As a thought leader in the area of mental fitness, Graham Betchart has a clear mission: help people perform better and experience more joy. Author of Play Present: A Mental Skills Training Program for Basketball Players, Betchart coaches sports teams and athletes, including top NBA players, to “play present” and “be where their feet are.”
ServiceRocket CEO Rob Castaneda agrees mindfulness is critical to individual, team and business success
“Rocketeers regularly heard me talk about shaky, stable and supreme confidence at a few of our CEO updates,” says Castaneda. “That was Graham’s work.”
“We aligned right away about bringing out the best in human beings,” recalls Betchart. The result was a dynamic team building session followed by a series of eye-opening online workshops with Rocketeers in 2020. Betchart’s work aligns well with ServiceRocket’s mission: to create tech-enabled services that generate better outcomes with greater productivity with less stress.
Betchart's reach goes well beyond the basketball court, from entrepreneurs to CEOs to military leaders. He recalls business leaders once saying, "Meditation? That’s soft!" Now, he notes, “even the US Navy is saying, ‘This is so powerful!’” The mindfulness coach graciously spoke with Under the Dome. The conversation is excerpted below.
UA: Can mindfulness be part of our work day?
GB: In my sessions with Rocketeers, I encouraged them to practice MVP: Meditate, visualize and powerful self-talk.
People might think there’s not enough time for that in the workday. But the MVP is a practice you can do, anywhere—anytime, even just for 5 minutes. When you take a few breaths, meditate a bit, relax, you feel better in the moment. Practicing open and mindful meditation helps you connect to the rest of your time. You’re living a moving meditation, with your eyes open and connected.
“These mental tools are available, whenever you need them.”
UA: How can we build more mindful technology?
GB: Technology comes from human beings. It’s going to be as mindful as the person who designed it. It will be as unbiased as that person.
As we become more mindful as human beings, and the more we value mindfulness, it will be designed and built into the products we create. That’s another reason why I enjoy ServiceRocket and working with Rob. You have to be connected to it on a real level.
UA: Is it possible to lead with vulnerability?
GB: CEOs send their energy through the company, which impacts the people who make your products as well as the people who design them. So just like pro-athletes or pro-coaches, when you have the ability to be vulnerable, be present and centered, it profoundly impacts everyone.
How can CEOs allow for vulnerability? They lead by example. And it’s different for every person. So we all look at our own life and figure out how to express vulnerability in our own way.
“To me, CEO stands for Conscious Energy Officer, which means you lead with your energy.”
UA: How can we practice “being where your feet are”?
GB: Here’s a great example of what I mean. I recently worked with a navy admiral who has tremendous responsibilities. We discussed vulnerability and the idea of being where your feet are. I told him one of the things you can do is wear bright colored shoes as a symbol of your own vulnerability. At first he was reluctant but eventually he decided to wear a pair of bright blue sneakers—totally not navy wear—to symbolize his openness to being vulnerable.
He wrote me back a few weeks later and said, “It worked!” He was so proud. All of his reports loved it. It opened the door to better communications in his unit. I told him, “Now you’ve experienced victory to the vulnerable. It was scary for you, but you did it.”
“It’s great to be around a leader who leads mindfully. Workers love it. It creates a different culture.”
UA: Why is vulnerability so powerful?
GB: Vulnerability isn’t about the number of cliffs I can jump off—it’s emotional strength. It’s growing my brain using the same principle to working out. You slowly go a bit beyond your limit and you feel better. You build your core muscles, and after a little while, you feel uncomfortable, but then you feel stronger. You advance.
It’s the same thing mentally. People are realizing that it’s the mechanics of how you stay smart and grow. If you can do it in a controlled and safe way, it’s beautiful for the elasticity of your brain.
“That’s where my phrase, 'victory to the vulnerable' came from.”
I started using this phrase with the athletes I worked with, because if you can embrace that, you’re going to win, in any context.
More and more CEOs see the value of mindfulness.
The XST Blog