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Graham Betchart: Improving "Next Play Speed" & Playing Present


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Nuggets From Graham Betchart's Call

Last Saturday, we had the privilege of hosting Awakin Call with Graham Betchart.

Graham Betchart is on a mission to normalize and popularize mental skills training. A leader in the mental performance field, he is co-founder of Train the Mind, the first ever online mental training gym for student and professional athletes, executives and leaders. Graham has spent over fifteen years training the minds of some of the nation’s most elite basketball talent and athletes at all levels -- from high school, to USA Top 100 camps, to collegiate athletes, to the NBA -- including three #1 NBA draft picks (Ben Simmons, Karl Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins). He has been noted as one of the most influential, yet under the radar, mental performance professionals in the world. The core of Graham’s methodology draws upon meditation, visualization, and present moment awareness practice; he captures the essence of those practices into easily digestible, powerful, and practical tips for coachable moments in high-stakes situations.

Below are some of the nuggets from the call that stood out for me ...

  • The real power is in being vulnerable -- not in domination, but in elevation, and empowering those around you.
  • Essentially what we want to do is become aware that the present is the place to be because life exists right now.
  • After his life collapsed, Graham rewired his brain, starting by using his breath to become present, bringing all abandoned parts of himself into the present, loving all of himself unconditionally, getting whole, working through trauma and anxiety, embodying his feelings, and making a daily practice of being present.
  • Graham has followed his heart and weaves service, money and connection with the sacred.
  • I was taught, don't do anything for money, do everything to raise consciousness and let money be a result of that.
  • When business people slowed down and they stopped hurrying to results, they actually performed way better. They're way more creative. They bring out their best. And when you think about a world-class athlete when they get into the zone, right, when they get into these special moments, everything slows down.
  • Expansion feels uncomfortable. Growth feels uncomfortable. So, we embrace the philosophy of ‘victory goes to the vulnerable.’
  • Being obsessed on results, it's going to sabotage your results.
  • Confidence, to me, is just a simple willingness to show up.
  • Go exercise, go get into your body, when you're feeling all these feelings, this anxiety, this worry, all this stuff.  Don't kid yourself at all. Go get into your body. Go move into your body.
  • One of the things that really helped me out when I would stay in a place of service is, I'm like, “this is heart-centered.” I made a decision with myself to not let anything petty affect me. I knew I was going to see a whole bunch of petty stuff, a whole bunch of jealousy, a whole bunch of egos, a whole bunch of all kinds of stuff. If I just stayed heart-centered I knew that I would be able to make it.
  • My life's work was figuring out how to let money come in without letting it be that money was the thing I was doing, cause that's not what I'm doing. I'm doing love and light, but I need to let money be a result of that.
  • The motivation -- that’s the most powerful -- is a sense of service towards your own spirituality.
  • Since rewiring himself, he has done exactly what he’d do if he had a hundred million dollars, even though for many years he had very little money.
  • He has a continual, daily practice of being present and serving. He is not fearful about the future when he stays present. Despite doing this work for over 20 years, he’s still practicing. “Am I perfect at it, man?” Graham answers himself immediately, “No way! This is a practice.”
  • His slogans include “Victory to the Vulnerable,” “You are Not Your Sport,” and “Being Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable.” Because expansion and growth feel uncomfortable and vulnerable, Victory Goes to the Vulnerable. If you know that You are Not Your Sport, you’ll know that your life does not depend on outcome, which allows you to be play relaxed and present, despite discomfort and loss. Confidence is not a feeling, it’s the ability to perform when not feeling well. One can trust their skills with supreme confidence, even though they feel vulnerable. Thus, Being Comfortable with the Uncomfortable gives real confidence, by allowing one to perform how one feels.
  • Compassion is the ultimate component to being competitive. Being compassionate for the opponents’ aggression helps prevent anger, allowing one to stay present and therefore be more competitive. If you’re competition and compassionate, you won’t be stopped, because you don’t let what happens outside of you get to you.
  • Once one activates mental skills with practice, experiences follow. And experience evolves your enlightenment.
  • Do not work for money. Work for love and light and then allow money in. Until the money flows, work for alternative currency such as relationships and energy.
  • While people often seek money, what they really want is consciousness.
  • The Covid pandemic presents a rare opportunity to dance with the unknown, because it’s rare for the uncertainty to be so obvious. Be grateful for these cool opportunities to open our consciousness. Notice what’s to be gained, and what’s present to support our growth, evolution, and expansion.
  • We don’t even know what’s going to happen tomorrow. And what happened yesterday doesn’t even exist. The reality we thought we were in doesn’t even exist any more. So now is the time to really wake up, get yourself into the present moment, and be grateful for being here.
  • Work at being present continually during all moments of the day. Exercise to get embodied in the present and harmonize your emotions. Practice MVP—meditation, visualization and positive affirmations. Do you see your opportunity to grow, and be more evolved and conscious than ever?
  • The “Palms Down” exercise helps you choose your response when you’re triggered. Imagine putting your palms down, and say, “I’m owning this moment. It’s uncomfortable. It’s vulnerable. But I’m going to take a breath and to choose my response. I know that Victory to the Vulnerable. I’m breathing. And I’m in this moment. Am I in physical danger right now?” If you can say no, then you’re okay. “Let me use this present moment to develop my mental skills and practice.”
  • Never let anything petty disturb you. Let everything go. Never take anything personally. Never make it about yourself.
  • Create space by serving without needing anything in return. Let love and service motivate you.
  • Graham recommends his own book, Play Present, and George Mumford’s book The Mindful Athlete, which “should be required reading for every human being!”
  • It doesn’t matter where your mind is, if you just open your mind up and start training it, you can free it.
  • To handle difficult times, be where your feet are. Life exists right now. Be here right now. So, if you’re confused and don’t know what to do, then invite confusion and “not knowing” to sit on your lap every day. They can become your best friend and your awareness point.
  • To literally get into one’s body, Graham recommends exercise. “Your body is the place to be.”
Lots of gratitude to all the behind-the-scenes volunteers that made this call happen!


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