Living a high-performance life isn’t as difficult as we like to make it appear. Sometimes, getting to the level of performance we wish for ourselves is as simple as sitting back and focusing on our health and happiness, which many people tend to forget about. Scott Welle is a motivational speaker and the author of Outperform the Norm. He joins Alicia Dunams to discuss the keys to living a high-performance life. Don’t miss out on the wonderful, actionable advice that Scott has to provide in this powerful conversation with Alicia.
Listen to the podcast here
Outperform The Norm With Scott Welle
I’m going to be interviewing Scott Welle, a motivational speaker and author of Outperform The Norm. Scott, it’s great to have you here.
It’s so great to be here. Thanks so much. I appreciate it.
It’s wonderful to have a motivational speaker during these times. Many of us need motivation. I would love for you to share with us. Tell us about the Outperform The Norm series. Why did you get started?
The simplest way that I can explain it is although I’m betting everybody reading to this is familiar with the Chicken Soup For The Soul. I always say the Outperform The Norm series is like the Chicken Soup for the people that want to be their best personally, professionally or athletically. I’ve got eight different books that are available in that series. The latest one is Outperform The Norm For Leaders: A Guide To Inspiring Peak Performance In Ever-Changing World. It’s more geared towards how you get the best out of others, not just in a company setting but organizationally as well or perhaps with your team.
If I could go all the way back to when I first started writing these books, I had the same fears that everybody else did where I had no idea who would want to read my book. You just have to get over it. Every single author out there had to start with their first word on their first page of their first book and you just have to get it going. Once I finally got over some of that impostor syndrome and not believing in myself, then it opened up the floodgates a little bit. I’m trying to share my education, my expertise, my experiences to help people live outperforming lives.
Something you said that resonates with me is, “You don’t have to get it right. You just got to get it going.” I’ve been teaching Bestseller In A Weekend for a long time. I see that when people come in, aspiring authors who want to write a book, with the imposter syndrome, you’re usually focused on yourself. What I say with the help of someone that was cool, one of my Bestseller In A Weekend, he said it and I said, “It’s not about you.” When we are in that imposter syndrome, we are marinating in the, “Am I enough?” That’s not a place to create dynamic change. It’s focusing out. Tell us, how do you inspire, motivate and empower people to live a life of peak performance?
The first thing that you need to do is if I were to ask you, “What does it mean for you to outperform?” The early version of Scott Welle, when I was growing up and you’re a cocky kid and you think you know it all, I would have told you what I think you need to do to outperform. Quite honestly, as I evolve and as I go through this journey called life, it’s not my place to tell you what outperforming should look like in your life. Outperform The Norm is my flagship book, the first one that I wrote, I break it down in terms of health, happiness, and high performance. Those are the three pillars that we need to be able to live our best lives.
What we’re going through with COVID, you can see it. If we don’t have our health, we don’t have much. That’s the first pillar that you need. The second pillar to go to is high performance. That is your productivity, your focus, feeling like you’re being maximally efficient and effective with your time every single day, and then happiness. What fills you up? What makes you feel like you’re utilizing your precious time on this planet? What brings you that intrinsic feeling of joy at the end of the day?
You just have to get over your fears about writing your book. Click To Tweet
If you can look into one of those three buckets, from the people I’ve worked with, consulted, and spoken with, they can’t pinpoint one of those that they may be excelling. Their business may be doing unbelievably well, but they know they’re not taking care of themselves or maybe they’re getting all their workouts done, but there’s not something that’s filling them up at the end of the day. That’s probably where I would start.
Health, happiness, and high performance. What you speak into is interesting because I know for me there’s definitely something that’s keeping me up at night. Am I doing all I possibly can do? Am I performing at a peak level? Especially with some of the things that are going on in the world from a societal perspective, from a business perspective, from a leadership perspective, “Am I doing enough?” What would you say to someone who other people think they’re high-performing like, “Look at that person?” They’re performing on all cylinders. What would you say to that person who looks like that from the outside but feels like they’re not fully living their purpose?
There are a couple of things. One is a quote that I live by and I talk about in every single speech that I give. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I 100% believe it, all the way down to my core. You can be incredibly high achieving if you are comparing yourself to other people, thinking about, “How can book outperform yours? How can I run faster than you? How can I grow a bigger business? Have a bigger podcast,” whatever it happens to be. I feel like there is a lot of false narratives that we run in our heads where we look out at other people and we say, “Look at Alicia. She is unbelievably productive and she’s got it all together. She can do no wrong. Everything she touches turns to gold.”
Quite honestly, it’s not a reality when we stack ourselves up to people like that. We have to be comfortable saying, “It’s okay to be striving for the best, but what trumps that is to strive for your best.” Do that first. The other thing that I’ll say, and this is not something that early version of Scott Welle ever would have said, is we all need to give ourselves a little bit of grace during this time. I can pretty much guarantee that nobody reading this, you and me included, are probably as productive as we were pre-COVID and pre-everything that’s going on. Our lives have been turned upside down literally and figuratively. To say, “Maybe, I don’t have to have the ‘perfect days.’ Instead of striving for perfection, maybe I can be focused on the little bit of progress and feel good about what I am getting done instead of beating myself up for feeling like I should be doing more.”
Grace is important and comparison is the thief of joy. I truly believe that as well. This is an important time. I always think the rubber hits the road when things of this nature happened. I was listening to Esther Perel on Oprah. She’s a relationship expert. Oprah is doing this four-part series which is a lot of fun, Zoom Calls with Oprah. One thing that Esther Perel said that was an a-ha moment for me and Oprah was like, “That’s fantastic,” and I think for everyone on the call as well. She said, “Disaster and crisis accelerates whatever’s going on in your life.” If you’re on a downhill track, it accelerates that. If you are on an uphill track, it accelerates that.
What I’ve seen is this has been a good time for me to re-evaluate my relationships. What’s showing up? How am I showing up? How am I showing up to my clients? how am I showing up in business? The rubber always hits the road when we are in crisis because when things are peachy keen, things are peachy keen. The question I have been asking my coaching clients in particular is, how do I choose to show up at this time in human history? How do I choose to show up? That’s always an important question. Now that we’re in the re-opening phase, it’s how did I show up?
I go by the phrase, “Character is tested when you’re up against it.” That’s a line from the movie Miracle. It’s a football movie. That is the truth. As we go through this and as we’re coming out of it, we are learning things about ourselves, our kids, our spouses, our teams may be at work, our society and our communities in general. That is a fantastic question to be asking your coaching clients as far as what is their character and how do they want to show up? I asked my clients the same exact thing because you don’t learn anything about people when they’re winning. I come from an athletic background.
You learn nothing about people when it’s 70 degrees and sunny outside, and you’re hitting your targets, metrics, budgets, revenues, and everything is peachy keen in the world. You learn about people when they’re up against it and when times are tough. They have to struggle and there are crisis and turmoil swirling all around them. That is when people’s true character shows up. If you want to know how people achieve peak performance during these times, it is looking at it through that lens. It is looking at it as that lens of, “This is an opportunity for me to differentiate myself whether as a coach, as an author, as a speaker.
The dust will settle and we will get back into a new normal. The things that you’re doing are either making you better or worse. I’ve seen a lot of people that I thought were doing pretty great things, and haven’t seen or heard a lot from them. I don’t know if they’ve been binge-watching Netflix or what’s going on. I don’t want to cast dispersion on anybody. I’ve seen other people that are stepping up, differentiating themselves, and serving other people. If you can have that latter mindset of looking at it as an opportunity, it’s a tremendous way to look at what’s going on.
Let’s name names because I have been noticing that as well. Who has been showing up to you? Who has emerged as a leader in this “crisis”?
I’ll speak to my sphere of influence and the people that I follow. I’m a big fan of Brendon Burchard. He always steps up when times are tough. Bowie is a guy I totally relate to. He’s a former NFL football player. I dig his vibe. We spend doing Facebook Lives just keeping people positive. Those are the first two that come to mind. Others are local people that I’ve seen that have been putting out not just one thing every now and then, but have repeatedly been going on and thinking about, even if we’re coming on here and we’re getting on a Zoom and my hair hasn’t been cut for three weeks and it’s two weeks overdue, how can I still show up and not be self-conscious about that? I’m just thinking about how can I serve people during this time?
I know people are definitely stepping up. Someone that I love and follow, I’ve seen Gary Vaynerchuk. Something I’ve seen in him is he is turning into a servant leader. There is a lot of beautiful of ego, chutzpah, and very powerful. I’m talking like decades ago. I met him originally when his first book, Crushing It!, came out. I could see a hustler with that energy. There’s been a change in him. Some social things and some personal things. The death of Nipsey Hussle who was a good friend of him and then this. I see a humility. In my experience, it was probably there always. I’m seeing it’s almost safe enough to come out because he’s achieved a level of success.
I had this call with a client who’s also a very good friend of mine. He’s like, “Alicia, I think this is a time for me to step up. I’m coaching. I’m writing my book with you. I need to be stepping up like Martin Luther King at this time. I need me stepping up like powerful leaders, coaching, and putting the checks in the bank every month. It doesn’t seem as the impact that I can create.” There’s a precipice as leaders when we’re standing on the edge and we’re fearful to move to the next. We’re fearful to post about something that might be potentially controversial. We’re fearful of that next step, that jumping and the net will appear. I said, “It’s time for you to jump.” Some people aren’t going to like it. Some people are going to want you to stay comfortable and just talking.
I love them and I’m done with the motivational quotes on Instagram. It’s like the Pollyanna. It seems deaf tone for the seriousness of some of the things that are going on in the world. For you to speak into this, the question I have for you is, when is the time? There’s a transition that happens in terms of peak performance. There’s a transition when we’re doing it for money, for fame or these things and it leads into something that is eternal and bigger. What are your thoughts there?
Courage isn’t the absence of fear; it’s the assessment that something else is more important. Click To Tweet
I’m chockfull of quotes over here. I’ll pull out another one from the Leadership book. This one was by FDR, especially when you talk about courage. I’m sure there are some people reading that are ready to take that step but they’re hesitating. They’re like, “Am I ready? I’m fearful of what’s on the other side. I don’t know if I want to take that jump.” He said, “The courage isn’t the absence of fear.” You shouldn’t think that fear is ever going to go away.” He said, “It’s the assessment that something else is more important than the fear.” This is a question that I honestly asked myself all the time because it’s like I’m fearful about getting on this show with you, about putting this book out there, about getting on this stage in front of hundreds or thousands of people.
I’m still fearful of those things as well. In my assessment, what is more important than that fear? You’re not going to answer that with money and things like that. You’re going to say, “This message that I have that lives and breathes inside of me that’s been dying to come out, that somebody out there truly needs. Getting that out there in the world is more important than the fear that I have right now.” If you’re able to say that to yourself and ask yourself that open-ended question, I promise you it will unlock a new level of performance for you in whatever it is that you’re looking to do.
Something that is bigger than you that gets to be said. Something I share with people is, “Don’t leave things unsaid.” It’s comfortable to keep our mouth shut. When we keep our mouth shut, we stay small.
If I could speak to one thing that you said before as well. This is a hard part about leadership. I’m not going to pretend that it’s easy. Part of what makes you a great leader is knowing that you can’t be for everybody. If you’re for everybody, you’re for nobody. You don’t want to be bland white rice. I’ve struggled with this too. Instead of thinking about, “If I post this on social media or if I write this in my book, who’s it going to piss off? Who’s it going to rub the wrong way?” Instead of thinking about it like that, think about, “Who is the perfect person to be receiving this and who is this going to resonate with?”
I agree with you on all of the motivational quotes on Instagram and things like that. If everybody’s looking at it saying, “Whatever, okay.” If everybody’s looking at it like, “So what bland white rice,” then you’re trying to be for everybody. When you do that, you’re for nobody. I understand that it’s not easy. Look at it through the lens of instead of thinking about, “Who am I going to rub the wrong way or who am I going to repel?” Think about, “Who am I going to truly attract to my tribe that is going to be somebody that wants to be led, that quite honestly needs to be led? For everybody out there, people are starving for leadership and for people to take them to somewhere better than they are right now. I’m hoping a lot of your audience can look at it like that and can think about it through that lens.
Thank you for that. It is taking a step out. For me, what I’m wrestling with is emerging from the motivational quotes into real-time action. That’s deeper and it’s evolving. I don’t even know what it is for me. What I’m encouraging my clients to do, especially in my clients who I hold that vision for them and I see them as being change agents and world changers, is to step out on the skinny branches of life where people don’t stand. I sent an email on Instagram to a long-time friend who had some motivational quotes. I said, “It seemed deaf tone for some of the racialized climate that we have in this nation and what’s going on.”
As we roll into the election that people who have a platform and perhaps some sort of privilege in some way, which could be determined by lots of different things, different perspectives, is to use that to make a change. That’s what I saw in Gary Vaynerchuk with his postings. He is unabashed and unapologetic. He is a servant leader. He has all the money in the world. I’m sure he does well. You don’t see him taking pictures of his cars and his beautiful whatever. All of that is nothing to him and so I’m respecting him.
There have been some other people who have definitely been showing up. Mel Robbins, I love her, she’s showing up. Brené Brown is showing up. I’m hoping for myself that I look back and I’m like, “Have I shown up?” I’m asking myself that question. There are some things that I know I’m a little fearful of. I’m still wrestling with it. I was like, “Do I do that video or not? Do I say those things? Is it easier to write?” I find it’s easier to write that me speaking it. That’s my struggle and it’s forever evolving.
One piece of advice I would give to all the readers. This is something that I see with many of my clients and people I’ve spoken to. If you think about the times that you’ve been stressed, anxious, had a lot of anxiety and you feel a lot of pressure in your life, it’s almost always because you’re placing too much emphasis on an outcome. You’re like, “I wonder what people are going to say about this video,” or “I wonder how I’m going to do in this speech,” or “What are the reviews going to be like for the book?” You’re thinking about all these outcomes over which we only ever truly have indirect control. To back that off and to think about the process behind it, and you mentioned it before. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. We’re all on a journey through this.
As we’ve gone through COVID and as restrictions start to be lessened a little bit. We come out of it into whatever our new normal is going to look like. We’re all on this journey together. We’re trying to do the best we can with what we’ve got. Let’s embrace the journey and stop worrying about what is it going to look like at the finish line. What is this outcome or this destination is going to be? Think about, “How can I embrace the journey of service and the journey of leading others through this?”
We all know what the final destination is.
Debt and taxes.
I’m not rushing to that. Even though I did have my taxes done by January. With that, share a personal story on your own peak performance journey.
Do you want personal, professional or athletic?
If you’re feeling stressed, it’s almost always because you’re placing too much emphasis on an outcome. Click To Tweet
What’s ever on your heart that you already are going to share?
When most people read my bio, they’re usually most intrigued by the fact that I ran a 100-mile ultra-marathon. They usually have two questions there. The first one is, “Why the heck would you ever want to do something like that?” The second one is, “How do you do something like that?” The first one, you would have to put me on the couch for a long bout of psychoanalysis to probably be able to get to that. The second one, as far as how you do something like that, everybody thinks it’s a physical thing. It’s not. Anybody that’s ever run any type of race, whether it’s 1 mile or 100-miles, you can get to a point in the race where the finish line feels impossibly far away. It’s like you’re never going to get there. In a way, what we’re going through. There might be some people reading and they say, “I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t know when I’m ever going to get through what I’m going through right now.”
What I did during that race is instead of thinking about the daunting finish line that seemed impossibly far away that I was never going to get to. They had aid stations, every 2.5 to 4 miles. All I thought about was, how do I get to the next aid station? Once I got in the 2.5 to 4 miles, it was eat, drink and how do I rinse and repeat and get to the next aid station? I knew if I could continue to do that and instead of thinking about the outcome or the finish line, just focus on what is right here right now as far as what I’m doing, God willing, I’ll get to that finish line. That’s the mental strategy that I used. There are more than half the people that start that race that will end up dropping out. I’m convinced that’s a big part of it is all they’re thinking about is, “The finish line is 40, 50, 60, 70 miles away.”
They psych themselves out instead of thinking about, “How can I get through the day, get through the week, get through this aid station, and then continue to do that to be able to move forward?” That was a huge part of it. Another part of it is I always say, “No one outperforms alone.” I had two great people there that were supporting me. I was this close to dropping out. I’m holding my fingers close together because I was going to quit at the 100-kilometer point which is mile 63. It was already farther than I’d ever run in my life. I was not going through a good spot at that time. I was down in a series of valley. I said, “I’ve had enough. I can’t do this anymore.” The two people that I brought there, Missy and Diane, to help me out. They were all somewhat nice about it. They knew how to talk to me at that time but they said, “Scott, you’re going back out there. You can’t quit. You came here to finish a race and that’s what you’re going to do.”
They’ve got my big butt up off the picnic bench and got me back out there running it again. God bless them for doing that because I wouldn’t be a 100-mile finisher without them. For everybody reading, appreciate those good people that you have in your life and rely on them. Nobody outperforms alone. If I look at any significant “accomplishment” I’ve ever had in my life, not a single one happened without being surrounded by great people.
It’s important to surround yourself with great people in terms of outperformance. What I also heard was the milestones is not to think about the destination where you’re finally getting. There are many beautiful milestones to cherish, enjoy, sit in, and be grateful for on the journey. We’d love for you to share a couple of tips for our readers from your books, you’ve been sharing them all along. What are some takeaways you’d want to share during this time to inspire those who are perhaps writing a book, starting a business, getting through their day? What are some other highlights that you’d like to share?
A couple of them, I’ve already named. Avoid the social comparison as much as possible. The perception of other people that, “They’re so perfect and so ultra-productive. I’m not them. Therefore, I feel bad about myself.” That would certainly be the first one. As much as possible, focus on being your best instead of being the best and realize that that comparison is the thief of joy. Beyond that, one of the things I’ve been emphasizing, not only in the book but in virtual training is when you look at uncertainty in our lives in general. We love our uncertainty in our lives when we get to choose it, but when something like this is thrust upon us and there hasn’t been definitive timetables for like, “If we socially distance and stay at home for a month, then we’re going to be out of it.” It’s been open-ended. We haven’t known exactly how long it’s going to last.
There’s all of this uncertainty in our personal and professional lives. To the things that we can always hold onto, I will say control the controllables. Two things that we can always hold on to is one, we can focus on how much progress we’re making each day and not worrying about, “Am I as productive as I was on March 1st?” Be as productive as you can be and focus on moving the ball down the field. The other part that not enough people probably talk about is to keep some sense of structure in your days. I sent out an email to a few thousand people on my list and got a lot of responses. I ask them the open-ended question, “What are you doing to continue to outperform during this time?” I didn’t say personal, professional, anything else.
What many different people said was that they kept some form of structure in their lives. It could be something as simple as, “I go down to my favorite gas station, get a cup of coffee in the morning,” or “I still get dressed for work. Even though my home is now my home office. I still dress exactly the same. I still have my meetings at exactly the same time.” They had ways, even on a very small level that they keep a certain amount of structure when normalizing an abnormal situation that allows them to continue to be ultra-productive during those times.
The progress and the structure would be two things people could definitely use. One of the other things I heard back from many different people too are not being inward, being outward. They talked literally about, “How can I contribute to others? How can I serve others? How can I make others better?” That’s how all of their language and rhetoric was phrased. It was not along the lines of, “What am I going through during this?” It’s, “How can I support the people around me?”
We’ve been talking about that, servant leadership and focusing out. It’s so important. Scott, I appreciate you. How can we find out more about you? People who want to work with you, buy your books, tell us all the information.
All of my books are available on Amazon. Just type in Outperform The Norm. You’ll find the whole series. Otherwise, I’m @ScottWelle on all the social media channels. That’s also my website, ScottWelle.com. I’ve got some sweet book bonuses that go with all the books out there. If anything that I said made you a little bit curious personally, professionally or athletically, I do have a lot of different books out there to help people. I’m hoping your readers will check it out.
Thank you for bringing your lessons learned and sharing with people how they can outperform the norm, and use this opportunity as a way of self-reflection and creating the life and world that we all want to live in. It’s very good to have you here, Scott.
I appreciate it. Thank you. I’m a big fan of yours.
Thank you. Take care, everyone. See you next time.
- Chicken Soup For The Soul
- Outperform The Norm For Leaders: A Guide To Inspiring Peak Performance In Ever-Changing World
- Crushing It!
- @ScottWelle – Instagram
About Scott Welle
I’ve always dreamed of making a difference but had no idea how to do it. Actually, that’s not true. I had an idea. It was to be an author, speaker and coach. But I didn’t think I was good enough. Didn’t feel worthy. I was shy as a kid. I stuttered horribly and spent years in speech therapy.
(I sat in the back of the classroom and PRAYED that the teacher wouldn’t call on me to answer their question. Right or wrong, all I saw was my own inferiority to the other students.)
To make matters worse, I had horrible acne. And not the once-in-a-while surface pimples that come and go. I had large, cystic nodules that left their mark (literally and figuratively) and shredded my self esteem. I also grew up with an older brother that was an academic savant. Whether it was the ACT, SAT, GRE or a game of Trivial Pursuit, he excelled. For as long as I can remember, people raved about how smart and how “gifted” he was. I love my brother more than anything but I decided early on that I needed an outlet to compensate for these deficiencies. That outlet happened to be sports. And I did fairly well. We won a state championship in football and I went to five straight state golf tournaments (the only one in my high school’s history to do that). As much as I love the camaraderie of football; I appreciated the solitude and the individual responsibility of golf. Win or lose, it was on ME.
I went on to college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (go Badgers!). I tried out for the golf team two years in a row but didn’t make it. I wasn’t ready mentally and, point blank, I wasn’t Big Ten material. So, I drank. A lot. I used to joke that my four years at Wisconsin could be summarized as “blacking out a bunch of times and waking up with a degree.” It was a joke…but when you come from a long lineage of alcoholics, it’s more fact than fiction. Our lives are filled with defining moments, and one thing I DO remember about my time at Wisconsin was at the end of my junior year. I was getting ready to take a notoriously tough 5-credit class required for all Psychology majors, Experimental Psychology.
The class was 8 weeks and would require the majority of my time and energy that summer (time and energy that I would normally spend partying). I recall waking up before the first class had started and thinking: “Scott, you’re paying a lot of money to get C’s. You’re paying a lot of money to be AVERAGE. Can’t you do better than that? Aren’t you capable of more?” That lit a fire in me. I tried harder in that class than I ever had before. Partying got replaced with studying. In the end, I got an AB in Experimental Psychology.
I still consider it the highest grade I’ve ever gotten in my life. I always knew I was an above-average athlete but I had a newfound confidence that, if I applied myself, I could also Outperform academically. This led me to Georgia Southern, where I graduated with a 3.83 GPA and a Master’s Degree in Sport Psychology. I also wrote my first book the summer after my first year, The Dynamics of Modern Golf: A Comprehensive Guide to Peak Performance, that served a continuing education resource for sport & health professionals across the country. I don’t say any of these things to puff out my chest and blow my own horn. I suffer from the same insecurities, worries, fears and judgments as anyone.
But if I can find a way to overcome them, so can you. And THAT brings us to my mission – to help people Outperform personally, professionally and/or athletically, so they fall asleep at night knowing they’re making the most of their precious days on this planet. Life is a roller coaster, not a train ride, and mine has certainly had its fair share of peaks and valleys. But through these times I’ve learned from others AND learned from myself. I truly believe that we’re capable of much more than we realize, and if we’re willing to step up and courageously demand more from ourselves, the sky is the limit.
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