Mark speaks with Dre Baldwin about his inspiring rise to becoming a basketball star and the personal development lessons he’s learned along the way.
Today, Commander Divine speaks with Dre Baldwin, who helps entrepreneurs and athletes dominate their “game” from the inside out through his business and podcast, Work on Your Game. Dre shares his incredible journey from being benched on his high school basketball team to becoming a professional basketball player, plus his best advice on personal development, the power of discipline, and more.
Mark Divine 1:00
Coming up on the Mark Divine show,
Dre Baldwin 2:15
Sometimes I get messages from athletes who say something like well “Dre, I’m not getting a lot of playing time on my team. I’m not really motivated right now. But I want to make it in basketball. Can you give me some advice or some help or some words to pick me up?” And always tell them? No, I can’t. And the reason why I don’t is because I tell them this: what are you gonna do next week? When the coach cusses you out in front of the whole team? What are you gonna do next month? When you miss the game-winning shot and the fans are laughing at you and you feel terrible? You’re not gonna call me because I’m not gonna keep answering. So what can you do so that you can run off your own energy because there’s gonna come a point when you have to be your own answer.
Mark Divine 2:54
This is Mark Divine. Welcome to the Mark Divine show and Mark Divine show we discover we dive in deep and discuss what makes the world’s most inspirational, compassionate and resilient leaders so courageous, will talk to people in depth from all walks of life, Grandmaster martial artists, meditation monks, CEOs, military leaders, Stoic philosophers, prod survivors, athletic trainers, and more each episode, I strive to turn my guests experience and life insights into actionable information for ourselves so we can lead a life filled with compassion and courage as well and make a positive impact. I’m excited today to be talking about things near and dear to my heart: discipline, confidence, mental toughness, personal initiative in business life, athletics. And my guest is Dre Baldwin, who runs a popular podcast and business called Work on Your Game. Dre helps athletes navigate the professional world of sports get recognized for their talent. He’s committed himself to personal development, and has built a framework of continuous journey towards self improvement, which he helps his clients with. To get into professional basketball. Dre went from being on the high school bench on his basketball team, to playing a d3 college career that was uninspiring to nine years of professional basketball over in Europe and one year in the United States. He’s published over 15,000 pieces of original content, has over 3 million listeners on his podcast Work on Your Game, and his written 29 books. Let’s get into it.
Dre. Great to have you on the show. I’m anxious to talk to you because, you know, I love stories like yours, guys who created their own life just by learning to think well, why don’t we start kind of on that journey by giving us a sense of your upbringing, like what were the formative years like were the big forces that shaped you early on and maybe some of the influences that led you down the path you are today?
Dre Baldwin 4:48
Sure. So I come from the city of Philadelphia. Now I’m in South Florida. But growing up in the inner city, we all play sports, especially young black kids, we all play football, basketball users to sports, I played a little bit of baseball, and then the normal like street sports kickball, etc. First team sport I try was some football but I never really played because I never got around to getting the equipment, then baseball. I didn’t really have talent for that. Then basketball started, actually pretty late around the age of 14. So it’s pretty late. If you’re going to try to go anywhere in sports, no college, let alone the pros. But as far as my no upbringing, no, my parents, I credit them. There wasn’t anyone who really taught me basketball. My parents didn’t even teach me basketball. They’re not even that tall. You know, I’m way taller than both of my parents. Even though they are biological. You know, we did the test and everything. 578 My dad’s like, five, eight, maybe five, nine, but I’m six, four. I’m kidding. When I started playing basketball. I don’t have any brothers. I have a sister who’s a year old and maybe she’s not an athlete. I didn’t have anyone. Nobody in my family. Of course everybody in the neighborhood played basketball but where I come from, it’s not like there are so many possible mentors around So nobody took me under their wing or anything like that. So I really taught myself how to play sports. But because of the upbringing I had, my parents were really about No, go to school, get a degree, you know, get good grades, et cetera. My mom’s an educator, so she was all into go to school, do well in school, if you want to play sports, cool, but if you don’t do well in school, then we take sports away, you know how parents, at least in the generation I came up, that’s how it was, right? So when I started playing sports smart, I just took the same discipline that I had to apply to school and doing household chores and raking leaves and taking supplements. No, I think that same discipline, not just a part of the playing sports, because that’s the only thing that I knew. Because at this point, we’re talking to the 90s here, there’s no YouTube or Instagram or even a podcast to turn to get information from some person that you’ve never met. Either you know, somebody who can help you out, or you figure it out on your own. That’s basically the only options that you had. I had to basically figure it out on my own. So once I learned it, and then the internet came along, that’s when I started kind of Yeah, paying it forward, that eventually became a business opportunity. But who knew that that was even going to become business?
Mark Divine 7:06
But did you play in high school like in high school coaches and stuff like that? I mean, you had to have some sort of team.
Dre Baldwin 7:13
Yeah. So as far as basketball goes, just quickly to tell you that story. I played one year of high school basketball, so I tried out for the team every year but only made it one year, my senior year. Is that right? And the school that I went to, there’s no freshman team, no JV No, we didn’t have Junior Varsity is anything we only have one team, right. So you make the main team you don’t work, right. So I play that one year, I score two points per game. Now for those who don’t understand basketball, that’s not a lot. Definitely, I always tell people, if I played soccer or hockey, I’d be in the Hall of Fame two points again. But in basketball, that’s not much just sitting on a bench. So before college Mark I walked on, meaning nobody knew who I was, I literally walked into a gym and had to earn my spot as a nobody, the coach didn’t even never seen me before. So I did play in college. But I was playing at the Division Three level, which is just the third tier of college sports. Usually, pro athletes don’t come out of the d3 level, they come from the DEA one and maybe a few from the DEA, too. So getting out of college, I had to again, I had to hustle my way into the probes. And that’s really where I started to hone and sharpen my sales and Marketing skills before I even knew that that’s really what I was doing. I understood it was going to be a business, me to get in. And also understood that there were a lot of players around my level, my skill level, who wanted to play overseas, but there were not enough jobs for all of us to get one. So being a professional athlete is not like being a doctor or a lawyer where a city will take as many as no pass the exams and you open a business, it could be 1000 If you want 1000. But in basketball, there’s a limited number of jobs, everybody, not everybody can get one. So I knew I would have to sell myself. I knew it was more of a sales job than it was a skills job. Even though many athletes think to be a pro athlete just had to be really good. Yes, you do. That’s the entry fee. But there still might be 1000 guys who are really good, but only 100 jobs. So how do you select that 100 out of 1000. So that’s when I really started focusing on Marketing and selling. Now that’s pretty much what I do.
Mark Divine 9:07
So you played d3? Yeah, you had good skills, but probably not at the level of D one, you know, big eight or whatever. Right? And yet you still believe that you could play professional basketball? That’s correct. Like so where did that come from? Where did that belief come from? That you could play professional basketball? And how did you find the drive or the mindset to, you know, set on a path to go from a walk in d3 player to playing professional basketball,
Dre Baldwin 9:34
the belief that I could do it since I started late, and I started playing around 14, I always felt like I was still getting better. So even though the outside results of you have been looking at me from outside looking in, you would have said this kid, he enjoys basketball, but is probably not going to be his career. But I could always feel like I was getting better. So age 18 was that’s the point one, a lot of young men, especially where I come from pretty much decided, okay, I’m not going to be an athlete, let me go do something else in my life. And usually they’re right. But at age 18, I didn’t have much success to show on paper. But I could still feel internally that I was improving. I couldn’t prove that to anybody. But I felt like that’s the one reason that I stuck with the game. But I had decided probably around a 16 Mark that I was going to aim to be a pro athlete. Even though I had no idea whatsoever how to do it. What I was going to need to do is a requirement. I didn’t know anything I just knew that’s what I wanted to do.
Mark Divine 10:27
To become a pro… do you remember where that idea came from? TV? There’s got to be a moment in time, right where that idea popped in your head and you just latched on to it. Do you remember where they came from?
Dre Baldwin 10:38
I always been a visualizer Mark and that always tried to visualize, where am I going to go? Who am I going to be? Even before I knew it was called visualization? Do you know that was an actual thing? I thought everybody did it. So I always will try to picture, Now where am I going with this? No. What’s the long term play of this thing? Mm hmm. I’ve always been a pretty disciplined person. My mom’s a pretty strict disciplinarian as well again but not for sports just for like, no everyday parenting things. That was the clay that I was working with was just those pieces right there. And where I’m from, that’s what all the kids did, we play basketball. That’s all we did all day. So right one day you want to be Penny Hardaway, next day you want to be Kobe, next day you want to be Michael Jordan. Next, we want to be Allen Iverson. That’s all we did was play basketball.
Mark Divine 11:23
So those guys were your heroes. So the belief or the idea came from idolizing some of these heroes or some of these all stars?
Dre Baldwin 11:30
I wouldn’t call them heroes. No, no, I don’t really have any heroes. OR idols. No. Okay. I looked at them. And I would take pieces from them like, Okay, I like this move Kobe did, I’ll try to do it. But I’ve never looked at them. Like, it’s not like I met one of them in person and I started crying. No, it wasn’t like that. I like them. I like their games. Yeah, I will take pieces from them. But I never really had that I always kind of looked at myself. Because of the background. As far as sports that I came from, I really had to run off my own energy and my own self belief. Because there were so many most of the time Mark, there was nothing in my reality, quote, unquote, that said, any of this was going to work out and most of the people around me, the kids, you know, we’re kids, we talk trash to each other. That’s all we did. And people be like, do you don’t even know your high school team? Why are you out here practicing every day? You doing this all for nothing is a waste of time. And for the most part, they were right. Because there is nothing I can say. It’s not like I can queue up a YouTube video, hey, look at this guy. He wasn’t on the team either at 817. And look where he became, there was no reference point that I could point to, it was just my own delusional idea. And what I tell people Mark is that your ideas are the loser until they actually happen, then you become a visionary, right, but it’s only when they actually happened had I not made it, I’d still be a delusional fool chasing a pipe dream of being a basketball player.
Mark Divine 12:45
And I love that. And it shows you the power of just sticking with an idea. You know, because that’s what it was, you had an idea. And that idea was I’m going to play pro ball without any evidence that it was going to happen. And the work that you did through visualization just kept making it more and more alive for you internally. Exactly. You didn’t have to prove it. Anyone else though, did you? It sounds like you’re very internally motivated.
Dre Baldwin 13:06
100% internally motivated, while at the same time, two things that you said there, one, proving it to other people, I wanted to prove it to other people. And that was kind of part of the drive that I wanted to prove it. But I didn’t have anything to show. I didn’t have anything tangible to show not until I signed my first contract, I was 23 years old when I signed my first contract. So all those years, I had to just keep working to get that opportunity. And secondly, when it comes to the internal motivation, yes, I’m barely my reference points are all internal, most of the time, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use something from the outside, right, I can hear something or see something or read something that is an externality and use that for my own internal frame of reference, I just use it as a tool. It’s kind of like throwing wood on fire. But at the end of everything, I’m always coming back to know what am I doing with myself? And what can I do? And how can I get myself moving? Because right, those external motivators won’t always be around,
Mark Divine 14:03
where your parents supportive of this effort nearly days before you got the contract, when it seemed like a pipe dream,
Dre Baldwin 14:09
They were neutral, is what I usually tell people, they were neutral, like, they want to raise a successful young man to become something and move out the house and they’ll get a house and a car and a family and live happily ever after. So I think they were glad when I got the contract, cuz they’re like, alright, at least he’s gonna He’s gonna become something hopefully, they didn’t know anything about that world. But at that time, up to that point. And actually, I’ll tell you this when it comes to the motivations. When I graduated from college, I’m 22 years old, I went to Penn State, got a business degree from Penn State. I use nothing that I got from my business degree in my business. Now, today. This is another point. But anyway, I graduated from college, I get back home to Philadelphia, I’m in my parents house. My parents know, they say, Well, what are you gonna do now? And I say, Well, I’m going to be a professional athlete. That conversation didn’t go over too well, not because they were against me being an athlete, but because they, they saw the whole story, they saw me only play one year of high school, they saw me play at a division three college, that there’s not a farm for professional athletes. And I’m back home, I don’t have that contract. So my parents just started asking me a bunch of reasonable, logical questions that anyone could ask anybody who says they’re going into a particular career, if they don’t know anything about the industry. So they would ask me things like, Well, do you have a plan? Do you have any job prospects? Do you have a job offer? What is your strategy to make this happen? I didn’t have any good answers for any of those questions. Those are all really good questions. So all they were doing was holding up a mirror to my situation. It touched me because they weren’t negative about it. But they were just like, well, let’s look at this. Logically, this doesn’t make any sense. They were right. So I took that conversation I wrote about in one of my books, that was really the emotional touch point, Mark, that pretty much guarantee that I was going to make it because I wasn’t going to allow the reality of the situation to beat me. It wasn’t that I was mad at my parents. They just held up the mirror. They just showed me the reality that somebody needs to say Hit me in the face with that truth. It just happened to be them. And that truth became my target. And that’s what I started focusing on. And that’s, I tell people even to this day, that’s one of the main reasons why I made it is that that conversation took place. That’s cool.
Mark Divine 16:13
Yeah, cuz so many times parents can be inhibitors to someone’s dream, because of the practical conversation, you know, get your head out of my debt, you know, my parents were like that, it’s like, Get your head out of the sky. They didn’t support my initiative. So I had to basically be, you know, all 100% internally locus of control, and do it just for myself. I’m curious, though, you mentioned you know, it became about selling and Marketing yourself. So how did you do that? Like, how do you package Dre when, you know, you played one year in high school and, and you walk down in college, you know, and you didn’t have the same resume as someone gunning for a pro spot?
Dre Baldwin 16:47
That’s a great question; I get a lot of basketball players asking me that same question to this very day about themselves, not about me, but about themselves. When I graduated college, I knew I wanted to play pro, but I knew I didn’t have any collateral. In other words, I had nothing that I could show or say about myself that a pro basketball team could look at me and say, Oh, we got to have this guy. So I knew that I was going to have to go to this event that they have in the sports world called an exposure camp. I don’t know if you ever heard of those. Now, as far as I can. Basically, you pay money, a whole bunch of athletes show up and you all try to showcase yourself and show off and hopefully, you get a good review, third party validation of your abilities. And that helps you move forward. So I went to one of these events in 2005. Give everybody a frame of reference. Now, this was in Orlando, Florida House, they live in affiliate town. So me and a couple of my college teammates. We’re all graduated at this point. We rented a car and drove from Philly to Orlando. So that’s a 19 hour drive overnight Friday. We pull up in a parking lot Saturday morning, 9am. That’s when we can’t start it. We hopped out the car and started playing at 23. I can get away with it. I couldn’t do it now, but I could do it then. So plated that two day exposure camp, they cost $250. I had to pay them in cash at the door, the actual cash, because I didn’t have a bank account or a credit card. But I play good at this exposure. Can they really well, I got a really good scouting report from some professional scouts who were watching. I got the footage. Now I had what I needed. This was my golden ticket, that scouting report and that footage because now I have something I can show, I can go to a pro team or an agent and say, Hey, look at this. Now, are you interested? So I knew that my next step will probably be to play overseas, and NBA wasn’t looking at drafting me. So I need an agent. Because I’ve barely been out of the state of Pennsylvania. I don’t know how I’ve been out the country. So I knew nobody over there knew me. So let me find an agent because the agents are to go between just like in the literary world acting world agents. They had connections to jobs. So I started cold calling Mark, every basketball agent I could find on Google. Now again, this is 2005. So this is not the internet that we have today. But it was still the internet, right? So I just Google basketball agents, every single one I found I was just calling them or email them whatever access they had. And I would say hey, here’s who I am. Here’s what I have. I want to play overseas. Can I show you what I got? Now, the only reason I started calling now is because I’ve been out of college for you. I only started calling now because I knew I had something to show. I knew it would be worthless to do this the year before. So I called about 60 agents. And out of that 6020 of them said, Okay, let me see what you have. So I sent them my scouting report and my footage. Now here’s the thing. This is 2005 There’s no YouTube yet. YouTube didn’t come out till later that year. So I had a VHS tape. You remember those Mark?
Mark Divine 19:26
Yeah, of course. Shipping those things out.
Dre Baldwin 19:30
Exactly. I had a double decker VCR in my at home. I bought it for Christmas the year before because I knew I would need it. So I will go to Eckert the drugstore, how do you know they’re still in business. And I will buy a 10 pack of blank VHS tapes. And now just make copies of that footage from a scouting report. And I will mail those out and bubble mailers to all these different agents. So I mailed out about 20 of them on my own dime. Now mind you, I don’t have a lot of money. At this point. I’m working at Bally total fitness gym. And that was where I got my source of revenue. And out of that 20 agents, one agent contacted me back and was interested in representing me and that one agent, he did sign me and he’s the one who helped me get my first contract and that was in Congress, Lithuania and five so that’s how I got my career soda.
Mark Divine 20:17
Okay, we’re gonna take a short break here from the Mark Divine show to hear a short message from one of our partners. This episode of the Mark Divine show is sponsored by better help online therapy, face it, relationships take a lot of work, many of us would drop anything to help a friend or a loved one. We’ll go out of our way to treat these other people but we don’t treat ourselves the same way. It’s really important to invest in yourself Self Mastery precedes service. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’re gonna burn out this month better help calm Island therapy wants to remind you to take care of your most important relationship as the one you have with yourself. Whether it’s hitting the gym, making time for that haircut, trying therapy, you are your greatest asset. So invest time and effort into yourself like you do for other people. Now I’ve had incredible results with therapy. I call therapists emotional coaches and I believe that everyone should have an emotional coach just like they have a fitness coach or a life coach that are helped calm is online therapy that offers video phone and even live chat sessions with your therapist. You don’t even have to see anyone on camera if you don’t want to, is much more affordable than in person therapy and you can be matched with a therapist in under 48 hours. Give it a try to see why over 2 million people have used better help online therapy. Since this podcast is sponsored by better help the Mark Divine show listeners will get 10% off their first month. If you go to better help comm forward slash Mark demine that’s better help calm B E TT e r h elp. For slash Mark Divine ma RK di vi N am excited to have by optimizers as a sponsor for this podcast. It’s been a crazy few years having it a lot of us been beaten down. anxiety, stress, poor sleep, tons of uncertainty if you’re a parent that’s exacerbated by trying to keep your kids occupied 24/7 while you work from home, a lot of people are burned out and exhausted. Question is what can you do about it? How can we get back into balance? Well, one thing besides the obvious of sleep and exercise and those types of things is actually found in the pill. Believe it or not magnesium breakthrough. Stress and Anxiety deplete magnesium that contributes more anxiety than it’s a vicious cycle. You can supplement with magnesium breakthrough and break that cycle. You’ll experience more energy, stronger bones, less irritability and be more calm supports mental wellness and can help you feel yourself again to capsules before bed to be amazed at the improvements in your mood and energy levels. And how much more rested you feel when you wake up, go to mag break to calm force us divine use the code divine 10 during checkout to save 10% and get free shipping. That’s mag breakthrough.com forward slash divine di vi ne use the code divine 10. And now back to the show.
So you hop on a plane from Philadelphia and you end up in Lithuania. Yeah, you don’t know the language. Right. You know, now you’re playing with a bunch of Europeans. Are there any other Americans on the team with you?
Dre Baldwin 23:07
There was one American teammate. He was a veteran of overseas. He had been playing for a couple years. And I had one guy who was from Africa, but he spoke like fluent, he was native English speaker as well. So two English speaking guys. And
Mark Divine 23:20
So what was that experience like? I mean, just give us a sense of what it was like playing in Lithuania for their professional league.
Dre Baldwin 23:25
It was surreal. It was a surreal experience. Because even that whole first week, I mean, so many times I just had to say to myself, like man, I’m in damn Europe, and Lithuania, playing basketball for a living like just last week, I was at Bally Total Fitness selling gym memberships. Now I’m here in Lithuania, playing basketball. And you’re a six, four black guy walking around with two other guys who are six, six and six, nine. And we’re all black in this country and everybody’s looking at us. People are asking us for autographs. They only know who we are. But they’re asking us for autographs. They know we’re basketball players, right? That’s how it is right? In almost every country. I want to be like that people would just want to take pictures with you without even knowing who you are. Just because they know you’re probably a basketball player. So that was just a surreal experience. And you are spending euros, paying for stuff and the euro was stronger than the dollar at that point. I don’t know where it is now. But I was spending more money on stuff than I expected to spend. But that’s how it was. But that was a I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. Yeah.
Mark Divine 24:25
And it’s probably a good time to dispel the myth that you got rich over there. Most people think professional basketball players and professional athletes are making a shit ton of money, but very few do. Right?
Dre Baldwin 24:35
It depends on where you’re playing. It depends on your level as well. So when you first start off your level is coming from where I came from, my level as well. But let’s say somebody’s coming out of a North Carolina or Duke, they started at a higher level than I started. Yeah, it’s a very wide range.
Mark Divine 24:50
So how many years did you play pro cover there?
Dre Baldwin 24:53
My career was nine years old, nine years, from oh, five to 2014-15 year all in Europe. One year was in Mexico. I had a year in the USA when I was playing for a traveling team in the USA. Okay. It was kind of like the Harlem Globetrotters but the Costco version of the Harlem Globetrotters. That was a transition. Those two years were outside of Europe, everything else in New York.
Mark Divine 25:24
That’s cool. So that takes you to like 2014 or 15. Yeah. And during the latter half. Were you already planning on kind of starting up this coaching and educational career that you have now or business?
Dre Baldwin 25:36
Absolutely. Because what happened, Mark, at that same time that I started my career, I took that VHS tape footage and I put it on a data CD and I put that footage on YouTube when it came out later that year. That’s when YouTube first came out. And all my footage was at first just me putting videos up sporadically, and it was just me on a basketball court practicing because I didn’t think that was a big deal. I thought all basketball players did that but I realized that they didn’t. And also realize there were a bunch of players who were basically me. But 10 years younger, they wanted to learn basketball, but they had nowhere to learn it. So they stumbled across my videos. So I just started making more videos just to serve the players who were watching me. And that’s how I started to build my name on the internet. But this basketball stuff, but after probably about five years into it, players just started asking me about my mindset, because they heard about my story, the same things that I just told you. So respond to comments, and I will make a video every now and then just talking about who I am, where I’m from, because I’m just this random guy on the internet making basketball workouts. There’s not a thing to be doing in 2007. So when these players learned about my background, they started asking about mindset. And I started making this video every Monday called the weekly motivation. And that’s where people and I and my audience started to realize, like, Hey, this guy really has something to offer when it comes to mindset. And that really became more valuable to my audience, and even the basketball stuff. Because by around 2010, every basketball player in the world started making basketball videos. Now you go on YouTube, everybody’s doing it. And when I started talking about the mindset stuff, that’s when I started to draw an audience, Mark, of people who were not even basketball players. And these people will say to me, Dre, man, I don’t even play basketball. But the stuff that you’re talking about, it applies to everybody. You don’t have to play basketball to get it the way that you explain it. Because I’ve always been very analytical and very logical the way I break things down. So that’s how I knew the mindset stuff was really what people wanted from me and also understood, I’m not going to be the guy on a basketball court, no dunking and shooting three pointers for the rest of my life. Eventually, I want to move on to something else. Because no, as I mentioned earlier, Mark, I’ve always seen myself as a business person, not as an athlete, playing sports just happened to be the business, right for a certain period of time. But I knew that I was going to get into full time business at some point, because I didn’t want to become a basketball coach, I didn’t want to be a trainer. I didn’t want to be a lifer. Just in basketball, I always knew I had a lot more offers and just talking sports. That’s something I was thinking about in 2007, let alone 2015. Yeah,
Mark Divine 28:05
Now that’s powerful, you’re really way ahead of your time, because you know, this idea that, you know, you Inc, right, you are a business and then you go do certain things that kind of fit into your business plan slash profile, even if it’s employment with someone else, like a professional basketball team, that’s kind of become a prominent idea now in our culture, especially with, you know, the introduction of the sharing economy and the gifting economy, and you know, the ability to make money with assets that you own. And so everyone’s kind of becoming a solopreneur, per se, we were kind of at the forefront of that movement. That’s pretty cool. The name of your business is called Work on Your Game, is that right? That’s right. Okay, and you got a podcast and you’re kind of an influencer. Now, I see that you got four major principles that drive your content and your training around discipline, confidence, mental toughness, and initiative. Tell us kind of what those four things really mean to you. Like, what’s the key thing about discipline and confidence, mental toughness, and initiative, from your perspective, as someone who’s really built this through your own trial and error?
Dre Baldwin 29:07
Sure. And that’s, you know, that’s something that it really came from it started with, as I said, No, my parents as the foundation, then, of course, taken at the school, they weren’t good enough in school, then the sports and then the business, and then sharing it with the world. So it’s discipline, which is the ability and willingness to show up day after day to do the work. Confidence is your ability to put yourself out there boldly and authentically. Mental Toughness is your skill of continuing to be disappointed, confident, putting yourself out there and showing up every day to do the work. Even when the success you’ve expected to achieve as a result of doing everything right, quote, unquote, has not occurred. You haven’t gotten a success yet. And then lastly, is the personal initiative to have that go getter energy to go in, make things happen instead of sitting around and waiting for things to happen. So putting all those together? That is the work on your game philosophy.
Mark Divine 30:03
Is any one of these more important or a prerequisite to the others? You could probably organize them in any way. But it seems like discipline. Yeah, to me might be the first one is like you got to develop that kind of baseline ability to show up every day and do the work. Right?
Dre Baldwin 30:17
Absolutely. That’s why the first one, discipline, is definitely the foundation of all of it. Showing up every day. That’s the thing that can easily separate you from everybody else, especially when you’re a professional and everyone has a similar level of skill. Because at the pro level, especially in the sports world, everybody has talent, everybody can run fast and jump high and shoot and when everybody is somebody wherever they’re coming from, what’s going to separate you is mental. That’s why they say that sports is 90% mental, actually anything in life at the pro level is mostly mental, because everybody has ability. Everyone has resources. We all have access. So that discipline is really a decision. Are you going to show up every single day? That’s not a talent to show up every day, it’s a choice. So this one is definitely number one.
Mark Divine 31:06
Well, how does that look in your life now, like you have got to be a model, or an exemplar, you know, for the folks that you coach and train. What does discipline look like specifically for you? What are your daily rituals? And how do you show up 100%?
Dre Baldwin 31:21
Every day, man, well, the first five hours of my day is pretty much the same every single day. So I wake up pretty early. I start with a liter of water, yoga, meditation, workout, shower, protein shake, foam, rolling, stretching. And then I’m looking at my goals. Looking at my list, looking at what took place the previous day, business wise, that’s the first four or five hours of my day, every single day. So then people know that because I use Instagram stories I’m posting on there consistently. So people know what my routine is, even if they never met me in person. So a lot of people kind of feel like they know me just because they’ve been following the journey for so long. So I am super disciplined. But what I do know, you mentioned that I have a podcast. Mine’s a solo show. It’s just me. But it comes out every single day. Is that right? It’s me talking about these principles from different angles every single day, and people just know me for that consistency. So that’s usually the number one challenge people bring to me is that they want to be more consistent. I want to be more disciplined. I want to be more productive, because they know I’m a guy who does it.
Mark Divine 32:24
That’s actually pretty impressive. So you put out a video every day.
Dre Baldwin 32:27
Yeah, well, podcasts. So to be video audio. Yeah.
Mark Divine 32:31
Okay. Yeah, that’s pretty cool. I’m kind of blown away by that. Do you do that as part of your morning ritual?
Dre Baldwin 32:36
No, no, that’s something that happens later in the day, later. Sometimes I’ll record more than one in a day, so I can give myself a break.
Mark Divine 32:47
I also see that you’ve written you know, talk about discipline, you’ve written 29 books. Now, these are self published books, I imagine. Right?
Dre Baldwin 32:54
Yeah, I do as well through my company. My book Work on Your Game is a traditionally published book.
Mark Divine 32:59
Yeah. Yeah, that takes a lot of discipline to do that. Because I, you know, I’m an author as well, I know how much work is involved in putting out a good book. It’s a daily effort. Let’s talk about confidence. My experience is that a lot of people think they have confidence, but there’s something underneath that is still holding them back. And they’re not aware of it. And so the confidence is more cognitive than emotionally felt or experienced, you know, through and through. So how do you deal with someone who may talk a big game and say, Yeah, I got it going on, and I’m doing all the right things, and I’m really confident, but they’re still not succeeding, or they’re still got something that’s holding them back? How do you get them to see that and overcome it?
Dre Baldwin 33:36
Yeah, well, the first thing is how all these principles connect. I tell people that discipline creates confidence. The more disciplined you are, the more confident you’ll be. And usually, the most disciplined people, you know, are usually pretty confident individuals and vice versa. So that discipline of knowing that you’re doing the work gives you that confidence, because confidence is simply a belief in your ability to do something. Now, what you said though, is 100% spot on, that a lot of times people’s confidence is more cognitive there, they can constantly think about it. But they haven’t gotten to that emotional level where it’s real, internal confidence, the kind of confidence that radiates from inside, not the kind of confidence that you’re thinking about, and you feel like you have to show to other people. And work in that confidence comes from, oh, there are many different ways, but one way that I tell people is to borrow your confidence. I personally do not believe in fake it till you make it. And I even talk about that in many of my books that you don’t want to fake it till you make it because when you fake it till you make it is kind of like your Cinderella, and the story where you have on a beautiful ball gown. But when that clock strikes 12, you go back to wearing rags, again, you don’t want it, you don’t want your confidence to come and go, right, you want it to stay. So borrowing your confidence. What I mean by that is, let’s just say we had a basketball player, and they don’t feel super confident about playing in a game, even though they practice that they never actually done the game. So I tell them, I ask them who’s your favorite player? They’ll say, Stephen Curry, Bron, James, I say, Okay, how would Stephen carry over? Bron James walking into the court for this game tonight? How would they feel about themselves? What kind of energy would they have? How would they feel about the crowd that is cheering and all the people that they see in the stands? How do they look at the opponent, what kind of energy what that person had, and I want you to assume their posture, assume their internal emotional, energetic posture, still be you but assume their energy. And then when you do that, you’re going to perform more confidently more smoothly, you’re going to let it flow, you’re going to be more relaxed. And then as you get more success doing you just borrowing their stance, borrowing their posture, now you have your own confidence of something that you have actually done. So now you don’t have to borrow it from another person anymore. You can if you want to, you can always go back to that. And you’re again, you’re not trying to be that person. You’re just asking yourself, what kind of energy would they have because they already have the confidence they’ve already done the thing. You borrow it for a moment. Do what you need to do, do your business. Now you can look at your own As a frame of reference, instead of having a look at anyone else. So that’s one way. That’s how people can build their own confidence through action.
Mark Divine 36:07
No, I like that. I mean, that’s just a form of modeling. So you borrow it, and then you mimic it until you own it. That’s cool. And I think that’s the benefit of having a role model. And I know you say you don’t have heroes, but role models help us appreciate the psychological and physiological underpinnings of their success. And then we can kind of mirror that, model that, or try to find a close facsimile of that within ourselves, and then put our own unique personality to that.
Dre Baldwin 36:33
Exactly, assuming energy. But then take your own actions.
Mark Divine 36:39
That’s right, assume that energy because ultimately, it’s got to be your own energy. You know, you can’t walk like you said, walk out pretending to be a LeBron James, you have to walk out and be Dre, there’s got to be Dre’s energy. That’s awesome. Now I teach mental toughness. And whenever I have a conversation about it, you know, it seems like everyone’s got a different view on what it is. You mentioned, mental toughness sounds a lot like resilience, and almost as if they’re synonymous. How do you teach mental toughness? Let’s get into this a little bit.
Dre Baldwin 37:08
Yeah, that’s a really good question. So I look at mental toughness as a person’s willingness to stay the course, stay disciplined, stay confident, even though things are not working the way that you want things to work, right? And being willing to keep showing up, even though things aren’t working. And the reason why I look at it that way, Mark, is because I’ve seen so many people, you know, given a background that we talked about here briefly. I’ve seen so many people who have more talent, more resources, more opportunity, who simply just couldn’t keep showing up. Or they just couldn’t stick to the disciplines, or they just didn’t believe in themselves enough to either stick to the disciplines or keep showing up. So that no “stick to itiveness” as they say it can be the difference in someone succeeding or somebody failing. So how do you teach mental toughness to a person? I think the first thing is, you’ve got to find out how much clay a person is working with, because not everyone knows, and everybody’s wired differently. And you really got to find what is that thing that really activates a person because I personally, even as a very young kid, I realized what activated me I realized that I was very competitive. And I look at things as a competition. Even if nobody else knows there’s a competition, in my mind, it is a competition to me. And that’s how, even with that story I told you about my parents, when they just held up that mirror to me and showed me that your playing doesn’t make any sense. I started competing against the plane. That’s really what activated me to do what I needed to do and gave me a sense of urgency to go and make my career happen. It wasn’t necessarily because I was just so talented. There were other players just as talented as me, if not more. So I knew that’s what activates me, when I get into that mode. I know I’m going to do my best work. So I have trained myself to get there. I know that’s my anchor, it’s the thing that gets me going. So for each person, we’ve got to find out what that is, what is it that gets you into that state to get you into that zone, it gets you into that mode. And then we have to find what those things are in your current situation that can get you there. Once we know what that is. Now, we can make a list you can write these things down there and we got to find out what is it that activates you? Is it a sound is an action is an activity is a word? Is it a certain song? Is it something that needs to happen from somebody external, find out what your triggers are, and we know what your triggers are to move you to your best work now, you can strategically arrange to have those triggers firing at the necessary times to move you to action. So that’s all part of actually that can be a combination of all three of these things and talking about so far right? Discipline, confidence. And the reason why I talk about this mental toughness, Mark, is because when someone is in that down mode, right, things are not working, they did everything they were supposed to do, they followed all the directions and things are still not working. You got to know what that trigger is. Because that triggers that thing that’ll wake you up and it’ll kind of bring you back from that defeated mindset. And say, Let’s get one more shot. Yeah, that’s really important to know about.
Mark Divine 40:01
We’re gonna take a short break here from the Mark Divine show, to hear a short message from one of our partners, excited to have IP vanish as a sponsor of this podcast. Did you know that browsing online even if you use incognito mode doesn’t really protect your privacy, thou add a security you might as well be giving away your data to hackers or advertisers, or any prying eyes. IP vanish solves this. It’s a virtual private network. It makes it easy to stay 100% private and secure, you can safely browse because IP vanish will encrypt 100% of your data, all your private details, password, any communication, your history, completely shielded from prying eyes, even your location is hidden. You’re virtually invisible online. That’s awesome. In this day and age, IP vanishes, offering an incredible 70% off their yearly plan with a 30 day money back guarantee. So get that nine months for free. That’s incredible, super easy to use. All you have to do is tap one button and you’re instantly protected. You won’t even know it’s there in the background. Go to IP vanish.com forward slash divine use the promo code divine. That’s di V i any claim that 70% Savings now that’s IP va nish.com or slash divine who Yeah, this episode of The Mark Divine podcast is brought to you by Progressive What’s one thing you’d purchase with a little extra savings. A weighted blanket, a smart speaker, that new self care trend you keep hearing about? Well, Progressive wants to make sure you’re getting what you want by helping you save money on car insurance. Drivers who saved by switching to Progressive save over $700 on average, and customers can qualify for an average of six discounts when they sign up, like having multiple vehicles on your policy. Progressive offers outstanding coverage and award winning claims service day or night they have customer support 24/7 365 days a year, when you need them the most. A little off your rate each month goes a long way. Get a quote today at Progressive.com and see why four out of five new auto customers recommend Progressive. Progressive casualty insurance company and affiliates national annual average insurance savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Progressive between June 2020. And May 21. Potential savings will vary, discounts will vary also, and are not available in all states or situations. And now back to the show.
Mark Divine 42:14
What role does clarifying an individual’s life path slash purpose play in keeping people committed to the long haul? Do you work on that at all?
Dre Baldwin 42:26
Do you mean as in everything? Yeah, that’s the entire game? Well,
Mark Divine 42:29
I think so too. But yeah, you hadn’t articulated that yet. And I wondered how we’re going to get to that, you know, that’s to me, like when I work with Navy SEAL candidates, I got to make sure that they’re very clear on why they’re doing it. And some aren’t, right, because the guys who want to do it to prove to their dad how tough they are, that’s the wrong way you know, and they’re gonna get their ass handed to him. So same thing with professional athletes, you know, make sure it’s the, you got a strong why and it’s really aligned with who you are and your purpose, you know, and you can hang your hat on that for a very long time until it shifts maybe.
Dre Baldwin 42:59
Exactly. And if a person doesn’t know what their purpose is, they don’t have that North Star. And that North Star is the thing that is going to get you up off the mat, get you up out of bed, get you up off the ground, when things are not working. If you don’t have that, then the triggers, it can’t send you don’t know what direction that is going to send, you know, so you have to know what direction to go in, then that’s when you use a trigger to fire yourself in that direction. But if you don’t have a direction, you don’t have a purpose, then you could be using up a lot of energy but have no idea where it’s taking.
Mark Divine 43:31
Yeah, in fact, that’s the crux of your fourth point about personal initiative, right? Personal initiative comes from getting up every day and remembering why you’re on this planet and then getting to work to fulfill that vision.
Dre Baldwin 43:41
Right, it’s turning potential energy into kinetic energy. So you could do something, you have all this great mindset stuff, because everything we talked about so far is mental. You get all this by sitting on the couch, but eventually you have to actually put this into action, and get some real tangible results, some activity knowledge from doing these things. So it’s moving yourself to action. And these days, that’s a challenge for a lot of people. I mean, I’m sure you know, you have a podcast here. You write books, no people become I call them pigs, professional information gatherers, gathering information. They’re learning all this stuff, but not doing anything with it. So at some point, you got to take this knowledge and do something with it, and cut yourself off from all the quote unquote, information out there. Because more of it than we have time. Oh, 100, you got to decide where you’re going to stop and actually go do something.
Mark Divine 44:27
And once you’ve got a basic framework, and it works, just do it, right, you don’t need to consume 10,000 podcasts more, you know, just do it. And you’ll succeed, right?
Dre Baldwin 44:37
You have the discipline to do that. A lot of people don’t. That’s right. The shiny information syndrome is what I call it.
Mark Divine 44:42
That’s right. I agree with that. So I’m intrigued by the title of your new book, The third day, the decision that separates the pros from the amateurs. What’s so important about the third day, what about the first or the second? Or the fourth?
Dre Baldwin 44:54
I’ll tell you, it goes underneath the umbrella of discipline. And it’s all about what you do in those moments. I mean, I haven’t been in the military. But I would assume that when someone’s in Navy SEAL training the first day everyone shows up, they’re pretty excited. Right? Ready to go. Right now everybody is in a new situation. No, everyone’s all they trained for it. They had an idea what they’re going to have to do. So they’re ready the first day, everybody looks pretty good, right? Because they’re fresh, it’s the first day right now, the second day energy is down just a little bit. But everybody understands. They knew this was going to be hard work. They had an idea. They probably didn’t know all the way but they had no idea what they signed up for. So that enthusiasm gets a little bit lower, but everybody’s still in there and showing up and doing their thing. By the third day though, Mark, you can tell me if I got this right. By the third day, already. People are starting to drag. By the third day the energy starts to dip a little bit. Tell me, by the third day, do people stop showing up? Do people start dropping by the third day? Yeah, reality sets in exactly.
Mark Divine 45:50
The third week of training is when most people quit. And it’s roughly between the second and third day of that third week of hell week where most people quit hell week.
Dre Baldwin 45:59
Alright, well there you go. Yeah, because you got to make it through the first day and you got it through. And then the second day, you’re starting to suffer, you haven’t slept, you got one whole more night of no sleeping. And usually it’s that second night in the middle of the night that you have big swaths of the classes to get up and quit. Wow, you’re right. It’s good stuff, interesting. And also prepare you to prepare ahead of time, right, because I would assume someone’s going to Navy SEAL training, they have some idea what’s going to be expected of them, they might not be able to simulate it completely. But do prepare ahead of time for the third day so that when it hits, you knew it was coming. It’s not the punch that hits you hard, that knocks you out is the one you didn’t see coming. So when you know what’s coming, you can prepare for it.
Mark Divine 46:38
People have such an advantage these days, compared to like, when you were trying to become a pro basketball player, or when I was trying to become a Navy SEAL. There was no training, there were no books, there was no internet, it was nothing about the SEALs for me, I just had to, I just had to imagine what it was gonna be and prepare myself as best I could and show up and kick ass. Like, literally our company says that we have a hell week simulation, which is harder than hell week. If you make it through 50 hours of our training. I’ve had people come back and say, Man, that made Hell Week easy for me, right? Because I knew what was coming. The head of that three day experience, you know what I mean? Exactly. And there’s tons of information, you can get mentored by a Navy SEAL. Now, I mean, that the leg up that seal candidates have these days is enormous over even 10, 15 years ago, but it doesn’t change the fact that still 80% quit or don’t make it. It’s fascinating, right, even with all that information, you know, spoon fed.
Dre Baldwin 47:33
100%. And I think actually, that starts to make people actually in some ways it can make them softer, it can make them weaker, because they have all the information. And therefore they might not feel like they need to go in there ready for whatever they feel like maybe they already have all the information they need. And because the information is out there, that people have less urgency, in some ways, about doing things simply because I can get this information whenever I get around to it. And that third day Mark does not have to be day one, two or three, it could be the third week, it could be the third month, and you have a third day. Listen, I’m sure for some people who go through Navy SEALs training, that whole Hell Week is a third day, every single day of the whole thing. So the third day is any situation where the newness has worn off, the novelty is gone. And you have to make a decision. Do I want to stick to this? Or do I want to quit? And you do have to make it? That’s the third?
Mark Divine 48:24
Do you have any silver bullet for people, when they’re faced with the moment of that choice to not quit? And to keep going?
Dre Baldwin 48:33
Yes, the number one thing is to know why you showed up in the first place. Why are you even here? And that’s something that people need to know, before they get started? Why are you doing this? And because like you said, someone’s trying to do it because they want to prove something to someone else is the wrong reason? Because maybe eventually we’d have reasons not gonna be strong enough to get you out of bed or to get you to do the thing that you’re assigned to do right now. Or what reason that you have that is more internal. Because what I tell athletes, sometimes I get messages from athletes who say something like, well, Julia, I’m not getting a lot of playing time. My team is not really motivated right now. But I want to make it in basketball. Can you give me some advice? Or some help? Or some words to pick me up? And I always tell them? No, I can’t. And the reason why I don’t is because I tell them this, what are you gonna do next week? When the coach cusses you out in front of the whole team? What are you gonna do next month, when you miss the game-winning shot and the fans are laughing at you and you feel terrible? You’re not gonna call me because I’m not gonna keep answering. So what can you do? So that you can run off your own energy? Because there’s going to come a point when you have to be your own answer. And if you need someone else to answer for you now is only going to make you weaker for the future. Yeah, that’s awesome.
Mark Divine 49:41
100% I think we’ll put a pin on it with that. That’s such a powerful concept. We’ve got to architect our own when internalizing, right? And then stoke that every day by remembering why we’re doing it and then fire it up and do the work. But discipline, confidence, mental toughness, and your own initiative. You can’t rely on anybody else in this world. We got to make it happen on our own, right? That’s awesome. All right. That’s awesome. Well, this has been a great conversation. I really appreciate your work and your time and, and your message, man, you had a great positive message. You probably helped a ton of people and you will continue to do that. Because it feels like you’re just getting warmed up here. Yeah, I think so. I hope so. So people can find you your podcast, his work on your game. So I guess just search that on YouTube, right? Is that where you mostly do your platform or
Dre Baldwin 50:26
Apple podcasts? We’re on YouTube, but Apple podcasts and probably get more of us as do audio video. So got it. Spotify, Apple, SoundCloud, no, the usual suspects.
Mark Divine 50:35
Anything else you want to put out to the listeners in terms of what you’re up to? Or how to find you or anything coming up
Dre Baldwin 50:41
on social media, on Instagram constantly, so that probably the quickest place for social media for people to find me but I’m on all the platforms except tic tock. I have a Facebook page. I’m on Twitter, I’m on Instagram. And I’m giving people a free copy of my new book The Third Day, you know, tell them about that. No, that’s awesome. Go for it. Yes. Get a free paperback copy of the book. I have it right here, called The Third Day. This is the hardcover. You can get this too if you want the paperback free just cover the shipping. You just go to third day book.com spelled out third date book.com books free discovered ship.
Mark Divine 51:15
That’s awesome. That’s very generous. Third day book dot com. Probably a good place to start. Yes, it is. Anyway, here is a disciplined individual, Dre Baldwin. What an interesting podcast. His morning ritual is more extensive than mine, five hours every morning. Yoga, exercise, foam rolling, journaling, meditation visualization, man talk about discipline, which is one of the four cornerstones of what he teaches his clients, his client athletes tried to help people get into professional sports. His training is built on the corners of discipline, self confidence, mental toughness and personal initiative that drives success over the long term, how Dre applies it in his life, and how he helps others do the same. Well, that was awesome and very, very important. Thanks Dre show notes and transcripts are up on our site at Mark Divine calm. And there’s a video of this episode on our YouTube channel. And if you can reach out to me or if you want to reach out to me, I’m at Mark Divine on Twitter, and at real Mark Divine and Instagram and Facebook, you can always hit me up on my LinkedIn profile. quick plug for the new newsletter, divine inspiration, which comes out every week, exclusive content just for subscribers, new information, new inspiration, and ideas and habits that I’d like to share that I find inspiration with or that work in my life or with our clients. Go to Mark Divine.com to sign up so you can be part of that journey. Special shout out to my amazing team Jason Sanderson, Geoff Haskell Michels Arctic and Amy Jurkowitz. It’s who helped produce this awesome podcasts with incredible guests and incredible video production in audio editing, and writing. I continue to appreciate your reviews. If you haven’t reviewed it, please consider reviewing at Apple, iTunes, wherever you listen to the podcast, it really helps other people find the podcast it also helps if you share it. Well, it’s time for us to really step up our game in 2022. This can be an extraordinary year, if we choose to make it one. I choose and I hope you choose with me to do the work to show up, be the best version of ourselves we can be taking responsibility for our own growth. What does that mean? It means to do something every day physically, mentally, emotionally, intuitional and spiritually to grow and integrate to become more whole, more inclusive, more world centric, more caring, and compassionate and courageous. And through this initiative, this effort at scale, we can change the world. So thanks for joining me on the journey. Until next week. Divine out.