For this episode we’re doing something different. This is a recording of an interview I did with my dear friend and colleague Garret Kramer, six years ago. Both he and I have continued growing and evolving since we recorded this, but there’s still plenty of gold in here. Garret Kramer is a coach, trainer and the founder of Inner Sports. He has provided consulting and/or crisis management services to hundreds of athletes and coaches; from well known professionals, Olympians, and teams, to high school and collegiate players across a multitude of sports. A former collegiate ice hockey player, Garret is credited with bringing the inside-out understanding to the athletic community at large. And one of the interesting things about Garret is he’s the author of two books, Stillpower: The Inner Source of Athletic Excellence, and The Path of No Resistance: Why Overcoming is Simpler than You Think.
1. Introducing Garret Kramer
Garret’s own troubles sparked his interest in the inside-out understanding of reality.
“I was struggling in my own life and I couldn’t get to the bottom of it”
Applying the techniques he used as a successful athlete just made the situation worse, until Garret eventually realized there was a direct correlation between looking outside of himself and the fact he wasn’t getting better.
“I decided to stop looking (outside of myself); lo and behold, I started to feel better”
Being the hardest working athlete or business personal was clearly taking him backwards and he just knew that there had to be another way.
2. Looking in the right direction
Garrett had felt that his lows were result of external factors, such as a difficult childhood and a strained relationship with his parents. Therapists were trying to help him, but the more he went back to this time, the worse he felt.
When his own child was going through a tough time, Garret could only recommend that the talk with someone who say life as an inside-out experience.
“It’s an either/or thing; you can’t be 95 percent in it”
He believes about 97% of therapeutic models are outside-in, although there is a growing community of people advocating for the inside-out model.
3. For a smoother road
His own life’s road is now a lot smoother, and Garret shares that as an athlete, he was always known to be a volatile person who had a “chip on his shoulder.” This led to him getting injured often, getting in fights and receiving misconduct penalties.
“Life just seemed to be a lot of ups and downs, fueled by emotion”
Garret now knows that his low aren’t the results of others, but rather due to his own thoughts and emotions. He now realizes that when he’s feeling low, things will eventually work out and he doesn’t need to find the fix in the external world.
“It doesn’t make sense to wage war with our own thinking”
4. Performance training
In performance, understanding of inside-out is the missing link, and bit-by-bit Garret is bringing this to the world of sports.
“There’s an absolute disconnect between the experience of athletes and the strategies being used to help them get to that experience”
5. Still power
It makes intellectual sense that if clarity, quiet and freedom is what we’re striving for, then we’d need to do something to get there. Garret used to believe that thinking positive thought was the way to getting peace of mind.
“The more I tried bringing positive thoughts to replace the negative thoughts, the more my thinking got ramped up and the more confused I got”
He adds that thoughts are actually meaningless, but the feelings that they produce aren’t, and that are feelings are guiding us through life.
Productive changes don’t present themselves as thought; you just need to jump into action and notice them after.
6. Keep playing
“Still power” doesn’t mean to stop and be still, but rather to keep playing. You don’t have to be in “The Zone” to win a championship, write the best article or make the best speech. The more you stay in the game, the quicker your state of mind will ascend.
7. You’re a human being
He says that although you are going to get paralyzed in your own thoughts, realize that this is just going to happen. Getting stuck is the first sign that you’re not seeing things right.
Regardless of how you feel or what happens, you just need to keep playing and not wage war with external circumstances.
“The minute I saw that it was my own thoughts, is the minute I saw the potential to see this exact same circumstance in a different way”
Garret notes that it’s ok to get caught up in your own thinking, but he feels the potential exists to embrace our lows.
8. Live it
Garret has no strict code of conduct in his household, just to help each other to a standard of acting from higher states of mind and to pull back from low states of mind.
“I know that the last thing I want to do as a parent is to, in any way, dictate behavior to one of my kids”
He says that it’s one thing to tell your children how things are going to be around the house, but it’s a completely other thing to actually live it.
9. Still Power (the book)
As his own understanding developed, the high school hockey team that Garrett coached started to have more success.
“As my clarity increased, so did our wins”
He became more creative and let the game be the teacher, as opposed to dictating how they should play.
“Effort is born from freedom; it’s not born from the grind”
To Garret, love is when you’re at the highest of consciousness, which is when our perceptual field is the widest.
In an athletic sense, the more you love, the more aware you are and the more you see.
“Love expands vision (and) it makes miracle happen”
11. Doing my part
Garett sees his book, his work and how he treats people as just him doing his part.
“I don’t want to lose sight of what I’m capable of by looking too far out”
12. Get more from Garret Kramer (links)