This 15-minute talk is from the 2017 Convocation at my alma mater. It’s a condensed version of longer talks I give, so gives you a good idea of what they are like, too. (Also, the intro gives you a good idea of just how crazy I am.)
I’m wrong a lot — there’s a way to start an intro convincing you to hire me as a speaker! — but over the past 12 years of my life, I’ve become convinced that fear is the root of virtually all our problems.
I’ve also become obsessed with understanding it and learning how to beat it.
I know fear well. I thought I’d be a pro athlete and failed, mostly because of what I later learned were panic attacks and chronic anxiety. Why I developed that is a whole other story I’m not telling yet, but that’s given me a perspective on fear and on the world that has taught me a lot about how we can get out of our own way, and stop hurting ourselves — and each other — as we try to build the careers, families, and lives we want.
For a number of reasons, I am a thinker—sometimes an overthinker—and my mind spends a lot of time trying to find takeaways from my assignments that all kinds of audiences would appreciate. Inspiration, lessons about leadership, plain old entertainment, much more—I’m always jotting down these sorts of things in my notebook.
I often share these things in my talks.
I’m a writer because I love great stories. I love how they transport us, thrill us, change us — and sometimes teach us. I love how they show us the world we know in a slightly (or not-so-slightly) different way. And, as you can see in that sample talk up there, I build all my talks around stories.
With every talk, my goal is to help people with my personal greatest passion: to better understand the world we live in, our own minds, and ourselves on the whole — and, ultimately, help all of us understand each other a little more.
These are far from the only “titles” for talks I give, but should spark your imagination. I’m completely flexible on my presentations — I love working with event hosts to tailor my performance to their audience.
I gave baseball a run in college, gave it my all (I don’t really know how to do half-measures), and I failed in fantastic fashion.
That story — you can read it here — became the basis for Head in the Game, and forms the basis for many of my talks.
At 30, my travels have criss-crossed the country many times. I’ve spent countless hours and had long conversations with some of the world’s greatest athletes and coaches and, beyond sports, generally most interesting, hilarious, thoughtful, inspiring people.
Learning my wife was pregnant with our first child four years ago when I was just 26 years old drove me to learn all I could about the human mind so that I could fix my own, and help my son down the road.
In my research for Head in the Game, I turned myself into a human guinea pig to experience all there is to experience when it comes to diving deep into the mind, in order to understand what the world’s best athletes are doing. I had my brain scanned, trained in various meditation practices, learned shocking things about how religion affects our brains, used technology that sent electricity coursing through my skull, learned masterful breathing techniques from sports scientists who have coached Olympic gold medalists, spent hours floating in sensory deprivation chambers — and may or may not have ingested legally questionable substances.
Because hey, journalism.
It all coalesces into a single story not only about a revolution driving athletes into a new frontier of training, but a story about a revolution for all of us.