Podcast: Episode 172 with Brad Stulberg

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“So much of groundedness is about building a life that you want to live in right now and those things are often in opposition to striving, because when you’re striving, when you’re really going toward something, it’s very easy to forget about watering the roots, tending to the base, whatever it is. But when you accomplish or you fail to do that thing, if you haven’t been taking care of all this other stuff, then there’s still nothing there and you still fill empty. So you could also argue it’s just about really focusing on what is there right now, what’s in front of you, and it’s not to say you become a zen monk that’s totally content. I would argue that it’s still great to strive but the texture of the striving changes, so instead of striving from a pace of compulsion—‘I need to win this and if I don’t I’m a failure’ or ‘I need to hit the best-seller list and if I don’t something’s wrong’—it’s much more that this is a great goal but it’s a great goal because all the steps I’m gonna have to take to reach it are going to really fulfill me and give my life happiness, joy, and growth.” 

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Brad Stulberg is a an author, speaker, and executive coach who researches, writes, and coaches on human performance, sustainable success, and well-being. His work has appeared in Outside magazine, The New York TimesWall Street Journal, Washington Post, Wired, and other publications. He’s the best-selling author of Peak Performance and the Passion Paradox, both of which he co-wrote with Steve Magness, and he’s got a new book coming out on September 7 called The Practice of Groundedness, which explores the foundation of peak performance, true wellbeing, and sustainable success.

Making his third appearance on the show, Brad debuted on the podcast back in Episode 53, where you can learn more about his background and the work he does as a writer, speaker, and coach. He joined me again on Episode 76 alongside Amelia Boone, a conversation in which we discussed mental health, eating disorders, OCD, recovery, running and racing, the desire to be relevant, social media and its influence on us, the importance of sharing our stories, and a lot more. (That episode, in fact, is the most listened to episode that I’ve ever published, so be sure to check it out if you haven’t already.)

This conversation centers around Brad’s new book and we dive into topics that I think are relevant to many of us: the pursuit of high achievement that seems pervasive in our society today, the fallacy of “arriving” in life and how that gets the best of so many of us, what Brad calls heroic individualism or an ongoing game of one-upmanship against ourselves and others, the differences between real vulnerability and performative vulnerability, and a lot more. 

Note: Pre-order Brad’s new book here before September 7, 2021 and get exclusive bonuses!

Brad Stulberg: TwitterBook | Website

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Mario Fraioli: Website | Strava

This episode is brought to you by:

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Music and editing for this episode of the morning shakeout podcast by John Summerford.

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