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Mindset of Excellence

"The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything; it's your mind you have to convince" - Vince Lombardi

The mind can be strong as it can overcome almost anything. Perseverance is a tool of the mind to keep on going despite the circumstances and what seems reasonably possible. Perseverance is about keeping on with something even when you do not see immediate results. It comes from having the faith and tenacity to know that the process will produce the results.

For me personally, perseverance and being intentional were the key mindset traits in facing down my medical issues. It is more than an attitude. It goes deeper, it is the conviction of action and creating a habit of the mindset that wins. A winning mindset helps you through when circumstances are challenging. A winning mindset makes you a stronger person over time. Mindset is so impacted by a positive attitude.


As in life, having a plan and setting goals is so important. Specific goals set you on a path that you choose. Goals, when you stick to them, make you accountable to taking intentional actions. You can ask yourself if what you are doing is taking you closer to, or further away from your goal. My cancer recovery goals included walking my daughter down the aisle and getting to the start line of the IRONMAN®. IRONMAN is hard; so is life. Being intentional about everything from what you say to what you do helps you take charge of your life, rather than it being in charge of you.

A winning mindset takes courage and diligence. It can help you step out of your comfort zone.

Your mindset drives the choices you make, and the habits you create.

With my health challenges, I made the choice to shift my mindset from fear to determination. Even on the tough days when I could easily get down, I reminded myself of the big picture. When you feel overwhelmed, remember your

goals. Combined with overcoming cancer, this mindset shift has given me a wonderful perspective on life. I am so grateful and view each day is a gift.

One of the life lessons I teach young people is to be intentional with your life, especially in your 20s and 30s. This is the foundation for the rest of your life. The decisions you make daily during this period, good or bad, will carry forward the rest of your life, especially when it comes to health. Take care of your body now, so you will be more prepared physically and mentally as you grow older. When something does happen, such as cancer or heart disease, you will be better prepared.

Be Intentional

To act intentionally means to act on purpose. When you are intentional, you choose to make decisions and act on what is really important to you.

Stay Focused

Having the right mindset allows you to push through the negative or down times to keep going. Being intentional will keep you focused. You must be intentional about your everyday actions. That intention with your actions will keep you focused. You have to be honest with people about what you can and cannot reasonably do. Spend your time intentionally, even if you have lots of priorities pulling at you.

Make a Commitment

In our society, a healthy lifestyle requires commitment. The first step in adopting a healthy lifestyle is attitude. It takes time and perseverance, but your body will adapt. For example, the way your body feels after a healthy meal will become more important to you than the instant pleasure of having something loaded with sugar. Not only will your body change, but your mind will change as well. It takes time; allow yourself this critical time for permanent change. Commit to make small, positive choices each day. Make one positive change at a time.

Goals give you structure for an intentional game plan. Specific goals set you on a path that you choose. Goals, when you stick to them, make you accountable to take intentional actions. You can ask yourself if what you are doing is taking you closer to or further away from your goal.

Healthy Lifestyle

Your mindset plays into a healthy lifestyle, too. Negative emotions wreak havoc on your health. With healthy emotions, you will have a better all-round quality of life and enjoyment. The healthy choices definitely have a positive impact. For one, you will have more energy and focus. Healthy choices may require some change for you that you do not like, but in the long-term the change(s) will benefit you. Intentionally take one day at a time. When you set small goals, you achieve more.


About Tom Hulsey

On his birthday in 2015, Tom Hulsey heard these dreaded words from his doctor, “you have cancer.” The diagnosis sent him into a tailspin. Having lost one of his best friends to prostate cancer the year before, he was ready to quit, to not even try to fight the disease. Why is this important? He is not a quitter, yet this bad news overwhelmed him. What changed? Loved ones and friends gave Tom ways and reasons to live. One reason was to be around to walk his daughter down the aisle.

After completing his cancer recovery goals, including the IRONMAN® and walking his daughter down the aisle, Tom dedicated his life to helping others facing life-threatening and life-altering obstacles. He is president of the North Texas Prostate Cancer Coalition, research advocate and UT Southwestern, peer reviewer & mentor for the DoD’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), and serves on the boards at Mary Crowley Cancer Research and ZERO Cancer.

Tom was the recipient of the 2019 Lauren Beam Philanthropy Award at the New York University School of Professional Studies and the Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport for his “dedication and contributions toward philanthropic efforts that resulted in significant, positive effects on the world of sports and beyond.”

Tom authored The Winning Mindset that Saved My Life Second Edition. Tom applies the skills and attitudes required to compete in an IRONMAN® to life’s struggles. Three life-threatening illnesses have given Tom a wonderful perspective on life and helped him discover his Why – “to inspire people to take action and be proactive with their health by sharing my lived experiences.” As both a survivor and advocate, he is passionate about utilizing his experiences to fuel positive changes and impact the health of our world. All net proceeds from book sales are donated to worthy causes. Book sales at the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon Fitness Festival & Expo last weekend were donated to the San Francisco-based charity Real Options for City Kids (R.O.C.K.).

Tom earned his BS degree in Business Administration, with a minor in finance from the University of Tennessee. His career has been in technology; creating solutions by leveraging technology to make the world a safer place. Tom lives in Dallas with his wife Lauren. They have 2 married children and 4 grandchildren.

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