Keep Leading!® Podcast Episode 044: Mastery Under Pressure

Keep Leading!® Podcast Episode 044: Mastery Under Pressure

Tina Greenbaum
Optimal Performance Specialist
Mastery Under Pressure

Episode Summary
Tina Greenbaum, an Optimal Performance Specialist, explained how she helps leaders using her “Mastery Under Pressure” executive coaching program that teaches Olympic-level mindset skills for peak performance in high-stakes and high-stress environments.

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Bio
Tina Greenbaum, LCSW is a High-Performance Specialist, Holistic Psychotherapist, Author, and International Speaker. With over 36 years of experience, she helps CEO’s, leaders and aspiring leaders to be effective by guiding them to find their own blind spots, both personally and professionally, and then supports them in getting the best from the teams they lead; ultimately leading to happier employees, increased retention and greater productivity. Using cutting-edge technologies, she combines the latest in neuroscience with ancient traditions of the East. She is the creator of the program Mastery Under Pressure, an executive coaching program that teaches Olympic-level mindset skills for peak performance in high-stakes and high-stress environments.

Website
https://www.masteryunderpressure.com/

LinkedIn
https://www.linkedin.com/in/tinagreenbaum/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/tinagreenbaum

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/tina.greenbaum

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/tgreenbaum3/

Get Your Copy of Tina Greenbaum’s Book!
https://www.masteryunderpressure.com/book/

Leadership Quote
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. So why not try something different?

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Mastery Under Pressure

Transcript

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Welcome to the Keep Leading!® Podcast, the podcast dedicated to promoting leadership development and sharing leadership insights. Here’s your host, The Leadership Excelerator®, Eddie Turner.

Eddie Turner:
Hello! Welcome to the Keep Leading!® Podcast, the podcast dedicated to leadership development and insights. I’m your host, Eddie Turner, The Leadership Excelerator®. I work with leaders to accelerate performance and drive impact through the power of facilitation, coaching and professional speaking.How do you perform under pressure? Would you like to improve? My guest today has built her business and wrote a book about mastering pressure. My guest today is Tina Greenbaum. Tina is a high-performance specialist who helps leaders be effective by guiding them to their own blind spots and then supports them to get the best from the teams they lead. She is the creator of the program Mastery Under Pressure, an executive coaching program that teaches Olympic-level mindset skills for peak performance in high-stakes and high-stress environments.

Tina, welcome to the keep leading podcast.

Tina Greenbaum:
Thank you, Eddie. Thanks so much. I’m so happy to be here.
Eddie Turner:
Please tell us a little bit more about you and your background.
Tina Greenbaum:
I am, by training, a clinical social worker, which means that I’ve been a psychotherapist for many years. And what I learned very early on is that people knew a lot about themselves but they didn’t have a lot of skill. And, by nature, I’m a teacher. And so, I found that my traditional Western psychotherapy training was only minimally effective. So, I used to say to people, it’s like “I hear you but I don’t feel you. And if I don’t feel you, you’re not going to change.” So, my whole career has really been about how do I help somebody change at a fundamental level because the body gets triggered before the mind gets triggered. So, we could talk, talk, talk, talk but if we don’t bring in the body and get into the emotions and that whole different language and other universe, then the change is frequently temporary. And like you, Eddie, I have a feeling I like to be really successful. And so, I’ve been on this path for a long time, really learning to understand how people tick, what makes us change, what makes us not change, and staying stuck in old patterns. And it’s been a pretty exciting career.
Eddie Turner:
“Actually, I hear you but I don’t feel you.” Interesting. So, you help people get to the point where they’re able to do both.
Tina Greenbaum:
Exactly, exactly. And in our Western culture, we’re not really trained to do that. And a long time ago my ex-husband used to say “Don’t let anybody know what you’re doing because they’re going to think you’re so woo-woo.” The truth is I’m not woo-woo at all. I’m very grounded but I had to find other ways that would work. And so, my first clue actually was at a yoga class where I got into that posture that’s called Shavasana or the corpse pose at the end of a class, where you just sit and you get into this deep state of relaxation. And when I first started, I was working with women with eating Disorders. And they were pretty tough and nobody had ever treated them before. And they gave us a book that said “Alcoholism,” crossed it out, put “Eating disorders” and said go. And I said “Wow! If I could only get those young women to get this relaxed because all addictions are anxiety based, then maybe I could be successful.” So, that was the beginning of this mind-body connection search. So, I’ve really kind of studied so many different ways to get under the conscious mind because the unconscious rules the roost. And so, we need two different languages to know how to manage ourselves – the mental side and the emotional side.
Eddie Turner:
Okay. And so, you put that together and developed a full program around this. And this is part of the Mastery Under Pressure Program approach?
Tina Greenbaum:
Yes, it is.
Eddie Turner:
Tell us more.
Tina Greenbaum:
So, just kind of going backwards, I had two kids that played very competitive soccer. One was up to the national level. And, again, I used to watch the kids play. And when it came to kind of right in front of that goalpost when they had a penalty kick to kick, it wasn’t the kick that they needed to practice. They needed to know how to focus and how to block everything out. My father was a great athlete and I loved sports. So, I started to study Sports Psychology so that I could help my kids. Well, Sports Psychology is actually Eastern thought. So, all the things that a great Olympic athlete trains within the mental side – focus, relaxation, dealing with negative self-talk, how to visualize, and dealing with fear – so those are the five areas where I started to concentrate because I was doing it sort of intuitively anyway and then I created it. If you never had any treatment or any help, Eddie, any and you came to me for the first time, these are the things that I would want to teach you. And that’s how I did it. I just sort of imagined that somebody was in front of me that had never trained before and what were the things that they needed to learn in order to be really successful. And so, I lived in Washington DC, I lived in New York City, I now live just outside of San Francisco. So, I’ve worked with a lot of very, very high-powered people, lot of lawyers, actors, dancers, performers, athletes, now tech people, serial entrepreneurs, CEOs of companies. And the truth is we’re all human. And I say that good mental health is not a natural sport. It’s a learned sport.
Eddie Turner:
Good mental health is not a natural sport. It’s a learned sport. How about that! Indeed. And I’m sure all those high-powered CEOs and athletes you work with pale in comparison to those two amazing young men that you raised, the lessons that you learned to developed while working with them.
Tina Greenbaum:
Yeah, I actually have three. The two were athletes. The other one was a single athlete but they’ve all learned the lessons. And one now is a father and I can just see the way he’s raising his children. And the truth is that’s my bigger legacy that I want to leave is really that the more people that I can help and then I can train, the more it will lead to the next generation.
Eddie Turner:
Very nice. Now, you mentioned what you did with your boys and my mind immediately went to my training early on in coaching. One of the people I learned about is Tim Gallwey and his approach and his landmark book The Inner Game.
Tina Greenbaum:
Exactly.
Eddie Turner:
So, you talked about your children not needing to focus on kicking the ball per se but working on their mind. So, is your approach similar what Tim outlined?
Tina Greenbaum:
Absolutely. I actually created a program with my husband who is a tennis instructor and it was called Tennis to The Max. So, I studied Gallwey and took a lot of his things and they’re actually in my program.
Eddie Turner:
Wonderful, yes. And it really is holistic. Oftentimes coaching is trying to only address one aspect, that being the external, but really getting into that mind, the mindset of a player before we start to work on the external skills and talents.
Tina Greenbaum:
Exactly. I haven’t used that title in a long time but I’ve always introduced myself for many years as a holistic psychotherapist because it is about mind, body, spirit, and emotion.
Eddie Turner:
And for those who may not fully understand these different modalities of therapy, can you talk a little bit more specifically about your modality of psychotherapy?
Tina Greenbaum:
Well, mine is actually a conglomeration. I don’t know where you would put it at this point but psychologists are traditionally trained to work with … they do a lot of testing very much with the inner mind. Psychiatrists, years ago before psychologists and actually social workers took over a lot of the psychotherapy practice, they worked a lot with medication but as a social worker, and the reason I love social work is because it is exactly the interface between the inner self and the outer environment, and so, when we’re looking at problems and I’m listening to somebody and trying to assess whether it’s a team or an individual, I’m always looking at where’s the action, where is the core part of the problem. Sometimes it’s internal and sometimes that’s the work that we need to do. And sometimes it’s external, it’s our environment but people frequently fall into the habit of things aren’t working. So, they’re changing locations, they’re changing jobs, they’re moving things in the external environment where the work really needs to happen inside.
Eddie Turner:
Thank you. And so, the idea of getting better with how we handle pressure and how we can master it, you talked about this in your book. Tell me a little bit about that, the first step that a listener can take if they want to get better in this area.
Tina Greenbaum:
So, I think the thing to understand is that in order to manage your emotions, you have to be able to have a calm body because the calm body leads to a quiet mind.
Eddie Turner:
A calm body leads to a quiet mind.
Tina Greenbaum:
Exactly. And the two things are completely interrelated. There’s nothing that you think that doesn’t get registered in the body somewhere. And there’s nothing that gets registered in the body that doesn’t somehow get registered in the mind.
Eddie Turner:
I like that. So, whatever I’m thinking is getting registered someplace in my body. Give me an example of that.
Tina Greenbaum:
So, let’s just imagine that you have a presentation to give. You’re an adult speaker. So, you can relate to this. You have a presentation to give and you’ve practiced but you know that you haven’t really done 100%, that there was more that you could have done and that you just didn’t have enough time. And this is kind of weighing heavily on you before you get on the stage. And so, if you’re focusing on “What I didn’t do and what I didn’t know and how unprepared I am,” your body is responding to that. We’re either in a state of expansion or a state of contraction. So, if we’re worried about something, the body contracts, the muscles contract. And depending on how much they contract, they affect the mind. And then the mind becomes very spinny. Did you ever have the experience where it’s like you’re talking but you’re not connected, you’re just kind of like a talking head and it’s like “Where was I?” And so, as we learned how to relax the body, even if that we’re inexperienced, that we had that we didn’t feel 100% prepared, if I focus on the things that I have prepared and that I can do well, then that chatter is more likely to go down because you’re not as focused on it.
Eddie Turner:
Interesting. What else can we do to get mastery of our emotions and our mind under pressure?
Tina Greenbaum:
So, we talked about focus. Just thinking about actually my own business today, we talk about goals and where we’re going and financial things and all that kind of stuff but the truth is if we don’t get the foundation correct and we don’t focus on our systems, we can never get to the outcome that we want. So, it’s where you put your attention, which kind of goes back to the last example. So, focus is critically, critically important. That’s the first thing. And in order to focus, we also have to know how to calm down the body. So, I start a lot with teaching relaxation techniques. The breath is the only voluntary mechanism that we have that can actually change our nervous system. So, let’s just say I’m nervous about something, I’m anxious, I have something that I’m preparing for, something that I’m presenting. If I spend some time and I relax the body and I bring back the things that I already know, then I’m much more likely to give a better presentation.
Eddie Turner:
Because some people, Tina, might say “Well, yeah, focus is easier said than done. I know I need to focus but my problem is I’m so busy” or “I have so many things going on. I’m under a lot of pressure. I’m under a lot of stress.” So, is it really as easy as what you make it sound like?
Tina Greenbaum:
I don’t mean to say it’s easy. It’s not easy but what happens is if you practice … So, in other words, let’s say I have a presentation to give it 5 o’clock this afternoon but I have spent months, almost daily, doing my meditation and doing my breathing. I am going to expand my body’s tolerance for stress. So, in other words, let’s imagine that I’m holding my hands up but you can’t see but your hands are parallel to each other. And so, you have a space in between these two hands. And let’s just say we were going to call this your buffer, your tolerance for stress. It’s called the window of tolerance. And so, here comes stress. I hit my tolerance. I have so much capacity. And then once I hit my tolerance, my nervous system goes into alert and then the hormones start to go and then I lose my concentration and I lose my edge. So, if you practice a lot of the techniques that I teach and, again, I didn’t make them up but I certainly have put them into a package, and if you practice them over and over and over again, you build up your body’s capacity to hold more energy. So, your buffer is bigger. So, here comes the stress. And instead of being “Oh my god,” it’s like “Eh, it’s another problem.”
Eddie Turner:
All right. So, Building Mastery Under Pressure is partially related to not only just focus and how we may breathe but how we can build a buffer to sustain us in times of stress.
Tina Greenbaum:
Correct.
Eddie Turner:
Wonderful.Well, we’re talking to Tina Greenbaum, a high-performance coach and psychotherapist, speaker, author, workshop leader. And we’ll hear more from her right after this.

This podcast is sponsored by Eddie Turner LLC. Organizations who need to accelerate the development of their leaders call Eddie Turner, The Leadership Excelerator®. Eddie works with leaders to accelerate performance and drive impact. Call Eddie Turner to help your leaders one on one as their coach or to inspire them as a group through the power of facilitation or a keynote address. Visit EddieTurnerLLC.com to learn more.

This is Richard Marker, a leading expert in philanthropy, and you’re listening to the Keep Leading!® Podcast with Eddie Turner.

Eddie Turner:
Okay, we’re back with Tina Greenbaum, a high-performance specialist who helps leaders become effective by supporting them to get the best from the teams they lead. And she’s talking to us about Mastery Under Pressure.Before the break, Tina, you were sharing some insights with us about how we can handle pressure partially by building up a buffer and by staying focused and you said that you also teach breathing techniques to people who attend your workshops. Now, in your book about this subject, you say something interesting in the introduction and you say “It’s likely that many will read the book and feel they know everything in it because it’s common knowledge” but then you go on to say something that resonated with me as a coach – “Common knowledge is not necessarily common practice.” Tell us a little more about what you mean when you wrote that.

Tina Greenbaum:
Pretty much that, Eddie. I think what I’m talking about people know all relaxation, negative self-talk, positive thinking. These are buzzwords right now. And yet, if I were to be in an audience and ask how many people actually practice these things, the hands go way down. And, as I mentioned before, if you’re doing mental training, it’s actually training. You are training the mind and the body to be able to tolerate more stress. And so, it’s all about the nervous system and how you handle the nervous system or how the nervous system handles stress. I had a wonderful teacher who said one time “We can only go as far as our nervous system will allow.” I just love that.
Eddie Turner:
We can only go as far as our nervous system will allow. I’ve never heard it put like that. So, I’m thinking about it from two perspectives. I’m thinking about that from literally the scientific perspective, biological perspective, but then thinking about that also from an emotional standpoint, emotional intelligence. Where do you fall on that?
Tina Greenbaum:
So, again, it’s a combination but let’s just imagine, and this, I would imagine, is very, very true for many of our listeners, you function and you look for people who are high performers in general. If you’re pretty high up in your organization, you already have a lot of these skills in place. And you also expect a lot of yourself. I would say it’s probably a fair statement. So, it’s not easy to start something new and not do it well. Just the way I was describing when I was starting as a therapist – I already wanted to be a master therapist before I even started. And so, in order to start something new and learn something new, we have to have, again, what the yogis call a beginner’s mind – not an easy thing to do for high performers. And particularly when you have people underneath you that don’t think as fast as you do, don’t move as fast as you, don’t have as much experience, that tolerance to be able to be a beginner or teach a beginner is something, again, that we have to be aware of because otherwise it’s like “Ah, I can’t believe that I can’t get this. I can’t believe that.” And so, then we start into that negative self-talk and that whole spiral that goes downward. So, we have to allow ourselves to be beginners. We have to allow ourselves to make mistakes, to not do something well, to build up that capacity one layer at a time. I remember when I was beginning, learning how to be a public speaker, and I was in Toastmasters and I used to get up and I used to put my hands on the back of my chair and I had a friend, I asked her to give me feedback afterwards, and she would say to me afterwards “Get your hands off the back of the chair.” She must have said it about six weeks in a row until I had the awareness because I was thinking about other things. I was trying to learn a whole bunch of other things. So, the whole thing about learning and learning something new and repetitive over and over and over again, we know this from driving a car, any skill that we want to be, we have to have that willingness to do it over and over and over and over again. And that then creates the new neural pathway. It’s now we have the science to prove what the yogis have known for thousands of centuries. We build that new neural pathway and that becomes the automatic new way of being but in the beginning, we have to think about it and we have to manage our thoughts and we have to, again, come back to focus. So, there’s a lot of layers to this.
Eddie Turner:
Yeah, when we’re building those new neurotic pathways, the synapses come into play and are certainly critical in helping individuals develop mastery, overcome addictions and all types of new habit creation, as we work with in the coaching profession.
Tina Greenbaum:
Correct.
Eddie Turner:
Now, the other obstacle at times to performance is we can’t see where we need help. We have blind spots. So, we can always see other people’s blind spots but we often have a difficult time seeing our own. What can a leader do if they want to master their ability to drive under pressure when it comes to blind spots?
Tina Greenbaum:
I think this is such a critical piece because everything comes back to awareness. We’re going to start with any kind of change work, any kind of thing, or any business problem, what are we doing that’s working, what are we doing that’s not working, what am I not seeing. So, all personal growth work, transformational work begins by raising your level of consciousness. Again, this is an ancient tradition but it’s about mindfulness. Mindfulness, actually, the definition is being mindful in the present moment, being aware in the present moment without judgment. Without judgment is a big key. So, again, let’s just bring it down to a concrete example. Let’s imagine that I am a leader and I have people that annoy me and I’m aware that they annoy me quickly and I may be a little short with them. So, I have that level of awareness or I don’t even have that level of awareness and I keep getting that feedback that people aren’t paying attention, they’re not listening to me, they’re not respecting me in the way that I want to be respected. So, that requires, number one, a commitment to do the internal work, the investigative, introspective work, to “What do I notice? What do I notice?” ‘Notice’, again, is the operative word. And the phrase “What do I notice about myself? What do I notice when somebody comes into my field and I’m annoyed by them? how do I respond?”
Eddie Turner:
What if a person has an issue with really understanding the reality of that? They may still be perceiving that they are responding. They may say in an appropriate way whereas others are looking at and going “Are you kidding? It is so inappropriate.”
Tina Greenbaum:
Correct. So, therefore, we all need a coach. I have a woman that I work with. I go to her once a month. I love her to death. And what I love is that I can come with my issues, just the things that are going on for me, and she sits back and she says “You know, this is what I’m seeing” or “This is what I’m hearing.” And she can take all these things that I’ve been talking about that seem maybe unrelated and she just draws this beautiful painting – “Let’s look at this. Let’s look at this. And let’s look at this.” And behavior runs in patterns. Sometimes people think “Oh, there’s so much wrong with me” or “There’s so much that I have to …” No, it’s not really true. There’s only a certain number of patterns. And those are the blind spots frequently that we fall into over and over and over and over again. So, number one, we need to know them. And, number two, it’s really important to have somebody to give you that level of feedback where you can just be yourself and not have to be on and not have to be the leader at that particular time and sit back and have a trusted advisor, where you both know your issues and somebody can help you really kind of say “Ah, just look over here.” I always like to say “All you have to do is just turn my head a certain way? Oh, I get it because I know myself so well but I missed this one but now that you’re telling me, oh, yeah, that fits into that pattern.” And, of course, then it’s coming up with behavior changes, the level of awareness and then how you’re going to change. And you do it over and over and over and over and over again. And you may not do that nasty annoying thing.
Eddie Turner:
All right. Well, very nice. Thank you for sharing that, Tina. So, you’ve given us a lot to think about today. How would you summarize what we’ve discussed?
Tina Greenbaum:
I would summarize in the fact if you want to be the best version of yourself, it requires work, just the same amount of work that you put into your profession. And that work is transformational. Transformational really means coming back to your most authentic self. So, people love to be around people that are real, that have vulnerabilities, that can laugh at themselves, that are humble and have humility. And the way to do that is you become a student of yourself. And so, the way that I’ve learned to do this and it’s been successful for me and so many of the people that I’ve worked with, it is a mind-body approach – learning how to calm down the body so the mind can be clear, learning how to work with your thoughts so that you can shift them, and we didn’t get too much chance to talk about it, but shift them into what I call productive thinking so that you have a toolbox of skills that no matter what the situation, you have something that you can pull out and you say “I can use this right now.”
Eddie Turner:
All right. Thank you, Tina. This is the Keep Leading!® Podcast and we like to make sure to give leaders a quote or an anecdote that they can use to keep leading. Do you have a quote you’d like to share with our leaders?
Tina Greenbaum:
This is the one that I learned a long time ago from one of my teachers and it has kept me going all these years. And it goes “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. So, why not try something different?”
Eddie Turner:
Wonderful. Well, thank you for sharing that quote. How can my listeners learn more about you?
Tina Greenbaum:
I have a website. It’s under my name – TinaGreenbaum.com. And I also have a quiz if you Go to MasteryUnderPressure.net. It takes five minutes to do. And you can go down these five different things that I talked about and see where you sit on these different categories of Mastery Under Pressure.
Eddie Turner:
Wonderful. Well, we’ll be sure to put that in the show notes so folks can reach out to you, take the assessment, and know the next steps to Mastery Under Pressure.Thank you for being a guest on Keep Leading!® Podcast.

Tina Greenbaum:
My pleasure, Eddie. Thank you so much.
Eddie Turner:
And thank you for listening. I’m Eddie Turner, The Leadership Excelerator®, reminding you that leadership is not about our title or our position. Leadership is an activity. Leadership is action. It’s not the case of once a leader, always a leader. It’s not a garment we put on and take off. We must be a leader at our core and allow it to emanate in all we do. So, whatever you’re doing, always keep leading.

Thank you for listening to your host Eddie Turner on the Keep Leading!® Podcast. Please remember to subscribe to the Keep Leading!® Podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen. For more information about Eddie Turner’s work please visit EddieTurnerLLC.com.

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The Keep Leading!® podcast is for people passionate about leadership. It is dedicated to leadership development and insights. Join your host Eddie Turner, The Leadership Excelerator® as he speaks with accomplished leaders and people of influence across the globe as they share their journey to leadership excellence. Listen as they share leadership strategies, techniques and insights. For more information visit eddieturnerllc.com or follow Eddie Turner on Twitter and Instagram at @eddieturnerjr. Like Eddie Turner LLC on Facebook. Connect with Eddie Turner on LinkedIn.