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Most of us try to balance the act of doing and the feeling of being in our lives. We ask ourselves questions like, “How can I work hard and have success without burning out? What do I need to do to feel fulfilled while striving for improvement?”

Brad Stulberg, author of the bestselling author of the new book, The Practice of Groundedness, and also Peak Performance regularly researches, writes, and coaches on the many elements of health, well-being, and sustainable performance. And today, he returns to the podcast for his third conversation all about how to feel more grounded. His research suggests 6 principles of groundedness: acceptance, presence, patience, vulnerability, community, and movement.

More specifically, The Practice of Groundedness focuses on:

  • Accept where you are to get to where you want to go
  • Be Present to Own Your Energy and Attention
  • Be Patient to Get There Faster
  • Embrace Vulnerability to Build Genuine Strength and Confidence
  • Build Deep Community
  • Move Your Body to Ground Your Mind

Brad’s book combines ancient wisdom with modern science to dive into how to build a strong foundation. We talk about separating your work from your sense of self, how heroic individualism can be challenging, the importance of having local community, and how to have a more deliberate relationship with striving.

Heroic individualism is a never-ending game of one-upmanship against yourself and other people, so you’re constantly trying to beat yourself and other people where measurable achievement is the main arbiter of success and the goal post is always 10 yards down the field, so you never actually arrive.  You think that if you just accomplish this, or just win that race, or just achieve that thing, or just fall in love with that perfect person, then you’ll be content. But what you find is that there is no arriving at contentment and having that mindset will make you miserable. Whereas contentment is an ongoing practice of the principles that we talked about with groundedness. Contentment is every day, aligning your being with your doing and practicing those things. 

Brad Stulberg

 His work has been featured in The New York Times, New Yorker, Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine, Forbes, and more. In his coaching practice, he works with executives, entrepreneurs, and physicians on their performance and well-being. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina. Make sure you listen to our podcast episodes on Peak Performance and The Passion Paradox!

“Keeping it fun is really important for me. Particularly taking the work very seriously, but not taking myself seriously at all. What does that look like in practice? The Practice of Groundedness, this book, I care deeply about. I think it’s excellent. I’m going to do everything I can for the book. But the book was such a team effort with so many people. The book is just my brain at one point of time, it’s not me. But now the book is its own thing. Separating my sense of self from my work.  Really caring about the work but realizing that it’s something I did, it’s no longer me. That’s been really helpful because I can feel like I want the book to be really relevant without feeling like I need to be really relevant.”

Brad Stulberg

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Key Takeaways

  • the metaphor of the three-legged stool
  • combining ancient wisdom with modern science
  • how to practice more patience
  • a healthy relationship with striving
  • separating work from your identity
  • heroic individualism
  • excitement vs. ease
  • the difference between being grounded vs. being balanced
  • importance of local community
  • why movement makes you feel more grounded



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