The Mental Skills Necessary for Success with Dr. Cassidy Preston, Mental Performance Coach & Founder of CEP Mindset

Dr. Cassidy Preston is a Mental Performance Coach that works with elite athletes, teams, & high-performing executives. Cassidy is also the founder of CEP Mindset and is dedicated to shifting the culture of sport from results first to mindset first. 

Cassidy specializes in creating relatable and practical strategies by combining his personal experiences as a former OHL & PRO hockey player, with the current research in Sport & Performance Psychology. He continues to expand the CEP team of Mental Performance Coaches to help as many athletes and high performers as possible optimize their performance and well-being. 


In this episode, Cassidy and Cindra talk about: 

  • 7 mental skills that are necessary for success 
  • Why we need internal validation and not external 
  • His “Be-Do-Have Model” 
  • How to reduce the “Yo-Yo Confidence” 
  • And why doubt is a healthy thing 






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“If you put your mindset first, and you really prioritize it for the sake of itself, everything else is going to flow from there” -Cassidy Preston @Mentally_Strong
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“We’re not saying we should tolerate failure losing… it’s just accepting it for the reality of what it is.” -Cassidy Preston @Mentally_Strong
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Cindra Kamphoff: Welcome to the High Performance Mindset podcast, Cassidy Preston, I’m so excited that you’re here today with us, how is your day going? 

Cassidy Preston: It’s going well, thanks for having me, Cindra.  

Cindra Kamphoff: I’m really excited. I wanted to have you on the podcast for a while. So, I’m looking forward to diving into your business, and then also, your new book coming out Mindset First. So maybe just to get us started. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you do and what you’re most passionate about? 

Cassidy Preston: Yeah. Well, I love mental training mindset mental performance. I got into it through my own kind of challenges and struggles as an athlete and learning the long and hard road which I’m sure we’ll get into at a different point. And so, I was like, ‘Okay, well, I’ll go to school and figure this out. There’s got to be a better way for people to personalize. Have a healthy effect of mindset, so they can perform better and more consistently, reliably.’ And you know, then learn some lots of great… the literature, the research. Some people outside of literature, research, and mentors like Todd Herman and John G. Martini, and then kind of craft these personalized practical system strategies that can help athletes and do it effectively. And I love coaching somebody, one on one connecting, seeing them shift and grow. And then that went well early on. I was like, okay, well, let’s get a team of coaches, and let’s just create that. So that I also know I get to, you know coach professionals and junior players, and that but now I also get to run a business side, which is kind of fun. I’ve always had a business-oriented mindset and creating a team and a lot of people in mental performance. It’s like they want to do it, but how do you get people to sign up and actually have the business side? So, we’ve tap people into that. So that’s been a lot of a lot of fun. Then that creates this whole you know, a little inner circle or inner team of like mental performance coaches or bouncing ideas of all learning from each other and create a system around that. So, I get to coach athletes, one to one, and business professionals and high performers as well, but also get to create a business model and work with other great high performers that are also having an impact on the culture on people’s lives. So that’s a… I think, a fairly short summary of who I am/what I’m doing outside of also being a father, 2 young, great daughters Addy and Remy, and a husband. So that’s you know, I try to enjoy that. Try and do some casual golfing here and there. Golf game is not great, but it’s fun. So yeah, that’s the short of it. 

Cindra Kamphoff: Perfect. Cassidy. Well, you know, one of the things I really appreciate about your website was, I read about your story, and it’s so interesting when you hear about people’s struggles right? You instantly connect with them. Because I struggled as an athlete to that’s how I got interested in performance psychology. I was a high-level high school athlete who broke some state records that still actually stand today, you know, 20 years later, and then got to college and really struggled. Then I, what I most appreciate about your story was your draft in the OHL, right? And then your first, you know a couple of games, and go the way you expected. Tell us about you know that, and then what I’m sure that was kind of the catalyst for you to pursue this degree in sport psychology and your Ph.D. in the area. 

Cassidy Preston: Yeah, for sure. Like I actually worked with a sport psychologist when I was like 16. I broke my jaw, and I was just coming back from that, and she was really helpful and that was one of the first times I really started to be like “Oh, the mental game is kind of cool, this is important I’m going to prioritize this, focus on my mind, not just the results, and in the training, the technical and tactical”, but like, how am I showing up who my being my mental state, how I think and feel, and it definitely helped. Some of the main kind of struggles, though, was like, well, my first year in the OHL… I was going into that, and I made the team, and I was even on the starting line up at the first game I was like in my head… I’m getting drafted into the NHL, like, here we go. And like… I’m so results oriented like so many athletes, is just consumed by results, and results was the main priority. Get to the games and like all about results now. Okay, I’m not training. What mindset do I want to be in? I want to have a good training and do things well in the process and mindset, and I’d get to the game and results consumed the weight, the burden of the expectations, and not knowing how to handle that. So that first year in the OHL, I had 0 points. Like I, I actually just it started off like. And then by game 15, my coach is like, it’s gonna be hard to play you. I’m like, oh, boy, it’s like, and I kind of like, got it like, yeah, I haven’t produced yet. And but then, so that I just barely played the rest of the year. So, I played like, which is one of like the hardest mental challenges of an athlete. When you’re let alone injured, but when you’re healthy and not getting played, it’s like I would I have once got dressed. We drove 4 hours on the bus trip, and I’m in the lineup, and I didn’t even get a shift. It’s like, so that challenge. And then to have that low of a performance as a forward in hockey. It’s like 0 points in a year. So that’s an all-time low, like I consider quitting like I was like thought I was going to be drafted into the NHL, and then I almost quit by the end of the year. So, being able to bounce back from that, but that also gives me all kinds of strength. And I tell this a lot to athletes when it’s like you’re going through something tough, and you’re in a really challenging situation, and you might not break through. It’s like kind of like you’re… it feels like there’s this glass ceiling. You’re trying to get through and overcome it. Well, every time you’re hitting that that’s making you mentally stronger. And so now, like everything in my life after that… not everything came super easy, but it was like compared to that… I’m like, you know what I mean like, if I could persevere and deal with that challenge. So that was obviously a big part of it. But it’s not like I figured it out after that season. So, it was because I kept getting sucked into the allure of results, and I’m sure you’ll hear me say that which is why the book, Mindset First, is very about how the best athletes in the world prioritize their mindset over the results. They can show up on game day and think of ‘who am I going to be today?’ versus consume with, what do I want to achieve today? And that’s a very different way of approaching it. And what’s yours… It doesn’t mean this isn’t a priority. It’s just not the top one. The top one is mindset, and that’s a that was a lesson that took me a while… while to learn, and some other challenges and stories like I can share around that, and even my last year of junior, and some crazy things where I would like 74 points and 49 games, but 20 of them I had no points I was like, because in the first period I didn’t get a point, and then I’d get derailed and downward spiral. So, I learned and figured it out along the way. It wasn’t till like 10 years of like junior, and pro-hockey, and Canadian University hockey at the end of my career like oh I’d like to reset routine I had some strategies that worked pretty reliable I was putting mindset first pretty consistently without even fully knowing at that point and that’s why I was like OK this was a long time can I help somebody else do it a little bit quicker than ten years. 

Cindra Kamphoff: Yes, yeah. 

Cassidy Preston: That’s where the schooling that I was like OK well let me go to school a bit more keep reading you know get other coaches and mentors and innovate personalized progressive strategies to have an impact quickly and effectively for the long term. So, yeah there’s definitely some struggles.  

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, I think there are many things I could say in response to that. I think… you know, we did a study last year where we asked pro-athletes how they developed their grit, and one of the things that completely surprised me was actually two-thirds of them said that it came from a difficult moment. Right, kind of like this moment that you talk about in the OHL where you went from starting, you know, on the starting line up to not even playing and it’s that moment that develops your persistence, maybe even as a business owner today, right? And this developed your passion for what you do, and I think it’s so easy in the moment to generalize, and what I mean by that is, I did this as an athlete as well like- Oh, I had a really bad race. I must be in a slump like what’s wrong with me instead of just like, hey? It’s one race reset; you know I didn’t. I didn’t know how to do that, and I thought that the more I beat myself up the better I would do, you know, obviously, that’s the opposite. And it was just my junior year was sort of similar in college to your experience in the OHL. Or just, you know, the number one runner. And then by the end, just dropping out of some races because I just couldn’t figure out my mind and had nothing to do with my physical ability. 

Cassidy Preston: Yeah, but in the grit coming from that that difficult moment because you can pull back from that, and I like to use the analogy often because when athletes in it it’s hard to give them the perspective like it’s not inherently like “oh let me just see the what’s the benefit to this challenge situation”. But I like to use kind of an exaggerated you know polarity of like person A, person B. Person A just has a super easy career and everything’s easy all the way and they just succeed, succeed, succeed, and then eventually one day they’re going to be faced with adversity and they haven’t faced much adversity. How they respond versus person B that has more bumps along the way, and they learn and there’s adversity early on in their career and they deal with it then eventually, they get to the same level person who’s going to be better at that that highest level in dealing with it now… it’s not to say one is better than the other, because you can still learn to be resilient and gritty, and there’s always adversities in the way. You can kind of make sure you’re giving yourself challenging situations as you rise in the ranks… but we see it all the time like that was me at 17, or you had your first year at university. I’ve got pro athletes when it’s their first time, they really hit significant adversity – they’re just so talented that they get up there and it’s like “oh how do I deal with failure and adversity now” because they’ve never faced that significant or that level before. So being able to draw back on your previous ones makes everything else easier and I think those are the some of the best mental learning opportunities out there. Like one of the goalies, we had this year it was like always all of the year and he we talked about like eight goal against game… it’s like, this might be the best thing that happened to you this season, and it’s like not all the accolades and successes and in the shadows he really learned to stand with the goals. It’s like “hey I’m still standing here” and let go of the fear of the goals and just owned his own capabilities… that internal validation versus external. And I think and he was on fire after that too so it was like how we frame that was really good example of using adversity as like, in that moment if you can really learn to get perspective and not have an emotional charge. I’d like to call it like this fantasy nightmare… it’s like in sports we love to have all these fantasies of like “oh just be the perfect athlete everything gonna be sunshine” … there’s no fantasies in sport. To be a professional athlete, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There’s hard work, there’s pressure, there’s expectations in the media, and like the… your life away from the sport and you know when you face adversity it’s not all a nightmare and so being able to see that, so I like that that study that grit like hey, those are actually… that’s where they became gritty.  

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, pretty fascinating. I’m thinking about just as we’re talking the importance of like bouncing back, but also, I’ve heard you say like how you were really results oriented… you know – you now realize, OK maybe that was one of the reasons that you weren’t successful OHL right? And internal validation versus external… maybe tell someone about the difference in your opinion between external and internal validation. 

Cassidy Preston: Yeah it’s a huge one because it’s something like the word confidence this is… the whole and blow that up and dive into different ways but when we think of our society as a whole alone athletes so many people become dependent on external validation for their self-image for their self-worth their self-confidence… it’s nice external validation is nice it’s the result it’s a form of feedback and it’s a tool and it is our goal and intent to achieve things and we want to be liked by other people. And those kind of things… but it’s a very dangerous place to be when you’re just very dependent on the external validation because there’s going to be variations in what are the day you don’t get it um and for whatever the reasons there’s a mental mistake or just literally adversity or whether or challenges or somebody just had a super great performance… And there you know… things really went their way like that’s we want to avoid that nothing wrong with external validation but if you lose sight of your own opinion matters most your internal validation and your being able to look at yourself in the mirror like who am I one of my people based on the work that I put in. And you know physically mentally emotionally and so forth like that is a fundamental piece to being a high performer in anything in life let alone in sport whereas especially in sport there’s gonna be variants and their ability and results and if you attach confidence or your self-worth or self-image to external things you’re playing a game that’s you’re now not going to be as consistent your self-confidence. Because we call yoyo confidence is going up and down with your results and it’s like that’s that doesn’t dictate your capability there’s gonna be variance so it’s like yes, I’m aware there’s variance in my results but I own, and I have a strong sense of internal validation. One of the tricks and the problems though is as you rise the ranks… and you start getting a bunch of external validation you start to be like “Oh yeah this is great,” you become dependent on. And it’s like no no no don’t get caught up in the allure of the results and the fancy external stuff… stay connected to that principle and of like you dictate your and don’t be… get sucked into the dependence of external validation. So, you can safe fairly independent of it while still wanting it and having as well just like you know wanting goals and things you can detach from them and be immersed in your process. And yeah, you know I’m sure we’ll get a bit more into the allure results but more in the mindset first kind of paradox because that’s a big one…  

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah absolutely, well so you have your book coming out… mindset versus a new way to mentally prepare and it’s specific to hockey but we also know you know like lots of our books they’re just not hockey specific, like we can all learn something from this book so tell us a bit about that Mindset First idea and what specifically you see you know top athletes top leaders high performers do differently related to mindset or the mental game. 

Cassidy Preston: Yeah I think the premise like to me this is the foundational piece if you get this right and you put mindset first, you really prioritize it for the sake of itself everything else is going to flow from there you’re going to be much more centered you know internal validation… resilient deal with adversity you’ll be able to deal with everything better and therefore getting the zone and perform more consistently actually get better results. I even call it the realm of the Super Elite. They’ve committed to prioritizing their process, their mindset, the things in their control who do they want to be their identity first and foremost and each moment or most moments. And one of the big problems in the take is some people are like yeah I wanna focus on my mindset so that I can get results, well soon as you make that your main reason to focus on mindset you still prioritize results like and if you prioritize results you will get sucked into the weight of results the expectations the burden we were talking about earlier it’s like I need to/I have to/I should have the variability of results. And the yoyo external validation problems and confidence problems come from that you have the emotional rollercoaster of elated and deflated and the emotions and like I used to slam my stick and get frustrated and helpers and like angry… or just get down and deflate and dejected and the emotional most are there. And the 3rd and the 4th big one is also just the stress and the frustration and you lose sight of the love of the game because your priority is results so when you really get consumed with results especially when adversity is like you guess this downward spiral and it gets more frustrating more stressed than you want it need it more to miss… like I called the results trap and so many athletes as you climb the ranks would become so obsessed about results, because it doesn’t matter in our society perpetuates that but that can’t be the reason why you’re focusing on your mindset. Is what they want to replace force in the first place why you want to prioritize your mindset is for the sake of itself so who do you want to be while you play and it makes it more enjoyable and it’s your life, it’s your career, it’s your journey. What we being during that experience matters more than just the destination and so the destination matters and there can be fun in the destination and winning the championship or the trophy or the results and the achievements but it’s not the why and the core reason to like what is my priority today. “How do I want to show up and who do I want to be today?” think/feel/operate if I can come from that place everything else is again going to flow but I’m not doing it well I wanna focus on being this I want to be present and do this so that I get results there’s gonna be the lingering results it’ll still be probably better off if you’re trying to do it and again one of the things that’s so common how many coaches how many parents how many people are saying focus on the process so that you can get results. Focus on what you can control so that you’ll get results. That’s anchoring a results first mindset still and so we have to be very mindful because it’s true you focus on what you can’t control you will get results, you focus on the process that will help you get results, so… but it shouldn’t be the only reason and really learning I get athletes to reflect what was your priority today. I like the color code like blue-green-red. Blues mindset… was I mindset blue oriented and in key moments what percentage versus skill green, the process like actual tangible physical stuff on actions, and then red the results and guaranteed anytime someone’s having trouble with the mental gang they have results first. Reds too big of a priority that day it’s the foundational thing… we can give them all the reset routines understanding acceptance/centeredness and the concepts and the strategies and alter ego personal scorecard, imagery… we can do all this stuff and that create creates a great mental gauge but if it’s built on the foundation of results first, are you gonna be unstable and it’s not going to be as consistent. So, the best athletes/the best high performers they figured out to commit to that day in and day out and they’ve… you know when the success comes or when the adversity comes, they don’t you know let that throw them off the mindset-first oriented approach. So that was a bit long winded the still in editing phase so there’s not set publishing date but I’m happy to be able to dive in and share because you know… all the work I’ve done and all like the education, all the athletes, and the innovating like this boils down to that it becomes want to make sure they’re doing one thing. Well, it’s that what is your priority today is it are you focusing on who you’re being mindset, or you’re focused on prioritizing what are you doing which matters and being do are pretty close OK. What do, I wanna… actions and do but more importantly if it’s been offered well I’m focused on what to do so I want to achieve this I want to have this I want to get these results and or you know have this end outcome and results so that’s that that’s the foundation and looking that it goes into well then how do we bring this to life what does it look like through the concepts and I’m a big proponent of challenging people to think differently I think mindset so not tangible in a lot of ways. So, you know we start assessments and things that are actual programs but break it down like well what is acceptance. Most people misunderstand that what does it mean to actually commit and the acceptance commitment… 1-2 punch what does it mean to be centered and enjoy the journey or you know having simple and creative strategies like the alter ego or routine that’s unique to you, And so we try to build personal scorecards so getting people to think differently versus just fluffy cookie cutter old school ways or you know like sometimes people overly rely on just doing a lot of goal setting. I’m like God like… it’s like yeah like goal setting matters, but like that’s often just perpetuates people into the results trap and so sure so doesn’t mean not to do it but be mindful that would do it. And often for a high performing elite athlete it’s not the starting point. They’ve already got the goals writing down some more anchor… like change the whole lot so the at least in the short term so that’s yeah that was a bit of a rant but yeah. 

Cindra Kamphoff: Well, there’s a couple of things that I think are so important I just wanna point out. I like what you said about being versus doing right. They’re “doing” is the results the “being” is how am I showing up today, and what are… what do or how do I want to be right what are my thoughts my emotions my actions and I was thinking also how this relates to people in sales or people building their business. And it’s easy… I coach financial planners and people in sales, and it can be easy to get caught up in the results. Like I’m not where I want to be this quarter and then their identity gets tied to that and then usually right, it’s really hard to stay excited about what you’re doing. And so, I’m hearing you know… what you’re saying and how it relates to not just sport but our career as well. 

Cassidy Preston: Yeah, 100%, like it’s yeah… and it could be easy… and of businesses where the scorecard is very apparent every day like… there’s like how many sales you make today or what’s the you know the investment return and so and so just be mindful of actually how much they consume that. We call it mental junk. Like it’s it matters but if you’re constantly looking at it all day long just like it’s gonna create all this like noise in your head and it and just pulling you and that’s why I called the allure. Sucking you back in to be results oriented yeah, it’s the goal I’m not saying for not to be a goal and attention but don’t make it your priority like learn to prioritize who might be in the sales call who might being in that moment. How do I want to show up in this next section of my day or throughout the day and if you can come from that place then the sales were gonna come better and you know so… I think that’s it’s definitely applicable to any area of life… really short like when we gonna be you have go around my kids especially if they’re not they’re two or four like this they’re not managing their motions by whom how am I gonna respond to that moment. 

Cindra Kamphoff: That’s true…  

Cassidy Preston: And that’s where like I love using Todd Herman’s alter ego concept. Yeah, he didn’t invent the whole alter ego, but he wrote the book, so he is like literally about it and a great book about creating a narrative and a state of who am I gonna be in these key moments of impact. And there’s in different moments can pull up different traits and different characteristics. And so, you know how I show up on a presentation versus one-on-one coaching or making strategic business decision is different than I show up when my kids are having you know a challenge or versus word they’re just playing and whatever. So, I think it’s a very healthy effective and you know simple and powerful strategy you know like I always like to use the Black Mamba examples like you know pretty  

Cindra Kamphoff: Pretty famous maybe…  

Cassidy Preston: Yeah! Todd helped him curate that that narrative it’s like that’s what it’s about. It’s this playfulness you see you know lots of high performers in different ways playing on you know… they’re the identity, because it comes down to the fundamental for you being in the moment. And especially like I was doing with a salesperson or an investment person you know a couple weeks back and they’re like oh making these calls I was like well let’s create an identity around making the calls. It’s like… this failure rate was gonna be something like… I forget what it was it’s a lot it’s a lot right like it was like he’s gonna be like 200, I think it was higher I was like he’s gonna make 200 calls in a week. And it was like if you got like 8, we’re like yeah let’s do something so that that’s like a 96% failure rate – do you want anyone that is… like not everyone’s inherently gonna just naturally just embrace that so… but you can, you have it within you and that’s what’s cool.. it’s like let’s tap into those traits when have you dealt with, and do with it well… it’s like, and I what I also tried to flip it I was like let’s like learn to… like you want to get like… if you don’t 192 no’s in the this week, it’s a failure that makes sense like you want all those no’s. This gets at just what you’re signing up for – if you don’t want to do that, don’t do this career. Like go find a new career like I always like tell people in a respectful way that you know… I don’t try and get them to do it, but it allows us to say this is a choice you’re choosing to do this. Like as an athlete you choose to go and perform, you don’t have to all the time. We have to need/to should now you’re not focused on who you’re being you’re focused on what you’re doing. I have to go and do this today I need to go and work… like you have to do **** like unless you’re literally being forced, like you’re not being forced. You might feel sometimes like you don’t have a choice, but like it’s healthy and effective to remember that you do because if you don’t think you have a choice and you’re not gonna choose to be mindset first you’re just doing it because you have to need to should the results oriented mindset so yeah no it definitely applies to like I… I haven’t intentionally tried to get too much into the business world yet it’s one of the things I will be intentionally doing more and in due time because I’m just we’re just attacking the sport world so much right now. But it’s just naturally people like I had like a surgeon come… like I wonder… I want to see if I could like keep coaching me like an athlete was like yeah so at work then like so… 

Cindra Kamphoff: I think the mental game is similar in sport versus surgery versus financial planning, so that makes complete sense. So, the book we’re talking about is Alter Ego by Todd Herman very good book. Yellow… it’s yellow. It’s… I got it on my shelf so you’re making me just… OK I better pick it up and read it again, but before we kind of move on to some other ideas I want to ask you one question Cassidy about “being” versus “doing” right. Because I think as people are listening, they’re like yeah, I wanna be, and how would you say people should learn and practice. We’re just saying practice because it’s you know… you’re right it’s so easy to get you know tied up and the results especially when you look at ESPN and you know what’s emphasized in our culture so how do you think people can learn to be versus do?  

Cassidy Preston: Great question not an easy answer. The… I’ll preface first. It I’d like I wanna put the be do have trifecta like in our in a row because the main probably reason someone’s going to have a hard time doing be over do is because they’re have oriented which our society is consumer more achieve more. I was doing this pro athlete the other day around there… they’re like I want to be happy. I was like that’s the happiness trap… it was like I’m happy when I achieve this or I’m happy if I have this, I’ll be happy when… like just don’t try to be happy in life have a meaningful life. That’s going to have popping this in it, but like there’s gonna be challenging first season should be happy all the time like this is one of the fluffy things that sometimes happens in sports it’s just about being positive all the time. You know, Trevor Miller did a great job talking about being centered and neutral and helping debunk that myth which is still just super… I’ll like say something for like 10 minutes to an athlete never said be positive and then they’re like “What’s your take away?” like be more positive. I’m like ‘Oh no you didn’t get it’. Oversimplification can actually do a lot of harm and so yeah… but anyway the point being it’s funny kind of oriented mindset is the consumeristic. Like I want to have more people I want to get to the next level I want to win again and so forth. Which there’s nothing wrong with having things and having goals but if you start with there, what are you going to do? Well if I want to have this then what am I going to do to have all that so now we’re going to focus on what I’m doing to have it and if I want to do these things who I have to be in order to do these things to have these things so you started with results first. Have first… and so the reality is it always flows the other way to start with who do I want to be how do I want to live my life how do I want to show up in my sport what are the things I’m going to you know where am I going and what are the moments I’m… what matters to me and who I want to be in that moment. Therefore, this is what I do if I’m being this, and that leads to these goals and attention potential results and so that that’s a fundamental way again be mindset first is your priority are you just trying to beat folks on being more so that you can achieve more, because then you’re still gonna get sucked into early folks not doing and achieving and not really being some practical strategies to focus on effectively showing up in the moment and or effectively being more and putting time to that obviously I’ll talk about meditation because that is the most fundamental one. But the… sometimes people like this… it can be hard to pull someone into that um practice, but the ones that I would often start with like do an alter ego exercise. It’s like focus on creating a contrasting narrative and identity around who do you want to be in a certain moment pulling out a pulling times in your day where you in the morning set your intention or in the evening or other moments in the day where you reflect on who you’re being. So hey, I wanna spend 2 minutes on the morning doing meditation or just like hey like before this meeting or before my day or before we go out who do I want to be like build a routine and like and that that’s why like imagery is so impactful for athletes especially if you’re using coping planning and you know you have a narrative. And focus on how you wanna feel while you go play, which often asks what they want to do while they play and not feel… so that’s the power of setting an intention about it and often before you go and then reflect after have a little like the personal scorecard concept where it’s like you know and journaling reflecting who they are being today. Did I like how I showed up and operated and the mindset? Was I in my thoughts feelings? Like no/yes, I did like that honestly? That worked well you know stack up your wins and all that but it’s like also a constant self-awareness self-reflection that helps you better self-correct and focus on then the next day. Now you’re way more likely to show up the way you intend to be because you reflected and learned from the current day. So those are different things as well as like any moments in the day like a reset or you know like Amy Cuddy postures thing. Like those are different comments… yeah different tactics and obviously the most fundamental thing is like the way to look at “being” versus “doing” it is like you’re not doing anything inherently when you’re saying your intention… to “be” I call it like a race car slowing down to speed up. Like let’s not accomplish anything when you meditate. That’s what you do when you meditate or when you reflect – you’re not really accomplish anything when you set your intention in the morning when you do your alter ego. So like I did my alter ego and look at the work I got done yes there’s work you got done on your mindset but like you didn’t make any more sales you, didn’t you know go to the gym, you didn’t shoot more parks, you’d like… you didn’t go like so you’re slowing down so that you can speed up. You know… our society is consumeristic and what we over glorify being busy I’m gonna do do do do we not the drawbacks of focusing so much on having do and we’ve lost sight of who we’re being. And the mindset and who are we think and feel and what matters to us and why we’re doing something in the first place. And so, think about our why… it is the result. It’s like oh, that’s not that and then you get the happiness trap and all the mental health challenges. And again, I’m not a clinical mental health professional to talk about that in that realm but just like there’s definitely some yeah, we could talk about it… but the premise is just to give like a really zoomed out way of looking at it, let alone even in athletes… you know. They can struggle with their identity and the downs can be so down because they’re so consumed again with the results, so you know mental performance with the health are you know overlapping in a sense…  

Cindra Kamphoff: So, Cassidy, I want to just pull out a few things that you said there because I think the be/do is incredible. And I think you’re right that most people go to the “have” – what are my goals, what do I want my results to be this season but to start backwards right by what you want to be, and your strategies were excellent. I was thinking about I do a lot of keynote speaking and when I started keynote speaking as I was listening to you, I had this I realization that I was really results oriented at the beginning – oh are they going to like me, are they going to like the message? And I was thinking a lot about them you know and then what I’ve learned over time while that’s just like it weighs you down and then you’re not in the present. And you’re thinking of distractions, right? And if I can just show up as me and authentic and that’s actually how you know how we all connect with each other. It’s like if I’m less worried about if I said umm or for sure not thinking about what people think about me… it just goes, and I do so much better right? And so, I think there’s so many different ways that you can apply to be do have in your life. 

Cassidy Preston: Oh, for sure! I’ve done some, you know in public speaking I’m doing more. I’m doing a course and they talk you know, really good course, about a couple of those things. But even again it’s like who am I gonna be on stage like why am I on stage in the first place. And like what kind of things that help and will lead to the impact, but it’s like… it’s very much a lot of like it’s not easy. That’s why a lot of people are afraid of public speaking because they’re so worried about what everyone thinks of them and so then they reserve when they get that opportunity to share and have an impact and share your light… share your message! But I think what’s a healthier like kind of a way I like to you know try to keep processing is like well you can’t… no one… not everyone’s gonna like you. Like sometimes that says more about them than you… like very much so. 

Cindra Kamphoff: And in that sense, it’s not about you at all.  

Cassidy Preston: Yeah, it has nothing to do with you at all.  

Cindra Kamphoff: Exactly. 

Cassidy Preston: The fantasy nightmare… it’s like I wanna be liked by everybody. No one is liked by everybody all the time everywhere. Like it’s not a thing… it’s… there’s nobody that’s like that. So yeah, a lot of us see these fantasies debunked… that then it can allow you to let go of the results and just wanna go and be. And yes, I might get the intended results, and want the audience to be inspired and whatever, but it’s that that’s definitely… there’s a whole mindset piece to perform. 

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah absolutely, super good. Well one of the questions I wanted to ask you… thank you, Cassidy… if you have like… what you call the CEP step system to figuring out the mental game. So, tell us what about that system and let’s talk a little bit about that. 

Cassidy Preston: Yeah so it was just.. and it’s a very pragmatic way of OK well… what can you expect if you wanna do some one-on-one coaching and you really want to work on your mental game mindset… well step one is to like make it more tangible break it down. Like… we use this a brick house/straw house mentality as well. It’s like… you wouldn’t build your house without a blueprint. It’s like hey, let’s go work out the game, but we really don’t know what we need to prioritize or we’re struggling areas are where we gotta work on. So that’s step one… it’s like OK, let’s just get some common language and you know… it creates a bit of a blueprint now. That now we know what strategies to go build based on what needs the most attention… focus the priorities and what you’re already doing well that we can reinforce. So… that includes both a mental skills part… like some seven different skills, and block for each so the which I call like limiting beliefs. So there… we use trick question, I like to call them sometimes, that it’s like oh the main reason I play sport is to win it it’s like 10, I agree. It’s like it’s a trick question it shouldn’t be the main reason, but I don’t expect it to be a 1, so it was like a response it’s getting at the subconscious. Yeah like if the main reason that sports is to win it’s like if you’re a ten there, then you’ve got a results… you know you’re in the results trap. You’re results oriented thinking it’s gonna be hard for you be immersed in the process, and then all the skills and blocks are interrelated. But it helps us identify and pinpoint things, and so we can clear stuff and make priorities a lot quicker. So that’s step one. Step two is then to personalize the tools and the concepts. So this is now the when go to the brick house, let’s put some bricks and some mortar together. So, the mortar to me is the concepts – that’s acceptance, commitment, and you know it’s only your capabilities. This can often commitment… it’s the 1-2 punch, and then being centered and grounded or neutral thinking, as well as then enjoyment for the sake of self and enjoying and keeping it loose fun/intrinsic. Why? So you understand and personalize those concepts… well a lot of them are common sense, but not common practice. And that’s where the strategies are the bricks that then pull it all together versus just a bunch of mortars all around the place… bricks without borders don’t work either, so we want very practical strategy. We have four fundamental ones that we always do and that’s what I’ve hit on… already like the alter ego, the reset, the personal scorecard, and imagery mental prep pieces. Like those are the fundamental, like game day oriented you know… and practice. But like daily strategies, there’s lots of other things we do and that help you now continue to build that brick house that’s personalized for an athlete. But those are the fundamental ones and so… now we’ve got things rolling, and again all this is built on the foundation of mindset first. And so that’s built in as one of the concepts, and one of the… like you know those that are tied into the strategies because if not, then we’re building a brick house on not a good foundation. And then and the final contrast as well… you think like brick house – why we went with that analogy is because a lot of times people’s mental game advice that they get from people that are “professionals” is like don’t worry about it. Just be confident like don’t think of that. Like that’s… that’s just do goal setting and that’s cookie cutter fluffy stuff that’s building a house out of straw. And what happens when the big bad wolf which is pressure and adversity comes along? It’s not sustainable… and so you can’t avoid pressure or adversity doing anything with the high performer. So, we want to be prepared for it, so that’s what we now got this for because then stage 3 is actually to sustain it… just because you built it, you started going… like you gotta constantly tweak and refine this. This is not a one and done thing just like nothing in life is. There’s constant upkeep and upgrades you’re… all three could change over time – your reset routine, there’s new adversities, new things to be willing to accept you know? The evolutions in life and as you as we grow. And like to think of… like you know the professional athletes… you know. I’m sure you’ve worked with the high performers… sometimes where I’m talking about sport it’s like dealing with the personal stuff and the life stuff. I’m managing that because it’s affecting it’s coming into the their mental game in their sport and so it’s there’s a there’s a never ending process to it. Now it doesn’t mean you have to do one-on-one coaching forever, although it’s not a bad idea… and everyone can always benefit from having an outsider and a coach and mentor to lean on but they don’t do it as frequently or whatever. But that… it’s… don’t just start it. And the thing we always don’t want to do too much. I was like “hey, do a couple months help somebody out they’re going they’re about to get it’s like hey good luck see you later in like 3-4 months later” they didn’t keep doing the work and then they stuck in the results because they stop putting their minds at first stop you know? Using the researched the strategies, reflection, etcetera and that goes back to old habits so that’s the system so it…  

Cindra Kamphoff: That’s great!  

Cassidy Preston: So, it gives us framework all people understand “oh what am I signing up for”. It’s like because that’s often we hear like… “Oh yeah, I want to go do sports psych you know?” The performance why we do this like… 

Cindra Kamphoff: And what does that mean?  

Cassidy Preston: Yeah, what does that mean… how is it gonna roll out and now yeah, every athlete rolls out pretty different. And every high performer… because maybe we focus on a different concept first or different strategies where again the blueprint helps us personalize and streamline it quickly, and there’s all kinds of other tools that we don’t always use… but pretty much everyone will do or at least touch on those 4 fundamental strategies as well as then coloring in the concepts as needed… 

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, that’s awesome. In the last month or so I went through Brene Brown’s dare to lead training which is incredible and in one of heard her say in one of the videos I was watching… something like that she’s never met a transformational leader that has not gone through coaching or therapy. And it was like whoa… right? As we think about the power of these things, we all need the space to train our mind and think about these concepts, apply them, and get unstuck. There’s so many different things I could ask you about your system Cassidy, but and since you mentioned Trevor Moab’s book about neutral thinking and say a little bit more about that because I could imagine that people who are listening aren’t not quite sure what that actually means.  

Cassidy Preston: Yeah, so thinking is not the solution because a lot of people… oh no negative thinking very helpful… I suck… you beat yourself up – I can’t do it. Like that’s you know, and he does a good job. I think I don’t remember all the lines but like really highlight like you say that stuff out loud like the more the compound negative effect of it is… we want to minimize that so but then the natural inclination for our societies negative that means I should be positive. 

Cindra Kamphoff: Exactly. 

Cassidy Preston: Does not like… because if you try to do that, most people are just oscillating between positive and negative talents like yo-yo deflated. And it’s that’s not the model that is a judgmental polarized emotionally charged model that is not sustainable and nor is it true anyways because no one event is overly negative and no one event is just all positive. There’s the premise… you really kind of you know popularized this idea of neutral thinking… well we’re not positive. That’s not sustainable, “not negative” …. let’s go to neutral like this word centered and about moving forward. And so, it’s about… we’re not going from left to right you know. People can’t see me from negative on one side… on the other in a completely different direction. Let’s go up, let’s go forward which is about… there’s gonna be benefits and drawbacks there’s gonna be you know failures and successes and adversity and wins along the way, but I can learn and grow and stay balanced and see things for what they are and move forward. And so it takes out the judgmental emotional language and that then holds so many people back… and the wheel that we created a mindset… like that’s the foundational kind of a base thing where hours of growth mindset, being a leader, being able to deal with stuff, and learn to move forward… like that’s being centered that’s being grounded and rooted and the reality of the situation versus fantasies/nightmares and positive/negative. So that’s a yeah, it’s a couple books about it so… 

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, so people want to read more about Trevor Noah’s book about neutral thinking… just to reiterate that OK. So, one other big question before we wrap up Cassidy. I think we could spend several hours here talking but I know your assessment measures the seven mental skills and you had mentioned those when you were talking about your system. Let’s pick one and let’s dive into one that you think maybe is the most helpful or powerful. 

Cassidy Preston: Yeah… there are so the four on the bottom are the ones we work on the most or most commonly because that is the foundation and those are focusing on the process being immersed in that on one side. And confidence in own your capabilities on the other and the middle of composure and resilience they’re all interrelated… we were saying the other day there’s no one that’s super resilient but then struggles a lot with confidence or some of that really confident but then has struggled with resilience… like what is a picky one it’s like so whatever one we focus on its generally wanna focus on one that’s the lowest because it’s gonna help all the others around it as well so the most… 

Cindra Kamphoff: I say let’s pick confidence. I think that’s really and honestly the… and I say let’s pick that one because the people I coach, they’re really great incredibly high performers, but they can all lack confidence and I think we have to protect it. So, let’s dive into that one if you’re cool with that. 

Cassidy Preston: 100% yeah, and it’s common one that’s low… OK but then again it depends on the person, and it depends on your interpretation of the questions. The way that I like to breakdown confidence and then the mental block that goes with it the confidence is to give you a solution to cure it forever… like you wanna never have a confidence problem again… the solution is to stop using the word to minimize using the word. Be mindful of the word itself because the word in our society is so tainted with external validation and results and praise so because as soon as the athlete or person identifies you know “I have a confidence problem, I’m struggling you know with my confidence right now” the solution is not very easy now. Like it’s like well… show me you have confidence probably, you can’t point to it. You can’t like says who says who has accomplished… but what is it like… it’s not easy for people to then work on and then for a lot of athletes it becomes a self-perpetuating thing… “I am somebody” now they identify and have a narrative that they struggle with confidence, which that in of itself is hard to debunk. So, I’ll have to go to sleep like who says you had a conference problems like maybe you don’t have confidence from like that idea… like yeah, and so it’s about owning your capabilities – do you believe in your capable? And so well then let’s take out the belief part and just go straight to the well… your capabilities. Did you own your capabilities today in the moment? And now if you position it’s like well… I’m having a problem or a challenge only my capabilities solution seems a lot easier now. Like it’s a lot more “Oh well then the result”, like what am I gonna do about well I gotta focus go back. What am I actually capable based on the work I put in and now it’s not always as easy as that there could be like you know lingering things and costly to harm ourselves and learning to own. The actually learn to own your greatness capabilities the whole thing debunking the narrative because maybe it’s like “Oh yeah that’s great but they’re really holding on”… that narrative. Yeah… “but I’m just somebody that’s always hard on myself and I can’t own it, or I have imposter syndrome” or all those kind of things, or “I really struggle to just really believe I have a confidence” … issue, so it’s not inherently that simple but that shift for me. I think it is fundamental we teach and help athletes… like let’s own your capabilities and focus on doing that as a trade and so you can trust your training and own it versus not. And so that shift can like yeah in a way you’re not having confidence problem anymore because they’re all the only problem I have is own capability problem but so that’s one of the first fundamental ways. And we’ll even do it with an athlete with like put into like… games rating and so let’s just say they’re pretty good player in their league they’re like a 95 rating just because you have 95 rating doesn’t mean your performance 95. Then they are… but um we can now show up every day owning that you’re 95. There’s no reason not to, and what I like to do with that rating as well as… I take mindset out of it. There’s no like well… but my mindset let’s stop radar mindset like compare one person’s mindset to another is like it’s all relative and, but skill is lot more tangible. Easy to relate… like are you faster than this person, well then you are faster. Like if you know can you shoot better, can you do this… like execute do you understand the system? Like let’s rate your capability and do it based on capability, not performance. A lot of times athletes like… Oh yeah this guy is a 95, he’s got this result. I’m not 95 that’s now an excuse as I don’t want you to rate yourself if you are that person competed in practice you’re both free and in the moment. And you did 100 scoring drills you…. 100 great. Like how would you rank… how would you like right there with that? That’s what you’re capable of. And I always like to have people do that and then try that on. Like oh this feels uncomfortable… impostor syndrome coming in. They’re still tying it to results. I’m like “what, does it seem wrong?” Like no, but I’m uncomfortable. Just try it on for a week walk around on your capabilities like oh **** this was like… doesn’t feel that bad. And then you finally get comfortable with it you’re just not used to wearing it on your capabilities. And so it doesn’t mean it’s wrong so I try to treat it more as like a factual thing. Then this overly belief thing now there’s still other things to be done with that and learning to own and understand self-belief/self-worth/self-image whether points out of it… but to me that’s the main most common issue with confidence has to do with the belief that it’s about results and praise and external validation, and understanding that’s actually about believing in only your capabilities and what you’re capable of. So that’s a bit long winded but to me yeah… 

Cindra Kamphoff: So good… yeah, I think I really… what I really appreciate is how you define confidence. It’s just like owning your capabilities, and I think everyone can do that, and it is interesting how people generalize like I have a confidence problem or impostor syndrome. And there’s this great… oh it was the CEO of LinkedIn just gave an amazing talk to like a graduation speech about how stop telling women they have imposter syndrome. You should Google it it’s amazing, but it’s all about like how you know we kind of label this on ourselves like have a confidence issue/imposter syndrome, which you know maybe instead, you just doubt yourself like everyone else does. 

Cassidy Preston: And that’s not a bad thing like doubt can be very healthy in a way. Yeah, people… I need to have no doubt. That’s one of our trick questions… don’t know if I can jump that bridge, that’s keeping you alive because you can’t jump it. Like it’s… you can’t trick your brain. It’s like… I had an athlete once they thought confidence meant they had to believe that they were the best player in the league. And that worked for them when they’re in division two Italian league and then they went to the top tier, they’re like well I gotta tell myself on the best. He wasn’t the best anymore. He was not the most talented/best, but it would create all kinds of inner turmoil going back and forth between no I’m the best and no I’m not the best. You can’t treat yourself like… if you’re not that if you’re not Ronaldo, if you’re not you know McKinnon, you’re not David… like you can’t walk around saying you are like… it’s now downplaying yourself that’s a problem. Most athletes do. I’m not telling you to play yourself become arrogant, it’s all your greatness and what you’re capable of. As for what it is, I love Todd’s take. I think it’s pretty similar… and I might not get it exactly, but he wrote some good articles around it debunking actually the imposter phenomena. And it is actually the fundamental exactly… was it like imposter’s syndrome yeah. Like the only people that really struggle with you know being an impostor are people that are being something that they’re not. Like it’s like… I’m going around and impostering that like you know I’m a magician but like I’m not I’m gonna imposter… like but if I go around like mental performance coach it’s like well I’m as good as what I’m capable based all the work I put in the practice and reflection and the reps and everything I’ve done… like I might doubt my capabilities at time because I’m human, but am I am being fake and not being? It’s like… you’re being and so we don’t have to label it as being impostor. And debunking it… and that’s often tied to worrying too much about whether people think instead of my pain management… who do I think I am. Yeah so then I don’t need the external validation of a client or so and so or whoever… I know who I am and what I’m capable of. I’m not trying to be arrogant… like the person that got there… like hey go tell her when you’re the best… like that’s not confidence. Now we’re not talking about confidence capability. You’re talking about how you interact with others, and you can walk through a room with no one there only your capability. You can walk through room… the exact same amount of people… there will be some people… be like… other person’s confident. Usually you can kind of see that and they’re only… the capabilities some people have are like… I don’t know, and then some people… like that’s their perception of you. And you can’t control that. If you’re trying to make everyone think you’re confident now, you might come across as arrogant or if you just think you’re better than everybody, then you might come across as that. But there’s definitely some misunderstandings there and uh… I think there was one other thing Todd said around impostor syndrome… but it’s like even just the word like ‘authentic’ which is a unique word… because you know obviously it’s like… hey we wanna be true to ourselves, but like who are we really good fundamental question. We’re… the author and narrator of our own lives. So I like that narrative but the other way to think it was like a handbag. Is it’s like an authentic handbag or it’s like an authentic piece of cloth? Like a a baseball card is authentic right? Like is it is a tangible thing? But like so… but then it’s like well, this is an impostor card because it’s like it’s fake. It’s not the real one… it’s an impostor. Stop being authentic… and it’s like that has to do with like handbags and baseball cards and stuff. As people… like you just you get to choose and create how you show up and live your life. And you know… which is in some ways authentic to you, but that… would like, well might be my real myself, and my… like you get to say who you are. Like now don’t say you’re something and be a true impostor say something like “oh I’m gonna go deliver a great keynote, but I’ve never rehearsed to practice” … being an impostor… “I’m gonna go speak about neuroscience and I know nothing about it”. I can do what I say I am from my heart… you’ve never gone… just like you are being an impostor, but the imposter syndrome… more authenticity or credibility of yourself is we create these narratives that are actually you know not serving. 

Cindra Kamphoff: So yeah, so good. I think what you did… what you said right at the beginning of that answer is just like… doubt is a healthy thing and sometimes even the elite athletes I work with… like there was one I was talking with yesterday and she was like… I just want that doubt to go away. And it looks like you’re human, so you know it’s not gonna completely go away. And it’s like there’s, you know… the US championships were yesterday for track and field… like of course you might have some doubt and that’s OK. You know? We like to judge ourselves because we’re doubting ourselves. And then I think we just… that would…. the focus becomes more… because we’re focusing on it more. So, Cassidy, where… tell us where people can find out more about your work and your practice. 

Cassidy Preston: Yeah. I wanna say one thing to that and I will… because I think it’s too and I love talking about the word acceptance. And I get to talk about it a lot…. exactly like accepting the doubt excepting the range of results. Like I had a national… here and it was like she’s like “Oh my God I don’t like range of results a golfers with the range of result…” like as I doubt… except the range within… like if you can’t… and then a lot of times our society phrases the word “acceptance” or misconstrued or misunderstands it to be a weakness, it’s like ‘oh we can’t accept things’ that’s for… if you don’t care, you’re ambivalent right? Which sometimes misconstrues centeredness around… or neutral thinking. That’s for hippies or whatever like it’s no, that’s not what the acceptance with commitment is. A powerful one to punch… you wanna commit to your race plan. The next step… and so you want to be a great public speaker except some people might not like you. Now you can commit to who you wanna be, but if you don’t accept that some people might not like what you have to say… that you might not fully commit… here we have to say or whatever and hey you’re human. Like maybe you know your message isn’t for everyone or whatever, but I think that the concept of the acceptance and commitment 1-2 punch and seeing like the frame is like it’s a superpower. Being able to fully accept and to accept your doubt and yeah, it’s a healthy thing versus like “Oh no we need to remove it” and it’s like when you accept it, you let it go. And that’s not weighing on you… and but it’s not like “Oh well I have no doubts” sometimes people… I wanna have no doubts… going I wanna know for certain. We’re gonna win… I get it. You can be fully committed and really believe in yourself. So, I’m always like… but sometimes we’ve over emphasized that in the media… or like “Oh yeah this person just so confident” they were gonna win. How many people have done that in… that looks like we’ll talk about those people like… just like how many times someone predicted they’re gonna win then lost. Like all the time it doesn’t… that’s not what we’re trying to do. From a mindset standpoint and then it creates this narrative that I can’t accept. How many coaches and parents are like you know we can’t tolerate that. It’s unacceptable it’s like no… we’re not saying we should tolerate failure or losing or whatever and like it’s just like hey everything’s OK it doesn’t matter. It’s just accepting it for the reality of what it is. I’ll give one final example because I always think it’s quite powerful. The surgeon I was working with… great surgeon, and it was like he was getting like nothing wrong with this kind of worried during that… I’m like this is a little bit different… that was like OK like again I don’t want you to be indifferent to your patients living or dying like I don’t want you to be indifferent… you can care but if you’re not willing to accept the range then like you’re not like don’t be a surgeon. Like you know this is the burden of being like that like things might not always work out. It’s like oh heart rate drops turn surgeries… was even more easy to build to be more adaptable. Like so it’s like acceptance to me it’s super. It allows you to commit to your process and how you wanna show up in a moment and applying that without or any other little noise. Sorry, that’s one of my things differently because some people don’t like them and don’t understand the power of acceptance.  

Cindra Kamphoff: So, thank you so much for sharing that with us. So, before I wrap up and summarize today, I’ll do my best to do… tell us where people can find more about your coaching and your business and just you know where can we follow you, Cassidy. 

Cassidy Preston: Yes is our website we’ve got some Instagram, I’m on Twitter and what not as Cassidy Preston. So those are the main things but yeah if you come on our website you can learn about our offers, coaching workshops, keynote stuff, as well as hopefully the book will be on there. You’ll… that will start to announce… we have a newsletter weekly. The newsletter sends out some different tips and that kind of stuff so subscribe to that if they want. And obviously would love to hear… reach out of my email I would love to hear people took out the episode with their takeaways… definitely contact me through my e-mail, on social media, whatever. Love to hear people got awesome so and  

Cindra Kamphoff: I think there was so much value in this episode Cassidy because we talked about so many great things. This idea of like thinking about who you want to be over you know first before what you wanna do. And we’re talking about how people can prioritize results, so we are discussing be/do and have and starting with the ‘be’.  We talked about alter ego which I really like that and just different ways to connect with the ‘be’. You gave some great strategies there and we were talking about confidence is like owning your capabilities. And just at the end of confidence and acceptance and accepting doubt for example… that it is a healthy thing so Cassidy, way to bring it here today on the High Performance Mindset. 

Cassidy Preston: Thanks for having me.  

Cindra Kamphoff: I’m grateful that you’re on and look forward to hearing you all reach out to both of us about the episode. My e-mail is So, thanks again for being here Cassidy, I appreciate you! 

Cassidy Preston: Awesome thank you for having me.