In this episode of, “Bring Out The Talent”, we will be talking with Laura Eiman, a 67-year-old gold medal Olympic weightlifter, a Navy SEAL certified mental toughness coach, and a Resiliency Expert.
Laura will share her inspirational story on how she went from a life of dysfunction to becoming an Olympic gold medal winner in her 60’s by developing a mentally tough and resilient mindset. Laura discusses how anyone can achieve their goals by developing habits, deleting toxic emotions, and learning how to approach each day with a “solution-based” mindset. Laura is an ordinary woman now doing extraordinary things because she got mentally tough.
Maria Melfa: [00:00:05] Welcome, everyone, and thank you for joining us today for bring out the talent. My name is Maria Milpa and I am the CEO and president of the Training Associates, otherwise known as t.A.
Jocelyn Allen: [00:00:18] And I’m Jocelyn Allen. I’m a talent recruitment manager here at TTR, and we’re so happy to have you join us today.
Maria Melfa: [00:00:24] We are so excited for our guest today, Laura Aiman. Laura is a 67-year-old gold medal Olympic weightlifter, a Navy SEAL certified mental toughness coach, and a successful entrepreneur endorsed by Oprah, Barbara Walters, Rachael Ray, Kathie Lee, and Hoda. Laura will share how she changed her life after decades of dysfunction. At 48 years old, Laura started studying the mindset of the Navy SEALs. After applying what she learned from the sales to her own life, Laura developed a mental toughness mindset with their new mindset. Laura began training to be an Olympic weightlifter at the age of 64. Practicing her mental toughness program, Laura became a champion, going on to win a gold medal at the Pan Am games. Laura is an ordinary person now doing extraordinary things because she got mentally tough. Welcome, Laura.
Laura Eiman: [00:01:28] Yeah. Hey, it’s great to be here with you, gorgeous lady. Thanks so much for having me.
Jocelyn Allen: [00:01:33] For those who can’t see you, Laura is rocking this fabulous is it cheetah and a leopard print headband and leopard. Yes. So just give you a little taste of the fire that we have on the other side of the microphone today for this podcast.
Maria Melfa: [00:01:48] Yes. And it’s also unusual for a woman to want to disclose her age. But this is something that Laura’s proud of, you know, based on all she has accomplished
Laura Eiman: [00:01:59] Or you have hit a hot spot already. And we are three seconds into this podcast. You know how much I hate the term anti-aging and how many people are trying to market that out there is a fear-based way to get all these women freaked out to buy their products and services. We’re all aging. My two-year-old grandson is aging. Why are we so anti? I don’t think it’s very healthy. It’s negative. It’s fear-based.
Jocelyn Allen: [00:02:24] No, I agree with you actually. Completely. It is. You can’t. And really, what is the anti of aging? It is nothing you can prevent. So let’s just embrace it and let gravity do its thing. I mean, right at the end of the day, isn’t that what aging really is?
Laura Eiman: [00:02:42] A great you can keep us very centered. Hey, I’m not I’m not for disease and I’m not for getting sick and being in chronic pain. That’s right. I’m grateful to be getting older. You know, that’s a nice option.
Jocelyn Allen: [00:02:54] So, Laura, it is fantastic to have you here today. We’re excited to learn more about your programs around mental toughness and how they help organizations. But before we get into that, what led you to need to become mentally tough?
Laura Eiman: [00:03:09] Well, a whole lot of despair, a whole lot of gee, I don’t really like myself, a whole lot of binge eating on sugar. I am a full-blown sugar addict and have been since, I guess, about the age of five. And by the time I was forty-eight years old, my life was really secure in the gutter. And I say the view from the gutter is pretty bad and a lot of you listening if you have hit your bottom many, many times, you know what I’m talking about. But change happens when we get sick and tired of being sick and tired and we’re ready to lookup out of the gutter and say, you know what, I think I want to have better for myself. And I just hit my millionth bottom. And at the age of forty-eight, I was watching a documentary on the Navy SEALs and I was so blown away by them, their integrity, their commitment, their desire to be better every day, their personal ethos, their desire to take care of their teammates. They show up one time. And at the end of the documentary I said, holy hell, these guys are so mentally tough and they are winning every day. And I’m a mental weenie and I’m losing every day. And I want better for myself. And that was the last time I ever had any sugar or junk food. And it was twenty years ago. And I started studying their mindset and that’s how I turned my life around.
Maria Melfa: [00:04:36] Excellent. What made you get into weightlifting?
Laura Eiman: [00:04:40] That came along at the age of sixty-five. I had started doing cross fit at the age of 60. I was the oldest one in the gym by about one hundred years. But I was fascinated by the community and by the exercise program, the functional fitness program they were offering. I’d never heard of functional fitness before. I’d never seen a kettlebell or a dumbbell, but. I was fascinated and one thing led to another, and in cross-fit, you do a couple of Olympic weightlifting moves called the Clean and Jerk and Snatch, and I wasn’t doing them very well. And in Florida, where I was at the time, they offered there was an Olympic weightlifting coach who was actually offering classes on Saturdays at my cross-fit to improve my clean and jerk and snitch. And these are very, very, very difficult technical moves that you’re doing with this heavy, heavy, heavy frickin piece of steel. I don’t know. I just went down that rabbit hole and got kind of fascinated. But when I looked at that barbell in that first class, I took, I said, I think that barbell can teach me even more about getting mentally tough, about focusing, because you know what? That barbell is going to change. If I’m having an issue or a problem, I need to change. I need to adapt. I need to pivot, go. And I learn to become friends with that barbell. And I learned how to lift it successfully. And it taught me so much about life in general. Can be a heavy, heavy lift. And what can I do to get that barbell over my head? What can I do to get that problem behind me? So I was metaphorically using the barbell in those classes to teach me more about being a better coach and mental toughness coach. Well, one thing led to another, and I started winning medals because I was applying my own mental toughness program to that lifting. And now I like to share that story with others because you don’t have to be out there lifting heavy barbells to up your game and 20 x your potential.
Maria Melfa: [00:06:37] That’s fantastic. Did you ever have moments, Laura, where you wanted to quit during this?
Laura Eiman: [00:06:42] By moments all the time. When I want to quit. No, no. I don’t want to pull a chair up in front of the refrigerator. Yes. Lots of those moments. And it’s a great question because seriously, there are times when I want to quit. But honestly, because I’m now so mentally tough and have been practicing for this so long, the moments are few and far between. And when I feel them, I don’t stay there very long. And that’s what I like to teach and help others because we are all human. We all have bad days, but your bad days don’t have to end up being a bad month. I used to brag to people in a sort of perverted way. Oh, I just came off of a really bad decade. That’s the thing.
Maria Melfa: [00:07:25] That really is true. It’s funny because I will talk to my kids sometimes that there’s no such thing as a bad day. There are bad moments and there’s always good and there could be challenging moments within a day. But that’s so true.
Laura Eiman: [00:07:39] And the trick is to put a kitchen timer on those bad moments so they don’t bleed and run into becoming bad days or bad weeks.
Maria Melfa: [00:07:47] So do you feel the more that you felt defeated and got yourself back on track, the quicker it was to get back on track as you had other moments of being defeated?
Laura Eiman: [00:07:59] A great question, because it’s that secret sauce called momentum. It’s kind of like you think about when you’re going to the gym and you haven’t really been to the gym the first couple of weeks or months are really rough, but then you start to feel a little bit better and the endorphins are kicking in and you’re feeling a little stronger. What you’re doing is you’re gaining momentum and momentum is a very, very powerful force and most of us don’t leverage. And when you do gain that momentum, the more time you put in, guess what, it’s a little easier and you’re developing a habit, but you got to keep up with it. So, yes, now that I have such a strong momentum going, if I fall down and have a massive failure or a problem or a crisis and we’re all having them, I know how to get myself up. I have a toolbox with many tools, mental toughness, tools to help me regain my balance and keep going. And those are the tools that I like to share in my workshop with people. I saw strategies and tools.
Maria Melfa: [00:09:00] I know yesterday when we were taking your class. So you’ve done a few classes for us that have all been fantastic. Great feedback. Laura, you mentioned that not to share your goals because there are always going to be people that are going to not believe in your goals or try to keep you away from achieving your goals. Did you have that happen?
Laura Eiman: [00:09:26] Oh, yes, I’m an entrepreneur. So I’ve dreamed up a lot of exciting things that I want to do, companies that I want to launch in. I would make the mistake of telling my family and friends about my idea, and it didn’t go over very well with a lot of people. And that’s fine. It doesn’t mean that they don’t love you or they don’t care about you, but everybody’s going to have an opinion and they sometimes really like to get verbal about their opinion, about your goals and your dreams, not about theirs. But they’ll get real opinionated about yours. And I’d love to make a distinguish something with your little. And that is a dream, is what I talk about, a big vision, a big honkin dream for what you want and your goals would be daily or weekly or monthly action step that you take to get to that dream. So let’s say you want to be a famous actress and to be that actress that you want to be you want to lose that 50 pounds to fit that particular type of actress image that you want so you might not share with your family.
Laura Eiman: [00:10:31] Well, I really don’t want to go to college. I want to become a famous movie star. That might not go over very well. But if you know that part of your success track is to lose the weight, to enhance your journey to getting their share. Gee, I have a goal of losing 10 pounds by May 30, if that’s OK. So there’s a little bit of a distinction between goals and dreams. But you want to keep your dreams, only sharing them with people who are going to 100 percent support you. And I never advocate lying to family and friends. You just kind of keep quiet. There are naysayers around every corner and they don’t even know half the time that they’re being negative. They think they’re taking care of you’re protecting you and they’re not you’re just you’re very sensitive and vulnerable and you’re going after your dreams and you don’t want people kind of raining on your parade. It’s really important to just be careful who you share it
Jocelyn Allen: [00:11:22] With right now. Are you took the words right out of my mouth because I was going to say I think most of the time these people or the are the people that we don’t expect to be the ones naysaying. And because they don’t realize that they’re doing it because they’re coming from a place of safe harbor. Right. This is not something that you normally do. We’ve tried this before. You know, let’s avoid the feeling that you felt of not succeeding and just kind of keep on keeping on. But in reality. Oh, is that helping?
Laura Eiman: [00:11:54] Yes, that’s a good point.
Jocelyn Allen: [00:11:55] Yeah. Yeah, I completely resonate with that. Absolutely. Going back to what you were saying about, you know, setting certain goals and expectations and a lot of this can sometimes come from, you know, let’s talk about a common one, weight loss. You know, we were just talking about that. You mentioned that your food addiction was the catalyst for your change. You talked about it in your webinar yesterday. We recently came across and New York Times article that spoke about food addiction is more powerful than other addictions that may exist out there. You in particular we’re talking about you have been a sugar addict since you probably even knew a sugar addict was a thing. What made you look at it from the perspective of mental toughness? Why was mental toughness the answer to change as opposed to a diet like everybody else tries?
Laura Eiman: [00:12:44] That’s a great question. Thank you for being so perceptive. And this is what separates my workshops from everybody else, is because to truly change, we must first go inside and feed our minds with the proper attitude, the proper mindset before we feed our mouths, the proper diet or feed our muscles, the proper exercise program. And I would guarantee you that ten out of ten weight loss coaches out there are going to tell you what to eat and tell you how to work out. And I actually don’t do either. In my workshops and in personal one-to-one coaching, I help people discover their own exciting workout and their own full plan for what they want. But I go inside with a person and say, let’s look what you’re feeding your mind. What what are you feeding yourself about yourself? Because that is what determines our long-term habits. When I was getting off sugar, I had tried every diet under the sun and they didn’t work because my mindset hadn’t shifted. I wasn’t one hundred percent committed in my head. It was that, oh, I’m going to go on this, this protein diet from Monday until Thursday. But then I got a wedding to go to. This was in my twenties. I got a wedding to go to and I just binged on wedding cake all weekend and then. Oh, but I’ll start all over again on Monday. And that cycle went on for years. So unless you really, really change your mindset, which is not easy, I fear that most people fail at their diets within three months, six months, nine months. How many people do you know stay on a diet for the rest of their lives? Let’s do lasting change. Not something for 60 days.
Jocelyn Allen: [00:14:20] Right. I was just going to say because, at that point, it’s not a diet anymore. It is a lifestyle change right now. It’s now it’s now
Laura Eiman: [00:14:26] Everybody’s everybody’s habits take a different length of time. Some people can I mean, I could develop a habit of eating an ice cream sundae in about five minutes, but I get getting off sugar. It was it wasn’t really a habit for the first I’d say a year or two, but I was on a great journey. Still didn’t mean I wasn’t succeeding to really make it. I mean, now I could sit down in front of one hundred people eating ice cream. I don’t see it. I’ll serve the ice cream. I don’t even see it. Oh, good for you. That’s what I want. That’s what I want for people in my workshop, whether it be getting off sugar or losing weight, or taking their performance on. Their job to the next level. I want that kind of mental toughness lifting a barbell focus and that kind of determination and that goal, that means going inside and looking at yourself. I talk a lot about studying the Greek philosophers. The stocks were all about, you know, your entire world is dictated by your thoughts and your internal beliefs about yourself and the world around you.
Jocelyn Allen: [00:15:26] You mentioned that you want that feeling. You want that for your audience to inspire them to change their mentality, become mentally tough. So what is it specifically that transitioned you from? You know this is a good feeling. Let’s let people feel this feeling into I’m going to create a mentally tough business.
Laura Eiman: [00:15:50] Once I got off the sugar and I wasn’t dealing with such hangovers, I started to really journal and define what my purpose was in life, what are my principles, what’s my personal ethos, how do I want to show up every day for myself, for my family, for others? And I was doing this because this is exactly what Olympic athletes do. This is exactly what successful people do. This is exactly what the Navy SEALs do. They’re very clear on their personal ethos. They’re very clear on their passions. They’re very clear on their principles. So I started to define that for myself. And that’s where it took me into developing a mental toughness program where I could help. Others had the same success that I have had. It’s painful for me to see anybody suffering and not being their very best authentic self. And I realize there’s a huge need for this in this world, especially now with the nightmares going on out there. People are scared and desperate. They don’t have to be.
Maria Melfa: [00:16:52] Yes, absolutely. I know in our business we’ve seen a tremendous increase in demand for mental toughness and resiliency classes. Last week I was reading something on resiliency and it mentioned that the majority of Americans overestimated their own resilience by a lot. In fact, 83 percent of Americans polled thought that they had a high level of mental and emotional resilience when in fact fifty-seven percent scored as resilient.
Laura Eiman: [00:17:25] Resilience is a very exciting topic. I think that many of us think that we are more resilient than we are when we are taking that poll. We’re sitting at home. We’ve had a delicious dinner, we’re at the computer, we got the cat purring on our lap and everything’s just fine. So we’re feeling kind of resilient. But if you pulled those same one hundred people, if they were in an airport and their plane had just been canceled and there was no plane insight to get them from Boston to L.A., you might not see so many resilient people. All right.
Maria Melfa: [00:17:59] That’s true. That’s a good example.
Laura Eiman: [00:18:03] I guess it really is. I mean, watch people’s behavior in airports. And I am not saying that we have to deny our feelings and pretend that everything’s all right all the time. I am so not that we must acknowledge that we’re angry, frustrated, disappointed, depressed, enraged, whatever. Not that we take it out on others, but we then say, OK, I’m allowed to feel these feelings. I acknowledge them. But now what am I going to do about getting home or getting to L.A.? And we don’t lash out at others when we’re having these feelings. That’s a whole that’s outside the scope of this. But you feel your feelings and then you move on and say, OK, now I got a problem to solve. And then my mental toughness program is all about to let’s figure out a solution to this problem instead of complaining and whining and making somebody else’s life miserable like the flight attendant. So that to me is the ultimate in being resilient.
Maria Melfa: [00:18:58] Yes, a coach that I worked with about a decade ago gave me a very interesting example. So for those that live in New England, we had I know we have many storms, but we had a crazy storm that came down fast and furiously about 10, 12 years ago where everybody was stuck in one location. He said that he was in a parking garage in Boston and everybody was trying to get out of the parking garage. And there was a gentleman in front of him and the car who completely freaked out had a mental breakdown. He got out of the car. He started banging on his car. He was screaming. He was going wild. And they were stuck in the garage for about three hours. And then they finally were able to get out of the garage. And his point of the story as they both were in the same situation. And this other gentleman freaked out, had a nervous breakdown and. My coach was just in the car and they both ended up with the exact same result, they got out of the garage at the same time. And it’s funny because I visualize that story a lot that just shows that you can react however you want. You can freak out, you can have a meltdown, but it doesn’t get you anywhere. You’re still going to be in the same situation in cases like this.
Laura Eiman: [00:20:30] That’s a great story. And I’m going to keep that in mind when I’m in a challenging situation. The man who had the meltdown, number one, probably had very little self-awareness and wasn’t really willing to look at himself and say, I think I want to master my emotions. And then the coach, your coach has had a lot of practice and is very committed to mastering his emotions. And for him, I’m guessing this was another crucible event that allowed him to master his emotions and practice what he preaches. These stories raise a good point. Do you have to practice and be aware and committed to wanting to become that kind of patient, calm, confident Navy SEAL type of person and then committed to practicing it? You don’t just all of a sudden overnight become a rock star and have patience and tolerance. It’s a constant, constant mental muscle that you have to exercise. Those are challenging situations. It is doable and it can make life a whole lot easier when you are acting, as opposed to reacting to the many small, medium, or large events that go on around us that that are going our way.
Jocelyn Allen: [00:21:44] It’s eye-opening to when we talk about real-life scenarios because this isn’t necessarily something that everybody is aware of as a training topic. Right. We think about having thicker skin and being mentally tough right there. Not necessarily that’s not necessarily what we’re talking about here or that somebody is too emotional. And that’s why we have these conversations. No, you can still be an emotional person, but choosing how you want to react to certain situations that further you along is sort of hold you back, right? That’s what we’re here for. So I think sharing those examples of like where the heck with this come into play? It’s like, well, do you want to be the guy who chooses to react to a situation that you have no control of and just knowing that you’ll get to the point of escape. Right, like in the parking garage? Or do you want to be the person who wastes a lot of energy on the things that you can’t control?
Laura Eiman: [00:22:37] That’s a great point. And it really brings people to say, Laura, what would you put on a bulletin board in Times Square if you had, like one word or one sentence? And there are a couple of them. But for this conversation, it’s you have a choice every minute you have a choice. And you’re right and you reiterated it, it’s not about being in an emotional straitjacket. We can all have a meltdown in that garage. If we’re going to be stuck in a blizzard for three hours. It’s freezing. You have to go to the bathroom. You were supposed to be held at five o’clock for your kids. You don’t know when you’re going to be home. You have no food. It can be a difficult situation that comes out of left field. But it’s also what I call a crucible event where it can give you the opportunity to get stronger. I have one of my favorite phrases is steel sharpens steel. And a tough situation like that can make you tougher if you choose to. Let it
Maria Melfa: [00:23:33] Tell us about your work with the Navy SEALs
Laura Eiman: [00:23:36] And Navy SEALs. As you know, I started following twenty years ago by chance by watching the documentary, and I was super impressed with them and wanted to be like them. And when Instagram became popular and YouTube and social media, I started to follow one seal in particular named Mark Devine. He’s a retired Navy SEAL commander out in California. And this was about eight years ago. And I was doing my mental toughness, coaching, and following the SEALs. But with the onset of social media, I could tap into these guys directly and follow them and learn more from them. I could literally listen to them do presentations. Well, I followed Mark Devine for a couple of years. And sure enough, then last year he started to offer a program called the Unbeatable Mind Coaching Certification Program. And I said, sign me up. Here’s my credit card. When can I start? And because of covid, we did it through soon. But I spent one year training with Coach Divin and his team of SEALs through Zoom and got my Navy SEAL certification in November of twenty. So really that certification has provided fertilizer, if you will, and really greatly enhanced my mental toughness coaching program. And I continue to do some calls and ongoing continuing education with him. The and the minute covid lifts, I am on an airplane to go out to California and participate in an in-person event, we’ll be doing Crosthwaite style workouts with some of the Navy SEALs and other coaches like myself at his SEAL Fit compound. And then we’ll do more unbeatable mind coaching and general merriment with, I hope, a lot of craft beer.
Maria Melfa: [00:25:29] That sounds like they are.
Laura Eiman: [00:25:32] You know, we rise to the level of the people we hang out with and the SEALs have very very high standards. If they didn’t, they would be killed on the battlefield and their teammates would be killed on the battlefield. So a rising tide rises all boats. And when you hang out with people that are more successful than you, which I highly recommend everybody do, and when I mean hang out, you can read an autobiography of an astronaut or a famous movie star or a teacher or hang out with your neighbor next door if they inspire you to take you and your mindset to the next level. So just connecting with MyCelx friends and other coaches like my cell phone zone calls throughout the course of a month keeps me sharp and focused and constantly improving my game so that I can help others improve their game.
Jocelyn Allen: [00:26:24] You’ve talked a lot about your mental toughness program and your ability to bring them into organizations and to people to change their mindset. So can you tell us what that looks like when you’re implementing this program in an organization?
Laura Eiman: [00:26:41] I basically do workshops in the corporate and college sectors as well as non-profits. And these workshops start with my fundamental four-step mental toughness program. It’s the foundation for everything that I coach in terms of mental toughness and how to become mentally tough so that you can win at home when at your health and wellness. And it’s a strategy that I teach. I also, of course, give tips and tools, but tips and tools last until Thursday unless you have a strategy. So I am all about strategies for teaching people how to text their potential. So starts with my fundamental workshop, which is about an hour and a half, and then from there, I have about twenty-five follow-up workshops for employees or college students. And I also want to take this program to high school students as well to follow up with additional support. And they are shorter workshops, half an hour in length, and they can be topics of the client’s choice. But mostly everybody wants more on how can I get my employees to be resilient? How can I get them to become motivated? How can I get them to avoid burnout? We’re not having a whole lot of job satisfaction right now. People are overweight. They’re undersleeping, they’re over drinking. So there are a lot of topics that I bring to my workshops to help people understand that this mental toughness muscle I’m talking about is something that needs to be built. And, you know, life is not a do-it-yourself program.
Laura Eiman: [00:28:19] We need support. So I’m teaming up with the training associates to bring this support to these corporations and college students. And then from there, I’m also offering my three E’s workshop, your passions, your principles, and your purpose in life when you take a three-piece workshop. Well, how can you not start to take your career to the next level? How can you not nail that job interview if you’re graduating from college? So we do the three P’s workshop. And then, of course, last but not least, I do know Shergar challenges, which is so much more than just white-knuckling it, getting off sugar for ten days. It’s actually much more than that. It’s really teaching people what their relationship is with sugar and what the relationship is with food. And it’s awfully fun when you do it in a corporate or college setting. And so those are that’s just a brief overview of some of the workshops that I’m offering with the training associates. But most importantly, we can tailor the mental toughness programs to be anything that is really relevant and problematic for that particular organization and best of all of the six months and the one-year ongoing contracts, because, as I say, you don’t watch three YouTube videos with Laura and all of a sudden become a mental toughness rockstar. It’s a lifestyle that I am teaching people so that they can start succeeding right now and continue for the rest of their lives.
Maria Melfa: [00:29:44] I love taking your class. A couple of days ago, Laura, and there was one thing in particular that you were talking about, the Jumbotron in regards to negative self-talk. So you mentioned picturing yourself being outside and having all of your thoughts and. I and ask yourself, what are these thoughts look like, are they positive or are they negative? I know this was a day right before that we were shooting our first podcast, and I tend to be an anxious person. So I was telling myself, you’re not going to do good. What do you know about podcasts? And then I immediately, you know, was able to catch myself and say, you know, the stuff you’ve been in this business for 27 years. So, of course, you will be able to do well. But it was amazing because I was able to just shut off the negative thoughts very quickly. And I think we all can relate to having negative self-talk. I think it’s something and perhaps it’s even more common in women. I could be wrong, but I think it’s also generational. Over the last few decades, we all, you know, tell our kids how wonderful they are and they all get a trophy for just participating. But, you know, growing up, it was very different. So, for example, have very loving parents. My mother will be 84 this year. My father will be 86 and, you know, a different generation. My father’s parents were immigrants from Italy.
Maria Melfa: [00:31:28] And my father used to say because his mother used to say, what? Are you happy? Like, what’s wrong with you? Why are you happy? And my father would say that sometimes when we were you, I had friends over and we were laughing, you know, what are you laughing about? What’s so funny? You know, so you almost felt like it was the wrong thing to be happy and to laugh because if you were laughing, that means that maybe you weren’t doing anything that was really significant or important. You were just kind of, you know, fooling around and having fun. I am a true lover in this subject. I think it’s so important. I really wish I know. Laura, you and I have spoken about how can we bring awareness on having these subjects on resiliency and mental toughness to the schools? You know, if my kids could only take these classes, I have a 15-year-old daughter, a 21-year-old son. And, you know, they certainly have had their struggles as any child does. And if they had this class, it would just make them so much more prepared. And it’s a skill that is always needed. You never could be too mentally tough, right? You can’t say, oh, I have too much mental toughness. Again, we see so much demand from clients on this subject. And I love what you’re doing.
Jocelyn Allen: [00:32:48] Mm-hmm. Mental toughness. Not to be confused with removing emotion from your thoughts. You know, it’s and that’s what prevents it from becoming cold. Right. Is the difference between, you know, just being tough and being able to bounce back and be resilient and move through the challenges and face them with the approach that it is a lesson to be learned as opposed to just you being the subject of defeat. I think that’s where the difference is, is identifying what the difference is between being cold-hearted and being mentally tough. There are two very different things, and I would argue that cold-hearted people are not mentally tough right here. I would argue that
Laura Eiman: [00:33:27] There are many different definitions of mental toughness that in my program where I teach is deleting the toxic self-talk and replace it with living in a solution-based mindset. Now, that sounds easy, but it’s very difficult to do unless you have support, unless you have a strategy, strategy, strategy. When you eliminate your talk, which takes time and takes a lot of work, it’s a lot of mental push-ups. You are eliminating one of your greatest personal foes. You’re eliminating one of your greatest hurdles, preventing you from succeeding.
Maria Melfa: [00:34:03] If you were to define a resilient person, they may meet a few common attributes that fall into five categories emotional well-being, inner drive, future focus, relationships, and physical health. So when you look at those, those are all so important and all so connected. You can’t just you’re not going to go to work and leave your body and mind at home.
Laura Eiman: [00:34:34] Mental toughness can look to me like the man in the parking lot who’s not having a meltdown when he’s there for three hours might be somebody it might be a woman at an airport. His plane has been delayed for four hours like everybody else. And she goes over and consoles somebody who is crying because that woman is going to miss her mother’s funeral. So mental toughness is this thinks I’m powerless. What can I do to stay in a solution? The mindset to make the next 20 minutes, OK, what can I do to take care of myself so I don’t lash out at a stewardess because I’m angry to mental toughness is what can I do to console somebody else? Because that will make me feel a little better. So it has a lot of different images. Mental toughness does not mean that we are buttoned up and fabulous all the time. You don’t think Navy SEALs have temper tantrums? You don’t think they go after each other with fistfights to blow off steam? They do, but they know how to self-correct really fast. They know how to make amends. When I if I mistakenly blow up or do something that I regret because I’m emotionally kind of a little bit out of control, I know how to make the amend so that it is OK afterward because I am not perfect and I will slip and I will have a bad day and be tired and hungry. And then I’ve said something to somebody that really was kind of off base. And I’ll say, hey, wait a minute, I’m sorry, I did not mean it. That’s being mentally tough, too.
Jocelyn Allen: [00:36:07] On your website, Laura, you referred to your weight lifting winds being attributed to 80 percent mindset and 20 percent muscle. So can you elaborate on what that means and how that helped you succeed and then how you’re translating that into your mental toughness business model?
Laura Eiman: [00:36:27] Yeah, that’s a great question. So here, for example, picture this. You’re at a weight lifting me and you’re seeing all these big muscular people in the warm-up area lifting weights and they are so, so muscular, so fit. I mean, some of these people look like the Incredible Hulk. It’s really quite impressive. A lot of them do not have the mindset under control. They haven’t really mastered their emotions. They’re nervous, they’re excited, they’re pumped. They want to go after the first place. And they’re using a lot more muscle and very little mindset. And a lot of them will get on the stage in front of the three judges and they will blow their lifts because they psych themselves out. They don’t have that calm, confidence. I can lift this mindset and I learn the hard way because I blew a lot of my lifts and I blew a lot of my competitions. But I figured out that I needed to apply my mental toughness. And that is sure you have to be super fit or you’re going to get very hurt. You’re never going to get to a competition. But most importantly, you mentally have to be calm and confident, visualize your lift and believe in yourself. Get rid of the external stimuli. Don’t look at your competition. Don’t look at the scoreboard and believe one hundred percent in your positive self-talk. Yes, I can lift this barbell. Yes, I can win today. Yes, I’ve got this. And when I go in with that kind of mindset and I’m not looking at my competition or the scoreboard, I’m lifting that baby over my head and I’m winning stuff. So it’s really 80 percent, 20 percent. And it’s really that way. If you’re going in for a job interview, if you want to lose weight, if you want to have a difficult conversation with your boss or your spouse, you have to mentally know what you want to say, visualize the outcome, believe in yourself, get the mission accomplished the way you want it to. You got to win in your mind first before you win on the battlefield.
Maria Melfa: [00:38:27] Can you give us some examples of how you’ve worked with corporations? Any story that stands out to you,
Laura Eiman: [00:38:35] Corporations, a lot of them right now are really struggling because they’re in a state of flux. Their morale is low. Corporate culture is really, really struggling because they’ve had to downsize so radically. And that in and of itself is very ruinous to the morale of the corporation. And then, of course, everybody’s working from home and the enormous amount of stress that that has played a part in. So when I do a corporate workshop, first of all, I teach box breathing, which is a very quick, very, very powerful mental toughness tool to get out of that sympathetic nervous system mode and calm yourself to get into a parasympathetic nervous system mode so that you can function at the office for the day on your laptop from home. When we get that breathing down under control, we are really setting ourselves up for a much better day than just reacting from emotions. So I teach that to a lot of corporate groups to learn how to box read. And then I also teach them my four steps of what’s your vision for yourself at your job? Why are you going to work today? I really take them back to the basics.
Laura Eiman: [00:39:43] Why are you at this job? What are you doing here? It takes their focus off of covid off of am I going to lose my job tomorrow? I’m scared about the economy. I got to cut my paycheck and it gets employees back into a very self-centered what can I do today to grow and be better, have more job satisfaction, help my teammates. Grow and be better, and this way, actually we start to empower the corporation, we start to do a better job at work, and then we can restore the economy by becoming more productive. If we’re not doing a good job, we’re not going to be productive and we’re not going to make money. So I really teach them how to get their dreams organized at work. What do they want for themselves? What action steps can they take? What’s their self-taught at the office or the negative? Are they being positive and helpful? Are they being an asset and also teaching them about resilience and not getting discouraged when things don’t go their way?
Maria Melfa: [00:40:36] Yes, one of my colleagues used you to do a lunch and learn several months ago, multibillion-dollar corporation, and she said there were over two or three thousand people signed up for it and that her CEO still to this day is using your box, breathing every day.
Jocelyn Allen: [00:40:57] I was going to ask, do you think that the box breathing technique is something that people come back to pretty frequently? It seems like that’s a really great, simple takeaway tool that people get from your workshops.
Laura Eiman: [00:41:11] It is. It’s very simple, Jocelin, and it depends on how badly the person wants to succeed and win. Some don’t ever do it again. And then some say, like the CEO of this company, love it and realize the benefit. It is developing the habit. It is finding five or ten minutes in the morning or finding five minutes before you’re going to have that difficult conversation to sit down in the chair and actually do it. Couldn’t be easier, but sometimes we just have a hard time creating that habit again. That’s why doing these workshops and coaching, really I help people establish lifelong habits, just like the box breathing. It took me a while to even get into the box breathing. It took me at least a couple of weeks before I really disciplined myself.
Jocelyn Allen: [00:41:56] We listened to you talk, Laura, and, you know, sometimes in training that I’ve been a part of that are like this in a past life because I’ve grown since then is thinking that how do I know this person hasn’t been doing this their whole life? And they’re telling me that this is super easy to do because they’ve been doing it forever and I’m not that person. So, I mean, realistically, when people are interested in taking this kind of pursuance of this change of mindset really seriously, is there a realistic expectation that you can set for people of how much time, how much effort? What does the dedication look like to really make the changes that you’re speaking about changing yourself?
Laura Eiman: [00:42:38] Yeah, great question. I love the word realistically. I am all about being realistic. My mental toughness program is based on objective reality. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. There is no snake oil in my program. My program isn’t for everybody because a lot of people want this instant fix and that is not me. So with the training associates, we developed a ten-week mental toughness certification program. Ten weeks is a good amount of time to get an introduction to what it’s like to change the way you think and change the way you act so that you can start to win. Do get some little wins in your life. But really, my six-month and 12 month weekly programs with corporations is where you will see lasting, lasting, lasting change. I’m not interested in short-term solutions. So ten weeks, three months, six months, nine months is really where people are going to start to incorporate these skills and literally change their life. These infomercials change the life-changing service or product that you’re going to do. And three days, five days, ten days. It’s just I throw a brick at the computer, at the TV. It’s not true.
Maria Melfa: [00:43:52] If you were to choose one mental toughness tool or practice that everyone could and should incorporate in their everyday lives and you might say box breathing, but maybe give us another one. If you weren’t going to say that,
Laura Eiman: [00:44:06] I’m going to have to say, boy, this is tough. You must, must, must get clear on your personal visions and dreams for yourself. If you don’t have that, you’re getting out of bed and you are reacting to your day instead of acting. You are living a life of, as Willy Loman said in Death of a Salesman, you might be living the life of quiet desperation. You’re living somebody else’s visions and dreams. Most people that I coach in corporations and personally, they don’t have a vision or a dream because they don’t see how they can achieve it. And it takes to support and it takes ongoing work. But if you don’t have a vision or a dream for yourself, you are never going to become your authentic self and you’re never really going to start to win.
Jocelyn Allen: [00:44:51] Right on speaking of dreams, what is Laura’s next big thing? What’s your next goal?
Laura Eiman: [00:44:58] My next big thing is I want to launch a nonprofit. Where I can serve women in the margins, women coming out of prisons off the streets, women who are released from domestic abuse situations who are mentally so shattered, so physically fried, who don’t believe in themselves, society is not going to support them. And I want to scoop them up and I want to start helping them physically first, get a stronger get some nutrition, good nutrition plan going in their life, start teaching them how to lift weights, kettlebell dumbbells, hand weights, get them, start to get some endorphins going and eating well so that they can physically start to feel a little better about themselves. And then bang, I start teaching them my mental toughness workshops so that they can learn they are not their past and they have something valuable to offer when they want to go out and get a job and they can hold their head high and say, I am worthy and my company will be called uplifting. Ladies, I’ve had the domain name for five years, W-W Dotcom uplifting ladies, and it will happen whenever it’s meant to happen.
Maria Melfa: [00:46:15] So Laura, we are coming to a close. So one final question. If you could say one thing to our listeners that are interested in becoming mentally tough, what would you say?
Laura Eiman: [00:46:29] It is the best investment you will ever make in yourself. It is never too late to become your authentic self so that you can achieve your dreams. Hitcher wins, start winning your own gold medals. And what’s even cooler is once you start doing that, you can go out and help somebody else achieve their wins. Never, ever, ever underestimate yourself. Invest in yourself. I can help you do that. And you can take your life to the next level and then you can look behind you and help somebody else climb up that same ladder.
Maria Melfa: [00:47:02] Thank you so much, Laura. This is a topic that I am very passionate about, and it was awesome to hear and learn more.
Laura Eiman: [00:47:11] Thank you. It was a joy to be on the show today. You ladies are awesome and there’s plenty of opportunities out there. As Winston Churchill said, never let a good crisis go to waste. And boy, do we have a crisis is going on around us out there. But it doesn’t mean it has to be a crisis in our own lives. No time like the present to get mentally tough.
Maria Melfa: [00:47:28] I love that. OK, thank you very much, Laura.
Jocelyn Allen: [00:47:30] Thank you, Laura.
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