Ep. 215 Activate Your Prey Drive with Michael Burt

The Prey Drive

The Animal in All of Us

Micheal Burt, aka America’s Coach, is a former championship basketball coach and the author of 14 books that address how people can reach their full potential. This week, he talks with Luke and Josh about an instinct in all of us—human and animal alike. It’s called the prey drive.

What is the prey drive?

The prey drive is what prompts predatory animals to stalk, capture, and kill. The instinct to go after what we want, whether it’s a new career, inner peace, or any number of infinite dreams and possibilities, and to persist with intensity until we acquire it—is in all of us.

The problem for most of us, however, is this instinct lays dormant within us. It remains latent until something activates it. Once activated, it requires that we exercise it like a muscle in order to keep it going. This is where having a coach can help.

What activates the prey drive?

As Burt notes, our prey drive remains underdeveloped until it is provoked and activated. We’ve all had the experience of wanting to either get or avoid something or have been in a circumstance in which our prey drive is activated. Burt identifies these activators as:

  • Competition: We are faced with a struggle that can be either external or internal.
  • Fear of loss: We don’t want to lose something of value to us. It might be status, a way of life, money, respect, or anything else we hold dear.
  • Environment: Our environment may support high expectations.
  • Exposure: Contact with people of influence, being surrounded by people who are learning and growing.
  • Embarrassment: Dissatisfaction with how your life is versus how you want it to be.

Once activated, the prey drive propels you toward action. But unless it is reactivated consistently, your prey drive and that push to act lessens over time. Your prey drive will lessen, that push to act is reduced to a nudge, and you’ll give in to the inertia and find yourself at rest again.

The value of having a coach

Burt admits that most people whose drive is activated know how to get going—they just don’t know how to sustain their effort. That’s where a good coach comes in.

A coach who knows how to pull greatness out of people will know how to keep your prey drive activated. A big part of a business coach’s skill is knowing how to set expectations, how to keep people accountable, and how to motivate others to achieve what they want.

For sales professionals, Burt offers a coaching program he calls The Million Dollar Follow Up where participants average 5.7 referrals per deal.

He coaches professionals to focus on customer engagement rather than customer service because in his experience, referrals happen as a direct result of helping people get to a better place in their lives. It’s the customer’s experience with you that will dictate referrals.


Key Points

  • Your prey drive can be activated by:
    • competition
    • fear
    • environment
    • exposure
    • embarrassment
  • Once activated, your prey drive needs persistent and intense conditioning, or it will go dormant again.
  • How a customer or client feels about their engagement and experience with you will dictate the referrals you get.

Action Item

Find which of the five prey drivers gets you going, and then put it into your morning routine.

Connect | Resources

Website where you can find Coach Burt’s books, learn about his live coaching events, and follow him on social media: https://coachburt.com/


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