GCM 81 | Mental Performance

 

In life and in business, there are internal and external factors that affect how we perform. This is something that Grant Parr has to deal with day in and day out. is a Mental Sports Performance Coach focusing on high impact and combat sports. His practice uses mental skills, techniques, and strategies to help athletes and coaches gain a competitive edge in their sports performances. In this episode, Grant joins Rodney Flowers on the show to share how can we use some of these skills in our everyday lives.

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Gaining A Competitive Edge In Life and In Business Through Mental Performance With Grant Parr

I have Grant Parr with me. He is a Mental Sports Performance Coach focusing on high impact and combat sports. His practice uses mental skills, techniques and strategies to help athletes and coaches gain a competitive edge in their sports performances. He works with a wide variety of athletes and teams, including Olympians, Olympic coaches, professional athletes, collegiate athletes and high school athletes. His podcast, 90% Mental, provides a window into a broad range of athletes and coaches, mental games and shares their insights around mental performance. Welcome to the show, Mr. Grant Parr.

Thank you. I love it. I want you to be part of my show.

You are living in a world where I come from with a sports background, high energy and a high level of performance. I get excited about that. I feel that some of the skills that you teach on the field can be useful off the field, in business and our personal lives. I want to dive into some of that stuff and get into it. I’m glad that you are here doing well. I’m excited about the work that you do because you get to work with some amazing people and amazing performers. Tell us a little bit about what is it like to be in that space.

To me, it’s about joy. When I’m sharing my energy, receiving energy and connecting with performers, whether they’re athletes or corporate athletes or executives, it’s pure joy. The fact that I found my passion later in life, but still I was like, “This is what I’m built for.” When you asked me that question, I’m joyous.

I’m glad that you’re contributing that to the world. I’m glad that it’s something that you enjoy doing. I want to dive into some of the details around your philosophy. You live in the sporting world and I believe, in life and business, there are internal and external factors that affect how we perform. This is something that you have to deal with day in and day out. I’m sure you have people coming to you. They want to perform better or maybe they have it, but they didn’t perform up to an expectation. Maybe they have these mental things going on in their minds. You’re the fixer. You’re the guy that handles the tackles and all that. How can we use some of these skills that you teach in life and in business?

When you think about mental skills training or the concepts of sports psychology, it’s life skills. As humans, we have to deal with things called emotions and thoughts. They dictate how we operate and move in the world. They dictate the way we focus, how we have to refocus or get out of focus. When you think about how does this work, how can it translate to people within athletics or the workplace, it just does. The basis of my work starts with being present, but with our breath. If I can give your readers anything, if you want to have a better mental game, if you ever want to enhance mental skills, start with being in the present where your feet are, but with your breath. You got to get a relationship with your breath. That’s where it happens.

I can imagine some people reading and they’re like, “What is that? What do you mean by my breath? I’m breathing. I’ve been breathing all my life. What are you talking about?”

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It’s being conscious, your conscious breath. When I ask people to build a relationship with their breath, I’m asking them 3 to 5, maybe 7 times a day to drop into your breath. Push everything out for 2 to 3 seconds, maybe 5 gets in to your breath and feel the air come through your nose and come out your mouth. Do that 2 or 3 times and then let it go and move on with your life. When you’re watching a movie, reading a book, social media, in the shower, moments where you’re by yourself, drop into your breath and drop out of it. When you need your breath, when you need to go into a tough conversation or you need to hold somebody accountable or you’re going into an interview, you’re playing a big game, you’ll need your breath. I want you to have that relationship with your breath.

I’m high in energy and I’m aggressive. I can imagine some people that may be in that space. They want to perform and then thinking about, “What I need to do, I need to train. I need to do this and to do that. I need to get myself.” This is something so simple. You’re saying, “You need to practice being in your breath,” which requires you to tame all that aggression and all that energy, bottle it up and slow it down and practice stillness. Why is that important?

I’ll give you an analogy or an image. When you think about the days of our daily lives, we are surrounded by what I call emotional hurricanes internally and externally. There are things that we get wrapped up quickly. When that hurricane starts going with our thoughts or emotions, or there are external things that are moving around fast or chaotic environments, we’re faced with that every day. When we talk about being still and getting our breath, the whole purpose of getting your breath is to get into the eye of that hurricane. What happens in the eye of a hurricane? It’s calm. I want us to start when anything is chaotic internally or externally. That’s when we need to get in our breath. That’s when we need to be still.

That’s when we need to know when we’re going in fifth gear, how to downshift a second gear but still being controlled. It’s about controlling. The goal is to conquer the emotional hurricane and getting in the middle of it and using your breath. That’s about perspective. Fifth gear for you might be different from fifth gear from me, as long as we get into control. I don’t mean being in a bad way of being a control freak. It’s about gaining control of your body and your mind. When those things are not aligned and they’re together, you’re locked in. That’s the best moment you can be. You can be the most alive where your feet are. You’re in your breath because you’re not thinking about what’s going to happen. You’re not going to think about what just happened. You’re thinking about now.

You’re talking about being grounded.

Being grounded in a way that you can ground yourself no matter what. When I’m teaching breathing or meditation, I use this analogy that if you can get this relationship, you can feel the value, the connection and the relationship with breathing and meditation. I don’t care if you’re in the middle of New York City. Union Square, you can sit down there. If you can drop into your breath and drop into meditation and block all that stuff out, that’s control. That hurricane, they’re chaotic things that are happening inside and outside. It’s about dropping in and gaining control of you because you can do that. No one else is going to do it.

What happens when we do that? You talk about connecting the mind and the body to produce an elite mindset. Is this part of that process when you drop into that state, you drop into your breath? Are we trying to find a certain sense of connection?

GCM 81 | Mental Performance

Mental Performance: In our daily lives, we are surrounded by emotional hurricanes internally and externally.

 

Connection with yourself will only allow you to connect with others better. The more you know yourself, the more that you’re grounded, the more you’re going to share energy, receive energy. It’s all about connection.

How do we overcome internal and external distractions? Is this the key to that or are there other strategies that you use to help us overcome those distractions?

There are a lot of refocusing or focusing strategies out there. If you’re going to change any behavior, if you’re going to handle anything, self-awareness comes with your breath. If you want a strategy that I use a lot, if I’m dealing with adversity, change, and some stuff that’s coming at me, sometimes I have to get into the present with my breath. I’m going to ask myself, “What’s important?” The win mindset. I feel that if you get into that moment and you can ask yourself no matter what that situation is, whatever the adversity that you’re facing, if you can get to that point and say what is important and act on it, I don’t care what the result is. That’s winning because you’re back into control. You’re back into your most alive self at that moment. That’s one way if you want to refocus or deal with some adversity. All that traffic is going on in your mind and your heart is to organize it by asking what’s important.

I’ve been in some situations that are high pressure, high stress, anxiety. All of those things seem like an overloaded circuit, all this chaos and stuff. You can’t think. You are trying to figure out what the best thing to do, what the next move is. As you think about what the next move is, you’re trying to figure out what happens if I make that move? You overloaded yourself. What you’re saying is take a step back, breathe, gain some clarity about the situation and then ask the right question. I know you said, “What’s important?” which is the win strategy. I believe that being in that place, asking the win question and other questions too, because if you ask the right question, it leads you to the right answer. Sometimes we’re so quick to act, which is like a reptilian brain. We’re reacting to the situation, instead of responding with a sense of clarity. What are your thoughts about that?

Here’s the thing about our thoughts because our brain wasn’t designed to focus on one thing. It goes in and out, focus and out of focus. It just happens. The thing about our thoughts because we have so many of them throughout the day, is that we need to learn how to talk to them and not listen to them. What you’re talking about is when you’re trying to control your emotions and dealing with adversity and you start thinking about what’s next in the future, which out of your control. That’s where we have to be self-aware and talk to our thoughts. That’s how I empower my athletes and empower the performers I work with to build some self-awareness. It takes minutes where you start saying like, “I’m not good.” You start getting self-doubt and all this inner dialogue becomes negative. You have to learn how to talk to it and empower yourself.

What are some strategies that you have to speak to yourself or speak to your thoughts more to provide more encouragement or power to yourself?

It’s more of a mantra for me. I speak in front of teams daily. I’ve groups of people. As much as I love to do that, and I love to share my energy, but I’m human. I do get nervous. Sometimes it depends on how big the crowd is. Maybe the nostalgia of the coach or this team that’s awesome that I start making up all this story and I start getting nervous. For me, the way that I talk to those feelings and talk to those emotions, I say three things, “I get to do this. They want to hear me. Tap into your joy.” I say that about 3 to 5 times. I usually do it before I go out of my car. I’m locked into those three things. I’m not thinking about anything negative. I’m not thinking about what’s going to happen. I know that they want to hear me. I get to do this. I’m empowering myself when I say that. The most beautiful emotion for me is joy. Those three things, I’m ready to roll. When I started having some weird feelings, I go to those types of statements.

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Is it your recommendation that we beforehand set aside some type of statements that we can go to, take some time and some stillness to figure out what are some empowering thoughts, phrases or mantras that we could say to ourselves?

I call it champion talk. We need to learn how to talk like champions. The best way for me to get people going to start building that inventory of words and statements or acronyms is to start with an affirmation. I literally have athletes write out five statements of ‘I am’ statements, especially when you say, “I am a champion.” That is when you’re talking about being alive and confirm who I am.

I’m thinking about I am a champion and I’m getting fired up about that. It doesn’t take much for me in the first place, but I love that.

If you say, “I’m a great host,” enough times, your energy is going to come out positive. You get five of those statements down and then you do another five of, “I can do this. I can and I will.” Those fifteen statements, when you say those enough times, you’re training your unconscious brain and your mind. You’re hearing it. You’re writing it. When you’re writing it and saying it, it’s more powerful. You’re selling yourself in a good way.

It’s funny that you say you’re training your unconscious brain. When you think about athletes, the first thing we think about doing is going to the gym, putting the work in, practice all of that, which is training. That’s all training the body. We don’t think about these types of pieces of training. This is as important and something that we should get excited about because if you win this game, you’re trained in this game and you can win it here, it makes everything else. Maybe not so much secondary, but it makes it a lot easier to win on the field when you have it here.

I played thirteen years of football as a quarterback. I was a good quarterback. I have physical talents, but the best game in my entire life was because I had a mental game and the worst game in my life was because I didn’t have a mental game. It didn’t matter how great I was physically. It was truly my mental game. You’re talking about training. This training is easy to do and it’s easy not to do. Do you want to build a relationship with your breath? It takes seconds, but you have to do it every day a little bit at a time. Do you want to meditate? Do a little bit every day. Do you want to visualize? All it takes is seconds to minutes. The whole idea is easy, but it’s not easy to do. People don’t connect and they don’t commit to it. They commit to a little bit and they don’t know how to keep it going.

How do we psych ourselves out to put the work in? It’s like we’re choosing. This does not feel good or people don’t feel that this is important. This is the flowery type of work. They wanted to do hardcore work, something’s more enjoyable. How do we convince ourselves to do this on a regular basis?

GCM 81 | Mental Performance

Mental Performance: We need to learn how to talk like champions.

 

There are a few ways of looking at it. If this is what you want and you’re bought into it, you’ve got to have goals. You’ve got to hold accountable. You’ve got to be vulnerable. You’ve got to be willing to show up. There’s so much information out there like videos. Kobe Bryant is a great one. Michael Jordan is a great one, as well as Tiger Woods and Serena Williams. These are people that do this every day and it’s allowed them to be elite. I use their stories and their videos to be a buying tool so that people can understand that, “They’re doing it and it’s allowing them to be elite.” It goes beyond me telling them my story or telling them what they need to do. I’m adding another layer of the buying process.

When you think about this work and the whole compound interest, you put $0.01 in the bank on the first day, then you put $0.02 the second day, $0.03 on the third day. After 30 days, you’ve got some money in the bank. It’s the same thing with this training. You do a little bit each day. Within 30 days, you’re like, “I’ve got a little more control. I’m a little bit more centered.” You do for 2, 3 months, and then let’s see you in twelve months. You’re going to be dialed in, but you’ve got to be committed to doing little things every day and be consistent.

Is this a competitive edge? You mentioned some athletes that are at the top. They are considered some of the best in their sport. The best of the best. When I look at those people, they have a competitive edge. You work with top athletes, elite athletes every day. Is it fair to say that this work, the competitive edge is the difference between good and great?

It is and there’s a great book called The Slight Edge. It goes what I would say doing a little bit every day consistently. This will give you the edge, but you have to do a little bit each day. This stuff will make you elite. You’ve got to be patient with it and you’ve got to commit to it.

This is something that works for executive leaders. Would you recommend this for executive leaders, mentors, people in the business space as well?

A hundred percent because they’re dealing with thoughts and emotions. I work with a lot of executives that are in transition. You’re talking about people that what they do is making incredible decisions. They’re making visionary decisions and huge financial decisions. When they’re going between jobs, they’re human. They get in their own way and typically it’s their thoughts. I teach them how to get in their own way by controlling getting them back into power. I think what is important with this work is teaching anybody that’s a performer and have a relationship with failure.

Failing and success go together. Getting them to understand that if you want to be successful, you have to fail. If that’s the deal, let’s fail up. Let’s fail forward. Let’s fail fast and move on. If we’re failing, we have to get the feedback. Don’t get so caught up in the emotional charge of failing. That’s what stops us and then we start overthinking. Dave Chappelle said a beautiful statement one time. He said that failure is informative.

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I’m doing some research on you. I found that you have this thought process about opportunities in greatness. From your perspective, you feel that the world is filled with unexpected opportunities for greatness. It’s our preparation, our readiness to take advantage of those opportunities. Elaborate on that for me a little bit.

As far as the mental skills portion of this, your preparation is your separation. When you’re prepared, you’re separating yourself from your opponents, from stress, and from self-doubt. You’re enhancing your confidence. If you are prepared and you’re doing the right things every day to get your mind and body connected, then when you see an opportunity, you’re going to seize it. I like to say that crisis versus opportunity, there are crises all the time. A crisis for you might be a different crisis for me. I lived in a crisis for two decades because of the occurring injury to my hip from football. I didn’t know how to handle it and I was stuck in it for two decades.

After I turned and looked at it a little bit differently, had a different lens, a different angle, a different perspective, I was like, “I got it. I got the opportunity.” What I’m teaching people is that regardless of what the crisis is, large or small, it’s been around for a long time. If you look at it differently and you’re preparing yourself, you’re going to be successful and you’re going to see the opportunity a little bit clearer.

Perception comes into play here. A lot of times a crisis is not really a crisis. It’s your viewpoint and perspective on that situation.

For the most part. If you’re in a car accident, that’s a crisis. It is what it is. Sometimes, a crisis might be getting pulled into a job interview unexpectedly. You’re sitting there and you get a phone call from a recruiter like, “The manager on the phone, are you available?” Instantly, we get stressed out on that. “I’m not prepared.” If I am prepared, I’ll be like, “Let’s go. Get them on the phone.” I know how to get into that moment. I know how to get into me because I’ve spent a lot of time with my breath, my thoughts, meditation, and gratitude work. It’s getting prepared for those types of unexpected moments.

What is the practice? Are we going back to breathing exercises? Is this part of being prepared to handle those types of circumstances and situations? We’re talking about is handling pressure. Being in a place where we don’t crack under pressure or chaos. As an athlete, everyone can see how that’s important. We have moments like that in our everyday lives. How do we overcome those?

There are two ways that come to my mind. They were in my book. There is a model, an acronym called MVP, who doesn’t want to be their own most valuable player? I believe that if you want to connect your mind and body, do your daily MVPs, meditate, visualize, and powerful self-talk. If you’re doing that to connect the body, that’s one way. You’re constantly training your body and your mind to get together to be your most alive self. When you’re dealing with it versus you’re dealing with something unexpected, you’re grounded. What I’ve done is I’ve taken that a little bit further in the moment. There’s a strategy called BVT: Breathe, Visualize and Talk, self-talk.

GCM 81 | Mental Performance

The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness

In the instance of what I brought up about a job interview, someone says, “The manager is on the phone, can you talk?” I get into my breath real quick. I see myself whatever that vision is. I can see it quickly. It needs to be 1 to 3 seconds. I talk myself into where I want to go. I take a breath, I see it, then I go, “Let’s go.” That’s what locks me. That’s what gets me, but I got to do that. I got to practice that a lot. As with the free throw shot, you have all the power to sit there, bounce that ball, breathe, visualize the shot, tell yourself that you’re a champion and then shoot it. Trust yourself. You have to practice that to make it very quick.

You have to believe it too. There’s a sense of ownership. You got to have this. That requires your belief system to kick in and support what you’re seeing. Could you elaborate on that for us a little bit?

We have to train to reprogram our brain because there are these developmental stages we go throughout our lives. They start literally in the first four years of our life. Our belief systems, they come from those stages when we were young. I’m 45 years old. Within the last couple of years, I had a negative system that had been around since high school. I had to reprogram myself to not have it be a part of my being and my fabric. It took a lot of work. I had to do a ton of work. To be honest with you, I’ll be vulnerable. My negative belief system was that I wasn’t smart enough. I played football for a long time as a quarterback, one of the hardest positions in sports. I’ve spent my whole life saying I’m not smart enough.

Playing quarterback, you have to be pretty smart. I carried it with me, in my work, in my professional life and I started my own practice, GameFace Performance. I started that job several years ago, thinking that I’m still wasn’t smart enough. I got to a point where I say, “I’m done with this. I am smart.” I had to forgive myself. That was one way. I had to forgive myself a lot to let go of that. That is belief systems. If you can start reprogramming your mind because you have the power to do that, these belief systems will help you, but you have to be willing to do the work so that when you do use a positive belief system that’s going to help you, it’s there. You have to do the work to get there.

I want to thank you for sharing that. I believe that a lot of people are dealing with that. One of the most difficult things for people to face is themselves and the thing that they say to themselves. People treat themselves worse than any other person. They say things to themselves that no one else would even ever say to them. I don’t even know where to get this stuff on, but you’re right. It’s the program. What are some of the things that you did to reprogram yourself? I think we need a class to reprogram. Everyone needs to take that. You got to have a reprogramming class to get your license. How do we do this work? After we become aware and we know we want to reprogram ourselves, we have some baggage, where do we go from here?

I’ll speak of my process. I had to reflect and go back in my life, not relive my life. Look at what was special about me. I’m very kinesthetic. When it comes to feelings, emotions, and music, I had to sit there and get into music in my headphones and go back to the beautiful moments where I was the man. I forgot that for a long time. It was seventeen years where I‘m like, “I didn’t want to talk to you about football. I didn’t want to talk about throwing touchdowns and breaking records.” I didn’t want to do it because I felt that it wasn’t me anymore. Guess what? That is me. I had to go back to all these special moments as a leader, a friend, and as a manager. I had to go back to all that stuff and then forgive myself. I had to sit there and do the hard work, look at it. That’s how I reprogrammed myself. A lot of it I used music. Also, breathing and meditation were huge as well.

You got back to that place where you felt good about you and you were confident. You knew you were on it. How did you stay there? I feel that you visited that place frequently. That’s who you are. That’s how you feel about yourself. How did you maintain that?

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There’s a great story and I’ll make it short. I had two hip replacements on this same hip before I was 40. After the first surgery, it left me handicapped for four years. I couldn’t clip my toenails. I can’t tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend my leg. My spine turned in three spots because of the way I overcompensated my walk. The first seventeen years were bad. Those four years were even worse. It got to a point where a new doctor came in and gave his perspective and say, “This is what we’re going to do to your hip. We’re going to do some alternative stuff. We’re going to put some radiation in your hip.” I was like, “Let’s go. I want my life back.” I lived in a very dark spot for a long time. This is what was cool.

He goes, “We’re going to do this, but I want you to take 6 to 9 months to get ready for this surgery. Because no pun intended, I want you to come out of it running.” I was like, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “I want you to start losing weight. I want you to get your mind right.” That’s when I started doing meditation, intentional work and breathing. I did all this work. My preparation is my separation. I go in. I lose all this weight and I’m feeling great. I realized for two decades because I had one bad leg that doesn’t mean my whole body was damaged. That was the ticket. That’s what I thought for my whole life. Since my leg is done, my whole body is done.

I realized, “I have a leg. I have two arms. I’ve got a heart. I’ve got a brain. I’ve got all that.” I started working around it and getting myself prepared for this surgery. When I got out of that surgery, it was at UCSF. As soon as I opened up my eyes, everything was clear, bright and beautiful that the nurses were like, “Mr. Parr,” as I’m waking up. I looked at the nurse and said, “I’m back.” She had no clue what I went through. It’s getting ready for that moment and then when you say, “How do I keep it there?” I go back to that moment where I said, “I’m back.” I remember that night, sitting on the toilet by myself with my hips bent for the first time in years. I’m sitting there going, “The little things. This is it. I am back.” It was sitting normally on a toilet. I’ll never forget that because that’s how I keep it going. That’s how I sustained this motivation.

I can completely relate because if I could share my story with you because you make me want to be vulnerable and open up as well. After I got hurt, one of the things that was very fearful for me was to put myself back in the state that I am the one. That state of mind served me well when I was on the field. I could do things on the field that I couldn’t do if I didn’t feel that way about myself. It was amazing the things that I could do on the football field. I get this injury and it feels like I can’t do anything. I’m nothing. It seemed to be validated by looking in the mirror or looking at the diagnosis, looking at the under medical files, everything was saying, “You’re nothing.” In my mind, that’s what the definition I have in the spinal cord injury was, “You can’t do anything. You’re done.”

It was hard for me to get to a place of confidence to even start thinking about overcoming this and start thinking about being a speaker, being an author, having a job, getting promoted and leading people. This was a battle because I felt then if I ever felt that way again, something was going to happen. It was going to cut me down again. I’m always afraid to get to that place of fill in that free and loose because I’m like, “If you get there, hold on. Don’t go too far. Something may happen again and it will cut you down.” That’s the spot everybody should live in every single day because you completely let go. You’re not attached. You have no fear and you can accomplish so much in that space. I forced myself. I refuse to have that fear. I refuse to live with that thought that I’m going to be cut down or something bad is going to happen again. I’m going to live free because you have no control over it anyway.

My mentor, we talk about showing up and being vulnerable and removing fear. As I was going through some stuff when I first met him. When it came to that, you’re talking about this, what is the fear and fear of failing. I remember I was telling him about letting go of my professional life and doing this full-time. I was telling him about all this anxiety and I’m fearful. He said, “Are you in danger?” I’m like, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “Are you seriously in danger? Life-threatening?” I’m like, “No.” He goes, “What are you afraid of?” The way he said it, I’m like, “I’m afraid of failing.” He goes, “You’re not in danger. Are you afraid to jump off the cliff?” I’m like, “Yes.” He goes, “You’re going to fly.” I’m like, “Keep going.” He goes, “You’re going to fall. It’s going to be scary. You’re going to look at that cliff. The reason why you’re not going to die and the reason why you’re going to fly is that you’re going to trust yourself. You’re not in danger, so let’s go do it.” I’m like, “Why is it so easy for you?” He’s like, “You’re making it not easy. It can be easy. You have to believe in yourself.” It goes back to belief systems and the story.

What’s coming up for me is the story we tell ourselves all those years. It was a story that I was telling myself based on a past experience, which in itself is the sense of the program. I’m programming myself. I’m telling myself a story based on something that happened in the past.

GCM 81 | Mental Performance

Mental Performance: Be your own storyteller so that you can be in charge of your own story.

 

That story can be loud and long. It overwhelms us and consumes us. I see in people, I can see their stories. I got my own story stuff. I’ve still got my stuff I’m working on. I’ve done the work and I see my family members. I can see their story. The story runs them. I’m trying to get people to be their own storyteller, so they get in charge of their own story.

I love this because your techniques with the breathing, getting still, getting calm and the visualization. That’s the opportunity. That’s when you pick up the pen and you start writing the story and the script for your life because you have control over that. You may not have control of all the external factors, but your imagination can create an opportunity. It can create what you want your future to look like. What do you want the outcome of the game to look like? What do you want your career to look like? Your family, your relationships, all these things.

When we talk about getting in control of our story and being the author of our story, we’re going to have goals, but it’s intention. Are we purposeful? Are we being intentional? I always say that intention equals mindset. We hear mindset a lot in our society, and that’s great. I love it that we’re there with that word. When you truly think what a mindset is, it’s intention. Anybody that I’ve seen that has been purposeful, they’ve got a mindset. What if the mindset is calm or aggressive or smooth? As far as writing our story, we have to be intentional. We have to be purposeful with it. That allows us to get more in control and more purposeful. We’re not in the effect of our story. We’re actually in control of our story and writing it.

I love that word, intention, because sometimes we have surface-level ideas of what we want the outcome to be. In order to embody that outcome, experience that outcome, it has to be deeper than. When you say intentions, that’s a relationship with what it is that you’re trying to do because you’re taking it a step further. It’s not a life to have. The intention is deeper if you go.

Going back to the breath, you want to get this thing going. You want to get the engine going in the right direction. When you’re in the morning, set your intention. Connect it with your breath. It’s like, “What is your intention?” Whatever that is, I want you to connect to it. As you’re breathing on it for a minute or so, what does it look like and what does it feel like? We’re at the next level because you took something that you’re seeing yourself that you want to be. You’re seeing it and you’re feeling it. You’re getting into the now with your breath. What I want you to do at lunchtime or in the middle of day is to revisit your intention. At the end of the day, I want you to reflect on it. Were you purposeful? I call it work on, build on. A lot of times, if you’re breathing on it and you’re following up throughout the day, you’re focused and you’re intentional. You’re living your life. You’re not being in the effect of all the distractions. Connect your intention with your breath and reflect on it.

Another thing that you talk about in your book, The Next One Up Mindset is trusting the preparation. We do all this work and we still have that self-talk in our ear. You put the work in and you still feel you’re not going to do it or you’re not good enough. It’s still something that’s holding you back. Talk to us. How do we fix that?

I’ve seen this many times and I’ve been a victim of this as an athlete. We work our butts off individually in the dark with our team. We’re working our butts off in the offseason. We’re getting ready for that first game. I remember a football team that I was coaching. I don’t know if you’re familiar with De La Salle football. In California and back in the day, it was the number one program for a long time and it still is an incredible program. We worked our butts off for that first game. As soon as they saw the machine walk into the stadium, the way they walked was like soldiers. Everything had a purpose and a cadence. You could see in their face. I’m looking at them and I’m like, “Don’t forget all your hard work. Don’t forget that you’re good too. Don’t let that shift you.” I see that with athletes. Even the way they talk.

Don't be afraid to play a big game. Show up, be vulnerable, and have a relationship with failure. Click To Tweet

I hear people say, “I hope I do well.” I’m like, “What? You hope? How long have you been playing this sport? Fifteen years? Why are you hoping?” It’s awareness. If you start to get out of focus, the only way you’re going to get back into it is with your breath and then go back. It’s okay to go back and tell yourself, “I’m just as good. I worked my butt off for this. I earned this moment.” You can’t listen to it, you’ve got to talk to it.

How important is having a relationship with yourself, knowing yourself?

If you don’t know who you are and you don’t know how you tick and tie with things, you’re a leaf in the wind. You become in the effect of a lot of stuff. What I do with a lot of athletes is I have them tell me who they are outside of sport. A lot of times, they’ll look at me and they’re like, “I don’t know, what can I do?” Some of them know it right off the bat and they’re like, “I’m a brother, I’m a boyfriend, I’m a grandson, I’m a musician, I’m an avid book reader.” They know it. I was like, “You’re getting a relationship with who you are.” As a performer, we need to learn how to let that go of who you are and you’ve got to become something else because you got to get into a role. The more that you know who you are, you can navigate throughout the world more efficiently and more confidently. You’ve got to know who you are and you’ve got to have that relationship with yourself.

How can people connect with you if they wanted to work with you and learn more about you?

You can visit my website, GameFacePerformance.com. You can check out my podcast, 90% Mental on my website. You can buy my book, The Next One Up Mindset, on my site. You can also buy that on Amazon. If you want to check me out on social media, on Twitter and also Instagram, it’s @GFPMindset. You can look me up on LinkedIn as Grant Parr. You can check me out on Facebook as GameFace Performance.

Grant, when I was doing my research on you, and I see that you have a podcast called 90% Mental, I almost fell out of my chair. I thought that was amazing. I want to understand your philosophy. I think I know, but I don’t want to jump to a conclusion. What do you mean by 90% Mental?

GCM 81 | Mental Performance

The Next One Up Mindset: How To Prepare For The Unknown

I got that statement from the great, Yogi Berra, who’s a catcher for the Yankees back in the day, who was a Wordsmith. If you ever see any of his interviews, the guy’s funny. He’s got a lot of different crazy vernacular. When I think 90% Mental, whether if it’s 80%, 90%, to be honest with you, it doesn’t matter. We know that it’s to be great. You’ve got to have a mental game. You have to have more mental than physical. That was my thought process because all the people are 90% mental, but there’s a lot of people out there saying, “No, it’s 85%. It is 75%” I don’t care what the number is. The fact is that the mental game is important. It’s not where it needs to be, but I think our society is getting it.

Thank you for coming on the show. I appreciate it. This has been wonderful. It’s gone by so fast and I was looking at the time like, “What did we talk about?” I want to keep going. Thank you so much for the work that you do.

It was awesome. I appreciate it. It was fun.

As we come to a close, what is the Game Changer Mentality message that you would like to leave with us?

Don’t be afraid to play a big game. Show up, be vulnerable and have a relationship with failure. Be it with relationships, with work, with athletics, whatever it is.

Grant, thank you for your message. Thank you for who you are. If there’s anything we can do to support you, please let us know.

Thank you.

Another successful episode. Play a big game. Go all out and have a relationship with failure. You are game-changers. Get the mental right and you’ll win. Take care.

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About Grant Parr

GCM 81 | Mental PerformanceGrant Parr is a highly regarded Mental Performance Coach, Keynote Speaker, Podcast Host, former division 2 Quarterback, and Author, whose clients are Olympians, Olympic Coaches, professional athletes, collegiate athletes/teams, business executives, and Fortune 500/1000 sales organizations.

Parr, recently released his first book, The Next One Up Mindset: How to prepare for the unknown, which is becoming highly regarded as a must-read within the athletic and workplace domains. Grant has taken his unique experiences as an athlete, coach, and sales leader to create the 90% Mental Podcast that provides a window into a broad range of athletes’ and coaches’ mental game, and where they share their insights into their journeys around mental performance.

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