Full Time-Out: November 2020

Back in the spring of 2002, I had an opportunity to spend a week at Big Bear Mountain (California) to observe Light Middleweight Champion Fernando Vargas train for a title fight on HBO against Oscar De La Hoya. A very influential mentor of mine was Vargas’ personal strength & conditioning coach. It was one of the most impactful weeks of my career as a performance coach.

Fast forward 18 years and I’ve come to appreciate 6 similarities between being a professional boxer and being a professional speaker.

  1. Boxing is all about preparation. Natural talent aside, it is the #1 separator. Performance in the ring is dictated by the consistent effort put forth during the Unseen Hours. The EXACT same is true in speaking.
  2. Boxers train hundreds and hundreds of hours for ONE fight. Speakers should rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse to prepare for ONE keynote.
  3. Boxing is both an art and a science. So is speaking. Yes, you need tactical and technical skills – but if you really want to connect with your audience you must have a high emotional intelligence.
  4. A boxer never shows weakness or fatigue. If they are hurting, they won’t show you. As a speaker, if you feel rattled or frazzled for any reason, you must maintain composure and appear not to sweat it (and maintain ‘control of the room’).
  5. Boxing 101: you will get punched and you will get knocked down. All that matters is whether or not you get back up. As a speaker, you will mess up (get punched) and you will have performances that were less than stellar (knocked down). How do you respond?
  6. A boxer knows that not every punch is a knockout punch. That’s why the most effective and reliable punch is the jab. It’s the cumulative effect of all punches that matters most. Same with speaking. Not every story will bring the house down. Not every joke will slay. But the cumulative effect will result in an impactful, meaningful, and memorable performance.



With the holidays approaching, and an end to 2020 (which has been a challenging year on many fronts), it’s vital that leaders make the time to check in with every team member as often as possible. It will show them you care. And caring matters now more than ever!

Here are 4 questions leaders should ask their people when checking in:

  1. What’s on your mind?
  2. What’s the main challenge you face right now?
  3. What’s your ideal resolution (or goal)?
  4. What do you need from me?

Looking for a unique holiday gift for a coach, athlete, executive, or colleague? Or for your entire team/organization? How about a SIGNED copy of Raise Your Game (both hardcovers and paperbacks are available)? Simply email me at Alan@AlanSteinJr.com for instructions!

Last week I received team orders for 6, 12, 20, 30, 60, and 70 books… and I gladly signed every single one of them!

30 Second Time-Out: November 2020

Does your team/organization need a jolt of inspiration, optimism, and a good ol’ fashioned pick-me-up to finish this year strong and set the tone for 2021? Do they need some practical, actionable strategies on prioritizing self-care, creating a mindset to conquer uncertainty and anxiety, and proven habits for improving performance/productivity at home and at work? If so, please reply to this email and I will share a variety of options to fit every need and budget. And feel free to forward to a friend of colleague if you believe I can be of service to them as well!


If you want to improve morale, buy-in, culture, productivity, and performance… encourage your team to ‘turn it off’ and ‘disconnect’ during the evenings and weekends.

With minimal exception, encourage them to turn their work off and be fully present with their family.

Promote healthy boundaries (“I don’t expect you to respond to email or take calls between 6pm and 8am”).

If you do set those boundaries, as a leader, you need to walk this walk… and NOT email (or call) your team between those hours so that you aren’t sending a mixed message.

You should work to eliminate burnout, not be the cause of it!

The Raise Your Game Show

Have you been listening to Season 6 of the Raise Your Game Show?