Taylor Rochestie: “Having goals is a great start”

Having goals is a great start. Both long-term and short-term goals play an essential part in improvement and creating lasting habits. The trick is to be focused and inspired internally as much as externally. Working in the weight room, you can be easily judged by the way you look externally and the size of your […]

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Having goals is a great start. Both long-term and short-term goals play an essential part in improvement and creating lasting habits. The trick is to be focused and inspired internally as much as externally. Working in the weight room, you can be easily judged by the way you look externally and the size of your muscles. But you should hold just as much value, or more, by the way, you feel inside and how that transfers into the way you play. I care less about how my body looks, and more about how it functions because this allows me to be able to compete at the highest level. When you are focused on the external it is easy to become frustrated by visual results. Focus on the feeling. Focus on feeling empowered and confident. Take ownership of your success, and realize that each day you have the ability to take a step forward.


As a part of our series about “How Athletes Optimize Their Mind & Body For Peak Performance”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Taylor Rochestie.

Taylor Rochestie is a professional athlete who’s traveled the world playing basketball for over 11 years. Having lived in 12 countries, immersing himself in local cultures and learning about the diversity of life’s “truths,” he offers a unique perspective, by sharing his debut book A New 20/20 Vision (publish date 2.22.21) for the future. Using a positive filter to all that he encounters, Taylor is unwavering in optimism and powered with a purposeful voice to inspire positivity and happiness. Rochestie is also an author, speaker, husband, and father who is currently overseas playing professional basketball. www.taylorrochestie.com @trochestie


Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is a great honor. Our readers would love to learn more about your personal background. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I was born in Houston, TX but spent most of my life in Santa Barbara, CA. I am blessed to have two loving parents and a best friend in my brother, Alex. I have always had a passion for sports and a smile on my face. I was lucky at a young age to travel around the world and continue to do so as a professional basketball player. I feel that I am a true student of life and always inspired by the amazing world that we live in.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career as a high level professional athlete? We’d love to hear the story.

I have always loved sports from a very young age. I have been driven by a competitive spirit and a desire to always be better. I would say that most of my inspiration came from within and my organic love for the game of basketball. On weekends I found myself at tournaments, instead of at parties. I envisioned myself playing varsity basketball, then D1 college ball, and then becoming a pro. I created goals for myself, never expecting anything, but working for everything. I found motivation from all the people that encouraged and helped me along the way. I also found motivation from the naysayers and critics that had different ideas for what I am capable of. But, without my internal desire, I don’t think I’d be where I am today.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

Over the course of my life, there are numerous people I could thank and give credit to, on and off the court. But to narrow it down to one, it would have to be my brother Alex. Not only has he been my role model since the day I was born, but he has also been a best friend and encouraged me every step of the way as an athlete. Being a little over 2 years older and 3 grades above me, I found myself competing against him everyday athletically. His friends would often come over and I became better, as I was pushed by older players to be as good as them. The thing that made my brother so special is that he always included me and wanted me to be there. He would pick me to be on his team before choosing friends his own age, knowing my skill, and not caring how small I was at the time. I will always be in debt to his kindness, as well as the competition he gave me over our entire childhood.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your sports career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I don’t view my life with any regrets or think of things that I have done as mistakes. It’s empowering to learn from perceived failures, and every moment, good or bad, has led me on my authentic path to where I am today. I guess the most interesting part of my journey was my sophomore year of college. Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans, where I was at school and I was forced to change schools and played for Washington State University. I learned to deal with adversity, as soon after, I tore my knee and was sidelined from the game I love. I learned to never take any moment for granted, as life often finds ways to challenge your course in life. I learned the power of what I like to call “Soul Communication,” and developed the idea that, even when I’m at my worst, I can always choose to envision my best.

What advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your career?

You can do it. Focus on progress over perfection. Each day you have the ability to give your full effort and be happy in the progress you make each day. Set goals instead of expectations. Work each day to achieve your goals, making sure you are focused on the daily effort instead of an expected outcome. In this way you will always be the underdog, never taking anything for granted while remaining humble in the journey. When you develop hard-working habits and a winning mentality, you’ll be ready for each opportunity you’re given. Lastly, set yourself apart by focusing on the intangible parts of the game that you can control. Attitude, effort, coach-ability, and hustle. Separate yourself by being someone that players want to play with and coaches want to have on the team.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I am writing a book, A New 20/20 Vision. It began as a letter to my daughter and then became a book about positivity and bringing happiness to your life. I believe in the message and think this book has the ability to change millions of lives, inspiring a new way to see the world. With each new decision in my life, I try to set my family on a course that leads towards happiness and being able to inspire other people. I am always open-minded to new ideas and projects moving forward, looking to learn from others in order to grow personally.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. As an athlete, you often face high stakes situations that involve a lot of pressure. Most of us tend to wither in the face of such pressure and stress. Can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to optimize your mind for peak performance before high pressure, high stress situations?

It’s important to be confident and clear about one thing: when you know who you are, you are less stressed about what you do. I believe we live in a culture that loves to react to external situations. We find our emotions during the game, or in high-stress situations, and react accordingly. We often forget who we are, what brings us happiness, and the confidence inside of us. I optimize my mind for peak performance by reminding myself before each game who I am, keeping perspective between the difference of who I am vs. what I do. Basketball is what I do, not who I am. Keeping a constant perspective helps you enjoy the game, no matter the perceived pressure that comes with it. I also remind myself that life is meant to be lived, not thought about. My second strategy is to have the understanding that fear lives in the looking, not the leaping. When you leap, fear fades. Take less time thinking about the pressure and more time acting in it. Next, I like to take on the role of the underdog. I work hard each day and give full effort. Just as important, you have to give value internally to your effort externally. When you give full effort and you are satisfied with that, what can the outside world ask of you that you’re not already asking of yourself. This quiets the crowd and the external pressure, releasing anxiety and tension. Lastly, I find confidence in myself, through practice, and the effort in my ability. I love to be in the moment, taking the last shot of a game, because I have practiced it many times, and I believe in the effort I put into each day. When I judge myself on effort, I can always be satisfied with my result.

Do you use any special or particular breathing techniques to help optimize yourself?

I like to close my eyes and clear my mind, envisioning myself at my best, winning, making the shot or pass. As an athlete, we watch a lot of films, analyzing the games we have played, mostly the mistakes we have made in the past. It’s important to also see images of success and positive takeaways from past games. Use positive images to envision yourself being at your best, breathing confidence into your upcoming games.

Do you have a special technique to develop a strong focus, and clear away distractions?

I am most focused when I am authentic and playing the game I love, the way I know how. I try to remember to always smile, always keep a positive attitude, and encourage the players around me. It’s easy to get lost in expectations and getting overwhelmed, feeling a heightened state of insecurity. Being true to who you are means playing for the right reasons. I love the game of basketball and play with passion, reminding myself to stay humble and that this is the game I have loved since I was a child. Lead with love. Love drives out fear.

How about your body? Can you share a few strategies that you use to optimize your body for peak performance?

The older I have gotten the more importance I have put on the maintenance of my body. The ability to get rest, eat the right way, and understand what my body requires each day is vital to feeling ready to compete. I focus more and more on the preparation of each day, each practice, and each game. Small adjustments to my pre-practice routine can help my body prepare better. All the small efforts made in the summer, pre-season, and during the season can keep you away from injury and ready to compete each day. When I am working hard or eating right, it is not to look a certain way or please a coach. I work hard and take care of my body because I love the way I feel when my body functions at a high level. When my body is my best asset, then I will be ready for all of the opportunities basketball and life brings my way.

These ideas are excellent, but for most of us in order for them to become integrated into our lives and really put them to use, we have to turn them into habits and make them become ‘second nature’. Has this been true in your life? How have habits played a role in your success?

It’s easy to feel good when the lights are on and everyone is watching. The difference between good and great is the ability to work just as hard when the lights are off and no one is watching. I have never been the strongest, fastest, or tallest. My daily effort and my habits give me the advantage I need to be better than my opponent. I find confidence in myself, knowing the things I have been through, and the effort and hard work I have put in. Always be aware and fearful of being on auto-pilot. Fight fatigue, fight laziness, and build a habit of being the underdog, on and off the court. Make sure your effort matches your desires.

Can you share some of the strategies you have used to turn the ideas above into habits? What is the best way to develop great habits for optimal performance? How can one stop bad habits?

Having goals is a great start. Both long-term and short-term goals play an essential part in improvement and creating lasting habits. The trick is to be focused and inspired internally as much as externally. Working in the weight room, you can be easily judged by the way you look externally and the size of your muscles. But you should hold just as much value, or more, by the way, you feel inside and how that transfers into the way you play. I care less about how my body looks, and more about how it functions because this allows me to be able to compete at the highest level. When you are focused on the external it is easy to become frustrated by visual results. Focus on the feeling. Focus on feeling empowered and confident. Take ownership of your success, and realize that each day you have the ability to take a step forward.

As a high performance athlete, you likely experience times when things are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a mind state of Flow more often in our lives?

When you’re feeling good about yourself and what you’re doing, it’s often related to how you put a value on specific things in your life. When you value the “outcome” then your ability to sustain the flow of happiness is limited to winning and losing. When you put a value on happiness, progress, effort, relationships, kindness, and love, you have the ability to sustain your flow throughout your entire journey. It’s especially important in athletics to gain perspective on what truly matters in life, giving positive internal value to those things. The flow is a byproduct of positive habits, passionate effort, and constant perspective. I like to think that I can organically create the flow and have basketball be a part of that, instead of basketball be the flow that I am trying to force or produce.

Do you have any meditation practices that you use to help you in your life? We’d love to hear about it.

My meditation practices usually revolve around my family and keeping a consistent perspective and the thing I love and what I desire. I like to surround myself with positivity and happiness. Put pictures around the house, on the background of my phone. Change the music on my playlist, or follow motivational people on social media. I make it almost impossible to go through a day without having positivity being heard and seen around me.

Many of us are limited by our self talk, or by negative mind chatter, such as regrets, and feelings of inferiority. Do you have any suggestions about how to “change the channel” of our thoughts? What is the best way to change our thoughts?

We all are experiencing “Soul Communication” within our mind throughout the day. Part of the internal struggle is trying to balance all the ideas, expectations, and pressures from the outside world. We try to understand who we are, what is expected of us and navigate the difference between failure and success. Quiet the noise by defining success on your own terms. Define success by the way you love, the way you give passion to your life, and the way you communicate happiness with other people. Redefine the way you view success and understand that kindness can be used as currency. Live authentically, be thankful, and blessed for all your good qualities and perceived flaws. Celebrate your authenticity by understanding that your imperfections make you perfect. When you’re happy with who you are, the noise becomes a whisper.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are by all accounts a very successful person. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

After 12 professional seasons overseas I like to believe that my presence was felt through the inspiration and love I gave the game. I don’t want my career to be about the points I scored, the games I won, or even the trophy’s I took home. I want to inspire through the way I play basketball. Finding your authenticity, and sharing it with the world is a powerful thing. As role models, athletes have the ability to inspire positivity with only a smile, a handshake, a conversation, a photo. Realize that you are being watched, looked up to, and inspire the change that you wish to see in the world. My career has brought me all over the world and my mission is to add all that I have learned in creating a beautiful message of positive change for the future; to use my message to write a book, influence the way I raise my children, and inspire all those open and willing learn from my journey.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.” — Roy T. Bennett from The Light in the Heart. I believe that all people appreciate motivation and inspiration. People are drawn to the light. We each have an incredible purpose to our life when we realized that we can be a positive agent of change and inspiration to all those that are watching. We have the ability to spread love and give light to people that are experiencing darkness. We must be active in our own daily happiness and surround ourselves with positive people, positive words, music, etc. We use this as light and spread this light to as many people, and in as many places as possible.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

My passion and my message are for anyone seeking positivity, love, hope, and inspiration and for anyone feeling victim to their own insecurities, fears, and anxiety. We have the ability to use one another, learn from one another, and inspire one another to be the best we can be so we can be authentic and original individuals.

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