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Building Champion CEOs With Charmas Lee

BLP Charmas | Building Champions

BLP Charmas | Building Champions



There is no doubt about the skills that each of us possesses; what is often lacking is the right mindset to turn those into success. Charmas Lee, the Founder of Building Champions, has been transforming countless individuals in this regard for over 30 years. Charmas is a coach, motivational speaker, sports and fitness professional, two-time TEDx speaker, and the author of Think Say Do and other books. As he talks with host Bob Roark on the show, partake of the incredible wisdom he has accumulated over the decades in the areas of mindset, motivation, self-development, and personal mastery. With Charmas, you can learn how to make excellence a habit and success a default state.

Watch the episode here:

Building Champion CEOs With Charmas Lee

Our special guest is Charmas Lee. He is the Owner of Building Champions and the author of Think Say Do: Disrupting Systemic Cycles of Faulty ThinkingHe’s the author of six additional books. He’s prolific and a two-time TEDx speaker. He also speaks to Vistage groups across the country. Charmas, thanks so much for taking the time.

Thank you much for this opportunity. I’m glad to be here.

We’re going to have some fun. Tell me about your business and who you serve.

The name of the business is Building Champions. We specialize in personal and professional development. I’ve been a coach for over 32 years, eclipsed the 10,000-hour rule 2.5 times. What I’ve seen is with victory in site,  many people slip and settle for mediocrity. We create comprehensive strategies for those who are trying to move in a different direction, provide them  with a purpose plan and a clear set of priorities and get them to knock the ball out of the park.

I read the Think Say Do book. I also was lucky enough to see you speak at a Vistage group. I am exposed to your work. You’re working in the athletic arena at the Olympic level. You’ve done track and field.

I’ve had a chance to work with athletes in the National Football League, senior level of figure skaters, USA track and field, and the World Boxing Organization.

I think of figure skaters and boxers, they both got to move on their feet or bad things happen.

They’ve got to have excellent footwork, but more than that, they have to have the right mindset. They’ve got to bring the right mindset every single day, especially in the competitive environment.

Start with the vision and then move forward from there. Click To Tweet

Maybe years ago, the mindset wasn’t that much of a buzzword. I’ve got kids and I try to coach my kids and they’re older. We talk about mindset and approach. Having mindset and keeping a mindset are two distinct skillsets. When you’re working with the athlete that’s on the long grind to get to a honed edge, what do you do to help them keep their mindset? 

The most important factor is it’s going to start with their attitude. My responsibility is to ensure that they bring the right attitude so that they’ll have the right perspective. It’s funny how the mind works. Based on the attitude, it will determine how you see others and how others see you and it plays such a big role. The second thing is that we have to create a series of habits, practices, and rituals that they perform on a daily basis. I want them to get to a place where when they don’t perform a habit, practice, or ritual that we’ve designed, for example an AM or a PM ritual, they are very  uncomfortable. What that will do is that will set the tempo and press the agenda for the day, whether it be in the training or the competition environment. We implemented mental fortitude routines. We call them mental mastery routines.

Sometimes athletes are trained to put a full script together in black and white and memorize it, including sights sounds and smells and things of that nature of the environment they’re about to go into. They can visibly or visually see what’s going to take place during the competition, whether it be boxing or whatever the case may be. They already have a strategy in place for what’s going to happen. For example, if they get hit or have got to go from left to right or fall during an exhibition. They’ve already got this. I call it a Front Side Focus. My responsibility is to prepare them for everything. Condition the mind for success, the physical body for success, and have the right attitude as they embark on this journey.

I think about the inventory of tasks. What are the proper steps to get their mindset? How do you visualize and anticipate without fulfilling what you visualize, like falling down? You go, “I visualize that so I did.” What are the building blocks that you see when you’re working with an athlete that takes them from a challenging timeframe to where they can adhere to that mindset visualization process? What are the steps?

The first step, I perform an evaluation to determine where they are physiologically and psychologically. We do a full-blown assessment that determines what they are doing in their nutrition, with their sleep, with their exercise, what kind of attitude they bring to the table. It’s not just the athlete, it’s the CEO or the executive director or whomever I’m working with at that time. We perform a full-blown evaluation and then I have to meet them where they’re at. One of the mistakes I made when I was a younger coach was, I would mistake chronological age for biological age. You may have a young person who looks like they’re 25, but is only sixteen. I would want to train them like they were 25. When they’re sixteen, they’re sixteen.

What I have to do is I have to be smart about how we communicate the expectations. We also have clearly defined expectations, consequences, requirements for our results, but also be pliable a little flexible about what’s going on. Post-evaluation, we simply create a plan. We want to create a plan that’s pliable for both of us. I believe that you should have a bit of fun when you’re going down a journey like this. It’s important to enjoy the journey. I should say when it’s time to work, it’s time to work and when it’s time to play, I want you to play like there’s no tomorrow. If I can forge a link between attention and excellence with the athlete or the CEO or whomever I’m working with or the eight-year-old soccer athlete, there’s a good chance that success will occur.

The first piece is how can I establish rapport? How can we forge a link between attention and excellence? How can I teach them, Bob, to sell themselves on themselves? You’re going to get hit if you’re a boxer. You’re going to fall if you’re a skater. You’re going to get knocked into the stand if you’re a football player. If you’re a world-class surfer, trust me, you’re going to fall and it’s going to hurt. You have to learn how to get back up, sell yourself on yourself, remove the excuses. I provide them with some friendly accountability with one of my morning mantras or something to that effect. We keep them on track.

BLP Charmas | Building Champions


There’s a lot to consume. I think about the young CEO, they got in the job and it’s the first time that they’ve been a CEO. They go, “I now have to go and drive this operation properly and there are sets of skill stacks requirement.” When you talk to that younger CEO or even the experienced CEO that’s run out of bandwidth. You’re looking at building blocks, for you and that client, when you start to prioritize those building blocks, what’s your process to identify and then prioritize?

I think the first thing is vision. We want to reestablish the vision and I let the young CEO know. The CEOs are becoming younger and younger as you well know of some serious corporations.

It could be that we’re getting older. We just think they’re getting younger.

I asked them about the vision, and the vision that I want them to describe to me is the one where they’re swinging from the chandelier. I don’t want to talk about the mamsy-pamsy vision. That’s for a different conversation and for a different coach. We start with this vision piece. I have this thing called the Successful Wheel . It’s basically, do you have clearly defined  vision, clearly defined expectations for yourself and others? Do you have clearly defined goals? Are there clearly defined consequences? Are you results oriented? Have you learned how to manage energy and not time like outstanding performance do? One of the biggest things that the CEO is telling me, “We don’t have enough time.” Some of them have families and etc. It’s not about time, you need a deadline. You have to learn to honor deadlines.

We go through this process. We look at the success wheel find where they’re lacking. For example, the gentlemen or the young ladies give themselves a score of three on a scale of 1 to 5 and its vision. I’ll ask them a question. “What would your personal life look like in total victory? I mean total victory?” I would suggest that 65% to 70% of the time they have dismissed that aspect of their lives. They’re there to serve and they’re there to run the organization, but they forgotten about this personal piece. I talk to them about being selfish for the first 60 minutes of the day. Take care of yourself, invest in yourself first, make yourself the first check on your priority list.

For the remainder of the day, those other eleven hours you got to work, you can be selfless toward others. I also share with them about this vision piece. Most people don’t understand that vision is not a place that you go to. It’s a place that you come from. I heard that quote from someone else, “You have to learn to live it daily in every single dimension of your life.” It’s about your spirituality. It’s about your academics. It’s about your professional development. It’s about your family. How do you show up every single day? It starts with a clearly constructed vision. Those who have not designed a clearly constructed vision, when the obstacles get in the way, they seem to be the first ones who want to derail themselves from the prize. It’s an easy thing to do. We start with the vision and then we move forward from there.

I think about the opportunity to be distracted. If you could see my desk, you can tell that I don’t complete any single task at one time. It’s the nature of the beast, the rituals to come back and get re-centered, then you go, “Did I get the priorities of the day done properly?” The gratitude and family and the things that are important and have you taken care of those, it’s lost easily and subsumed by something else. The thing that I found interesting is we were talking about periodization. What I thought was interesting is that as I was looking at the definition, it had a lot to do with physical fitness regimen. I would be interested to hear from you is, where you started seeing the physical regimen go over to the business regimen application of that technique. 

Mindset promotes skillset. Click To Tweet

I’ve been a coach for years. I’ve worked with various levels of sport, little guys all the way into the big guys and girls, etc. What I’ve been able to do is learn what it takes to become a champion both on and off the field. If you would have told me years ago that I’d be doing this professional speaking and coaching outside of the athletic arena, I’d probably said, “Bob, you’re not telling the truth.” I wouldn’t call you a liar, but I probably say you’re not telling the truth. It became evident to me when I began to watch people with what I call unrealized potential. Meaning that I could see what they had in them, but they couldn’t see it. They would trip over the lines in the parking lot and I would think, “There’s something missing here.”

I simply took the same strategies that I use in the track or in the football arena, whatever the case, and I put together a curriculum. I began to test it out and it was an amazing thing. I found out that there were commonalities  amongst the  high achievers in the athletic, academic and corporate arenas  despite their giftedness, skill or ability. I determined that the skills of concentration and focus were the two primary pieces to affect actual performance. Here’s how this happens. We speak at approximately 125 words per minute. We listen at 400 words per minute. We think of 48 thoughts per minute. The mind has much time to wander. We are constantly distracted and bombarded with many things. I  determined that the first step, no matter who I’m working with is to forge the  link between attention and excellence.

The first six minutes of any training session, no matter what group I’m working with, it’s mental fortitude training. This is simply designed to remove the distractions that they’re dealing with every day. We call it “driving their attention forward.” You drive the attention forward and you get the biggest bang for the buck. I’ll tell you how powerful this piece is. I used to work with athletes five days a week, a couple of hours a day. We got good at this aspect of the mental fortitude training  and the rate of skill acquisition improve dramatically and we went from five days a week, two hours a day to 135 minutes a week total, and got the same or better result. Why? They were dialed in and focused. I can hold their attention for 45 minutes, three times a week. It was an amazing thing.

BLP Charmas | Building Champions


Once I realized that focus and concentration were essential, I began to drop into different environments and teach it. I taught it because,  I believed in it. I also applied it to my daily life as well. I  jumped in with both feet and ended up doing a couple of things. I began to study Neuroscience, the 10 human drives and  other sciences outside of sports science. Let me share this. There’s a rule out there called the 5/95 rule of human performance. It suggests that performance is 95% physiological and 5% psychological, but the 5% controls in 95%. It was Dr. Kenneth Henschen who discovered this. I adapted that rule and I created a stepwise approach titled Think Say Do, so I could give other people a stepwise approach to winning in life.

It is the 5/95 rule of human performance, with the latest discoveries in neuroscience couple with the background of a human performance specialist (me) in a language that they can understand. I.e., driving attention forward, putting the right habits, practice and rituals in place, committing to the habits, practice and rituals, bringing the proper energy and attitude to every single situation and demanding the most from yourself. If I’m working with you, you have different genetic ceiling than someone else would have. You may be able to achieve a whole lot more based on who you are. My responsibility as a coach is to close that genetic ceiling, year-after-year if you’re an athlete, CEO or whoever so that you can become the best in the world you can do what’s best for the world. That’s what I do on my side of the house.

Periodization is a strength and conditioning model that’s been around since the 1960s. We created what we call an undulating periodization model, which is effective for the corporate arena as well. In the old days it was  big bouts of work, big bouts of recovery.  The training chart would look like the heart of an EKG… Undulating periodization is much more effective. I can keep you operating at 88%, more days in the year and when you need to hit 100% you can do it with efficiency and economy of effort. This then followed by a planned (active or passive)  recovery.  Using  the standard periodization, you’re only good for about 4 or 5 races in a full year and the risk of injury is high. At 88%, I can spike you from time to time. You can peak more often and have greater longevity, fun and more important a life!  We put these same models in the corporate arena and teach our clients these things. One of the things that high performers Are good at it is how they see time.  They manage their energy not for time. How they manage energy is this. I’m 59. Energy is one of my strongest resources that I have to be careful. They keep the priority the priority. Time and energy sit on the same couch but  energy or resource allocation is the most important part.

Everybody has 24 hours in a day, seven days a week, 168 hours. It’s how you use that time. If I’m going to keep the priority and remove the distractions, I’m going to get more done than the next guy. I can stay focused longer than the next guy and I’m going to win. All of those things from a strength and conditioning side, rest and recovery and hydration and fueling. How can we keep you operating at a certain level for an extended period where when you show up, not only do you show up, you show out? It’s like, “I want to be like that guy. There’s something about him. Where did he get that?” When this individual walks into the room, he or she becomes the decisive element in their workplace. It’s like, “Did you lose weight? Did you get your hair cut? Are you wearing a new suit?” “No, I changed my mind. That’s all I did.” It’s a mindset that promotes skillset.

Years ago, I was at a meeting somewhere and they talked about the corporate athlete. They’re talking about the professional athletes in the arena for a short period of time by and large and said, “The corporate athlete can be in the arena for 40 years or more.” They talk about how you peak and recover, peak and recover to continue to perform for decade after decade. Some of the stuff that we were talking about before, you’ve got the corporate athlete. They’re getting better at mindset and being aware of effective time and being aware of being on task and bringing the energy. Periodically, you get beat down, something happens, family issue. We have a pandemic. What’s the ritual that you’ve suggested or trained into that person that lets them step back, assess, reset, and get going again?

BLP Charmas | Building Champions


The first thing I’ll share with you is that I think restoration is equally important as working. It’s important. My two cents to folks who are at this place where it’s not quite burn out, but they’re experiencing some faulty thinking, perhaps  a little disappointed, discouraged or  fatigued? The first thing is you have to find a way to find 45-minute escapes per day.  I call it ME time. I run-up to the local coffee house, sit there and warm up my imagination with a triple espresso compana with caramel and whip. It’s my mini celebration.  My clients bring me coffee cups from all over the world. From time to time, I’ll bring  a cup from China or some other place and I will imagine that I’m in that location. I’m telling you the mind is a powerful tool. What we have to do is we have to learn how to sell ourselves on ourselves.

We’re going to get knocked down. But by having a AM ritual in place it makes it easier to bounce back.  I’ll walk you through one example. One of the things that we share with whomever we’re working with is upon awakening, be incredibly territorial. Remove all the distractions. When you first wake up, it’s not the time to communicate a bunch of different things out loud or anything like that. As we speak, we create. The first thing we want you to do is to turn your attention inward and pay attention to your internal narrative (self-talk)  and think about thinking. It’s called Metacognition. In this day and time, thinking about thinking is something that  doesn’t take place. Once you attune to what’s going on in in your mind, if the words aren’t uplifting and powerful and complimentary, we have a responsibility to shift those words. Garret Kramer, the gentleman who wrote the book STILL POWER, suggest that thoughts and words are neutral we assign them their value.

Step one: Silence your mind. I call it serving the eviction notice to the freeloader that lives up there. You pay attention to the internal narrative and then you find the three words that are empowering to you and you begin to think and meditate on  those. This process takes time. It takes daily efforts of self-improvement but it does happen. I heard a psychologist say, “ Sometimes you’ve got a storm before you norm.” Things can get tough. Deal with that internal civil war. Find three words that are empowering. My words are powerful, impactful, and purposeful. Those are the three words that I’m going to have in my internal narrative, there is no discussion, no negotiation, no debate!  That’s the first part of think, say, do… As I think, I become.

Step two: Next I must deploy those thoughts, which means to articulate those words into the cosmos. I will simply use those three words, powerful, impactful, and purposeful, and I place the words ‘I am’ in front of them. I am powerful. I am impactful. I am purposeful. I AM, means right now in the present.  Not what I wish I was, or what I should or could have been. Its about  right now,  I embrace those words for the rest of the day. The next step is to take immediate action.

If I don’t take immediate action, I will operate 100% incongruent to the person that I choose to be on that day. This will create cognitive dissonance. These words are mere words unless they’re actionable. I have to take an action that demonstrates that I’m powerful, impactful, and purposeful. For me, it’s simple. I have a small breed Mastiff that sleeps with me. I rub him on the top of his head. I got a beautiful wife who lays next to that big old Mastiff. I give her a kiss. Powerful, impactful and purposeful, it can be anything I choose it to be on that day. That’s how I start the day. When my feet hit the ground and I get out of that bed, I express my gratitude for one more day.

I express that gratitude and I am sincere about having one more opportunity to create a positive change in someone else’s life because I can. This takes daily efforts of self-improvement. We call it, learning  how to “sell yourself on yourself.” The brain processes between 45 and 60,000 thoughts per day, up to 80% are repetitive. How would we know what we’re thinking unless we pause to reflect and find out? Our thoughts become a physical reality. They can become a physical reality and we need to pay attention to what we’re thinking. At any given moment, we are either selling ourselves on ourselves or selling ourselves out.  You’ve  heard it said “our biography can become our biology” so it is important to  stay in tune and live in moment to moment awareness. The first foundational piece, the first thing is to create this AM ritual.

This sounds juvenile as I’m speaking it. Most of us have exchanged an intellectual argument for the truth. In other words many folks believe that if it’s not complicated it won’t work…It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be these big, magical words. What is required is  consistent persistence. You go to work, get the job done, recognize there’s going to be a setback, but that’s okay. The setback is a precursor to moving forward. It’s part of the success formula. Put those bad boys in place and I tell you, you can make each day a glorified exhibition of brilliance. That’s the foundational model of the first step. As I think, I become. As I speak, I create. I do the work with passion, courage and enthusiasm. This is all about winning and winning BIG!

I think about the people out there that may well need this the most that will probably push back the hardest. They’ll go, “This sounds like some happy talk, self-talk or whatever mess.” He says, “We’re going to give it a shot because I don’t have another alternative. I’m far in the weeds. I need help.” Clearly, in the current environment, there are challenges in the business arena given all the lockdowns and everything else that’s going on health-wise in the country. When you talk to that person, how do you frame the expectation? “I want you to do this. I want you to anticipate that you’re going to have these stumbling blocks.” What’s that discussion like?

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Our world is going through a turbulent and uncertain time of change. Many have lost their sense of self. People who know what they want and who they are seem to be able to move exponentially faster and are more powerful than the others.  The first question is; “Who are you?”Do do you know who you are? We want to redefine the nature of your association with yourself and let’s find out who you are. The conversation will then go like this, “Whatever you want to accomplish, is going to require commitment.  This will take daily efforts of self- improvement. Let’s build a  foundation  I want you to commit yourself for the next 63 days to work on one habit. There’s a saying, “A rising tide lifts all ships.” I will provide the plan and a blueprint for success.

There’s one habit in our lives that if we’re willing to focus on and improve that habit, it will help affect the change in many other things. When I’m working with a high-performance  short sprinter, (100-meter dash)  I will work on the first three pushes 70% of the time. I’m training this athlete over a full year. The first three pushes are the things that will set him or her up at 60 meters, then again at 100 meters. It’s called ground force application. It’s the same conversation we’re having right now for the corporate arena. Those first three pushes are going to give you the foundation to run effectively with the economy of effort and  be highly successful at the 60-meter mark. I tell them to  focus more on how you’re showing up, not on how fast you’re progressing.

The first three pushes are like the first three thoughts of the day. They can derail you for success or they can position you for unparalleled success. That conversation is this, “It may not be simple. You may experience a couple of setbacks, but failure is  part of the success formula. Adversity and perseverance are also part of that success formula.” My responsibility is to provide that client with a blueprint for performance and achievement. That blueprint is my responsibility as a coach to give him or her what they need based on the evaluation process and provide friendly accountability. Would you want this face or this voice in your ear every morning? “Come on, Bob. Let’s get this done.” Maybe you would or maybe you won’t. Maybe you’d be the kind of client who says, “Coach Lee, you don’t need to call me today. I got this.”

You’ve got to want to be coachable. If you’re not coachable, then you’d better be self-starting and self-solving and figure it out for yourself. The thing that I thought was interesting with what you said, in the racing world, my partner races cars. He said that depending on how you qualify and how you get off the starting line predicate almost where you end up. I think about the first three steps on an athlete, and further on the first three steps of the corporate athlete. What are the first three things you do every day? I wonder how much gravity people put on that or recognize that or aware of the first three steps?

I would share with you that it’s a lost art. Those first three things we do in the morning, sometimes it becomes automatic that we don’t even know it. I call them  fixed action patterns. Typically, what I see especially with some of the younger CEO’s  is that the first thing they do before they even kiss their wife is they reach for the phone, or the  computer. When they do it, the first thing that happens is it’s going to create information overload, decision fatigue. The studies have shown that if we reach for that phone first thing in the morning, we become more reactive than we are proactive. It makes us harder to deal with at any given time in that day.

The other thing is it becomes exhausting. We only have a certain amount of mental real estate. My two cents on those first three things are these. Be territorial about your mornings. Brendon Burchard talks about this. He’s an amazing high-performance guy. Be territorial. This is the time that you sell yourself on yourself to invest in yourself. You set the tempo, then you press the agenda. The first three things, like the ground force application for the sprinter is: Pay attention to your internal narrative, remove all the distractions, Start each day with a purpose, plan and clear set of priorities then stick to the plan. There’s going to be a lot of competing agendas. Everybody needs something from you.

I have several responsibilities  as a husband, business owner, parent,  and community leader. So  I have a clear set of priorities on every single day. From time to time, I may have to do what I call a micro pivot. It’s part of life but ultimately, I’ve got my focus. I’m not going to get distracted.. It’s not going to happen. When I was going through this process years ago, I knew that this is the path that I was going down. I had competing agendas, friends, associates and other people who are wonderful people who all wanted a piece of my time. By the end of the day I didn’t have much accomplished.  I’ll  use an analogy that I heard from another professional speaker. He says, “You called the right number, but you are calling at the wrong time. I’ll call you back when I’ve reach my destination and we can have another conversation.” If you love me, don’t call me. I’m in it to win it.

BLP Charmas | Building Champions


I think about the choice of answering the phone call. Just because it rings does not mean you must answer. Many times, after you’ve been around, you’ve listened to several people talk about things you should do. Most folks are charged up and they go home and go, “This is what I want to do.” One, two or three days, and then the old creep and whatnot comes back on board. They can’t stay with it or they find a reason not to. What do you tell that person? 

Now we’re moving into behavior modification. I would say, “What does that behavior paying you to give up on your dreams? What is quitting paying you to give up on the design that you want to have on your life? What steps are you willing to take and the actions to remove that process?” I would tell that person to make sure they have themselves a good coach who’s going to keep them accountable. If you know your weakness, share your weakness.

You need somebody in your life who’s going to hold you accountable. I think friendly accountability is important. I also think that you have to be honest with people. Commit or quit. Make a decision to win. Be the best person you can be. You don’t have to be the best in the world, but it’s about commitment. If we can get somebody to show up for twelve days in a row, the first twelve days tend to be the toughest days to affect change or create a habit. You go through those first twelve days and psychologically, your mind goes, “I don’t see any changes. Why am I doing this?” James Clair calls it the Valley of Disappointment. “I haven’t lost twenty pounds,” or whatever the case is so they reverted to old behaviors.

BLP Charmas | Building Champions


The fact of the matter is that we’re building equity every single day. Right around day 31 or so, you wake up and you go, “hmm I performed my morning routine and didn’t even know it!” ? I look good.” That little endorphin will take you through 63 days and you’ll learn how to sell yourself on yourself. You got to keep doing it. Habits are habits because you continually work at them.  You don’t stop a habit. You keep doing it. I can tell you when you know you have creates a habit,  when you’re uncomfortable you don’t do it. You’re mad about it. That’s a long way of saying you got to have some stick to it ness.  Recognize that there are going to be some obstacles and barriers in your path. Don’t let that be the reason why you quit. Change takes time.

That’s framing much about that. You can expect along the way, you’re going to get to the point where you’re disappointed that you don’t see the immediate outcome. I’ve always been an early riser, but I’ve always been jealous of my early hours. I’m dangerous early in the morning. It’s about 8:00 at night and we’re shooting. Early in the morning, it’s quality time and the ability to think. Dealing with that chimp in the back of your mind that seems to have been active almost all the time and managing that little fellow. When you think about your prototypical or ideal corporate client, what are their problems or what do they look like by the time they reach out to you and go, “I’ve got this problem, issue and challenge. Can you come to help me?” Is it a specific industry or you crossing industry boundaries?

We’re crossing boundaries. We see in education an extreme amount of burnout. There’s a lot that’s going on in the education field right now. We certainly see it in the corporate arena where there are tremendous demands. Some of them are self-imposed. Some of them are external. We see it in the  athletic, academic  and  the corporate arena. I think what we have to offer from our companies  perspective is a global opportunity to improve  human productivity. There are many people in our world, individuals, teams, organizations, who are simply struggling to operate from the strength  of their highest self. It’s easier to operate from the strength of our lower self.

There’s Charmas and there’s Harmas.  I’d prefer to  to show up as Charmas all the time,  but we are a microcosm of the world. Everything that goes on out there affects us no matter what environment we’re in, academic, corporate, athletic, etc. There are three types of clients that we are afforded the luxury to work with. (1) High achievers, this group is performing well and are looking for a competitive advantage. (2) Clients who are middle of the road and would benefit from a fresh perspective, a new approach. (3)  Clients who  are close to burnout. They have lost their path. They’ve lost their focus or they feel like they’re spinning their wheels. I can’t tell you how to make more money. I’m not a financial guy, but I can teach you how to win in life. I’m going to teach you how to win in life and let that carry over into whatever dimension that it needs to be. We cross over many different dimensions, athletic, corporate, academic.

As you look across that spectrum, I don’t know that athletics, life, business and performance are disconnected. As you go through the arena and you’re working with a particularly challenging client or situation, family’s livelihoods are at risk. There may be some behavioral issues and the senior leadership and you step back from that. What do you do to put that away or compartmentalize or make sure that that’s not catching for you? Let’s say that I’m the corporate CEO. I’ve got 427 pounds of bad stuff going on. He’s got kids, family, lots of employees and you’re inside the narrative of this person and his life. How do you step out as a professional and not own this stuff that you heard or you’re trying to help? What do you do to put that away and not take it home?

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I establish clear boundaries for myself. I have to tell you that I had learned this hard way. I’ll give you two examples. When I was a young coach, I thought that when an athlete lost, I was the worst coach in the world.  It was an emotional nightmare.  Now I accept no responsibility for your success or your failure. I will simply give you the tools. I’m responsible to you, but I’m not responsible for you. That’s part of the conversation that I have upfront with my clients. I want them to be crystal clear that I’m going to do my job. I’m going to swing for the fence for them, but I am not responsible for the outcome. I’m responsible to the outcome. I’m going to give you what you need from this perspective.

I have a ritual that when I pull into the driveway, I’ve got a sign on a grease board and it simply says, “Done.” It’s my anchor word for the day. I pull in as I’m driving home, I’m thinking about stuff. There are many things that are going on and you don’t want to fail a client. You don’t want to fail your kids. You don’t want to fail your family. Buddhist monks call it monkey mind. It’s assaulted, toxic thoughts that come and go in there and they’re playing with you. I’ve got a grease board of mine in my garage with big letters that say, “Done.” When I see that sign, pull into the driveway, close that garage door, I am simply done. If I  perform my AM and PM  rituals like I’m supposed to, I can be done. If I haven’t performed my rituals  that done sign doesn’t mean anything to me.

BLP Charmas | Building Champions


I will cross the boundary and that  means that I’m not going to show up as royalty for my wife, whom I love dearly. I’m not going to treat her with the level of dignity and respect she deserves. That boundary in that garage door, done is done. I also select  times where clients and I will have conversations. I’m like you, Bob. I’m hot as the Chinese firecracker in the morning. I can solve the world’s problems for the first couple of hours in the day. Post my am rituals,  I front load my clients in the morning because that’s when  I am my best self and I do my best work. I also recognize there’s a time of day where I am no good for nobody. I simply don’t schedule work during that time.

When I show up, I want things to change. I think we have the ability to do that because as we speak, we create. We bring the heat and then you show up. Set boundaries. When we’re doing leadership training, there are two areas that are critical that  many of our clients struggle. Personal mastery and then leadership. Personal mastery is mastering the behaviors, thoughts, and actions. Leadership is what leadership is. They do sit on the same couch, but you have to master yourself first. You must make yourself a priority for the  first 60 minutes of the day. That’s how you set yourself up for a success. My favorite presentation is  called inspirational cooperation. It’s about personal mastery and leadership training. When we’re done with this presentation sometimes, I think the room’s levitating. It could be my eyes.

For me, I come from a military background. You lead from the runt. You hold yourself responsible. You don’t ask somebody else to do something you can’t personally do or you haven’t done. You look at those kinds of things or as I tell people, don’t do anything you can’t explain to your children. That’s a fairly good benchmark. You have mileage. I have a few miles. If you took the Charmas of today and you could offer advice to that young Charmas of years ago, what would be the nugget that you would provide?

The first nugget I would provide is I’d say, “Charmas, your mom and dad were right. Listen to your parents.”

Your parents would be gratified.

Listen to what your folks have to say. They’re not going to tell you anything that’s going to take you down a destructive path. I think the second thing would be is, “Charmas, enjoy the journey. You don’t know how long you’re going to be here. Why white-knuckle your life? Enjoy the journey from 12 to 80, whatever the case is. Enjoy the sports, the school.” I’d also say, “Charmas, be a nicer person.” I wasn’t always a nice guy. There were times where I didn’t even like myself so how could I be nice to you?

BLP Charmas | Building Champions


As you look back in your education, did anybody ever provide you a human operating manual?


They don’t teach you how to think about thinking. They don’t teach you necessarily critical thinking skills. They don’t teach you cause and effect. You get beat up for a while or you try to save your children from beating themselves up. It’s the, “Go make a new mistake. Don’t make all the ones that I made,” kind of thing. I think the value of being a lifelong learner and not reading what confirms your bias, challenge your bias, read something else, talk to somebody else with a different opinion, and be nice. I understand which seems to be missing in today’s discourses is polite disagreement.

You said something that struck a chord with me there. It hit at a visceral level, challenge your bias. To do that, it takes courage to challenge your bias. It’s easier not to challenge it. It’s easier for me to confirm my bias.

What I found through the years is if you don’t challenge your bias and go the what if the side of the house, it’ll beat you to death somewhere. You go, “That’s dumb. Why didn’t I think about that further or talk to somebody wiser or surround myself with smart people?” That old thing was Jim Rohn, “You’re the average of the five folks you hang out with.” Be mindful. I like the advice to yourself. I would urge you to reach out to Charmas if you have a question or a thought or you go like, “We’re struggling to get direction.” For them to reach out to you Charmas, how do they find you on social media?

BLP Charmas | Building Champions


You can reach out to me at We can have a conversation. You can find me on InstagramLinkedIn and also Facebook. It’s Charmas B. Lee. It’s also Charmas Lee Building Champions, but I’m out there on social media. Drop me a line, reach out to me. Let’s have a virtual cup of coffee and let’s figure some things out.

Most of my other shows before the distancing thing were in person. We’re now doing the social media thing. Is there a parting piece of advice you might offer to the folks that are maybe struggling a little bit or looking for something they can bring tomorrow? 

The same thing I would tell an athlete, “You’re never only as good as your last race.” Learn how to show up and strive every single day. At some point, being consistently persistent, it will affect the change that you want to see in your life and also in this country, You and I, we’ve been through some things. The challenges and the trial that you face will introducing you to your strengths, your experiences at some point will pay off as equity.  Just like you can pull the equity out of your house after several years. You can use that equity in the same way to swing for the fence every single day. I’m living proof of it.

I think about where does confidence come from? Confidence comes from small victories over time, not necessarily the enormous victory, “I did this pretty well. I can do something else maybe.” You think about the building blocks of confidence and skillset, and that’s exactly what I think you’re talking about. Charmas, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time and sharing. 

It’s been an honor to have this conversation. I hope that something that we’ve communicated will help someone in some capacity. Thank you so much.

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