESPN said something to me, he said this kind of in passing one day but I found it really profound. He said, the only way to the top of a ladder is to touch every single rung.
You have to touch every single step. You can't skip steps. However, with one misstep, you can fall all the way to the bottom. So I found it interesting that in order to get to the top of the ladder, you have to touch every step, but you can actually un, you know, undermine that and and diminish that by one false step. So the ability to take the first step in any endeavor I is incredibly important. And we, we tend to live in a society that I think pushes us to look for shortcuts and hacks pushes us to constantly chase, you know, things that are new and shiny and sexy and absolutely pushes us to look to skip steps. And it's been my experience in my own life and all of the high performers that I've had a chance to be around learn from and observe, that they don't look to skip steps, you know, that, that you take somebody like a Kevin Durant or a Steph Curry who are ac incredibly accomplished on the basketball court.
But when it's time for them to transition into their business lives or to any other aspect of their life, they're willing to be rookies again. They're willing to get back to the basics and start with the first step. They don't feel entitled. They don't say, just because I've been great in basketball, I'm also gonna automatically be a great investor cuz they know that is is the misstep that could send them all the way back to the bottom. So they wanna embrace those fundamentals, they want to embrace the basics, and they respect the first step in whatever it is that they're going to work on.
Odd question. You know, and I'm generally a very optimistic guy, so I'm just feel embarrassed this, this kind of a pessimistic question in a sense, but ha did over your course of your career, you know, being that performance coach, did you ever have an athlete that was that guy? Let's just look man, I'm the best. I got a full ride in college. I was a first round draft pick or whatever, I don't need your help. I mean, did that, did you, does that happen? Or once you get to that level, do they just automatically know, yeah, I need all the help I can get?
Oh, no, that happens more times than one could count. And it's not always as conscious and as brazen as saying, you know, oh no, I don't need your help. But you kind of pick up that sense unconsciously and through some of their behaviors, you know, you can, you know, when, when you're trying to teach somebody something maybe with their footwork and they're not really dialed in or paying attention, they're kind of staring off in space or, or you know, they, they kind of roll their eyes when you tell them something. You know, you can tell that in those situations there is a lack of humility. There is a lack of openness and that they have a level of entitlement that they, they think they already have the answers. And I can say all of this with tremendous conviction because I was that way for a good portion of my youth in even early adulthood.
There were plenty of times where I actually thought I knew a lot more than I did, and I closed myself off to opportunities to grow and to learn. There were plenty of times where I was not as open and receptive to feedback or coaching as I should have been. And, and I can say this with a huge smile because I forgiven my previous self. You know, I could acknowledge that when I was a teenager and in my early twenties, I was a bit of a knucklehead and a little bit of a know-it-all, but, but I was still doing the best I could at that time. I just had very limited awareness and had no clue. Not only how little did I know, but how much more there was to know. And now you know that I'm, I'm 47, I'm knocking on the door of being 50 years old.
You know, I recognize that even now there is still so much that I have to learn and, and I see the value in staying open to coaching. And I see the value in being open to competent feedback. And I know that no matter how good I get in any area of my life, that I always have room to get better. You know, I mean, e even if I step off stage. And I think to myself, I just nailed that keynote. One of the best performances I've ever given. The audience really seem to be receptive and engaged. You know, that doesn't mean that I've crossed any type of finish line. Now I give myself the space that evening to celebrate a little bit and be thankful that I hit the mark and it was a job well done. But I don't rest on that. I wake up the next day inspired to outdo that performance to better serve a future audience, to get even better, you know, with my ability to articulate my, my point of view and to share stories and strategies and so forth.
So for me, it's this constant evolution. But yes, there are people even at the highest of levels that get stuck in kind of that previous programming that I allowed myself to get stuck with. And they, they, they just, they think they know more than they know. And, and, but part of that, you know, as a coach, it's your job to help them see the light. It's your job to bring them over to the, the light side and let them know, Hey, you have unbelievable talent. You have all of the, the tools needed, but you are getting in your own way and, and you've got some things that you can improve. And I used to take a lot of pride as a coach in trying to help convert those that already thought they had arrived and bring them over to the side of those that continue to stay open to coaching.
Gosh, it, it reminds me too, you know, having been a sales leader most of my career trying to do sales training for a tenured, you know, veteran salesperson, you know, it's been doing it for 10, 15 years, <laugh> yeah. A lot of what you were saying was, I'm like, oh yeah, yeah. Yep. And then occasionally if we had the right trainer there, you know, they'll come up to me afterwards going, oh my God, I didn't wanna come here. I was so mad at you about you making me come, but I'm so glad cause that was awesome. I got some new ideas. I I got some good takeaways. And good buddy, my Graham Scott, he told me about this concept of blind spots. You know, we all have blind spots, you know, you need some, and the only person that can tell you what's in your blind spot is someone else, cuz you can't see it.
It's your blind spot. You need someone else to tell you, Hey, this, this trait you need to work on, it's in your blind spot. You don't even see it. So fascinating. And, you know, the whole idea of first steps, I reminded me by the time in the army we would go and do these road marches with a 50 pound or 75 pound pack, you know, breaking our shoulder collarbones, whatnot. But we always just say the, you know, the only step that matters is the first one and the last one, you know, I know, I feel like a lot, lot of what we're talking about here, we're not even focusing so much on the last one. It's just the next one. Yeah. The first one and, and then one after that, and then the one after that. Makes a lot of sense, man.
Well, gosh, as we kind of land the plane, as we say, you know, I know we could go on and on. It's a, it's a long book, 15 chapters. Well, it's an easy read, actually. It's not a thick book, but 15 easy chapters. I love each one and I almost wanna read the titles of 'em, but I'll, I'll put in the show notes if you don't mind mind. Now, I'd love to just share the titles of each chapter, because they're so relevant. If you're on a journey of self-awareness and you wanna take inventory and audit word you use all these areas you, you really need to look at, I Facebook will help you. But on that note, what, what last words, is there anything you haven't shared with us that, that you'd like to or any other thoughts you wanna share?
Well, first, this has been such a fun conversation, and I tell you, I, I'm very thankful for every client that I have and every group I speak with and every audience. But every once in a while you come across one and you just feel just an electric alignment with the core values and the mission and the people. And, and, and that Tallis sales kickoff was definitely one of those. I, I certainly hope that I earn an opportunity to do some more work with you guys and, and to be a part of some other events because it was just, it was just so fulfilling on my end. And, and I'm glad that the message resonated and, and glad that that, that you and some other folks are enjoying the book. What I'll, I'll leave your audience with and, and certainly want to thank them because it's not lost on me that, you know, they've been listening for just over 40 minutes now and how much I appreciate their attention.
The framework that best helps me, and I hope this puts a big red bow tie on everything that we've been discussing, is I want folks to get crystal clear on what they consider to be a good life. Like design the life that you wanna live, and equally important, get crystal clear on the person that you're striving to become, and then do your best to make every single decision in your life, both large and small, in alignment with living that good life and with being that person striving that, that you're striving to become. And if you can start to consistently make most of your decisions, and I say most because as we said, life is an imperfect game, and we're all gonna make mistakes because we're all flawed and fallible. But if you can make most of your decisions in alignment with what you consider to be a good life and in alignment with, you know, the person you're striving to be become you will see every area of your life elevate.
You'll see your performance skyrocket, you'll see your happiness and fulfillment go through the roof. You'll see your, your sense of optimism and, and contribution. You know, like just, that's, that's the direction we should all be heading. And we don't need to make it any more complicated than that. Just figure out what you consider to be a good life, who you want to become, and try to make decisions that are in alignment with that. Surround yourself with people that you enjoy, you know, their company and people that challenge you and love you, and push you to do those very things. And I I it's my sincere wish that, that everybody listening to this right now just has an amazing rest of, of this calendar year and beyond.
Great words to end on. You know, I'll have the transcriptions guys go back and read those words to yourself. And, and I think it's, you know, it's gonna, it's gonna really challenge you challenges all of us. I think we all should challenge each day, challenges each, each other, you know, how can we add more value and become a better version? So that's great stuff, man. Well, I've, I've thoroughly enjoyed this time, Alan, and again, I just really appreciate you making time for this show. And, and thanks for all all you're
Doing. Absolutely. My pleasure, Chris. And just so your listeners know I'm very active on social media and I take a tremendous amount of pride in being both accessible and responsive. So if anyone needs anything from me, if, if anything in this lovely discussion that we've had struck a chord or somebody has a question or wants to share something on their own just shoot me a dm on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. I'm at Allen Stein Jr. Certainly you can get either of my books, raise Your Game or Sustain Your Game on Amazon or Audible or wherever you like to get your books and audio books. And if anybody listening, if you're ever looking for a, a keynote speaker you know, go check out Alan Stein jr.com and if you think I'd be the right fit and would add value to your event or your team it'd be my, my honor to explore that.
And yeah, if you want a referral, if you're listening, you want a referral reach out to me or anyone, the Telarus team, and we can vouch for that. So Alan, man, thanks so much. Everyone have a great remainder of your day and as always, if you like what you heard please, please share the good word and I appreciate that. So we'll see you next time on the Wireless Way.