Author Q&A: Learning that “It Takes What It Takes” with Trevor Moawad

Trevor Moawad, of Moawad Consulting Group, shares principles for continued success—and ultimately, how to continue motivating the motivated.

Trevor Moawad’s book, It Takes What It Takes: How to Think Neutrally and Gain Control of Your Life, is a terrific new resource with actionable principles for success. Having worked with greats like Russell Wilson, who also writes the foreword to the book, Trevor shares with us how to manage, conquer, and overcome negativity. The book’s true aim is to give you the tools to achieve any goal, and from “the sports world’s best brain trainer” (Sports Illustrated), we are thrilled by the opportunity to learn from Trevor and share this Q&A.  Enjoy!


It Takes What It Takes is not only full of illustrative examples and actionable principles of how to succeed, it’s full of truths we must all accept in order to achieve that success. I particularly love these which you present early on in your book: “It’s what you do, not how you feel, that gets things done” and “commitment is execution.”  How can companies and individuals apply these principles to their 2020 corporate and team goals?  

The world at large seems very concerned with feelings, and that can be a good thing to a point. We shouldn’t completely ignore how we feel. But sometimes feelings get in the way of results. I come from the sports world, where only results matter.

Michael Jordan sure as hell didn’t feel good when he came down with the flu during the 1997 NBA Finals. He could have said “I don’t feel my best, so I probably shouldn’t play” or “Maybe I should play fewer minutes.” Instead, he played 44 minutes and scored 38 points in game five against the Utah Jazz. 

There will be days where we don’t feel like doing what needs to be done to help our organization succeed, but the fact is our organization needs us to produce. This may be because of a deadline. It may be the day of a big presentation. It may be a key sales meeting that we have one shot at nailing. As team members, we need to remember that others are counting on us to perform regardless of our feelings. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to help draw the best performance from our team members even when they aren’t feeling like they can deliver a great performance.

When those key moments described above coincide with us not feeling great, that’s when we need to get back to the basics. We need to think neutrally. What is the task I need to accomplish right now to take the next step toward achieving this goal? How have I prepared myself to accomplish this task? Thinking like a champion isn’t always fun, and it isn’t always easy. But it can be incredibly rewarding when you can overcome your own physical or mental roadblocks and still deliver.


You talk about how Russell Wilson had to first own the fact that he threw the interception pass in the 2015 Super Bowl.  How can this translate to those looking to overcome mistakes made in the past in the workplace and what’s your advice to them to start anew in 2020 and beyond?

We have to own our worst moments before we can overcome them. If Russell had spent months blaming the offensive coordinator’s play call (which nearly everyone else did) or the receiver, then he couldn’t have used that time to move forward. When we can’t accept our failures, we get stuck in a vicious cycle. 

Once we accept them, we can learn and grow. One piece of neutral thinking is taking an unbiased look at our own experiences and then using that information to make our next set of decisions. When we accept that we’ve failed, we can now store and use that information properly. In Russell’s case, he used it to drive him through the most productive offseason he’d had to that point. That led to one of his best statistical years. That never would have happened had he not accepted when he failed.


“The Illusion of Choice” message you presented to Coach Saban and the Alabama team that is included in your book is truly marvelous. I love this: “My point is we don’t ‘have a choice’ about how we are going to do things if we are going to STAY TRUE to the goals WE ALL made to start this year.” We know we’re our own greatest obstacles at times. How do you help your clients and partners overcome, and choose to stay on course to achieve success & victory—whether on the field or in the workplace?

Making great choices is incredibly difficult even though, deep down, we often know what the correct choices are. But we don’t always know them, so the first step is always deciphering the best possible choices in given situations.

When I worked with former NFL star Fred Taylor at a time when his seasons kept getting cut short by injuries, one of our first projects was asking Fred to identify the traits that the players who were on their second and third NFL contracts (the big-money deals) had in common. He found that nearly all of them went to bed early, arrived early at the facility and spent a significant amount of time stretching in the morning and after practice. Fred wasn’t doing most of that. Once he started copying those behaviors, he became capable of playing entire seasons.

Once you know the correct choices, it becomes easier to stay on that path. But it’s not a given. If you’re trying to eat healthy, there will still be moments when those golden arches call to you. In those moments, it’s best to think of your goals (which hopefully you’ve written down) and ask yourself whether those Big Macs will help you achieve any of those goals. You probably will be able to convince yourself to make the correct choice. 


Your “unbiased thinking” approach is really helpful especially since we know that we as humans are more impacted by negative self-talk and thinking. Can you tell us more about it here, and how it can help everyone be happier and more productive?

You’ll read a lot of books that will tell you to think positively. This one will not tell you that. There is no proof that positive thinking works, and you can probably find anecdotal evidence from your own life when you thought positively only to be disappointed by the outcome because you had set yourself up for disappointment with unrealistic expectations.

This book definitely won’t tell you to think negatively, either. Negativity affects you negatively 100 percent of the time, and that negative effect is multiplied if you verbalize that negative thought. It’s difficult because we live in a society that values snark and cynicism, but you’ll find your life goes smoothly if you try to avoid thinking—and more importantly talking—negatively. 

This book will teach you how to think neutrally. You’ll learn to take an unbiased look at the facts of each situation and evaluate the best course of action. You won’t simply be hoping. You won’t be bracing for the worst. You’ll be examining each situation relative to your knowledge and your past experience and formulating the best course of action. This will make you more confident, more productive and better able to adapt when stressful situations arise. 


Can you tell us more about Limitless Minds?

Limitless Minds is a company I helped found with Russell Wilson, Harry Wilson and D.J. Eidson that helps organizations optimize their teams. In today’s fluid, fast-paced, and competitive world, a mindset that delivers the highest probability of success is an undeniable asset. Limitless Minds offers experience-proven insight and training in what it takes to achieve big and go far. Unlike other “rah-rah” positive thinking speakers and firms, we don’t emphasize the magic of just thinking positive. We offer programs that will help employees learn to think neutrally and use many of the same techniques Russell uses when he’s preparing to play a game for the Seahawks. These lessons, forged in the sports world, are easily translated to the business world. That’s the edge we can provide for a company. 


Thank you, Trevor, for taking the time to give us a closer look into It Takes What It Takes! To order copies of this book for your organization, visit our website.


AuthorConnect Chat Series

This post was written by Karlyn Hixson, the Director of Strategic Partnerships & Editorial at BookPal. She is currently reading Ultimate Price: The Value We Place on Life by Howard Steven Friedman.

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