Ep 113: What Top Athletes Can Teach Us About Teen Success

Jeremy Bhandari, author of Trust the Grind, interviewed the world’s most elite athletes to figure out what young people can do to be just as successful in their own pursuits.

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Full show notes

You know your teen is capable of more than binging Netflix, but helping teens sort out their own goals and motivate them to take action is hard work! Kids these days encounter distractions at every turn, and are constantly bombarded with images and videos of others who are better dancers, athletes, make-up artists, singers, comedians, (etc!) than your teen. Teens might feel like it’s no use even trying to catch up with the top talent today.

Although it may seem impossible to empower a teen that just doesn’t want to try, today, we're speaking with a guest who’s interviewed top athletes to deduce what teens can do to achieve personal success--and what parents can do to help.

I’m sitting down with Jeremy Bhandari, author of Trust the Grind: How World-Class Athletes Got to the Top. As a lifelong sports fanatic, Jeremy decided to talk to some of his favorite athletes to uncover their secrets to success, work ethic, and most importantly, happiness. He learned some seriously powerful lessons about how young people can thrive in any avenue they choose to pursue--and he’s here to share those lessons with you.

In our insightful interview, Jeremy and I talk about how some of sports’ biggest stars achieved their wildest dreams. He explains how your teen can do anything they dream of, so long as they receive encouragement, remain in the right headspace, and are constantly challenged to reach their full potential.

Cheer For Your Kid Until They Reach the Finish Line

As a parent, you want to see your child successful and happy….which is why you might not always support their off-the-wall ambitions. It can be difficult to get behind your kid’s lofty goals of winning an Oscar or becoming the next president of the United States when you know they might face some disappointment when they fall short.

The truth is, you’re not alone there. Even the parents of world famous athletes have been known to be doubtful of their kid’s dreams. Jeremy and I discuss his interview with Gary Player, one of the world’s most successful golfers, and how parental disapproval almost derailed a legendary career. Gary struggled to get his father’s support when he decided to play golf around the world instead of going to college. Without his father’s help, Gary struggled financially, unable to buy golf clubs to pursue his true passion.

However, Gary’s dad eventually came around, even deciding to take out a loan himself to finance Gary’s new clubs. To this day, Gary cites his father’s support as a major reason for his success. Without his parents behind him, Gary may very well have failed to become the brilliant golfer he was destined to become. Jeremy says one of things he found to be consistent among many of the athletes he interviewed was how much they benefited from having supportive parents or adults to cheer them on in their youth.

As Jeremy and I talk further on this idea, he emphasizes how empowering kids to believe in themselves can be essential to their success as an adult. Whether your teen strives to run Wall Street or sell out Madison Square Garden, they’re not likely to get too far without some support from you.

In the episode, we dive deeper into the idea of encouragement, and how we can use positive reinforcement to help kids understand how hard work pays off. When it comes to helping your kid get their mind in the right spot, Jeremy has some further advice to bring out the high achiever hiding inside.

Challenging Kids To Be Their Best

Beyond just providing positive reinforcement, Jeremy discusses the importance of challenging your kids to go above and beyond what they believe themselves to be capable of. While praising them can have amazing results, it can also be powerful to remind them that they can always improve, and continue to strive for further greatness.

Jeremy shares a story from his interview with Andruw Jones, a talented athlete who played major league baseball for 17 seasons. Jones grew up with a father who was constantly challenging him, asking him how many push ups he could do, how high he could jump, or how deep he could dive into the ocean. Jones told Jeremy that constantly being challenged taught him that there was always room to grow, and molded him into someone who continues to shoot for the moon.

Frequently encouraging kids to go above and beyond helps meld their meld to reflect an attitude of perseverance. Athletes work out their muscles to become stronger, faster, and more efficient, but Jeremy talks about how exercising one’s mind is just as important. If you’re constantly pushing your teen to believe they are capable of greatness, you can help them become the super star they were always meant to be.

In the episode, Jeremy and I expand on this idea, chatting about how we should encourage teens to associate with friends and teammates who push them to always be improving. We also get into a deeper discussion on how important a teen’s mental landscape is to their ambition and productivity.

Why the Mindset Matters

Almost everyone Jeremy interviewed for his book had something to say about the importance one’s mentality plays in achieving greatness. Whether it’s knowing how to handle anxiety in stressful situations or grappling with discouragement in the aftermath of failure, Jeremy says one’s mindset is the key to staying afloat when the going gets tough.

When your teen is in a tough spot, and thinks that they aren’t capable of passing a math test or winning the talent show, Jeremy suggests reminding them that nothing good comes easy. It’s totally normal to struggle, get knocked down, and come up short. What matters is that teens keep trying. Everyone from Elon Musk to Albert Einstein faced failure before changing the world. No one gets it right all the time, especially when they’re just starting out.

Jeremy also touches on how easy it is for teenagers to blow situations out of proportion and make mountains out of molehills. Even though they may think that failing their driving test is the end of the world, it can do wonders to simply remind them to stay calm and try again in a few months. By helping them maintain a positive attitude of perseverance, you can keep them on the track to success.

Unfortunately, teens these days are also often sucked into a dangerous mental habit: comparing themselves to others on social media. There’s millions of people online for teens to compare themselves with at any moment, often causing them to feel inferior or incapable. In the episode, Jeremy and I discuss how we can help teens avoid falling into this harmful trap, and instead empower them to wake up everyday and love themselves.

In the Episode...

Jeremy and I chat about his interviews with a variety of different athletes from a diverse range of disciplines, each one with a unique perspective on life. In addition to the ideas mentioned above, we cover:
  • Why it’s essential for teens to define their goals
  • How eating healthy and exercising can truly change your teen’s life
  • What teens should look for in a friend
  • How we can instill hard work in our teens
It was so much fun to talk to Jeremy this week, and hear the fascinating perspective he’s gained from interviewing so many notable athletes. If you’re interested in reading the book, it’s available now on amazon.com or in Barnes and Noble. Don’t forget to like and subscribe, and happy listening.

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Ep 113: What Top Athletes Can Teach Us About Teen Success
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