There are many reasons why leaders don't land their messages into the hearts of those they lead, and every circumstance is different. However, on many occasions it’s not what leaders are saying that is making the difference, but rather how it is being said. Here are seven principles to keep in mind when you want to land the message you are sending.

  1. When they know why they do what they do, they'll have more power to do it  — When people feel forced to do something, it undermines their motivation and effort level. Help your people see the purpose of doing it, and tie that purpose into something that is of value to them. For example, “Sarah, I remember you saying that you want to do well in your tournament next week. Giving your best effort during conditioning today will help you do that.”
  2. "They will support what they help build"—The “It’s-my-way-or-the-highway” approach is not a great way to promote buy-in for your team. They want to feel a sense of control. Giving them an option is tremendously helpful. An example of this is a parent asking their child, “Do you want to have cooked carrots or broccoli for dinner?” The message the parent is sending is: “You're going to eat your vegetables, but you can choose which.”
  3. Great leaders listen—they really listen—You can't read minds, so refuse to assume that you know what other people are thinking or feeling; the best thing to do is to ask. As the saying goes, “They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”. Listening is a great way to show you care. Listen with your eyes, your body, and stay in the moment. When you are fully present and listening with real intent, you’ll even hear the non-verbal messages people are sending.
  4. A great message said in the wrong tone doesn't stick — The volume and tone of the message being conveyed matters. Sometimes speaking softly is required, sometimes it’s not. The key principle is to be aware of the situation, and to adjust the volume and tone accordingly. If you consider yourself a “yeller”, don’t be surprised if people tune you out because they are used to it. Mix it up by toning it down.
  5. Your body communicates loudly—I’ll never forget a conversation I hadwith my Dad when I was a young teenager:
“Are you mad son?”
“Then don’t forget to tell your face.”

Just like the tone of your voice, the non-verbal communication of your facial expressions and posture speaks volumes. Make sure your face matches the message.

. Leaders who ramble bury great information--Be direct. Be Simple. Be clear.

7. Your connection strengthens your ability to give direction—As Coach John Wooden said, “Love is the most powerful four-letter word”. The stronger your connection is with your people and the more trust exists, the more freedom you will have to be honest, and the more likely they are to accept it. Author Tim Elmore puts it best,

"Build a relationship so strong that it can bear the weight of truth." Hope some of these principles help as you do your best to lead your people to become their best selves!

You've got to understand that you're going to fail, it's part of performance and part of life. But it's not your failures that will define you, it's how you choose to respond. Think about your hero, mentor, or someone you highly respect; chances are they had to overcome failure many times to achieve the level of success they have--which is probably why you admire them so much.

Tough times are part of the journey. It's not a matter of trying to be perfect, it's about recovering quickly from your mistakes, and being okay with making new mistakes along the way. The more you're willing to learn from failure, the less you're going to fear it; and the less you fear failure, the more freedom you're going to have.

Your view of failure might be the thing getting in the way of your success Would love to hear your thoughts, let's connect on twitter! @justinsua

You’ve most likely seen numerous examples of terrible singers who try out for American Idol but in their minds, they’re amazing. That’s what lack of self-awareness looks like.

We live in a world where people always want to put our best foot forward, to show the world how good they are — this is why it takes some people nearly an hour to post the perfect selfie! In an attempt to be what what you think the world wants you to be, you end up suffocating the person you were created to be.

Self-awareness goes two ways, some people aren’t aware of all the the wonderful qualities they possess because they constantly beat up on themselves; and others are so blind to their weaknesses that they hurt relationships and are not willing to improve.

Do yourself a favor and take an honest look in the mirror to see yourself as you really are. People you love and respect can help you out with this. Ask them to be completely open with you, and just know that it’s going to be just as hard for them as it is for you, so assure them that you won’t get mad or hold it against them — you’re just trying to get better.

Before you can conquer your goals, you must conquer yourself; before you can conquer yourself, you must know yourself.

Had the privilege to deliver a TEDxYouth speech at the IMG Academy. My talk was entitled "Time Out Tips: 6 things to remember when the going gets tough". Here are the 6 tips I shared with the audience:

1. Live on purpose, with purpose.
2. Be present.
3. Trust the process.
4. Learn from failure.
5. Look on the bright side.
6. Always carry yourself like a champion.

This was an enjoyable interview I did with Dennis Zink talking about winning the mental game in sports and in business. The article is called, "A winning mindset for athletes, and you"


I love talking to parents on how to bring the best out of their kids. In this segment, I teach Great Day SA's audience the do's and don't's of helping their children perform to their potential.


It was nice to visit Utah to discuss "Parent Pep Talks" on ABC's Good Things Utah.

Here is my interview with the Sales Evangelist...

"Ever wondered what makes a top producer, a top producer?  Well, during this episode I interview Justin Su’a who has cracked  the “top producer” code. Justin is the Head of Mental Conditioning at the IMG Academy, the world-leading provider of athletic and personal development training programs for youth, adult, collegiate and professional athletes, located in Bradenton, Florida. Justin’s clients perform in the NFL, Olympics, Dancing With the Stars, division one universities, and in numerous business corporations, the American Samoa National Olympic Committee and the U.S. Military. After speaking with Justin, I learned that top producers are not born top producers, they developed these habits over time and become top producers! Now with that understanding, what is holding you back from being a top producer in your industry? If you have a desire to perform at your highest level, you MUST check out this episode. I promise you will enjoy it!" 

I'm a big fan of Tim Elmore's work, so it was a pleasure to be on his Growing Leaders Podcast. In this interview, I share with his audience, "5 Strategies to Help Students Become Mentally Tough"