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  • Writer's pictureacoachsdiary

Adam Sanz | Healthy body, Clear Mind, Clean Heart

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

Guiding Question: How do you get people to do the things they don’t want to do so they can achieve what they want to?

Key Takeaways: The most important thing we can give a student or athlete is a healthy teacher or coach, and then teach them how to have a healthy body, a clear mind, and a clean heart. Then help them identify their goals and help them make effective decisions that will help them live the life they want to live by teaching them how to be self-aware, manage their thoughts and emotions, have empathy, and develop and master social skills.

Adam Saenz is a licensed psychologist who has worked in schools and has his own private practice. He told an impactful story about how he used emotional intelligence to teach his son how to fall in love with something he did not want to do - run track.

Emotional Intelligence is your ability to manage and leverage or use your emotions.

Going into high school, Adam's son was a baseball player. But Adam was a track coach, and his son was fast, so naturally, Adam wanted his son to run on his track team. Adam had to dig deep into his bag of emotional intelligence tools to figure out how to motivate and inspire his son to fall in love with track so that he could be the best he could be.

Adam says the key to living a good life using Emotional Intelligence requires 5 things:

1 - Effective Decision Making: Define the goals you have for your life, and make sure that your decisions help you get closer to those goals.

2 - Self-Awareness: Know what your emotions are and how they impact your happiness and decision-making.

3 - Self-Regulation: Being able to control or manage your emotions and feelings.

4 - Empathy: Being aware of the emotions of others by being able to see yourself in someone else's shoes and understand their perspective.

5 - Social Skills: The ability to communicate and interact effectively with others.

Adam said his goal was getting his son from hating running, to tolerating running, to liking running, to loving running.

He said they focused on having three things:

1 - A Healthy Body - A body that is strong, fit, and moves freely.

2 - A Clear Mind - A mind that only accepts positive thoughts that lead to effective decision-making.

3 - A Clean Heart - A heart that is full of love and free from hate and negativity.

Because Adam was such a good athlete, he already had a healthy body but had to work on having a clear mind and a clean heart.

When they would show up to work at the track, Adam's son would say out loud how much he hated running. Adam said he asked his son to say one thing every day when they showed up at the track: I give myself permission to like running.

Adam's mind and heart were full of negative thoughts and emotions.

Adam said he wasn’t going to try to make his son like or love running, but his son needed to at least allow himself or give himself permission to like or love it. And his son needed to work on his mind and heart, goals that they both agreed on.

(A person is less likely to sink a boat they are in. By co-creating goals, Adam invited his son into the boat with him. When you are in the boat together and find holes in the bottom, everyone will work harder to fill the holes and keep the water out.)

He said that after a few weeks, his son went from dreading saying it to almost willingly saying it. Then, his son started having success, and the validation and admiration he was getting from running and competing, along with the addictive feeling of having a healthy body, a clear mind, and a clean heart was enough to help him fall in love with running.

At the end of his presentation, Adam was asked, “How do we use this to teach other people the importance of growing their Emotional Intelligence.”

He said, “You can’t make them, but you can inspire them.”

The most important thing we can give a healthy student is a healthy teacher. The most important thing we can give an athlete is a healthy coach. The most effective intervention is a healthy leader or adult. If you want to save students, athletes, or teacher, put them in front of and around healthy teachers, coaches, and leaders.

Adam said the first step is living the best life you can live. Live in such a way that other people want to know what you are doing; then tell them.

He said the best way we can get others to follow us is to know who we want to be and how we want to live our lives.

Start by asking yourself, “Who do you want to be? When your athletes are having a drink, or talking to their kids about their coaches and teachers and your name comes up, what do they say about you? How do you want to be remembered?”

Write those answers down.

Then, make decisions that will help you live in that way.


1 - How do you want to be remembered?

2 - What do you want people to say about you?

3 - How can you use Emotional Intelligence to make you a more healthy coach, teacher, or leader?

4 - How is your body, mind and heart?


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