Podcast Interview with the Ultra Leadership Method founder



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“Be brave, take on new experiences. Because only when you try new things, even if you do not succeed on the first try, can you really learn what your abilities are and evaluate yourself more accurately!”


Saber Host: Hello, elites and leaders and welcome to Saber-Waves perform a show; the place to master and apply the secrets of continued high performance. This is you Saber-Waves host, and I’m honored and excited to have you on the show again today. This is a special episode with an honored and special guest, Ash Mishal, who is a dedicated athlete who learned from her experience and created a specific and detailed program to help athletes and leaders achieve their performance and life goals.


She left her home country to come here and make a difference. So, let’s welcome Ash together, to tell us what she does in life.


Ashmoret Mishal: I work on goal achievement through the process that made me a successful ultra-marathon runner. I ran the 125-mile race in Israel which was 3 days of constant running.


Saber Host: How did you wrap your mind around running a 3-day race?


Ashmoret Mishal: Back then, I was well prepared. I have run 9 full marathons and 3 ultra-marathons; 60, 100, and 144 kilometers. These were really great milestones on the way to conquering the 125-mile challenge, which is the longest ultra-marathon race in Israel. It took place in the wilderness of Israel, with many up-hills and stones in the path. We ran 2 nights in a row, more than 38 hours. We started out as 19 people from all around the world and only 9 finished, including me and another female from the U.S.


To answer the question, ‘what made me accomplish that challenge’ is that I realized that my body is going to be tired, after less than half the distance. And the only thing I have left is my mental power. My focus. My will-power. And I felt, as one of the only women in Israel to participate in this kind of competition, that in some way I’m an inspiration for them and for other people as well.


Saber Host: When you go for a 3-day race, you said it’s about mindset and it’s not about the muscle or being tired. It’s the mental toughness and more than that. When you entered a 200-kilometer race, how did you start mentally? And how did you go about it until you finished?


Ashmoret Mishal: The night before the race, I could not fall asleep. I was having nightmares. I was told that I should practice a visualization technique, to imagine the race, trail, running the 6-lap course, and running it again and again into the darkness. I was starting to mentally prepare myself for the challenge the night before.


What is interesting about the race is that you know that when you are there at the competition, there are so many people that have been dreaming about this moment for a long time, and we are all there to prove to ourselves that we can do it! And that we can overcome the challenge. And it really motivates you to see others motivated as well. The social gathering is meaningful from a motivational aspect.


Also, during the race, I was accompanied by a few friends who ran with me, so there was never a point during the race that I was alone or by myself. And the support that you get from the team and spectators is a tremendous resource, like the energy resources of food and water.


At some point after 10 hours, I started to get tired. When we got to the first night I was tired. I wanted to rest. But on the second night after constant running, it was just so difficult! It was such a struggle because you just want to go to sleep!


At some point, I felt that my body and soul were two different things. I said in the movie, that I felt like my soul is floating outside my body and it’s a crazy feeling, very unique.


But I was so stubborn. I said, ‘I got this far, am I going to quit? No.’


At the 185 kilometer mark, I wanted to quit, but my uncle said to me, ‘No, let’s walk a bit to the next station, slowly, come on step by step.’ And it really encouraged me to look at the stops that we can actually see, saying, ok, this is going to be my next stop! I broke down the big target or distance to smaller stops that I could actually digest. Those were my milestones. When you go from one milestone to the other it really helps you achieve the whole distance.


Step by step, slowly but surely – these are the main key points that I took from running that long race.


Saber Host: What helps you shift from the feelings and the thoughts of wanting to quit and giving up, to saying no, I’m going to continue. What makes you shift?


Ashmoret Mishal: I felt, as I said in the beginning of the interview, that I’m running for others. I have a mission to empower other people by accomplishing this challenge. And I was also interviewed by the newspaper, so it was also a pressure of commitment. I’m not going to disappoint myself or others that are reading about it. So, the feeling of commitment is very important.


Second, it was the feeling of having a mission. ‘I’m going to do something big.’ Feeling like there is another force that is pushing me to move forward.


Lastly, it was understating why I’m doing this and why I signed up for the race. Remind yourself why you are running this race, because when you are tired it is very easy to think about the negatives. But it’s really important not to be distracted by the negative things, and think about the positive things that have pushed you so far.


The main program that I developed is called, The Ultra Leadership Method – 12 Steps to Power Performance. I laid out the main steps and tools that helped me achieve my ultra-goals. Step one is setting a goal and step 12 is succeeding and accomplishing the goal.


You can break down the 12 steps to part A, which is management skills. How to set the right goal, plan, and assess, etc. And the other part is more about leadership skills. When you face a challenge and struggle to achieve your goal, what are you going to do? How are you going to achieve it? Etc.


These qualities are different from the management skills. In some way, in order to be truly successful, you need to be a good manager and a good leader of yourself. Because long term goals are difficult to achieve! And we need to be very good, as much as we can, in those two aspects.


Saber Host: What tips and processes can you share about self-leadership?


Ashmoret Mishal: My first tip is, don’t think about success in terms of not failing, or failing in terms of not succeeding.


Be brave, take on new experiences. Because only when you try new things, even if you do not succeed on the first try, can you really learn what your abilities are and evaluate yourself more accurately!


Set high goals and try to achieve them. On the way you are going to learn from the way, from the mistakes, and from the failures.


Second, when you are there and you face the challenge, embrace the challenge! Embrace the difficult moments because only there can you really get to know yourself. People should also learn how to cope with difficult moments. In my program I teach 3 physical tools and 4 mental tools.


Examples of energy tools that we can use are slowing down and moving on to smaller steps. Instead of just quitting when you are getting tired, try to lower down the gear. Also, breathe because it’s important to relax and calm down when you are under pressure. It’s a physical tool but has a tremendous psychological effect.


Another mental tool is telling yourself that you are good; positive reinforcement, encouraging yourself that you can do it. Also, inner dialog. Once you have limiting beliefs that you can’t do that, challenge those thoughts and push it harder. Instead of thinking about the bad stuff, think about the good things because imagination creates reality.


Many of the CEO’s are marathon runners. And they are successful also because they learned how to better control themselves from the physical experiences. And that’s why sports is a great leadership and educational school.


Saber Host: How do you advise a leader or executive to apply your technique of lowering gear when tired, to actually apply this to their work? To keep progressing?


Ashmoret Mishal: I will give you an example. In one of my sessions, I ask the group to run interval training of 5 sets. 5 minutes running in each set and between each set there is a 2-minute break. You can often see that the people who are not trained run the first few sets so fast, that they are not sure they can complete the entire 5-set workout I gave them to do. It’s because they start with so much energy, but then they don’t have enough energy left.


So if we take this example for work, once you get a task or a goal you need to work on, it’s really important to take the time and to do long-term planning. What’s my action plan? Let’s break it down and write TO-DO lists. The plan is very important for you to manage your resources. Because don’t forget that energy is a resource like money, and even greater – it’s your engine. And you need to preserve your engine by thinking about a good plan, going over it step by step and sticking to it, until getting to the finish line which is the thing that we often want to reach.


Saber Host: How can young athletes reach your plan so they will do their best?


Ashmoret Mishal: I have an online course that contains my training videos and lectures, it’s also available on DVD. In addition, I have a book that’s called, Ultra Success – 12 Steps to Power Performance, and soon I’m going to have a training app. Following the 12 steps, which is the key, involves setting the right goal, assessing the situation, building the right plan, breaking it down, being more aware of weaknesses and strengths, knowing what to empower, putting yourself in challenges and overcoming them, being more persistent, coping with crises, and being more in control, are all things I teach in my courses. And I wrote about it in my book with more research and theory. You can apply the 12 steps in your sports goals, business goals, and personal goals; it’s the same concepts. I just drew the line between my ultra-marathon goals and big ultra-goals in life.

Ashmoret Mishal