Mental Toughness Lesson from Rock Star Tommy Shaw of Styx


Back in the early 1990’s I interviewed Tommy Shaw, co-founder, guitar player and back up singer of one of the most successful rock bands in history: Styx. What I didn’t know during the interview was that I was about to get one of the most important mental toughness lessons of my life. I’ll look forward to your comments  ( 5:03 )

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Categories : Interviews


  1. DJS NJ says:

    If your going to use an example such as Tommy Shaw… should apply a little mental toughness and research before you write…

    1. Tommy was not a founder of Styx, they started around 1970 and was founded by Dennis Deyoung, Chuck and John Panazzo… Tommy joined the band in 1976 as a replacement for a member that left…

    2. Tommy is a lead vocalist, not a backup vocalist… he can do backups for the harmonies… but his main role is lead vocals and is credited with lead vocals on many styx hits…

  2. That’s a fantastic story around Tommy Shaw, Steve. From 1969 to just into the 80s I performed locally in Kalamazoo, MI usually solo but once in a duet and for a year trio. We were acoustic and a combination of folk/blues/contemporary and our own.

    Eventually I returned to college and became a middle then high school teacher and teaching was something I was a natural at – it totally inspired me everything about it beginning with the kids.

    Anyway, as a musician – a jumbo Guild is at my side as I key this in and I keep it warked up at all times – I always wanted to go to the top whatever that meant to me at the time. BUT I didn’t always work to the extent that I could reach the top.

    Nevertheless, I became a fixture at two local places for four years and absolutely loved what I was doing and everything about entertaining – I loved the songs, the sounds and stories the songs made, my fingers dancing over the strings AND I loved bringing anyone in the audience up to do a song or two.

    When I gave it up as a full time career and pursuit to the top it was to put family first – I didn’t have confidence I could be successful entertaining and keeping my family together at the same time. I’ve never regretted that decision, I consider it to be a take-it-to-the-top decision, and a world class decision of another kind.

    Today as I work from home I have all the time again to compose AND perform at my grand daughter’s elementary school – and do a walk on open mike night if I want.

    Your World Class emphasis which I began understanding from your book and web site the last few years is something I’ve been working with our business team – delusional thinking is a killer and you have to begin with yourself every day as it’s invisable AND a master at disguising itself well.

    I appreciate everything you’ve done that has helped me get a handle on these things – thank you. Mike

  3. Steve says:


    Thanks for your comment. I congratulate you for holding yourself up to the scrutiny of objective reality. From my experience, this is the first and most important step on the road to world-class success.

    I’m predicting large scale success in your future.

    Keep training!

    Steve Siebold, CSP

  4. Obi says:

    Hi Steve, Yep this one applies to me. My performance up till now in my life has been very middle class (I only realised it when I read your book).I have had moments where I have broken out of this level but generally I’ve been deluding myself. Here is a quote for you Steve, that sums up what you said about the marketing gimmick: ‘Progress comes to those who train and train; reliance on secret techniques will get you nowhere’ – Morihei Ueshiba (founder of Aikido)

    Thanks for your insight. Staring reality in the face is truly the first step.