For Christmas week, we’ll be re-airing the best episodes of 2017. We start with Mark’s interview with Jim Rome, but we’ll have another one for you everyday this week. In the new year, we’ll be starting with new episodes again. In the meantime, enjoy and have a Merry Christmas!
“So I knew early on what I wanted to do. Was able to negotiate the price with myself that I was willing to pay to achieve that. And that was the edge that I had.” –Jim Rome
Jim Rome (@jimrome) is a legendary sportscaster and media personality. He shares with us the trials and challenges he faced in becoming what he always wanted to be. He and Commander Divine discuss mental and emotional toughness and how Jim inadvertently began to develop an Unbeatable Mind in order to succeed as a broadcaster. He and Mark also talk about how they are trying to raise children in light of the changed and very competitive world in which we live. Find out how Jim has worked on mental toughness, and the determination he was able to use to succeed in his career.
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Transcript & Shownotes
Hey folks. Mark Divine with the Unbeatable Mind podcast. Welcome back. So stoked for you to join me today. I do not take it lightly or for granted, because everyone is super-busy. Wherever you are, thanks for tuning in.
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I am super-stoked to meet Jim Rome, who is a sports broadcasting extraordinaire guru. (laughing) Been around forever and a day. Doing sports casting.
I’m in Jim’s studio in Irvine. It’s a beautiful setup. I think I’m gonna move here and actually do my work from here, Jim. You don’t mind, right?
Jim Rose: You can, man. It’s all you, Mark.
Mark: You’re on from 9 to 12; I’ll be on from 12 ’til 2. No problem. I’ll give you a few bucks for your rent.
So Jim got his start in San Diego, which is my neck of the woods. On Extra Sports 690. And that’s when he launched the Jim Rome show, and it’s still called the Jim Rome show.
Jim: It is. It is still that. So I got my start in San Diego.
First of all, Mark, it is great to have you here. It’s an honor to have you in this house. You can stay here as long as you want. If you want to broadcast after my program, I’ve got no issue for that. If you wanna do my show for me, I’ve got no issue with that. It is great to have you here.
Mark: (laughing) Thanks very much.
And I’m gonna say this right off the bat. The reason I know about you is because Steve, who runs my Unbeatable Mind program was rooting through the database one day and he sees this name, “Jim Rome.” And he was like, “Jim? I think I know that name.”
And so you’ve been part of the Unbeatable Mind training. You’ve been sniffing around what we do at SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind for a little while.
Jim: Absolutely. In fact, the way I found you and the way I found Unbeatable Mind… I’ve always had kind of a fascination in peak performance, and high achievers. And what makes guys do what they do.
And I’ve thought about this for a long time. And I interview athletes. What’s the answer to the question? Are people hard-wired for this kind of success? Are they products of their environment?
I don’t really know the answer, but I’ve always kind of craved that knowledge. So the fact of the matter is, I was looking for that type of thing. Did my typical Google search for mental toughness and you popped right up. And I found “Unbeatable Mind.”
And I’ve gotta say, Mark, the book itself. It really resonated with me. The message spoke to me. And I could go on and on about the things I like about that book, but that is, in fact, how I found you. You hooked me with that, and I think the book’s an incredible read.
Mark: Yeah. Thanks for saying that. And we’re going to talk a little bit about your Unbeatable Mind and how you developed it and kind of the man behind the curtain.
Why don’t we start out with some early influences? Like, where did you grow up? Did you grow up in San Diego? You’re a southern California boy?
Jim: I actually grew up in Los Angeles. I was a Los Angeles native and I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. And had a pretty basic upbringing. Upper middle-class. Grew up in the suburbs of LA and you know, the world… you and I are pretty close in age, so the world was very different then. There was no Internet, there was no social media. B
But I grew up as a kid in Los Angeles and I was just obsessed with sports. Lived and died with my teams. Lived and died with my favorite athletes. And just…
Mark: Were you an athlete yourself, or…?
Jim: Nothing noteworthy. I was a kid who played high school tennis and played all the neighborhood sports. But not a Division 1 scholarship athlete, but a guy who just did the normal things–intramurals and college. But when I realized at some point that I was not going to be a standout athlete, or I was not going to be a professional athlete, I still had this passion and I wanted to find a way into the business. And I had to figure out how to do that. And it seemed to me the best way was to get into the media. Sports broadcasting.
So I knew early on what I wanted to do. Was able to negotiate the price with myself that I was willing to pay to achieve that. And that was the edge that I had.
Mark: I think that’s a really interesting comment you just made, by the way. You knew you were gonna have to pay a big price. You were gonna have to work your ass off to get there. So what age was this you decided you were going into the industry and what price did you pay? That you negotiated in advance with yourself?
Jim: That’s a good question. The edge that I had was number one, I knew that I didn’t have an edge. I was able to… and I know you write about this… I was able to get to my “why” at a pretty early age. But I knew what I wanted to do even in high school. And a lot of people don’t know that. .
Mark: No, that’s pretty rare, I think.
Jim: So when I got to college, from the day that I stepped on campus at UC Santa Barbara. I checked into the dorm and went right to the radio station. Just put my head down and started to work. In terms of what I was able to negotiate with myself, I had kind of 2 pronged approach. I figured if I ever got a shot in this industry, philosophically this is the way I would go about my work.
But on the other hand… literally at that age, although I didn’t have as deep of a dive as you did on it… I started to cultivate my own Unbeatable Mind. I’m like, “If you’re really not that different, where’s your edge? My edge better be in my approach, and if I’m willing to do things that other people are not willing to do. If I’m willing to make self-sacrifices that others won’t make, it’s going to behoove me…
So at a very early age, I kinda had that “burn the boats” mentality. Be tougher, be stronger and realize there’s going to be a lot of rejection in this business, and in this world. Get after it.
Mark: Okay, so… let me unpack that a little bit. What would you consider to be your unique offer that you identified very early, that you said you could offer the world that was different?
Jim: Yeah, I couldn’t figure it out in the beginning. Because what I did was–I’d be on campus and I just kinda took stock of matters and I did the math. And I figured if I’m 1 of all these people in this major, on this campus. And then you’ve got all the other Journalism majors, all across the country. And Communications Studies majors. And we’re all battling for the same thing.
And we’re going to get out of college and we’re going to compete for jobs that are already taken by people already in the industry. How the hell am I ever going to get a job? How am I going to make money? What’s different about you? And I couldn’t answer the question for quite some time.
Mark: And that was an era where you couldn’t really go out and just make a career as a YouTube artist or a podcaster.
Jim: There was none of that.
Mark: It’s an unreal landscape that we have these days. So you had to claw your way up in a traditional industry that was offering you a job.
Jim: My radio show now is carried on over 200 radio stations. So there are hundreds if not thousands of sports talk stations. When I got into this business there was 1. WFAN in New York. There was 1 station. So there was not a lot of opportunity. So I kept saying, “Why you? Why you? How are you different? I mean, you didn’t play professionally. You don’t have this great voice. Why would anybody hire you?”
And I couldn’t answer the question. And I just knew if I couldn’t come up with a good answer, it wouldn’t be me. So how am I different? I decided that I was going to be different by being different. I was going to approach this kind of work in a way that had not been done before.
Mark: In terms of your radio personality?
Jim: Yes. In terms of my approach. Just an example, when I grew up and I’d listen to sports talk radio, it was always the guy with the Big Voice. And people would call the radio show and say, “Hey, you’ve got a great show. How do you think the Dodgers are going to do this year? I’ll take your answer off the air.”
And then the big radio man would say, “Well I think that they’re going to come in first place in the NL West.” I’m like, “That sucks. That’s not very interesting. There’s no entertainment value in that.” So instead of disseminating information and facts and figures, I figured I’d come at it a different way. And my different way would be I’d come with opinions. I’d come with takes. I’d tell you exactly what I think, and I would demand the same from the people listening to my program. So my “why” or my hook about what was different about me was to be different. And I figured if I ever got the shot, I would just take a shot. And if I was going to go down, I’d go down swinging, and doing it my own way. Luckily the approach resonated and it worked for me.
Mark; And how many times have you had to go down swinging and have to claw yourself back up again? Give us a sense of some of the major setbacks you had, and how you dealt with those. There are two things.
I had 2 really low points. And one is really famous that everybody knows about, and the other one is not so famous and really nobody knows about.
The one that’s not as cool or sexy is I literally had one bad ` experience in college. I’d had 7 internships in my 3 and a half years at UCSB. I was paranoid of falling behind, so I tried to do everything. And then I had 1 bad experience where I’d work for free at a radio station for a year, was promised a job, and then when I tried out, I didn’t get it.
And what I did was… and I think this is similar to your background… I gave in in the sense that I’m like, “This sucks. I’ve got a family business. I’m going to go to work for the family. And control my own fate and destiny.” Never mind that I was totally misaligned. That was not what I set out to do. So I do that. I fail miserably…
Mark: How long did you do that for?
Jim: So my father… I figured that any father would want their son to be in their family business, right?
Mark: (laughing) Mine sure did.
Jim: Okay. So I go to my old man. I said, “Hey listen, Dad. This whole radio thing, not for me. I’m gonna go to work for you.” And he looks at me and he goes, “The hell you will.” I said, “Excuse me?” He’s like, “You’re not working here.” I said, “What father doesn’t want their son to work in their business?” He looked me dead in the eye and he goes, “Let me tell you something junior. You never once showed any interest in the family business. So no. You’re not welcome to work here.” So I stay on the guy. And I just grind it out, and I talk him into it.
And he was right. I failed miserably and he fired me. I didn’t last even a year.
Mark: (laughing) Wow. That’s awesome. Get fired by your own dad.
Jim: I learned early on… The 2 things I learned at the dinner table, because my parents owned a business. Number 1: business is business. And number 2: if you take care of the business, the business will take care of you. So when he fired me, I didn’t take it personally. He still loved me. Business is business. I was not good at that job.
But my big mistake was trying to prove him wrong. So I go into sales. Another sales job. He says to me, “You’re terrible at sales. Why are you doing this?”
“It’s just your product I can’t sell, old man. I can sell something else.”
I go into sales and he’s right. I fail miserably. So that was the low point of my early career. I was misaligned. I gave up the fight. I left my job, and I’m trying to sell and it didn’t work out. I finally call this guy in Santa Barbara. Out of another office trying to sell phone systems. Man, I was bad.
And I call this guy up, and I’m like, “Do you have any work up there?”
And he said, “Yeah, I do. 5 bucks an hour. You can do traffic reports.” And that’s how I go back in the game.
The other really low point… and the quick version of this. People know this story. Got into an altercation with quarterback Jim Everett on TV.
Mark: Oh that probably went really well.
Jim: That did not go well. That did not go well. Certainly not for me.
Mark: Wonder Jim Everett… I know Jim, I know his name. I know he’s very famous. But you have to appreciate, you’re talking to someone who’d literally watched about 5 sports events on TV in the last 20 years.
Jim: (laughing) Well, this is 1 of the top 5, I think…
Mark: (laughing) This is one…?
Jim: Exactly. It’s a famous TV moment. So what happened was I was on the radio and I would refer to Jim Everett as Chris Everett.
Mark: She’s a tennis player.
Jim: Yeah, she was. And you can imagine…
Mark: They’re not the same.
Jim: No. It was not a flattering or complimentary thing. It was out of line. But back in the day we’d do really dumb things…
Mark: But it was a mistake, wasn’t it? So why would he get upset?
Jim: No, I did it on purpose.
Mark: Oh, you did it on purpose.
Jim: But my point was, he winds up on a TV show. And I had made it very clear to him and his people, I would never not say to somebody’s face what I said about them on the radio. So when you come in the studio and we do this, I’m not going to make this the whole point of the whole interview, but I’m going to look you in the eye and I’m going to say to you what I’ve said about you behind your back.
They’re like, “We know. We get it. We want to do this.”
And I said it. And I said it a few more times. And he finally said, “If you say it one more time, we’re going to commercial break.”
And me being young and dumb and not reading the situation very well, when he said, “I bet you don’t say it again,” I did.
He flips the table over. We go to a commercial break. And it’s a bad night at work for me. It was not a good thing.
Mark: Did you actually go to fisticuffs with this guy?
Jim: No. People think that. He knocked over the table. And we’re talking about… look at me. I’m 5’9″, pretty average size. This dude’s 6’5″ and he’s a professional athlete. No, he spilled some coffee on me. And he rolled the table. But no punches were thrown and we got up screaming at each other. And then that was it.
But the point of this is… it was interesting, but at that point I was on my way up in my career and doing really well. My career could have ended right then. There was an article in the LA Times that ran shortly thereafter, and the headline was “Is This the End of the Roman Empire?” Because I was a guy who was coming quickly.
I took that newspaper and I put it up on my mirror where I could see it every single day. Because it’s one thing to have all this self-talk about “be tough. Persevere. Grind.”
Until you get hit by a real shot… and I don’t mean a physical shot, but I mean, real adversity… you don’t know how you’re going to react. It’s one thing to tell yourself all that crap until it happens. And then all of a sudden I’m thinking, “People are not standing by me. My career might be over as it’s just getting started.” So I looked at that newspaper clipping every day in my mirror for about a year, and just kept grinding, kept grinding.
And it was a tough thing to deal with at the time. I owned it. I brought that on myself, but everybody’s facing some adversity. You don’t know when it’s coming, but you know it’s coming. If you don’t know, you should know, right? So I had to battle through that.
Mark: Good for you. I love that. I love what you’re saying because a lot of people have a misunderstanding or misperception of what it means to be mentally tough. And one of the things that I think that you just said that you kind of stumbled upon is that it’s equal part having the dogged determination to just persevere–with a vulnerability and a self-assessment that you really don’t have it all figured out. That you are learning. That you’ve gotta sometimes step back from your own arrogance. Check your ego at the door and really empty your cup of all that being on. Like, “I’m the guy,” kind of thing. Or the girl. So, you got have the dogged determination and the perseverance. But you gotta have the softer side. It’s almost like the Yin and Yang. You gotta have the vulnerability and the reality that you don’t have it all figured out. There’s always something to learn, and there’s always going to be someone tougher. There’s always someone out there wanting to take you down, too.
Jim: Exactly right. There’s always somebody who’s going to want that. And it’s not an easy world now, right? It’s not… you need to be tough. You need to be mentally tough and emotionally tough.
And that was my other part of this whole process. The world’s tough now, right? It’s hard to get through these things, and it’s easy to say that… Mike Tyson, everybody’s got a plan to get hit in the mouth, and see how you’re going to react. So that was me getting hit in the head and luckily it worked out and I reacted to it. And to be fair, who knows how that goes today? With social media and things going viral…
Mark: It could have gone south real fast.
Jim: It could have gone south really quickly. So I got through that. It’s a part of who I am. I own it. It’s something to laugh at. But at the time, it was not a great thing. I’m not proud of the fact, but I was young, I was dumb, I made a mistake and you just kind of grind through it.
Mark: But interestingly to me that speaks a lot to his lack of resiliency, or lack of emotional control I should say. And I’ve never met Jim, but why would he go overboard just from this guy prodding him a little bit like that?
Jim: You could make the argument… I understand why he was upset and I get that. What’s interesting about it is for a long time I tried to do the interview again. I wanted some closure. I wanted to say, “Hey, look. Let’s come together and let’s do this.” And I wanna say, for the better part of 10 years I tried to make that happen. Kept asking.
He was not having it. Not having it. I think he’s still angry. Now? 20 years out, it’s something to laugh at.
Mark: He took it as a disrespect thing. He thought…
Jim: Yes. And I understand why he did. I understand why he did, but I want to make it right. I wanna say, “Look, I’m going to own this. I should not have done that.” I shouldn’t have done it as many times as I did. But it never did work out. It probably never will work out. But it was definitely a teaching moment, a learning moment for me.
Mark: Yeah. Absolutely.
So what other lessons or challenges that you overcame that really helped kind of craft your character?
Jim: I think the big thing I learned early on… see, what I figure out in this process of trying to develop this mindset to help me make it through, when I started in the media, I started in Santa Barbara which is a small market. When you get out of college… I don’t know what your thought process was, but we all think we’re going to go right to the top. We’re going to be on network TV. We’re going to go live in New York. We’re going to kill it.
And then when you get out, you find out that’s not the way the real world works. So I was looking around and I was seeing… this goes back to that kind of “burning the boats” mentality… as I got out and I was in this small market trying to work my way out, I could see that things were happening for other people around me in different businesses.
So people would get into business, or they go to grad school and their careers are taking off and I’m kind of stuck in this place. And then what do you do? Do you give up on the dream? Do you give up on the fight?
And then I saw people, that I know for a fact, in my own industry that I thought were as talented as me or more. Smarter than me. Literally, had more to offer than me, and I see them start to give in. Like, the dream’s not going to happen. My friends were making more money. I’m going to go into business. I’m going to get a job at a bank.
And it was at that point that I decided this thing really is a war of attrition. It’s not for me to decide when it’s going to happen, or how many doors I have to knock on. But this was the price that I negotiated with myself at this time. You stay in the fight as long as you possibly can, and you never give in. If this is what you want, this is the price you have to pay. And that was something that I learned early on.
And find that passion, lock in on it, and it’s not just lip service. Not bullshit that you’re feeding yourself. You give it everything you have every single day and you stay in that fight. And I think I can outlast some people. It became a war of attrition. And I think that was a really valuable lesson that I learned early on. Focus on the goal, worry about yourself. Don’t worry about things that other people have that you don’t have. Just lock in and never give in.
Mark: And how do you tell how much you have to give? That’s one of the things with Kokoro camp. The reason we designed the 50 hour non-stop training cause people could not answer how much do I have to give. You’ve got a sense that you’ve got a lot, but you don’t know. So we try to prove it.
Jim: See I think that’s one of the things I really picked up that fascinated me about the Unbeatable Mind. That 20x notion. That we’re capable of 20 times more than we think we are, or than we’re currently doing. And to be honest with you, Mark, I’ve read the book. I’m actually re-reading the book. I’m not really clear on how to get to my 20x. I think I know theoretically how I’m supposed to get there. But I don’t know the answer to that. That’s something else I figured, I’m competing with me. I’m going to worry about things that I can control. And if we were all in this to be as good as we could possibly be. Self-mastery, self-actualization. Isn’t that all you can ask of anybody? And do any of us ever get there? And my thought process was… and I’m still fighting this even as a guy who’s 52 now… How do I get more out of me? How do I get to my max potential?
So to answer your question, I don’t know how to get more out. Or how much more there is. But I know that that’s the goal. And I did figure out early on that if I was able to delay self-gratification. If I was able to do things that others weren’t able to do, I might have an edge. Might have an edge.
Mark: Do you do some form of integrated training like we talk about in Unbeatable Mind?
Jim: Not like I should.
Mark: Yeah. What’s your training look like?
Jim: I’m a cardio guy. I was like treadmill to elliptical… My new thing right now is the peloton. Do a lot of…
Mark: Never heard of that. What is that?
Jim: It’s a bike in the house. They have classes in New York City. It’s a pretty good racket. They charge you per month. But it’s basically cardio, some weights. But not a really focused, concentrated program…
Mark: Okay, I need to get you down to SEALFIT. We need to spend a day together.
Jim: (laughing) Or more. It’s going to take a lot more than one day, my friend.
Mark: (laughing) Well that’s the kick-start right?
Jim: Gotta start somewhere.
Mark: So you’re doing something. You’re doing some cardio work. What about meditation? Do you have a meditation practice?
Jim: I do not, and I know you’re big on that. I know you’re big on yoga. That stuff–by the way–it’s harder than it looks isn’t it. It’s very hard to sit very still and empty your mind.
Mark: I think it’s harder than working out. The working in is… because we’re outward focused people. Even our job… everything we do is outward focused. So moving a barbell, doing kettle bell swings. Working the body is fairly pedestrian compared to sitting down and working with the mind. So it’s hard, yeah…
Jim: The monkey mind is running amok on me at times. You and I were talking, we had a mutual friend where you know somebody that I know, Richard Macklewitz who passed away. But when I used to train with Mac, before every session he would have me sit still for 5 minutes. The perfect posture. And it’s hard to imagine… people don’t get this. But to sit still for 5 minutes and not think about anything? That was hard. That was as challenging to me as the 2 hour workouts that we would do. Just sitting still for 5 minutes.
So I see the value in it, but that’s something else I haven’t quite gotten to yet. Fully. I’ve not mastered that in any way.
Mark: Yeah, well I don’t know if there is any mastery of something like that. Just like there’s always room for improvement or even this notion of 20x. How do you know you’re there? But there is no there there. It’s in the striving. It’s in the constant journey of self-mastery, right?
Jim: So how do you get to 20…? Can you get from 0 to 20x like that? Or is it incremental changes every single day as you pay attention to the 5 mountains. How do you get to 20x?
Mark: The answer is you can do both. But it’s rare to go from zero to hero. The conditions have to be right, so that you are forced to throw every ounce of your being into solving the challenge. The best example of that is a serious crisis. You know, like, the mom who picks up the car off of her kid, because the thing rolled over their kid. I mean, where did she get the energy do that? I think I saw Allison do that the other day, didn’t I. (laughing) She’s smiling. She’s like, “Why would I let the car roll over my kid? That’s crazy, Mark.”No, but you know, that’s 20x potential right there. Or the Navy SEAL in a firefight who just does something extraordinary to get their teammate or their platoon out of a crisis.
Jim: Yeah, but we don’t want to wait for a crisis to get 20x, right? So how do we get there?
Mark: Right. WE don’t want that. Now here’s part of the premise that we have and I think this is one of the things that you employed in your life is you can set up the conditions to simulate that type of challenge. So you’re idea of going after the hardest… or just throwing yourself into work and saying, “I’m going to accomplish the most challenging thing possible.
Now defining what that is is important. So like, if you said, “Jim Rome show. We’ve hit our plateau. Maybe things are over.” That would be common thinking. Maybe it’s time to retire. Maybe it’s time to slide into Internet radio or whatever… I don’t know what it would be kind of what would be after you hit your peak.
But the Unbeatable Mind approach, 20x approach would be to say, “No. Screw that. I’m going to envision something that is just audaciously 20 times freakin’ bigger than what I’m doing now. Set up the challenge and then go attack it, with all of my energy, right?” And like you said, it’s going to suck. But I’m going to go after this thing.
Now in order for that to work, your “why” has to be super-powerful. Like, super-strong. So you can set up the conditions for that 20x to show up like that. Or–and this is where the Unbeatable Mind training comes in–you can have it incrementally accrue to you through the daily practice of integration. And the reason that works is because you’re literally using–right now, most people… and I would put most people that are listening to this into this category. They know what I’m talking about because we’ve been talking about this for a while. We’re using a very narrow set of our total skills. Our total mental/emotional faculties. Mental, emotional, intuitional and Kokoro/heart faculty. And the incremental training of the daily integrated training, begins to kind of unlock it and link all of those other intelligences together. So that now we can tap them with greater and greater fidelity and depth and awareness. On a day to day basis. That’s cool.
Now when you combine these two, going after a big hairy challenge and integrated training on the daily basis, it creates this kind of like J-curve of acceleration.
Jim: I think that’s key. I think that’s everything. I think that part of my process was figure out a format that’s going to work for you. If you get a chance to get behind a microphone, what are you going to do with that chance? What are you going to say? But these are the types of things that I was trying to cultivate within myself. Because I knew that there was going to be a lot of rejection. I knew there was going to be a lot of criticism. I knew that somewhere down the road there was going to be some adversity, so how are you going to show up when that happens?
So that was kind of my approach. I was trying to do 50% of the actual work in the industry, and 50% of working on myself. Cultivate that mindset and that mental toughness that was necessary to get out into the field and compete.
Unbeatable Mind Tools[27:33]
Mark: So it sounds like a couple of the tools, if you were to draw from the toolkit of Unbeatable Mind, obviously self-talk. Like, your self-image, your self-concept which is defined by your internal dialogue is very, very strong and that’s what’s allowed you to stay the course. So what does that look like? What kind of self-dialogue do you have either when you get kicked or just day-to-day that keeps you on your game?
Jim: I can tell you especially when I first got started it was so strong. Because I had this notion, I just had this thing… And I don’t know where it came from but I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder. And all the great athletes I’ve seen have this. They’re just… they bring something different to it. They show up in a different way. It’s deeply personal. They’ve got this chip.
But I will say that early on in my career, as I thought about these things, I would kinda turn it over in my head. I’d walk around on campus all day long and this desire that I had was, “I really need to do this.” I don’t need to do this, I have to do this.
And the more I thought about it, the stronger it got. And I could literally walk around over the course of a day and lose an hour, an hour and a half just fixated on this goal. It just became something that… if the mind can’t conceive it, it really can’t achieve it. And I think that really behooved me, because it got stronger and stronger and stronger. And when it took hold of me, it started to dictate my choices and my actions. But I felt very strongly about it. It was very important.
Mark: Mm-hmm. And was that, an image? Which brings me to the 2nd skill. Did you have a visual image that you kind of… just like sports psychology, you practice and you saw yourself as a…
Jim: Yes. I didn’t need to practice though. I just woke up in the morning and that’s how my mind was working at that time. I felt very strongly about it. And it made me feel good. And it made me feel empowered. And I felt like I was pushing and striving towards something. And I can’t say it’s been like that my entire life. But in my formative years when I really needed that thing, man, I had it. And it was the kind of thing that would get me out of bed at 4 o’clock in the morning to do an internship to work for free. I mean, I felt empowered. I felt important.
Mark: So you said that in your earlier life you had it, but… so, you’re saying you don’t have it now?
Jim: I still have it. I still have it.
Mark: It’s more in the background?
Jim: Yeah, it’s more in the background. Because there’s a lot of other things going on right now. But isn’t that we should try to cut through, right? All the clutter. All the BS. Because it was so clear to me on the way up. But that’s before life. Before getting married, before having kids, before having all these other opportunities. That was just me simplifying everything, and locking in on this vision and never letting go of it. So how do you get that now? That’s part of the challenge.
Mark: You know, that’s interesting. A lot of people have that when they’re younger and they don’t trust it like you did. And then they get stuck in a career–let’s say working for their father in the family business–and then, you know, they have that existential midlife crisis at 45 or 50 and they go, “What the hell? How did I get here?” And you almost have to go back to the beginning and say, “You know, let’s clear away all the layers that got in the way.” What was it that you were super-passionate about when you were 20 or 25 or even 18? And maybe we can find an essence for your future in that. And we called it the personal ethos. Like, what is the ethos? What are you passionate about? What do you think could be a driving purpose in life, where you can serve boldly–like you have done, and like I’m doing with Unbeatable Mind–and then craft your future around that.
And if you’re in a career like you are, where all of a sudden it’s become structural and kind of like… almost, easy. Because you show up and now the system and the money’s flowing. And everything’s good. To keep that fire lit by polishing that mirror every day.
Jim: You know what’s interesting? It doesn’t feel like that to me. The world is changing so dramatically and the landscape where I live and the business that we do is changing so dramatically that it’s not… it’s fast… it’s not a case where “I made it. I’m here. Let’s just keep cashing the checks.” In fact that’s why… it may not be exactly the same as it was when I was on campus and thinking about these things in college. I still have the same drive and the same fire. The image is a little bit different now.
So how do we stay in this game? How do we stay relevant? How do we continue to create? How do we reinvent? How do we hit the reset button? And most of all, how do you hit another home run?
Like, if it all ended today, I had a much better run than I ever thought. But I don’t want it to end today. And I want to re-invent and re-create and I want to hit… I want to make my mark again. So I still have that fire and that challenge. It’s just a different mindset… It’s a similar mindset, but it’s a different sort of thing to figure out.
Jim: It’s a different paradigm now.
Mark: Now, I get that. I’m… in a sense, we’re doing the same thing. I’m doing the same thing with my business. Okay, everything we’ve seen to date–the books, the Unbeatable Mind program and the Way of the SEAL was all Gen. One, right? And it came out of an incredibly creative period in my life. This passion to give back and to serve and to teach some of these principles that I had uncovered and was using myself.
But now it’s like, what’s next? What’s 2.0 look like? And I’m working on that, and it’s a challenge, right? It’s getting clearer out there.
Jim: But what’s the next book? What’s the next program? What’s the next thing? You can’t keep teaching the same exact thing over and over.
Mark: No, you’ve gotta constantly be evolving and growing.
Jim: If yesterday’s great, then obviously we haven’t done anything today, right? So there is that challenge…
Mark: The only easy day was yesterday.
Jim: The only easy day was yesterday. And I’m not looking for an off-ramp right now. They can… I don’t have this ego like I need to be the guy on radio or TV, but I am a slave to this process. And I want to do well. So you can rip the microphone out of my hands then. I’ll do this until they tell me “Hell man, we really don’t a damn what you gotta say about anything anymore.” But the challenge is to keep that day at bay as long as possible.
Mark: (laughing) But Jim, they quit radio years ago. There’s nobody listening.
Jim: That’s on me, if I didn’t know that, right? But you wanna stay in the fight. So this is where I am at this age in my life. I’m looking for this sort of thing, and this is how I found you. This is how I found Unbeatable Mind.
And I think… Look, is this not what we all want? We all want to be mentally tougher, physically tougher. We want to be emotionally stronger. We want to tap into our intuition. And you want to have that Kokoro, unbeatable spirit. See, I just hit all 5 mountains.
Mark: Boom. You did hit all 5 mountains. So you are trained in them.
Jim: Yeah. Kinda, sorta.
Mark: To some degree…
Jim: I’m not dominating all 5, but I’m aware of the 5 and I’m trying to incorporate.
Mark: At what point has intuition really played a role? It must, like, when you’re on air or with a guest like me, where you’re kinda just letting your intuition guide the conversation. Do you really just work from that? Do you have signals from or noticeable intuitive flashes? Or belly signals? Or insight…?
Jim: You wanna trust yourself no matter what. Like, when I got in and I was doing these things differently, I had to trust that the vision was going to work for me. So you wanna have the intuition. You wanna trust it.
But in terms of these moments… Listen, I’d love to tell you that I have this great natural gift, but I really don’t. Preparation…
Mark: You didn’t listen to your intuition with the Jim Everett/Chris Evert thing.
Jim: I listened to myself and myself… everything told me everything was all right. (laughing) I was checking my systems and it said everything was all right until it wasn’t.
Mark: (laughing) Green light go.
Jim: Until it wasn’t. Until the table turned over. Hey, look, you wanna trust your instincts, but they’re not always right. So I think in terms of what am I going with right here. I’m happy here because I know me and I probably know you better than you think I know you, because preparation breeds confidence. Not that I prepared for this per se, but I’ve done some of this work. I’ve read your book. So my feeling always is, Preparation will breed confidence. And you’ll be more confident if you’ve done the work.
Mark: Yeah, that is true. What about… do you consider yourself a spiritual person?
Jim: Not terribly. Not terribly. Which is interesting.
I didn’t have that kind of upbringing. So no. I think there’s something going on that I’m not aware of. That I can’t see. I think there’s something going on.
But I’m pretty pragmatic in that I try to focus on the things that I can control. Maybe the things that I can see. And I’m pretty practical in the way I go about those things.
Kids and the New World[35:22]
Mark: Yeah, yeah. The reason I brought that up cause we were talking about our kids before we started the podcast. And this notion of nature versus nurture versus… there’s some 3rd factor out there, right? I think.
So, let’s use my son for example. Devon. Now Devon’s adopted. He has no interest in the SEALs or the military. Or the Crossfit industry. He’s really into cars. Well, I’m not. I have no interest in cars.
And he doesn’t know his adopted family. Yet. He’s 17 years old.
And so where did that come from? It’s not nurture. It’s either somehow… are cars coded into kids DNA? I don’t think so. Right? I think DNA is a lot simpler than that. I mean, it’s complicated but you don’t come in with a car spiral on your DNA. That says, “I’m into cars.” But where the hell did that come from?
Jim: I wonder. I’ve always wondered that. And it’s fascinating. I’ve got 2 sons that are… same DNA right? Same bloodlines. Same family. Same exposure. We raised them the same way. I teach them the same lessons.
They could not be more different. They could not be more different.
This is what I’m trying to figure out. Are we hard-wired for it? Is it nature, is it nurture? Are we products of our environment? I don’t know, Mark. I’ve always been curious about that.
For instance, kids right? I’ve got 2 kids, and I’ve done pretty well. And am I getting them ready for the world? The world is not the world that you and I entered into. It’s tougher… it’s so different. So if I’ve got these 2 kids who have a suburban lifestyle, upper middle class. And they’re used to kind of a soft way of life, how am I going to get them ready?
The guys I see who often have the most success oftentimes have the toughest upbringing. They had to grind and brawl their way out.
My kids aren’t grinding and brawling. I’ve got 16 year-old who actually works pretty hard, because his high school regimen is extremely demanding. But you want them to have a good life. But you don’t want to baby them and not get them ready for the world. So that to me is a challenge. There’s a little bit of “good cop, bad cop” thing going on in my family right now.
Mark: I get that. And in a sense… Let me throw this out at you, cause I’ve been struggling with this myself. But we’re kind of placing our value set on them in a world where most of the values or many of the values that we grew up with are becoming obsolete or irrelevant. And so, for instance, we can really struggle or obsess about whether it was a good idea to give my son an iPhone or not. Cause the kid can’t unplug it from his hand, or his brain.
And yet there will be a time in the not too distant future, where the iPhone will be obsolete. And it will be embedded as a chip in someone’s head. And that’ll happen in our lifetime. Your and my lifetime.
And so it’s highly plausible that our kids because they grew up with this iPhone are going to be able to navigate that. And they’re going to be able to navigate the complexity that literally would just shut you and I down. Because our brains grew up on the Savannah basically. (laughing) Without the Internet. Pre-Internet is hard for the millenials to really appreciate. They think that we’re cavemen. Our brains work differently.
Like, radically differently. And so I’m thinking that we don’t know what we don’t know. We can’t see what we can’t see. We can’t think that just because my son’s not out there willing to spar for his brown-belt test or willing to get his ass kicked in a Crossfit workout, that there’s something wrong with that.
He’s going to find his challenges in a way that are meaningful to him, know what I mean? And the fact that he grew up in a radically different environment is actually in some way, preparing him better for the future.
Another great example of this is my grandson, you know? He already knows how to code. I mean, this is a 7 year-old kid, he knows how to code.
Jim: Yeah. That’s wild.
Mark: I don’t… I wouldn’t even know where to begin to know how to code.
Jim: No exactly. My… and you have a 17 year-old and I’ve got a 16 year-old so we’re talking about colleges right now. So we’ve got this college counselor. And she’s saying things like, “If you want to go to this school, then you have to develop an app. You have to start an overseas foundation.”
I’m like, “Whoa, hold on. Develop an app?” I couldn’t develop an app. My kid needs to develop an app to get into the school of his choice.
Mark: And start a foundation.
Jim: And start a foundation. And make it non-profit. And do it overseas. And… Damn, you kidding me? I showed up for the SAT, and I studied some in high school. I didn’t develop any app or start any non-profit.
Mark: I think a lot of those schools have just gone way overboard. I mean, that stuff just doesn’t make any sense.
Jim: Different world now. Very competitive.
So how do we get them ready? That’s a big challenge. Even my wife would say to me… Janet would say to me, “Hey listen. I don’t want those kids to resent you. You don’t need to be so tough on them.”
I said, “Listen, this is not easy. I don’t enjoy this. It would be much easier to do nothing and say nothing. My life worked out pretty well. I want to make sure that I’m sharing with them what I have learned and helping them get ready for the world. Because it is a challenging, competitive world.
Mark: Mm-hmm. Yeah, no doubt.
Mark: So what is next for the Jim Rome Show? Give us a landscape of kind of how you want to serve boldly and take it to the next level.
Jim: The radio show I still do every single day. Its three hours and I love that. I’ve never… that made everything else I’ve ever done possible. Any TV opportunity I had, or anything else that came my way was because of the radio show. And I think that’s something else to that I tell people.
Man, respect the process. It sounds cliché, and it sounds like kind of a cheap thing to say, but respect the process. Don’t lay it up, don’t take shortcuts. Take care of the thing. Make the thing, the main thing. And that was from the family business that I learned. Take care of the business. It’ll take care of you. I take care of the show, the show will take care of me and those who work here.
In terms of the next thing, that’s the challenge. Content is king. WE have content. How do we make best use of that content and get it out to as many people as possible. I’ve gotta a radio show. Something we’ve never done on this show… we’re going to make it digital. We’ll turn cameras on this studio, something we’ve not done. In fact, when you sat down here, you’re like, “Where are the cameras?”
Jim: WE don’t have cameras yet but we will soon enough.
And then I’m looking…
Mark: So would that be a YouTube show, or how would that work?
Jim: It would go on a network. It’ll be broadcast on somebody that we’re in business with. And they’ll be able to get it.
And the thing is, how do you re-invent? In terms of what’s the next big thing, I’m not sure, but I gotta find it. Just like I kinda cracked part of the code and figured out a way to go about this when I got in, now I need to figure it out once again. And whether or not it’s the radio show, the digital aspect of the radio show, a whole new TV show, I’m not exactly sure. But I’m looking–like you–for the best way to package and present the content.
Mark: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Well it’s changing so fast that it might find you. That’s what I’ve realized. All this stuff… people are knockin’ on my door saying, “Hey, this is the latest in whatever.” I’m like, “Really? Oh cool. Let’s take a look at this Geoff.”
Jim: It’s a good thing they’re knocking on your door, because if they’re not, you gotta problem.
Mark: I know. Exactly. I’m really grateful for that. Some of the best stuff is finding us, which is really cool.
Jim: That’s good. That’s good. It’s not always like that.
Mark: No it’s not. And I think there’s just some enormous opportunity out there. Anyone who’s lamenting the state of the economy or the world is not seeing what I see. It’s just enormous the potential and the opportunity. With the technology and the acceleration and innovation.
And we’re literally at this point in our history as humans where every single one on the planet can be an entrepreneur. Probably within 10 years, that technology will be there. If you’ve got access to an iPhone, which’ll be given to you, and you’ve got access to WiFi which’ll be given to you for free, you’re going to be able to have… to be in business for yourself.
And so everything’s kind of being redistributed back to the individual from the global, megalith corporations. Those will still exist, but I’m saying instead of having factories with a hundred thousand people, people think robotics and everything. Yeah, there’ll be a little bit of that, but I think manufactures going to be distributed. Transportation is already being distributed with Uber and Lyft and autonomous vehicles. It’s a fascinating time for our kids to grow up. Think about how that’s gonna affect media and sports. It is a mind-bender but there’s just enormous opportunities.
Jim: It’s changed dramatically. I know, when I first got in, there were very few people like me, and very few opportunities. And it was bricks and mortar. It was very standard…
Mark: Very expensive to get into the business, I imagine.
Jim: Not any more, though. Not anymore. Now everybody’s got a brand. Everybody’s got a platform. And now you’re competing with the multitudes that want to be seen, they want to be heard. And how are you going to break through? How you gonna re-invent yourself? So yeah… Look, it’d be easy to sit back and say, “Man, it’s a jacked up world. It’s a jacked up world with a lot of jacked up things.” And if you fall into that, and you’re negative and you’re fearful… believe me, there’s a lot of scary, ugly stuff out there. But there’s a still a world with tremendous opportunity. And as long as you get your mind right, and your body right, and you can take advantage of the opportunities, it can be an amazing world, right?
There’s still a lot of great things going on out there, but you gotta have the right mindset, I think.
Mark: For sure. Let’s talk about some of athletes that you interview. What do you think is trending in terms of athletics? Do we see honorable and mentally strong athletes these days or are there a lot of…? Has that changed in your opinion?
Jim: I think that’s like any other walk of life and any other business. You’ve got some really, really good guys. Some really admirable guys. And you’ve got some guys who are not good guys. But then that’s no different than any other business.
I could say the same about my business. There are people I admire, and I like the way they go about their work. And there are some grease balls, and some dirtballs and douche-bags.
In terms of the athletes, I don’t think that it’s changed so much. I think, the world has changed. The way we cover them has changed. But I think to a certain extent they are what they are. And if I look at an athlete… if you were to say to me give me an athlete with an Unbeatable Mind. There’s a lot of really tough guys. But the guy right now that I think has got an Unbeatable Mind… who’s got that mindset that you’d admire more is Tom Brady.
Mark: Tom Brady. Oh, yeah.
Jim: Tom Brady. 39 years-old. He’s been at it 18 years.
Mark: To watch him perform in the Super bowl was just extraordinary. Cause I was thinking the same thing. I was like, “Watch this guy. Look at him.” And I was just in my own head going, “man, he is just employing every single principle to a tee.”
Jim: 18 year in.
Mark: Yeah. And he’s been doing this for so long.
Jim: There’s no way a guy that age should play that position in that sport at that level the way he is. And if the question is, “Well, why?” I would argue that this guy created an Unbeatable Mind. He literally every waking moment every moment of this guy’s life–and this is not for all of us–but every waking moment is, “am I doing what I need to be doing to make myself possible athlete that I am?”
Mark: Right. Training time is all the time. For someone like him.
People say, “Well, I don’t watch TV because that’s valuable time for me to be training or to be with my family, or to be nurturing either my brain, or my emotions or one of those 5 mountains. Super-valuable time.
Someone once–I just read this–for top athletes asked them how percentage-wise–0 to 100%–how important do you think mental training is. And they would say, “Oh, probably like 90%.” And they say, “How much of your time do you spend on it?” And it’s like less than 5%.
Jim: (laughing) That doesn’t add up.
Mark: I know. Right. It doesn’t.
But someone like Brady… So you’ve got your team time. You’ve got your skill development and your training time on your field, but all the rest of the time that he’s spending at home or alone, he’s still training. In some way, right? He’s visualizing his game. He’s mapping something out. Even if it’s just a matter of taking some down time with his kids, and just clearing his mind. That’s what I’m talking about.
Jim: This guy’s all in. He’s totally committed. I’ve never seen an athlete that’s as committed as this guy. I mean, if we’re talking about a “cheat day” being avocado ice cream? I eat an avocado, I think I’m like a vegetarian. Like, “Damn, look at me, man. I ate an avocado.”
I tell you, this guy the terms… the way he approaches rest and recovery. The fact that he doesn’t drink. The fact that he has no caffeine. The fact that he has no sugar. The fact that an avocado ice-cream cone is his “cheat day.” That he’s in bed by 9 o’clock every night. I mean literally, everything that he does… every choice he makes goes into “is it going to make me a better player and leader.”
How many of us are that committed? I want to be, but I’m not. And I really think that he is the perfect example of a guy with an Unbeatable Mind, because the way he approaches it from the ground up.
Mark: Yeah, and I think that we can employ the 80/20 rule, so maybe you’re not going to be 100% like him…
Jim: I’m that guy. 70/30, maybe.
Mark: (laughing) But it’s not as hard, with some just small tweaks to your life and how you use your time. And where you put your focus. You can get a large percentage of the way there. Like I said, you’re maybe not going that level, because he’s an extreme example of discipline, that’s for sure. Navy SEALs are extreme examples of discipline and they’re propped up by a system that pretty much supports that.
But I think everybody… and that’s been a large part of the reason for my mission is that everybody can really step up into that territory with just a few small tweaks. To how they manage their mind, and how they manage their life.
Jim: Even to just think about it, I think puts you ahead of most people who don’t think about it. You wake up in the morning and you’ve got no plan. You’re just kind of drifting about. And just going about your things without being tactical or pragmatic or honest with yourself.
Mark: Besides Tom, who else have you had in your show in the last year or so who you were really impressed with? Who you think was worth hearing about?
Jim: There are lots of guys. Let me tell you about a guy… this is not in the last year, but I will tell you about an athlete, that I think that you might connect with… that I’m sure you connect with. That at the time struck me as very unique and very different. And had an Unbeatable Mind in a different way… was the late Pat Tillman.
Mark: Mm, oh Pat, yeah. I wish I had a chance to meet him. Did you know Pat?
Jim: I did know Pat. I don’t want to profess to say that I knew his really well, but I will tell you this… one of the highlights of my career… as much as I want to be looking forward on not back. The Tillman family asked me to be the host or the Master of Ceremonies for his memorial, after he passed away. And I consider that one of the greatest…
Mark: What an honor.
Jim: It was an honor. It was an amazing honor. And the way that came to be was I had interviewed Pat when he was in college and played college football. And I knew right away, this was not like anybody else I’d talked to. He just had a different mindset. He had a different approach. He had a different swagger. He just saw things differently than most people.
So I got to know him a little bit in college. And then when he turned pro. And I’ll never forget, when we found out that he was giving up a multi-million dollar offer in the NFL. We’d all cut off our arm for that. He was giving that all up to enlist. And I remember being…
Mark: To be a Ranger.
Jim: Not only to enlist, but to be an Army Ranger. But that didn’t surprise me. That was Pat Tillman. He was the elite. He was the top of his class in whatever he did. And I wasn’t that shocked when that happened.
But I will tell you Mark… maybe its my own naiveté, because combat’s combat. What do any of us really know about that? None of us know anything about that. But he was a larger than life figure to so many people I always assumed that Pat Tillman would come back. And all those interviews that he said no to? He would sit down–hopefully it was going to be with me–and we’d do the interview. And he could tell me about the mindset and the decision making, what led him to that.
But he didn’t make it back. I remember when I first heard that, I was stunned. And it never dawned on me, combat being combat, that Pat Tillman would not make it back. He was larger than life. This guy’s coming back for sure. And it was very sad and very shocking when I heard that news.
Mark: Yeah, that was tragic. And it was a tragic screw-up on many levels. And… You’re right. For him to walk away from what he had to join the cause. To fight for freedom. To fight for the country and his family. I mean, there were a lot of people… a lot of people listening who did that. And so he didn’t want to look at his career and say, “Hey, I’m special. I get exempt from going to fight.” The country’s at war.
Jim: That’s a really key point you make. I want to be very clear about that. That it was amazing to me that had that much did that, but you’re right… he was not the only one. I wanna be very clear how much appreciate everybody who’s made those choices and sacrifices have done so, so we can do what we do. So we live the way we live. So I want to make that point, that what he did was an ultimate sacrifice, but many others have made it.
Mark: But it stood out because he didn’t have to do it. He had already achieved significant success, and he was just at the beginning of a sterling career…
Jim: And wouldn’t talk about it either. When he made that decision, then all of a sudden there were no interviews. There was no discussion.
Mark: Didn’t he have a brother who kind of followed him in as well?
Jim: Yeah, he did.
Jim: So I remember being there at that memorial and it was a very emotional day. A very hot day. I remember being down the street before it started in a house with John McCain and Maria Shriver and some other people that were speaking that day. And it was a very emotional time. He’s somebody that I didn’t know especially well, but I knew a little bit. And I think you definitely would appreciate where he was coming from. He was a very different guy. Of guys of ever interviewed.
Mark: How about female athletes? Have you met any extraordinary female athletes and had them on your show recently?
Jim: Not so much recently, but not for any other reason than its just… no good reason. But you know, it’s funny, I’ll tell you a gal that I did interview. That you’ve had on your podcast. That I thought very highly of. Diana Nyad. And I haven’t spoke to Diana in a few years, but she was somebody else who had the kind of mindset that we’re talking about. And I got a kick out of her.
But female… we look for that female representation. And I would like to find more of that. Sometimes we should look a little bit harder, I think.
Mark: Yeah, it’s interesting. We were just talking about that earlier today with SEALFIT. We’d like to have more females come through the training. The ones who have…the ones… the women who’ve been through the training have been extraordinary. And typically perform, in a lot of cases, better than the men, right? They tend to have a resiliency built into them.
And we actually had the first female who came through with the stated intent to become a Navy SEAL. That was pretty much…
Mark: She hasn’t gotten to the training yet. She’s still probably a year or so out. It takes several years to work through the process.
But as far as what my assessment was… I’ll just say I don’t know. It’s just super-hard to tell. I’ve been guilty of saying, “Yeah, that guy’s got it all. He’s 100% gonna be a SEAL.” And the next thing you know, I hear that he didn’t make it. Generally speaking… the guys… people who are willing to pay the price… back to that… if they’re willing to pay the price of Kokoro camp and doing the SEALFIT training, which prepares them for combat, not just for BUD/S, then they get through the training. I think anecdotally we don’t have great stats. But what we can track, we’re tracking close to a 90% success rate for SEALFIT trained athletes to make it through BUD/S and Spec Ops training.
But there are those that you just look at them and you say, “I think that guy’s got it. He’s nailed it.” And then they don’t make it.
Or you look at someone, and you’re like, “I don’t know.” And then there’s something that they find while they’re in training. They just really tap in, and they’re there at the end. They make it through. Such a hard thing to know.
So the same thing as with women. What I would say though, with this issue of women athletes, female athletes who want to be SEALs is they’ve got to actually want to serve their country. They can’t… I don’t think that you’re gonna find someone who just wants to be the first female to make it through training. And get the limelight. I don’t think they’re gonna make it. And I think it’s largely because the SEAL instructors… they know that they’re selecting their teammate and that teammate has gotta have their back. Has gotta be able to haul them out of a firefight. If they get a gunshot wound to the head or something like that. And they don’t want anybody who’s there for the glory, right? Without the service.
Jim: That would apply to either gender, right? You say the same to a guy.
Have your “why.”
Mark: That’s true. Gotta have their “why.” Right.
The reason I brought it up is just because there is a lot of… there has been… it seems to have died down after the election. A lot of media attention around who’s gonna be the first female Navy SEAL. And so we’ve seen people come through SEALFIT, who said they wanted to be the first SEAL. But they didn’t want to… They wanted to be the first one to get through the training, but they didn’t want to really be a SEAL.
Jim: I see. Gotta have your “why.”
Mark: That’s a whole different story, right?
Jim: Do it for the right reason.
Mark: You gotta do it… Exactly.
Self-care and stress
What do you do to kind of take care of yourself? Bleed off stress and recuperate and restore.
Jim: It’s a great question. I try and get that cardio in every single day. If I don’t do that then I’m not in the best way. But there’s no easy answer to it, right? There’s not a good way to rest, recover. I’m working harder now than I ever have, so I don’t really have the answer to “how do you blow steam off?” Short of the weekend where you try and be with your family, and connect with them. And rest and recover.
That’s the best answer I can give to that. I don’t have that one thing.
Mark: You have a hobby? Surfing? Nature?
Jim: No, not a lot of that. Because, by the way, I’ve tried to simplify my life. You have kids, you have family that is an awesome responsibility…
Mark: It is a big one, yeah.
Jim: It’s not like it was. Literally between this job and this brand and trying to build this thing up the best way I can, and spending quality time with my family. With my kids, going to their events. Taking them to and from. There’s not a lot of time for a lot of other things.
As an example, I joined this golf club. I joined a golf club in 2002. I have yet to play one round of golf.
I’m not that guy. I don’t have that hobby. I don’t want to spend 5 hours away from my family on the weekend. I’m busting my ass all week long, right?
Mark: (laughing) People ask me all the time, “Hey, you wanna go out for a round of golf?” I’m like, “Dude, that’s 5 or 6 hours I could be training or writing or doing something.”
Jim: That’s it. I don’t need a way to escape my family. I love my family. I’m looking to spend more time with my family, not less.
So, no. I don’t have that hobby. But I feel like the 2 main things, the family and business are taking up most of my time. And I feel good about that. I feel good about that.
Mark: Yeah, no doubt.
Jim: What would your hobby be? Do you have a hobby?
Mark: You know, it’s funny you ask. Training is my hobby. So it’s become… because I’m so passionate about it, everything I do… everything I teach I should say, I do. I usually spend the first 2 to 3 hours of everyday training. And so there’s the physical training, and there’s the yoga, and there’s the breathing. And there’s the meditation.
And I also love to do this. This is kind of become a hobby, even though I bitch about it to Allison. Podcasting has overrun my life. But it’s been really, really enjoyable to meet people like you and others who are passionate about it.
Jim: It’s not a hobby, this is business now… This is a part of your brand. It’s a part of your business. When I think of a hobby…
Mark: Let me rephrase it. It’s fun, right? It’s become fun. So I’ve turned things that I do for business… again, it’s kind of a new model. I don’t look at it as work. This isn’t work. This is fun.
Jim: Right. By the way, isn’t that the biggest part of this conversation? That’s the key. Are you training? Or are you doing something that you’re passionate about? It’s not like, “Oh, let’s go into training mode. Or let’s go into work mode.”
Mark: Training doesn’t have to be hard. Back to the conversation about Tom. If you’re on the field training and sweating, yeah, that can be hard. But even we say “embrace the suck.” That’s fun. It’s a lot of fun to work hard, right?
But then when you’re off the field, how you manage you mind. The internal dialogue. The imagery they allow in. The emotional state that you decide to put yourself in. That all needs to be trained until it becomes kind of a steady-state. Then you train the next level. And then that locks into a steady-state. All of this is evolving you, but it’s done while you’re in with your family. While you’re out even in the community. While you’re engaging with your teammates. That’s what I mean by training, right? It’s a whole different take. So training becomes constant. You’re training for life. It’s non-stop.
Jim: That’s what you do. You train every single day. But it’s not training like I physically need to go to the gym. It’s new use of the word. It’s almost like… it’s a process. When we’re talking about working in, curating the inner domain. I use the term “training and practice,” because you’re still… the training is the heavy moving. If I had to sit and I would have to train you how to do the process of learning how to meditate until it became a joy. Because right now, you expressed, “It’s kinda hard. I can’t do it.” Well that’s because you haven’t been trained on the process. And the tools and the techniques. And you haven’t experienced the joy that comes at the other side of hard, right?
Once you get there, you can let go of the training, and then you just practice it. And then the practice becomes part of you, and then its a process.
Jim: Then its a habit.
Mark: It’s a habit, yeah. It becomes who you are.
Jim: Those habits… you have good habits or you have bad habits.
Mark: All successful people who are at the top of their game, yourself included, have employed some form of that in their lives. But generally you just learn from other people and your own life experiences to figure it out.
And what we’re talking about here, is trying to codify that, and to make it a deliberative process. So that our kids and then their kids can really upgrade their mental operating system a lot faster than you and I did. And maybe not make some of the same egregious mistakes.
Jim: And the notion, also, that you are responsible for your thoughts. It’s not just that, “Hey, that popped into my head and that’s not my fault.” Root it out, right? You are responsible for your thoughts. Sp I think the idea is to operate on a much higher level than that, but easier said than done. And it is something you have to work on every single day. It’s a muscle.
It’s all muscle. You have to develop that muscle.
Mark: Right. No doubt. No doubt.
So where can people find you? Obviously, Jim Rome, just… you’re on CBS right now?
Jim: We’re on CBS sports radio. Go to jimrome.com. And we have a daily podcast which we do. Similar to this but my daily podcast is a little bit different. Or you go to jimrome.com. Or you follow me on Twitter @jimrome. These are the ways to find me…
Mark: What time are you on TV? Is it the same time every day?
Jim: No TV right now except for the NFL on CBS. I appear on the NFL on CBS during the NFL season as their pre-game show on CBS. The TV aspect of the show is in development right now. So we’re not there.
Btu you can find the show 9 to noon Pacific on CBS sports radio. Nationwide. And in Canada.
Well, what a really interesting conversation…
Jim: I hope. I hope it was. You’re not just saying that, Mark.
Mark: (laughing) No. It was fantastic.
I want to say I really appreciate you taking the time to have me up here. I honor the work you’re doing and I’m excited for your future. And I’m excited for your kids. They’ve got a great example in their father.
Jim: I really appreciate you saying that. And I really wanted to meet you because I’ve been following your work and I’ve read your book and it really did resonate with me.
And I say this… Not because you’re here…I think that you have tapped into something that we all want. If you could put that in a bottle, or you could put that in a pill, I think you’d be an extremely wealth guy.
But then again, isn’t that the point? There is no shortcut. You have to do the hard work.
Mark: There is no pill.
Jim: There is no pill. There is no shortcut. And I think that you’ve tapped into something that again… I think this is what most of us want. We want to be tougher, mentally and physically. And I think that you have a roadmap with the 5 mountains and Unbeatable Mind.
So it’s a thrill to have you in here. And Mark, I really did want to meet you. And I’m glad we did that. That was awesome.
Mark: Yeah, likewise. And my offer stands. You need to come down to San Diego and spend a day…
Jim: Get my ass kicked?
Mark: Get your ass kicked. I’ll run you through the process. I’ll give you the training. Full-on, 5 mountain training. And it’d be my honor to have you down there. And if you want to jump into one of our 20x’s or better yet, the 50 hour Kokoro camp. Or one of our SEALFIT Academies…
Jim: Baby steps, man. Baby steps.
Mark: (laughing) Crawl, walk, run.
Jim: I appreciate that very much, and I know that I would be better for it. So I gotta find a way to get that done.
Mark: All right, thanks for your time.
All right folks. Jim Rome. What a neat guy. I really appreciate his time. Go check out the Jim Rome Show on CBS Sports Radio. And I will look forward to getting Jim a little bit better, hopefully on the grinder back at SEALFIT.
All right, ’til next time. Stay focused. Practice. Train hard. Do the process. Show up every day. Kick ass and take names.
Coach Divine out.