Mental Toughness and the Grind

about this episode

“I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall.” - Serena Williams

episode transcribed

Todd Burnham 0:00
Hi, this is Todd Burnham. I am a licensed practicing attorney. But just because you're listening to me doesn't mean that I represent you. This is for informational purposes only if you're good with that, then let's roll

Chris Braden 0:23
What do you do when you move to a new state during a recession with no contacts, no job, no money, little experience and a family to support you lean on what you know you continue to learn grind every day and you keep getting better join Todd Burnham as he outlines how he started, Burnham law in his basement grew to seven offices relying only on his experiences and inspirations from being a college athlete. His unique style of motivation and raw sense of humor are a welcome change from the business advice you're used to hearing. Whether you're a new or seasoned attorney trying to grow your practice or an entrepreneur in any service industry, Todd's story is sure to inspire you to take action and follow your instincts. This is Deep Bench with Todd Burnham.

Hey, Todd, how's it going, buddy?

Todd Burnham 1:12
Good, man. How are you, Chris?

Chris Braden 1:14
I'm doing awesome.

Todd Burnham 1:15
You always are doing awesome. That's really refreshing. And it's really cool that you are you always say that and your company is Sounds Awesome.

Chris Braden 1:25
It is sounds awesome. But you know, the reason I I've always said that for some reason. It's kind of been like my go to because I always say when people ask me. Hey, how you doing? Good just doesn't feel like it's enough.

I'm doing awesome! I'm doing great!

Todd Burnham 1:38

Chris Braden 1:38
I'm doing awesome.

Todd Burnham 1:39

Chris Braden 1:39
Outstanding. Some people say outstanding.

Todd Burnham 1:41
That's pretty powerful.

Chris Braden 1:42
Which is a little bit too much.

Todd Burnham 1:43
But if you mean it, it's kind of like lawyers that always advocate the same way. They're always aggressive even if their case sucks. You lose credibility.

Chris Braden 1:52

Todd Burnham 1:52
So if you said, I'm doing awesome, and I have the flu, and I'm sick, but I'm awesome. Yeah that's...

Chris Braden 1:58
I feel awesome.

Todd Burnham 1:59
Well you do.

Chris Braden 2:00

Todd Burnham 2:00
You look awesome, Chris.

Chris Braden 2:01
So it's funny, we're talking about awesome. Today, I want to talk to you about mental toughness, and

Todd Burnham 2:07

Chris Braden 2:07
the grind. And I think really, you can look at those in two different ways. But I think when you're grinding, you have to have mental toughness. And if you're mentally tough, you kind of organically grind.

Todd Burnham 2:20
Yeah, I mean, to me, like I'm fascinated by athletes.

Chris Braden 2:26

Todd Burnham 2:26
High level athletes who are mentally tough. So they're going to have adversity, they're going to have injuries, they're going to blow out a knee, they're not going to compete as well as they wanted to. And it's easy to get down. It's easy, because that's what we wanted. We think our mind wants us to be safe, right? Oh, don't do that. And

Chris Braden 2:47

Todd Burnham 2:47
And so when you are mentally tough, those things don't bother you. It's just another opportunity to excel, it's an opportunity to get better. And that's really what, for me, this podcast and everything that we're doing, and I'm talking about is the mindset of keep getting better, right? But you're going to have setbacks, you're going to have failures, you're going to have mishaps,

Chris Braden 3:15

Todd Burnham 3:15
you're going to make mistakes, and you have to be mentally tough to get through those. And to get your mind right. And at the same time, you also have to have that also with the grind the action. So the mental toughness is your mind getting right. And then the grind is connecting the mind and the action to me. So...

Chris Braden 3:40
Okay, that makes sense.

Todd Burnham 3:41
Right? So you work harder and smarter than everyone else. That's the grind. That's the mindset of the injury and overcoming it in every athlete, Bradley Chubb, right,

Chris Braden 3:52

Todd Burnham 3:53
He wrote this, I put it on some Instagram or something. One of the what the kids are following these days, right?

Chris Braden 3:57
Yes. So off of social?

Todd Burnham 4:00
Social. Thank you. I'm not a marketer. So he said, I'm happy that this happened because I was getting complacent. He said that,

Chris Braden 4:10
Yes, he did.

Todd Burnham 4:11
And so to me, I was like, man, I effing love Bradley Chubb now. Because that is exactly the kind of mindset that inspires me.

Chris Braden 4:20

Todd Burnham 4:21
So you have you know, there's times here when, years ago, I let go of the entire intakes department. It just wasn't a good fit. I had someone in particular who I was really close to, and she was in a group and it was just it was impacting everything. So when those things happen, you've got to you have to make a decision that you're not going to be afraid of losing your comfort zone, even though it's not working out to get better. So you make these decisions. You have to be mentally tough when everyone around you is saying, Oh no, that's gonna ruin everything. Oh, no, the sky is falling and, and yet for the next two months, it's going To suck, everyone has to step up, right? But that's how you get better. So for me, when I think of mental toughness, and I think of the grind, they go hand in hand, because if you're just working hard to get better, but you don't have the mindset, right, then you're going to quit eventually, you can work hard. If you're, you know, you're raised a certain way. And you're like, I was always taught to work hard work hard is the answer to everything. Well, yeah, I mean, that's a key component. But if you don't believe what you're selling, and you don't believe that the work is meant to pay off towards some greater accomplishment, then you're really just, you're tricking yourself, and it's not going to work.

Chris Braden 5:38
So let me take you back to the Bradley Chubb quote, because you're absolutely right. He did it. And for me, yes, it brought him back to noticing because how he got to where he is, was grinding, right school, college, and now he's in the NFL, he's got Von Miller on the other side, everything seems to be easy.

Todd Burnham 5:57
He blows out his knee.

Chris Braden 5:58
He blows out his knee. And so now he has to work hard. So that was taken in two different ways. So you made a good point there for everyone that understands that they were like, Oh, I get it.

Todd Burnham 6:07
I get it.

Chris Braden 6:08
He's refocused.

Todd Burnham 6:09

Chris Braden 6:10
But then on the other hand, a lot of people said, You know what, now you make a million dollars, you don't think you have to work hard? Like they were really like busting him for making that statement.

Todd Burnham 6:19
Yeah, those are my people, period.

Chris Braden 6:21

Todd Burnham 6:21
I got nothing for you. I got nothing for people that don't believe in don't get it, right. I'm doing a podcast, we're doing 20 episodes so you get it. And I identify with the mental toughness of athletes, and I try to emulate that in every day. And so I look, I mean, ever since we're doing this podcast, I look around and I see these athletes, and they're these quotes, they're inspiring. They're so inspiring. They're taking their talents, to the highest level, and they try to keep getting back and getting better, and better and better. And they all talk about it. It's the grind. It's doing this shit that nobody else wants to do. And doing it at the highest level. Nobody wants to go in and do rehab for eight hours. No, you got your first contract, you know, you're gonna you're gonna make millions, right? Sure. But it's bigger than that. For them. It's not just about for most of them, I'd say for people that are exceptional athletes like Vaughn, it's one of the greatest compliments and like things that I've that I'm so proud of is being on his executive board for bonds, vision, right? I share those values. So like, to me, it's it doesn't mean that everyone has to have the mental toughness that I'm trying to aspire to, I just have to. That's it. When I see people in our office that are having issues, and they come to you come to me, and they're like, this is the problem that I'm having. And a lot of times it's the approach. It's the mindset, that yes, this is bad information, or it's a bad data or bad acts. And so mental toughness to me is just the lemonade maker in me. But I always have to have that and I can't fake it. I can't be like, rah, rah, rah. And then I'm in here in a corner crying into a plastic bag, you know, hyperventilating? And that really goes to the ability to conquer the fear that I've experienced over and over again, which then I get better and better at dealing with. Does that make sense?

Chris Braden 8:23
No, it does. And one thing I think, since you're the the owner of a firm and you work for employees, if someone's not a grinder intrinsically, can you teach them that?

Todd Burnham 8:35
You know, I'm a big fan of hitting bottom. I'm an all or nothing kind of guy. I don't know if you know this about me, Chris?

Yeah. So bottom's rough.

Bottom is rough. And so the ability to get out of the bottom, and to get a track record of success, in spite of failure, gives you confidence.

Chris Braden 8:53

Todd Burnham 8:54
When you get more confidence, you have more belief that you can do this.

Chris Braden 8:59

Todd Burnham 8:59
And I gotta tell you with being an owner of a law firm with 50 employees in the six or how many offices do I have, six?

Chris Braden 9:07
Six with seven practices, right?

Todd Burnham 9:09
Yeah no, it's something like.. it's six but with four practice areas and

Chris Braden 9:13
Ask Sarah if she knows, she's sitting right there.

Todd Burnham 9:15
Six. So for example, everybody gets sick.

Chris Braden 9:18

Todd Burnham 9:18
And Coronavirus and the fear of the plague coming to us, right? And then then you actually have like the flu. Like this past week. We had I think five people in the Boulder office was out.

Chris Braden 9:29

Todd Burnham 9:30
This is on the heels of adding any we've talked about ready fire aim. Yeah. So I don't worry about the numbers. I worry about the performance and the way that we are servicing our clients. And so when numbers get low, when you're transferring low numbers and you have high overhead a big Miss big, it is daunting and scary to still go for what you know you want to accomplish in the face of uncertainty. What if tomorrow Coronavirus comes in and wipes out everyone for two weeks? So instead of being like, oh my god, like I am like washing everything.

Chris Braden 10:08

Todd Burnham 10:08
I'm also looking at it like, how do we get a game plan where this isn't going to impact us as much as everybody else. So I can't look at just the problems all the time, I have to be the person that's finding the solutions in the face of adversity or fear, you can't lead if you're afraid. So even when I'm afraid, I resort to the experiences that I've had, and the confidence that's been instilled in my ability to see past what's right in front of you, which is the fear, which is the uncertainty, which is the adversity, be coffee, you know, be the coffee and make everything better. Sure. Even when I'm not feeling up to it, that's grind when everybody else sees one thing, and you have to refocus people on what the mission is. And so too, that's a very lonely place.

Chris Braden 10:59

Todd Burnham 10:59
You have to be mentally tough in order to push past the adversity. And I do it every day. And I try to inspire and you lead without fear, and you lead without chaos. And if you can do those things, and you're grinding, and it's because it's not easy, they call it grind, because it's not, I don't know, fluffy stuff, you know, it's not the fluff. It's the grind. It's the stuff that people don't see. It's the hours that you put in on trying to do things better. For me, it's going to therapy, you're doing that before, or going in and spending time with my wife and kids on the weekends rather than constantly working because that isn't valuable. So to me, the mental toughness is really the antidote to fear. And the grind is the action and being mentally tough.

Chris Braden 11:00
So we talk about athletes, and we talk about your daughter's playing lacrosse, and they're learning the game. And I think both of us have our had our kids in athletics might have grown now, right? But for the reasons of being able to be a good winner, overcoming losses, the ups and downs of being an athlete, and I think really the grind is intrinsically like work ethic. I've used that word.

Todd Burnham 12:12
It is. Yeah.

Chris Braden 12:12
I think mental toughness is something that you can teach. And here's what I mean, a lot of people are used to losing, but when they have that one, little win they get a little bit mentally tougher, then go out and lose a little bit more, and just the small wins, and they need to identify the small wins to to get that thicker skin and be really tough.

Todd Burnham 12:32
Yes. And if you don't experience those things, then you're never challenged. Napoleon Hill said something along the lines of with every failure, it brings with it a seed of equal or greater value.

Chris Braden 12:44

Todd Burnham 12:45

Chris Braden 12:45

Todd Burnham 12:46
So it's like, you can't just have like Aerosmith. I lose so I know how to win.

Chris Braden 12:53

Todd Burnham 12:54
Like you have to lose, embrace it. And if you embrace that, you know that something better is coming. Jay Z said it, it's on my door. "I will not lose for even in defeat. There's a valuable lesson learned. So it evens up for me." - Jay Z

Chris Braden 13:10
See and that's a quote. I'm not sure if that's even in one of his songs.

Todd Burnham 13:13
I don't know. I got it off the internet. But I mean, it did one it resonates with me. Right? And that's it. So it's temporary losses. It's it's temporary. Everything we do here is temporary because everything is changing. And so if you have your mind, right, and we talked about this in the beginning of getting your mind right.

Chris Braden 13:30

Todd Burnham 13:31
You have to embrace the suck. Remember? Don't you see that in sports all the time, we're doing gassers we're doing sprints, it's cold outside. But if you if you suck it up, and you actually get through it, now you have some experience that you can grow from.

Chris Braden 13:48

Todd Burnham 13:48
So you're constantly trying to go up and up and up the ladder

Chris Braden 13:52

Todd Burnham 13:52
You're going to get knocked down a few rungs sometimes, but you don't quit. You never give up and you work hard and you work harder and then you work smarter. And if you do these things. You start to get some momentum and momentum is how you build morale and build a business that's built to last.

Chris Braden 14:11
Good stuff, Todd.

Todd Burnham 14:12
Right on man.

Chris Braden 14:13

Todd Burnham 14:15
Hey, thanks for listening. Make sure you subscribe and until next time, keep getting better.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai