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In this episode Steve and Jason discuss:

  • How humans respond to change
  • Utilizing our ability to respond
  • Asking growth-oriented questions
  • Three practical ways to reduce stress


Key Takeaways:

  • We tend to evade and resist change when we can. It’s an instinct that we, as humans, all have.
  • We all have the ability to respond to our current circumstances with stress and anxiety, the other side of that coin is that realizing that means we also have the ability to choose another response.
  • When asking the question “why am I stressed?”, ask it with curiosity and a desire to learn from the feeling.
  • Develop better sleep hygiene, maintain an exercise habit, and practice meditation.


“I know it doesn’t feel good but how empowering it is to realize that - if you realize that you’re choosing stress as a response - the day you realize that is the day you can learn to choose something else.” - Steve Scanlon


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Jason And Steve: Growth Mindset In Scarcity

Welcome to this episode of The Insight Interviews. Steve, do you want to say hello?

I'm usually the guy doing what you did. It freaked me out.

I figured I’d do it for you.

When I bring people on like that, I don't prep them. We say that a lot. This might sound insecure. I’d tell the guests, “Can you tell people you've not been prepped?” They're like, “Yeah. I'm freaked out. I don't know what you're going to ask me.”

We talked about a few things. You don't know where I'm going to go right now, which is exciting. It's good stuff.

Now I'm sitting on the other side. I noticed that I feel a little nervous.

That's good. A little edge, a little nerve will be good for this episode.

Take us where you’re going to take us.

We've got a workshop that has gotten some rave reviews. The only point of me bringing that up isn't the rave reviews but the way that it's been able to help people. You and I decided, “Let's push record and get an episode with some of the elements of that workshop. Record it and out to our subscribers.” That's what we're doing.


Human beings aren’t great at change. They resist because that’s their instinct.

The name of that workshop is Maintaining a Growth Mindset in a Season of Scarcity. Steve, I would love for you to start riffing on it. You've facilitated that workshop the most in our group. I'd love for you to maybe first give some context of why we're even doing that right now and then we'll start riffing on the elements of the workshop.

I like the context. Why are we doing it? It made me think that you and I have done these interviews before. This topic comes up and it has come up in our interviews many times because we own a mindset coaching company. The concept of mindset is going to continue to recur in our worlds. It's come up with many of our guests. It comes up often like, “Mindset.”

When we have a pervading mindset, when the wind is blowing in a certain way, it caused us to look around and go, “How can we address this mindset?” The mindset that we're talking about is, if I'm being honest, the idea of a growth mindset in a season of scarcity. I don't think it takes a bunch of research to figure out that many people, many of our clients feel like, “Whoa.” The economics have changed dramatically. The environment has changed.

We study the brain. We look at mindset. I certainly don't know everything there is by any stretch of the imagination. Here's one thing I do know, human beings aren't great at change. We resist it and it's partly a survival technique. If what we did brought us to where we are, then there's this pervading thing that says, “Why change?”

When change gets thrust upon us, we all watch our own brains go, “Whoa.” I'm going to claim in my own world and the world around us, one of the ways that we deal with this is by exhibiting stress, anxiety, fear, fret, or concern. I've been telling people to pick a word. I was in a workshop and this woman raised her hand and I said, “You keep using the word anxiety.” She said, “I'm not anxious. I just have a lot of worries.” She was serious.

Inside of me, I died laughing. Everyone else around her laughed too. She wasn't kidding. By the way, there could be some clinical differences between fret, worry, fear, and anxiety. The way that I've been looking at it is does our response to our environment, whatever word or emotion you put to it, secrete cortisol? Does it cause cortisol to increase? If it does, how do we navigate that?

First of all, the group of people that follows our show is a group of people that desire a growth mindset. That's why they engage an organization like ours, to begin with. The season of scarcity would be global, political, or geopolitical things that are happening in the world right now, whether it's things more localized nationally, whether it's political, or otherwise. If you're starting to get the microscope a little closer, maybe it's the market we're in right now, the economy we're in.

What does that mean to the real estate and real estate finance industries? What's going on? You don't have to look very far to see scarcity. That's why we say, “Who is it that typically seeks out organizations like ours, mindset coaching companies?” It’s people that either want or desire or their go-to is to have a growth mindset in a world where it's easy to look around and not see a growth mindset, the opposite of scarcity right now.

We can dive into a few of the elements of what the workshop is about because we might want to help people even on our show. You might walk away with some insights. That's the reason we have The Insight Interviews so that people can have some insights. There's an element of something you said. This is the classic riffing. You had no idea I was about to bring this to the table. There's something that when I listen to people and we respond to what people are saying and they ask me as a coach for a response.


Graphics - Caption 1 - TII 112 Jason and SteveGrowth Mindset: If people as a culture continue to live with the overriding current of anxiety, worry, fear, and anything that increases cortisol, it’ll be very difficult to maintain a growth mindset.


I've been responding to something. To be honest with you, Jason, I listen to my response about this topic. Have you ever had this where you're responding and you're not quite getting the message across? I get done with that conversation and I'm still scratching my head. Maybe you can help me in The Inside Interview and get this message across. You always love live examples. I had a client come in and we were talking about scarcity. We were generally talking about the environment, “It's tough. It's this. It's that.”

His spouse was also in an environment that was tough. He used the language, “We're both under a lot of stress.” I paused. This is the part where I tried to articulate this. Maybe you can help me with this. When we use the language, “We're both under a lot of stress,” I don't doubt that stress and anxiety are part of the human condition. We experience this. If we're under stress and we use that as language, maybe we've stopped seeing that our ability to respond to stressful things is a gift.

Do you see what I'm saying? I don't want to tell someone, “You're not under a lot of stress.” I know they feel that. What I'm trying to ask is, do you think that the same circumstances can happen to you? Whatever you think, you're under stress, but you have the ability to choose a different response than stress. Do you believe that you have the ability to maybe have the same circumstances happen but choose a different response? This person paused and it was an honest moment. Do you know what he said?

I’d love to know.


That answer opens up a good discussion right there.

As he thought about it more, this was his insight. He was like, “Whoa.” I got to protect this individual. I was in the midst of his insight. He was like, “These things happen. You're helping me see that I'm choosing stress as a response to these circumstances. It's a choice that I'm making.” Now that didn't feel good. He would rather have it be like, “My feelings are external.” I was like, “I know it doesn't feel good, but how empowering it is to realize that? If you realize that you're choosing stress as a response, the day you realize that is the day you can learn to choose something else.”

No matter what comes your way.

To me, while it might not feel good, I didn't mean to indict him and say, “You're choosing it.” If you realize that, all of a sudden, we can begin to explore, “That same stuff happens.” People say, “This happens.” The market goes this way. The money goes that way. The people go this way. What if they did that and your ability to go, “That would normally cause me to respond like this. What if I chose this instead?” It was a great thing. It's difficult because it feels accusatory to say, “Jason, if you're stressed, you're choosing that.” I don't mean to accuse people. I'm not trying to accuse. Even with myself, I choose stress sometimes.


Stress is a choice that you make. The day you realize that is the day you can learn to choose something else.

With the example that you gave, you asked questions about where he came to the insight. You didn't say, “There's another response for that.” You asked some questions and he was able to come to his insight. A good coaching technique, by the way. I'm throwing that out there. I love that example. If somebody reading this is going, “The market is challenging.” It is scarce. Walk us through some elements of this workshop where somebody might walk away from reading this episode going, “That is helpful. I see. Now I can benefit in some way from some insight that I'm getting from the element of the workshop.”

In a lot of ways, we addressed and hopefully made tangible the first element of the workshop. I'm going to tell you the story of how I interviewed Dr. Emma Sarro. She's a professor at Brown University. She's now the lead scientist at the NeuroLeadership Institute. Hopefully, soon, people will hear her on The Inside Interview because I did an interview with her.

I asked her about her growth mindset and I put her on the spot. I said, “You're the academic of the two of us. If you were going to teach a class on a growth mindset, what would be part of that class?” She whipped out these five things. I'm diligently taking notes. To be honest with you, Jason, I took those five things. I asked her permission, by the way. I then turned it into a workshop.

I can give you the five things and maybe we can do that. What I realized is there was a pre-work to the five things, which is the first thing we talked about in the workshop.

If we, as a culture, continue to live with the overriding current of anxiety, worry, fear, and anything that increases cortisol, it's extremely difficult to maintain a growth mindset while we're under the veil of worry, fear, and anxiety. This is hyperbole. It’s an exaggeration to make a point. The first part of the workshop is helping people listen to this and go, “Let's first continue to learn what it means to choose a different response to our stimulus and our environment so that we can get better.” If we keep anxiety, fear, and worry present, then you and I talking about a growth mindset, whatever.

The prefrontal cortex says, “That makes sense.” It's not like people won't make sense of it. It'll be difficult to bring it into your life. The first thing that I try to address in this workshop is back to how can we be in this scarce world? You mentioned some of those things like economics, interest rates, this is happening, and that's happening. There are people reading going, “These two guys know that's real, right?”

I don't want to ignore that. Partly why I gave some of the context up front is there are some things that are happening right now that are tough external. This is more about not going, “It's not that bad.” That's not our intention. Our intention is going, “There are some tangible things that might be viewed as not so good right now, but what are we going to do about it?” If you want to maintain a growth mindset, which means that you want better relationships, be more productive, lean into your health, and different things, what is it that you can do to have that mindset or maintain it in the midst of all of this?

You had asked me to give a few highlights, an overview, and make it real. We should do that. We shouldn't bury the lead and tell people nothing, like, “I'm going to give you some of what Dr. Sarro said.” Number one, let's learn to relate to stress differently. That's the number one thing. My point is if we can do that, then we give ourselves a fighting chance at a growth mindset. If we can’t do that, a growth mindset is difficult to sustain and maintain. Instead, we’ll walk around going, “This is happening and that's happening.”

I was the keynote speaker at a mortgage association event. I’m walking around listening to people talk about, “This is happening.” It was bad. I’m like, “It's real.” To your point, our work isn't to go, “Do you know what we're going to do with a growth mindset? We're going to pretend that stuff doesn't exist.” We look that stuff in the face and say, “It absolutely exists.” How do I relate to its existence differently? It’s a very different process than going, “We're going to be positive and ignore the negativity.” You and I don't do that.


Graphics - Caption 2 - TII 112 Jason and SteveGrowth Mindset: Invite stress into your life so you can learn from it. It can either be your greatest teacher or your greatest enemy. Will it teach you or crush you? You get to choose.


We lean into it. Here's a question I have for you. Steve, give us a few items that we could do three episodes on the answer to this question. How do we relate differently to stress?

That's one practice of metacognition as you and I coach through that with our clients. That's a whole episode by itself. The practice of metacognition is exactly that. It's becoming very aware. When you feel stressed, I'll give you a tangible how-to. Some people might teach, “Push that away. Only think positive.” What we teach and what I would invite people to practice is to ask a different question about the feeling. The question is, “Why do I feel stressed?” Let me ask the question in two tones. You can get the tone of the same question and hear a completely different meaning. “Why am I so stressed?” If I asked myself like that in that tone, what do you hear, Jason?

Almost a defeatist type of thing.

You might as well as add a comma, “You idiot.”


“Why am I stressed?”


Growth. It’s like, “What can I learn from that?” This is going to freak people out. My coach, in a weird way, invites it. He can go, “What can I learn from that?” As it turns out, it can either be your greatest teacher or your greatest enemy. The response to our environment, will it teach you or crush you? As it turns out, you get to choose. You asked for a tangible thing. It comes under the context of a question. Ask yourself that question when you're willing to. I would invite you to also pay attention to the tone because the tone makes all the difference in the world. One is defeatist and the other is growth-oriented.

Relating to stress differently, that’s one technique to do that, which is great. What other elements have you got for us?


No drug or therapy we know of can supplant or do any better than a brisk walk.

There are three tangible things that we go through in the workshop. I'm happy to give you all three. I don't know that our readers are going to be like, “None of these.” You can certainly make comments on them, Jason. I don't think of these things as like, “I've never heard that.” I'll give you three. I'd like to hear what you think.

Number one, do you want to reduce stress in your life? There's no medication. There's no technique. There's no talk therapy. There's no coaching. There's nothing that can beat sleep as a mechanism for cortisol reduction that we know of. I've studied neuroscience and I've heard other neuroscientists talk about that. The number one way is sleep. Get good sleep.

We've said that till we're blue in the face, but then that begs the question of, how do we do that? You and I have all these ways to get better sleep, but we know that people have a lot of habits in and around that. Practicing better sleep hygiene is a different way to think than just telling people to get better sleep.

With a quick Google search, there are all kinds of different ideas out there that work for different people around sleep hygiene. It’s number one by far. Since we started studying this years ago, Steve, I've used myself as a little internal petri dish and I analyze the heck out of it. When I get good sleep, I am so much better at engaging the world. Even when stressful situations do come up, I'm a better version of myself and I’m able to tackle those situations differently. Many would say, including myself, it’s better when there's a good night's sleep involved. Not just one good night's sleep but good sleep habits and sleep hygiene.

There's a whole episode dedicated to this. I do this in the dang workshop, too. Unfortunately, it starts going down a cul de sac or a rabbit path. Pick one of those metaphors. The next thing you know, we're talking about getting better sleep. Every time I find myself doing that, I keep relating it back to, “Remember what we're talking about.”

We're talking about the reduction of cortisol so that our brains operate better. We're talking about better brain operations so that we can have a growth mindset. If you don't keep making that link, the next thing you know, people feel like they're in this workshop going, “I wasn't sure what we were here for.” Get better sleep. Get good exercise. That one falls under the category of things that make people go, “Duh.” Yet, what percentage of the people in our world still need that? That's what kills me. The knowledge is there. I still wonder about the application.

Steve, our baseline workshop that we started years ago was thriving through change, which described exactly that. There's a gap between the knowledge and the doing. We talked about how to bridge that gap.

You and I are like, “That's right.” Maybe we thought, “After we have Rewire for a certain amount of time, that gap will no longer exist.”

As long as there are human beings, that gap will exist. I'm even guilty of this from time to time still. Even though I teach this stuff, it's not the exercise to get bigger biceps, so you look better on the beach. It could be a walk around the block to get the body moving. There are all kinds of different formats. In the context of what we're talking about, with the growth mindset, reducing stress and cortisol, it's simply moving your body.


Graphics - Caption 3 - TII 112 Jason and SteveGrowth Mindset: The number one way to reduce stress is a good night's sleep.


In another workshop that we have and that we do live with people, I show a video of Dr. John Arden. You can look him up. He was in Sacramento, California. He's got this great video. This is a fairly, rigorously, academically sound guy. He's going, “You want an instant hit of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.” He talks about all these positive neurochemicals. In an instant, he’s like, “There is no drug that we know of, there's no therapy that we know of that can supplant or do any better than a brisk walk.”

That's the type of exercise that we're talking about. That can be done. It doesn't matter the weather, the time of day, or whatever. On bad weather days, because my dad would run every day, he used to run circles in the house and up and down the stairs because of what we're talking about. Get it in. Get the heart rate up a little bit. Get the body moving, change your pattern, and get the chemicals that you talked about going. There are a lot of different ways.

One of the things that bug me about The Inside Interviews is I sit for the whole thing.

Stand up, brother.

I know, but then I'm far away. There are all these problems. I'm not

Me yelling at you, how does that feel?

We can't get into meditation, but those are the three things about stress reduction that we talked about, sleep, exercise, and meditation. We're going to run out of time and we’ve got to get going here. I don't think I should give you all five of Dr. Sarro’s things. People can read The Inside Interview. Better yet, they can have us out to do one of the live events because we go through this in great detail and give people tangible things.

I will tell you one of her five points of maintaining a growth mindset. It comes in the way of what she called protecting the limits of your mind. It means that we have a certain amount of energy every day. If we don't understand the boundaries of the limits of that energy every day, we're trying to go past it and do this, or we're super tired, she's like, “That would have to be part of my class.” You're not going to maintain a growth mindset if you're not being respectful of the energy that you have to expend.

Our bodies, even our minds, and our brains, there are limitations. Think about anything in the physical world or mechanical world. Take an airplane, for instance. The FAA has very regular and rigorous schedules and instructions when an airplane needs to be maintained. It's all proactive. Even if the plane is flying great, it still comes in for its regularly scheduled proactive maintenance and checks and those types of things. For us not to do that with our bodies and our brains is short-sighted because of exactly what you're talking about.


Success in business and life consists not only in the pursuit of excellence but in the humble willingness to start over.

It was one of her five ways to maintain a growth mindset in a scarce world.

In the manner in which you talked about relating distress differently, you gave three specific elements, sleep, exercise, and meditation. Meditation can start with taking a deep breath. If you feel a response that doesn't feel comfortable, for whatever reason, taking one deep breath is a great start for many different reasons.

I don't want to concentrate just on meditation but on those three. We've seen examples of clients dealing with some crazy external stress that we've already identified, focusing on those three elements. It's not just, “We're going to reduce our stress. Isn't that great? Kumbaya.” It's doing those three things and concentrating on their sleep, paying attention to moving their bodies, and meditation, whether that's in the form of journaling, a certain song, taking a breath, or whatever it is.

The results that they're getting from it are outstanding. It’s very different from the results of most of their peers in the same industry. I want to make sure that we see, “It sounds good to do all that. We reduce stress.” The end result isn't just to reduce stress. The end result is to get to that thing that it is that you're one more of.

You and I always want to give specific examples. We got to protect the innocent. We're not going to use names. You want a tangible result. One of the things of a growth mindset is a result of a thoughtful way to address the outside world. Here is something that's tangible happening. When you can practice better brain hygiene and do some of the things that we do with our clients, here's one of the things that happen. You increase creativity. It’s precisely what so many people need right now.

I had a client come in. We sat in one of our meetings and instead of talking about, “This is happening,” we did a little of that because we wanted to be in the know of what was going on. We then did a brainstorming session of, “What if we did this? What if we did that?” If you are one who can do that and you're bringing creativity to a scarce world, you can crush it because you're thinking of ways to go, “What if we did this? What if we did that?”

We had this idea of doing this one thing the way that we're going to do clients or whatever and use a piece of technology. This client said, “I'd never thought about that if we didn't intentionally sit around and get creative.” We both realized that you wouldn't intentionally sit around and be creative if you're tired or stressed. You don't need to study neuroscience to figure this out. Do you know how hard it is to be completely stressed out and creative at the same time?

Extremely near impossible.

We worked on relating to stress differently, which is a targeted way to not tell people, “Don't be stressed,” because we say that to people. Never tell people, “Don't be stressed.” That's a horrible thing to say.


Graphics - Caption 4 - TII 112 Jason and SteveGrowth Mindset: If you can bring creativity to a scarce world, you can crush it.


What a great way to get a stress response.

I always tell people, “Have ever said don't be stressed to somebody and have that person go, ‘Thank you for saying that. I was going to be stressed until you said that. Now I'm going to not be stressed because you said that.’” It's a horrible thing. What we're inviting people to is how can we learn how to relate to stress differently? It comes back to coaching. You're asking them, “What are some ways that you could relate?” They then give you a situation, “This happened.” What are some ways that you can think of to relate to that? It's remarkable when people can create and have their own insights.

I’m more excited now about our workshop after you and I dug into some of the elements of it. Steve, you and I teach these things. Even as we're talking about sleep, exercise, and meditation, I'm recommitting myself to those things because I know that they work to get the results that I'm looking for. I am one of those people that likes to maintain a growth mindset, even in the midst of whatever the heck is going on. I'm going to commit to our insight world. I'm going to recommit to those three elements. That was the main insight that I had. How about you?

The same thing. That's why you and I have that as a core value. Practice what we preach. We coach better from the places that we're working on than we might with things that we think we've mastered. Thank you for your commitment to that. It's a positive commitment. Meditation, I have studied that, read about it, and I know about it. I agree with it. It is still very difficult for me to practice. I've been recommitted to that for a little while.

Your buddy, Dale Carnegie, had that great saying, “Success in business and in life consists not only in the pursuit of excellence but in the humble willingness to start over.” You and I are coming together. We own this company. We're doing this great stuff. Yet, we have to have the humble willingness to go, “I'm going to start that over.”

I would invite the readers, if that strikes a chord with you and you're having your own insight and you'd like to recommit yourself to some of those things, please do it. As we say on every episode, we can have all the insights that we want, Steve and I. It doesn't much matter what our insights are. What matters is what we are your insights. Thanks for reading. Steve, thanks for the conversation.

Thank you. See you. Thanks for reading.


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