Matt Whitworth (@mattwhitworth_) is a filmmaker and digital media entrepreneur. Matt is the creator and executive producer of the popular political documentary series, The Swamp, which has been viewed by tens of millions of people. Matt is also the creator and developer of the news app TheUpdate.
In this episode, we discuss how Matt began his filmmaking and media career while not having a background in either filmmaking or media content creation. Matt talks about the importance of developing and maintaining a vast network of connections in order to help further his career. He tells stories of all-night flights, taking bad meetings, and hearing ‘no’ continuously while trying to start projects and companies.
Matt gives great advice about what it takes to become successful when you start out with zero name recognition – like so many of us do – and how to gain connections and maintain them. Matt is the definition of grinding to get to where you want to go. You’ll hear all about his story, his tips and advice, and much more.
Gavin Aung Than (@zenpencils) is a New York Times bestselling cartoonist, illustrator, and author. Gavin is a cartoonist based in Melbourne, Australia. After working in the corporate graphic design industry for eight years, he quit his unfulfilling job at the end of 2011 to focus on his true passion, drawing cartoons. Gavin launched his website, Zen Pencils, at the start of 2012, a cartoon blog which adapts inspirational quotes into comic stories, and hasn’t looked back since.
Zen Pencils has been featured by The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Slate, Mashable, Upworthy, Buzzfeed, Gawker, The A.V. Club, Brain Pickings, Comic Book Resources,National Geographic, ProBlogger, and The Design Files. It was named one of the best 100 websites by PCMag and there are two New York Times bestselling book collections of Zen Pencils comics currently available. Gavin’s most current book, CREATIVE STRUGGLE: Illustrated Advice From Masters of Creativity is also out wherever books are sold.
In this episode, we discuss how Gavin got started in his journey to become a bestselling cartoonist and the struggles that he overcame in getting to there, especially starting out. We talk about his creative process and what it takes to make Zen Pencils comics and books. Gavin also dives in to what he learned by taking risks in his career and starting his own company and brand. Gavin provides some great stories, advice, and tips for everybody, no matter what industry you’re in.
Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) is an American politician and is the U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 4th congressional district. Jordan is also a Hall of Fame wrestler after winning back-to-back NCAA Division I national championships at the University of Wisconsin.
During Jordan’s time at Wisconsin, he was a three-time All-American and two-time national champion. Jordan placed sixth in the 134-pound weight class as a sophomore followed by NCAA titles the next two seasons. His 1985 NCAA title was particularly memorable, as he defeated eventual six-time World and Olympic champion John Smith of Oklahoma State in the finals. Jordan’s final college career record was 15628-1.
Said Team USA Wrestling of Jordan, “Jim Jordan might be the best wrestler ever to occupy an elected position in the United States Government. His wrestling credentials alone speak volumes, especially in a profession where a strong voice must be heard.”
In this episode, we discuss Jordan’s early wrestling career and what it meant to be coach by his father. We also talk about the transition from his small high school wrestling program to major college wrestling at Wisconsin before finally discussing his political career.
Jordan preaches work ethic and toughness and that will be a common theme that listeners will hear throughout the interview whether it comes to wrestling, politics, or his workout regimen. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.
*Fun fact: this was my first official interview. I was very nervous and you’ll probably be able to hear it. To go along with that, I did have some minor audio issues but those get cleared up within the first couple minutes of the interview.
Lily Abdelmalek (IG: lilydsatraining) is a professional sports performance training. She owns and operates Atlanta-based DSA Training where she is the go-to trainer for that many professional athletes depend on in the offseason for peak performance.
Some of Lily’s clients include: NFL players Eric Berry, A.J. Bouye, Takeo Spikes, and Jamal Lewis; NBA players Jaylen Brown and Dwight; and she also works with MLB player Jason Heyward, plus countless other professional athletes.
SB Nation said of Lily, “You can find her with a group of NFL linebackers or defensive backs, or in smaller groups with NBA or college basketball players. But Abdelmalek’s work goes deeper than just pro athletes. She is helping aspiring sports stars in the metro Atlanta area at local high schools, or at the Forum Athletic Club in Buckhead.”
In this episode, we discuss how Lily got her start in the sports performance business, the things that she has learned along the way, plus Lily opens up and talks about how the obsession with owning her own business and training professional athletes has impacted her personal life–for the better and the worse.
Lily was a fantastic interview and you can hear in her voice how much she genuinely cares about all of her clients. She tells the story of going from an intern to one of the most trusted sports performance coaches in the business. I learned a lot from Lily and I know that you will too.
4:27 – What she was most impressed with working with NBA star Jaylen Brown
5:12 – On her career change from physical therapy to sports performance
7:17 – On the biggest challenges she faces being a female in a male dominated industry
8:33 – On how she got her clients to trust her at the beginning
9:50 – Lily on starting her own training company
11:00 – On how she developed her ability to train professional athletes
12:43 – The things that her athletes have taught her and why she loves training defensive backs
14:50 – On watching film to study her clients
18:24 – Her typical training day schedule
19:50 – On bringing in other professional athletes to help coach her clients
22:48 – On how she deals with the days when she is tired, stressed, and worn out
24:13 – How Lily balances work life vs. personal life
28:13 – Why Lily thinks clients keep coming back to train with her
30:23 – On how she gets professional athletes to change their thinking and correct their technique
34:08 – Lily on the most common mistakes average athletes make
35:26 – On what she thinks trainers waste the most time on
38:28 – Lily’s best bang-for-your-buck exercise
39:36 – What Lily learned from working for renowned speed trainer Loren Seagrave
40:40 – The role of competing within her training program
43:21 – On how nervous she gets working with professional athletes
47:48 – On how she compares herself to others
48:55 – On what she envisioned her life being before the training
49:49 – On how she battled the times when she wanted to give up
51:01 – On the hard times when she first started
52:13 – On how to build toughness and perseverance
52:51 – The struggle that she’s proudest to have overcome
55:02 – Lily’s mentors and they best advice they’ve given
56:56 – What Lily wishes she would’ve known at the beginning of her journey
57:34 – The product Lily thinks everybody should be using
58:16 – Daily habits that contributes most to Lily’s success
58:35 – What Lily thinks most people don’t understand about being successful
59:28 – Lily’s thoughts on social media
1:00:37 – The message Lily would broadcast to the world
Joey O is an award-winning, best-selling author and “The World’s Only Acrobatic Golf Comedian.” He has been described as the “Best Entertainer in the World” by golf professionals across the country.
Joey has performed worldwide for over 40 years, including an appearance along with Tiger Woods on the The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In each performance, Joey showcases his motor skills genius while giving the audience the most memorable golf experience alongside a motivational message.
The legendary Bob Hope said of Joey that he “is the most creative and determined entertainer I know and a great one at that!”
According to PGA Tour Professional and TV analyst, Paul Azinger, “…on a scale of 1-10, Joey’s show is a 50. The best ball striking I’ve ever seen!”
In this episode, we discuss how Joey got his start in show business, including how he formed an unlikely friendship with Bob Hope and his story about the path he took to appear on The Tonight Show. Joey also talks about how much practice and persistence has shaped his professional life, and the obstacles he had to overcome to become one of the best, well-known golf acts in the country.
Joey O is a constant source of positivity and motivation, which listeners will hear throughout the entire interview. This was a fun episode that really makes you take stock of your life and think about if you’re doing all that you can be in order to get to the places you want to go.
2:40 – How a circus motivated Joey’s entertainment career
4:28 – On how Joey got his start in show business
9:50 – On how he met and befriended show business legend Bob Hope
13:15 – On his mentorship with acrobat Larry Griswold
16:12 – Joey’s dream of appearing on The Tonight Show and persisting for 27 years
20:30 – Joey on his Tonight Show appearance
23:51 – On how Joey developed his ability to persist
26:05 – On recovering from mistakes
27:07 – On his parents thoughts of him getting into show business
28:25 – His thoughts on being a motivator
29:22 – On achieving with dyslexia and becoming a bestselling author
31:41 – The origins for his award-winning book The Dream Seed
33:19 – Joey’s intense training schedule
36:00 – On being patient and erring to reach mastery
37:24 – The absurd thing that Joey loves doing
38:41 – On what he would put on a cheat sheet to his younger self
41:08 – The best advice his mentors gave him
42:53 – On what gets Joey excited now
43:52 – His thoughts on the most misunderstood thing about being successful
45:40 – Common pitfalls that he didn’t fall into
46:35 – The worst advice Joey hears given
47:50 – How he deals with the times he feels overwhelmed
48:33 – Joey O’s message he would broadcast to the world
49:38 – Joey O-isms
Show Links:Larry Griswold on The Frank Sinatra Show
Joey O. appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay LenoThe Dream Seed by Joey O.
Theme music: DREAM by SackJo22 ft. Jeris Haskel
Joe Theismann (@Theismann7) is a former NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, broadcaster, author, and restaurateur. Joe is best known for his NFL career with the Washington Redskins where he played quarterback, guiding the Redskins to the Super Bowl championships by 1982. Joe followed up the next season by winning the NFL Most Valuable Player award in 1983.
Following his infamous career-ending leg injury, Joe worked as a broadcaster and analyst for ESPN for nearly 20 years while also working on a broadcast team with the NFL Network. Additionally, Joe is a restaurateur, owning Theismann’s Restaurant and Bar. He also performs as a speaker for corporate events, speaking on topics such as leadership and self-motivation.
In this episode, we discuss aspects of Joe’s career that many do not know about it, including his decision to forego the NFL and play in the Canadian Football League. We talk Joe’s infamous leg injury and how it affected his career and forced him to embrace change in his life. Ever the storyteller, Joe takes us many inspirational, funny, and life changing aspects of his life.
We talk about all of this and more with Joe’s contagious enthusiasm and motivational nuggets of advice that he’s adopted from his incredible journey.
2:40 – The story behind why he changed his last name at Notre Dame
6:45 – On why Joe chose to play football at Notre Dame
9:48 – How he went from punt returner to starting quarterback
13:48 – On his decision to play pro football in Canada instead of the NFL
19:58 – What Joe thinks separated him from other quarterbacks
22:40 – The things that Joe mentally struggled with during his NFL career
26:25 – Joe talks about his infamous leg injury and the aftermath of it on his career
32:33 – Lessons Joe learned from his 23 years in broadcasting
34:00 – On why Joe chose broadcasting over coaching
35:35 – On what Joe thinks most people don’t understand about being successful
37:45 – On embracing change in life
39:22 – The things that Joe thinks are important in life
Show Links:Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League
Theismann’s Restaurant and Bar
Theme music: DREAM by SackJo22 ft. Jeris Haskel
Sarah Sturm (Instagram: @sariebear_ie) is a professional cyclist for Team Specialized, a graphic designer, and women’s leadership advocate. Sarah is a former NCAA national champion at Fort Lewis College after winning the 2011 Short Track National Championship. Said Team Specialized teammate, Ruby West, of Sarah: “From the moment I met her, I was struck by her friendly, enthusiastic, totally badass personality, and her eagerness to take on new challenges.”
In this episode, we discuss many of Sarah’s views on sport and life while also touching on her unique ability to suffer more than the competition.
“I can suffer until I can’t see straight, and then suffer some more.”
Sarah talks about her thoughts on the current state of social media and how it affects us personally and as a society, especially the downsides of comparing ourselves to others. Sarah explains the importance of taking care of your mental health and the strategies that she uses to overcome her stresses, worries, and the hard days.
3:55 – On growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico
7:04 – How Sarah got into mountain sports
10:38 – Sarah’s thoughts on comparing herself to others
13:12 – On the impact of social media
16:29 – Sarah’s advice on the use of social media
19:32 – On tactics Sarah uses to disconnect from technology
23:36 – On her decision to attend Fort Lewis College in Colorado
26:47 – On Sarah’s ability to suffer to gain peak performance
30:02 – How Sarah pushes through to overcome the difficult times
36:15 – On her decision to become a pro cyclist
39:45 – On racing cyclocross
41:45 – On Sarah’s unhappiness and her decision to briefly step away from cycling
45:48 – How Sarah’s attitude changed when she came back to cycling
49:15 – On the importance of failing
50:45 – The moment Sarah wanted to quit cycling
52:42 – The tactics Sarah developed to overcome the tough times
55:40 – Sarah’s disastrous story of training for a 100-mile race
1:03:03 – On Ten Speed Hero clothing partnership
1:05:53 – Sarah’s experience designing cycling kits
1:07:30 – Sarah’s new project regarding mental health in athletics
1:10:56 – Her thoughts on how to get the stigma of mental health changed
1:13:10 – The one thing Sarah is too timid to try publicly
1:16:35 – On how to deal with negativity
1:17:45 – What Sarah wishes she had more time to do
1:19:55 – The most important daily habit that she’s adopted
1:20:52 – Sarah’s mentors and the best advice they’ve given her
1:23:55 – On the worst advice she hears given
1:26:20 – The thing Sarah learned that she wishes she would’ve known when she was younger
1:28:07 – On the things Sarah does that other people think is odd
1:30:30 – Sarah’s thoughts on success
1:32:55 – Sarah’s message that she would broadcast to the world
Show Links:Mountain Messiah by Sarah Sturm on Eskapee
Scrappy Rambler Blog
Team Specialized x Ten Speed HeroTen Speed HeroIdle Theory Bus: A Life of the Road
Theme music: DREAM by SackJo22 ft. Jeris Haskel
Doc Thompson (@DocThompsonShow) is a political radio and TV host and political commentator. Doc is the host of Doc Thompson’sThe Daily MoJo which appears on his newly released radio channel, MoJo5.0 Radio on the Dash Radio network. He has also created his own food radio channel, Spoony Radio, which also appears on the Dash Radio network. Doc was the former host of The Morning Blaze with Doc Thompson, a radio and TV show on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze Network.
Additionally, Doc provides political analysis, appearing on various television shows such as CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, The Blaze’s Real News, The Glenn Beck Program, The Pat and Stu Show, and special election coverage for CNN and Fox News. Doc has been honored to be a part of several teams, receiving a total of 7 Marconi Radio Awards from the National Association of Broadcasters.
In this episode, we discuss Doc’s beginnings in radio, his experiences in radio broadcast school, and hosting his own television show. We also dive into his philosophy on breaking the mold in entertainment in order to stand out from the rest and many, many other lessons he’s learned from his life on radio and TV, including Doc’s Five Rules to Live By.
5:00 – The moment Doc realized he wanted to be in radio
8:05 – Doc’s experience in radio school
9:49 – His advice for those going into broadcasting
13:13 – On how to build your brand and break the mold to become known
17:18 – Doc on being fired from radio stations all across the country
24:10 – Doc’s thoughts on if there was he time he wanted to quit the industry
28:30 – How Doc developed his unique on-air style
34:57 – The times when Doc failed early in his career
39:39 – On doing a TV show of a radio show
40:48 – A typical day for Doc
48:07 – Doc’s secret to being a good interviewer
54:00 – Daws Butler and the art of timing in an interview
58:12 – Doc on what it’s like starting his own radio channel
1:03:02 – The people who inspire him
1:06:26 – Doc’s advice to those with a big idea and taking action
1:11:30 – The importance of eliminating your ego
1:14:10 – The worst advice Doc hears given
1:18:28 – The best advice Doc offers people
1:21:29 – His thoughts on selfishness in the business
1:23:10 – The thing that has helped Doc progress the most in his career
1:24:00 – On what he knows now that he wishes he knew at the beginning of his career
1:27:16 – His thoughts on what most people don’t understand about being successful
1:29:50 – The message that Doc would broadcast to people
1:30:40 – Doc’s Five Rules to Live By
Show Links:MoJo5.0 RadioSpoony RadioTheBlaze Network
Voice actor Daws ButlerThe Far Side comics
Theme music: DREAM by SackJo22 ft. Jeris Haskel
Shea Serrano (@sheaserrano) is a New York Times bestselling author, journalist, and former teacher. He is best known for his work with the sports and pop culture websites, The Ringer and Grantland, as well as his books, including The Rap Year Book and Basketball (and Other Things), both The New York Times bestsellers. Serrano’s activity and humor on Twitter have earned him referrals from GQ and other publications, making him an internet celebrity. The Verge called the community he created “a utopia on Twitter,” thanks in large part to Serrano and his Twitter followers, termed the FOH ARMY, spawning considerable charitable giving; once joining up to give a parking lot attendant who’d helped Serrano find his car at an airport a $3,000 tip.
In this episode, we discuss how Shea started his writing career and then hustled his way up from middle school teacher to writing for a neighborhood newsletter to becoming a staff writer for The Ringer and NYT bestselling author. Shea dives into his writing process and how he tries to be different than every other writer, and the tips and advice he’s learned along the way, plus much more.
4:10 – Shea on getting rejected from Wal-Mart and Target
4:52 – How Shea’s writing career got started
6:45 – On being a full-time middle school teacher while trying to get his writing career off the ground
8:51 – Shea reaching out to other authors to learn how to become an established writer and the advice they gave him
10:45 – His first paid writing gig at the Near Northwest Banner
11:15 – How he hustled his way up to the Houston Press
12:52 – His writing style when he first started
14:03 – The story on how Shea got noticed by Bill Simmons and Grantland
15:50 – On what it was like starting out writing at Grantland
18:00 – How he overcomes feeling like he’s a terrible writer
18:30 – Shea’s writing process and how he attempts to be different from other writers
24:10 – On dealing with failures and criticism
25:32 – The struggles that Shea still has to overcome in his career
27:56 – What he’s learned from being around other talented writers
29:13 – The worst advice he hears given
30:40 – On what he would put on a cheat sheet to his younger self
31:50 – Shea’s tactics for dealing with times he feels stressed and overwhelmed
32:58 – What he thinks most people don’t understand about being successful
37:20 – The best thing that a fan has mailed him
38:58 – Shea’s message to people
Show Links:Houston PressGrantlandThe RingerBun B’s Rap Coloring and Activity BookThe Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and DeconstructedBasketball (and Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, IllustratedConference Room, Five Minutes: Ten Illustrated Essays About The Office
Theme music: DREAM by SackJo22 ft. Jeris Haskel
Joe Abunassar (@Joe_Abunassar) is the founder of Impact Basketball and has been a trainer and mentor for over 20 years to some of the best basketball players in the world including the likes of Kevin Garnett, Chauncey Billups, DeMarcus Cousins, Kyle Lowry, and Kristaps Porzingis, among countless others. Joe is also an accomplished triathlete, having completed 17 IronMan triathlons and qualifying for the IronMan World Championships.
In this episode, we discuss Joe’s start in triathlon racing, his IronMan training regimen, his time at Indiana working under Bob Knight, how he got his starting in personal skill development, the early days of training Kevin Garnett and Chauncey Billups, his advice and thoughts on the current state of training elite athletes, and much more.
5:00 – How Joe’s triathlon career got started.
8:40 – The mentality of training and running an IronMan race.
10:05 – Joe hiring his own IronMan coach.
12:25 – Joe’s typical weekly training schedule for an IronMan.
14:55 – Growing up playing lacrosse versus basketball.
15:28 – How reading A Season on the Brink changed his life’s path.
16:38 – What it was like being a manager under Bob Knight at Indiana.
21:23 – Story of Joe’s experience of making a mistake working for Bob Knight.
25:56 – Bob Knight’s philosophy of no excuses.
28:45 – His dislike of recruiting as assistant coach at the University of Wyoming.
32:23 – Joe’s entry into his professional player development career.
34:32 – Joe on running Kevin Garnett’s fan club and summer camp.
38:07 – How he turned his training into a business.
41:00 – How Joe gained NBA players’ trust when he was starting out.
44:10 – Why he thinks NBA players continue to train with him.
44:43 – His favorite Kevin Garnett story.
46:42 – The importance of getting Kevin Garnett to change his diet.
47:27 – Kevin Garnett using shoes as defenders in workouts.
47:52 – Chauncey Billups story on getting to the gym early.
49:06 – Joe’s philosophy on the focus on attention to detail.
50:02 – The growing pains and mistakes Joe made in his early days of training players.
53:50 – The importance of rest, recovery, and giving his athletes time off.
56:10 – On what Joe thinks a recovery day should look like.
57:12 – How Joe structures and customizes his NBA client workouts.
58:22 – Myles Turner typical weekly off-season training schedule.
1:00:12 – NBA players who are successful despite being poorly built for it.
1:01:58 – Athletes Joe refuses to work with.
1:02:56 – Biggest wastes of time that he sees in training.
1:05:00 – Joe’s best bang-for-your buck exercises and drills.
1:06:38 – The philosophy that has been the most important in Joe’s career.
1:07:42 – Joe’s mentors and the best advice they’ve given him.
1:10:15 – The worst advice he hears given.
1:11:08 – On why he doesn’t use social media to promote his clients.
1:13:48 – Joe’s message that he wants to broadcast.
Show Links:Impact Basketball Online Coaching Certification ProgramIronMan TriathlonsA Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and The Indiana Hoosiers by John Feinstein
Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy at IMG Academy
Equinox Sports Club in Southern California
Theme music: DREAM by SackJo22 ft. Jeris Haskel