It was a great pleasure to have Dr. Jerry Lynch to help us kick of Gratitude Week 2021. A world-renowned sport psychologist, Jerry always brings a refreshing, energizing and thought-provoking perspective that calls us to dig a bit deeper to find our best selves. He works with parents, coaches, teams and athletes - many of the top names and programs in professional and collegiate sports - and has written many best selling books. Jerry's work balances Western thought with Eastern philosophy in a very provoking and powerful way. His newest book, The Competitive Buddha, is available for preorder.
Dr. Jerry Lynch, Sport Psychologist
While most would consider him simply a sports psychologist, Dr. Jerry Lynch is a coach, mentor and teacher who guides and coaches athletes and parents to explore the meaning and purpose of sport, as a powerful vehicle to help us understand the mental-emotional-spiritual components of the athletic game and how they apply to the bigger game called LIFE. In the process of this exploration, overall athletic performance is greatly enhanced.
SKYE So excited to have Jerry here, for those of you that read my newsletter or I've seen some of the preemptive Twitter posts that I've put out about this is truly one of my favorite people. I remember the first time you and I spoke, we were having trouble with our recording. This was years ago, Jerry. This is the first summit I did. It must have been like four or five years ago when we had to rerecord it. And it was such a gift to me to get a chance to spend two hours with you. And I'm always looking forward to this conversation. Jerry has written 13, 14, 15 books. The Competitive Buddha is his latest book. It's not published yet, but you can preorder it at Amazon and we'll make sure that everyone has that link to order his book. We'll be talking about it and some of his other books and his work today. Jerry's the founder of Way of Champions. This website is WayofChampions.com, and he's worked with some of the top top coaches that are the most respected coaches that we have in the United States, whether they're working in collegiate athletics, whether they're working with the NBA, is working out with an MLS team, which I'm sure we'll maybe hear something about, but really, really just a leader for leaders. And I consider him a bit of a guru myself. So really excited for this. I always try to layer in one of our soccer parenting values, statements to the conversations that we have. And the one that I definitely felt was most relevant to today's conversation was our soccer parenting value statement about life lessons and about how we support our children's youth soccer participation because we want them to develop grit, determination and resiliency while learning the empathy, compassion and solidarity that will make them caring and committed adults. And I think that's really relevant. And just this concept of life lessons and what are we really seeking with our children's youth soccer experience? I think that's really relevant.
JERRY And boy, what a what a good way to get into the shoes of these youngsters, because they're feeling this all the time. They're very insecure. They're very afraid. There's a lot of fear. And to us, what are they afraid of? But here we are. We're afraid we're not going to get this thing right. I had this glitch this morning and I said, oh, my gosh, I'm not going to be able to get on with Skye again. So we're all human beings experiencing life in this way of uncertainty. Yeah.
SKYE Yeah, that's true. And then I think about how we're adults and we have these coping mechanisms that we've been able to develop over forty, fifty years. And these kids that I'm coaching, this is nine year olds I'm talking about, they don't have these skills yet. So no question how much more scattered they must feel. Yeah, well, this week is Gratitude Week at Soccer Parenting. And you know, as I was planning out this week, I knew immediately that I had to have you here. And one of the focuses of this week is just intentionality with gratitude. So we've created all these social share graphics that people can push out to intentionally and publicly thank coaches and parents and volunteers and club leaders. And I think there's a concept that being intentional with gratitude is important. Is that true? Like it is? Can you want to dove into that a little bit? I mean, maybe the question is how important it is that we be intentional with our goal.
JERRY And if I get lost, just bring me back, OK? I tend to go out too far sometimes. First of all, I want to say I'm not happy to be here today. I'm excited, I'm ecstatic.
I know, I knew I would catch you with that, I'm ecstatic. And, you know, in a simpler way, I'm very grateful. I'm grateful that Skye, you give me the amazing opportunity. You think I'm giving you an opportunity, but now you're giving me an opportunity to fulfill my dream, which is to make a difference in the lives of anyone I come in contact with. Even if you didn't have anyone, there would be you and I. And we make a difference with each other, you know? And I think that's the place I'd like to dive. That's the board I'd like to dive from into what we're doing right here, to your point, intentionality. If we really think about that, I love that work, in fact, there are books written about intention. What I love about it is I want to go about my daily life with intention every day with everything. And it doesn't mean it has to be a burden, like I have to make thousands of lists and stuff. But when I'm when I'm present here with you, I have a very it's very intentional. And when I get up in the morning, I want to get up with intention and go about the day. And and therein lies all the difference, because without the intention, I'm kind of like a boat in the water drifting with the with the waves and there's no anchor. So to me and my work and those who are influenced by me and those who influenced me, it all comes from that place of of being able to. How do I implement. How do I use. How do I work with the kinds of things that are important to me and my children and my friends and and my teams and coaches and stuff like that. So, yeah, you know, without intention, nothing happens. With intention, we become more mindful. And be mindful, OK, so everyone is listening to this, your best days. I'm going to tell you what your best days are. How's that? Your best days occur when you are most mindful, when you're most aware of what you're doing and how you're doing it and going about doing it. So what we're looking at with intention, OK, if I can build this little case for it is intention really is a mindful attempt to create.
To create the best day of our life, to create the masterpiece of our life, make today your masterpiece and the day is is the canvas and we're the artist and we get we get to create any day that we want.
In fact, I have a quote here, and I didn't write this quote for today. I just have these things on my desk to remind me every day to be mindful and be intentional. But if I could just take a second. This is an amazing quote that ties right into what I was saying. And that is.
We as human beings have this amazing capacity. To be reborn at breakfast every day and say to ourselves, oh, this is a new day.
Who will I be?
Or we cannot do that and just sort of flip a coin and say, I hope it comes out OK. Anyway, I'm going on and on and on. As I said, you're going to pull me back. You know, I love it.
SKYE And I mean, that sort of speaks to why we created these graphics and why we're going out of our way. To be intentional is that sometimes we need those reminders and and it's sort of a practice of mindfulness as well for me and Gratitude Week.
and Soccer Parenting, it really comes down to this concept that I speak so much about and write a lot about, and that's establishing trust and establishing trust in the coach parent relationship from a youth soccer Eco-System kind of thing, that that's what we're attempting to do. And so I think that gratitude is sort of foundational to that. And then. When you send me a little bit of your book that's coming out, the Competitive Budha I saw about the forward that you sent by Steve Kerr. And a little some comments from you, but then you also sent a little bit of a chapter, and I loved it because in your new book that's coming out, you talk about gratitude and how that sort of foundational for players to lead to a better performance environment. And so what I was thinking about doing with this conversation, and we can I don't want to be to like set in stone of where it's going to go, because I really want it to just kind of lead us with whatever nuggets of wisdom you have and wherever it goes. But I'd like to kind of frame gratitude around, like, how it can help a player. And then I want to bring it back to parents. Since this webinar has so many parents listening and how parents can use this concept of gratitude to enhance the environment that we have with our children and kind of look at our children's experiences that they're having and how we're influencing it and how gratitude can play into that. So.
If you're good with that, let's start with the players, and I'm just maybe just start with a pretty broad question, but I think it's relevant to the part that I read in your book is how can gratitude better performance?
JERRY Well, you know, gratitude. It's universal to be grateful for something means you're acknowledging that you've been given something and what happens with a lot of performers is athletes. And even if they're six, seven, eight, nine, 10, they start to learn this real quickly. You see it a lot with college athletes in my in teams and you see what the pros, too, like entitlement and so forth. And and and when someone shows up, they're 12, 13, they're asking the question internally, what can I get?
Can I get will I start? Will I get more playing time? Will I get a goal today? Will the kids like me? What can I get?
You know, as opposed to imagine if we all showed up to work every day, like I walk down the stairs and had breakfast and my kids are sitting around and my whole attitude was, what can I give to these people today?
How can I serve them? And it's like being here today, how can I serve you? How can I be the best that I can be to give you what you're really looking for? And from that place, so much really happens in terms of of of how our life goes.
And I'll segue right from there how life goes for an athlete on the field, on the pitch, on the court, in the pool, on a track, no matter where you are, has a lot to do with not getting as much as giving. And so when I show up on the field as a coach, I want to teach my athletes how can. How can you guys give to each other and how can you how can you give to the game of soccer and we have these conversations and how can you give to your your team, your opponents? Right. Well, the way you give to your opponents, my athletes always say we don't want to give to them. I say, yes, you do. You want to give them the best version of yourself possible and push them so that they know that they're playing at a higher level because of you.
But again, I feel I'm going all over the place here. But coming back to the idea of performance, every single team, every single athlete that I work with and coach notices because I pointed out that they actually have a better day on the field when they're feeling grateful, everything that they've been given the opportunity to play the game, the fact that they're healthy, they're not injured. The fact that they're with their friends and they're doing what they love to do with each other. And that has nothing to do with the outcome. You know, the outcome is not so much a measure of how good you are. It's a measure of how much you've given to each other. The outcomes are always higher. What I notice in any sport and in life, your outcomes in life are always higher when we're giving to each other as opposed to what are we getting from each other. And that's just in the competitive Buddha.
SKYE Tell us about the Competitive Buddha. I'm interested. It's a it's an interesting title. You know, it might confuse some people are just.
JERRY Yeah, you know, it's a. it's kind of like an oxymoron, right? It's it's like when you read that title, it's rather provocative because when you hear the word Buddha, you don't think of competition. But the Buddha himself was actually the first considered historically the first student athlete of all time. And he was highly competitive and and he competed as a wrestler. He he competed as an archer. And there were other sports that he competed and he was very good at it. And so you say, yeah, but but isn't competition sort of counterintuitive to the whole idea of what the Buddha represents, to which I say no, because Buddha competition, the competitive Buddha is actually you and I who compete for the right reasons.
And I'm going to say what the right reason is. And I know this is a truth. That's why I say it, not because it's Jerry's idea of what's right. But if we go back to the word competition in Latin. The word competition means competition, and I'll translate that for you competition as a means to seek together you and I Skye coming together and and we're playing a game of horse.
And I really try hard. I really try to be the best I can. And by me being the best I can, I'm not beating you.
I'm showing you how you can be the best you can be by setting the tone and setting the pace and setting the level at which you can perform. So when you show up on a soccer field for all you soccer athletes out there and parents, what you do is you use your opponent as an opportunity, as a partner, and the better they play, you have an opportunity to raise your game and find out how how good you are. So from a broader perspective, the competitive Buddah is one where competition is a cooperative, working together to seek our greatness.
What a beautiful concept. And and and by the way, that was that was the original intention. Intentionality behind the Olympic Games is to come together and have different people challenge us to see how good we can become because of them, not in spite of them, you say. So it's really an interesting concept.
SKYE It really takes the focus in a performance environment, obviously off of winning. And all of those things that we get, it's just seems get sucked into even when we're trying hard not to be. And you're making me also think about I talk a lot about the team that I played for at George Mason. I transferred I to my last season at George Mason. I literally arrived after pre-season. I didn't really know these women very well. And we gelled into this really powerful team. And I've always been I've always said how grateful I am that I had the chance to be on a team like this because it's what every athlete dreams of. And while you were speaking, I was struck with the thought of it. Should it be something we dream of? It should be something that we aspire for every team we're on, like it's possible it's a move. Up until now, it sort of was like this new on extra special thing. But I would say what the biggest difference with that team was, because the other teams that were on were full of competitive athletes who were driven and who wanted to do well and who were prepared and who and who were very competitive.
But the difference for this team at George Mason was how we came together and how each other better in some very unique way. And I don't know if it was coach created or it just was magical or what.
JERRY But it was it's all of that. It's all of that. It is coach created and it is magical and it feels great.
But why don't we come back to what really happened there? I'm going to guess that there was a lot of gratefulness between each player. Every one of the women were grateful for each other, grateful for the opportunity to be in such an amazing, positive environment. And even today, you talked about reaching what is it reaching toward a potential shaping a powerful environment. Right.
So the coach was responsible for creating this amazing environment where we could actually appreciate and be grateful for through an awareness of who you are. And so when you came on to the team, I wasn't there. I didn't know this story till this moment. But I'm going to guess that they were grateful for you. They weren't saying, oh, who's this woman out here who she thinks she is and blah, blah, blah. They welcome you to the clan.
They brought you in because they coming from a place of love, connection, caring and deep gratefulness that was created in such an environment. So what that does is and you're nodding your head. Yes. So I'm saying what I'm thinking is you're agreeing with me, right? Yeah. And so there was a tremendous amount of gratefulness there. Like if you lost a game, even you were grateful for each other fighting to the death or having each other's back. And that's why performance and gratefulness go hand in hand. And I always have that expression from gratefulness to great comes from gratefulness to great. And it doesn't mean you win the game. It means you become a better version of yourself. And that's what the Buddha was talking about, to be a better version of myself. So may I digress?
When you were on that team. The coach was aware. The coach had to be aware. That there's something more to this than just the game of soccer.
That that there's a group of human beings here who can get close and connect. And and then they can feel the joy, like Steve Kerr with the Warriors always talks about the joy when you watch them playing. There's a lot of joy that comes from gratefulness, so gratefulness leads to great, but there are steps in between where the gratefulness leads to the joy, which leads to the appreciation which makes you want to work harder for each other. Which one which makes you want to be in this environment, which creates amazing feelings of wellness and excitement.
SKYE It's powerful and it's possible to have all of this competitive Budha environment in the youth game, too, like we're talking about this high performance environment collegiately. But I aspire to a time where and it's one of the things that I speak a lot about, it's not good parenting is this concept of sense of community. And you just use the word community a couple of times. I think when you were speaking, we need to establish the sense of community and oneness and fighting for each other and within our youth environments as well. What values do we need to start focusing on in order for that to happen?
JERRY Oh, that's an amazing question. A brilliant question, and you're just going to have to do this for another three hours. I think I'm not avoiding the point. I'm going to address that question because it's a great one.
But it's so penetrating and profound what you're asking, because there are so many values and. In truth, we we don't want to talk, we not you and I, but a coach and a team. The values that we're looking for in terms of creating that environment. I can name them, OK, like joy, compassion without compassion, Phil Jackson said the the bulls would have never happened without compassion. He also said without love, championship's would not be one.
And Steve Kerr, being a man being mentored by Phil, brings the same energy to his team, so so he has joy. He has compassion. The other thing he has is selflessness. And that gets back to gratitude because selflessness is a giving. But what you've been given. And before you get rid of me today, we're going to come down to some implementation because the listeners, they're wondering, well, how can I do this right, this meeting gratitude. I'm going to give you an idea in a few minutes. But so when you're when you're coaching what you need to have what we all need to have is we need to have a clear vision.
Of what we value and keep it simple, you know, we like Steve narrowed it down to four on four values and to Durant's. At Carolina, he's got 11 core values on Pete Carroll at with the Seattle Seahawks football and NFL. He's got like four values. So what do you want to do is.
In my book When The Day. And that's what I'm trying to do now and trying to win the day. In my book, Win the Day, I talk about all of the values that all of these Hall of Fame coaches have instituted into their cultures. I also give you. And when the. Excuse me, methodologies to implement these values, great. Now, once you have them, what you want to do is you want to enable. Enable. Make your athletes able to demonstrate those values because they sound great, selflessness sounds great, and we all want to be selfless.
Yeah, we all want to have courage when I go out to a soccer field and I got a whistle. What I want to do to teach these values is.
When someone is showing courage, I want to blow the whistle. And I want to bring everybody in and I want to say, did you just see what guy did? Did you see how she was being?
Fantastic, how many of you think you can be that way and then you see some of the hands go up like this or something like that, you know? Yeah, I can. Yeah. Well, let's go out there and let's everyone show courage. That's how you start teaching it. That's great, you teach it by call, attention to it, but you have to as a coach, you have to be confident in what you value. I mean, if you really value connection with the team, you have to teach that through time outs, through demonstrate, having someone demonstrate or you demonstrating it being being the change you want to see and be able to show people what these values really mean.
Selflessness, courage, determination, patience, perseverance, integrity.
You know, you say you're going to do something, you do it. You know, Megan, you said you were going to do that and you just did it. Did everyone notice that great, great example of being having integrity? I love that. Who else here could show the integrity? And and so we start talking about it and we bring it into our coaching. But my point being, as a coach, you need to go into that coaching situation, be totally mindful and aware of, say, what are the two or three or four most important things that you value? Because you know what? If you don't do that, it will go anywhere. And if you don't choose the ones that you value, you choose the ones that Steve core values and you don't value them. And what's going to happen is you're going to have a hard time pulling that off. Yeah, like I value. What would you see in me right now is a demonstration of what I value in life. And I can be that because I value it.
SKYE I couldn't I mean, obviously, everything you're saying, we're all agreeing with and I love Daniel asked for some specifics on implementation. So I think that was before you had mentioned the win the day. So we'll get that answer, that question. And the concept that I've been taught from my mentor Tony to Chico is very similar to this of catch them being good, you know, find that behavior that you're seeking and then amplify it when you see it.
And there is such power there. And I have such wonderful memories of Tony, like stopping an entire session of one hundred and fifty goalkeepers at camp, blowing his whistle. Everyone's staring at him and him walking up to a player and just giving them a high five because of something that they demonstrated in that moment and calling it out. And it was just it was the best. I still think of that now.
JERRY I almost feel like a goosebumps and I wasn't there. And the other one hundred forty nine athletes. They're looking at that is saying, I want to be called out to exactly what that high five. And I just saw what it needs to be done. So they're going to go back and do the same thing. Yeah, yeah.
SKYE And I want to bring this back to parents since we have so many parents watching because I'm thinking and listening to hear. And you're saying if you're the coach which have these values, I mean, this is what we need as families to do. And this is why I have like the soccer parenting value statements not to, like, push my values specifically on to parents, but to try to frame what the positive, impactful, inspiring youth soccer environment can look like. So that's why we push out our values of life lessons and integrity and those different things that we have. I want to encourage parents to like let's let's flip this to parents here and see and talk about the influence that parents have on these environments as well. Because it's one thing if the coach is this way or not this way and we can't just say, well, my coach isn't like that, bummer. I don't have a good environment for my child. As parents, we have a lot of influence as well.
JERRY Look, you can't talk about gratitude and values and gratitude is a value. So let's talk about it as a value. You can't talk about it as a value unless you yourself practice it. You can't go down to your family and you can't say to your kids, you kids are just not grateful. I do all this for you, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda. And you just don't you're just entitled and you're not grateful for all the things I do. Well, that's that doesn't go anywhere. But what if parents try this on? And by the way, we'll bring this back into the kids in a minute. But if anyone wants to know what I did before I jumped out of bed today, I'll tell you. And it's a habit. Some days I miss it and when I miss it. I really know it. So I lie in bed. And my wife, Jen, does this, too. We talked about this for for a long time.
And what I do with my eyes closed is I think of seven things I'm grateful for today. It might be different than yesterday. Maybe tomorrow I'll have a different list. Sometimes they overlap. I think of seven things that I'm grateful for and I get in touch with the feeling of gratefulness. What is that for you?
How do I feel now about having a gift being given all these things? I'm grateful for my health. I'm not sick when a lot of people are. I'm grateful for the work. I'm so grateful that I had this opportunity to wake up in the morning. And at nine o'clock California time, I get to talk with Skye and I'm so grateful for my health, my wellness, my my mind. I'm grateful for my wonderful partner, my family, my children, my home.
I mean, I know I have a list of gratefulness things, right? But what's important is with my eyes closed, what does that feel like? I feel so I feel blessed. I feel joy. And I put my hand on my heart like this, you know, oh, this feels so good. And then I taken three deep breaths. This is really simple, and every time I take a deep breath and I breathe in the feeling of gratefulness and habits around my heart. Now, this is all imagery, but I do this and it takes about four minutes to do the whole thing.
And then when I do that three times, I feel really, really good, very grateful, and then I say to myself, Jerry. Go out into the world right now, you're ready. And make everything you do a reflection of everything you've been given.
So I get out of bed, I know that I'm very lucky and very fortunate. That's why I said I'm not happy to be here. I'm ecstatic. I'm very fortunate to be given this opportunity. I'm aware, a mindful of that. Parents can be that way. Now, go downstairs and see your kids coming for breakfast and see what the different attitude is and how grateful you are because your children are healthy and alive and they're able to eat the food you're giving them and that you're cooking for them for breakfast and how grateful you are for for these gifts and go about the rest of your day. As if. This is what you've been given.
Now, I have done this. With a group of 10 year olds. So. People are out there and saying, yeah, Jerry, that's pretty cool, that's that's you, you know, you're an adult.
You're no, I'm going to say this. Kids crave what I'm going to tell you now. They love this exercise. If I get my 10 year old group of soccer athletes in a circle, well, of course, you build up to that place, but you get them into the circle and you ask them to think of not seven things.
Think of three things that they're really grateful for, things they've been given. And you give them a couple of examples, you know, like you're grateful for being able to play on this team and you're grateful for your uniform.
You're grateful whatever it is, because gratefulness, no matter what it's for, is still gratefulness, you know, so they take this. To hard literally to hide by you ask them, OK, so you know how you feel right now, your eyes are closed.
Now just take one breath and on that breath, have that feeling go right to your heart and just hold it there and then say to them, OK, open your eyes. Now, let's go out on the soccer field and let's compete. As a reflection of everything you've been given, let's give to each other on this day our very best and go out there and have fun. That's great.
It's like, OMG.
SKYE I think you just you just hit the nail on the head for the car ride to the game. The parents have four kids. Like if that's how we can frame that often stressful time that we have as we're going to the gates of the game and trying not to give them a pregame talk, if instead we can just have a moment of gratitude, I think that could be really powerful.
JERRY Absolutely. Absolutely. No question about it.
SKYE When when I think of parents and the environment and the influence that parents have on a sporting environment, I kind of break it into three different areas. And maybe we can chat just a little bit about this for parents. So the one is the influence that parents have on the child's environment. And this would be negative things that could potentially happen would be things like complaining about the referee or getting frustrated with the coach or. Instead of supporting your child, if they didn't play the position they really wanted to and we're talking about and whining with them about it, instead of reframing that for them, those types of things happen. Some thoughts or guidelines or moments of wisdom for parents about framing the environment in a better way so that we're supporting children more. Well, is this are you talking about parents as coaches or parents, is parenting like the influence that we have in our children's sporting experiences by the conversations that we may say to them, the way we might respond, the look on her face when they're playing all of those types of things?
JERRY Well, you know, again, I'm going to make this statement, I don't know if I made it before, but. We have to remember as parents, we have to remember as human beings that our influence first it starts from here is never neutral.
Never, you know, when I walk into a room of coaches. I can light it up or I could cast it into darkness. Well, it's no different for me as a parent. I mean, I've got four kids, athletic kids when they were younger. I could light up their life in that car ride to the game, or I could cast it into darkness.
The key or somewhere in between, you know, it didn't have to be both extremes, it could be on a continuum. It could be in the middle, too, which is and I'm not feeling great and it's not that great of an environment, blah, blah, blah. But in that car ride, as an example, we set the tone for the day, for the game. You know, we want to win the day it starts in the car ride and and so. Being mindful when you get behind the wheel. Just saying to you, just reminding yourself, you know what? I could really make their day. I could really light this right up to the game. And the thing is, the truth is we control that.
That's in our power, we can't control the outcome of a game we can't cannot control how our kids are going to play or how they're going to feel about the game. But we can't control these things and and we can control the influence that we have. So therefore, having said that, on going to the game, the conversations. Can't focus much more on why this is going to be a fun day and why do you think it's going to be fun and why do you love soccer and talk about the positive reasons why we're even driving from home to this field to play a game? When you and I both know it's not for it's not for a victory. It's not so that they become athletes who maybe will catch the next train to Stamford. Or Duke or wherever. Harvard. It's about character building and character building begins in an environment that's that's really feels good. And and again, gosh, you know. Feelings equal function. I mean, I throw that concept out like it just came to me, it didn't I think about this all the time. How your kids feel is how they're going to compete and play when they feel good about themselves and valued. An important and relevant they're going to play at a higher level, so in that car ride, why don't we create that environment? And one of the things I do when I do talk about this in both when the day and I talk about it in the creative and the competitive Buddah. Since we have control over the environment and we have we have we can control our influence. I use that wonderful acronym.
The RVER effect.
And I think, Skye, you've heard me say this before, but our RVER and when I get in the car, if I'm think or any environment, I mean, I'm thinking about it right here. All right. R stands for Relevant. V is Valued, E is Empowered and R is Respected. So. I want to bathe. My kids in the river. On that car ride.
Or when I go down for breakfast, I want my kids to feel important, feel valued, feel empowered. And when they do, those feelings equal function. So if you're feeling good and you're feeling confident, if feeling important and valued, ask yourself the question how do you perform in life as a parent, as a person, as a worker? How do you feel? How do you perform when you're feeling important, valued, empowered, relevant. Right. So the kids are different because they're human beings.
And they crave they crave these feelings, so when I'm in the car, I might say to Johnny in the back or Sarah, I might say, you know what? I'm so glad you're part of this ride to the game. You're so much fun to be with, period. Or you go and talk about Shelby. You say Shelby. You know what, boy? Your teammates, I can see really, really value you. You're really important to them, you know, or, you know, you get to the field and say, you know, I'm really glad you guys came early and now you show up early and it shows the rest of the team that you really care. Right. So. This is the environment we can control that it comes from a place of awareness and mindfulness and it starts in the morning with me being grateful and then I figure out how am I going to give back to my community? How am I going to get back to those? I'm going to share my day with that I've chosen to share my day with. And that's how it all comes back together. It goes full circle. I love it.
Yeah. I want to ask you, Lauren Roy's question, that she popped into the question box because we're talking about having these right values in mind set. And she asks, how does the Buddha appreciate a bad game or a bad practice?
JERRY The Buddha of love of the bad practice and loves a great game. And the reason is, is because of perspective in the old fashioned way. I'm going to call it old fashioned because it really is out of date. What we do is we get down, we get like upset, we get down on ourselves, we lose confidence, we start to point fingers and things like that and.
What the Buddha does is say. Is after a bad practice, so we had a challenging practice today, what did go well?
You find ways to point out what went well. So all of a sudden we're changing perspective now don't stay there and don't say, OK, now what went wrong? Say what needs work. That's a proactive approach. What went wrong is a reactive approach. So you say what went well, bad game, right? Begging. There is no bad game and I'll come back to that. But what went well and what needs work.
What you're doing is you're teaching these kids that every game matters and every loss is an amazing guru, an amazing Buddha that's teaching us how to be better athletes.
Wow. The pressure of no pointing fingers. I'm learning I'm a student. I'll go out next time and I'll be better. In fact, I like to ask the question with these youngsters. Why are we a better team? Why are you a better athlete? Because of that loss. And it makes them think. But into psychically what's happening over the long run is they're going to start to imagine every outcome as being an opportunity.
You know, an opportunity when you win is an opportunity for compassion for the other team.
An opportunity when you lose as it is when you lose, it's an opportunity for learning and being better and to developing and becoming a better version of yourself.
So the Buddha really is telling truth. And what's not true is what terrible because of that and what bummed out. And this is awful. It's the worst thing that could happen. And what's wrong with me buying? Hit yourself in the head and say I'm terrible. And the Buddha says, no, no, no, no, no, no. You just had it. You just went to school. The school was the game, it taught you some things. What went well, what needs work? Why are you a better athlete? Better team? Because of it.
SKYE That's great. I love that. And I love framing that. I had my team last season lost every game. We were kind of in the wrong division, but we looked at it as a great opportunity and we kept having those types of conversations and the parents really came along with them. The parents really rallied and trusted this environment and saw the growth that was happening and saw those little lessons. But I'm going to say it wasn't always easy. There were a few games afterwards. I got to my car and I was having a really hard time, like, of course, what are we how are we better because of this? But but it is possible. I wrote about that season at the end of it and just my expressing my gratitude actually for the parents and and they're trusting.
JERRY And that's why you're doing such good work, Skye. And that's why I'm here with you, because I know the path you're on. And you're exactly right. You took a no win season and you turned it into something positive. And that's what we have to do. And everyone listening to this knows that that's true. And we all want environments like this, don't we? And what a world it would really be. I you know, I see I see some of the chat going on there. I see Barry Webb says, Jerry, come over to England and take control of our wealth. And as the fantastic information I'd love to bury.
And as soon as COVID is over, get in touch with me at my my email way of champions at Gmail dot com. But yeah. And Michael Prior, this is fantastic. Thank you, Skye and Jerry. Well, you're welcome. And you know what? It really energizes me. And it makes me more determined at the moment to continue to do the work I'm doing and continue to do the writing I'm doing. And and I'm doing it because I really do want to make a difference. And Skye, you are you are making a tremendous difference in the work you're doing.
And and we have to stop thinking of outcomes and results and we have to take an outcome and results and say whatever it's going to be, it's going to be good, not bad. There's no such thing as a bad outcome. When we categorize it as good or bad, then we get nervous and tight and tense and tentative because the thought of losing, we don't like that feeling. It's a bad feeling. But I'm not saying you like losing. I rather win. Trust me, I go out. I want to be in the win column. But to me, winning is a wider definition than just the scoreboard. I refuse to let the scoreboard tell me what winning is because I could lose the game in. And still be a winner, you know, one of the I was a competitive distance runner nationally, internationally for many years when I was younger and I remember running a race at Stanford, I ran this race against the PAC 12 top cross-country runners and the entire PAC 12 Collegiate. I was forty two years old. Right, and I was working with the Stanford team, that's how I got to run in this race. And at the end of the race, out of three hundred and twenty five runners, I came in one hundred and ninety seven. That's the lowest I've ever finished in a race, regardless of what it was. One hundred and ninety seven. It was the best race I ever had in my life. And I didn't win it and I didn't come close to winning it. So what happened was all these performers like the boot. Back to your original question. The Buddha approach was these people are here, competition to work together to be your best. They help me to be my best because I was chasing the best runners in the world, in the country. And so all of this really totally makes sense. It takes away the pressure, the fear, the agony, you know, the joy of defeat, the agony of defeat, whatever I'm saying, you know, let's start looking at it differently. Cogan's, give us an example of of understanding that we can change and we're adapting. And I think our process is all about adaptation to a different way of thinking about outcomes and results.
And let's get these youngsters on track with that so they can stop suffering, you know, suffering with their thoughts of, oh, what if I lose and what if I don't do? Well, don't worry about it. We'll figure it out. I got your back.
SKYE You use that word suffering. You said that's that same phrase in the forward that you wrote for the book or in something I was reading this morning as I was preparing for this. And I paused at that word suffering. And I went, yeah, they really are like the environment that's too often created that we just need to flip everything that we're thinking about and putting this mindset of a new frame of why, what he means and what he looks like right in Back to the Buddha, the competitive Buddha book.
JERRY What I say in that book is, is suffering for these little kids. Two ten year olds suffering comes from two things. Suffering comes from wanting what we don't have or not not wanting what we have. Hmm. So let's let's let's say you have let's let's take an example. Wanting what we don't have we we're not getting enough playing time. We don't have enough playing time. We want that and we want it or we don't have winning. We're not winning. And so you're suffering. You wanted so badly. You know, it's like I'm suffering. I'm really stressed. That's that number two is not wanting what we have. Well, it's it's the opposite side of a coin, not wanting what we do have.
What do we have? We have a lot of the losses. We don't want it. You know, we don't want to be ill. You know, we don't want to be physically ill and we want to be healthy and and so but if we separate on that and we go deep into that place, that rabbit hole, all of a sudden we start to suffer so we can end the suffering. And that's the message from the Buddha, from the competitive Buddha. And I what I do in that book is I offer ways that these athletes, young and old, pro and collegiate, all the way down to middle school or lower. They can we can we can help them to end the suffering.
And in the process of helping them to end the suffering, the parents will end the suffering. Because I know a lot of parents out there, they're really suffering. You know, their daughter's not getting into Stanford or the daughter's in Stanford and she's not she's the best one on the team and she's not getting playing time. And she goes up to the coach and boy, she's suffering, you know, it's like, oh, M.G., it's so we're all doing this suffering thing. And suffering is really optional, whereas pain is mandatory.
I mean, real pain, you know, people dying from covid. I mean, that's real pain. And suffering is a result of our thoughts. Thinking, sometimes stinking thinking where we're not getting what we want and this is great full circle, not getting what we want or wanting what we don't have.
What about gratitude?
What about just telling yourself what you do have and feeling good about what you've been given and then go out into the world and say, I'm just going to give, give, give and I'm going to you know, it's just going to make it a better environment. We're going to feel good about ourselves. I'm going to give people the river effect. I'm going to help them to feel empowered. I'm going to help them to feel valued. You've got to read the book because there's so much in there and and I know what's in it and I'm trying to get it in in this and I just can't do it.
SKYE Well, we're really excited about the book being published and people will order it, as you said. Yeah, you can preorder it. Now on Amazon, we have the links on the soccer parenting page with the registration link was here my with a quote that I kind of wanted to end on here as we're wrapping up.
And thank you, everyone, for your attendance and your comments here, your questions. But it was the quote that I read actually, when I saw this the other day, I sent it right away to my daughter and I said, we need to push this out as a quote. She does the social media for soccer parenting. I was like, this is the quote. It is not joy that makes us grateful. It is gratitude that makes us joyful.
Yeah. And that's in your book. And I know that he's a friend of yours, a Benedictine monk, that you said that. And I just I'm going to say one more time so people can reflect on it. And I think it's especially relevant for us during Gratitude Week, during covid as we're trying to reframe our children's youth environment and stop the suffering.
It is not joy that makes us grateful. It is gratitude that makes us joyful. And through that joy is where we'll find this inspiration that we're seeking for our children through sport that they'll take with them into life.
JERRY So all great athletes I've been with one hundred and fifteen championship teams. I only tell you that for one reason. I can guarantee you to this day that every one of those teams experienced joy from being grateful. And when they felt joy, they played at a high level. They won one hundred and fifteen championships. And it doesn't mean that you're going to win a championship if you're grateful. It means you're going to be the best version of yourself. And that's all we can ask for. And that's what these kids need to know. You know, they don't need to be champions on the scoreboard. They need to be champions every day when the day. And these are the ways you could be that way. And it starts with gratefulness. And I'm so glad that you chose this as a topic because so many people don't realize the power of this value and Skye. You do. And that's what makes you so great.
SKYE Jerry, thank you so much. And thank you for being here today, dropping all this amazing wisdom on us. I have been taking some notes and feeling some great energy, and I do hope that this translates into some beautiful action that our children will feel a little bit more inspiration from. So thank you so much for your time. There's lots of thank you's come in here and the chat box.
JERRY I'm really, really I'm reading something that State College, Pennsylvania, I went to I went to Penn State, and I know it's really cold and rainy there and and crazy, but punctuating the comments here, everyone, thank you so much.
SKYE Really, really appreciate this. What a great second day of Gratitude Week. We take care, everyone.
JERRY Thank you, everybody.