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Tim Grover on the Foundations to Winning

By June 3, 2021 June 14th, 2021 2 Comments

Tim Grover (@timgrover) is the founder of ATTACK Athletics. He has trained Michael Jordan, among other professional athletes, and is the author of Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable and his most recent book Winning: The Unforgiving Race to Greatness. He talks with Mark about his experience training both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant and how you can become a true winner every day.

Hear how:

  • Your physical and mental foundation must be strong—so you can trust your body and performance.
  • Everyone knows how to compete, but only a few know how to win. Winning takes a different approach.
  • “Steps” to anything are constantly shifting—they are infinite. There are no steps to winning—they are constantly changing with more steps to come.
  • Embracing your “Dark Side” is not what you think. It’s an internal fuel that lights your fire when nothing else will.

Listen to this episode for some insight on how top performers win no matter what.

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Hey folks. This is Mark Divine with the Unbeatable Mind podcast. Welcome back. Thank you so much for your time and attention today. As you know, and I always say – I do not take it lightly, because so many things are vying for your attention. The fact that you’re here listening to the Unbeatable Mind podcast is a big deal. So thank you.

And if you really do like this podcast – which sounds like you do, because you’re listening – please refer it to a friend. Send it to your friend or family – especially this one – this is going to be a phenomenally interesting podcast with my guest Tim Grover.

And also go rate it on iTunes or wherever you listen to it. That really helps people find the podcast when we have a lot of five star ratings. We have well over a thousand five star ratings which has helped us be in the top ten in our category.

Super-cool. So we’re going to continue to grow, we’re going to continue to have amazing guests… and you’re part of that, by listening and by sharing and by writing.

So Hooyah. Thanks so much.

Also, I know we’ve got these advertisers and I’m figuring out the business model. So just bear with us. I’d love to have your feedback on what you think about having these ads run in the middle of our podcast. I’m kind of lukewarm on it…

T. (laughing) Why doesn’t that surprise me?

M. I know, Tim. Yeah, there’s got to be a better way. So, I’m thinking it through trying to figure out how to keep doing this and make money at it as well, so that we can keep doing this.

All right, I mentioned my guest today… Tim Grover, CEO of Attack Athletics – what a cool name – renowned for his work with elite champions such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade… hundreds, if not thousands probably of other NFL, major league baseball, NBA, Olympians, etc.….

Tim’s passionate about excellence and relentlessly studying the science and the art of physical and mental dominance in athletics and life. Tim’s new book is “Winning: The Unforgiving Race to Greatness.” That’s a follow-up from his earlier book, which I love the title also called “Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable.”

Tim thanks so much for being here. Appreciate you.

T. It’s an honor. Thank you so much.

M. Yeah, so Tim… let’s get… I always like to start with kind of early childhood influences. How did you become who you are? And what were the big influences in your life that led you into this? Into the athletics, into basketball, and into becoming a coach of elite players?

T. Well, everyone likes to give the standard answer. Well, for me, the standard answer is actually true. It was my parents. Both immigrant parents, watching them – their work ethic and what they what they left behind in India to come down here and start a new life with my brother and myself. And just to watch them compete and how they dealt with everything. And all the adversity…

And being able to watch it. And actually see two individuals learn from it, execute through it… the setbacks that they had they had to go through, and them putting me right in the middle of those things. So I get to experience and educate… instead of trying to hide me from what life in reality is really about.

So they were the first two individuals that actually molded me and said, “hey, this is what you have to do.” My mom was a nurse practitioner, and she came over to the United States and got herself settled.

My dad was a professor of anatomy, but when he came over, they wouldn’t allow him to teach here. Because they said the education that he had back in India didn’t translate it over here. So to watch him take any odd-end job at the hospital, so he could provide for us – it sets a standard… it sets a standard.

Because you take an individual who’s so well established somewhere else, and then comes somewhere else – and pride and ego and all that stuff gets in the way. And he said, “no, I’m going to figure out a way to win. And you get to see that on a regular basis.”

And I’m fortunate enough – I have some memories that even going to the age of four – just what they gave and what they did.

M. That’s amazing. Yeah, and I love that, because it really is true that just how your parents are with you or how you observe them, is the biggest influence in terms of probably who you become in terms of the familial part of it. And to see that your parents come and struggle and strive and succeed left a huge imprint on you it sounds like. That’s neat.

I had a quick question – both your parents are Indian, but your last name is Grover. How’d that come about?

T. Grover is actually a very popular Indian name. So what happens is most of the Indians that have that migrate from India to whether it’s to the UK or so forth. It’s a shortened version of an established colony in India.

So there’s a lot of there’s a lot of Grover’s out there – I know it’s not… first thing everybody thinks… well, I don’t know how old you are, but my age – everybody thinks of sesame street. So getting teased through that during school and everything…

But it’s the only name I know. I’m not going to question any of them. They said, “you’re a Grover.” And I said, “all right, I’m a Grover.”

M. I love that. I learned something new… I’m always used to these other longer kind of more esoteric Indian names…

T. Yes, exactly. And I can’t pronounce them either. (laughing) So it works out good.

M. But you grew up 100% here? You didn’t spend any time in India?

T. My first four years were in the UK, and then I’ve been here… so this is all I really remember… I remember a little bit about England, but not a whole lot. But I’ve pretty much been here.

M. So tell us about basketball. You were an elite basketball player yourself. How did you get into that and what was that like? And did you have any coach or anyone who influenced you significantly?

T. No, you know what it was? It’s like, we lived where there was a park outside. And we played the three sports you always play – you play basketball, you play baseball, and you play football…

If you were fortunate enough to be somewhere in a big park district, they used to freeze the baseball diamond, you could skate…

Well, with football you need numerous people to play. Or at least one other person to throw a football around. And footballs were more expensive than basketballs.

Baseball you can only throw a ball up in the air and catch it so much before you’re like, “all right. That’s enough.” And even if you have to hit it to yourself, you hit it and then you got to go chase it.

Well with the basketball, you just need a two dollar ball, and you can literally play by yourself. You can literally go out and just play by yourself.

So that was the sport that I kind of gravitated to. I don’t know if it was the right choice – not being very tall – but it was something that really interested me. I knew I could do it alone. I was pretty good at it. I was fortunate enough to play at a mid-major division one college – UIC – very proud of my flames.

And I had to work extremely hard, just to be a part of that team. There’s some individuals… listen, people love to tell you these stories that oh if they didn’t get injured, they were going to turn pro, and all this other stuff…

No, that wasn’t happening with me. I was fortunate enough to play at that level, but what I got really interested in was the aspect of how the body moved. And how to become a better athlete and how the human body performed.

And basketball kind of pushed me into that, because I always had to be in better shape and I always had to have a stronger mindset than everyone else, because their skill sets were so much better than mine.

M. Their natural ability, you mean? Their natural skill sets?

T. Yeah… listen, I was able to shoot the ball – I was able to dribble, but I wasn’t really super-athletic. I was slightly above average. So the things that I had to be able to do in order to compete at that level was really hone on my skills… when everybody else got tired, continue to push a little bit harder.

And have that winning mentality. Have that strong mindset to keep going, when everybody else would quit.

M. And so that interest in the body and movement that you explored on your own, led you to get a master’s degree, right? In exercise science or exercise physiology?

T. Yeah, exactly. So I was just like… you go to college. Nobody knows what they want to do in their first year.

So my first year – there was a new program being offered – it was called kinesiology. I was like, “hell, I can’t even spell kinesiology…” but my guidance counselor said, “there’s something that you might be interested in.”

I took a couple of courses in it, and I said, “I really, really like this.” So I did my bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, I did my master’s degree in exercise science. And my parents were like “well, what are you going to do with this?”

I’m sure you know that when you have two Indian parents, you have two options as a career – number one is the doctor, and number two is a doctor.

So that’s it. That was it.

So I told my parents I was not going to go to medical school. And they were like, “well, what are you going to do?”

I said, “well, I want to train professional athletes.”

So my parents are like, “what does that even mean?”

And I just said, “listen I wanna take athletes at the highest level and have them perform better.”

And both my parents were a little standoffish, but they were supportive my dad said, “I’ll let you pursue that, but you must take the entrance exam for medical school. You must do that.”

I said okay. So it was called the AMCAT – so I took the AMCAT – totally bombed it the first time. On purpose and my dad goes, “nice try. I already registered you for the next test.” Because he knew I was going to do that.

So I went and took the test again. I scored fairly well – I got into a few schools, but they were like… what I told them was, “listen, let me try this out. If this doesn’t work, I promise you I’ll go back into medical school. I will enter medical school.”

So what they gave me the ability to do – and I talk about this in the book “Winning” – is they were so accustomed – and a lot of people are accustomed to doing this – they were always taught what to think, what to think, because if you’re born in this culture, these are the professions. This is what everybody was told – this is what to think, what to think, what to think.

They gave me the ability on how to think. Which was being able to take everything I learned and have my own individuality, my own instincts, my own thoughts on how I could figure a way to make this into a career.

So they gave me that opportunity to be able to do both of those things, and work on what I wanted to do. And it took me a little while to break through – literally, when I graduated it was like four or five years. I ended up working at a local health club.

So this is a master’s degree, and the minimum wage back then was $3.35.

But it was actually really, really good for me, because again, I had all this knowledge from a book standpoint, but I had no practical… so I could look at a person, “yeah, you could do this.”

But I didn’t know how to apply everything. So I got a chance to really apply my craft. And then I was fortunate enough in 1989 to get connected to my first professional client, believe it or not, which was Michael Jordan.

M. Yeah, how did that happen? Tell us that story.

T. So what I did was back then… no emails, you didn’t have cell phones… so I decided to write 14 letters to 15 different players on the Chicago bulls basketball team. The only person I didn’t write a letter to was Michael Jordan. I was like “all right. Yeah, he’s already the best. He’s one of the top players, he’s not going to want to work out with anybody.”

So I was like, “okay, let’s go after somebody who can really benefit from my knowledge. And let me grow with that individual.”

So Michael went into somebody else’s locker and saw the letter. And gave it to the athletic trainer and to the team physician at that time. And said, “hey, find out what this person’s about.”

So I got a call from them, and they were like, “hey, listen… we have a client player that’s interested in using your services.” They didn’t tell me who it was.

So for three months – they questioned me, they gave me written exams, they brought me in to do evaluations… all kind of stuff to make sure I knew what I was doing.

So then one day they were like, “hey listen. Here’s the address of the individual. We want you to go meet him, and talk to him, and explain to him what you do. And what your philosophies are.”

Still I didn’t know who it was. So they gave me an address, I drove out there… and this was before the gated houses and all that other stuff… where you can just walk up to Michael’s house and just ring the doorbell.

So I go over there… I ring the doorbell and Michael Jordan opens up the door.

M. Nice.

T. I was like, “okay.” And then the funny part about this whole story is I’m wearing converse gym shoes, all right? And everybody knows that Michael’s a big Nike guy… and then obviously now, with the Jordan shoe and everything.

So I’m like, all right while I’m talking to him, I’m trying to take off my shoes at the same time. So hopefully he didn’t see them.

But I took off my shoes, went in there… spoke to him for about 30-40 minutes… explained to him what I do, what my philosophies were, and he asked, “have you ever trained a professional athlete?”

I said, “nope. You’ll be my first professional athlete.”

And he goes, “everything you’re telling me, it just doesn’t sound right.”

I said, “it doesn’t get any righter.” I said, “give me 30 days to prove what I know, and what I understand. And if you’re not happy with the results, I will leave.” 30 days turned into 15 years.

M. That’s amazing. And so what didn’t sound right to him? Like what was it that you were doing or proposing to do that was different than what an MBA team was doing? For their strength and development and mental…?

T. Well, what I wanted to do… I wanted to devise a program just for him. Not for 15 guys on the team. I said, “here are the issues that you have. This is what you need.”

He goes like, “well, I want to get stronger. I want to get bigger.” He goes, “I want to put on this weight.”

And I just said, “well, how about if we address the areas that keep getting injured? You’re very susceptible to ankle sprains, hamstring pull, groin issues…” I said, “let’s address those things.” I said, “if we address those things, you’ll automatically be more athletic. You’ll automatically be able to jump higher. You’ll automatically be able to run longer. You’ll automatically be able to shoot better.” Everything. Play better defense…

I said, “let’s address those things first. And then we’ll talk about trying to add muscle and making you stronger.

He was like, “well, no one’s ever told me that.”

I said, “well, let’s take care of those things first. Let’s make sure that the body is working the way it’s supposed to be working.” And once we got those things in line, what I was able to do was I was able to tell him exactly how he was going to feel in 24 hours, 48 hours…

I said, “Michael, if we do this exercise, this is what you’re going to feel. If we do this, this and this.”

So the trust factor got to be really good. Because everybody else wanted to come in and just kind of bulk him up… and I was like, “that’s not the way to go.”

M. That’s fascinating. I love that. And so first the two key points – that I’m completely aligned with and make so much sense – is that everybody – every individual body is different – and the way the athletes develop are different. So one size never fits all.

And two is you gotta take care of the underlying structural issues – that’s the good to great part, right? You gotta take care of the issues, because if you have dysfunctional movement patterns that lead to injury then those movement patterns are systemic, right? There’s something in the whole system that’s causing that.

You might have one or two of those… or three. But until you solve those, you’re never going to be able to move forward and really develop the next level, right?

T. Yeah, Mark – you look at anybody – I don’t care whether you’re in business, whether… look at yourself… even this podcast – your foundation has to be so strong. Your physical and mental foundation has to be so strong.

You can have the most expensive mic, the nicest background in the world, and all this other stuff… if your foundation isn’t able to support everything that’s going on – and the way it moves, and the way things happen – it’s never going to be successful.

So your whole foundation principle is like, “hey, let’s address these injuries. Let’s address the foundation that allows you to do all those things.” Not only physically, but also mentally.

If we address those things physically, you’ll have a better mental attitude. You’ll trust your body more. You’ll know “if I go this way, I don’t have to worry about getting injured. If I land a particular way…” you know you’ve been doing the work.

You can’t guarantee success, you can’t guarantee that an athlete is not going to get injured.

But if you work on that foundation – and in your line of work with all the training that you did, all the Navy SEAL and all that training that you did – a lot of it was building that foundation. And all the physical stuff that you did built that foundation, not only physically, but allowed you to excel mentally.

M. That’s right.

Michael Jordan and Winning


M. That’s interesting. I’m curious with Michael Jordan… everyone just assumes that he was mentally just always on top of the game, and had that kind of elite-level mental toughness, but were there any foundational things that you needed to work on right away with his mental patterns? And how he thought about his game? And how he thought about training and whatnot?

T. Well, yeah. I mean, obviously, Michael wanted to know a lot of stuff. And winning was so important to him… it was so, so important to him, and his competitiveness… we saw that in “The Last Dance” and he just wanted to compete, he just wanted to compete, he just wanted to compete…

But I said, “there’s a huge difference between competing and winning.” I said, “we all know how to compete.” Every athlete – and I shouldn’t even say every athlete – every individual knows how to compete.

Very few know how to win. Very few individuals know how to win. There’s a different pattern to winning than there is to just competing. There’s people that compete – people that compete just want to finish.

I said, “Michael, did you just want to have a career and say, ‘yeah, my career is over with.’” I said, “that’s what people that compete do.” I said, “and there’s individuals that win. They win one time.”

I said, “and there’s individuals that win at winning. Let’s get the attitude of winning at all your wins, where we can constantly build on stuff. And knowing that every single day you gotta find a way to get a little bit better. You got to get a little closer to whatever your goal is. You got to know that no matter what you did, you gave more than 100%. You practiced so hard, so the games become easier.”

And one of the adages that I had to get out of his mind, and every athlete that I’ve worked with – and businessperson that I’ve dealt with – and this is one of the baselines of this book.

Everybody looks for steps. They’re like – how many books have you seen out there, and how many individuals tell you, “Five steps to greatness. Ten steps to success.”

Those steps are infinite. And they’re constantly changing. They’re constantly shifting. You don’t know if that step is stable, you don’t know if it’s unstable. You don’t know if it’s there. You don’t know if you step down on it whether it’s going to be quicksand. Sometimes you see it, sometimes you gotta trust yourself.

So one of the things that was so important, I was like, “there are no steps. There are no steps to winning… there are no steps to greatness. There are no steps to these things. Those steps are constantly changing.”

And I gave him the example – and I give this example to everybody – I don’t care what kind of shape you’re in. Whether you’re an ultra-marathon runner, or you’re a high intensity person, or you ride the bike, or whatever… go run a flight of stairs. Man, that thing is hard… I don’t care what kind of shape you’re in.

So that’s what I love. Everybody likes to talk about these steps, what are these steps? And I said, “get out of your head. There are no steps. Those steps are constantly going to be shifting.”

“And understand once you get through whatever the steps are, there’s more steps to come. There’s always going to be, constantly, more steps to come.”

M. I love that. Yeah, so what you’re saying is focus on the inside instead of the external goal. Focus on the mindset and the attitude. And learning how to have a winning attitude or winning mindset is not about having to win every single game, right?

It’s about winning every day. Winning every training session. Winning every moment, where you’re on top, you’re learning, you’re growing, right? You’re not defeating yourself negatively… those types of things.

T. Yeah. Listen, you made just a great point – defeating yourself negatively. How many people are out there that are already trying to defeat you negatively? That are always trying to put stuff in your head… they’re always telling you, you’re not good at this. Why are you working so hard? You going to go train again? Why do you want to do this?

Look at when you first started. “Mark, you’re going to do a podcast? Why are you doing a podcast? Everyone’s got a podcast, you’re not going to be successful at this.”

So if you’re constantly beating yourself up along with everybody else beating you up, you literally have no chance. There’s enough people out there doing it for you, so why do it to yourself?

M. Right. You got to be your biggest fan, your own biggest fan…

T. When you want to win at something, no matter what it is, there’s a battlefield that constantly goes on in your mind. Constantly going on in your mind.

People are always telling you, “Oh, this is a terrible idea. You can’t win. This is going to cost you too much.”

Then when you become successful, you really start to go after those goals. What about the individuals that say, “oh Mark, you should take a day off. You work too hard.” Or I love this one, “you got this.”

What do you got?

M. (laughing) You got what?

T. What you have today, you may not have an hour from now. Define to me what is “this,” when I say you got this.

M. That’s interesting. I say that all the time and I’m like, “hmm. That’s making me think. What is it?”

T. Define it a little… you have your podcast has a theme. This is what people say when they go on… this is the theme that he has, these are the guests that he has, this is what he talks about. He talks about the mindset, he talks about the physical body, he talks about how you take care of this…

So that’s what you got. Most people when they say, “you got this,” they got no definition of “this.”

M. Right. That’s interesting.

What did you learn from Michael, that you don’t think you would have known independently?

T. This is very interesting. So, everybody tells you that when you lose, or you fall jump right back up. And with Michael and I, it was never that. And I would ask him, “what’s going on?”

And he goes, “if I jump right back up, I’m going to fall again, I’m going to fail again. I need to stay down there for a little bit. I need to figure out why I got down here.”

M. Interesting…

T. “why did I fall, why did I fail…? Once I figure that out, then when I stand up, I’m a different person. Because if I just jump back up, I’m the exact same person that failed and fell and didn’t learn anything. Now the same thing can knock me down again.”

So he goes, “so every time I failed, every time I fell, I stood up differently. So I got knocked down and I lost. I stood up; I was smarter.”

“I got knocked down, fell again. This time I stood up I was stronger. I fell, got knocked down again… this time I stood up, I was more resilient.”

So every time he stood up, every time he lost… every time he didn’t get that championship, or the season that didn’t go the way he wanted to. He was like, “I have to come back. I have to stand up and be a different, better individual.”

So his thing was like, “learn why you’re getting down there.” Because if you bounce right back up, that’s more for the other person. That’s to show the other person, “oh, look at me, everything’s okay.”

It really isn’t okay. It takes more of an individual… what you talked about earlier – about knowing yourself… being your biggest fan. And being able to understand, “let me sit down here for a little bit. Not worried about the crowd, and not worried about what everybody else is thinking. So this won’t happen to me again.”

M. Right. That’s great. We used to say in the SEALs that there’s winning and there’s learning… there is no such thing as failure, there’s just winning and learning.

And I love that as a kind of a meta-definition for resilience, right? Because resilience is when you get knocked down – first, to expect that you’re going to get knocked down. Second, that when you get knocked down you learn from it. So that you get stronger from it.

I love that. That’s fascinating. My experience is usually the knock downs and especially what happens after the knockdown is really an emotional, inside game, right? You’re dealing with some emotional issue – a confidence issue, childhood trauma issue – some sort of blockage. Something’s blocking you emotionally.

Was that your experience as well and how did you deal with that? How did you become an emotional coach to your clients?

T. So think about every bad decision that you’ve made.

M. (laughing) It would take me a long time.

T. (laughing) Yeah, our computers would both be dying. You and I both. We could have a 30 part series on that.

M. (laughing) Exactly.

T. But most of those decisions have been made with your feelings. So, I have a chapter in this book especially for this, because this is what’s very important to me.

Winning isn’t heartless, but you’ll use your heart less. Meaning, your mind has to be stronger than your feelings. Your mind has to be stronger than your feelings.

That’s how you get that mindset, because you know when your mind is stronger than your feelings -you’re gonna upset a lot of people. You are gonna upset a lot of people – but those people that you didn’t upset, they understand – they have that same mindset that you have. They know that when your mind is stronger than the feelings, whatever you’re telling them is usually the truth.

And you figure the truth would lead to more action. Well what does a truth do? It leads to more emotion. And what’s the first thing people ask when you’re in a relationship with anybody? They say
“be honest with me.”

Until you’re honest with those individuals. Then they’re no longer your friends.

So I always say this – people say “man, I have a hard time getting up in the morning and just getting going,” or whatever it is… well, that’s your feelings. Your feelings are telling you to stay in your bed.

Your mind is what gets you up. Your mind says, “get out of bed. Go face whatever the day is. You have the opportunity to be successful. You have the opportunity to win.”

So your mind tells you to get up. Your mind makes decisions. Feelings make you overthink things. And what happens when you overthink things? You just become paralyzed. You literally become paralyzed. You cannot move.

So for people that are kind of stuck – they’re kind of like always in that emotional state. They’re in a constant flux of overthinking all the time.

In your training, in your line of training – you guys didn’t have time to overthink. None whatsoever. Your mind was so strong, you guys were so sharp that you knew exactly what you were doing, and you knew exactly what your team was doing. And those decisions had to be made on a regular basis.

Your mind lets you handle disappointment and failures. We’d be here all day – we’d be here all year talking about our disappointments and failures.

But your mind allows you to handle them. Your feelings hold on to them forever. And what I’ve known about the greatest competitors in business or whatever… man, they get over stuff quick.

They got the shortest memories. They get over stuff… now, they don’t forget. They never forget, but they don’t constantly think about it all the time.

I used to tell my athletes all this, “listen, if you’re thinking, you’re not in the moment. But you’ve done years and years and years and years of training. Years and years of thinking not to be able to think in that moment. There’s people in sports – you hear this all the time – “well, that person’s overthinking. That person’s overthinking.”

Don’t think. Just go out and play. But what’s the first thing you tell an individual when you tell them “Don’t think.” They start to think. But it takes years and years to be able to do this where you can actually know where your mind is stronger than your feelings.

And you are going to hurt people. You are going to disappoint individuals, all right. But once you make your mind stronger, then you can help those individuals more.

M. Right. Wow. Yeah, I agree it’s just bringing up a lot of parallels again to SEAL missions… SEAL training because people think that Navy seals don’t experience fear, and that’s nonsense. We do.

T. Oh my goodness.

M. Of course we do. When someone’s trying to kill you, that’s a pretty fearful thing.

But the mind has – like you said – through the relentless training and the discipline and the ability to focus on the right task at the right time. And also being able to get yourself automatically into that flow state, which can only happen when your mind is present.

Then the Navy seals essentially bypass it – so there’s a level of emotional control – it’s not so much like you’re trying to squeeze that fear into a little box, that type of control – it’s more like you’re acknowledging it, but then you’re not focusing on it. And by not focusing on it, it just kind of goes away.

Or suddenly that energy that used to be fear is now giving you a lot of energy. It’s giving you some adrenaline rush and determination to win. So that’s the mind power, you’re right.

And if you didn’t have that training – if you didn’t learn how to do that – then that fear will overwhelm you. It’ll shut you down.

T. 100%. And we talk about this – it’s funny how the mindset of the greatest athletes that I’ve dealt with, the different CEOs, the entrepreneurs, and all that stuff – is extremely similar to the training that you went to.

It’s exactly what you said – everybody said “oh, I don’t have any fear. I’m fearless.” Everybody has fear.

But what they don’t have is they don’t have doubt. They don’t have doubt.

So when you went into your missions – yes, you were fearful – but you had no doubt that you were going to be successful. You had no doubt of what the outcome was going to be.

Everybody experiences fear – we’re built that way, we have to… but if we control that and understand it and use it properly, we can handle what the outcome is going to be. We have better control of what the outcome is going to be.

Now, we’re all going to have fear, but the most successful individuals don’t have doubt of the outcome.

Listen, when you guys jump into the water or jump out of the planes or… it’s not natural to jump out of a perfectly good working aircraft, it’s just not…

Nobody tells you this is a good idea, so there’s a fear factor of that, but there’s no doubt of what the outcome is going to be…

M. That’s right. Yeah, we used to say doubt is eliminated through action, right? And so there’s action you take internally, and then there’s the action you take as a team. And you just are moving forward toward the mission objective. And – like you said – the doubt just goes away.

If it ever comes back up again, you just take the next action, get the feedback loop – take the next action, get the feedback loop… it’s an incredibly simple model, but it’s difficult for people to get it. And then once they do “boom,” right? Their success just goes through the roof, I think. Yeah.

T. Yeah, people overcomplicate things because when they overcomplicate things it allows them multiple reasons to fail.

M. Right. Keep it simple sally.

T. Yes, exactly. Instead of spending so much time trusting everyone else, trust yourself. Trust your training. Trust what you know, trust what you study. Trust your teammates.

But you can’t do any of that stuff if you don’t go back to number one – you got to trust yourself you got to believe in you – how could you believe in any of your team members, if they didn’t believe in themselves first? That makes it real, real difficult.

If you have to force so much of your energy into somebody else, then it takes you out of your flow state.

M. Right. Yeah, well said.

Kobe Bryant


M. So speaking of great talent – how did you get to work with, and what was the experience light of working with the late and great Kobe Bryant.

T. So I started with Kobe in 2007. He actually reached out to Michael, and said “MJ, my knees are killing me. I don’t know if I can keep going.”

So Michael said, “hey listen, I’m not using my guy anymore.” Michael had already retired at that time. He said, “why don’t you give Grover a call?”

And Kobe said, “well, tell me about Grover.”

And he goes “Grover really, really knows his stuff. But he is the biggest asshole you’ll ever meet.” I thought it was one of the best compliments I ever got, because he didn’t call me “a” asshole, he called me “the” asshole. If you’re gonna be known as something, be known as “the” not “a.”

So then he said, “well, what do you mean?”

He said, “listen, he’s going to tell you like it is. He’s not going to sugarcoat anything, he’s not going to lie to you, he’s not going to bs you. He’s going to tell you exactly what the issues are, what needs to be done…”

“Whether he can help you or not. And what he expects out of you.”

He goes, “this is perfect for me.” So then I started to work with Kobe during that summer. Got him ready for the season and for the 2008 Olympics.

And it was… it’s hard for me… he was just inducted into the Hall of Fame, and I was at the ceremony… it’s still difficult for me to understand that he’s no longer with us. And one of the conversations I used to have with him all the time was I used to tell him, “Kobe, we don’t have time. We don’t have time.”

And boy I wish I was wrong. You have all these individuals tell you “Take your time. You’ve got plenty of time to do this. You got time to do that. You got time to do that.”

Listen, you acknowledged at the beginning all the individuals that listen to your podcast, and you thank them for it and all that other stuff. Because they’re giving you something that’s so valuable. They’re giving you your time.

People that listen to this podcast – hopefully many people will listen to this podcast – they’re giving me something that’s extremely valuable. That’s their time. So I want to give them different lessons and different thoughts about, “this is how I won. This is how the most successful people won.” And it’s not easy it’s not about the rainbows it’s not about the confetti at the end.

We talked about Kobe, it’s about the grind. It’s about the grit and it’s about the grind. It’s not about the glamour about it. It’s about the pain, it’s about the heartaches. It’s about going through all those things to get to that moment of winning.

And it’s just a moment, because it’s so brief… because somebody else is looking for the next win. You have to start getting ready for the next one.

So every time you win, and you get to that finish line – the start line is right there. Every time you finish a podcast… great, you get to exhale for a second, now the start line is there for the next one. And then the next one, and the next one…

If you don’t think that way, you’re going to be taught… you’ll be like that individual that had their greatest experience in life back in high school.

M. (laughing) Glory days.

T. Yes.

M. That’s amazing. You talk about taking a ride with a darker side. What do you mean by that?

T. Well, I say this – every individual I know… and when we talk about the dark side – the dark side this isn’t about Star Wars, this isn’t vampires or any of that stuff… everybody wants to go there.

This is about something that lights your fire when nothing else will. It keeps you going when nothing else will.

And I give a great example about this… you have individuals that may have been raised in a broken home – they either had one parent, or they had no parents… and you can have two individuals with identical stories, and one will use that as an excuse for the rest of their lives. They’ll say “I came from a broken home…”

And they literally have the victim’s mentality. And then you have the other individual who knows that “hey, that was a dark time for me.” And they use that to say, “watch me.” They use it as an internal fuel to go out there and get whatever they want to get. They want to continue to succeed, they want to continue to win. They want to continue to prove themselves right – it’s not worried about proving others wrong – it’s about proving themselves right.

So what the dark side is it keeps you going when nothing else will. It’s that internal fire. It’s that mindset that nobody else can touch. It’s that chip that’s no longer on the shoulder, it’s internal – people say, “you wear a chip on your shoulder.”

Well, how many chips on people’s shoulders have you knocked off in your previous line of work? You had to knock off – that was literally what you had to do – you had to literally find the other person who had the same chip and you had to knock it off.

Well, I tell you, the dark side teaches you to keep that chip on the inside where nobody can touch it but you. Nobody can knock it off. You understand how to use it, when to use it. That’s what this is.

And we all have it. And it’s not about evil, it’s about trusting your instincts, knowing that you have a power inside of you that is so special, that’s so unique to you, that if you learn to use it you learn to control it – you can do something very, very special with it.

M. Yeah, I love that. Looking at the major obstacles and challenges of our lives – and we all have them, because that’s the human experience – and not turning your back on them. But embracing them for the lessons…

I’ll tell you, my dark side – it took me a while to figure this out – I love my family – my mom and dad are awesome, they brought me into this world, and I had a great life…

But my dad was an alcoholic and abuser – he abused us. He relied on the belt to express himself.

And so for a lot of years, I never played the victim – I did the opposite, I was the overachiever – but I had a chip on my shoulder about that, right? Until I realized that “wow, that helped shape me be the man I am today.

And I needed to obviously polish some of the qualities… I wasn’t going to grow up and be like him. But I could use that, and it literally is why I was number one in my SEAL training. I mean, I thank my father for that. They couldn’t do anything to hurt me.

T. Yeah, you sounded better than me.

M. (laughing) I read your book…

T. But that’s the thing, you experienced… now you look at another individual they could have used it they were like, “I’m not even going to try for this training… I’m not going to do it… I didn’t have support of my family…”

And you were like, “this is my greatest fuel.” That’s what kept you going when everybody else was failing that’s what literally pushed you and kept you and got you to win. Number one is winning.

M. Right. Fascinating. How do we win without ego? In the seals we said we check our ego at the door… so how do you help athletes, and your CEOs check their ego at the door.

T. Well, here’s the thing. With me, I go in a different direction with this. I have not known one individual that’s won numerous times over and over again, that doesn’t have an ego. They all have an ego.

But how did you earn that ego? Did you earn that ego through your results from what you did over and over again? And does your ego benefit others around you, or does it just benefit yourself?

The ego that benefits yourself is people that talk – they tell you how great they are. They tell you about all the things that they accomplished.

They got no track record of proving any of it, so there’s that verbal ego. And then there’s an ego that you actually earn by producing the results over and over and over again. And once you have that ego, it allows you to uplift, use it to tell other people that they can use it also.

Now when you come in a team setting, what’s important about it is, you go back to your duties and all this other stuff – and I’m sure when you guys were in different teams everybody had a certain order – like number one does this, number two does this – I’m sorry I don’t know the language – everybody had to work together in order to get the job done. Each individual, in order to be part of that team, had to have a very strong ego.

But they knew when to use it and when not to use it. And when I have individuals that play in professional sports and in different businesses and so forth, is ego allowing you to be successful? Is it allowing you to show that your actions lead to you being a better person? Does your success and your ego lead to the team winning? Or is it strictly about you?

M. Yeah, I love that.

T. So my thing is a little bit different on this. Because at a certain time in a team – if the team’s not flowing well, somebody’s ego has got to step up to take over for that individual. But that ego is earned and it’s a way of getting respect from everybody else.

M. Yeah, I agree with that. Yeah, I think that’s what we meant by “check your ego at the door.” Like, obviously, you have an ego. You bring it to the team.

But once you step into the team room, you gotta check that at the door.

T. Yeah.

M. And I’d look at the ego just as just another name for personality, right? So there’s time to bring a big personality to the game. And there’s time to take a back seat when someone else has got the lead, right?

T. Exactly. There’s a big difference between “checking” it at the door and “leaving” it at the door, right? Checking it at the door means it’s still coming with you, right? It’s still a part of you.

Now if you leave your ego at the door, now you’re asking an individual to become something that they’re not. When you have when you have the ability to check your ego, that’s you doing it. You’re like “okay, I’m doing this,” all right?

When you leave your ego, that means somebody else is asking you to leave your ego… and they’re asking you to possibly maybe leave the best part of yourself there. Because some individuals the best part of them is what’s lying in their ego.

But the team is going to have to win. Just what you said – if all the team checks their ego at the door – it’s just like when you go through your checklist – check, check, check, check – when is it a necessity? When is it not a necessity?

There’s certain equipment – and I always like to talk about the individuals that I talk to – when you go through your different missions and so forth, there’s certain things you take to certain missions, and you check…

But when you go to a different mission it’s a different checklist. You don’t bring the same equipment every single time.

So you check your ego at the door, but then part of your team says “you know what? On this mission we’re going to need Mark’s ego. We’re going to need it.”

“So hey, Mark. Make sure you bring more of your ego than the rest of this team does. Because this is what you specialize in.”

M. Right. Oh that’s awesome. We got to wrap up soon here, but in your book “Winning,” is there anything that we haven’t covered that you think is really important to share about developing this winning mindset? And that unforgiving race to greatness? A key theme or something that you’d love to share before we have to go.

T. Yeah, first of all, it’s not easy. And everyone’s looking for the shortcuts. And you hear all these clichés all the time and these clichés actually slow you down instead of excelling you.

And one that I like – I tell people all the time – like get this out of your mind right now, all right? When people say, “showing up is half the battle.” No, showing up is none of the battle. It’s none of the battle, right?

You’re looking to get rewarded for doing something you’re supposed to do. You got to show up, all right?

Showing up is none of the battle. You have to show up. So stop listening to all these clichés out there.

Another one – “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” Why the hell you taking the journey if you don’t know where you’re going? Everybody I know that takes the journey has a destination. Otherwise what are you doing, just aimlessly out there, just walking around?

Know where your destination is. You can take numerous journeys, but always know where your destination is. Winning is inside all of us, we all have the ability to win. Every single day there’s wins out there, and they accumulate to the next win, the next win, and the next win…

And everything that’s going on in the world, a lot of us have forgotten what a win looks like… or what it feels like… we don’t even recognize it anymore.

But they’re inside of us, they’re in front of us, they’re around us. Understand what winning is for yourself and then you’ll be able to see it so much more clear.

M. Hooyah. I love it.

Tim, your book is “Winning: Unforgiving Race to Greatness.” I’m sure that’s available wherever books are sold. And how else can people find you either social media, website… what else?

T. Sure. Very simple website is, and my social media handle on Instagram is @timgrover.

M. And what’s your mission right now? Are you working still with elite athletes? Are you really focusing on corporate…?

T. I’m doing both. I’m doing a lot of consulting for professional organizations, and I do a lot of work on the business side now. But what I want to do is one of my main things right now is to help people win.

And people have to understand, winning isn’t just about financial success – it can be – but I’m talking about just winning at whatever is important to you. Whether it’s raising your family, whether it’s being in a relationship, whether it’s your charitable endeavors – whether it’s uplifting your team…

Understanding what are the necessities and the truth in order to see and get those wins.

M. I love that. Well, thank you for doing what you do. It’s been an honor to have this podcast with you and sharing this amazing information with our guests and hope to meet you in person someday, Tim.

T. Thank you, Mark. I appreciate you. Thank you for your time.

M. Yeah, it’s been awesome. Thank you for your time as well.

All right, folks. Check out his book “Winning: Unforgiving Race to Greatness.” Yeah, what an incredible experience he’s had, and if you need some help looking to build your winning mindset, then please reach out to him.

And thank you again for your support of the Unbeatable Mind podcast. Your time is really valuable and choose not to waste it, so really appreciate that. And we’ll see you next time.

Until then, stay unbeatable.


Divine out.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Matthew Feeley says:

    5 stars for such an excellent podcast, thankyou Mark and Tim. Great points being made about a correct mindset in winning. Being able to spot the difference in competing and knowing how to win is particularly a great message to hear. I am grateful to be able to listen a great talk

  • barney mayse says:

    I have read Tim’s book “Relentless” which is a great book. I was excited to have this opportunity to hear Tim and Mark discuss Tim’s lessons and information. This is so wonderful and informative. Thank you for this podcast.

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