Travis Thomas has experience in a wide spectrum of careers from improv comedy, to writing, to coaching professional athletes on the U.S. Men’s National Team. As a driven performance and culture coach, Thomas published his first book “3 Words for Getting Unstuck: Live Yes, And!” in 2016. He is passionate about inspiring others, and believes that anyone can discover their brilliance by committing to purpose, authenticity, and life-transforming collaboration.
Brett Gilliland 00:00
Welcome to the Circuit of Success. I’m your host, Brett Gilliland, and today I’m fired up, man, I’ve got Travis Thomas with me, Travis, how you doing?
Travis Thomas 00:06
I’m doing well. Thanks for having me.
Brett Gilliland 00:07
It’s good to have you.
Travis Thomas 00:07
Yeah, let’s let’s let’s jump in the for those of you who can’t see if you’re listening, right, we’re in an amazing office slash studio so, so I’m super impressed.
Brett Gilliland 00:08
Yeah. Well, thanks so excited to have you over here in our O’Fallon, Illinois Visionary Wealth Advisors office and but Travis is a performance coach. He’s the creator of Live Yes And
Travis Thomas 00:28
Brett Gilliland 00:28
Which I can’t wait to talk about, Live Yes And. You’re, you’re also a comedian. So hopefully you make me laugh today.
Travis Thomas 00:34
Brett Gilliland 00:36
But also comedian, you’re an author, man, you’ve you’ve worked with the, I’m going to say this word? I don’t normally say it. But the Chicago Cubs.
Travis Thomas 00:42
Yeah. You know, you know, we’re here in St. Louis country.
Brett Gilliland 00:45
Travis Thomas 00:46
So I’m, I’m a mercenary. So Chicago paid me.
Brett Gilliland 00:50
Exactly. You got a show? Well, yeah, we’ll get the guys over there and see if they can get you but the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Georgia football, do a lot of personal coaching workshops, online programs, man and but the biggest role you kind of have right now is to the United States men’s national team for World Cup coming up?
Travis Thomas 01:10
Yeah, really exciting. So I’ve been on staff with them since January 2020, the head coach brought me and Greg Burkhalter. And so I’m a contracted worker, but on staff, I’m the Leadership and Team Dynamics coach. So that’s kind of the title we came up with which which carries a lot of, a lot of things but working with the team from leadership skills to mental skills. The way I like to think of it Brett, is I’m the guy that does, is always thinking about the culture. Right? So kind of the torch carrier for the culture or so many staff members are doing so many important things. I’m always thinking about all right, how are we continuing to, to make sure we’re in alignment with with our overall culture as a team.
Brett Gilliland 01:52
And that’s huge, which we’ll talk about in a little bit. But but if you can, Travis, give us a little lay of the land on what’s made you the man you are today. It’s a question I asked on every episode. And I think there’s there’s always a backstory that maybe I don’t know, through my research, and maybe some people that we want to give credit to too but what what has made you the man that you are today?
Travis Thomas 02:09
Are we working with a company doing that, are you on your own the whole time? Yeah, well, it’s, it’s been quite a, it’s been a quite an interesting journey. I would love to say that I’ve had a plan. And when when I talk about purpose, right, I talk about, you know, purpose is not a it’s not a it’s not a map. It’s it’s a compass. And so if I, if I were to look back and connect the dots in reverse to how I got to doin the work that I’m that I’m doing today it, it was scary. It’s been terrifying. It’s been uncertain, but it’s always been purpose forward, purpose driven. And so you know, the skinny of it is I, you know, I’m from Flint, Michigan, for those of you who know Flint, Michigan, most people don’t tend to know Flint, Michigan in a positive light, they tend to think of the water or they think of “Roger and Me” and the documentary and General Motors pulling out, but I come from Flint with pride, you know, hard working town, we had a family business there. And so I definitely have those kinds of those Midwestern roots. But I loved sports growing up, I played soccer in college, the Division Three level, got out of college, got married right away, my wife and I we’re celebrating year 26 next month, we got married young and I figured it was time to kind of get into the professional world, whatever that meant. And so we moved to Boston and I was working in marketing, she was working in publishing. First weekend in town, we went to an improv theater that had just opened a few months previous saw an improv comedy show, and for anyone who’s never seen an improv comedy show, it’s a lot like “Whose Line Is It Anyway”, on TV. Second City is a big improv theater that a lot of people have heard of, went to a show five or six people on stage, creating stories out of nothing out of audience suggestions. And I saw that show and I was blown away. I was like, how do they do that? You know, that’s magic. How did they do that? So they have a lot of courage takes a lot of courage and a lot of just I’m like, what’s the what’s the formula there? And so I signed up at a training center. So I took a level one class, level one turned into six levels of training. And a year and a half later, I was graduating from the training center. And then I was auditioning for their touring company and I made their touring company and then I made their development cast. And then I finally after a couple of years, made it to the mainstage cast and so kind of felt like a superhero. I had a real day job, you know, Clark Kent, you know, with a suit during the day and at night, I was on stage, hopefully making people laugh and, and I did the improv comedy thing for a few years moved to Florida, started a group of two guys down there in 2003-2004. We still perform together when we can it’s more of a glorified hobby. But then, you know, I was working for a website, a spirituality website that came to an end it was the big question kind of around 2005, which what do I really want to do with my life? And I wanted to do coaching and I wanted to do speaking, and I really, I love working with groups and teams and people on and the corporate level and sports and but that started to do Deep Dive into personal development for myself and then to get certified in personal development, which led into organizational development, which led led into corporate training and executive coaching–– I was on my own, which, which meant, I didn’t have a lot of work. You know, we had our third child, and I’m like, you know, family of five, and I’m not making any money, and we go into debt, and we go into a lot of debt. And then it was scary. And it was this idea of sort of following your purpose. Like, man, I really felt like I had a sense of what I wanted to do. But it was tough, and not really knowing what that path was going to look like. And so just kind of in survival mode, I would say, you know, survival mode for about 10 years of just trying to make ends meet and, and being really scary, but always having a clear sense of who I was and what I wanted to do.
Brett Gilliland 05:55
Let’s dissect that if we can. So I mean, I’m, that is fascinating to me. So for one, you had a very patient and understanding and supportive wife at home.
Travis Thomas 06:03
Hard stop there, right? Yes, yeah. Yes.
Brett Gilliland 06:05
Yeah. Shout out to Hollister.
Travis Thomas 06:08
Shout to Hollister. My wife, because in lots of different, you know, and I’ve seen it, we’ve seen it in other marriages where financial hardship comes and there’s not enough there to hold the relationship together. So God bless her.
Brett Gilliland 06:20
Yeah. So so that 10 years. So now you’re you’re fighting through odd jobs, and you get this gig. That’s exciting. You get this gig. That’s exciting. Yeah, make it a little bit here. How does a guy from Flint, Michigan go to Boston, we go on stage, we’re making people laugh. We go down here and we decide I want to be a coach. Because, in my opinion, what I struggle with sometimes as coaches out there, just in full transparency, is there a “coach,” but they haven’t had the grind.
Travis Thomas 06:46
Brett Gilliland 06:46
Right? And now you did the grind. But how did you do the grind and end up on the United States men’s national team for soccer? I mean, that’s mind blowing.
Travis Thomas 06:54
Well, there were, and that’s the thing like that, that 10, 10 plus years, really, you know, it’s all the steps in between. And so, you know, I, you know, I ended up moving up to St. Louis 2007. And I took a job with my alma mater as an assistant soccer coach, just to stop the bleeding.
Brett Gilliland 07:13
Which was SLU.
Travis Thomas 07:13
Which was not SLU, was actually Principia College.
Brett Gilliland 07:14
Okay, for sure.
Travis Thomas 07:14
And even though I’m working at SLU, now, it wasn’t my alma mater, and took a job there thinking that there was going to be a job on the other end, either as a resident counselor at the college or, well, that turned into being a resident counselor at the high school at the boarding school. So for three years, Brett, with my children, seven, four, and one, were living in a boy’s dormitory in an apartment in the boys dormitory, making nothing. But but just it was stopping the debt. And but here I was, but you look back, and like what what was the work that I was doing on a day to day basis, right? I was mentoring young high school men from around the world. And then when I wasn’t doing that I was coaching sports at the same time. And so I was doing the work that was allowing, it was laying the groundwork, it was planting the seeds. And then after doing that for three years, we put the kids into a minivan. We started driving around the country, like, alright what’s the next step? Yeah, we had no plan. And after driving around the country for six months, sleeping in a tent, hotel rooms and friends and family who would ever take us we ended up back in Florida again. And it was like, Oh, this is I’m going to be a coach or consultant. We’re back in our house. And I thought that was the plan. And then I get an email after being home for a month that IMG Sports Academy in Florida was looking for an improvisation and leadership coach. Like how in the world do those two exist together?
Brett Gilliland 08:39
Travis Thomas 08:40
So I didn’t really want to leave our home and go the other side of the state. But I’m like, I can’t not explore this opportunity.
Brett Gilliland 08:45
The IMG, it’s the best.
Travis Thomas 08:47
The IMG right, and working at the premier sports academy in the world. And so I went in and interviewed with a sense of freedom of I don’t really want this job, because I want to stay home. But and so that, you know, little lesson for those––
Brett Gilliland 08:59
You have nothing to lose, right?
Travis Thomas 09:00
Nothing to lose, because I can be totally transparent and honest. Well, then they decided they wanted me and so I’m like this is too good of an opportunity to pass up. So I then did that for about two and a half years at IMG Academy. Again, you know, as a coach day in and day out on your feet coaching everyone from Korean golfers to NFL Combine football players to pre MBA basketball players to soccer players, from South America to tennis players from Russia, and having to deliver that message and work with those athletes on a day to day basis. And so when I left there in 2015, and just started decided to start this my own consulting company called Live Yes And. I felt like Alright, I’ve got my reps in.
Brett Gilliland 09:41
Travis Thomas 09:41
And then it’s really been from 2015 that I’ve been on my own. I wrote my own book in 2016 called three words for getting unstuck, which is Live Yes And, which we’ll about that. And then I you know you do what you do you send your book out kind of as a glorified business card, I sent it to the head coach of the US Men’s national soccer team in 2019 cold with no intent of ever hearing anything, a) that he would get it, b) that he would read it, and c) that you’d want to do anything right? And so what happens, he got it, b) he read it and c) like, all right, he goes, “Are you interested in coming and helping, help me with the team? Here’s the culture. Do you want to come in and help me?” You know––
Brett Gilliland 10:20
And that’s purely a cold cold call, if you will called Zero? No connection?
Travis Thomas 10:25
No connection, Yeah, yeah. And so that that so since January 2020 I’ve been, you know, with the national team whenever we’re together. And then when I’m not with the national team, I’m doing corporate consulting, corporate speaking, as well as working with other sports teams on the on the culture and mindset piece.
Brett Gilliland 10:41
So many places to go right there, Travis.
Travis Thomas 10:44
So that’s that’s the path. Yeah. So how does he end up on the national team? It’s like, a whole lot of I have no idea what I’m doing. But I’m just going to take the next step based on purpose.
Brett Gilliland 10:55
So that makes me think of so the Circuits of Success, hence, the name of the podcasts are your attitude, your belief system, and the actions that you take?
Travis Thomas 11:03
Brett Gilliland 11:03
Get the results.
Travis Thomas 11:04
Brett Gilliland 11:05
And so without one, it’s like the light bulb. That’s a circuit side, the light bulb doesn’t shut. Right. And so when I hear there is action, I hear getting my ass kicked, basically.
Travis Thomas 11:16
Brett Gilliland 11:16
Pardon my French, right for a number of years.
Travis Thomas 11:18
Brett Gilliland 11:19
And still doing it. Still having support no plan, which I want to talk about, because I’m a big planner.
Travis Thomas 11:25
Brett Gilliland 11:26
But then yet, the action part is I don’t know where this is gonna go. It costs money to buy my own book to label the book to find the guy’s information, send it to him.
Travis Thomas 11:35
Brett Gilliland 11:36
And then have faith. Right. So belief into action is faith is what I was talking about. And so when you hear me say it like that, I mean, how does that come to mind into your story?
Travis Thomas 11:45
Yeah, no, I think you nailed it. And I think I can remember, I can remember because I’ve sent my book to tons of coaches.
Brett Gilliland 11:53
Travis Thomas 11:53
Right? And maybe I get a thank you card back. And there’s really no expectation when you know, when you send the book cold, I was talking to our buddy, John Oleary, when he’s like, “How’d you end up on the national team of like?” “John, you’re not going to believe this. I sent a cold copy.” And he’s like “Travis. The cold send never works!” I was like, “I know, I worked this one time.”
Brett Gilliland 12:11
All it needs to do is work one time, right?
Travis Thomas 12:13
And so I remember, I remember being in the family room and being like, I should send Greg a book. And then the voice in my head says, “Don’t waste your time.” Right. And then the other voice in my head says, “but it only takes five minutes.” And the other voice says, “You’re wasting your time, you’re wasting the three bucks, or whatever it’s going to send” and I just remember the other voice going just sit down and do it. It takes five minutes. And I wrote the Thank you. I wrote the note, put it in the book, Senate. And, and I’m just so grateful that that one voice was louder than the other voice that was saying don’t send the book. And so if I were to write my next book, I think the next book is going to be called “Just Send the Book,” just send the book, just––
Brett Gilliland 12:54
Incredible. That’s like, you know, it’s what is it the Wayne Gretzky, quote, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” And so… It makes me think when I was when I turned 40. So this is four years ago, most gosh, almost five years ago, I wrote down the 40 things I had learned in my life. And one of them was I said, “just take the lunch.”
Travis Thomas 13:13
Brett Gilliland 13:13
And I can’t tell you how many people you know, you’ve met them, I’ve met them, “say I’m not going to do that.” They don’t want to pay me or they’re not going to do this, I’m not going to take the time to go do it. And my philosophy for 20 plus years now in the business world is take the lunch, I don’t know, right, you start to get fewer and fewer lunches that you take. But when you’re building your career, you’ve got to take the lunch, you’ve got to send the book wouldn’t you agree?
Travis Thomas 13:33
Absolutely. And I’m still in that space, right? I’m still in that space where, where I will go in I told you, I don’t need to say who but I went in last week and did a workshop for a team. I didn’t get paid, right. But I went in with the intent of this is an opportunity for me to, to get a foot in the door to share with with what I’m about and if this is a good fit, it’s going to turn into another opportunity. And my advice always to young speakers or young coaches or young consultants and again, because I still do the same thing is I offer my services for free all the time. Because you know how this this world works. It’s it’s relationship building, you are always relationship building, and very seldom have I done something for free that didn’t turn into something further down the road. And again, it’s going back to intent, right? Like what is my purpose? Right? So my, my purpose in life is to inspire myself and others to live their authentic brilliance. So whenever someone gives me the opportunity to to provide that right anytime I get a chance to do a workshop with someone I have the opportunity to live my purpose, right? I get my chance to inspire someone else to live their authentic brilliance. And that doesn’t always come with a paycheck on the other end, but it comes with me fulfilling my purpose. And again it since that is my compass, right. If I’m always moving in the direction of my compass, sometimes there’s going to be a paycheck On the other end of it, but there’s always going to be fulfillment on the other end of it. And, and at the end of the day, that’s, that’s always going to be the feeling that that keeps me happy and keeps me going and happy from the standpoint not of frivolous happiness, but of fulfillment. And that’s why I think it’s so important, you know, to have a clearer sense of, of what our purpose is, and to be able to keep moving in that direction.
Brett Gilliland 15:26
So, when I go with that, there’s two thoughts that came from that part right there, there’s one when I talked about beliefs again, in the actions, but that belief is the belief in yourself, yeah, right. And so I think it takes a massive amount of belief in ourselves to go to that team. Yeah, for free. Because again, you’re not looking for the best, now you have the long term perspective. But to go there, and know that you’re gonna hit a homerun, and you’re gonna deliver, and, you know, there’s no guarantees in life, but I have a pretty self confident thing to say about you that I think they’re gonna call you back, right? So belief in itself is massive.
Travis Thomas 15:59
Yeah belief, it’s so interesting. Brett, you say that because I, it’s funny, I go in, if someone said, “Hey, will you come and do a workshop?” I have tremendous, I have tremendous belief that when I go, when I go, when I’m going to provide like a quality session, there’s also there’s also a voice inside of my head that that is always making me doubt my ability, imposter syndrome, whatever you want to call it. And so and it’s those two, the analogy of the two wolves inside your head, right? You know, it’s whichever one you feed is the one that wins. And so I always have a healthy dose of doubt. But, but there is whatever it is. And I think that’s why purpose is so important, because it’s connected to my purpose. It almost gives me permission to go like, I might go in and stink. Yeah, but I’m still living my purpose. And so just go do it. Anyway.
Brett Gilliland 16:51
Yeah, I think we all have those two people. I was the way I always talk to you about him as you get this, this man or woman on your shoulder here saying, “Don’t do it, Brett. That’s a terrible idea.” This guy’s saying, “Let’s go youk know, like we’re gonna make it happen.” And you’re right, though, whichever one I listened to the most and feed the most is the one that we do. I call it comfort zone callous.
Travis Thomas 17:08
Brett Gilliland 17:09
And so I think that that self doubt is healthy for some of us, because that does drive us but I think the more you do something I always say the comfort zone is this big.
Travis Thomas 17:17
Brett Gilliland 17:18
And then if you try to break through it, it’s you know, I play golf. So I’ve calluses a man, right. And so, for me to go around that and get out of my comfort zone, I have to go around the callus, right. And so then my comfort zone gets a little bit bigger.
Travis Thomas 17:28
Brett Gilliland 17:28
And a little bit bigger. And you’ve done it enough now and the 10 years where you weren’t making a dime, and you’re going in debt, right? That was you busting through that comfort zone to now you can walk in a room and deliver.
Travis Thomas 17:39
Right, right. It’s finding your edge I talk about finding your edge of your comfort zone? Yeah. Right. And it’s like, you know, working with athletes all the time, even with my own kids. You know, I dropped my son off for training the other night. And the last thing I said to him was like, you know, “hey, what do you focus on today?” Right? I’m trying to––
Brett Gilliland 17:54
How old is her?
Travis Thomas 17:54
He’s 15. Okay, just turn 15 I’m trying to avoid asking, you know, asking players, how do you feel? I’m avoiding that, right? Because Because feelings are not an indicator of performance. Right? Think about that for a second, right? Yeah, feelings are not an indicator of performance, you can feel super confident and still play lousy. You can feel nervous and afraid and still perform at a high level. Right.
Brett Gilliland 18:16
Say that again, again, feelings are––
Travis Thomas 18:18
Feelings are not an indicator of performance. You know, I was raised. I think I’m just a few years older than you despite the gray. I’m a few years older than you. And I was right generationally I was raised as an athlete. It was this whole be fearless, no fear generation, right. So as an athlete, I felt and I was I was a player that carried a lot of nerves. So I always felt that I was less of a man. Because I was afraid, not knowing that probably most of us had his head a sense of has his head a sense of fear. But if you’re if you’re made to believe that you’re not supposed to be afraid, and you are afraid, well, that now I feel that something’s wrong with me from the get go. So, you know, I work with athletes.
Brett Gilliland 19:02
God can interrupt. I’m sorry. So I heard you say that I was a kid that played sports all grown up. And I would throw up before every game, right? I was so nervous. I was so and it does mean it messes with your head mentally. Which then kind of makes you come back and maybe not be as aggressive. I joke now that I’m a better golfer today than I was when I was actually competing and playing golf.
Travis Thomas 19:22
Brett Gilliland 19:22
Because it’s less in my head. Yeah, than it was back then.
Travis Thomas 19:25
And imagine, imagine a coach coming to you at that age and, and you’re nervous and you’re afraid and they’re basically saying, “Hey, it’s totally fine. Totally fine, man. Awesome. You care. Right?” So we’re not going to try to change that in you. Right instead. “Hey, Brad, listen, what do you focus on before you go on this round?” Right? Be nervous, Hey, be nervous, right? But what are you focused on? And so you know, I’m always asking my kids and then asking players that I coach as they’re going out there. Hey, what are you focused on today? Give me the two or three top behaviors that you’re focused on actions, right because I can be afraid and focus on actions, actions get me moving. When I focus on my feelings, it’s like I’m feeling good or feeling bad doesn’t mean anything. What am I actually doing and focusing on behaviors and actions and so but the other thing I said to my son is i, “what are you focused on?” He tells me, “Alright dad, I’m focused on these,” I’m like, “awesome, go find your edge today, go find your edge,” right? Get get to that edge, because like you talked about the comfort zone, just get one step on the other side of your edge today. And then you’ve just expanded your comfort zone.
Brett Gilliland 20:29
So how do you do that, though? How do you how do you find that edge, walk to the edge and then actually jump over?
Travis Thomas 20:35
Right? It’s, we’re almost, it’s great in the book, Born to Run, which is a fantastic I highly recommend it to anybody. Can’t can’t think of the author’s name real quick, but it’ll come to me, Born to Run. And the book is all about, you know, these ultra runners and just the history of running and just all these I call them crazy people, right? My good friend is an ultra runner, he’s a crazy person, shout out to Brian. And he’s talking these ultra runners in the book, and they’re talking about that edge. Right? And this one female runner. She says I see it as a playful pet, when she’s running. And she’s like, I try to find it as quickly as possible, right. So think about that. Imagine as an athlete, if you tried to go out and finding that edge is basically kind of getting to that point of, I don’t know if I can make another run. I don’t know if I can make another tackle because I feel spent. And what do we really know is what happens if I make another run or make another tackle? When I find myself at that edge? Go one step further. Or can I go two steps further now you’ve just what where does confidence come from confidence comes from finding that edge and just pushing that edge and tomorrow, it’s gonna be a little bit bigger, and the next day is gonna be a little bit bigger. So our goal is, so the discomfort we feel is actually that we embrace that as “Oh, I’m finding my edge.” It’s not a bad thing. It’s like, “oh, I’m feeling uncomfortable. Yeah, I’m finding my edge. Awesome. So just push through it just a little bit.”
Brett Gilliland 22:01
It doesn’t. I’ve heard this before. I’m no doctor. But nerves or anxiety is no different feeling the body and the brain doesn’t know the difference between anxiety and excitement, right?
Travis Thomas 22:11
Yep. So the only difference? Yes, physiologically, what’s going on inside of my body when I’m nervous and I’m excited is the same thing. So the way I like to think about that brain is so the only difference
Brett Gilliland 22:22
Man that would’ve been nice to know when I was a kid.
Travis Thomas 22:24
Right? So the thing that usually determines whether my feeling is nervous, or whether my feeling is excitement is because we’re thinking about a possible outcome. And when I’m nervous or afraid, I’m probably focused on a possible negative outcome. And when I’m excited, I’m thinking about a possible positive outcome. So it’s like, oh, my gosh, I get to go take a penalty shot, or I’ve got a five foot putt, right to win this tournament. If I’m nervous, I’m thinking about missing it. If I’m excited, I’m thinking about making it. Regardless, all that says to us is when I think about the outcome, it’s a distraction. Instead of just thinking about I’ve got a five foot putt, what do I need to focus on in order to make a good putt? Right, so, so letting letting go of outcome and focusing on the action which is always in the present moment? Right? And so what improv what improv taught me, which I needed as an athlete, improv, all of a sudden exercise this muscle, which is you have to stay fully engaged in the moment. Right life is happening in the present moment sports are happening in the present moment, I talked to soccer players. And like, whenever you feel like you’re distracted in the past, or you’re thinking about the future, if you focus on the ball, the ball is always in the present moment. Right? So ask yourself, where’s the ball? Where do I need to be?
Brett Gilliland 23:45
So to dissect that even so then I’m a guy I’m playing I’m the whatever the the forward. And the ball is across the field. And I’m thinking about man, last week I did this one thing or, or stuff like that is what you’re saying, I’m––
Travis Thomas 23:51
Yep. I can’t believe I just missed that shot 30 seconds ago, and I’m still thinking about I’m still thinking about, we’re probably going to lose the game now because I missed that opportunity. Now, now we’re, our thought is can’t believe that it happened in the past. Now I’m thinking about the possible future. And then you want to catch yourself you want to catch yourself, oh my gosh, I’m distracted to how do I get back to the present moment.
Brett Gilliland 24:20
And this is business for we’re talking about sports, obviously. But there’s lesson, right this is life. This is home with your kids.
Travis Thomas 24:27
You know, talking to I talk to salespeople all the time, I’m like, Alright, you’re in a sales call. Right? Here’s on a sales call. Are you thinking about “I can’t believe I just said that. I totally flipped that or why I really need to close the sale. I don’t know am I going to close the sale?” You’re you’re thinking about the win or you’re thinking about the then right thinking about the past few years thinking about the future? Where do you need to be fully engaged in the moment in the moment is if you’re fully engaged on on the on the client or the person that you’re talking to? There’s so much information that’s being shared in the present moment, but if I’m thinking this again, what improv taught me was as soon as my thoughts starts to go, past or future I’m no longer engaged in so I’m missing key information, education.
Brett Gilliland 25:07
And that’s huge.
Travis Thomas 25:08
And so for a player, right, it’s like, oh, shoot, I’m distracted. How do I get back to the present moment? Well, there’s lots of different tools. But I given the mantra, just just tell yourself, where’s the ball? Where do I need to be? Because now I go, where’s the ball? The ball is there. “Where do I need to be?” is action based, oh I need to push up or I need to make a run? Or I need to go win a tackle or I need all of a sudden now you’re you’re you’re thinking about what do I need to do instead of what happened? Or is what what is going to happen?
Brett Gilliland 25:35
That’s incredible, you know, I’m I go to soccer games now, all the time. I got four boys. So pretty much if I’m not here at the office, I’m at a soccer field. Right? Okay. So that’s where I go. And I’ll be there tonight. But you’re right. And it’s like, even as fans, we can do that. But let’s let’s pivot from the soccer field and go into the home life.
Travis Thomas 25:52
Brett Gilliland 25:53
And so with four kids, it’s crazy, right? It’s can be nuts. You’ve got I think you said three kids. Right, good. So how, what advice would you have for the parent to take what you just talked about for the soccer player, and apply that to the home right to the kitchen to the upstairs, where maybe you’re putting the kids to bed, it’s chaos, all that kind of stuff. And as your kids get older, that gets a little bit easier, right? But it’s still crazy.
Travis Thomas 26:15
Yeah. So what we’re, what we’re always striving for, is to be present, right is to be present with whatever we’re doing. And so, so again, your your home life, there’s tons of going on, tons going on, you got young kids, you got trying to make dinner, trying to bedtime you got maybe you’re still trying to do stuff from work, you had all these different moving parts going on. And the only thing that allows you to be successful is by focusing on what’s happening right now. So, so again, so how do we do that? So, again, I’m not a sports psychologist, but I teach mental skills. And I like to break it down and make it really, really simple because I’m not a complex guy. So I want to make things as simple as possible. And to me, the when we talk about mental skills or mental toughness, all we’re really talking about is the ability to bring our full attention to whatever activity we’re doing in the present moment. That is it. So when someone says, oh, my gosh, that play are you so mentally tougher, she’s so mentally tough. What they’re saying is, if they’re a soccer player, when they’re playing soccer, they’re fully engaged in what they’re doing. They’re not being distracted by the noise that’s going on around them. So optimal performance to me is when you bring your peak ability with wherever you are today, with your peak attention, you combine those combining skill and attention is your optimal performance. Well, so at home, right, there’s lots of distractions going on all this stuff that needs to be done. But all we can really do is one thing at a time. And so it’s, it’s it’s making, that the world is too big. We need to make it small. And so it’s our ability to always ask ourselves what’s you know, there’s a there’s an acronym, a great sports acronym W I N, what’s important now? asking ourselves, what’s the more most important thing I need to be focusing on right now? All right, well, we got dishes. We got laundry, we got us. Yeah, but what’s happening right now? Okay, well, I’m putting my five year old to bed. All right. So can I just put my five year old to bed? Right. So I’m putting my five year old to bed all our five year old wants is full attention. Dads listening to me. Alright, Dad’s gonna read me a story. All right, can I be fully engaged while I’m reading the story? Right? All that other stuff is waiting for me. But can I be engaged with what I’m doing? Put the five year old down, great, boom, all right, what’s the next? What’s the next thing that I do? And we bring our full focus to that. But we’re humans. And so we’re constantly going to be distracted. So the, the goal––
Brett Gilliland 28:44
but isn’t it I keep interrupting? I’m sorry. But I think it’s amazing is when you say that I’m just you know, putting a lot of the boys to bed and do storytime and all that stuff over the years. And it’s funny when you say it, because you’re right when I am in the moment, right? Yeah, I’m using air quotes. And I’m not really in the moment. And I’m thinking about maybe I need to read this book. But you know, you just want to get to that next thing, I gotta do this, you gotta do that. It actually takes longer to put them to bed. It is right. To stay in the moment with them though, and actually do the storytime and do all that stuff. It’s actually a more efficient process too.
Travis Thomas 29:17
it’s more efficient, and it’s more peaceful.
Brett Gilliland 29:19
Yeah. Yeah. A lot more peaceful.
Travis Thomas 29:19
Right. Because we’re not because we’re not thinking about the distractions, right. The reason distractions are distractions, because it’s getting us to think about lots of different things instead of the one thing that we’re doing. And so when we actually focus on the one thing that we’re doing, the stress and the anxiety and all the other things don’t really impact us because we’re just thinking about what we’re doing. Right? We’re just like, we’re turning the volume down on all the distractions, they’re still there, right? We’re just turning the volume down. The only reason what we, what we focus on we amplify. Yeah, right? Whatever we focus on, we amplify. So if I focus on what I’m doing, I’m amplifying what I’m doing. And if I’m if I’m, whatever I’m thinking about is what I was what I am amplifying that as well. And now I’m thinking about that. Well, I mean, that’s a distraction. So, so when we think about the distractions, we just amplify the distractions, it’s not, our goal is not to get rid of them. It’s just to turn the volume down on them. And it’s it’s addition by subtraction, right? I bring more to what I’m doing by just focusing on one thing at a time, by letting the rest go, so all I’m ever trying to help athletes or people do with mental skills, is simplification, right? Make it simple. Don’t become the person who thinks you’re an awesome multitasker, you’re not. So think about just just just turn it into bite sized chunks. If I’m a salesman who’s getting ready to make a sales call before that call, take take a minute and say, “Okay, what are the two or three most important things for me to focus on in order to have an effective sales call?” Alright, so you can think through, okay, like, I want to make sure that I’m asking good questions, or I’m going to ask good questions, I want to make sure that I’m listening to them fully, not cutting them off listening to them fully, I’m really going to seek to understand how they’re feeling. Alright, good. I’ve got a game plan, I’m gonna focus on these two or three things. Now, there are lots of other things going on around, yes. But if I focus on these two or three things, my experience has taught me that these are important. And if I focus on these three things, I’m going to be I’m going to have an effective sales goal. And so we’re always we’re just simplifying, whatever we’re doing, and we live at a pace right now in society, where it’s one thing to the next one thing to the next. And if we don’t create the space in between each activity, even if that space, I was just doing a coaching call with a corporate group the other day, and in this zoom world we’re living in right now a lot of times people are like, “Travis, I’m going from one zoom to the next.” And I was like, “Yeah, can you even can you pause 60 seconds in between each zoom? As you finish one zoom? Give yourself a little debrief. All right. What’s the most important thing I need to take out of that call?” Capture it. And then before you start the next zoom call, can you do a reboot and say, “Okay, what are the two or three most important things for me to focus on this next call in order for it to be a good call it turning the page?” Yeah. And just build those breaks in between everything that we do athletes is the same thing, right? From school to sport, to homework, right? School? Can we give ourselves a break? Sport? Can we give ourselves a break moving on? And the analogy I heard, which was great, which is music without the pauses in between notes is just noise. Right?
Brett Gilliland 32:44
Travis Thomas 32:44
What makes music beautiful is the space in between the notes. And so if there’s no space, if it’s just note, note, note, note, note, note, note, it’s just noise. And our life is the same way to create the pause in the gaps, which allow us to process what has happened and also be intentional about the next thing that we’re doing.
Brett Gilliland 33:03
It makes, it makes me think about something I’ve done and probably see these journals if you’re watching back over here. And so is I say, slow down to speed up and use this teaching think time. And I think it’s so important for that pause between the notes is, is I’ve never heard it like that. And that’s so true. And so I think, when you think about the world class, business people, the world class athletes that you get to connect with and help and study really even as well, what are you finding for them from either a breathing standpoint, a slowing down to speed up think time? You know, like, I use my other journal all the time, like, what do you see in there? That’s, that’s a game changer for those folks.
Travis Thomas 33:40
Yeah, I think to go back to just what we were talking about is a real, a real clear sense of, of priority. Right? Always, you know, keeping the main thing, the main thing. So even though, right, the, the higher you sort of rise and importance, whatever that means you have a lot more that you’re responsible for. So the temptation would be that you’re just being constantly pulled in so many different directions. And what I’ve seen, you know, from great leaders, whether it’s, you know, the national team coaches that get to work with or are really high level CEOs is the ability to make sure that they’re really clear on what the top priorities are. And, and the next step is their ability to be really, really present in whatever they’re doing. And knowing that it’s nonstop, but knowing that the only way to be effective is by bringing their full presence to what they’re doing right now. And again, I see this with the national team coach, it’s like I can’t fathom the amount of responsibility that’s on his plate, but when you’re with him, you feel like he is completely present with whatever we’re doing right now. And so the only the only way that you can maintain that is by actually being really clear on what the top priorities are, and making sure that those guiding values, principles priorities are sort of guiding everything, right. And so again, when I, when I work with an organization, I just had a call today with a potential team I might be working with in the future. And we’re talking about culture and creating an identity, that clarity of being really clear on who we are and what we’re about, right? And make that as super simple as possible. What are those three core values? What is the main identity of who we are and what we’re about? And now how do we take those values and turn those into behaviors? And then how do we consistently replicate that behavior day in and day out day in and day out, making sure that everything that we’re doing is tied into those core values. And we can do that in our own personal life as well. Again, the reason I have a purpose statement is so that I have that Northstar, so that I have that compass. So when I do feel overwhelmed, I can ask myself, how is this connected to my purpose? And if there’s not a strong connection to my purpose, this might be something that on itself is a fine activity. But for me, maybe it’s just more of a distraction right now. So maybe I need to say “no” to it.
Brett Gilliland 36:17
Yeah. And you say that now because you had this experience. And so for that person that’s in that grind, and then what I’d call the crap work that we both have had to do in our careers. I think, you know, for me, yours is authentic brilliance, right is kind of the end of your tagline. And, and that’s what this year is that future greater than your past is we are firm mission, my mission is to help people achieve a future greater than your past.
Travis Thomas 36:39
Brett Gilliland 36:39
It doesn’t just come to you. But I think working on yourself, in that 10 year journey, right? Oh, that is how you figure that out?
Travis Thomas 36:48
Brett Gilliland 36:48
And so to the people, like, how do you find your mission? Your mission is found by rolling up your sleeves, putting on your work boots, and going out and making things happen, but also studying being a student in the game reading, doing different things like that? Would you agree?
Travis Thomas 37:00
Absolutely. And, you know, it’s whenever I try not to give advice, as a coach, right? You try not to be an advice giver, you try to you try to be you try to listen and, and help, you know, create clarity through questions and through understanding and but you know, I definitely have young people come to me all the time and say, “Hey, Travis, what do you think I should do? I’ve got this option, or I got this option.” And really, the question I always go back to is of these possibilities or opportunities, which one excites you the most? On a personal level? Which one excites you the most? Because, because, again, I go back to if we follow if we follow our curiosity, right? That’s a good indicator that we’re probably following some authentic purpose that we have, right? And, and even if even if things aren’t going well, if, if we’re interested in curious, there’s probably a certain sense of fulfillment to it. And maybe that curiosity leads to another cure. And again, if I just look at my own journey, it was, I was constantly, even at the most desperate of times, I was still following curiosity that I felt resonated with, with my purpose. And so you know, as as a as a freelance worker, I wake up more days, during the, during the year unemployed than employed.
Brett Gilliland 38:30
Where’s that next check.
Travis Thomas 38:33
But when when I’m doing work on a day to day basis, that that is intrinsically purpose driven. I’m still fulfilled even on the days when I’m not making money. And so that fulfillment is, is the constant because because it’s deeply rooted and ingrained with who I am. And so the money will come and go, and hopefully this success will will incrementally continue to increase and the financial successful, will incrementally continue to increase all along this journey. And as terrifying as this journey has been even at its worst, I still had a sense of, you know, this is who I am. And this is what I’m supposed to be doing. And that’s passing that pillow test. You know, go to bed at night.
Brett Gilliland 39:22
Yeah. Yeah, that’s huge. And so. So when you think about fears, I asked a lot of people this question is we put a lot of fears up our minds in false evidence appearing real. It’s what it stands for. A lot of people say, right, and so how do you how many of the fears you’ve put in your mind have actually blown up to the magnitude you put them in your mind to be?
Travis Thomas 39:44
Very few of them? Right. Very few. I think the fears this is a this was a Tim Ferriss exercise that he had talked about in one of his books a long time ago and he is talking about fear and he would, you know, a lot of times when we have these these scary fears, we try to avoid them. We don’t want I don’t want to think about him. And he’s like, actually, you know, when you notice these be these big fears that pop up. He’s like, basically follow that path. Go with it. All right? Ask yourself, okay, if this were to happen, what would happen? He’s like, you know, he’s like, “alright, I start a company, and it doesn’t work out as being I go bankrupt.” He goes, then what would I do? And he’s like, “alright, I would be broke. So I might have to ask a friend or family member if I can sleep on their couch.” And he’s like, “Would I be able to do that?” And he’s like, “Yeah, I’d be able to do that. Would it stink? Yeah, it would stink.” He’s like, well, “then what would I do?” And he’s like, “I would, I would probably start, you know, working on the next opportunity.” And so he kind of does, like, “alright, if the worst case scenario were to happen, what would happen? How would I respond to it?” Right. And, and that’s when you can sort of look, sort of some of these fearful things, you know, you know, in the face and go, okay, yeah, if that worst thing happened to would I still be okay. And I think like, I feel like I’ve been able to do that over the years, because then then it forces you, Brett, to get really, really clear on what is the most important things in my life. And I remember my wife and I, having some of these difficult conversations over the years, especially early on, you know, we we couldn’t afford to live in our house anymore in Florida, and which is why we had to come back up to St. Louis was like 2008, which was egoicly, just very humbling, you know, and for me, you know, as a father of three, to feel like a big failure, I had to really grapple with, you know, my identity and a sense of failure. And I just remember having a conversation with her feeling gutted for having to take our family out of our home, which we loved. And it’s remember, you know, we were talking I said, you know, you all are the most important thing, and I know that we’re going to be okay, or we’re going to the three, the five of us, we’re going to be okay. So regardless of what happens, what we have to do, as long as we’re okay, we’re okay. And it just, it forces you to get really granular to like, okay, at the end of the day, what’s most important?
Brett Gilliland 42:16
How do you get through that though? So so you’re there? You’re on a, I call them a dark day?
Travis Thomas 42:21
Brett Gilliland 42:21
How did you, yes, super dark, like pitch black dark?
Travis Thomas 42:24
Brett Gilliland 42:24
How do you? How do you get through that, though? Because there’s somebody listening this right now? Probably, that’s in a dark day. Yeah. And so how do you get through that on days you don’t even want to do it? I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to go work in my purpose. You know, screw you this, yeah. What do you do?
Travis Thomas 42:40
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, there will be days where you don’t do anything.
Brett Gilliland 42:47
Which you have to learn to be okay with.
Travis Thomas 42:48
That to be learned to be okay, with and, you know, it was Einstein, I think it was Einstein said that, that the only time a person makes a real change is when the fear of doing nothing is greater than the fear of change. Right? Right.
Brett Gilliland 43:05
Travis Thomas 43:06
And so I think all of us experienced that. And so there will be days from someone who’s listening to this, they’re like, I can’t right, I, I don’t know what to do today so I’m going to do nothing. And so there will become a moment where it’s like, what the fear of doing nothing is now greater than the fear of actually taking that scary step. And moving forward. And so, you know, in those in those darkest times, for me, you know, I, you know, had gone through a lot of courses on personal development, I had a coach and I had a mentor. And I remember him just saying to me, when I was doing no work making zero money, you know, living with our in laws, and he was like, “Alright,” he’s like, “Travis, what would it look like, if you got up every day? And spent two hours in your office doing your work?” I was like, but “I don’t have any work.” He’s a “no, no, I’m not talking about that work,” you know, he’s like, “I’m talking about your purpose work.” Or you spend two hours being really intentional, about, you know, focusing on who you are, and the work that you want to do, and doing whatever that looks like today, the personal work and internal work. And, and though those were, those were the times those were the years where, you know, I was probably doing two and a half to three hours a day of of commitments of micro commitments of things that I knew was allowing me to grow personally and individually so that when, you know, the work opportunities come along, I’m ready for them. I’m ready for themm because we can’t control when it’s like the fireman’s mentality. You don’t know when the fire is coming, but it’s coming. So what are you doing in the time before the fire comes to prepare you to handle the fire when it actually happens? And that’s that sort of that the uncertain discipline that you have to take advantage of those times. So when the call does come have you, are you prepared to handle it?
Brett Gilliland 44:59
And I would call it street cred to right because it’s like, if you’re gonna be here with these world class soccer players, these world class business people, I gotta know that you went and did it. I want to know that I don’t want you to just say “oh I read this in the book last week, and it sounded cool in here, try this one,” like, I want you to know. And so for me, I call it focus 90. And so every 90 days, I have a different set of goals of things I need to work about, right. So, you know, come October 1, I will have my new set for October, November, December. But I will, I will review what just happened in the last three months and say, “okay, they may be different, they may be the same, but here’s what I need to work on to be better,” right. And then I have my first 90 minutes of every single day working on those things. And I find that when I can, when my mornings,
Travis Thomas 45:46
Brett Gilliland 45:46
I can win the day. But I can also help more people win their day, and help myself and others live a future greater than their past. And so
Travis Thomas 45:54
Brett Gilliland 45:55
That’s for me, what works. So what is it for you now for that type of stuff?
Travis Thomas 45:59
Yeah, I mean, you know, what you’re talking about is, is is walking the walk, and you know, you know, and you know, this as a parent, right? It’s, am I, am I modeling the behavior that I’m trying to parent? Right? It’s less important, what I say to my kids, what’s more important is how I actually how I actually behave and perform so. So someone who teaches mental skills, how often do my kids see me getting frustrated? And in displaying a victim mindset, right? They see plenty, right? So, so Wow, why why would I expect anyone to listen to me? Why would I expect my kids if so, there’s a there’s a clear sense of accountability every single day, with with my work. And so when I’m, when I’m, when I’m coaching, you know, world class athletes, when I’m working with a coaching staff, it’s like, okay, are we are we mentoring, the behaviors? Are we modeling the behaviors that we expect our players, our kids, our coworkers to model? And so like you said, you’re always you’re always focusing on the internal work, because it’s the internal work that allows us to do the external work. And if we’re not doing the internal work, we can’t expect the external work and having to grow at all.
Brett Gilliland 47:15
Travis Thomas 47:15
And so I love I love the 90 right? that it’s every 90 days, and then you’re giving yourself 90 minutes to do it every day, is just a great way and it keeps it fresh. And it keeps it you know, it keeps it always moving.
Brett Gilliland 47:29
Well, you gotta like it. 90, 90 minute soccer game, right?
Travis Thomas 47:31
Brett Gilliland 47:33
Let’s talk a little bit about your company. What you’ve created is Live Yes And. Yeah, I love that. Tell me more about it.
Travis Thomas 47:40
So Yes And is the basis of improvisation, right. So I didn’t create Yes And but anyone who’s taken an acting class, anyone who’s done any improvisation, the first thing you learn is the Yes and the And so, I can teach anyone that I can teach you to improvise right now. Brett, right. So so you and I are going to we’ll tell the story.
Brett Gilliland 48:00
Travis Thomas 48:01
Right? We’re going to pretend that we’re going on like some road trip this weekend. So whatever I say to you, the first thing you’re gonna say is yes. And you’re going to build off of whatever idea I gave you. And therefore you’re going to give me an idea back? And I’m going to say “yes and” and build off of whatever idea you give me. So we’re just––
Brett Gilliland 48:20
Getting the creative juices flowing here.
Travis Thomas 48:21
We’re just creating the story one “yes and” at a time, right. And we’re only ever focusing on the new information that was given to us. Make sense?
Brett Gilliland 48:30
Travis Thomas 48:30
Awesome. All right. Here we go. So Brett, man I’m so excited about the road trip we’re taking this weekend.
Brett Gilliland 48:35
Yes. And I am too and I can’t wait because I’ve never been to this place before where we’ve played golf.
Travis Thomas 48:41
Yes, you are going to take me on the best golf courses in the southeast.
Brett Gilliland 48:46
In the southeast. I love the southeast. So yes, and and and so we’re going to go down to Florida and we’re going to play this place called the Floridian, which is a great golf course a lot of PGA members come to.
Travis Thomas 48:56
Yes. And I heard that you’ve invited one of your professional friends that are going to join us.
Brett Gilliland 49:01
I have and that friend is an amazing athlete and his name, he played for the St. Louis Cardinals, and he’s a great golfer, and we’re gonna have a lot of fun with him.
Travis Thomas 49:10
Yes, and I am a huge Cardinals fan, as well. And while we’re down there, he’s gonna take us to some spring training games.
Brett Gilliland 49:17
I love that. And so yes, let’s do that. And let’s also talk to him about getting back up to the end of the year. And we’ll see  800 home run or 700 home run. How’s that sound?
Travis Thomas 49:27
Yes. And I heard he’s gonna put some tickets aside for us for all of St. Louis’s last home game so we can hopefully see 700.
Brett Gilliland 49:34
Yes, and it’s going to be the actual tickets stub, but not this thing on your phone that you don’t get to keep for the rest of your life. And we’re going to sit in the green seats. We’re gonna have a lot of fun.
Travis Thomas 49:42
Yes. And I know the the head concession guy in Busch Stadium and he’s going to hook us up with any concessions we want during the game.
Brett Gilliland 49:49
I love that Yes. And I know the guy. Yes. Okay, so you just, you just keep going.
Travis Thomas 49:53
There we go. So yes, and what does yes and mean from an improvisational standpoint? So you and I, you can improvise now because you can “yes and” that’s it. Right? So two or more performers get up on stage, we’re creating something. We have no idea where the story is gonna go. We can’t because I don’t know what you’re thinking you don’t know what I’m thinking. But as long as we adhere to “Yes, and” we’re gonna figure it out, we’re gonna go there together. So yes, is acceptance. Whatever I say to you, whatever you say to me the yes is yes, I accept that idea as reality. But we don’t stop there. The and is, and I’m going to build off of your idea with another idea. And then yes, and and then yes. And and yes. And so the story can absolutely go anywhere. Because we’re adhering to there is no wrong answer. There’s no wrong answer, right? We’re creating it on the spot, right? Hey, it’s never been done before. All right, as long as we “yes, and” we’re going to be on the same page. And we’re going to create it together. Right? So that’s improvisation and then any other performance that comes in, they’re going to “Yes, and” their ideas, and we’re going to get saying their ideas. And so from an improvisational standpoint, the reason like I go back to like, how did they do that? How did they create that magic on stage? Well, they were operating from a mindset of, we’re here to make each other look good. It’s actually an improv improviser’s mantra is my goal is to make my other performers look good. Yeah. What’s their goal? To make me look good? And so yes, and is is the rule, or the principle that allows that allows that to happen.
Brett Gilliland 51:30
So makes me think about I’m having an off site retreat with our executive team and some of our other teammates tomorrow. And so, you know, I’ve got my black drawing here a bunch of questions, right to think about the future, I think what was the stat I wrote down this morning that in 1955, in 1955 435, of the Fortune 500 companies are gone. So 87% of the Fortune 500 companies are gone.
Travis Thomas 51:56
Brett Gilliland 51:56
From there. So so how are we staying relevant? Yeah, what are we doing to evolve? Because our industry will change? You look at Blockbuster versus Netflix, how do you how do you evolve or not evolve? And so when I hear this, “yes, and” being tomorrow, is an improv with our team. “Yes, yes, we can do that, and.”
Travis Thomas 52:14
Brett Gilliland 52:15
And yes, and then it’s almost going around the room, and seeing what we can create, inside our firm for our clients and for our advisors.
Travis Thomas 52:23
Absolutely. So what you’re gonna do is you’re going to tap into the collective genius of the group. Yeah, “yes, and” allows you to tap into the collective genius of your team. But we only do that, Brett, if we are actually genuinely interested in the perspectives of the people that we work with, whether that’s our kids, whether that’s our coworkers, whether that’s our sports team. So “yes, and” allows us to say, “yes, I want I care about your perspective, your perspective is different than mine.” What do we tend to do when we run into someone who has a different perspective than us? Yeah, we tend to want to convince them that our perspective is better.
Brett Gilliland 52:57
And you can’t stop. So tomorrow, there’s six people sitting around the table. Yeah, we can have the six people talking about it, and just go around the room. Again, a circle keeps going.
Travis Thomas 53:05
And you can set parameters around this. So when I when I when I consult this from a, from a from a team or a corporate standpoint, people are like, “well, Travis, I mean, can’t say yes, and everything” as “I know you can’t, of course, this is not a literal, everyone’s idea is a good idea. Everyone’s idea is not a good idea. But the way you get to the good ideas is by getting through the bad ideas.” And actually, someone collaborating with a bad idea and turn it into a good idea because they’re bringing their perspective to it.
Brett Gilliland 53:29
The creative side to right? The creative side, you maybe didn’t even think about it, but it’s not a formal deal. You wouldn’t even have thought about this.
Travis Thomas 53:36
you know, growing up, right? Well, this is a Reese’s commercial. And we’re kids. Hey, you put your chocolate in my peanut butter. No, you put your peanut butter in my chocolate. Oh, wait, we put them together? We got a great even better product. It’s a yes, and right? Reese’s was “yes, and.’ Chocolate and peanut butter, put together we have a better thing. And so yes, and just allows what we’re talking about is we’re creating an atmosphere for collaboration. And “yes, and” creates an atmosphere for collaboration. Most of us are used to environments where everything is “no, but.” “Ah no, we’ve tried that before. And ah that’s going to be too expensive. I don’t think we can.” So all you’re doing is you’re creating a space to allow the freedom of ideas and information and creativity to happen from that space, you can then move into a critical, okay, well, based on the parameters that we do have, how do we take that? Okay, 90% of these ideas we can’t use but we’ve just mined 10% of gold that can actually we can take to move forward with and turn into really practical solutions.
Brett Gilliland 54:38
I wrote that down to is the “yes, and” versus the living. Most people live in “no, but” cause you’re right!
Travis Thomas 54:44
Yeah, it’s it’s, I’m uncomfortable when someone has a different perspective than me. That’s human nature. It’s survival. Right? If I go outside of the cave, and I hear a noise, I don’t know what that noise is. I go into fear I go into protection. I go into survival mode. So we’re we’re kind of conditioned to do, to be uncomfortable with someone else’s different ideas, anything different than us is uncomfortable. But if I’ve, if I can create a safe environment where I’m curious when I hear a different perspective, and because I care about you, as a teammate, or a coworker, I go “oh Brett, actually, I don’t know if I agree with that, or if I understand you helped me understand where you’re coming from.” And now we’re in now, in essence, where we’re actually building that trust and respect as a team. Because I actually care about your perspective that’s different than mine, and in the process of us getting into that we’re actually protecting ourselves from the blind spots that we have, when we sometimes accidentally create cultures of everyone who thinks the same way.
Brett Gilliland 55:42
And my mind is blown on this, I’m already going on picture myself in the room, we’re going to be in tomorrow, and you can’t stop and nobody can challenge the idea.
Travis Thomas 55:51
You can set that primary goal, “okay, for the next 15 minutes. Let’s get out as many ideas as possible.” One rule is, when someone has an idea, no one is allowed to say, “Whoa, no, no, no, this isn’t the space for that.” And then you can say after this, let’s look at the ideas and then we can start to look at it more critically. So you can create parameters around that.
Brett Gilliland 56:11
Travis Thomas 56:12
And this is go back to the “yes, and,” the “yes, and” from a, from a collaborative storytelling standpoint, that’s how it works. Right? We’re, we’re in agreement that we’re going to create this together. Well, the reason I called my consulting Live, Yes, And is because if you look back, if you look back to my journey, kind of from 2005, to be starting Live, Yes, And the Yes, And is, became my mantra for life. Right, which is whatever is happening I have to Yes, And it right. You’re in debt Travis? Yes, I’m in debt. And I guess I have to I guess we have to leave our home and go take this job in St. Louis, because this is the best possible response to the situation. So yes, it’s acceptance. Again, it’s acceptance of what is happening, hey––
Brett Gilliland 56:59
Good or bad.
Travis Thomas 57:00
Good or bad? Good. Or it doesn’t matter. Right? Good or bad doesn’t matter. Yes, it’s acceptance. The so I tell people, we cannot control 100% of what happens to us, none of it, none of it. I can do everything right. And still get a pandemic dropped on my lap. I can do everything right. And still have someone come con me out of whatever, right I can, I can do everything right and eat everything right and still get diagnosed with a sickness. So I cannot control 100% of what happens to me. And I get to control 100% of how I respond to it. That’s the and. The and is where we have power. And so I, I go through life. Yes. And yes. And yes. And this is happening. Yes. And how would I respond to it if, I if I were on purpose is so if we go back to purpose being our compass, if we’re always making every next right step, neutral thinking I’ve worked for limitless minds as well. We talked about neutral thinking and then taking the next right step. If I accept everything that’s happening, well, now I’m, I’m in collaboration with reality, so I call living Yes, And being in radical collaboration with reality. Right? Because it’s what’s happening, right? So I can, I can complain about it. Blame, complain, make excuses, the longer I stay there, I’m just stuck. Totally valid. Yep. Yep, I’m a human. This shouldn’t have happened. Why did it happened? This is unfair. This is painful. This is tragic. This is cruel. Yeah, all that stuff. And the longer I stay there, I’m just stuck. And as soon as I accept my circumstance, and have my response be from that position of purpose, I’m now taking that next step towards problem solving. So the reason my book is called “Three Words for Getting Unstuck,” is is to live that Yes, And getting stuck makes you human. Staying stuck, makes you a victim.
Brett Gilliland 59:05
And I love the fact that you put live in it. It’s not just “Yes, and” because you got to live it.
Travis Thomas 59:10
I gotta live it right. And so yeah, you know, the gift, the gift and everything is, to your point earlier, what is my street cred is? Yeah, Travis tell me about being like, you know, 30, 40, $50,000 in debt with a family of five and, and having no godly idea of how things were going to work out. How to do that. Oh, yeah, that’s a good question. How did I do that? I don’t know. But it was like, What can I do today? What can I do today, trust to action. Take the next step. Trust, faith, take the next step.
Brett Gilliland 59:46
So where do our listeners find more of Travis Thomas? Man, this has been phenomenal and got tons of takeaways from this but where are we find more of you?
Travis Thomas 59:54
You can go to by my outdated website, which is liveyesand.com You can find me on most social media @liveyesand this is a fun thing. My son my 15 year old son, I’ve got a 17 year old son 20 year old daughter. They’ve been trying to get me on Tik Tok forever. I’ve been I’m like, I can’t learn another social media. I’m on Instagram all the time. I don’t want to learn another social media. My son’s like, “Dad, look at this guy. You should be on Tik Tok.” I said, “Alright, listen.” His name’s Shepherd. “I was like Shepherd, if you manage the Tik Tok, you’ll be my intern. You manage tick tock and I’ll do it.” So I’ve been on tick tock for a week. Apparently some of the videos do a really well. So he’s like, “Alright, give me a video on this.” He films me. He takes it so I’m gonna I’m on Tik Tok now.
Brett Gilliland 1:00:35
You’re a Tik Toker.
Travis Thomas 1:00:38
And then my book that I’ve referenced a few times, “Three Words for Getting Unstuck: Live Yes And” is on Amazon.
Brett Gilliland 1:00:43
Well, Travis Thomas it’s been awesome having you man. We’ll put all this in the show notes where people can find it and just love the conversation. We’ll have to do this again.
Travis Thomas 1:00:50
Hey, thanks for having me. I’ll come back to the studio any time Brett.
Brett Gilliland 1:00:52
Let’s do it.