18SP 013: Dr. Ellen Reed | Creating Your Mental Toughness Fundamentals

Dr. Ellen Reed is a Mental Training Consultant that works with athletes and executives of all types.

In this episode of The 18STRONG Podcast, she defines the Mental Toughness Fundamentals for us and takes us through the process of developing our personal “Performance Statement.”

This is one of the most actionable interviews we’ve had on the podcast to this date.  Enjoy.

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Dr. Ellen Reed’s Background

  • Mental Training Consultant with Enhanced Performance
  • Working with Dr. Jason Selk for over 10 years
  • PhD in Psychology
  • Works with individuals and groups looking to develop their Mental Toughness:

The minds ability to stay focused on solutions, especially when times are tough

 Highlights of this Episode

  • The Mental Toughness Fundamentals apply to everyone in every situation (athletes, CEO’s, stay at home mom’s etc.)
  • The biggest mistake golfers are making is not being able to recover from that bad shot
  • Golfers also tend to have “self-doubting” shots even when they are playing well, which can destroy a round
  • Dr. Ellen discusses how we need to replace our bad thoughts with something rather than try to prevent them
  • The Pink Elephant and Blue Hot Air Balloon example
  • The mentally Tough have learned how to get rid of those damaging thoughts faster

Developing your own “Performance Statement”

Dr. Reed walked us through creating our own “Performance Statement” for the next time we are on the course.  Here is a quick breakdown of the steps:

  1. Picture yourself in your next high pressure situation on the course and come up with the One Thing that you can focus on that will allow you to be successful.  (Once you have one, come up with one or two more). Eg. “Head down, roll it in”
  2. Begin reciting this to yourself for every shot.  You have to ritualize this to make it comfortable and natural.


Visualization is the number one to tool for sports performance.

3 guidelines for visualization:

  1. Visualize in the 1st person, as if you’re looking through your own eyes
  2. Pack as much detail in that visualization as you can.  Especially focus on FEELING CONFIDENT in that moment.
  3. Visualize in real time.

1 minute of visualization is equivalent to 7 minutes of physical practice.


  • Most of us don’t breathe properly.
  • It doesn’t take much pressure to increase our blood pressure, which can affect performance.
  • The “Centering Breath” can help relieve some of that pressure

Centering Breath Exercise (6-2-7)

  1. Breathe in for 6 seconds
  2. Hold for 2 seconds
  3. Breathe out for 7 seconds

The Mental Workout

  1. The Centering Breath
  2. Performance Statement
  3. Performance Highlight Reel
    1. Remember 3-5 clips of you being successful from your past
    2. Imagine Success in your next practice
    3. Imagine success in your next competition
  4. The Identity Statement (Self Talk)
    1. Remind yourself of what you have that will allow you to experience your greatness. (Eg. I have an amazing short game and I am a PGA level golfer . . .)
  5. Repeat the Centering Breath

 What do you struggle (Dr. Reed) with most?

  • She admits being a natural “worrier.”
  • She really practices what she preaches about making this stuff a ritual in her daily routines

What is one Book that you would recommend?

Last piece of Advice

  • “Just pick one!”
  • Don’t try to do it all at one time, pick one thing (the Performance Statement) and stick to it for a while.
  • Build it as a habit

Where to find Ellen

Enhanced Performance Bio: Dr. Ellen Reed

email: [email protected]

Jason Selk website: JasonSelk.com

Big Muddy Dance: website

Jason Selk’s Books:

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