Don’t try to write a perfect book. Just write your book. The starting process of writing my book took a long time, because I was worried about the grammar, the use of stories, and if it was going to be good. I learned how to trust myself and just write.
As part of my interview series on the five things you need to know to become a great author, I had the pleasure of interviewing Grant Parr. Grant is a Mental Sports Performance Consultant focusing who works Olympians, professional, collegiate athletes, and Fortunate 500/1000 executives. His consulting practice uses mental performance techniques and strategies to help athletes, coaches, and corporate athletes gain a competitive edge within their performance.
Thank you so much for joining us, Grant! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?
After reflecting on my athletic career as a Quarterback and my professional sales career of 17 years, I continuingly watch athletes and corporate athletes misuse their time to mentally prepare for the unknown or when their number was called. I have been fascinated by performers throughout history that were prepared and seized the opportunity that unexpectedly presented itself. When I was faced with the unexpected during my collegiate football career, I had to walk away from the sport that I loved due to a career ending injury. It took me over two decades to face and deal with that unknown. The main motivator in writing my book, The Next One Up One Mindset: How to prepare for the unknown was to show how someone can do the right things to get prepare for the unexpected and have the tools to make the best decision in the moment, rather than wait two decades.
Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
When I was forced to walk away from the game of football due to my career ending injury. I slowly started to dislike the sport and found myself losing my identity as an athlete, because my body could no longer do the things I used to do. A compress fracture to my left hip, left me with a severe limp for almost two decades that led to two hips replacements before I was forty years old. After the first the surgery, I became handicapped for almost four years due to a massive bone (hetero ossification) growing in my hip that wouldn’t let me walk correctly, tie my shoes, and not even let me clip my toe nails. At that time, the doctors didn’t know what to do and I was told that I might have to come to terms that I won’t ever walk normal again. Be handicapped… I know this sounds pretty dreary, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. For someone who was used to winning, throwing touchdowns, and being the “guy”. I had completely lost who I was. I couldn’t talk about the game winning touchdowns or broken records any more. However, on a Thursday night, my doctor called me and he spoke to another doctor that said we should remove the six-inch-long, four-inch-wide bone from my hip and inject radiation to eliminate the bone from growing back. I was game from the moment I heard the recommendation, but the most beautiful advice I got from my doctor was to wait six to nine months so I could get physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually get ready for this operation. With no pun intended, he wanted to make sure that I came out of this whole experience running. So, I lost a lot of weight, started a meditation/breathing practice, and completing change the relationship that I had with my body. It took me two decades to understand that just because I had one bad limb didn’t mean that the rest of my body damaged. So, I focused on the rest of my body and my mind. Guess what? I came out of my last surgery running. I finally got my life back. My confidence and identity were restored. All because I prepared for it and did the right things. I truly understood how to capitalize on the opportunity within my own crisis.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
At first, the thought of me being an author was pretty funny. You should have seen the look on my friend faces when I told them I was writing a book. I found myself at the beginning of the book writing process questioning myself on why I am writing this book and let me tell you… there was a lot of negative self-talk. The lesson that I got from this was to always believe in yourself, come from possibility, and do hard shit. Doing what’s uncomfortable and being vulnerable is rewarding in itself. Writing this book is one of my greatest accomplishments.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am working on my podcast 90% Mental, where I interview athletes, coaches, sporting executives, sport psychologists, and authors about the mental game. I also work with an organization called Executive Book Camp, where we coach executives in transition and I just joined an organization called Train The Mind, where I will be one of the mental skills trainers bringing live-training with world class sport psychologists and mental performance trainers who train athletes in the NBA, NFL, NCAA, MLS, PGA, LPGA, Olympic athletes and executives at Fortune 500 companies.
What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?
I believe the one habit that contributed to me being a writer was setting my intention and living by it on a daily basis. I believe setting daily intentions and connecting it with your breath creates a powerful mindset.
Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?
When I was working with for Wesco Distribution, an 8-billion-dollar global distribution company. I had taken a sales territory from $0 dollars to an annual 20 million territory in seven and half years. When I was transitioning my territory to another sales person who was very excited and capable of taking on one of the largest producing territories in the company. 10 days after my last day, this sales person came down with the flu that ended up taking her life within a two-week span. As you can imagine my heart was broken and I couldn’t imagine this happening to anyone. Six months prior, this sales person’s brother in-law, Tony Peil was hired to our team, who had over 17 years of experience within our industry, but as any new employee you spend time learning the culture, back office procedures, customer base, etc. in the first couple months. So, not only was Tony met with the unexpected of losing his sister in-law, he was tasked to take over my territory, her territory, while still learning his territory. As much as the company was supportive to Tony’s loss, the company needed him to help the branch run the business. Tony called me for guidance and support, and he basically said to me “I am not prepared for this”. The company not only wants me to sell three territories, but step up as a leader. Here is a seasoned veteran who can do this job in his sleep, but when you are dealing with a loss in the family and faced with the unexpected. Moving forward can be daunting. I basically told him that he has two choices… One is to mourn the loss of your sister in-law and be on your time. Take time to heal and get yourself in a good place. The second is to mourn your sister in-law and identify the opportunity within this crisis. If you choose to rise above the situation, you are going to show yourself, the branch, and the executives how mentally tough, gritty, and resilient you are. People will rally behind you. Use the spirit of your sister in-law as motivation. Do it for her, but make choice and be good with either. There is no bad decision. It’s just that one might be a little more emotionally challenging. Tony decided to step up in honoring his sister in-law and fought through the bad days, and now he is one of the top sales leaders in the regional and the branch’s leader.
What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?
No matter what the competitive landscape looks like or how long you have been working on getting a promotion. Your preparation for the moment is your separation. There are multiple tools that can be implemented at a moment’s notice to put you in control when conquering the emotional hurricane of the unexpected.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming a bestselling author? How did you overcome it? Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?
I am not a best-selling author.
Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?
90% Mental by Bob Tweksbury. As a professional baseball and one of the top MLB mental performance coaches, his stories and lessons teach me to be a better mental performance coach.
Mindset by Carol Dewck. To truly understand the Growth Mindset and how to tap into allows you to live in a paradigm of positive possibilities.
How do you think your writing makes an impact in the world?
My personal stories and real-life stories along with proven mental skills techniques will impact the world to empower themselves to enhance their decision making.
What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an author like you?
Trust yourself, be authentic with your message, and have fun with the process.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Don’t try to write a perfect book. Just write your book. The starting process of writing my book took a long time, because I was worried about the grammar, the use of stories, and if it was going to be good. I learned how to trust myself and just write.
- Be ok with rewriting chapters and taking feedback. This was a great lesson, because feedback is where you learn. To me… feedback was a great guide.
- Writing a book is a journey that you enjoy. At first it wasn’t an enjoyable experience, but I embraced the process and as much as I wanted it to be completed. I wanted to keep writing.
- Be ok with being vulnerable with your story and your thoughts. It can be scary sharing intimate things about your life and what you think about other topics/issues. It was pretty empowering to trust yourself and get behind your beliefs.
- Know your “why”? My initial why was to explore and expose the topic of The Next One Up Mindset, but my “why” was deeper than that. I wrote this book to add credibility, strengthen my brand, and get more keynote opportunities, but to really share my story and stories where people could really learn and get inspired
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The movement would be the Intentional Movement. I believe intention = mindset. If you want a particular daily mindset, you have to be intentional. Set your intention in the morning and connect it with your breath and revisit it throughout the day and then reflect on it at the end of the day. See what kind mindset you executed throughout the day. I see too people going through the motions and hoping everything just works out for them. Set your intentions for the day and be about it.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Facebook: Grant Parr & Gameface Performance
Linkedin: Grant Parr
Thank you so much for this. This was very inspiring!