November 3

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Optimizing Your Brain with Dr. Tere Linzey

By Mimi MacLean

November 3, 2020


optimizing your brain expert Dr. Tere Linzey
BrainMatterZ founder Dr. Tere Linzey

Dr. Tere Linzey, Licensed Educational Psychologist & Founder of BrainMatterZ

This week on the Badass CEO podcast Dr. Tere Linzey dives into how the brain works and how we can optimize its performance. Dr. Linzey is a licensed educational psychologist and founder of BrainMatterZ, a program meant to improve auditory processing, executive functioning skills, attention/focus, and memory in youths. As a collegiate National Championship winning basketball player and accomplished coach, Dr. Linzey explains that you can train the brain, just like you train your muscles to play a sport. So the next time you are trying to learn something new, think about when you played sports as a kid. It’s all about breaking it down to the fundamentals and repetition. If you don’t have the basics down, you will struggle, so thoughtful repetition and spending time in this learning phase is essential. As soon as you master it, then you can build on that. Furthermore, Dr. Linzey emphasizes having a growth mindset because every time you come up against some resistance, you can’t give up or see it as a failure. Instead, you need to see it as guidance, and use your creativity to move past that and grit to stay with it. As an entrepreneur, you need to be flexible and willing to adjust.Lastly, you need to figure out what motivates you, and what is your purpose for starting this business? Whatever it might be, use it to enhance your focus and develop a strategy to accomplish your most ambitious goals.

Find Dr. Tere Linzey and BrainMatterZ

 

Episode Contents

  • Dr. Linzey’s Experience Before BrainMatterZ
  • Teaching Children to Optimize Their Brains
  • Acquiring Clients and Finding the Right PR Coverage
  • Reward Systems For Brain Optimization
  • Characteristics of Succesful Entrepreneurs
  • You Have To Have Systems in Place

Dr. Linzey’s Career and Experience Before BrainMatterZ

Mimi MacLean

Dr. Linzey, thank you so much for coming on today. I really appreciate it. And I first would like to start out with your experience before bringing matters because I find it really interesting. I read your book. And I love this story about when you were a basketball coach and how you came about with brain to the matters because of being a basketball coach.

Dr. Tere Linzey

Well, I’m from Oklahoma, you know, where basketball is only second to football. And so it’s very, very competitive. Women’s Basketball is back there. And so I played there in college, and then I coached there. And I kind of felt like I reached my goals. And so I I applied out here in California for a job that a Beverly Hills High School, and I just wanted to teach. And they literally recruited me to coach the basketball team there, right. And then from there, we turn that program around, and then I jumped over to Cape school. So I really wanted that job at Cape school. And this is this is how this came about. They wanted me to coach their basketball team and be their director of counseling. And I thought, Oh, I don’t want to coach anymore. But I really wanted that job. So I said, Okay, I would take it. Now. They didn’t tell me that that team hadn’t won a game in three years, that girls basketball team, and the headmaster’s daughter was on the team. Those were the two key things, right? So all I did was fundamentals over and over and over until one day before the first game. And I put it in one play. That’s it. And the kids responded so well, they went on to win league to beat their rival for the first time in 10 or 15 years and to go all the way to CIF so the assistant headmaster asked me later, he said, Can you do what you just did with that basketball team or academics? And I said, Well, what do you mean? And he said, if we send you to gather all the new brain research, do you think you could take the fundamental skills and retrain the brain for our kids academically? And I said, Well, I don’t know. But what a great opportunity, you know. And so they sent me to Harvard and Berkeley and all these places together it I came back, we piloted the program at school. So it was a really easy transition when I found out that muscles and brains train exactly the same. And I thought, well, heck I can. I can develop drills that will train the brain just like we did in basketball. So I always tease everybody and say it wasn’t a big jump from being a head coach to a head coach. Right?

Mimi MacLean

Oh that’s funny! I love that story. That’s a great story. But I think you brushed over some of the most important facts. I would love for you to go back and give yourself a pat on the back a little bit about your time as a coach and what you did in Oklahoma. When you were a basketball coach, and how well you did.

Dr. Tere Linzey

Well, we did and i and i had great kids, you know, but again, you know, I had great training growing up, I grew up playing basketball for Bobby Knight’s wife, Coach bobby knight from Indiana and playing for her in all star games and spending my summers as a coach with Bobby Knight and learning how to coach and learning fundamentals. I played college basketball on a national championship team. And again, I really view that as a team effort. And then in Oklahoma, I set some goals for myself, like I wanted to wanted to win a state championship, I wanted to be Oklahoma Coach of the Year, those kinds of things. And I felt really grateful to to be able to achieve those things. But I also felt like, there was more to life than just basketball, and it had consumed me for all that time. So really wanted to give something back to the world. But I wasn’t quite sure how. So that’s why I went into psychology.

Mimi MacLean

That’s great. But I do love this story about how you were such a great basketball coach, and and how you did that. So I just wanted to make sure we highlighted that and touched upon that. And so what do you think we can learn like as a nation, as we’re changing this education, to adapt to make people more happy? What takeaways Do you have from what you’ve learned at Kate, that you’re applying in your program, green matters that we can change? I think you and I have had conversations about how the school system can be changed or adjusted or improved, right? And so I guess, what would you recommend?

Dr. Tere Linzey

I think right now everybody’s in flux, right? We’re everybody’s trying to adjust to this new, what we call a new normal. Often I get asked, What can parents do to help their children get through this. And I always say, modeling, as parents, we have to model the behavior that we want to see in our children, right. And right now, it’s patience and flexibility and trying to look on the bright side. And helping them understand that this is temporary, we’re going to get through this and will change as a result of that. As far as the teachers, I, I’ve been amazed at watching the teachers scramble and become more creative. I don’t think that the curriculum is going to change as much as the way we deliver the curriculum. Now, you know, we can’t pat our students on the back or we can’t get up close and help them kinesthetically where we’re having to stay at a distance and not as much cooperative learning. But what I noticed is that teachers are being very creative, and they love their kids. So they’re still doing that. So I’m, I’m really optimistic about even though, you know, we’re in the midst of some big changes. I’m really optimistic about where we could go with this and, and what we can take away from this as far as resiliency, I think.

Teaching Children to Optimize Their Brains

optimizing your brain expert Dr. Linzey

Mimi MacLean

Mm hmm. No, it’s very true. So can you talk to us a little bit about how you teach the children to optimize their brain with your program?

Dr. Tere Linzey

Sure. So as you know, we come in and do a little pretest, or take a look at where the child’s brain is, initially. And I think this is really important for parents to understand that we measure everything in our lives, right? We measure our tire pressure, our oil, our heart rate, our bank accounts, I mean, everything we measure. And so I always ask parents, why would you leave your child’s brain to chance, right, so we need to do a little cognitive test to see where they are. Because with neuroplasticity, now, we know the brain can change and evolve, and kids can actually become smarter. So we need to know where they are. And then we know how to best get them to where they want to be. So we work the fundamental skills, which are like visual processing speed, how you take it in through your eyes, auditory processing, attention, that’s the secret sauce for learning, if you can’t attend to something, you can’t hold on to it. And if you can’t remember, then you can’t learn. So those things have to be optimized. And even like in a sport, if even one of your fundamental skills is lacking, then you’re going to struggle a little bit on the court. So it’s the same way. in academics, you’ll struggle a little bit or you’ll try to compensate with the other one. So we work those in what we call deep practice where we do a lot of repetition. And then as soon as they master it, we build on that. And then at the end, we do the post test to see how far they’ve come, which is usually we’d love to see the results of that. And then the kids are already feeling those results. I do the post test for the parents mainly, but the kids are already feeling it.

Mimi MacLean

That’s great. No, it’s definitely a great program and definitely beneficial. I I’ve noticed that with my children’s, so thank you. So talk to us about your transition from Kate, I know you still work with Kate but you’ve now you’re an entrepreneur, you have your own company, BrainMatterZ. And can you talk to us about that transition and what was hard about that and continues to be hard?

Dr. Tere Linzey

Sure. So One of the most difficult things I think, for my industry and with BrainMatterZ was that I had to get clinical trials, if we were going to have any validity, if people were going to go through the program, whether it was a school or private families at whatever they needed to know that was going to work. And so there’s a process that I didn’t realize that where you have to have an internal review board, come in and make sure that the safety procedures are in place to run clinical trials with children. And so that was an unbelievably tough process. It took me about two years to get those trials set up. And we set them up in a school in Hollister, which was where I had previously been a school psychologist, so they knew me there. But people don’t always have that option. But I was really grateful. So we set up the clinical trials, we ran them for eight weeks. And that was that was difficult. And then when you’re finished with the clinical trials, then you have to promote them, right, you have to get out and promote the program because you want it to touch as many lives children’s lives as you can. Right. And so that was that was tough. So I would say that running the clinical trials was tough. And then the promoting of my program, I’ve I’ve since brought in experts in that field, or social media and publicists and an agent and those kinds of things. But what I realized is that you, you have to have a team. And you know, you have to have a team. Mm hmm. That helps you? Yes, absolutely. Because I didn’t have any strengths in that area.

Acquiring Clients and Finding The Right PR Coverage

brain matterz book

Mimi MacLean

Yeah, I think getting clients or customers is harder than people think. Right? And then and then becomes like, word of mouth, right. And I think you’re at a point where you have a good word of mouth that is propelling your business.

Dr. Tere Linzey

That’s true. And, and parents, you know, moms are the best, right? Because we call it the the moms playground, you know, they’re standing out used to when we go to school, they stand outside waiting to pick up their children, and they talk about Jimmy and Susie and who they got to help and all those things. So if you can get in the moms playground, and you can you know, mom’s talk, then that’s a great source. And for years, that’s all I had, I didn’t have any promotion at all.

Mimi MacLean

Now, did you have trouble finding a PR person? Because you have had great PR, like you have been on different talk shows or news channels? So is that from your PR in your agent? Is that?

Dr. Tere Linzey

It sure is I had to get an agent first in order to get a publicist. And I kept thinking, How can I get on these different talk shows are different media outlets? How can I get the word out there? Because, you know, we had the scandal, right? And when the parents did what they did try to get their kids into colleges and things like that. And so I kept thinking, How can I promote this, that this is a legal, ethical alternative to giving your child an advantage? You know, I thought, How can I get the word out there? And so I went through a friend and I would always encourage people to network anybody. You know, I, the one thing I’ve noticed, and you probably noticed this, too, is that people always want to help you. If you’re trying to do something good in the world, other people that are doing good in the world, they’ll help you reach out to a few people. They said, Well, we haven’t we have an agent, and she’s really good and we can connect you and they did that. And then through my agent, she found a publicist that did a lot with education. And so through that we you know, we were on the Dr. Drew show we’re on KTLA so we’re on a lot of press through that, and it’s been wonderful.

Mimi MacLean

That’s great. Now, most of your clients, educational institutions, or people like residential people?

Dr. Tere Linzey

Well, the curriculum is in Kate school. They’re at Sierra canyon in the summer. So we’re at a lot of different private schools. But most recently, we’ve been brought in by club teams to develop brain training specifically for their sport, like more recently, a team in Santa Barbara lacrosse team, and we do brain training for lacrosse, then we do team building for them, and then they start their, their actual practices. So we’ve started doing that now, which is really fun for me, because now the whole sport and academic things coming together. So it’s really that’s great.

Mimi MacLean

It reminds me of a whole Tom Brady has TV 12. That’s what he talks about. Like he has a whole brain training kind of program. I don’t know the apps called. But he says he talks a lot about how he does a lot of brain optimization, and that’s what keeps him so mentally strong and like with it with his throwing and reaction time.

Dr. Tere Linzey

I know. He actually does brain cards like we do in the BrainMatterZ program. I think he’s talked about how you He does card categorization.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Starting a Business

Mimi MacLean

Any words of advice for an entrepreneur that wants to start their own business, either in your industry or not? Ways to avoid pitfalls along the way?

Dr. Tere Linzey

Well, in the industry of psychology, there’s just so many avenues, right? There’s social worker, there’s therapists, there’s school psychologists, there’s neuro psychologists, there’s, you know, just lots of different ways to go. And if I had it to do over again, I would have shadowed, I would have done my research on find the schools that you wanted to go to, if you’re still looking at the programs, and then I would have shadowed different people because I went down the therapy route and did my 3000 hours and thought, Oh, good Lord, I don’t want to do this, you know, and back to a No, not that I haven’t used those skills that I got from that. But if I had to over again, I would have shadowed different people to see what I really enjoyed. And the other tip, I would say, is to really know what, what you like and what you don’t like the populations that you like to work with, because I like to work with the kids that are movers and shakers, I like to work with the kids that have goals, and they want to get there. And so I knew that was a population that that I really enjoy. But other people like to work with people with more of a learning disability, or they like to work with addictions, or you know, so there’s all of those things, but you really have to shadow professionals to know that. And so that’s the advice that I would give is to is to connect with people shadow, watch what they’re doing, and then know who you are as a human being and a person and and what you want to do and what you absolutely don’t want to do.

Mimi MacLean

Yeah, that’s totally true. There’s two points, I was thinking, as you were talking that I wanted to kind of talk about first one is, you brought up a good point, I think about how you want to like not be everything to everybody, really kind of hone in to who your client is. And I think that’s important, right? Like, because I think sometimes people want to be all over the place.

Dr. Tere Linzey

Right? I say all the time to parents, I go, we’re not a cure all, we can do this specifically for you. And if we can’t help I just tell the parents, I’ll say I can’t help you. But I can send you to someone who can.

How You Can Go About Optimizing Your Brain

Mimi MacLean

RIght, but I find that some people, you know, they want to help with eating disorders, they want to help with depression, they want to help with everything. And just like, No, no, especially if you’re going to do the social media channel and kind of really get out there. You need to kind of find who you’re going after in your audience or your avatar and really kind of believe that. And then the second thing, you brought up a good point, and I just actually wrote a blog, it’s going to be on our website about adaptability. Right. And so you were talking about how you like working with people who know what they want, and just getting there. And one of the things I’ve been reading about is being adaptable is probably one of the most key factors or characteristics you have to have in order to be successful. Right. And so even above being smart about being driven about having the grit, it’s being adaptable. So is that something that you can learn? Or is that something that you’re born with?

Dr. Tere Linzey

I think it’s easier to learn that if you have more of a mindset that is more positive. In other words, I can choose to adapt, I can, I can look at situations and if I come to a roadblock, then I can look at that and say, oh, gosh, I’m gonna have to switch gears here and adapt. Or I can say, oh, wow, I’ve failed, right? And so I never see those adaptations or those switching of gears as failure, I just see them as being flexible and, and looking at the routes that I can take now and adjusting. So I think that when you have a fixed mindset, where you look at it as failure, I think it’s tougher to adapt, right? But if you have a mindset where you’re looking at the positive and you’re relying on effort, and those kinds of things, then I think it’s easier to adapt. And I see that in kids too. And so sometimes we have to actually change their mindset before we can actually help them with the brain training piece.

Mimi MacLean

Mm hmm. And do you think it’s doable to change the mindset?

Dr. Tere Linzey

Absolutely, absolutely. You just have to help them change that belief system. So once their belief is there, if you can poke a hole, for lack of better words, I want to see if I can, if I can put a hole in that belief and get them to admit that there’s just one portion of that belief that might not be serving them, then I can get the them to kind of open up to the idea. You know, so kids are easier than adults, though, as you know.

The Reward System In Brain Optimization

optimizing your brain stock photo

Mimi MacLean

So you talk about in the book, and you also do this with my children, when you work with them, along the lines of what we’re talking about your reward system, like of how you get them to kind of you training them to kind of start and stop and kind of, can you talk about that?

Dr. Tere Linzey

Well, so typically, with the young kids, I tried very hard to motivate them with healthy food and granola bars and those kinds of things. And that just didn’t, just didn’t work out. And so when they would beat their times, they would know at the end, that there would be candy or something like that waiting. However, with parents, parents could trade in all that candy for something healthy, or something they wanted to do. So we did that with the younger kids. But older kids don’t get motivated like that. And so we motivated the older students with the wall of fame. So all the students that I’ve ever trained from China, to India to New York, everywhere, go through the program. And so there are a records set. And we call it the wall of fame. And so it is amazing what those older kids would do to get on the wall of fame, or for like what Sierra Canyon kid would do to beat a kid from Harvard Westlake that was on the wall of fame. They’d be like, Oh, no, they’re not staying along that wall of fame, you know, so we did it like that. But there’s also a lot of things going on, that are weaved into the program that takes a look at their goals and what they want and what they can achieve from the program. So, and again, you know, most of the kids I work with, I’m saying 88% of the kids that I work with want to be there, they see it as a privilege, that something a wonderful opportunity their parents have provided for them. And so I don’t usually have to do that much motivating, but you want them to have fun, because that’s when the Migdala is open, right? And so that fun part of them trying to get on that wall of fame, we’re trying to get that Jolly Rancher, whatever that candy is, or whatever, that makes it fun for them, that gives them that association that’s positive. And when they walk away, they’re more confidence.

Mimi MacLean

That’s great. And so have you since you’ve been doing this for quite some time, have you been able to look at a child and be like, okay, they’re going to be able to be successful as an entrepreneur or successful in general in life, have you been able to like look at their personality or their characteristics and kind of?

Dr. Tere Linzey

It’s interesting when I do a cognitive test, and I can see their verbal skills, their nonverbal skills, their attention piece, all of those kinds of things. I can see a lot in that, you know, I’ll often say to parents, this is a child who’s going to use his voice as he gets older, that could be an attorney, that could be public speaker, you know, so I see all those things. But it’s not until I get them in the program. And I see their resilience. And I see their grit, and I see their mindset, and all of these things together. That I think in my mind, I don’t often say it out loud. But I think in my mind, while this young man or this young lady, they’re going to do a lot with what they have here. So I do I get I get to see that often. And it’s exciting to see.

The Characteristics of a Succesful Entrepreneur

brain matterz website

Mimi MacLean

That’s great. So would you say, Are there other characteristics? Are those that characteristics that make a successful entrepreneur? So anybody who’s listening, who kind of debating about starting your own company or they started is what would you say are the characteristics for an entrepreneur?

Dr. Tere Linzey

Well, I think having a growth mindset is going to be really important, because every time you come up against resistance, you can’t give up or see that as failure, you just have to see that as a little bit of guidance, and then use your creativity to move past that, that grit to stay with it. I mean, there were times about year seven or eight, where I thought, wow, why am I doing this? And I would ask myself that. And then the answer was clear. Right? I was doing it to give back to make a contribution. So I think you have to have a clear sense of who you want to be in the world and what you want to give back. I think that’s really important. And then there are times when you just think, wow, I don’t know if I can I don’t know if I can push through this or I don’t know if I have the talent to do this. Or if I have this and then you can go out and find people I would say be resourceful and networking is is really important too. But but not giving up because it’s not going to happen overnight. You know that it just it doesn’t happen overnight. You just have to stay with it. I think

Mimi MacLean

it’s good advice. So last question. How do you I was like asking everybody this? Do you have a morning routine? How do you stay organized? Because I think a lot of us is women trying to balance it. All right, we all try to do too much. So is there any secret sauce or anything that you do? Are you getting up at four in the morning and running a marathon or anything, any advice or apps or anything that you could give tidbits to anyone listening?

Dr. Tere Linzey

Well, I do have a morning routine. And a lot of it is research base, just because I know that 21 days of putting down three things I’m grateful for keeps my brain chemistry where it should be. So when I get up in the morning, after I take care of the puppies, I immediately do gratitude. And then I switch off between gratitude and meditation so that I can get centered. Because I’m, I’m lucky in the fact that I don’t have children. So I’m not getting children together trying to balance all of that, but I’m, but I’m taking on all of your children, you know, all day long. And so I need to be calm and balanced so that I can help moms and parents and kids stay that way. And then I work out and then eat breakfast. So I do that every day. And then I keep a day planner. And the children that go through my program to do executive functioning, they have to do the same paper day planner with a month at advance is really important for me because I need to see not just a week, and I can’t do it on my phone. So I need to see what my month looks like at a glance so that I can goal set and then I can say okay, I reached that goal last week. But next week, I have this coming up like you know, this podcast and those kinds of things. So I have to get myself in a calm state to even do this because I’m such an introvert. I’m like on the Myers Briggs. I’m like a 95 five introvert. So I work all day out of my 5%.

Mimi MacLean

That’s crazy. Because you’re so personable. You would never I would never know that you’re an introvert.

Dr. Tere Linzey

I know. That’s that’s probably from Oklahoma. My body just jets back there. But yeah, I am complete introvert. So when I’m finished with my day, I turn off my phone, I shut my computer. And I just take time for me, because that’s how I recharge.

You Have To Have Systems In Place

Mimi MacLean

That’s great. No, I have a question though. So I always like to be a paper person. I know I’m getting a nitty-gritty. But that’s but so you said you had a paper calendar. But then when like I made like your appointment, you know, for the podcast with an invite, do you like then transfer it to your paper? Are you running off a book like your calendar on your phone, and then also, so you write it in, you take it off the online, you put it onto your paper,

Dr. Tere Linzey

I put it on my paper, like your zoom, like you’re like you, when you send a zoom link to me, then I bet on my I just keep that on my email and I keep it marked as unread. And I don’t have to scroll through all of those things, or I flag it sometimes depends on many things. So I but then in that calendar this morning, it says 1130 podcast with you and I have that written down. So I’m using my phone for the zoom and the Skype things, which I didn’t use so much before, right? Because we were face to face. But now I’m finding that I use my phone for those things. But it’s still on that calendar. And having that calendar in the morning and looking at that just gives me that peace. And this is what I tell kids. If you can’t keep it on a paper calendar, if you can’t schedule your cell phone and paper calendar, there’s no way you’re going to be able to do it on your phone, because you can’t see it all. And so when they go to college, and these kids come and work with me before they go away to college, I’ll get texts from them. And they’ll go, Dr. Linzey, this dated planner is super cool. It’s so funny. And also just an old school day planner. But they’re like, I never even knew about these. These are super great. So it’s so funny but yeah, and then and then. So you have both and you have that backup. Let’s say something happens to your phone. Right and you try it all on your phone, but you still got your day planner. So that’s how I do it.

Mimi MacLean

That’s great. Yeah, it’s yours I mean, you have to come down with a system that’s what I say to my kids, and like you have to have systems. And I think everyone I talked to you know who’s CEO has a lot going on, everybody has a system and everyone uses some kind of a to-do this either paper I find a lot of people are using paper more than yours, believe it or not. I think we just need to see it and cross everyone likes to cross off.

Dr. Tere Linzey

Well, I know it’s so satisfying, right? It all done that into the day. And even the kids are saying that to me, they’re saying, they’re saying I crossed off my whole list today at college and I was so excited. So I think yeah, it feels good. I know I know. And there’s something to pencil to paper with the brain we hold on to it longer.

Mimi MacLean

Right now it’s true. So you can find Dr. Tere Linzey at BrainMatterZ.com you also have an amazing Instagram, you always have very inspiring and motivational things on your Instagram. So follow along with Dr. Linzey, because she does have a lot of great little tips and advice on her Instagram page. Thank you so much, and thanks for having me.

Dr. Tere Linzey

Really fun.

Mimi MacLean

Yeah, you’re welcome. It’s brain matters with z calm, not with an S just in case. You can’t find it. But thank you so much.

Okay, thank you.

Mimi MacLean

Thank you for joining me on the Badass CEO podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please leave a review and see you next time. Thank you.

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