Be as Vicious as you Can Within the Bounds of the Game with Dr. Jen Welter

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Every day chooses to be great; it is the mindset that makes Dr. Jen a Titan. Dr. Jen is a trailblazer and pioneer. She is the first NFL coach. Jen breaks down the stereotypes of both men and women. Jen reminds us to look past what we first see when we meet a person and find the human beneath. 

Highlights:

{02:44} What makes Jen a titan

{10:00} Remember what you knew as a child

{19:28} The Yin and Yang are not always male and female

{27:31} The real Honeybadger 

{38:44} Seeing past the tattoo and hair

{47:05} Get off the hamster wheel

{53:30} What you didn’t know about Jen

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Dr. Jen Welter Bio

Dr. Jen Welter is the first female to coach in the NFL. In the summer of 2015, she served as a linebackers coach for the Arizona Cardinals, a period of time defined by the bond she formed with the players. Widely known as a trailblazer and pioneer in professional football, becoming the first woman to coach in the NFL was only her most recent first. She most recently served as a defensive specialist for the Alliance of American Football (AAF)

​Following her record-breaking accomplishment with the Cardinals, Welter became the head coach of the first Australian women’s national team in 2017. Widely known as a trailblazer and pioneer in professional football, Welter became the first woman to play running back in a men’s professional football league with the Texas Revolution. In early 2015, Welter was hired as the first female coach in men’s professional football, helping coach the most successful Revolution season in franchise history. Prior to joining the world of men’s professional football, Welter had a highly decorated 14-year career in women’s professional football which included four World Championships, two gold medals as a member of Team USA in the 2010 and 2013 International Federation of American Football’s (IFAF) Women’s World Championship, and eight all-star selections. She was inducted into the first class of the Women’s Football Hall of Fame on November 30, 2018.

Welter is committed to increasing access and opportunities in football. To empower women through football, Welter designed her signature program, “A Day in the Life,” Camp which debuted with the Washington Redskins women’s program in 2015. She continues to create a range of camps for girls and women through her Grid Iron Flag Football Camp, along with a number of other community initiatives like her Camp on the Corner program that brings football to youth in under-served areas. She released her first publication, “Play Big: Lessons in Being Limitless from the First Woman to Coach in the NFL” in 2017.

Welter has served on the advisory board for the NFL’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Game for Life Academy since 2017. She holds a doctorate degree in Psychology, a Master’s in Sport Psychology, and a Bachelor’s degree from Boston College.

Connect with Jen:

Websites: jenwelter.com

Link Tree: Dr. Jen Welter

Hey, welcome to the show. Today we have Doctor Jen Welter here and, as always, my lovely, talented, and smart-ass Co-Host Carol Carpenter. Today we’ve come to talk to Jen about her ****** path to professional football, ****** linebacker, and women’s sports and then running back in the pros. She went on to earn her doctorate and Ph.D. in psychology. And you’re working for some teams, most notably the Cardinals with our friends Reggie Walker and David Carter.

Look, I just messed with minds for a living.

Mess with their minds for a living?

Yeah, this is what it is, whether it’s

She’s known far and wide, yeah.

I mean, just in one way or another. 

By the way, this is the impact I have on the youth, though the Gridiron Girls logo is on the headband. The Iron Girls logo is on the headband. 

Oh my God, that’s adorable. 

It’s adorable, yes. She’s the headless football player. This would be a young phenom. Katie Kaylee Patterson began working with me at the age of four. She’s now one of the top ten new players in the country and has gone viral several times for just making people look ridiculous on the field, and this was her Halloween costume of choice. And you know, I was looking at it earlier, and I was, like, well. This is how you know you’ve built a killer brand.

Yeah, yeah. 

When will this Is the Halloween costume that a young girl comes up with literally a headless football player? You know I don’t have anything. Otherwise, as I said, literally. I have nothing else.

Just put the exclamation mark on it, and we’re done.

Right? That was all her, too. This is not me. “Oh, you should wear a gridiron girl headband,” for example, or trying to get no Mm-hmm. That’s straight. Kaylee and I were overjoyed, so yeah, that kind of sums me up in youth form. I believe.

Oh, that’s perfect. I mean, you are billed as Buffy the quarterback slayer, so I can see how she got to that opinion. 

Yep

Yep, without a doubt.

I’m real. good role model.

You know, Jen, she’s a mini-you.

She is a mini-me, and I am proud that she is a mini-me that is funny. My door rang like it was on command. Like, who is that? They know a quarterback is coming for revenge. Where can you find me?

That’s perfect; I love all the stuff you’re doing, but really, we want to know what makes you, and I’ve got to ask, what makes you a Titan?

You know, I would never have said that as a child, and I believe that is one of the most important things we forget as teenagers what we knew as kids. This is one of the reasons why I love young kids, and I founded Grid Iron Girls to be true to who they are when they’re young, right?

This is a young 10-year-old. A 10-year-old taking on football in the sport that we’re not supposed to play well. When I was her age and younger, I was this inventive little thing is perplexing, I mean, I practiced telling my mom in my room that I needed auto good because I was going to be famous right?

That’s the little jet, right? The pure honest child who can slay dragons with a spoon, like these big dreams and a pot on your head, and the world is limited. And I think as we get older, you know that in our early teenage years in high school, we’re not seeing and hearing what we’re supposed to do right there? Are their patterns of behavior following you and forming you? Consider the following: Can I be both of these things? 

Are there these two elements of self, or could we be more than one thing? I know I am struggling with that.  I was on the math team competing and yet was a captain of the soccer team. And, you know, could you also be friends with, say, the popular kids or the pretty kids? And I always felt like as a girl there were not the same rules as boys.

It was almost as if you had to minimize aspects of yourself and not be too good, awesome, or cool, because then you didn’t fit in, or you made your friends feel bad. Whereas guys have this term that we as girls don’t have; he’s a Renaissance man. He’s good at everything. He is gorgeous, he tackles people, and he’s the student president. 

Where do we as girls, there are kids too, right? But you know, for me, I happen to be a girl, so that’s the path that I walked. Do we stop? Start forgetting what we believed when we did. a young, fearless Kaylee, and start feeling like we need to fit in. And I think I realized that part of that is an expectation, so it’s things like that “Renaissance Man” tag. 

Well, there isn’t a female equivalent, probably because during the Renaissance, women were wearing corsets and we literally couldn’t breathe. It’s no surprise that we weren’t as diverse because we breathe, physically and psychologically constrained to fit into a mold, right? We weren’t even allowed to breathe fully, much less express ourselves or explore our full selves. We were supposed to be pretty. And we were maybe seen and not heard.

And we see that revisited in, as they say, the father’s sins. Our young girls are being punished for the sins of society. We have this whole accessory generation of women, right?

We teach girls that the goal is to be pretty, whether it’s through the Kardashians, the Real Housewives, or the side-piece show. We teach girls the goal is to be pretty, marry well, and act badly. The right should not be used to achieve success for someone else or to achieve success in and of itself. But to be an accessory to someone. So, then, we’re essentially a purse. You just made me an accessory, so I am a purse, which means I’m always there to be upgraded to the newer and better model

And so, it is for me I struggled with that, and as an adult, I look now to see how I can every day be the woman that I needed when I was Kaylee’s age, right? Where can I find the strength to be different or the strength to show up as my full self? Which isn’t just a woman, just a football player, just a coach, or just a Ph.D. Or, you know, to show up in a way where that’s not what a football coach looks like. Oh, I’m so sorry, how many football coaches have you met who are aware of women? 

I guess I am right, and I look at those things and those areas where those perceptions trickle down into the reality that young girls look at, then they find places to follow or fall into and struggle. And so, for me, it’s always about the bigger picture, and I consider myself an instrument for change in how those conversations are set up in society, not just a follow, but also to lead. 

And before we got into whether it was my coaching philosophy with the guys. It’s about showing up authentically as me, almost a bolder version of me because we know that the person watching might be like, “Well, I could take a little bit of that” If I’m just showing up with a little bit of myself. Then the likelihood is that they’re going to take an even smaller percentage of that, right? 

So, if I permit somebody to be a football player who has crazy nails, well, she might just paint them the first time, right? and believe it’s fine, or you know, she might try one pink strand in her hair, and she’ll look like I broke the rules. But if we consistently do it, then you’re stacking up those chips of confidence. You must be able to find your full self.

It’s amazing how much easier everything becomes when we operate from our true selves. And we were somehow lied to, so it says it’s not OK to be yourself. “How do you do that?” people wonder. Do you hang around this guy? How can you be? He’s wild and crazy all the time. I was like, “Am I?” or “Have you only met me in that scenario?” because the real me is multifaceted. It’s the Renaissance man, and we can be masterpieces while also improving ourselves.

You know we’re an epic disaster at times.

Anyone trying something new can be an epic disaster, right? That’s what we forget as children. We’re like, “Oh, it’s OK, right?” like when you fall in a puddle and get back up. And we’re thinking, “Oh, it’s OK.” You’re OK, right? As adults, we’ll encourage that. 

And children have the right to try, to fail forward, and to finger paint sloppily. And whatever those things are, because learning is what it is, copy, as we grow older, the perception is that we must become right. Rather than being willing to own the process of becoming.

Well, don’t you think that our biggest problem is, you know, that we get to this point where we just want to be accepted? You’ll do anything.

To be accepted, you will even diminish yourself; you will be taught to diminish yourself, yes.

Just be honest.

Yeah, it’s conditioning.

Especially as women. It is one of my personal favorites. So, I was speaking at a conference one time and talking about showing up as your full self. in some of these rooms. And she says, Coach, what do you do? If you’re in a meeting and someone says, “Oh, she’s tough,” and I’m like, “Oh, I look at him, smile, and say, “Thank you. “And she goes. Well, what do you do? If you know that’s why they’re saying she’s tough as an insult. Right, and I was like, “Oh, oh, in that case, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, thank you so much, and I will love on them because what are they?” What I’m not going to do is look at yourself and act as if you were what I said you were—tough as an insult. No, they’re not. They’re a bully, and what bullies want is the energy that you give them back. 

They are fundamentally insecure, so if you give them the impression that, “Oh, I mean, I’m not that tough; don’t think of me as a damsel in distress or anything,” they will win, Right? Whereas if you smile and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, thank you so much,” you’re correct. Do you want to feel my biceps as I sack quarterbacks? Yeah, yeah, yeah, like they’re not. 

They’re not going to push back, and so you have to realize that that’s an indication of their weakness. Not your problem. And the only way they get energy in that situation is if you give them that energy now, which doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt your feelings and doesn’t mean you didn’t hear. It doesn’t mean that you go cry your war paint off and reapply before you see somebody else, but you don’t have to give it to them, and there’s a big difference between that. 

Trust me, I have a secret, Carol, you’re going to love this one. By the way, you could try this as well, Travis; it would be really cute for you. Do you wear sunglasses? I have drawers of sunglasses. No, this is true. I have drawers full of sunglasses because how we show up is part of who we are, right? As women, aren’t we the actors, directors, and producers of our lives? And you can see so much with your eyes; that’s why you know card players wear sunglasses so that you can’t read their eyes. Well, If you ever have a particularly bad day, most people assume just if you’re having a bad day. You know yourself. Don’t do that. Sign up for some eye-catching, dark sunglasses, but here’s the game changer: If you just wear bold sunglasses and throw them on, you look hungover. Put on some old, dark sunglasses. With a bright lip, everyone will assume that your face is flawless, right? That’s that glamorous look; that’s that movie star swag. 

So, everybody will make the psychological jump that because you were bold enough to wear a bold lip, your whole face is done. So, if you’re ever feeling like you can’t show up as you. We’ll throw those sunglasses on a bad lip and don’t even pause for anybody. Just act like the world is yours. And guess what? Everyone who sees you will believe that. 

And if you convey that to yourself, you will eventually believe it as well.

Since we started talking to you, and I’m listening to this, you know this inner strength of yours is admirable. I pulled up a quote. And it’s from Kavita Ramdas, and it just feels right. I don’t know if you have ever heard it, though. 

It says we need women who are so strong that they can be gentle, so educated, they can be humble, so fierce, they can be compassionate, so passionate, they can rational, and so disciplined they can be free.

I love that quote, and it’s so true.

Isn’t it beautiful?

You know, and in saying that, I take it as a compliment because I know that you read it. Because it resonated with something I said or the impression that I left. And yet I’m going to make the jump to coaching in the NFL, and that’s what you notice that most people don’t see.

Right, these guys are, for the most part. Some of them are the biggest, toughest, and strongest guys on the field, right? They’re trained killers and assassins, right? Not in that sense, right? And I put it in quotes because you’re supposed to be as brutal as you possibly can to your opponent within the confines of the game, right? But it’s within the confines of the game. And it’s about being the very best at the game. 

So, you’re beating the man in front of you, but there’s this. It’s like, you know, they say there’s honor among thieves, but there’s this competitive balance where I need my competitor to compete, right? I can’t do that against, say, a 10-year-old because, after all, there is competition, right?

That’s why we make fun of it all the time, right? You see things where it’s like a joke. “OK,” you think. You’re bragging about that. No, you need somebody to strike with equal ferocity. Talent strength. to bring out the best in you, right? And it’s as if I’m just looking for someone to like. I used to say it all the time. I want to destroy you on the field, and then I want to go have beers with you after because without you, I can’t be my best self.

And so, there’s a very big difference in life balance between that player and others that we see and admire and oftentimes fear on Sunday. And the very real human who leaves those white lines takes off the helmet and the pads. It’s like the difference between Clark Kent and Superman, right?

I always say there’s a reason why superheroes have to alter egos. No one’s no human or superhuman, feels every day like they could get up and wear tights, right? There are days when Superman does not feel that super, and he does not want to put on that outfit. Some days, Wonder Woman trips over her lasso of truth, and faceplants into her invisible jet.

Okay, so there’s a legitimate reason why we depict superheroes because we have to do extraordinary things as humans, but we also need days off, days in sweats, and days where we just shuffle and slippers, so the person and the persona would be very different things. And for me as somebody who’s in psychology, hey, used to be known as one of the most dangerous weapons in the world. I led Team USA in tackles in 2010 at 5 feet 2 inches. OK, I played pro football against men. Some people still see me and say “Oh, that’s Jen Welter”, and they don’t just say Jen, It’s Jen Welter, right?

One of my coaches used to make fun of me for it. He was like, “Yo, they only say your full name, and it’s like a whisper.” Right, and this was before I went into the men’s game, and people hated to play against me.

They should hate to play against me, I’m not on your team, you should fear me as a quarterback. You should fear pink hair. You should be OK. But you should. You should also be aware that I am a fiercely loyal teammate and friend; those are two very different things.

And looking at players right now and coaching players, the truth is you have to know the person to impact the player. And there are very real humans inside a massive exoskeleton that we have created for them. They appear to be more superhuman than humans, and often we lose humans in the process.

And it’s so funny because of the friends that I have and the players that I relate to. That’s why it’s not rocket science. It’s because they’re very unique; you address them as individuals.

Oh my goodness!

Yin and Yang To be sure, the male and female energies are different.

Yeah, right? 

The balance between the two—I mean, one cannot exist without the other—is crucial.

I know I love yin and yang, but I won’t say it’s male versus female energy because we lose the power of empathy in that conversation. After all, empathy has been relegated too often to being a female strength or a female form of leadership in leadership conversations.  

I would argue that this is something that men can and should be encouraged to use. Right, and that they haven’t always been allowed or encouraged to feel those emotions or express them in the ways that emotional movements lead. 

Leadership literature is full of crap. I apologize for the old material I read.

Yea old school. 

Yes, autocratic leadership, as I recall reading in one of the best undergrad business schools in the country, Boston College’s top ten. That’s why I went there.

Every leadership book I read made me think I couldn’t be a leader because those weren’t my strengths. That cold, detached persona, that no-nonsense person, and you’re sitting on top of the tower, looking down on your minions, wondering what the hell is going on here—leadership, and it’s not real. 

And when we discount empathy as simply being, that’s why she did well in this situation. Then we isolate people who are good at that and say it’s not an everybody trait, which it should be. At the core of humanity, in whatever you’re doing. I don’t care if it’s little kids playing on the playground or if it’s as big as coaching in a multibillion-dollar corporation or the National Football League. I don’t want you in my business if you can’t relate to the people you’re working with. 

Now, some are harder than others, but if you’re not willing to learn and to realize, like I always say, “I’m a coach, but I’m coachable,” how can I teach you if I can’t reach you? How can I get you somewhere if I don’t know where you’re trying to go? And so, I have to get to know you. You, as a human, understand what drives you. How do you learn, how do you prefer to be addressed, I will do my best to work together to achieve your goals. And that means I’ve got to be open. I don’t believe you do. You don’t command respect. You earn it by building a bridge. As a result, I don’t go completely insane, as you may have noticed. I feel like you’re like the robot, you know? does not compute. does not compute.

Like yeah. 

It’s the thing that glitches me, is when people don’t understand or don’t. I believe that’s where we thrive. In those human relationships, as is the willingness to find a moment for someone or notice when someone is having a bad day.

and saying, “Wait a minute.”

Oh, absolutely. You’ve covered a lot of ground there in those last couple of minutes, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a couple of things.

One of the competitions. at the right level, right? I just assumed you were up here playing against 10-year-olds. Sure, that Peyton Manning United Way commercial for Saturday Night Live in which he says, “Kids, come on, turn around.” And you can’t, like, ever. It’s hilarious, but you can’t do it. That’s right, you can’t compete that way.

That’s not right, yeah?

However, the leadership and empathy components just retired after 22 years in the Navy, and when I joined in 2000, it was a much different military than when I left In 2022, we didn’t communicate with each other at all times, people were

You weren’t allowed.

Yeah, yeah, you were just yelling.

My dad’s an army vet, so first, thank you.

At people to go do the thing.

Thank you for your service.

Hey, you’re worth it.

Right, don’t say that. But you weren’t allowed to communicate emotion.

You’re not allowed to communicate at all. You can’t run and struggle with anything.  Because if you were showing your struggles and you couldn’t perform, then you were letting down your team, and I understand how they got there. But I also understand that that’s not reality, because if you are less than 100% and you choose to go into battle, then that’s you’re doing your team itself a disservice by having you as a weaker link and failing to look after your belongings.

Well, here’s the very real truth of that, and I would tell people all the time. Your performance. Your actions often speak louder than your words, especially in a sport or a setting like a combat competition, right? We’ll put those Cs in there, right? Your performance says things that your words might be remiss in revealing. We weren’t taught. We’re not allowed to say those things. It’s not appropriate to emote or whatever. But your performance shows it. And the truth is, if my mind is on something, that’s way more important than a football game.

It’s happening right now with Tom Brady, right?

Because I am unable to be present at that time, I believe one of the fundamental points that are frequently miscommunicated is—and you hear it all the time, right?

Mess up, and somebody says, What’s wrong with you? 

You just put me back, right? And I. Just put it up. a wall, right? as opposed to A1. On one where you say, “Hey, are you OK?”

Different energy. 

Different energies and my prayers would say Yo, she’s psychic; no, you told me because you’ve done this 99 times out of 100. And today you’re not there; you’re off. And so it is with the facts that I am familiar enough with to say that and to give you a soft place to land. Right, hey, if you need a minute, I’m here now. 

They may or may not feel comfortable, but the fact that you know they noticed and that you did not judge them but instead built a bridge for them speaks for itself. As a coach, I’ve learned a lot. My job is to get you to perform, which means if your mind is elsewhere, then my goal has to be first and foremost to help you bring your mind back into the present. Nothing else matters in the playbook except that the other is fantastic. Your mind is here, is that correct? 

As an example, if I were coaching Tom Brady right now, he would know more about football than I do. There’s probably a rarified air of I wouldn’t even say that 32 head coaches know more than him because he’s been on the field for so long every day for 22 years, just like that. The game is slow for him; he knows everything. You’re not going to shake him there. 

Right now, his mind isn’t there to the extent that it normally is, so coaching him is less about X’s and O’s than XOXO or X. And if we’re missing that, then you’re missing him because a human still has to show up and play the game, even if he has to go.

Oh, absolutely. I was talking to David Carter about you coming to the show. He’s so excited. You haven’t, but he was very impressed by one of your actions, especially something like that. mind-blowing for him. You were fresh out of the Cardinals, from what I understand—please correct me if I’m wrong—the honey badger was having some issues, and you went right to him and liked him. What did you do?

Well, he wasn’t having problems. First of all, look, he’s that guy. OK, he’s that good. But he was coming off an ACL, and I didn’t know him. I mean, I knew him as a player, and you know, obviously, right? If you don’t know, Honeybadger,  You don’t watch football. OK, Tyrone Matthew, for those of you who don’t know. He’s one of the best to ever do it, and he’s electric. He is magnetic on the field. He is an X-factor in your defense. He makes everyone better. He is, after all, that dude.

And what makes him so interesting? I don’t even know if he’s back at camp yet. But everybody who knew I had a Ph.D. in sports psychology is coming up to me, and they’re like your doctor, I can talk to you. Ask me a question. I mean when I say everybody, it wasn’t just coaches; some of them were coaches, but others were like media guys or this or that like everybody wanted to talk to me about. As they say, the time has come. Is he going to be able to attend? Back up and play that role. like a man recovering from an ACOR, I’m like, “I don’t know.” We’re assuming you’ve never met her. Ph.D., as you should be able to tell him that this gave me mind-stuff-tuff, and I was like, “Right, I do.” But I. I’m not sure how you don’t know now. Because I don’t know him and have never spoken to him, how can I predict how a guy will respond if I don’t know him? That’s conjecture, right?

I don’t want to talk around someone. Sometimes we have to do it from a media perspective, or somebody could ask an opinion, but not in a building. I’m going to be completely wrong, because I could tell you about the psychology of injury and how people go through phases, right? I can doctor it, and I can pull people out of it. But, especially at the top, you don’t want to generalize about someone who has never averaged anything in their entire life. 

No, this is a dude who has broken all the rules, so why wouldn’t he defy average now? Or he could go the other way, right, because he’s so extreme, and because he is so good, some people take it well. It is harder than others, right? And some people don’t rebound as well because an injury showed you all of a sudden that you’re not superhuman, that you’re not immune, and it puts a different element of thought in your head, right? That’s right, right? 

You’re aware that it’s very different in combat, especially at the extremes. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all answer, and to have attempted to do that to me was like saying, “You all don’t even know what you’re asking right now.” I’d be ******* if I said that. I mean, I’ve defied stereotypes my whole life, right? 

So, I don’t like that. I’ve told people about the things I’ve heard about myself. Oh my gosh, she’s crazy. She’s this and that… Blah blah, like, “Oh, really, and like.”

You say every man’s going to be calling a woman crazy for *****’s sake.

You find yourself taking notes. You can learn about me.

The stereotypes are amazing, right? It’s crazy just because they can’t make sense of us. What that is.

With Ty, “I don’t they just don’t know. I’d become so agitated that I wouldn’t give them an answer So when he finally got to camp, I was like, “I just walked up.” To him. And I was like, “I have to tell you.” I have been asked about you more than any other player, and he was like, “Really?” “What do they ask?” And I was like everybody else. Know that Kentai will return to the player he was before tearing his ACL.

And he’s like, right? What’d you say? And I stated that I had told him I didn’t know. And he’s like, “What?” I was thinking and told him I didn’t know. Can I meet the guy first?

People want to answer without having the answer.

Right and. 

This would be the guy who provides the answer.

That’s right, and he started laughing. You know how he pounded me and how I pounded him? I looked at his hand. And his hand has a mask. Right, there’s a mask tattoo on his hand. And I looked at him, thinking you’d got a mask on your hand, and he was like, “Yep.” And he goes. And when did you get that tattoo? I believe it was his first. I was thinking, “So you wear a mask.” You feel like people misjudge you all the time, huh? He just looked at me and was like, “And nobody knows that.” ******* **** about me. and I was. If I were to stop talking, what would I do? and you know what I mean. 

And from that moment on, we just had a really honest relationship that always started with communication, right? And we would just talk about things like how he was just so impressed by a little thing that I wouldn’t just judge him. I was going to have a conversation with him first, right? and I didn’t. You judge him. I allowed him to bring me in right away. Again, it’s a decision made by someone to tell the world about the SOS. Were you there? There’s a story there, and it’s told through empathy, as opposed to looking at somebody and judging them. This guy has all kinds of tattoos.

Oh, he’s a tattooed man OK, what’s a tattoo, man? Awesome right? I’ve been to Samoa, and I’ve seen firsthand how that is the ultimate symbol of bravery and warriors. Right, or you just returned from New Zealand, where the Maori culture is so strong that the women have tattoos that resemble piercings, like fangs, right? like if you were a known person from outside of there. I’d be like you, right? If you didn’t know, you wouldn’t ask, but you might be interested. Like Oh my gosh, this is demonic. However, if you have one, use it if you are in a hurry. A person who won’t judge jumps to conclusions and thinks that there’s a story and a reason, and it honors that culturally to have a conversation and be like, “Wow.” Tell me about it.

We should always go to curiosity first. The issue is that people judge before they are curious.  

Oh my gosh, the first time I got my hair dyed pink, I was going over to Australia for the first time. Time and this is when I’m playing women’s football. And spoiler alert! You all are women’s football players… It is a labor of love at its core, right? The most I ever got paid was for playing women’s pro football, and I say pro because we couldn’t afford professional. Was a dollar a game? 

Ahhh

Yes, and it’s still there. It’s still the case. Women do it nowadays.

Money does not get paid to play football. In America’s game, there’s no greater. There is no greater disparity in pay than in American sports, and I was going to Australia as a sports ambassador. They were flying me to Australia. I couldn’t even believe it. They had reached out to me about all the work I was doing, etc. I mean, I was blown away. I said yes, right? 

I mean, I knew exactly how I was going to pull it off. I was like, “Absolutely, I’m going.” I’ve wanted to go to Australia since I was a kid. I used to tell mine. Mom likes others. People would say they wanted to go to Europe and Italy and all this stuff. I was like, “I’m going to go to Australia, and I’m going to have a pet kangaroo.” I pretended to be matter-of-fact about it, so 

Travis, don’t you realize you said the kangaroo word Kangaroo, and he’s going to sideline him? 

I’m just going to go there in my mind and enjoy talking smack later that day. What I’m Doing Everyone is watching the show. 

Perfect.  

They’ve already heard it three or four times. 

Going to Australia. And my hair is a dark brown, so lightening it is a big deal, right?

Did you have to lighten it and then put pink in it? 

Just wait. So, I was blonde at the time, so I would get highlights done. Well, I thought my person was out of town, so I went to a new person. They underestimated the time. And so, they hadn’t left it on for long enough, and when I came out, my hair was most likely this color. And I felt mortified because there was no verification for the color. It was a mistake, but it was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and I was leaving on Friday, so no one was working on my hair as a repair was like. This is a mistake. People with outrageously colored hair, nobody looks this close right? This was my justification. Like they’d just be like, “Oh, that’s the girl with pink hair.” So, I went and bought a home dye kit, and I made my hair pink, and when I got to Australia, I had no idea how formal it was. We knew what we were doing, and they were introducing me to all of these bigwigs as a US sports ambassador. I have bright pink hair.

Oh gosh.  

And so, you know, I told them all. I was like, “You know, I just want you to know I’m doing a social experiment on perception.” So, my pink hair is a test to see if people will judge me based on my hair. What do you think? Does it make me look less intelligent? 

Oh, I love it. Oh my God, I love it.

Talk about it fake it until you make it… BS all the way through. 

I am telling you about the conversation, though. You could have based on that, it is phenomenal. Brilliant! 

But seriously, ******* with that, because my hair was fresh. But that was the first time I ever had pink hair, and it did. It taught me so much because, you know, all the dignitaries were there. Like, oh. It’s not like I think hair is quite charming and, you know, blah.

They can’t say much about it after you frame it like that.

I was like, “Blah.” I’m doing a social experiment.

Oh, I get it. 

Do you have any thoughts? I’m taking some qualitative data. 

No comment; I can’t do it.

You know, you think about that. And like all of those things, having a conversation about a tattoo, talking about somebody, talking to someone before you talk at them, or about them, those all go back to the root of what we’re talking about, which is empathy, right? Using conversation and situations to build understanding through different experiences

Do you know I wouldn’t have been able to make myself right? 

I don’t know what it’s like to grow up as a Maori woman, I aspire to know that a tattoo is a high honor. I don’t live in the United States. It’s not that but having a conversation with her could bring me into her world, her culture, and how they view things. And I became a richer, better person because we had that conversation as opposed to just jumping to condemnation. 

I’m somebody who could have been judged in every situation for all of the things that I did that were big in this world. There are a lot of people who have closed the door on me before they ever would have a conversation.  Simply put, a conversation didn’t believe in me as a female coach; that’s why it was like that. The equivalent of driving while black… Except for not having the police upside-down or upside-down, I should say… but passing judgment before even getting to know the individual seems unfair. Anytime we do that in a society, we’ve seen it in so many areas, right? It’s so damaging that I tell people I’m not, as if any of you could judge me. So, I’m going to give you the gift of conversation by not judging you. Before that, I’ll tell you if you’re a jerk.

Don’t get it twisted.

Jerk comes in every make, model, shape, size, green color, and sexual orientation; jerk comes in everything. That’s right, it’s available in all of those flavors. But I’m going to allow you to be a jerk.

Racist, no, you’re an *******, like, “Hey, you’re.”

Carol, Please tell us about your bad experience as a female in motorsports. 

Was that purely intentional?

And still, yeah.

Oh me. Yeah, it’s well, you know. I mean, Jen, we’ve discussed it before, and this is a male-dominated sport, similar to yours. I don’t think they welcome a woman, especially one who appears to be trying to make a change. 

Right, and even if the change is positive, it’s amazing to me how many doors will slam shut. How many things will they say negatively about you? As you mentioned, you’ve heard a lot about yourself; hearing it, you’re like, “Wow, that girl’s a *****,” but really. I mean, I think I tread fairly lightly 

 But I am also doing it for a bigger purpose, right? And I want to pay women in this manner. and I know that you know that I’ve struggled. long and hard doing what I’m doing, and if I gave up, who would be there to continue it? Nobody!

so, I know that this is my purpose, my mission, to do it that way so that we can elevate the sport. 

You know, I think one of the things that I look at now…. You know how easy it is to get sucked in at this point. in the heart, in the negatives, and in the experiences that we’ve all had. You know, people have said things like I’m a players’ coach or advocate, and that’s very true.

But that’s where I see the potential, and that’s where I also found solace, protection, and encouragement, right? I never encountered any difficulties with any of the players. They are much more open to change and much more open to someone who will look at them as they are, as opposed to being part of the established system.

You know, people have said things like I’m a players’ coach or advocate, and that’s very true. But that’s where I see the potential, and that’s where I also found solace, protection, and encouragement, right? I never encountered any difficulties with any of the players. They are much more open to change and much more open to someone who will look at them as they are, as opposed to being a part of a very well-established organization, which is appropriate for players coming up and through, as I discovered many of those to be as they are. Are you proud to be a part of the change, or are you intrigued by it? As we discussed, curious people are either wanting to know my story or see overcoming as a common ground, right? Where’s an established hierarchy who…

That is, without a doubt, the case. a ceiling that you’re constantly butting up against.

RIGHT! The way to think of it. Is this similar to what I tell everyone? Because, once again, judgment is hard, and we’ve all fallen on the wrong side of it, including me. I believe I’ve been extremely impolite. In some ways, I’ve been tested, but in others, I’ve been blessed. And here’s how I look at the status quo, the hierarchy, or whatever it is: The old guard was like that. Someone like that might not like someone like me. That, and it might not be as important as it appears. It’s about liking the idea of us because they probably didn’t even get to know us. 

We don’t even get to know us 

That’s what I’m saying, so it is. It’s like the idea. Let’s go to the beach quickly right? Let’s go to a bright, beautiful tropical beach. I was just in Samoa. I am sort of

so envious of you when I texted you both. They told me you were in. 

Yeah, I wish I was in Samoa. 

Samoa, yeah, and it had just opened up, right? And I know how cool it is that yet again, with my pink hair, I got to go somewhere as an ambassador of the sport. Also, on behalf of the State Department, So there might be some people who don’t like it. Others do. and we believe in you. understand the current situation. Is the status quo relaxing in the hammock? now on the beach and smoking? Get a Mai Tai, a strawberry daiquiri, or a pina colada. There’s a little breeze, but not much is moving them off that place. 

And then the idea of change, which is the idea of you or the idea of me, comes in and smacks the hammock spills the Mai Tai, and shakes things up like they’re never going to get out of the hammock unless someone did this, that is the real problem because the status quo is comfortable where things are.

They don’t like a challenge they don’t want to be challenged by.

Change is uncomfortable. And so, if you’re not perfectly content and embraced in this hammock, think about that. You’re thinking of a hammock, right? Like you, you’re well entrenched. It curves towards you. It accommodates you. It even rocks you to sleep if you’re not entrenched in the status quo, then, the idea of change is exciting. But if you are entrenched in the status quo and it is your comfort zone, then you probably don’t want to get uncomfortable, right? The idea of getting uncomfortable or of somebody you know disrupting that zone that has been there for so long is challenging, scary, and tough… all of those things, and so on. 

unsettling, to say the least. 

That is why those things exist. You know, I don’t want anybody spilling my Mai Tai either, and so when I get there, I’ll let you know I’m just kidding.

Hey, get a new one.

I’m a hamster wheel kicker, which is one of the nicknames I’ve given myself because you like to go out in town. You’re out with people. Everyone is using their default operating system. They’re just doing their thing in that zone, and I want to disrupt just enough for them to know that I notice them smiling, whatever it is. So, you know, they sprinkle some sunshine into their day and then turn it back on, and someone says, “I see you do this all the time.” Why do you do this? I’m like. No one ever sees him unless you do that. 

No one ever sees them, no one ever acknowledges them, and that can be the difference between someone having the worst day and ending it by being like, “You know what?” There is a little humanity out there.

It’s like Jen connecting with her players, in that the fact that you’re having a conversation indicates that they feel important to you. 

They’re important to you, even if you don’t realize them.

They are, but they don’t get to experience that from everyone Jen!

Unfortunately, and you know, I tell people all the time, I was like, “None of those things felt like they should be big things to me, right?” That’s just good human stuff. Those good human moments are what we should be striving for in everything that we do. Right. 

Nothing felt that big to me.  David gets mad at me. Sometimes he’s like, “You don’t realize what a big deal this is,” and I’m like, “It shouldn’t be a big deal.” That’s why I’m annoyed. It should not be a big deal. Put one’s humanity first.

Why do you think it happens… conditioning?

Systemically, we’ve not made room for emphasis on things like empathy, right? I remember I was writing my book, Play Big, I forget what it was, but I kept having to cross it out. Did you know? it was like. I’m not sure if she used empathy because she was a woman or because I was a woman. “No, no, no,” I say. Empathy is a leadership trait, period, as I kept having to rewrite it. 

Empathy is a leadership trait, period. 

No, because of this…. Or for women, or any other just cause…. Empathy is a leadership trait end of the discussion.  We’re not in a hierarchical situation, so shut up and dribble. The world has seen far too much to believe that doing so would be falling backward far more than you realize. Daylight savings, right? 

We can’t look at humanity and not wonder why we’re not putting humans first instead of looking for ways to separate ourselves, can we? like the demographics, Questionnaires in which we must all check “his” or “that”? Those things inherently create ways of dividing the US, right? 

I was just in Rwanda genocide in Rwanda, Is it true that tribalism fueled the flames of genocide? Right, if you want to conquer a people, go ahead and create separation within a culture. You don’t have to fight them; they accept it.

They fight each other.

Yeah, it’s very true in Rwanda now. I mean, there was so much beauty in the past. But I like it.

You cannot culturally, ask what tribe someone is from because those tribes had ways in which they were set against each other to kill each other, and it was so striking to me. to think that we’re still doing that here, right? People say we’re so developed and awake—the land of the free and the home of the brave. Nonetheless, we do it. here and suffering from here via systemic means such as a demographic questionnaire in search of ways to be separate. Separation is never equal. It never is. 

It’s like putting people in these little boxes everywhere

Let’s go back to what we talked about with girls in the beginning, right where you felt like you had to minimize some element of yourself to truly fit in a box, so nobody felt better. We’re doing that on demographic questionnaires every single day. Which one of the following boxes most accurately describes you?

Outside the box.  

And every time we do that, we’re teaching people that they must find an answer for themselves in their lives. You know what I mean. Why are there a million ways to qualify whether or not a woman is taken There’s only one for a guy

Oh my God. How did we not have that discussion, Travis?

We talked about this, yes, I believe we discussed it on the air, but we did not discuss this. 

That is insane to me. you, and not only that, but if you’re dating someone, you know you aren’t. Taking you’re still single. 

How? Who quantifies that exactly? 

like I don’t. I don’t want you. to know all this about me, none of your business.

Rings I’m chasing our Super Bowl rings, and I have six.

Ooh, nice.  

Right? That’s some bragging rights right there. 

I am not defined. By putting a ring on my finger, you could claim me, and I don’t think I should say that right away. It’s like saying no doctor is fine. Missy is superior to Miss Missus. Whatever, yeah, because that title hasn’t been earned by anybody, but I put a damn lot of time into doctor or coach.

I’m sorry; that says it all. That’s the deed that can claim me. Thank you.  

That’s right, Jen, tell me! Tell us something about yourself that not a lot of people know. 

I mean, I think there are a lot of things. I believe people are familiar with us a fraction of our reality. 

You know my mom’s an artist. She was an artist who dropped teens off at the center, and my dad’s a Vietnam veteran who then went on to be a chiropractor and a race car driver. So, Carol, you know. Oh, he drove race cars for a long time and was a big-game fisherman, so I get a competitive streak from my dad. 

I think I’m kind of the best mix of my mom and dad, right? My mom could create beauty out of anything—in relationships, in people. She’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. You could, like everybody, love my mom. They’d be like, “Oh, we love Mom Nancy,” like, of course, you do. She’s like. And you know she’s lovable, and you just want to pick her up and love on her. And Papa Welcher terrified everyone; I couldn’t get a date in high school because I received the bulking for free. Yeah, and he was a chiropractor, so you know he’d be like that. I heard you are friends with my daughter. (crack crack crack)

I’m still terrified, like your scary jerk face. I’d like to bring guys home to my parents because of the trauma. I watched my older sister bring guys through. “Oh, no!” he exclaimed. “Girl, you’re going to laugh because when I went to, like, when I was,” I reasoned. Well, first in the arena and then with the Cardinals. All of the guys would be like a coach, you know you are the most impossible woman in the world to date, right? They’ll have to go through the wringer. No, not through us. God will never play a trick on you. You just tell us what happened. We’ll explain it to you. So, I used to get upset if I was dating somebody and something went wrong. be like, hey? What do you think about Oh, no, coach? You got it. That has to go; it’s not worth it, coach. 

You’re out of town this weekend, as are we be out of town, right? and they’d be like a coach, we’ll send somebody in. There were always girls, the guy, and see if he was loyal. Oh yeah, so my guys were like, “No tricks.” They’d be like, “No hand is worth it.” He’s a dog. Do you want me to, dog? Do you want me to prove it? Oh, I get it. a girl he has never met. It doesn’t matter what city Oh yeah, hey. And by the way, do this like a coach. So, you’re out of town, right? I like this one as well. know what they’re like. Oh, baby, I’m going out tonight. Yeah, send me a picture and let me see how you look tonight, so you could have him send a picture, and then they could send in a girl to see how she is. Oh, that’s the guy.

God, this is it. 

Dude, you need to go in there and see if that’s true. like tries to take you home, flirts with you, or buys you a drink. You need to test it out for a coach.

So, how many of these guys were total jerks, and how did they do it? Many passed the test.

We’re not going to talk about that, we are going to keep something secret about that, but it is. It is. That’s what I’ll say. There have been a few things that have been better than others. And you know, I was immersed in the world of guys because the guys taught me about guys on so many levels, right? Like it or not, we’re just players, right? but we would discuss things and show them; I don’t.

I’m not sure; did you find some of them were your misconceptions? about their preferences for women, and then they tell you the truth, and you’re like?

Like one of the funniest things, right? I remember one day I had these wedge Nikes when they first came out like the Nike lifts, and I was in training camp here, and I have four of the guys. Coach: two games on point. Now, as you know, I wish. I wish to have Something I said to my girl was, “Well, you should not have a coach.” And I was like, “We mean no.”

How do I go about that, right? You know, babe, I just saw these and thought you’d like them. So, where did you see them? No way, no how, no how. And I was thinking, “OK, so you tell them that, coach Jen told you to get them. And you use me as your justification. They’re like. Oh yeah, Coach, that’ll work. 

Okay, you’re safe. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, there were guys who would then act as if they were in a large group. I’m sure every girl on the Cardinals, like every wife or girlfriend, has those wedge sneakers. There was probably a run in Arizona, and they could all blame it on me because then I was like, listen for this. You tell him, “I,” told you to get them for him because she’ll be cool with your coach as well. They were like, “Yeah.”

Yes, 

I have also had coaches that I coached with when we got back, like when I was the head coach of Team Australia when we got back to the US. Those guys were gone for a while, you know. I bought their wives’ pedicures. So let me. Tell you what, I was the popular code; they were like, “Hey, I’ve got to go do that.” This is for the coach, which you are.

You can go coach her. I’d send something like, “Hey, you know what?” It’s your wife’s birthday, after all. Tell her to go get her hair done.

These are human things, blah blah blah. So those were probably some of my favorites, followed by certain things. Yes, you are concerned. My team members are like, “Let’s check out what you got for the nail game, coach.” OK, look good, play well, etc. That’s a very real thing. And the boomerang foot thing is true too. Boomerang to see if you have. They will look to see if you have bad feet.

Oh, that doesn’t look good. It’s like men with bad shoes like ratty shoes. Nice outfit. Ratty shoes, no. The basics If you can’t do that 

Basics, yes, and I have taken many guys for pedicures; that is probably something most people don’t know. I have looked at guys’ feet before, and I’m like, “I know your wife.” She does not deserve those feet.

No, Sir. 

Absolutely no. Do you want to know why she was in a bad mood today, she woke up to that!

Just football, y’all. We need to have these conversations in person, as you mentioned.

Good grooming, simple grooming, as if you care, don’t you think? 

We need a lot. 

Yeah, but I don’t. I don’t.  

But I need something.

Comment on the pedicure game. I went to see my father, who lives in Weslaco, Texas. Snowbird, and he’s like, “Yeah, what were you doing in Mexico before?” He’s like, “I’ll go shopping.” It’s like when I and my wife get pedicures. He’s like, “You guys should get one.” So, my wife, and my dad go get pedicures in Mexico for Christmas. I love it. Yeah, why the *** not

I’ll not do it regularly. Yeah, it’s about self-care. I’m like, “You just hate your toenails, buddy,” but 

Let’s double-check that you have these. 

These are your money-makers, yes?

Your money. You are constantly monitoring them.

Just see them. toe coming out. But how do those sandals compare to those sneakers? Like that, no, sir. 

So, there you have it. I have to inquire about that because I have you. I did bring in the experts. Because I have ingrown toenails, my big toe will be painful if I don’t let it grow out I have problems, and a girl that I know commented on it. “What’s up with their feet?

This is medically necessary, but she was willing to have the conversation. Ask the question about it.

You just need them to be more patient if it needs to be longer than they need to be. Yes, they are well cared for. 

They are, indeed, but

But then it looks like it’s intentional, not accidental. 

Yes, but when she looked down, she said, “They have some toenails.” I’m like, “Let me tell you about it.”

Because it’s necessary and they’re better well-buffed, yeah? No snaggle-toe, no unevenness, no cracks, and very well done. 

Oh no.  

You’re saying it’s medically necessary for them to be long. I’m saying it’s aesthetically necessary for them to look good. 

They do. 

Otherwise, I’ll contact *******. I’m going to use the word “like.” I’ll believe you. It’s medically necessary. This is not medically necessary if they look well cared for and you’re like, “I get really bad.” because this means they have to be right on that ledge. That is correct.

It just means more regular manicures

You should be there every 2-3 weeks. 

Yeah, to keep it at that length, for it was not going to be painful either.

That’s right. I can’t have them sneaking out the front of the shoe. 

I can’t have my nails get there before I do. 

Yeah, that’s right, no. 

And there’s another part of it too, right? like, and this is reality. If you have terrible feet, some people do….

Yeah true. 

The rest of us do not need to see them… cover up.

Are there such things as closed-toe shoes?

If there are times when my pedicure should have been done earlier, I’m not wearing freaking sandals; I’m going to do it. Yeah, it’s not happening.

As we’re getting ready to close out here, Jen, I’d love some advice for anyone out there that’s struggling with really grabbing hold of who they are as a person and showing up in the world as they’re meant to be. What would you tell people?

There are so many times when I have felt like the challenges were too big. Was I insufficient? Why am I the person doing this? Or am I brave enough?

And have I forced myself to be so? to be the woman I needed when I was my age and lacked what I lacked have had a mom who was tremendously, usually, but I needed somebody whom I could look at, and You, “You what do I need, what do I need from an athletic standpoint or a posh world?” Right, and I know I didn’t have as many of those men out front as a young girl, right? Sone, that’s one.

And then #2. I also dig back to the position where I found myself as the first female coach in the NFL. I have to say this as if I can’t do it. 

And if I’m not brave enough, then someone else should have been in this position. It could have n in this post you and the truth are for any one of us, I mean, we just had a whole shoe conversation. Walking in someone else’s shoes isn’t comfortable, and it’s certainly not sustainable, right? The goal is that you don’t just make the first impression that you can’t maintain, it’s that you show up in a way that you’d be comfortable living with and working with and relating to every. Yay, right? 

And that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have down days. It doesn’t, but…. Whose voice do you want to carry, right? If you can’t…if you wouldn’t want to be that person, the next day or the next day or the next day, or if you feel like you would boil over if you had to not speak or not act, then eventually you’re going to come outside of that. Very, very carefully manicured framework that you. Crafted to show up in one day, you’re not going to be able to be that person for a long time, and you’ll end up being very uncomfortable. 

So, for me, one of the things is walking in the first time as yourself with crazy nails and pink hair and whatever it else is, or even simply being a woman in my profession makes it uncomfortable. It’s hard. Some people are going to make judgments. Some people are not going to like you simply for existing, right? 

First, “inherently” means only So I’ve been the only numerous It is frequently stated to be a part of “What will the rest of my life look like?” However, after that first uncomfortable impression, the truth is that the rooms that I get invited into now are different are the ones who know what they’re getting. 

People aren’t surprised that they asked me to coach a team, serve on a board, speak on stage, or travel to Samoa. They’re not surprised by the person who shows up. This is what they signed up for. And so, it goes setting that expectation in the first place room and accepting that there will be moments of discomfort or, you know, some friction, in the beginning, is worth it so that the conversations, expectations, and everything else down the road will be exactly what they’re looking for, and I’ll realize that there are some rooms you’re not supposed to walk into and some places you won’t be welcomed, and knowing that is as important as knowing who you are. 

One of my friends says it often. Go where you’re celebrated, not simply where you’re tolerated, and I think this happens too often because we are trained to believe we should be trying to fit in. We end up in situations where we are just tolerated, whereas if we go to places where we can, we are welcomed. Truly stand up and stand out. We’ll be in the rooms that were celebrated for having them.

Oh, I love that. I love that, Jen. Where is the best place for people to reach out to you and connect with you 

Yeah, probably the easiest is via social at Jay Welter.47 is TwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn as well, and my website is jenwelter.com, Linktr.ee,  so it’s pretty accessible via those things.

Perfect, we’ll include all of those links. The show notes, Doctor Jen Well, thank you so much for being real with us and being honest and open. Tell us some great stories, and most importantly being you

For sure, thanks for having me.

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