Using Elite Athlete Habits for Personal Development

In this, The Faces of Business, Clifford Starks, Founder, Starks Transformational Coaching, will talk about using elite athlete habits for personal development. Starks Transformational Coaching is a platform for motivated entrepreneurs who want to achieve their goals using habits from professional athletes.

In this, The Faces of Business, Clifford Starks, Founder, Starks Transformational Coaching, will talk about using elite athlete habits for personal development. Starks Transformational Coaching is a platform for motivated entrepreneurs who want to achieve their goals using habits from professional athletes.

Since 2009, Clifford has been helping business owners and entrepreneurs use elite athlete habits for personal development which helps them go farther. He is a personal trainer, transformational coach, and former professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. Clifford aspired to be a professional fighter after graduating from Arizona State University in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. He is the fastest amateur fighter to ever make it to the UFC, where he had a successful career with a total of 19 matches and 14 wins in just 10 months. He uses what he learned in preparing to be a successful MMA fighter to help his clients develop game-changing habits that support their goals.

Damon is pleased to have Clifford on the show. He asks the guest to talk about his journey in wrestling. He tells Damon that when he was a fifth grader, a school fellow “suplexed” him, to his chagrin. The injury took some months to recover. He wanted to learn to protect himself. So, he became a professional fighter.

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Damon thinks that joining wrestling demands a large amount of work and toil. It is a tough sport. Clifford says that when he joined the camp and prepared for the season, he found that this is something “we do every day.” We constantly work out to build our confidence. Making ourselves stronger enables us to take charge of our lives. This workout perfected Clifford both physically and mentally.

He further narrates that things changed when he wrestled in college and when he moved into college in Division I Wrestling. The first observable change was when he weighed 225 pounds and got beaten by a guy who weighed 147 pounds. He could not digest it. He learned that he had “jumped into a bigger pot.” Damon adds that we can readily differentiate between a professional and an amateur motocross participant.

Similarly, Clifford philosophizes that just in different aspects of life, we are learning the same lesson over and over again. The moment we push our limits, and change our attitude towards a problem, we get to the next level. Once, he was listening to a video on Tony Robbins. The latter talked about being resourceful. He learned that there are pros and cons to whatever we do. The sooner we realize this, the better decisions we make.

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Damon, impressed by Clifford’s wisdom, thinks the guest has a gift. He tells Damon that he learned something from Russell Brunson that he could not have learned in a million years on his own. The writer calls it “just in time learning.” There is a time to learn and execute. The right moment demands a flawless delivery. An untimely missed punch could weaken our guard and cause heavy damage. He believes the world is like a ring where we have to practice our grit and have unshakable faith in our capabilities.

Damon asks him what drove him to become a transformational coach. Clifford replies that he realized his potential when he was weighing Amazing FBA. A lot of people told him that they wanted Clifford as their coach. Upon their counsel, he got the certificate. He practiced active listening. He feels that he has “been doing this as a four-year-old.”

Clifford thinks that training to become a coach has sharpened his skills. He finds out that because he is very curious, it is something that he has been doing naturally on his journey. When he applies his curiosity to his profession, he discovers out-of-the-box solutions to problems. He realizes that his training as an athlete made his actions do the talking for him. However, going into his entrepreneurial journey, he realizes how effective and powerful communication could be if used correctly.

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Damon asks him about the new types of problems that people are challenged with. He says that two happenings in his life appealed to him to think deeply. The first one is the Covid-19 Pandemic and the second one is his grandfather’s death when Clifford was five. He argues that in case of tragic events when people get shocked that is indeed our group behavior. His game, however, has about greatness within. It allows people to expand and open up and feel like they’re in a safe enough space, to say the things that they need to say so that they can get out of their way. And that is communication, the better we get at it, the faster we move as a society for everybody.

Damon turns the course of discussion to the Power of 6. Clifford maintains that a person needs six points in life, which he calls “circles” to achieve their goals. In the first circle, these pieces are clarity, competence, and commitment. The game plan is second. Passion is the third and the fourth is unshakeable faith. Taking responsibility comes at number five. And the last and the sixth is greatness. Damon appreciates it in general and “taking responsibility” in particular. He almost “thought about having the first three principals on the top, and the last three principals on the bottom.”

Damon further wants to know if Clifford has seen any visible changes in the ones he coaches. The guest says that he first trains people to say out loud some uncomfortable truths about themselves. Later, he draws them to tell him their dream—passion. He believes it takes an effort to remove the outer shell of people to bring out their original personality.

The host invites Clifford’s comments on elite athlete habits. He responds that one of the most powerful things we have is the ability to time effectively. Two athletes of supreme ability only vary based on timing and proficiency. “It’s the knowing when to do what, knowing when to pull back, knowing when to lean in, knowing when to twist this way, knowing when to turn this way, being 15 steps ahead of the game.” He says that as a coach, “it’s about nurturing their nature, you nurture their nature, and you understand what their nurture is.”

Damon believes that testing times forge leaders. Clifford agrees and says sometimes the action shows the board. He maintains that leadership and its emergence are about timing. We trust our ability to have instinct. But, sometimes, people do not even realize it. Because they are too late. “They cripple themselves.”

Damon questions the guest if he has one thing to somebody to struggling leaders. Clifford concludes that if leaders are aware that they are struggling, they are already ahead of the game. Now, “go find guides.” These guides offer guidance on every step making the goal achievement easy.

The discussion closes with Damon thanking Clifford for his time.

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Damon Pistulka, Clifford Starks


Damon Pistulka  00:02

Oh, and I didn’t time it right. I was just drinking a little bit of water. Thanks. Thanks so much, everyone. Welcome to the faces business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. I am excited today because this is a special treat. I’ve got Clifford Starks here from Starbucks transfer, transformational coaching, and yes, I will get my tongue tiredness out of the way early. And we’re going to be talking about using elite athlete habits for personal development.

And Clifford is the person to talk about this because Clifford, not only was he a division one wrestler, he went on in less than one year after Division One wrestling to start MMA fighting. And you did that for a number of years. And then you decided to turn your, your efforts towards helping people with leadership develop and other things. But Clifford, I’m so excited for you to be here today. Thanks for joining us.


Clifford Starks  01:04

Yeah, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. I’m excited to be in. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  01:08

So tell tell us a little bit about this journey with you. So did you start out wrestling like in junior high and stuff? Why did you pick wrestling?


Clifford Starks  01:20

You know, it’s funny. Um, I actually got suplexed on see MIT. And this was in fifth grade. All right. And for those who don’t know what being suplex is, basically a person bear hugged me from behind, and threw me over his back. And I landed square on my spine on cement. I couldn’t walk properly for a couple of months after that. And jogging took a little bit of time. But from there, I was like, that’s something I need to learn to, if worst comes to worst, at least protect myself. So yeah, I didn’t wrestle until I got into high school, though.


Damon Pistulka  02:08

Yeah. Yeah. It’s a tough sport. People don’t I mean, the physical demands of wrestling to get in shape for wrestling. It’s one of the tougher sports I believe people are, I’ve never been arrested. But I always it mean, the kinds of things that you have to do to get in shape good enough to do it. And, and then just the training regimen.


Clifford Starks  02:32

You know, it’s funny. So I did a, I did a camp. And that was my first introduction into wrestling. Right? So the wrestling, the actual wrestling season came out. And he’s having us do the these conditioning exercises. And I’m thinking like, what did we do to get in trouble to do this? Because I thought we were in trouble like this. Yeah. Well, one of the guys goes like, Cliff, he’s conditioning us. He’s getting us ready for the season. And I’m like, is this something we do every day?


Damon Pistulka  03:12

It’s something we do every day.


Clifford Starks  03:15

That sucks. So yeah, that was my introductory into what a wrestling season look like.


Damon Pistulka  03:22

Yeah, yeah. So what do you think wrestling in high school showed you.


Clifford Starks  03:32

Um, you know, we’re constantly working our confidence muscle. And this is not something that I knew I was even doing. I thought I was just a kid doing the best that I could. But it every time you do something that you don’t like, and you overcome it, you become stronger than you were before. And it’s because when you’re stronger than you were before, that means you can do more things in this in this world. And so just constantly would set myself up to the challenge. Do the thing, figure something out along the way, and I got an amazing shape during that process, not only physically but mentally as well.


Damon Pistulka  04:15

Yeah. And you said I was writing it down because I think I think what a sport like wrestling teaches us push yourself to new limits. Yeah, um, once you’re there, you can go to another limit. And yeah, because it is that is the way that we regrow it’s not by you’re gonna wake up one day and you’re gonna be 100 times better. It’s like 100 days, you’re gonna get a little bit better and end up being a lot better after and 100 days.


Clifford Starks  04:45

Yes, absolutely.


Damon Pistulka  04:47

So as you as you wrestled in college, what was really the change when you moved into college in Division One wrestling?


Clifford Starks  04:54

Hilarious. I went out there. I got taken down by a guy who weighs 147 pounds. And you’re wrestling how heavy how heavy around 225 Oh god. Yeah. So I get taken down by this 147 pounder. And I remember I said it out loud. I’m like, What the hell? I’m a state champion. And the guy looks at me. He goes, we’re all state champions here. Yeah. Jacob. Okay. So I jumped into a bigger pot.


Damon Pistulka  05:29

Yeah. Yeah. That is the one thing that I don’t think people really as kids are going through their athletic. If they’re a great athlete in grade school, and they go to high school, there’s a big jump and when you go to high school to college are the big jump. And a lot of people don’t realize that that just keeps going.

And yeah, I had a friend that used to ride professional motocross and he said, You can always tell the difference between a weekend motocrosser and somebody that’s, you know, the semi pro and the professionals, he said, The weekend motocross, you’re, they’re gonna be at the starting gate, they’re gonna be talking to everybody around them everything or you know, just having a good time relaxed.

He said, that professional motocross or they’re out there stop and the track in front of their wheel there. They’re making sure that the tire and everything that is perfect for their start, because they know that the margin of error gets so much smaller, as everyone gets better, that you have to be at the very tippy, tippy, tippy top of your game to be able to do these things. And 100% Yeah, yeah. So you came into college at 225? You said, Did you wrestle at that weight? Or what rate did you wrestle at?


Clifford Starks  06:44

Yeah, so I was a heavy weights and anything over 197? To 265? So quite a small heavyweight?


Damon Pistulka  06:57

Yeah, yeah. And then you, you got you. You wrestled in college? What were some of the things that college wrestling taci, where you know, high school, you were learning how to push your limits a bit, and you’re through a lot of that, well, what a college really,


Clifford Starks  07:15

um, it’s almost like, I think we’re learning the same lesson over and over again, just in different aspects of life. Because there’s a barrier, like, there’s a sticking point where you’re stuck. And you got to push through the barrier. And for three months, I was getting tossed around like a child, I really was. But the reason, the only reason the only change was my attitude, is my attitude gets me to that next level, because I’m just gonna, like, Okay, I’m gonna go back again, and give my best, the difference between the haves and the have nots. And it’s not that one person is better than another.

So that’s not what I’m saying in any way. But it’s giving your best when it makes no sense. Like, it makes no sense to give your best cuz you suck. So your mind saying, why are you even doing this? Because I know there’s something on the other end. That’s why. And so after three months, everything just started firing on all cylinders. And it was making sense again.


Damon Pistulka  08:20

Yeah, I love that. Given your best one, it makes no sense. It’s kind of like saying, you know, keep going. Everybody else has quit.


Clifford Starks  08:32



Damon Pistulka  08:34

That’s cool. So you’re getting near the end of your college career. You tell your coach, man, I want to be an MMA. And I want to do it in a year.


Clifford Starks  08:43

Well, the crazy thing is I actually gave up my career all together. So Yeah, kinda. It’s a weird transition for people because they see that transition. It wasn’t seamless and smooth like that. So I actually, I was a graduate in Kinesiology. And I went into training. So I was doing personal training for good seven, eight years before I even got into fighting. So I was probably considered very, very old. When I ended up deciding I want to try this.


Damon Pistulka  09:17

Oh, yeah. Because you’re close to 30 By that time, yeah. It feels a little different at 30 than it does at 20. Something


Clifford Starks  09:28

I like. One thing that I will say is I want to live the life I want to live. Yeah, when I’m ready to do something, I’m gonna go do the thing. And learn the lessons along the way as I’m learning.


Damon Pistulka  09:41

Do you think doing it though, at that age, you were better prepared for it mentally?


Clifford Starks  09:46

100% You know, it’s funny. I was listening to a video on Tony Robbins and he talks about being resourceful. And the one thing that I am is, there’s pros and cons to whatever we do. They’re always going to be there. And then we get the option or like, are the pros worth it to me, to me? And that’s what people have to be willing to ask themselves.

And sometimes they don’t. They think the pros are not as weighted as the cons, because they’re listening to the wrong people. You got to listen to yourself. You gotta listen to you got to know what you want your journey to be. And that’s what I wanted my journey to because you best believe my parents didn’t want me to do it. It wasn’t this simple thing of, Oh, you want to fight in the UFC? Less than a year? Whoa, where your cheerleaders? It’s what in the hell are you thinking?


Damon Pistulka  10:42

Yeah, yeah. That’s awesome. That’s why I wanted to have you on because you didn’t you don’t even realize the wisdoms of the words that you say. And if people didn’t hear you speak for the last minute, they should just back it up there. Because it’s, it’s awesome. And I’m so blessed to be able to be around you once in a while and listen to your talk. Because you have a way about you Clifford, that cuts right through a lot of levels and gets to the heart of what people should really be considering. And that’s why I really appreciate my time with you and how you share things with people. Because you have a gift.


Clifford Starks  11:22

Thank you. Thank you,


Damon Pistulka  11:23

you have a gift. And people tell you, you have a gift for it. And I really enjoy that about you. So you’re better your little better off mentally for this a little later in life. What were some of the things because you had not trained for MMA fighting before then had you?


Clifford Starks  11:45

No. Not at all. I actually, I suck so bad. That when I told my coach like he had this grin on his face, like that doesn’t happen.


Damon Pistulka  12:03

Yeah, so what I mean, no, what were the things that you go, I never, I never would have dreamed in a million years. We had to do that. To get ready for it.


Clifford Starks  12:16

You know, this is actually from Russell Brunson. So and this is the way I’ve always thought. He calls it just in time learning. I know there’s gonna be something that I’m learning while I’m in it. And I know that I can learn it. Because I’m pressured to learn it while I’m in it. What are those moments I was getting my leg kicked up so bad. And I’m going with this boy Thai guy. And to make matters worse, they had the rules where I couldn’t punch him in the head. I could only punch him in the body. So I’m like, Alright, so just take the one weapon that I have related Russell’s about and punch him in the face. Yeah. So they kept setting us up. And he just kept kicking my legs and it.

It sucked. It was painful. I couldn’t walk for two weeks. But I just sometimes all you have is your grip. Sometimes that’s all you get, because he was technically the better fighter than I was. But I like to win. And I push the pace. And I did what I could. And I ended up getting the decision. And best believe after that fight. And after I was able to walk again. I practice checking leg kicks for probably a good month, because I never wanted to feel that way again. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  13:45

But you said something there again. You said sometimes all you have is grit. Yeah. And they’re in that’s in the ring like you experienced at that time, but it’s in life too.


Clifford Starks  13:57

Oh, yeah. Oh, big time. Yeah. It’s one of those things. You don’t know when you’re going to need it. And I say, unshakable faith. So that’s actually my fourth principle. And I say practice having it. So it’s there when you need it. Because you’re never going to know when you’re going to need it. But it’s gonna come.


Damon Pistulka  14:19

Yeah, that’s, that’s a good one uncheckable Faith is. Yeah, you get that right. That’ll take you a long ways along with some grit 100% Ah, good stuff. Well, so you’re doing the MMA. You decide you’ve had enough of the MMA and you could have gone back to training and other things like that and you decided to do leadership coaching or transformational coaching. What really drove you to do that?


Clifford Starks  14:56

You know, it’s interesting. I was actually doing Weighing Amazon FBA Fulfillment by Amazon. And, again, I appreciate you saying the kind gestures to me. Because I had a lot of people telling me, You’re my coach. And I just listened. You know, I just started listening to people and saying, probably should get certified. In that case, everybody’s telling me what I have. And I ended up getting certified in like, holy crap.

I’ve been doing this since I was a personal trainer. And then I go even further, further down the line. I’m like, holy crap, I’ve been doing this since I was four. I’ve been doing this as a four year old. And, yeah, it was super, super cool. But your tribe kind of makes you who you are just as much as you make you who you are. You know, like you do something. But when your tribe gets behind you, you can do things you didn’t even know that you could do. Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  16:02

that’s for sure. That’s for sure. I just want to say a quick hello to the show. Thanks for stopping by tonight.


Clifford Starks  16:08

Right the show? And you’re


Damon Pistulka  16:11

right, because sometimes we don’t see what we should see. That’s obvious to everyone else around us. Yeah. And so, yeah, that’s awesome. So when, when you were doing the training to become a coach? Do you think that they just helped to sharpen your skills? Or was it that you learned some really new things you go, wow, this is really going to help me be a better coach?


Clifford Starks  16:42

Um, I? That’s a great question. And I think it depends on the individual looks at it. And so for me, I helped me sharpen my skills. And I also got some interesting Aha, as I went through it, there was one guy who did some mentoring for me. And he says, always ask yourself the question, how does this apply to me? And I really, really, I didn’t know, it was something that I was doing naturally on my journey, because I’m very curious.

But it’s one of those things that opens up room for possibility, like, Okay, how is this thing applying to me and my journey, I like playing with it and understanding it and figuring it out, and using the leverage that I need to use along the journey. But that’s how I look at life. You know, and I know a lot of people, and I’m not bagging on anyone for the way that they run their journey. It’s their journey, you know, talk about like, the school system is broken.

And this is over here. And there’s a problem over here. Problems just allow us to have solutions. You know, like even some of the simpler problems we take for granted. Like, if I’m hungry, I’m gonna go eat. That is a problem, though. That is a problem until you find the solution. So it’s, like me bitching about the fact that I’m not eating and that I’m hungry? isn’t making the problem any better. So I look at life. And I go, like, are we going to look for a solution to it? Or are we just going to talk about it, and hope that somehow it gets better?


Damon Pistulka  18:30

Yeah, there’s times when it’s the talking should end and the doing should begin? Yeah.


Clifford Starks  18:37

Yeah. And, you know, like, I actually, on my journey, I didn’t talk a whole lot. You know, I didn’t talk a whole lot, because I was actually trained, that my actions do my talking for me. So I just, I would have my actions, do my talking, I would act, I would act, I would act. And then going into my entrepreneurial journey, I started realizing how effective and powerful communication could be, especially if you’re using it correctly. And, and then I was like, Holy crap, we have two eyes and two ears, because yeah, we’re supposed to see and hear twice as much. But that doesn’t mean we don’t talk. We just talk when it’s time to talk when it’s appropriate to talk.

And so I’m learning the timing on that as I go through my process, because we never completely have it figured out. And I try and get better and better at it as I go through it to by being around amazing people like yourself, and being around other amazing individuals and just learning and taking on those insights and listening closely. And speaking at the most appropriate time and if it’s not the appropriate time giving myself the grace to go like up screwed that one out. up to bat again. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  19:51

Yeah. I like I like that. I like that. heard it from you. That’s good. So because I screw it up a lot. Hello. So as you’ve been coaching now you’ve been coaching well over a decade, what are some of the things that you’ve seen change over time that people have to deal with now that they didn’t deal with before, or have just become new types of problems that people are challenged?


Clifford Starks  20:20

You know what’s interesting? I look at principles and philosophies. And I say it’s often time, more the same than it’s not. So I’ll give an example. We’ll look at something like COVID, right. And we’ll say, we need a vaccine. We need to wear a mask, we need this. But the truth is we need our mind to fill okay.

That’s what it is, we want to remind to feel like it’s okay. And so the question is, okay, how do I make my mind know that I am going to be okay, through this process. So because if I am okay, I will take the proper precautions, and be okay. And that the same is true for. So what the world went through, I actually went through when I was five. I’m a five year old kid. And I’m at the funeral of my grandfather. And I’m terrified, like another level of terrified, because I’ve never seen anyone die before. Yeah.

And so seeing someone who was just alive, and now he’s in his coffin, it freaked me out so much, and it stiffened me up. And I literally, like, that was a coaching opportunity for me, because I remember thinking to myself, like I was processing it, and I go, okay, if I’m gonna die, I better live as much life as I can. Like, I better lift this thing out and see what happens. And what people do, they go through their shock, and COVID. It was the one thing that actually brought us together, it showed us our humanity, because this is how people this is how this group responds when they’re shocked. This is how this group respond when they’re shocked.

Yeah, we have different tribes, with different perspectives, and different ways of looking at the world. But if I were to say, Okay, let’s take a couple, and you to talk about how stupid you are, and why you’re stupid, and why my way is right, in your ways wrong. Show me how that’s going to work. And you want to take an entire society and do that. We can’t even do it with two people. But we’re gonna do it with a society. Yeah, that’s why my game has about greatness within.

It allows people to expand and open up and feel like they’re in a safe enough space, to say the things that they need to say, so that they can get out of their own way. But if I tell a person how stupid they are, that’s just they’re gonna shell up, you’re gonna hate me, they’re not going to feel any better about like, oh, eff that guy. And then they’re gonna go do the thing that they want to do anyway. Yeah. And that’s, it’s just a communication, the better we get at it, the faster we move as a society for everybody.


Damon Pistulka  23:19

Yeah, yeah. It’s the one thing you’re talking about in there, we will never ever all be in one tribe and be in the same mindset and everything we want. And one of the things that always and I, honestly, myself, and I think everyone, to some extent, hopefully, as they as they get a little bit older, you that you begin to, if you’re working on growing, if you’re working on really becoming a better person over time, and I’m better human.

You try to understand that they’re going to be people that think, the exact opposite of you. But they can still be good people. Yeah, they can. They can, they can been one of the things that has been really, really interesting to me. And it’s a statement that someone brought up to me, I had a long, couple of years ago. Now it says, you know, don’t ever judge someone because you never know the situations that they’ve been in, how they grew up, where they came from anything like that. You don’t know that.

So don’t judge their actions today because you never know that and you may not even be able to understand it. And I think about that a lot as I get older because you know, you see it on TV this horror. I think I this is my personal opinion. I think we should we should ban the news unless they’re just gonna read like good stuff that happened today for 10 minutes and then okay, give us five minutes of the bad stuff and I don’t want to hear any I just want The stuff I don’t want your take on it. I don’t want any of that. Because it’s because, you know, because right now what do you see on TV? As you see, you see, see extremes?

Yeah, either way, either way doesn’t matter, you know, and you see, you see a smidgen of the real world where most of us live. But it’s like, it’s like, it’s the same thing. So go on. And so go on something like Facebook, social media, right? Everybody lives as this great life. Because all they share is pictures of their vacations or their wonderful times and stuff like that. But we all live real lives. And I think that understanding the differences in people and appreciating that that person may not like me, may not whatever, agree with me, it doesn’t really matter.

It really shouldn’t hurt me as a person or affect me as a person. And, and I don’t know, I’m not saying it the right way. But I get really passionate about it when you hear oh, they’re liberal, or they’re conservative or something like that. It’s like, who the hell cares? Do they do they? Do they wake up? Are they good to people? Yeah, do they do they? I mean, do they care for their? Their family? Well, they’re their friends, do they? Are they involved in their community? When the hell did that stop mattering? No. It’s


Clifford Starks  26:30

so fascinating. Because I look at I’ve always been fascinated with psychology, for instance, like how we think and why we think the way that we think. And I know our minds are good at deleting Delos, delegating and distorting things. Like it’s just what they do. And so sometimes, I’ll what I’ll do is ask a question.

Like, okay, why, like, why is it that way? And why are you mad at that person? And, okay, well, what would you do, and just play with the mind a little bit. Because when you can play with the mind, it will start looking for opportunities again, because it’s really, it just wants to keep itself safe. That’s what the mind is looking to do. We’d like people just shut up and listen to me, everything would be better. And that’s not how the world really works. Everybody either learns it at their own time, or never learned it. I saw one person who it was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.

For me, personally, I and I, feel he was filling this too, because he was crying about how he didn’t want to die. He doesn’t want to die. He had this cancer. And his kids didn’t even come to see him. And it was because he just, he had such this bitterness to them, that it showed up in our other areas of his life, it would spill over. And I’m like, man, they didn’t even come to see him on his way out. You know, like, and it’s, it’s the human emotions that we have our emotions are very powerful things. And they either work to serve us, or they work completely against us.


Damon Pistulka  28:16

Yeah, yeah, I just read I just read this morning. I was I say read but I listened to Audible. And it said it was it. John Maxwell reading the complete 101 or something like that. I don’t know, one of his compilations and it said something about the fact that you treat the world the way you weigh you look at yourself.

So if you hate yourself, you look at the world with hate. And Holy heck, I stopped and as in I was exercising and I continued on and I just thought about that a while and thought really deep to myself. I was like, How do I really think about myself and how does that affect how I think about everyone else? Because it’s such a powerful statement like you talked about that person bitter about their sick bitter about their they’re bitter. They’re probably bitter to everyone.

Yeah. And I can understandably a tough situation but bitter nonetheless. Yeah. Absolutely. But good. Was it thinking we were gonna get that deep on stuff? Because as because I think, your journey from being an elite athlete to help them people with leadership coaching has a lot of really interesting nuances and characteristics because the, your I think and tell me about this. Coaching is a lot Like training for an athletic event? Because it’s repetitive. You got to work a little bit. Am I right? Wrong?


Clifford Starks  30:10

Yeah, no, I agree with you. I say there’s a time to sprint, a time to jog a time to walk a time to rest, you know, and figure out like, Okay, what, when do I sprint? When do I jog? When do I walk? When do I rest. And we have patterns that we carry out. And so there was I took bank code from Emmeline, she’s an absolute superstar. And I got to understand more about the personality types, the way people show up in their reality.

And one thing that I love doing is understanding the why behind the why. And people often say, is it nature? Or is it nurture? You know, it’s, well, it’s both? Well, it’s this well, it’s that well, it’s more nurture? Well, it’s more nature. And after taking that I’m like, holy crap, it’s about nurturing their nature, you nurture their nature, you understand what their nurture is, and then you do or their nature is, and then you nurture it.

Because just like an angry human being is and a hurt human being is, imagine what an inspired human being can do. Imagine what an empowered human being can do. And people think it’s easy, because it’s treat those the way you want to be treated. But the game is not treat those the way you want to be treated. It’s treat people the way they know they want to be treated. And that takes energy. That takes asking questions, that takes understanding. What do they love? What do they hate? What inspires them? What brings them down?


Damon Pistulka  31:57

Yeah, he just said it there. treat them the way that they want to be treated? Because it could not it’s probably not the way that you would like to be treated. Yeah. So as your I mean, this is. So that’s really something and that’s good. It’s good that you bring it up. So as you’re helping leaders through this, and I don’t have it pulled up here, but I’ve got just gotta flip up screen here. You talk something in your profile here on LinkedIn about the six. You’re I don’t know if it’s on LinkedIn or someplace else. This see the power of six. The power six, yes, yeah. Tell me about the power six. I got it. Absolutely.


Clifford Starks  32:42

Yeah. So as I went through my journey, first off, I went to go do a motivational speech. And I bombed it. Because it was my first one. It was hilarious. All over the place. And I went to my, my speech coach, and I talked to her about it. And she said, like, yeah, you know, just sit down and write your speech, like really get it in sync. And so I started, I reverse engineered what I put a person through a process, like, Okay, this is where they’re at when they win. And then like, what steps do I take them through to get them to that win? Right? I started looking at it. And it was six things that consistently came up. And so I wrote those six things down.

And I go, this is what it is. And I at first, I didn’t know like, is it a line that they go through? Is it a steps that they go through, and I ended up making it a circle. And the reason I made it a circle was it shows that there’s it needs a cycle, everything goes through cycles, and you’re going to be in different parts of that cycle, depending on what you need. Now, when you’re really found dated, you’re found dated in all six pieces. Like you’re completely you’re solid in self. And I have you grade those pieces. And so those six pieces are clarity, competence, commitment is the first one. Like are you clear?

Are you confident? Are you committed in what you’re doing? And then the second is, okay, do you have a game plan? And a game plan is like something that’s measurable and managed? Are you measuring and managing certain things? Because if you’re not, it’s not gonna get managed. If you’re not measuring it, it’s not gonna get managed.

The third is, are you passionate about it? And use like, either you’re passionate or you’re not passionate about it, like figure out what that is? The fourth what I was talking to you about unshakeable faith. It’s like Do you have the unshakable faith necessary? And are you practicing those steps and there’s exercises to that, that I tell people to practice on a regular basis because life will hit you.

The fifth is take responsibility. And just as you were talking about, I always say look within before you look without looking without is important. Like if I like, oh, there’s no lion there and the lions there, okay, you’re in trouble. But look within and then without, we’re in a human society.

And it’s important to say like, Okay, what am I doing here? Am I triggered? Am I looking at the past? Are there things that I’m seeing that are not necessarily there and my mind seeing that, and then look without, and then look within again, look in out in, I always call it so control what you can know what you can’t, and distinguish the difference between the two. And then the six is the greatness with it is basically you’re firing on all cylinders. Life’s doing what it needs to do, and you’re filling the growth and loving every experience that you’re having.


Damon Pistulka  35:55

Those are incredible, my friend. They’re incredible. They’re incredible. And, yeah, they take responsibility. I like that one. I like that one. Every time when I hear people that are blame. I really wonder what it’s like, what it would be like for them to accept the responsibility for everything, basically. And to see how much different their day is because I think it helps you become less of a victim. Yeah, and puts you more in control, even when you can’t control some of this stuff.


Clifford Starks  36:35

Yeah, 100%. Yeah, I even look at so I almost thought about having the first three principals on the top, and the last three principals on the bottom. The reason being is if I tell a person to take responsibility, and they are not ready to take responsibility, they’re going to it’s the Milli Vanilli song, blame it on the rain, like they’re going to take like, it’s gotta be something’s fault. And it’s not my just like, I can’t wait.


Damon Pistulka  37:11

Yeah, yeah. So, as you take people through this, and you’re I mean, I can see how your power of six and I hadn’t written down to it, I had it on my notes today, I’d already gone through a full page. That’s why I couldn’t find it. But so as you take people through this, what are some of the things that they’ve said to you? As they as they get work with you a while? What are some of the feelings that they explained to you in their lives? And the changes that they see?


Clifford Starks  37:45

Yeah, great question. So one thing, they either start telling me their dream, or they’re hesitant at telling me their dream, or the reason they start is because there’s accountability pieces in that. The second you say out loud, what you want to do, it becomes very, very real. And people don’t like being seen as liars. They don’t like being seen as like, crap. I’m a hypocrite. And so it’s hard. Sometimes I totally get it. But my goal is to get them to get their dream out to actually say it out loud. Because when you say those things out loud, you actually give them power.

So if people get too scared of the fact that I will, if I say it, it’s so funny, I actually, I have people who are into the law of attraction and manifestation. And then they say, like, I can’t say it, because if I say it, then it won’t come. And they go, alright. If you plant a tree, right, and you go through the process of that tree growing, and you say, like, That tree is not going to grow, it’s not going to grow, and you’re going through the process. I think the tree still gonna grow.

So I think like, people take manifestation and they use like, I hate to say it this way, but it’s the only way that I know how they use a BS mechanism to say like, oh, well, this is why I can’t say the thing that I’m saying. Because if I say, if you say then you can get people on your side who are going to help make that dream a reality. What are you talking about? Maybe you’ve heard from too many people, their bullcrap baggage, and you don’t want to say it, and that’s cool. I get it. It happens. But say your stuff and at least if you say something and everyone’s telling you, you’re stupid, at least you know you’re in the wrong room. Mm hmm.


Damon Pistulka  39:39

And you said a lot, said a lot there. If people are listening to this, go back it up and listen to it again. Because, you know, one of the things that we really have to be cognizant about when we’re soliciting advice, especially if you have big goals All right. If you would have told your high school teacher that you said, I want to, I want to be an MMA fighter when I’m, you know, 2829 years old, they said, Yeah, good luck. It ain’t happening. Don’t even start, you know, go to college, do something else, whatever.

But they don’t know you. They don’t know what you can do. They don’t know the determination that you have. They don’t know what kind of effort, persistence, and, as you say, unshakable faith you have to achieve your goals.


Clifford Starks  40:37

And super cool. And this was on thanes I believe it was on faith leadership. But they say, even God doesn’t bet on a person who’s alive. And that’s the name of the game. Like, okay, if you’re alive, there’s a chance.


Damon Pistulka  40:56

Yeah. Yeah. And that’s right. That’s right. I think it’s a lot of us and people to that I read this a while back, you know, people, if you if you’re going to tell somebody a big goal, like, oh, I want to be a, I’m gonna be an astronaut, you know, 10 year old kid. And so am I say naive, you know, maybe you should be a teacher, maybe you should maybe should be a bus driver or whatever. It because they’re trying to protect you, they’re trying to try and protect you from the disappointment that could have affected them, or different things.

And, and this is, this is where I think there is a lot of power. And as you’re helping people do put their goals out there. Because they’re their goals for a reason. They’re thinking about that for a reason. And, you know, it’s it is, yeah, it is too bad when you see people turn it down because of that.


Clifford Starks  41:49

Yeah, yeah. It’s like, so fill you in that David. And I also say, like, Okay, where’s the opportunity, because I’m always looking for the opportunity, I go, okay. If they’re going to turn it down, that means I get an opportunity to turn it up. And then they get the opportunity to turn it up. And that’s where I’m like, Okay, where’s the opportunity in here, even with the news, like I say, the news isn’t going to change until people turn it off.

It’s just not gonna happen. It’s gonna get eyeballs early, keep doing it the same way. Yep. Okay. And I love how you talk about because I do think it’s toxic, in a lot of ways. very toxic in a lot of ways. And it’s up to people to look at it and go, like, is this actually healthy for the society or not? And I just want people to ask that question to themselves, like be willing to ask the question, Is this really healthy? Or, or is it actually detrimental?


Damon Pistulka  42:55

And there’s a lot of thought that should be put into that right there. So as you’re looking at these leaders, helping these leaders explore more of themselves. What are some of the things that you had to use as an elite athlete that you see them being able to use? That’s like, very game changing for him? Or it’s a game changing? Not very he? Yeah, he King. Right. But oh, look


Clifford Starks  43:23

at look at this. Yeah, the inch. The inches are everything. The inches are everything. And what I’ll say is, one of the most powerful things we have is the ability to time effectively, that’s the name of the game. And I even looked at like a blue belt versus a black belt. And this is jujitsu, for instance. And the difference between the blue belt and the black belt is not the moves. It’s not the techniques. It’s the timing, it’s the proficiency, it’s the knowing when to do what knowing when to pull back knowing when to lean in, knowing when to twist this way, knowing when to turn this way being 15 steps ahead of the game.

And so you’re you might be scrambling with one move, but they’re already 14 moves ahead. You can’t beat that. And entrepreneurship and leadership is much the same. It’s preparing your people for the great times, like celebrating the hell out of those great times. And being prepared as hell for those not so great times to seeing both sides of the coin because the leader needs to see the top and they also need to see the bottom


Damon Pistulka  44:43

Yeah. Yep. The answers are everything. Preparing for the great not so great. I like those. The because it really is, as you’re trying to become a more effective leader and more. It I don’t know, I use the right words. But as you become a better leader, it really is about in good and bad. And it’s easy to lead when things are going well. But better leaders are formed when it’s bad every time.


Clifford Starks  45:25

Just like, we were talking about the edge, and I talked about me being able to show up, when things just aren’t showing up my way. You know, so that’s where I’ve gotten some of my greatest growth is to be in a situation where it’s like, this isn’t showing up the way that I wanted it to show up. So how do I make it show up? Like, what do I What do I do? What do I what process? What grit do I have to have?

What so interesting, the just in time learning, you know, reminding, reminding an entrepreneur, that the action sometimes the action shows the board, it show like you’re throwing the Dart, and the board isn’t even there until you throw the dart. And we were like, No, I want to know, I want to know exactly where the board’s at. Yeah, it’s not always true. It’s not always going to work that way. But you can become so proficient, that, you just you trust your instinct, you trust your ability to have the instinct.

And sometimes people just need that sounding board, so that they can play on their instincts again, and can play the game they already know how to play. Some people are amazing at your game, and they don’t even realize it. Because they’re too late. They cripple themselves. And they stay in this stuck block like, Okay, this is what I know. So if I go out of this, that I’m gonna be in trouble. But imagine what you do get when you do go out of that. Imagine what you can come back with. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  47:09

Awesome. That’s great. I mean, I just I like listening to you speak Clifford and I. And I can’t even believe we’re almost out of time here. Because I just want to say if people don’t know Clifford, Clifford Starks just look him up on LinkedIn. And reach out and connect with him. Because there are a million reasons. I would think that that you being a leadership coach is a wonderful thing. Yeah. And I appreciate you so much. If you’re gonna say one thing to somebody that was struggling with leadership today, what do you think they should hear right now?


Clifford Starks  48:01

Awesome. The fact that you’re struggling means that you’re aware enough to know that you’re struggling, you’re already ahead of the game. Now, go find guides, who have what you want. Because when you can find the guy who has what you want, they can tell you the steps that you that you’re stuck in and help you move out of it propel out of it and become the person you were meant to be.


Damon Pistulka  48:31

Awesome. Again. Man, I’m so thankful that we had this opportunity to talk Clifford we aren’t we are running up against time here. But man, I just want to say Clifford, how can someone get a hold of you if they want to talk to you?


Clifford Starks  48:46

Yeah, absolutely. So you can get a hold of me on LinkedIn, or Facebook Messenger as well. Those would be the two best ways to get a hold of me. And yeah, I love connecting with people love pointing people in the direction that they need to move into. And I’m of specially fond of parent partners. Because I do know the combination of being an entrepreneur and being a parent. And being a married man myself personally, for 15 years. It has its challenges, but you’d be surprised how far you can go. When you put the right things in the right order. It’s a lot of fun, and you leverage effectively.


Damon Pistulka  49:29

When you figure out that balance that ended I don’t even like to use the words that when you figure out the integration between your business and your family, and it works for your family and your business. It’s a wonderful thing. 100 is a wonderful thing. So well thanks today we had Clifford Starks here with Starks transformational coaching. We’re talking about using elite athlete habits to improve your personal development and we just got schooled on I don’t know how many things that will help you become a better leader.

We’ve learned around your power of six, which you’re awesome. I think people should be reaching out to you. So thanks so much for being here today, Clifford. Thanks, everyone for listening. And thank you. Thanks so much. Just hanging out for a minute with us Clifford here and we’ll talk


Clifford Starks  50:19

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