About Nico Verresen: Nico Verresen is a former elite-level athlete who has undergone world-class training. He is working with world-champion athletes, MDs, DEFI traders, CEOs, senior executives & top-level entrepreneurs. His top-level sporting career combined with extensive educational studies of the mind makes his approach highly effective and unique. Using the hypnosis practices and mindset strategies of world-class athletes, Nico trains high performers like you to turn your stress into a competitive advantage. With a career of over 12 years in professional fighting, Nico is a 5x Belgian, Benelux, European, and vice-world champion in Muay Thai. 4 world champions have prepared for their titles with Nico’s coaching and mentorship. Nico is an MA, former university scholar, and published researcher at The Free University Of Brussels, Belgium. Check out the latest episode of our Conversational Selling podcast to learn more about Nico.
In this episode, Nancy and Nico discuss the following:
- The truth is you don’t need less stress to achieve the life you desire.
- Ways to embrace stress to elevate your performance, health, and relationships.
- Nico’s explanation on why stress is a friend rather than an enemy.
- The impact of hypnosis on the mindset strategies of all these world-class athletes.
- Hypnotic techniques in sales.
- Stress is there not to hurt you but to help you.
- Those people who believe that stress is good and helps them, and those who have the highest stress levels live the longest, healthiest, and most productive lives.
- The biggest challenge is not to start stressing about stress.
- if you just keep grinding forward as hard and fast as possible, you will not have space to get to effectiveness.
“So, if you do not stress about anything, the chance is very high that you have a bit of a lifeless life. What I’ve seen in research is that, well, and in my own life, the moments that I outperform myself were always the moments with the highest stress.” – NICO.
“The reason that fighting was so addictive to me and so wonderful, and I miss it still every day, is that it is make or break. You know each other right now. It’s a bit unhealthy for my body, and I learned through that process the second thing that puts the absolute top from the sub-top. You know, I was subbed up, and I had everything in me to get to the absolute top, but I forced it too much. I kept on grinding, I kept on going forward, and I lost a little bit of pleasure. That’s why my company is called Perform with Pleasure.” – NICO.
“Well, the people in sales, very often they’re a specific type of people. They love the push, they love the grind, they go hard, they need their deadlines, they need fast movements, you know. So, very often this is like a temperament that very often is much more hypnotizable. Now in sales, a lot of people use it also, hypnotic techniques to sell. The problem that I’ve often found is that in the current market, people are much more suspicious, and then when you go with traditional hypnotic language patterns, they often don’t work because it will sound weird, and people will feel something is off.” – NICO.
Connect with Nico Verresen:
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- Phone: 908-879-2911
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- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Voiceover: You’re listening to The Conversational Selling Podcast with Nancy Calabrese.
Nancy Calabrese: Hi everyone, it’s Nancy Calabrese and it’s time again for Conversational Selling, the podcast where sales leaders and business experts share what’s going on in sales and marketing today and it always starts with the human conversation. Today we’re speaking with Nico Verresen, founder of Perform with Pleasure LLP, using the strategies of champion fighters. Nico teaches senior executives and entrepreneurs to turn stress into their competitive advantage to ignite their next level of success with the mindset and hypnosis strategies professional athletes use to become world champions. A former professional fighter, assistant professor of methods in psychology, and published researcher Nico has been helping ambitious sales professionals and teams enjoy rising to the top without hurting their health, relationships, or enjoyment of the process. Welcome to the show, Nico.
Nico Verresen: Hi Nancy, it’s a pleasure to be here. [1:20]
Nancy Calabrese: I am excited to jump right in. You know, you have on your website, that the truth is you don’t need less stress to achieve the life you desire. What do you mean by that?
Nico Verresen: Well, I mean that you must ask yourself the question, why am I stressing? Well, because you care. So, if you do not stress about anything, the chance is very high that you have a bit of a lifeless life. What I’ve seen in research is that, well, and in my own life, is the moments that I outperform myself were always the moments with the highest stress.
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah. Okay, that’s interesting.
Nico Verresen: So yeah.
Nancy Calabrese: Huh, and you say embrace stress to elevate your performance, health, and relationships. So how do you embrace it?
Nico Verresen: Well first you need to acknowledge that stress is there not to hurt you but to help you. People don’t realize it, it was used to call it the general adaptation syndrome they called it, but the key word is adaptation. It’s a system that is there to help you to handle the challenges of the environment. It makes you think sharper, makes you move faster, it helps you to do all those things. Yeah, the problem is that we make secondary stress, we start to stress about stress, and then it’s very difficult to let go. So, research has shown, very interesting, of Alia Kram and Albus from Stanford and Harvard, that you believe that stress is good for you, there to help you, and you have the highest stress levels, those people live the longest, healthiest, and most productive life. [3:04]
Nancy Calabrese: Wow, you know, that’s kind of contrary to what we’ve always been told, right? You want to remove the stress from your life. Why are we told that?
Nico Verresen: Well, I believe that because I think at a certain moment we went overboard, it’s like when you’re an elite athlete, you want to perform at your peak. You can’t perform at your peak all the time. I made that mistake. My career was short cut because I denied my body. I over-trained all the time. My testosterone level started dropping. I had seven retinal detachments. In other words, my eyes, yes. I had three breaks. And you know, at a certain moment, nature says stop. And the same you can see in a lot of successful people; they keep on grinding. Now, the stress that we have when we are suffering with the stress, that’s the problem. Body suffering is the connotation, the story we create, oh stress is bad for us. And what happens when you look at the body, indeed, like our veins constrict, the blood pressure goes up. And we have all the negative side effects. We have a constant and then I’ll let it go after the fact but people who believe it is good for them now use the higher energy levels the better focus the higher the pain threshold. So you can keep pushing further so you can excel. However, when you believe it says it is helpful is adaptive. Well, then it’s much easier to let go after the fact and then you can pick up that stress, that challenge again tomorrow. [4:47]
Nancy Calabrese: Right. You know, it’s funny when I get stressed, I get very focused. And usually, it’s because I want to fix the problem, or I need to achieve the goal. Is that your experience with stress?
Nico Verresen: Absolutely. Well, if you cannot start to stress about stress, that’s the biggest challenge. And so, when you see the big performers, I work with five world champions and many top, professional athletes, those are really at the absolute top. They learned two things. The first thing is they learned that stress is there to help them and that they love it. They love it because it’s exciting. Like if you go after something easy to reach where the chances of failure are very small then Getting it is pretty meaningless. The reason that fighting was so addictive to me and so wonderful and I miss it still every day is that. It is make or break. You know each other right now. It’s a bit unhealthy for my body and I learned, and I learned through that process I learned the second thing that puts the absolute top from the sub-top. You know, I was subbed up and I had everything in me to get to the absolute top, but I forced it too much. I kept on grinding, I kept on going forward, and I lost a little bit of pleasure. That’s why my company is called Perform with Pleasure, you know? [6:20]
Nancy Calabrese: Okay, yeah, yeah. Okay. Let’s talk about hypnosis. I’m fascinated by that. How do you use hypnosis? You know impact the mindset strategies of all these world-class athletes.
Nico Verresen: Well, the first thing is hypnosis works in different ways for different people. Some people I can just start and slow my voice and they get into a trance immediately. And in sales, you meet these people often. They are go-getters, they are doers. They can imagine something; they can envision something and then they can create it in their minds. So, most people that I work with in sales are good at what they call hypnotic subjects. It’s a communication where they just allow themselves to relax and allow me to guide them to their power. Now we have also the much more methodical, the much more strategic salespeople that come very often out of a more technical thing. Very often they are so logical that classical diagnosis in the beginning will not work for them because they are not open for them. How you must work with them is different. There it becomes a self-hypnosis. And then there are slight differences. Of course, when you give me somebody two, or three hours, which sometimes happens if I go into one deep session, you know, then I get almost everybody in because of the communication. If you look at the science of evidence-based hypnosis, like, it’s a normal distribution of people that people can be hypnotized. But of course, the problem is that when you do research, it is structured, and it leaves very little room for nuance in the communication. Like, hypnosis is that combination of scientific underpinnings, but it’s an art. It has to do with testing, seeing, feeling, and knowing where the other person is. [8:32]
Nancy Calabrese: All right, so you’re saying, and I just want to go back to something that you said, people in sales use hypnosis through communication. Did I get that right?
Nico Verresen: Yeah, well, the people in sales, very often they’re a specific type of people. They love the push, they love the grind, they go hard, they need their deadlines, they need fast movements, you know. So, very often this is like a temperament that very often is much more hypnotizable. Now in sales, a lot of people use it also, hypnotic techniques to sell. The problem that I’ve often found is that in the current market, people are much more suspicious and then when you go with traditional hypnotic language patterns they often don’t work because it will sound weird, and people will feel something is off. [9:31]
Nancy Calabrese: Right. Yeah, wow. All right, so go ahead, finish, go ahead.
Nico Verresen: So, what I do believe is that when you… But for me, I use it for them to get ready, to get into a state where they are completely aligned with wanting to see if they have a fantastic solution for this person and to extract the depth. It’s like they become a psychologist that goes to the deep roots of emotions, the emotional motivators and drivers. And then if you put yourself in a hypnotic state, and hypnotic state is very receptive. It’s the perfect thing to put you into this state, into this trance-like state, before you go into a conversation, into a sales conversation. [10:21]
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah. Huh. Are you hypnotizing me?
Nico Verresen: You never know.
Nancy Calabrese: You never know, right? All right, well, I think everybody listening in can relate to Rocky, Sylvester Stallone. So, what can Rocky teach top-of-the-leaderboard professionals?
Nico Verresen: Well, first, Rocky lied. Rocky had no idea, no. The thing is, there is something like, no matter how hard you get hit, you keep on going forward. To be honest, as advice, that’s just dumb. However, I still believe that most sales professionals and elite performers need to get punched in the face. Now, what is this paradox? Well, the paradox is that we want to create a kind of resilience whereby we don’t make mistakes, a lost prospect, or a negative after-effect personally. We can use it to get better and that is the key. But at the same time if you keep on doing the same thing and you keep on failing, well sorry that’s just dumb, it’s just not smart. And so, the rocky mindset, the just ground mindset is good to get you to the sub-top, it will get you success, much more success than if you don’t dare to go forward. However, if you just keep on grinding forward as hard and as fast as you can, you will not have space to get to effectiveness. Think about it, you have Rocky, or you have, for example, Tyson Fury. You see him, do you know Tyson Fury? He’s a heavyweight, he’s like a legend, he’s one of the best fighters ever. No, no, he’s called, his father named him after Tyson. [12:27]
Nancy Calabrese: Right? No. You mean Mike Tyson?
Nico Verresen: It’s Tyson Fury, he’s a pike, he’s an English gypsy and he’s crazy. But if you look at him, he’s fat, he’s fat. But the thing is he has that relaxation, that playfulness and he is super hard. However, what you can see is that he plays. When you look at the all-time grades for me, it’s like, for example, Ali. [12:57]
Nancy Calabrese: Okay.
Nico Verresen: It was flow. They enjoyed it. And he can’t flow like that. Even Tyson, trained hard, but he got trained by a hypnotist. His trainer was a hypnotist. Got him in the wrong state. Yes, absolutely. And you know, what happens is that the job of a coach, if you have a real champion in front of you, a guy or a woman that has the potential to be a great champion, it is not your job to push them forward. Mostly when you have this kind of temperament, it’s your job to slow them down. My trainer pushed me to go home and lie down because as a professional fighter, you don’t get paid just to rest. To train, of course, you get paid to train, but you get paid to rest. [13:46]
Nancy Calabrese: Huh, wow. So how could pleasure help people outperform themselves?
Nico Verresen: Well, I always say whether you face a corporate board, whether you face a world champion ring, or whether you face your sweet, sweet love that wants to make sweet, sweet pleasure with you, but it’s your first time and you’re excited, all of the times when you have a peak performance, a peak experience like Maslow’s and Calder back in the day, it goes by itself. You know, what happens is you feel the connection between you and the rest of the world is so heightened. It’s like the division has been gone. In the brain, it causes your parietal lobes, they have lower activation. So, the break between you and the outside world disappears. It’s like you become one with whatever or whoever you’re doing. And so, if you want to become better into the flow, to flow in high-intensity situations, you can do workouts, yes you can do muscle arts, really powerful. You can do breathe work, you can do all those, you can do sprints and try to calm down your breathing. But what you also can do is you can make sweet love in a tantric way where you try to keep yourself as calm in intensity or intense lovely conversation. So, it comes down to learning how to hold, to make room, make space for all everything that happens in between. [15:23]
Nancy Calabrese: Wow, wow. And you know, how do you turn stress, conflict, and crisis into a superpower? How do you do that?
Nico Verresen: Well first, like I said, you have to acknowledge it and make room for it. The problem, when we are suffering, we are resisting. When we are resisting, that is the core root of psychological problems, of anxiety. It’s time to run away from something, thinking we cannot handle it. And I have a secret for you. And for the entire world, we can handle so much more than we think. But in the current society you know, we hear everywhere we must take care of our words, we must be very gentle, very careful, but the problem is it doesn’t acknowledge our inherent resilience, our inherent power. We are so powerful. Look at how weak of an animal we are when you compare it with a lion or a bear or perhaps even a little ape, but how we have thrived is because we have resilience, psychological resilience, and artistic potential for artistic solutions, creative solutions in ourselves, and we don’t acknowledge this enough. Yeah, and so the first is we make room for it, so we accept it, then make room for it. You can do it simply with a technique like, imagine breathing in and growing your skin, as if you become a giant. And you just make room for the same emotion, you don’t push it away, and now, when you make room for it, it can move more freely, and when it can move more freely, you can leverage it to put into practice. [17:04]
Nancy Calabrese: This is fascinating to me. What is something you believe is true that other people don’t believe is true?
Nico Verresen: Well, I believe for example that if you’re for example a business owner and your company goes under, it can be the best thing that happened to you.
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah. Why is that?
Nico Verresen: Because first, if you learn to see this as an experience that gives you the best lessons in the world, it will help you to make your next company thrive. And you see this many times. Many of the billionaires have made several companies that went under. All of them of course, but quite often. And with sales, the same thing. If you… Because why very often do we fail? Because we function on the level that stretches our abilities. And so, if you learn to take that punch and to play with that punch perhaps even, go against an opponent by the way, like a challenge that is just beyond what you’re currently capable of, then you will trigger flow. So very often, you know what people do realize it say I just want to relax I just want to flow yeah but you can’t get to flow if you don’t trigger your nervous system enough with enough challenge so you have a flow cycle and the flow cycle always starts with struggle and after the struggle you take a bit of a pause or rest you allow your nervous system to readjust to create those new neural pathways and they go in again and then you flow and after flow again you break that but that’s something that people don’t want to hear Because people mostly don’t want to hear, oh, I have to struggle first. Oh, that is part of the deal. Like the harder I struggle, you know, and I look for help, and I get a coach to get me focused man, then I take on the world. [19:17]
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah. Great. Well. Hey, you know, we must wrap up, but the last question. What is the one takeaway you’d like to leave the audience with?
Nico Verresen: A life without stress is a life without meaning.
Nancy Calabrese: Ooh, love it, love it, love it. How can my people find you?
Nico Verresen: Well, I have a new website that’s coming up, which is toyourtop.com. So, I will get that in a few days. It will be, it will be published. And then, you can also go to my Instagram, which is Nico_Verresen. [20:00]
Nancy Calabrese: Okay. Listen, folks, first of all, Nico, thanks so much. I found this conversation fascinating. And I swear you hypnotize me. I know you did that. But we can take that on the sidebar. Everyone reached out to Nico. He’s fascinating. And especially if you’re in a sales function, I think what he is expert in is something that anyone in sales, maybe just in business. You know, just you need it. So, until we speak again, make it a great sales day. And Nico, I got to get you back on, okay, to officially hypnotize me next time, okay?
Nico Verresen: We can do that, no problem at all. [20:48]