No matter what you do in the game of life, the mental part is the most important. Even in sports, connecting the mental with the physical is what’s going to separate you and lead you to success. A mindset mentor, mind shifter, Extreme Focus coach, and a professional baseball player, Zach Penprase is someone who greatly knows this to be true. In this episode, Zach shares with us the ways he helps individuals get into their mentality out of the “it is what it is” thinking and into improving their game. Everything that we desire is within us, and it only starts to manifest once we have the right mindset in place and see it through. Allow Zach to guide you in becoming the best version of yourself as he tackles taking accountability, breaking limitations, having faith in failure, overcoming self-sabotage, and more.
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Shifting Our Mindset To Improve Our Game With Zach Penprase
I have Zach Penprase with me. He is a mindset mentor, a mind shifter and a results coach. He was drafted in 2006 out of Mississippi Valley State University by Philadelphia Phillies after leading D1Baseball and stolen bases with 57. He played ten years professionally where he spent most of his time in Fargo, North Dakota with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. He is the RedHawks’ all-time leader in games played at backs, runs score, hits, walks and stolen bases. Zach is now a certified Extreme Focus coach. It’s a program that uses beast triggers to help people perform at their highest level. Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome Zach Penprase. Welcome to the show, Zach.
You have an amazing way of introducing people. It’s unbelievable how you do that.
I’m happy to have you on.
Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
You’ve had an amazing career as a professional baseball player. I know you’re doing some wonderful things that I want you to share with everyone. First, tell me what has it been like and how have you used mindset, the game-changer mentality to have such a successful career as a professional baseball player?
The day I realized that there was more to the mindset, you hear a lot of coaches and it doesn’t matter what sport you’re in, they say, “The mental part of the game is the biggest part.” They put percentages on it like 80/20 or whatever it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10% for you. The way you connect the mental with the physical is super important because most people aren’t super talented. They’re not going to go out there and be like Ken Griffey Jr. There’s only one Ken Griffey Jr. or one Barry Bonds. The other 99% of athletes to perform at that level, you have to use your mind. You have to get into that mindset. When I realized there was a thing like mental performance coaches and I met one of my mentors, Dave Austin, who certified me through Extreme Focus and I started diving into it, it was amazing what opened up. It wasn’t just, “I have these physical abilities.” It was, “The physical abilities that I have, I know how to maximize them and get them to that peak state.”
When I realized that, I started diving in. It lasted for a little bit and then I started to let outside experiences, coaches and stuff like that get into me. When I got out of that and I’ve got back to my mindset, I got back to my mental skills, that’s when I was able to extend my career a little bit longer and played eight years in Fargo, North Dakota. That’s when I started to almost rely completely on my mindset. I didn’t even worry about my physical anymore. Practice happened and I was getting better physically, but it was the mindset that pushed me through. It’s like regular people that aren’t performing athletes, they get their workout in the morning. That makes sense because that is their mental. They have to get into their mental in order to push through. Some people wake up at 5:00 in the morning and it’s like simply saying, “I’ve got to get up and go to the gym.” That’s the mental thing that connects everything else.
That’s how I was. I knew I had to show up for practice, so I would keep showing up. I was strictly relying on my mental game, my mental performance, my mindset skills to keep me going and push me to that next level. It was amazing what Dave Austin has helped me with. We fell out of contact for a few years, but I’m still using the skills that he gave me. I was still developing some of my own. There was a big one in high school that one of my coaches gave me and it was simple. It was, “Find a way,” and that was it. Whether it came down to excuses or whatever it was, it was always, find a way to get it done, find a way to push through, find a way to play at your peak state and find a way to show up your best self. That was probably the golden nugget of the day and I delivered it right away. That was early on in life with my freshman high school coach. That was the main thing that he lived on. That’s how I use it to play that long. It’s about unlocking those other things that you had no idea were in there. When I say connecting, it’s connecting your physical with your mental.Everything that we desire is within us. Click To Tweet
I want to go back a little bit because you talked about waking up at 5:00 in the morning and working out and have that as a trigger for a lot of people and I being one of those people. I love working out in the morning. The first thing I do when I get out of bed is I hit the gym. It stops me on a trajectory for the day. I’m sure you can attest to that too. It’s the clearing. I find that I’m a lot stronger and more focused mentally by doing that one single practice. Did you find that true for you as well?
Yeah, definitely. For me, it’s even deeper. It gives you a sense of allowance for yourself. You allow yourself to flow more into the day. What I mean by that is if you didn’t wake up and worked out, in the middle of the day, if you got tired and you felt you needed to take a nap, you would say, “I don’t know if I can take a nap. I’ve got things to do.” I feel that when I wake up in the morning and I get a little tired in the middle of the day and I feel I need to take a nap, I would allow myself to be in that flow of taking a nap. I take a nap and I’m okay with it. I feel like it’s less stress. We allow ourselves to go with the flow a little bit more.
It’s a trajectory. We know we’re on that trajectory and we trust it. If we sleep in and we’re like, “I slept in, I wasted those hours. I didn’t get my workout in,” then we don’t trust that trajectory that we’re on. That’s a little bit deeper for me. I had to wake up at 4:20, 4:30 in college and we were miserable. When we showed up and we got that workout in and we went to breakfast as a team. We may have fallen asleep in class, but we knew we’re getting our work and we’re doing the right thing. We got in the best shape of our life. We mentally and physically got stronger and it carried into our whole life. I think that’s huge. It’s that feeling of, “I trust this trajectory.” I’m up, I worked out, I’m on that path, and whatever comes next, you’re okay with it. It doesn’t stress you out to be like, “I don’t know. I wasted those hours. I woke up late.” It’s less stress on your body.
You don’t have guilt, especially if it’s part of your plan. You talked about “find a way,” which I think is powerful. I know that at times people accept the fact or maybe they use it as an excuse that sometimes you just can’t find a way. Sometimes things are the way they are. You probably heard the saying, “It is what it is.” As a mindset coach, as a mind shifter and as a professional athlete, help me out in explaining “find a way” in even the direst circumstances.
The statement, “It is what it is,” is something that irritated me for so long because it becomes a fallback for most people. It is what it is to a certain extent. When you say it is what it is, but there’s something you can change about it, you can go ahead and step up and change it. I can’t even find an example, but there are certain things. We have these fallbacks that it’s like, “It is what it is.” “No, it isn’t what it is.” If you think you’re a certain way because your parents did something and they pass down that trait to you, it is not what it is. You can change that cycle inside of you and find a way. How can you change it? What can you do to change what that is? The simple way of finding a way for me is I say, “So what? What now?” Whether I find a way to do exactly what I want to do, maybe it is what it is and then I say, “So what? What can I do now to improve myself, to improve my game, to take whatever it is to the next level?” It’s like, “It is what it is, but what can I do to change what I want, to do what I want and to find a way to perform?”
You live with a certain sense of accountability. That’s what I’m hearing.
Accountability is my number one thing. I’m big on accountability, commitment, forgiveness and a little bit of other things mixed in the middle. The number one thing that I live on is everything that I desire is within me. If I’m going to sit here and say, “I tried to find a way but that situation, is what it is,” what I want, I already have it inside of me. I can find a way to either maybe say, “It is what it is,” and accept that and take some accountability on my end or I can be like, “Everything that I want anyways is inside of me. What can I do to improve?”
What are some examples of how that has served you well?
Finding a way or everything that you desire is within me?
Living in a sense of accountability, because that’s powerful.
The accountability for me pretty much played the biggest role in my life. I would say I was picked on by coaches my whole life. From when I was probably about fourteen, it started to build up and that’s okay. When I started pointing my finger, like, “Coach, you did this to me. You did this and that. It’s your fault. I’m acting this way because of you.” Later on in my life when I went through my career and toward the end of my career, I became depressed a little bit thinking that this was the only thing I knew was to play baseball.
When I retired, I became upset and resentful not only toward myself but mostly toward my past coaches, the people who I thought messed up my career. I worked with a spiritual healer and I remember, I was on the phone for about two hours and most of the time I spent crying. It came down to forgiveness, acceptance, allowance and a lot of that accountability. I started pointing my finger at myself and saying, “I was the one who put myself in this situation. I made this decision to do that and it didn’t serve me for all those years.” Now it puts me to the point where in every situation I go into, I’m taking accountability for my actions.
I don’t blame my coaches anymore. I don’t blame anything that happens around me. I don’t take anything personally. My whole life and my whole career, I took everything personally like, “That coach is picking on me. Are all these coaches picking on me? Why were they only picking on me? Obviously, if they’re only picking on me, I’m doing something. I started taking that accountability. I didn’t realize at first when I was playing at Fargo for all those years that I started taking accountability. It woke me up toward the end of my career when I had all these blocks. I was like, “I don’t feel right.” I still feel like I’m blaming my past coaches. These people are a part of my body. They’re blocking me in certain places that are now affecting my real life. Now, I have to find a job outside of baseball. I called my friend Jason Botts one time and he said, “You think you were resilient in baseball? Now, it’s real life.”
The way I was blaming other people, pointing the finger this way, all I did was turn it around. It feels weird if you point your finger at yourself, there’s a lot of energy coming off. That serves me now to the point where I take accountability for my actions and I don’t take stuff personally anymore. That person is going through their own thing. They’re not picking on me. I’m obviously doing something and how I’m saying something is probably irritating the situation or whatever it is. I started pointing finger at myself and now I’ve grown my relationships even more. I have great relationships my whole life but now they’re going to the next level. People are wanting to collaborate with me and connect with me more. That’s how it serves me well now.
Now that you’re a mindset coach, do you find that this is a major challenge for people? The reason why I’m asking this is from my experience, a lot of people experience things in their environment and for them, that environment dictates their life. It has so much application to their life. A lot of times, we blame not just the person. We may blame life itself. We may blame a situation or circumstance. We may blame our DNA for where we are in life or not in life. I find that it’s challenging for people to take that level of responsibility to say, “Regardless of what’s going on out there, I still have to take accountability.” If I have cancer, I’ve got to take accountability. If I’ve been sexually molested, I still have to take accountability. If I’m short and my desire is to play basketball to the highest level, I have to take accountability and still put forth the effort. We can come up with all kinds of different scenarios that could be potential blocks or obstacles for people. My philosophy is there are no limits if you put your mind to it. It doesn’t matter what the circumstance is, there is a way. I find that people have a hard time accepting the fact that whatever the circumstance is, it’s on you to figure that out.
There are a couple of things you said in there that was amazing. It always comes back to the “So what? What now?” I’m not asking you to take accountability and blame yourself for something that happened to you. If you’re molested or you’ve got cancer, whatever it is, you have to stop it now and move forward. You’re taking accountability for what you’re doing now with it. If you sit there and blame your parents for the way that they treated you when you were a kid and now you act that way because of it, you’re already aware of it. You’re aware that your parents made you that way. Are you going to take accountability for yourself to change it? Are you going to keep saying, “No, they did that?” instead of saying, “It’s me. Now I have my own life and I’m going to step my game up.” So what and what now?Have faith in the failure because when you fail, you're growing and you're learning. Click To Tweet
I’m not asking you to say take accountability for what happened to you in the past. There are some things you cannot help. Some things just happen. What are you going to do now? There’s another thing you said in there about no limitations. I’m going to bring up Extreme Focus because we talked about Extreme Focus with the flying fish NOBO, No Box, No Boundaries. If you think about that, everybody puts this box on themselves. They say, “My parents, they did this to me so I can only go so far. I’m this way because that’s how I am.”
Maybe you have OCD or maybe you have whatever it is, you think you’re in this box, “I have that so I can’t help it.” How about you blow up the box? Now there is no box and you can make up your own limitations. You say no limits but some people have to have limits for themselves. I understand that thinking because I just go and do and I’m failing constantly. Sometimes I overstep these boundaries of other people and they get offended or whatever it is. People play it safe a little bit for themselves. Expand, blow up that box and go outside. Try the no limit thing for a while. See how you can go without totally messing up your life. I guarantee you’re not going to totally mess up your life because it comes back to the same thing, “So what? What now?” It’s this big circle that keeps coming back to these same principles of I have this thing that I have inside of me and I’m going to step beyond it because I have to. I’m tired of living a certain way. I’m tired of performing down here. I want to be this guy. That’s my thought for that.
You just explained the process. That’s what we’re talking about here with expanding and going beyond the box. Maybe you overstepped or you hit a wall and you get to a place where it’s like, “I’m at this place of failure,” or whatever you want to call it, but then you’re right back at that mindset trigger, “So what? What now?” That’s what I call a process because that’s what happens. What’s not being said within that process is for each point that you get to that place where you are, “So what? What now?” You figure it out, you go to another place and then you hit another wall, “What now?” There’s growth in there. You change and you become a different person. You overcome what was initially an obstacle at one point. You’re at another level now. You even talked about that with the relationship. The relationship was at this level, now it’s at that level. There’s growth at these different intervals in life. For me, that’s life.
We don’t get around it. You’ve experienced that whether you’re reaching for something or you are just living life day-to-day and not reaching for something, but you’re not exempt from challenges. You’re not exempt from obstacles. You’re not exempt from these ebbs and flows of life. If you’re going to take that journey, it’s best to take it and reach them, growing and becoming. Because you’re either going through this process and not learning anything or you’re going through the process and you become greater and better which allows you to move forward.
For me, the secret, if there was one is falling in love with that process. You talked about you failed over and over again. I would want to get to know someone very closely who’s failed over and over again. People will say, “That’s a failure.” I said, “No, that guy knows some things.” If he’s part of the same thing, that’s questionable. If he’s got all of these different failures and has tips to do great things or overcome the obstacles that has occurred in his life, he’s probably failing forward from level to level. There are so much wisdom and wealth in that. This guy is in love with that process of failure because he understands the value.
One of the principles that I developed is what’s called faith in failure. Instead of having this fear of failure, just have faith in it because you’re only going to grow. You’re growing and growing so have faith in that failure because if you fail, you’re growing. If you fail, you’re learning, you fail, you make an adjustment. Even beyond that, people that are reading are like, “Rodney and Zach, I’ve got to this point and I failed many times, why can’t everything be easy from there?” I went to the seminar with Marshall Sylver and he’s a hypnotist. He said, “The higher the levels, the higher the devils.” People out there want to be this big person, they want to make this much money, they want to keep leveling up. What they’re not realizing is that those challenges get harder and harder. You’ve got to remember to have that faith in the failure.
The failure that you did three years ago is now helping you at this higher level. That higher level of faith in that failure is going to help you at even a higher level three years from now. You have to have trust and faith in failure because that’s what keeps you growing. It’s like these walls. Most walls have doors anyways, so you can just walk through that door. You come to another wall and there’s probably a door somewhere else so you can walk through that door. It’s that faith in that failure. That’s how you keep leveling up. It’s never going to go away. People are saying, “I’ve failed so many times. I’m 50 years old now. I’m burnt out. Why can’t I have it easy now?” Sorry, what are you going to do now?
It’s a part of life. I want to share something with you based on this conversation. I write my goals down and I look at those goals quite often. You had mentioned money and maybe something that a person is after. After that thing, whatever the goal is and then they fail, they get discouraged because they didn’t get the thing. I don’t think there’s so much to failure. It’s the fact that they were after something and they attempted to get it. Something got in the way and they didn’t get it. The question is, do I want to keep going through this pain? I want to get to this pleasure, but I don’t know if I got to keep going through this pain. I don’t know if I want to keep doing that because that’s painful. It doesn’t feel good. I don’t know if it’s worth it.
I want to share this and I think it’s a maturity thing and I’m being open with you right now. I’m getting to the point where the goals that I have, I do want to accomplish them, but I’m not attached to them. I’m finding that what I’m enjoying more than the goal itself is the process in the journey towards the goal. A study has been done for Christmas. I want to give you this example to explain what I’m talking about. All this hype around Christmas and people get excited about Christmas. This long process of being excited about Christmas. The day comes and that excitement and that energy are all over.
Once that moment comes for human beings, something happens. That energy and all the excitement about it is over. It’s like a vacation. You’re excited about the vacation. It’s the time building up to the vacation. Those are the most exciting times. When you actually do the vacation and then you’re like, “I did a vacation,” instantly your mind goes back. All the energy and excitement goes away. There are studies done on this and they found that the journey leading up to a particular thing, whether it’s Christmas, whether it’s a vacation, whether it’s money, income, making a certain goal, marriage. We can understand and capture what it means to go through the journey because that’s where the real energy is. That’s where the magic is. As soon as you achieve a goal, you’re like, “I think I could have done it better.” Even though it was a struggle for you. Maybe you can tell me 52 hits or 52 stolen bases, “Maybe I can get to 58, maybe I can get to 59. Let’s see if I can get to 57.” That’s immediately after I’ve done it, “Let me see what else.” The brain is automatically looking for the next best thing. What are your thoughts on that?
The detachment from it is huge. That’s like an ancient meditative process. When you’re meditating is to have thoughts roll in and not attach yourself to the thoughts. It’s the detachment from everything. The way I go through life is I cancel my expectations. Most people build up to that vacation and they’re like, “I expect to do it this way.” Most of the time after, people are like, “That wasn’t even anything like I expected.” What we can do as humans to be better is to show up without expectations and show up as our best self and be in the flow of whatever’s happening. That is the part of the journey. It’s like, “I’m building myself up. I’m working for that.” That’s the part that you’re enjoying. It’s seeing the excitement build and everything like that and keep going and keep flowing that into your vacation without expectations.
We get so attached to the expectation that when it doesn’t go our way or even when it does, it’s like, “It could have been different,” but it wasn’t. It doesn’t matter. Bruce Lee has this saying, “You have a target that you aim for.” Always have a target that you aim for. He says, “You may not hit that target, but at least you’re going in that direction.” That’s the journey you’re talking about. You may have this target here and you’re going and going. You may never reach that exact target, but that journey you’re loving along the way toward that target is where all that magic happens. I would say that the whole thing is to have your expectations as you’re saying and detach from the outcome.
As humans with expectations, we start prejudging the possible outcome that never even happens. That’s when we start to resent something is something doesn’t happen. We’ve prejudged that it may not go this way. It may not be perfect and you’re already prejudging something that doesn’t even exist. The outcome doesn’t even exist yet and you’re starting to think about the possible failure outcome that doesn’t even matter. You’re spending so much energy building up so much stress and resentment already in your body for this expectation that you’re not allowing yourself to live in the flow of what’s going on.
That can cause you to sabotage yourself.
The self-sabotage, for sure. That leads completely into that.
It’s almost like you prepare as much as you can for a particular outcome and then you live in the moment and let whatever happens, happens. If you’re showing up as your best self. You’re giving it 100% and then you allow the flow of the universe, God, energy, whatever you want to call it to flow through you. It’s almost like you let go and then you allow things to happen. I feel sometimes we can get to a point where we’re trying too hard. In that, we agreed you sabotage yourself or you’re too tight. In baseball, I’m sure when you’re swinging that bat, you have to be loose because you’re trying too hard. You’re more likely to strike out and miss the target because you’re too aggressive towards the target. You’re not in the flow. Maybe you can explain that a little bit better than I can.As humans, we don't spend enough time focusing on what we did. We focus most of our time on what we did wrong. Click To Tweet
There’s a saying in baseball like, “Let the game come to you, let the ball come to you.” As a hitter, if you’re out front, then you’re going toward the ball. It’s speeding the ball up because at 95 or whatever you’re facing, if you’re going toward the ball, it’s now going 96 or maybe 97. It’s an old saying in baseball. It’s like let the game come to you. However the game is flowing, let it come to you. You don’t have to force anything. There’s nothing being forced. The ball is going to make it across the plate. It doesn’t matter if it’s going 75. It’s probably still going to make it across the plate. It may bounce in front of the plate a few times, but those are the ones you don’t want anyway.
As far as relating that to baseball, just let the game come to you and you’re always staying prepared. We take 100,000 swings and we only maybe swing 3 or 4 times in the game. We stay ready. If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. You allow that Source to flow through you and you let go. There’s a good article from our friend Shane Austin. He talks about surrendering. Surrender to your greatness is what he talks about. That’s what it is. You stay ready and then you don’t have to get ready. You say, “Here I am. I surrender to this moment,” and it flows through.
As humans, we don’t spend enough time focusing on what we did right. We focus most of our time on what we did wrong. As part of that debrief, if you’ve ever been in that flow where you feel that flow running through you at the moment, take some time after to reflect and be like, “What did I do that helped me get into that flow so I can repeat that?” Spend some time focusing on what you did right, on what helped you get there instead of what you don’t have to bring you out of it. You have to spend time after the fact reflecting and spending time debriefing yourself to figure out, “How did I get there? How did I prepare myself, have these expectations and also cancel them at the same time to flow into that state?” We think, “I wasn’t thinking. It just happened.” It didn’t just happen. You figured out some way to prepare yourself to get there and then you allowed yourself to be. You can spend some time thinking about the couple of things you did wrong. Why are we not spending enough time focusing on the things we did right, the things that we have and the things that we’re doing to get there?
We always spend in the locker room as baseball players, if we lost like, “I could have done that.” It could be the person saying, “I did this wrong,” but there’s always somebody that says, “That was an awesome play you made. It could have gone either way.” In baseball, a lot of times it can go either way. It’s the same thing with life. It may have gone bad for you, but that also could have gone the other way as well. There’s a lot of time in the locker room when we spend drinking beers or whatever it is, hanging out after the game in the shower, we start talking about the game and it’s like, “I probably could have done this differently.” Also at the same time, “I did this very well and they still beat us.” It is what it is. What now? What adjustments are we going to make to perform tomorrow? That’s what’s great about baseball. You get to play tomorrow.
What is the biggest challenge you face right now?
The biggest challenge I face right now is being a dad, building a business and also being a great husband. You talked about marriage. I was scared to get married. I thought everything was going to change and it didn’t. It only upgraded. When I had a kid, that’s when things changed. Everything is about the kid. Your day starts when their day starts. It’s such a selfless act to have a kid. I’ve heard people say it’s selfish. I think it’s very selfless. It’s very hard to balance. I’ve got multiple things going on. I’m working for my dad in construction. I coach baseball with my brother. That’s amazing to have those two as your bosses. I’m building my own mindset business. I also have a group that I designed. I’m a Lululemon ambassador.
As part of my ambassadorship, I designed a program called the Men’s Excellence Program. It’s a men’s group, a mindset driven group where we show up for each other. We can help each other. We do connect activities to loosen us up and get us in that flow. We talk about vulnerability or fatherhood or visualizations, whatever it is to help our mindset further ourselves. There was a point when my daughter was about 7 or 8 months old when the Men’s Excellence Program was booming. It was twenty guys showing up every time. We did it every two weeks. There was a time when I realized I was not spending enough time with my family. The Men’s Excellence was beautiful. I was coming home and I’m not at home enough. My biggest challenge is finding the time. I have the energy, but I get to now figure out how to balance my time management of being a father, a husband and also the energy that I’m meant to be on this earth of providing groups and communities like that Men’s Excellence Program. That’s my challenge.
How are you using your mindset skills, maybe mindset processes that you’ve used on the baseball field to help you overcome that challenge?
The first thing is accountability. At first when I realized that I wasn’t showing up enough for my family. The first thought that came to my head was I’m trying to build a business to help provide for that family I’m not showing up for. The first thing that came to me was my accountability. I’m big on journaling and I started journaling at that time. Whenever it was, some people like to do in the morning or afternoon, whenever I could find the time, I would sit with myself for ten minutes and I would find time to write down the most important things to me and the things I was grateful for at that moment. That’s when my energy started shifting to balance out that.
Journaling is one of the tools that I use. I started using visualizations and seeing my life on how it was balanced. I was always seeing myself as if it was already balanced. Seeing myself in that moment of balancing that time and being a great dad, being a great husband and also showing up for the guys that needed me. That’s how you start creating it. It’s like, “What’s important, what are you grateful for?” Seeing yourself as if it already exists and that energy comes. Those are the main tools that I use now to be in that flow, to be in that moment. It allows me to show up at my best as we’ve been talking about. I’m always showing up as my best without expectations and I’m going with the flow. With those tools and with all of those things in my mind, I’m creating that as I’m going along.
You mentioned two powerful things. Understanding what you stand for and what matters most to you are the most powerful values that an individual can have. That dictates who you are, how you show up, how you go about your day more than anything. It’s deeply rooted. A lot of times we don’t understand that it doesn’t come to the surface sometimes until some event occurs in our lives that cause us to look that deep. A lot of people don’t know what they stand for. They have an idea, but understanding and getting clarity on what do you stand for and what matters most to you. If that’s at the forefront of who you are on a daily basis, that dictates your thought process. You’ve heard it many times where people have that, whether you’re an athlete or not, people have kids and that kid matters most. It’s the most important thing and it changes everything about life. I thought I’m going to have to wait until we have a kid to get to that point. You can have a baby. This is not a point for you. I feel that when you understand that, it can change the trajectory of your life.
I have a question for you. You talk about values and our society tells us what values we’re supposed to have. It’s like, “You should feel this way.” I’ve heard people say to me, “I’m supposed to be this way, aren’t I?” I’m like, “No, you can be whatever way you want. What are your values?” My question to you is when you’re growing up, Rodney, and you’re getting all these values fed to you like, “It should be this way.” Was there a point when you’re like, “No, that’s not a value that I want?” When did you discover your values for your life?
For example, I’m from the South and I’m African-American. If you know anything about the South, we love fried chicken. My grandmother was a great Southern cook and she valued hospitality. She’s serving the Southern hospitality and all the foods with all the facts and all the stuff. It was great. I was the first person at the table and I was loving that stuff when I was a kid. I understood that was a deep-rooted value in our family. We would get together. It didn’t even have to be a holiday. We can just call grandma like, “Grandma, I’m coming to see you.” Grandma’s house turns into what seems to be a family reunion. Everyone’s there. We’ve got food everywhere, none of it is healthy, but it tastes good and it’s a great time with family.
I still enjoy being with family but I don’t so much eat those foods anymore. I’ve cut back from that a lot and it’s not something that I value. I feel eating that is devaluing who I am. I have to monitor how much of that I’m taking. I replaced that value with foods that give me energy, foods that are going to give me longevity, foods that are helpful for me in overcoming my spinal cord injury and help me heal. Things like that. It goes back to how is the value serving you? That’s the question with all of your values. That’s the question with your thoughts.
If you want to talk about debrief, you debrief your life on a daily basis. You can look at how are your thoughts. You can ask yourself, “How are the thoughts that I’ve been thinking now serving me? How are the actions that I’ve been acting out now serving me?” That’s how you check your values. If you bounce that against what you stand for and what’s important to you, that’s going to give you a clear picture of whether or not you are truly standing for what you say you’re standing for. If it matters most to you, is that a value that supports that system? You can clearly see that and be honest with yourself, then you understand whether or not you need to make changes to that to your value system.
There are even adjustments within the value system. One of my life challenges is it’s not what I say, it’s how I say it. One of my values is people need to hear the truth. I want to hold my integrity and I’m going to be straight up with people. I also had to adjust it to where I was being way too brash with people. I was saying it to where I was pushing people away and people were hating me and coaches were picking on me. That little adjustment within your values, you can keep the value, but there are certain things like it’s not what your value is, it’s how you’re presenting it even to yourself. That’s a big thing with our values too. I love that as far as serving you. We know what’s serving us and we continue to do and self-sabotage ourselves even though we know that it’s not serving us. We think that’s what we’re supposed to be doing. It continues to pile up and then one day we break, we explode and we have a breakdown, whatever it is. We can fix it way before that. You just become aware of what’s serving you and what’s not and let go of what’s not.See situations differently because sometimes, it’s not about what the situation is but how you are seeing it. Click To Tweet
I want to go back to something you said about what Jason Botts said to you after you stopped playing baseball because what we’re talking about goes back to identity. This is part of identity and understanding who you are. When you talk about what you stand for, you’re getting deep-rooted inside of who you are, the being that you are and how you’re showing up on a day-to-day basis. When you mentioned that Jason Botts said, “You think you were resilient in baseball? This is real life.” What he’s saying if I think about that deeply is that it was a baseball identity. Without that identity on the field, you’re not that baseball person. This happens to people. We have to take on a whole new identity. We can take some of the things that served us over there, but we’ve got to come over here and now we’ve got to be this person, which is not the professional baseball person or whatever it is, whatever changed.
For me, it wasn’t a football person. I had to take on a new identity after getting hurt. That required a different level of resilience. It’s something that was a little uncomfortable at first because it was unfamiliar. It was new territory. It was figuring all of that out. For a lot of people, when we experience change, trauma or some event in our life that requires us to take on a new identity, it’s one of the scariest things for us. We don’t have that past history of being this person and everything that comes around that, the people that you know and that know you like that person. Now you change so you don’t even know if you’re going to be accepted. You don’t even know how they’re going to feel about it. There are so many unknown and so much uncertainty. If you ever traveled a road for the first time, it sounds like you take forever to get there. After you do it a couple of times, you do it in your sleep. It’s like you got there so fast, but that’s what it’s like. It’s like that first time. We have to take that on. We have to try it on. That’s the game-changer, in my opinion. It’s being willing to do that, step it up and say, “I’m going to try it on. I know it’s new territory. I’m going to find a way.”
You’ve got to find a way. What else are you going to do, just keep letting it eat you alive?
What’s the alternative?
There is no other alternative. You can fully be like, “This happened to me,” and you feel sorry for yourself. That doesn’t do anything for anybody around you.
How was that serving you? How was feeling sorry for yourself serving you?
No, it’s not. I feel that we’re all connected. I even stop feeling sorry for other people too because I feel that’s transferring over into feeling sorry for myself. If we’re all connected and I’m starting to feel sorry for them, now I’m feeling sorry for myself. It’s not that I’m not loving them or sending them love. If somebody’s house burns down, I’m going to feel bad for them. At the same time, I’m also going to send them good vibes to get a new house or get recovered. It’s not a sadness feeling. It’s almost like a comforting feeling. I call it sending love and light. I’m not going to send them sadness. I’m going to send them love and light. We all have this feeling inside that comes up in us, “I feel bad for that person.” That means you’re very compassionate. How was that serving them though? How was that serving you? What can you send to them and to yourself that serves you?
I want to say thank you for that. As a person with a physical challenge, I’ve had people come up to me and they feel sorry for me and they want to help me with everything. You are right, that doesn’t serve me. I thank you for feeling a certain way. For the longevity of my life, I need to figure out how to get this done. Thank you for being willing to help me but sometimes you take away that person’s opportunity for growth and that’s what they’re in. It may look bad from the outside. It probably feels bad but it’s their opportunity for growth and you can’t take that away from them.
I’m big into ancient reading. That concept comes from the belief from the Bhagavad Gita. It goes, “See yourself in others and see others in yourself.” If I came up to Rodney when he was in a wheelchair and couldn’t walk, “I feel sorry for you and let me do everything for you.” If I’m you and I’m in a wheelchair, I don’t want someone coming up to me saying they feel sorry for me and they want to do everything for me. I want to try to do things for myself. I want to overcome this challenge. Thanks for the help. You can help me here and there. I don’t want you to do everything for me. That doesn’t do anything for me. I can’t grow from there. You’re growing and I’m sitting here stagnant. That whole concept of, “You’re welcome.” I can’t say I came up with it. It’s something that when I was going through my own process, it came to me as I was reading books. I still don’t feel right feeling bad for people. It’s a compassionate thing, but what can I do to serve them? What can I do to help them serve themselves?
How can people connect with you if they want to learn more about you or work with you?
You can connect to me on Instagram. My handle is @Penprase6. They can also email me and it’s at ZachPenprase33@Gmail.com. Those are the two ways that you can connect to me quickly. I try to keep my Facebook to people that I know, my friends, people I come in contact with. If you want to get in contact with me and you don’t know me, you can connect with me through Instagram. I’m also on Twitter. If you are on Twitter and you’re not on anything else, I believe my handle is @Penprase33. That’s how you can connect to me. I’m building a website at the moment. I’m working on many things and it’s fun.
Do you want to share anything that’s going to be coming out?
There’s nothing to share. I’m working on a video series, something to give to people at home. I want to get in front of as many people as I can. Technology is amazing and I love Zoom call. I use Zoom call in my coaching and that’s great. Online courses are great and it’s great to make money. It’s great to touch people and to get in contact with people. I think I have a gift when I come in physical contact with people. I would love to connect and I love to get myself out there through the video and the online courses. In the end, I want to be in front of as many people as I can.
I’ve got two more questions for you. The first one is what is the biggest lesson you’ve learned while playing professionally?
The biggest lesson would be it’s not what I say, it’s how I say it now. It’s not what I do, it’s how I do it. It’s not what, it’s how. That’s the biggest lesson that I learned with the friction with coaches or with other players or even with myself. Seeing different things of how I see a situation, it’s not what the situation is, it’s how I’m seeing it. That’s my biggest lesson for sure.
Perception is reality. Thank you for coming on the show. This has been an amazing conversation. What is a game-changer mentality message that you would like to leave with us?
There are many of them. There are many different game-changers. It depends on the different moments of the game. I would say it’s the thing that I live on. Find a way is a good one. It’s a definite game-changer, but it’s the one that I live on and it’s everything that I desire is within me. What that means is that you’re not waiting for somebody to email you back or you’re not waiting for somebody to call you back. Whatever you want to do to affect your experiences is within you already. If you admire it or you’re like, “I liked that,” it’s already within you. You’ve just got to connect with it. That’s the simple way of describing it. Everything that you desire is within you. Even if you have to call somebody for them to do it, they’re your boss and they have to do it, how are you going to get them to do it? You’re not forcing them, but how can we connect with them? How can we push them or inspire them to help you do whatever you want because everything that you desire is within you.
Thank you for that, Zach. This has been a very rich conversation. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this conversation in connection with you. You are amazing. I love what you’re doing. If there’s anything I can do to support you in setting yourself up, in getting more reach out there as a coach, please let me know how we can serve you. We would be glad to.
Thank you. I’m glad we finally talked. I’m happy that we met and I look forward to connecting with you in the future.
I want you to remember that everything that you desire is within you. Everything that you want is within you. You have to take charge and express yourself. Get it out, take action and believe in yourself. Believe that some behavior, some action that you can take can literally change the game, the outcome, the trajectory of your life and the lives of others. Once you come to that awareness, it is now your responsibility. You are accountable to take action.
- Zach Penprase – LinkedIn
- Extreme Focus
- Jason Botts – past episode
- @Penprase6 – Instagram
- Facebook – Zach Penprase
- @Penprase33 – Twitter
- Is Life Knocking You Down? Read Rodney’s inspiring story – Get Up! I Can’t. I Will. I Did… Here’s How! https://rodneyflowers.com/get-up-book/
- Recognize Your Positive Potential – Essential Assertions by Rodney Flowers https://rodneyflowers.com/essential-assertions-book/
- Get Access to Rodney’s Daily Inspiration in your Inbox Today https://rodneyflowers.us9.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=01f76a038256f77a6fbc93590&id=307d726734
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