May 5, 2022

The Gut-Brain Connection and Optimal Performance with Cara Bradley, Best-Selling Author and Podcast Host

The Gut-Brain Connection and Optimal Performance with Cara Bradley, Best-Selling Author and Podcast Host

In Episode 80, Cara Bradley, best-selling author of On the Verge, host of the On the Verge Podcast, Soccer Resilience Ambassador, Rollerblader extraordinaire, and one of the “12 Most Powerful Women of the Mindfulness Movement,”, talks with Phil...

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In Episode 80, Cara Bradley, best-selling author of On the Verge, host of the On the Verge Podcast, Soccer Resilience Ambassador, Rollerblader extraordinaire, and one of the “12 Most Powerful Women of the Mindfulness Movement,”, talks with Phil about the gut-brain connection, mental fitness, performing in the “flow” and how we can get there, how we can reach optimal performance more often, and how she performed on Rollerblades in front of one of the world’s iconic buildings. Specifically, Cara discusses:

  • Her story, how she developed his passion for mental fitness, the gut-brain connection, and optimal performance, and how she got to be where she is today (1:54)
  • How we can intentionally create and recreate being in flow (or in the “Zone”) (9:17)
  • The concept of STER and what it has to do with “flow” (11:10)
  • Mental cross-training, including the importance of sleep, clean eating, breathing, and other critical aspects of mental health (16:36)
  • Why it’s important for us and our kids to participate in unstructured play alongside the intense, structured training (20:21)
  • Gut-Brain Health and what it has to do with optimal performance and mental health (23:49)
  • Her personal why and how she is living it out every day (33:32)
  • Her and her husband’s decision to go “house-free” and what she has learned from her journey (34:40)
  • Cara’s various resources and how you can find them (38:11)
  • Cara’s experience as a professional Rollerblader (40:40)
  • How she has used lessons learned directly from sports in her marriage and parenting (41:56)
  • Her recommendations for us (42:38)

Resources and Links from this Episode


Phil: Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. Thank you so much again, for being a part of the conversation. I am so grateful for each and every one of you because you're learning right alongside of me. And today we have. another great guest. I can't wait for this conversation. I'm going to be able to have with Cara Bradley and Cara is a bestselling author and a podcast host.

She was one of the cool things. She was named one of the 12 most powerful women in the mindfulness movement in, 2020 former competitive figure skater. First, one of those on this show and who also folks she performed for roller blade, rollerblade. Remember rollerblades. They're still around, I think, but around the world, in in her twenties, that's really cool.

It also ran track in college, had two daughters that played soccer at a very high level. She's a soccer resilience ambassador. If you folks remember Brad Miller early on in the, in the podcast she is a, an ambassador for soccer resilience. And we've been able to have a couple conversations and just really enjoyed getting to know Cara.

So I'm [00:01:00] excited that we get to share this conversation with you. So, Cara, how are you doing?

[00:01:05] Cara: Ah, today I'm doing really well. Thanks. Thanks for asking. I've had a great morning kind of doing my thing. Got a couple of big projects done. So feeling ready for this conversation. Thanks for having me here.

[00:01:17] Phil: Awesome.

Awesome. Well, that's that's great because hopefully we'll get. Get you on your best as we're going to talk about flow or talking about being in the zone and all these different cool things that we use. Now, we're going to get here kind of hear behind the scenes of what the science of that is today.

Before we get there, though, I want to just, as we always start just really to be able to just share your story and how you became passionate about mental fitness, mental wellness, and athletes, and how you got to be doing what you're doing. Yeah.

[00:01:44] Cara: Well, thanks for asking. It started young. I was I was a figure skater and it's funny because I wanted to play hockey.

My brothers played hockey, but there was no girls talking back then. So as I said, I had to put the white skates [00:02:00] on and they got to. The cool skates

[00:02:04] Phil: played hockey with her brother. She was the goalie all the time for her brother. We probably can relate to that. So my wife grew up in Minnesota at same, same a dream for her, but yeah.

Is anyway.

[00:02:14] Cara: Absolutely right. And so we we're we are brake rots for sure. I spent a lot of my time on the ice and I learned that a young age at a really young age, what it felt like to be. In my body, because figure skating. There's not a whole lot of give there. I mean, if you're not, if you're not on that thin edge of a thin blade, you're on your butt.

So what I learned at probably like 12, I, we had to do something. Figures back then and figures, you know, they're just drills, right? I mean, all athletes know that you got to spend time doing the drills. And so back then we would be given a clean patch of ice. [00:03:00] And I had to draw a figure right over and over for an hour.

Now they don't do figures. We used to test on it. We don't do figures in the sport anymore. Cause there's so many skaters hated it and really rebelled against it. I loved it because it was quiet time where I got to really just be in my body on the ice. And one thing I noticed about figures and this is that gets imported.

'cause I think all athletes can relate to this, but with figures, you know, I had an hour to kind of spend with myself doing this, whereas that when I would start thinking about what I was doing, whether I was on an outer edge and inner edge backward forward, whenever I got into my head, I went flat on my blade.

And so I couldn't perform that figure eight the way I was supposed to. And so I, I, it was like a game I played with myself back then at 12, I was like, okay, how could I not think at all for this whole [00:04:00] circle? And so what I didn't realize I was doing was I was training my mind. It was a mindfulness practice.

Every time I did figures. And so of course I had no words for it. I just kind of felt it. Then I then as a competitive runner in college, around the 800, I had that sense again. And I started to understand what it felt like to be either just in your body or in your head and in your body. And certainly my, my races were nothing.

If I was filled with doubt and fear and worry and anxiety and comparison and all those millions of thoughts that come through our head during competition, if we allow it to. So again, that was just my training without, without knowing what I was.

[00:04:48] Phil: Yeah, absolutely. And so fast forward to today, you know, now you're doing all these different things.

So how did you go from being an athlete who feels that [00:05:00] zone, so to speak? I remember you talking in another talk you gave about your last race in college. You've really felt like it all came together, right? So you go from that to then. I want to teach others this. I want to learn more. I want to go deeper.

What, what triggered that? And then what did that look like? And how did your, what was that path to where you are?

[00:05:21] Cara: Yeah. So, so it was my last college track race. And I had been a mediocre athlete, honestly, and a lot of it had to do with I just, you know, this is like my upbringing. We were just, my parents were more careful with us, so didn't kinda give us that, that freedom to go for it.

And so it was my last college track race and I ran the race in my life. I ran it because I had nothing to lose and I had done a bunch of things pre race that I had never done before. To settle my system, I, my nervous system, my body and my mind. And so, really what happened during that race was one I shifted into a flow [00:06:00] state and two, I awakened the potential that I always had.

And I think that's a really important point because it really led me into everything I do now. When I finished that race, it was a playoff race. And I came in third and my whole team was like, what just happened? And I was like, what just happen? And I knew, and I sat there on the, on the truck and I was like, oh my God, like, why did I wait to my last race to do that?

And of course, I didn't know, because I didn't know, even know happened to me, but what I realized then, and there was that if I could learn how to train myself to access whatever I had accessed, which now we call flow, then anything I did, I would do well. Like I knew it. And so that sent me on my, on my journey to understand how to train the body and mind for optimal [00:07:00] performance and the whole awakening of potential.

What I realized as well in that moment was that we all have these latent capacities, these strengths, this intelligence in us, every single human being has this intelligence. And so I became really enamored with understanding how to awaken potential and then how to help others do it as well. And so it's taken many different forms.

I found yoga and meditation back in the early nineties, because it was really the disciplines as an athlete. I want to be told what to do, give me my training and I'll do it. I'm disciplined. Right? And so the yogis and the meditators had thousands of years of, of traction already. And so I leaned into those practices to understand how to train the body and mind.

[00:07:57] Phil: Yeah. You know, and, and so it's gone [00:08:00] beyond that now, and we'll get into some of that later, some of the different programs and things that you're doing, but before we get there, I want to go into this, the science behind flow. I mean, we talk about it. We, we usually don't say flow in the context of a game we say, but we do often say I'm not going to save some people might, but I don't.

You were in the zone, right? So it's that same idea. If you ever played NBA jams folks out there, that's when you're on fire, en fuego and you can't miss a shot, basically. That's what we're talking about here. So can we talk about that a little bit, this, this idea of, and we'll get to later the idea of the gut brain connection and all these things that I know now, you're, you're really passionate about sharing.

But before we get there, talk about the science behind the, the, the flow of the zone and, and really how we can do the mental fitness. And you you've talked about mental fitness, cross training, and some other conversations out there as well. So can you just get into that and talk about how we can [00:09:00] actually, intentionally create and recreate being in the zone or being in flow.


[00:09:07] Cara: Yeah. And so, like I said, I didn't have a word for it back then, but years later um, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote his seminal book called Flow and he talked about, and he is a researcher. He talked about understanding optimal experience. And what he found was that there are triggers. There are certain triggers that help our body and mind.

Kind of get locked into this optimal state where we feel our best and do our best. And some of those optimal, some of those flow triggers are high consequence. So if it's a big game, if it's a big presentation, if you're, you know, climbing rock climbing, or if jumping out of planes, you're going to most likely.

Go ahead and drop right into flow, just because of the consequences involved in what you're [00:10:00] doing, but then there are other flow triggers and I can talk about them a little bit more as well, which is, are having clear goals, having immediate feedback, having having just enough challenge to keep you focused, keep you engaged there.

There's big nature. Like, if you were, you know, at the top of a mountain or on a beach or under the stars, there's all these different ways that we can access this optimal state of awareness. And so what's happening when we shift into flow and it's not something we live in all the time. And one of the reasons why we're in, we're not living in flow all the time is because there are, there's this cascade of neurochemicals that are flooding our system, flooding our nervous system and our brain that's helping a few things happen. And I'll go through this and I will say off the bat, a lot of this comes from Csikszentmihalyi. And then after Csikszentmihalyi [00:11:00] put out his work, two guys that I've worked closely with Jamie Wheale and Steven Kotler have really taken all of Csikszentmihalyi's work and put it into actionable language that most of us can understand. So they talk about flow and they use the acronym STER S T E R. So think about this. If you're, you know, if you're listening, if you're an athlete or not an athlete and they're coaching about how or when you may feel this, so S stands for.

Selflessness. So when we're in flow week, we forget about that inner critic, that inner critic is it barraging our mind with, you're not enough. You can't do this. You've never done this before. You don't have the training. You don't have the education that all powers down. And there's an anatomical reason why it happens.

And some of that has to do with these neurochemicals that are flooding our [00:12:00] system. So there's, there's this feeling of selflessness then there's timelessness. And so there's that understanding of when we're fully present deeply in the now time either speeds up or slows down. There's this warped sense of time where, you know, you could be in flow when you're writing, when you're doing the podcast, when you're playing, and then all of a sudden your game's over all of a sudden you're 10 hours went by and you haven't even eaten lunch.

So there's selflessness timelessness, then there's effortlessness. Where everything you do seems to be clicking into place, right? You're on fire. You're in your game. You can't fail. For me in that race. I was running. I felt like a gazelle. I remember feeling. I, my toes [00:13:00] weren't even touching the track. So there's this sense of effortlessness in what you're doing?

Richness is the, are the final one. And when you're in flow, when you're fully present deeply in the now. You were in this full concentration mode and your senses light up, you may see more vividly hear more clearly. You may sense your teammates on the field, on the court without even knowing where they are.

You just know. So there's this intelligence that comes online, that when we're living in our head or playing in our head, we don't have, we literally don't have access to. And so I would tell 'em, I've done a lot of training with college teams. And specifically, I remember the Villanova basketball team cause I had a, my business was right up the road from Philadelphia university and I would tell the [00:14:00]players all the time.

And I remember them specifically because they were headed into the Final Four. And I would tell them that, you know, if you play in your head, It is almost like a garage door. Like one of those big, heavy doors closes down between your head and your body shutting you off from this unbelievable amount of intelligence and experience that you have stored up in your body. And so as athletes, your body, your, your physical body is well-trained and you've got information in there from every game you played, every goal you scored every, you know, every coaching session you ever sat in on. Like, you've got that all stored there, but if you play from your head, In your mind, then that garage door doesn't give you access.

When we're in flow, there is complete access [00:15:00] to all of that intelligence and that's why we can't fail. So it was a long winded way of saying, remember that STER selflessness, timelessness, effortlessness, and richness is what flow may feel like for you.

[00:15:16] Phil: So how do we get there?

[00:15:18] Cara: Good question. So you can train to know how to access flow, right?

So we can't force our way into flow. In fact, Steven Kotler often says flow follows focus, and I think that's the easiest way to understand when you are focused on your drill on your pregame warmup on tying your, your, your boots. When you are focused, it will set up your nervous system, your whole body mind to be able to access flow more.


[00:15:58] Phil: And I know in the talk [00:16:00] you did for the, mental health summit that soccer resilience did, you talked about the cross training that goes into it to the importance of sleep, the importance of, the mindfulness training that yet we're hearing about breathing techniques, different things along those lines, and some other things can you use.

Can you talk through that quickly as well, just to give the different aspects of it before we go kind of deeper into the gut brain connection and all that conversation that I'd like to do. Yes,

[00:16:26] Cara: absolutely. And this is, I feel like where my sweet spot is because I've done so much training in yoga and meditation and strength training and all kinds.

Physical practices. And then also in the mental training is that you can't think your way to optimal performance. There's got to be something that, that comes into sync the body and mind start to synchronize so that there's this harmony balance and coherence when you start to play or when you go to practice or when you go to speak or whatever it is [00:17:00] you're performing.

And so there are ways and things that we can do to hone that balance, to sharpen that synchronized state. And it comes down to these body-mind practices and how we cross-trained to build this mental fitness. This. This feeling of being congruent, coherent, clear, calm all at the same time. And so, when I talk about cross training for mental fitness it, I like to talk about it that way, because most of us understand we need to cross train for physical fitness.

We can't just walk. We can't just strength. You got to mix it up. It's the same thing for if we want to feel mentally fit all the time. So it comes down to moving your body, right. Which is if you're an athlete you're doing all the time. So I don't need to go there. It comes down to mind, training, mindfulness, training, some type of mindset training, or a combination of both.[00:18:00]

Then, of course their sleep. I mean, sleep is having its heyday. Now the research is there, you know, we need eight hours, plus we need to focus on recovery or it's game over. Honestly, the, the body starts to go into stress mode and we can't possibly perform at our best if we're in stress mode. So sleep movement, nutrition, clean eating mood.

Our mood is affected 100% by the food that we intake. So cleaned. And I'm not going to tell you guys how to eat, you know, because we all have our own thing going on there, but then there are other things like gratitude practice time in nature, focus on recovery. There is you know, just being curious about things outside of our general realm of things that we learn about to help the mind train, to take in different types of information, there's play just for the sake of [00:19:00] play.

And then there's also gut brain optimization, which is this new field for high performers that I, I do. I'm so stoked about, oh, and I forgot breath training. I knew there was one breath training, which

[00:19:16] Phil: is, you know, and I know that we talked, I talked a lot with Brad Miller about that. So if you want to hear some about the mindfulness practices, we'd go back and listen to that.

All link to it in the show notes with Brad. He's he's a great, great guy. Who's done a lot in this field as well. So, one thing I want to just touch on real quick is you mentioned. Training and moving your body and the training we do as athletes and then play. And I think today what we're seeing in youth sports especially is, and I'm going to get Dan O'Neill on, who's a exercise scientist as well in a, in a few episodes, but the, the distinction between play and the training and why it's [00:20:00] important to play.

And not just train the intense training, but to have unstructured play. And why that's number. Why, why is that distinction different? And why is it important to do both?

[00:20:11] Cara: Well, I think that, and I'm not a play researcher, but from the little bit that I've studied about it, there's, there's different neurochemicals that come online.

There's different ways that it fuels and feeds our sense of wellness and wellbeing and lightness and joy and all of that. It adds to our mental fitness, just as much as a serious training session. You know, my, my daughters played high-level soccer. One of my daughters played division one. They were both ODP.

You know, they were kind of the, we were in it as a soccer family. And if there's any regret I have, because I think the training and the discipline that my girls. Learned from the sport really serves them [00:21:00] now as they, they they're in their mid, mid twenties. But the one thing I wish they had more of was just unstructured playtime, even, even with their team.

Like if they had more fun times and they would work with the trainer who was really a phenomenal trainer and he had lots of games that they play and both girls have said, you know, I had spent more time with Regan and less time traveling to tournaments.

[00:21:29] Phil: Now, and, and the coach for my daughter's team is talking about just having scrimmages on just, just fun, not even script, like not, you know, say coaches get out of the way.

And just whoever wants to show up in the club on Saturday, show up at the fields. We have the fields anyway. Let's just play. And I love that idea. And you know, my son just did it. My ten-year-old finally, I have five kids and my fifth is saying dad, I'm going to the park. I'm like, finally, he decided to go and he hops on his scooter.

We got him. One of those watches we know is where we know where he is and, and he can, you [00:22:00] know, just be home by. By dark. I feel like, you know, back in my childhood, which is so, so awesome. And I just love it. And you know, you still got to, it's a different world and all those things, but at the same time, some things have changed, but a lot of things haven't and that's one is the kids need to just get out.

Goof around and be kids. And so, and what, and we, as adults need to do that too. And that's the thing is, you know, they say kids will be kids. Yeah. But we, we need to be playing. We need to be doing just fun and getting out into nature. Like you said, just going for a walk and just goofing around and laughing.

And my brother just celebrated his 50th birthday. And one of the things kids said to him, which was, which was super encouraging for me to hear about my brother. They said we just went around the table and shared what, what we love about him. And one of the, one of his daughters said, you it's, you know, you're, you're still a kid in a lot of ways with us, you still play, you still have fun.

And, and I love that, you know, and I, you know, I hope my kids would say the same thing. I mean, cause there's that balance. You gotta be a dad, you know, which is number one. But to be able to [00:23:00] have that time to just play and laugh with your family and your three kids. So anyway, So now we get to move on what we talked about, kind of tease this enough.

Now let's get to this new you did too as well, but there's this gut, heart brain connection, really how it impacts our, our mental and physical wellness. And just, I mean, first of all, what is it? What are we talking about when we hear about microbiomes and all these sticky, you can, it can be like anything, as I just said, Dan Abrams on, and he couldn't talk at a PhD level and we can also bring it down to a, you know, what does it mean to us?

And what does it look like? And then how can we maximize our you know, gut brain health and, and all that good stuff.

[00:23:39] Cara: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I want to say first that, you know, I've spent my whole career, my whole life understanding optimal performance, awakening human potential. How do we experience life more fully?

How do we bring more joy in our lives? Like, so for me, I've gone down so many different rabbit holes. And when I [00:24:00] learned about the new science of the gut-brain connection, about three years ago, I knew in that moment that it was going to change everything. I just knew it. And I also knew that I could never just teach meditation, yoga mindset training.

Like I could never just teach these body-mind practices without talking about the gut brain, because what we're learning in the science is new. It's five to six years old. We are learning that what comes out of our gut. And what is the up way? What is going up the gut? I never said that before, but what, what is communicated between our gut and our brain is, is unquestionable.

At this point when our gut is healthy, our gut microbiome, which is. Ecology of bacteria and viruses and other stuff. But when our gut ecology is healthy and balanced this signaling, and I think that the real important aspect here [00:25:00] for you all to, to understand it's the signaling, it's the communication between the gut and the brain, when that is clear and, and sharp, we feel.

Mentally focused. We have mental acuity, which has mental sharpness. We have mental flexibility and agility. We feel that. Wonderful. Our mood is better. We can focus. We can experience other people's joy. I mean, it goes on and on when the communication between the gut and the brain, the signaling is off, like we're at three G instead of five G we feel foggy.

It's brain fog. That's what it is. We feel confused. We're distracted. We may not be able to hear things as well. We're not sharp. We're not flexible. We may not connect with others as well. And so what we're learning from the gut brain connection and the gut brain access is that [00:26:00] starting at the roots, starting at the gut through better food, through less stress, less toxins.

And if we can. Less pharma, because those are the four things that will throw our gut off. If we can approve those four things, it will improve the signaling through the immune system and the nervous system. And when the signaling improved, our mental wellness is improved. We can go from dealing with on one side of the continuum, you know, sadness, anxiety, depression ADHD, and other.

To mental wellness, which is feeling of feeling more like you're not like, like you're just normally happy and wonderful. And life is good to the optimal side of the continuum, which is where I live and, and teach from, which has mental fitness. So mental fitness does optimized mental wellness, and we can now [00:27:00] understand through better food and food supplements.

So we are learning about. About specific strains of probiotics, specific micronutrients and plant that will improve that gut-brain connection. And this is a lot of the work that I'm doing right now. And I'm represent a company that's really at the, at the forefront of this all, it's going to change sports in the next five years, because more and more people are going to recognize that this is going to be their mental edge is the gut-brain

[00:27:30] Phil: connect.

Yeah, absolutely. And you know, and I know I'll put that video you shared with me. If you tell me the, the product again I think juice the, yeah, that, that company, that the video I watched on the, by the, I forget the doctor's name, but he talked about how the gut brain connection and the gut, you know, right.

Bacteria in the gut causes lower depression, fatigue, tension, anger, confusion, the brain fog and, and increases vigor, which, you know, is he defined as physical energy, mental acuity and emotional wellbeing. And, [00:28:00] and, you know, I think this is during COVID. For, for various reasons, we've had more depression, we've had more mental health issues.

We've had more brain fog from COVID long haul from these other things. Is this stuff that will, I know it's impossible to know exactly what's causing COVID long, you know, long COVID and all these different things. But if they, as there've been any testing with this type of study with the bacteria in the, in the gut, and as far as the COVID long haul and things.

[00:28:28] Cara: It's coming. It is coming. So I can't speak to it definitively, but I know that it's being tested and it's coming and I will attest to, I had COVID and I experienced COVID brain fog. And my, my trajectory was as much shorter, the, the path out of the whole COVID brain fog, which I understand for some it's weeks and months for me, it was just a few days.

I do believe that's because of the healthy microbiome that I've been cultivating [00:29:00] for the last couple of years. And so if, if you're interested, the book Mental Fitness just came out in in the last year or so by Dr. Sean Talbot, he is the chief formulator for MRI global, which is this company that is, and he is really at the forefront of the gut brain science when it comes to mental performance.

[00:29:19] Phil: And he's the one in the video that I, that you sent to me. That's right. That's right. Absolutely. So phobia, check out, check out that video. If this interests you at all, check out the video that I'll put in the show notes, you know, it has some different, you know, things that you can look at and different supplements and that are presumably the supplements are these bacterias and microbiomes to helping, helping the microbiome to be able to function properly.

Is that, is that what the supplements.

[00:29:46] Cara: That's right. And what's so interesting about where we are right now is we're getting very, very clear on the science of what exactly we can put in our gut to help us feel [00:30:00] clearer, calmer, more confident, more agile. I mean, this is super exciting. And so. What Shawn will often say.

And what I often say is that mental fitness, isn't all in your head, mental performance, isn't all in your head. A lot of it happens below the neck, in our gut and your nervous system, immune system and your whole.

[00:30:23] Phil: Yeah. And let's just be clear though. This is a both and conversation we're having here. This isn't an either, or you're not saying like, Hey, you can go out and you can, you know, smoke, drink to your heart's content, eat like crud and take these supplements and you'll be good to go.

You don't need to breathe. You don't need to sleep. You know, it's a both, and right. You need to eat clean. You need to sleep well. You need to be doing the mental training. You need to be doing the play and all of that. And. Be making sure that we're getting this done too. Is that, is that.

[00:30:56] Cara: A hundred percent.

Yeah. I have a a cross training [00:31:00] grid for mental fitness. It's free. I'm happy to share it with you all. And it just lists all of those out and you can just see in a course of a week, you know, am I checking enough boxes? Is this of well-balanced cross training for my mental wellness?

[00:31:15] Phil: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, like anything else, it's not like a, you know, a guarantee that if you do all these things, You'll be mentally healthy because you might not be honest about it.

First of all, you might not understand some of the stressors that are going on. You might not have owned those stressors too, you know? Right. So I know that's a lot of, part of the, the work that John Sarno did and Caroline leaf with the mind brain connection and the power of the mind, so to speak. And so there's so much.

To this, but I love, you know, just more we learn about the different parts of the body and how our body is. This miraculous thing that works together. And nothing is, you know, nothing is by itself just [00:32:00] doing its thing. It's all connected and interconnected. And so I think the more we learn, the more we can put these pieces together and, and hopefully, you know, be able to, to be healthier in every way.

That's a that's great. Yeah. So if you could share that where, where can people find it? It

[00:32:16] Cara: well, they could go to my website care, and that'll give you all the information you need, download the cross training grid to get information on Omari and those protocols.

And yeah, it's pretty simple. It's all.

[00:32:31] Phil: Yeah. Yeah. So we'll have that care We'll have that on the show notes. If you want to just go there and click it you can also just type it in yourself. C a R a Bradley. So, and yeah, so we'll, we'll have that in the, like I said, in the show notes, you can go check that out.

I encourage you to do so folks, because this is stuff that isn't just for athletes. This is for literally everyone in your family, in your life that, that You care about, you know, to be able to understand all of these different things that we need to do [00:33:00] to, to ensure that we can give ourselves the best chance of being mentally healthy.

And, and like you said, living in the optimal performance, we want to be able to live at our fullest at any given time. So, you know, I think I have an idea of how you're going to answer this next question, but I want to hear from you, you know, w what is your personal, why, what is, what is that purpose statement that, that you live by and how are you living it out in your life?

[00:33:22] Cara: Yeah, it is definitely to do my part to help awaken human potential. We have so much to share out there. Every single person we meet in the stores has so much to share with the world. And if we were all in, in the process of awakening, Dormant latent capacities then I believe our world would be a happier place.

So that is without a doubt my why and I live it every day because I am a continued student and learning all the time.

[00:33:56] Phil: Yeah, I can tell that just a little, I've gotten to know you that you are a learner, [00:34:00] which I am too, which is why I think we we've connected on that for sure. All right. So now you're learning something a little new than you probably have ever before where recently.

Intentionally become house free. And I, and I think I've saw you say that it's probably to make sure people know you're not homeless. But you've gone house free and you know, just to have a lot less stuff now, what have you, what have you learned in that, first of all, what am I talking about there?

And then what have you learned in that, in that process and in that journey that your.

[00:34:30] Cara: Yeah. And it's a temporary journey. It's not forever, but my husband and I sold our yoga and meditation business in the Philadelphia area right before COVID. And we decided we had been at it for 16 years and had to be there all the time.

So we decided we didn't want to have to be anywhere. So we gave up the the house and. I gave up the stuff. And so now we live for two to three months at a time in different areas in the country and just do [00:35:00] short term rentals. And it, what I have learned and we call this our process of untangling.

We have untangled so many layers of conditioning, just social conditioning. Conditioning from our culture of what it means to be successful. We've and we've untangled so much within ourselves, you know, I've learned how to let go and be flexible and lot of things roll and and just be present and be at home anywhere.

That has been such an extraordinary gift. And I tell people all the time, it may not be for you or maybe. You know, maybe you start by just untangling your physical stuff a little bit, but it just, I feel so light and free. And so it allows me to do my work more effectively and impact the world more, more and help others just because I feel light and unencumbered.

[00:35:57] Phil: Yeah, no, that's that's I bet there's a lot of [00:36:00] people out there going, Ooh, that sounds good. But like you said, it's probably not for everybody. I love what you said there just about being present. I think that's something that whatever it takes for us to be more present in a world that's so noisy.

And so constantly just distraction everywhere. And it's one of the things I really am very proud of my 19 year old son. And he says, you know, I, I don't like the fact that when I texted him and I'm wondering where he is, he doesn't get back to me right away. But he says, dad, when I'm with my friends, I really want to be present.

So I put my phone away. And, you know, it's hard to argue with that. Right. And I don't know if he's just feeding me a line or if he's actually doing that, but, but I think he is. I mean, and knowing how he is and who he is, I just really, I mean, are you kidding me? Like how many, 19 year old kids would you hear say that?

I mean, so it's just whatever we can do, whatever it takes us to do. And I think a lot of these mindfulness practices will do that will help us to be present, but also some, you know, sometimes we need to do some bigger [00:37:00] things to be able to, I know for me to be present is really difficult. I'm always thinking about the next thing.

I'm always thinking about what else I have to do. And so like when you were talking about being in the flow or being in the zone, I, all I think about is my best work from when it comes to writing and other stuff is from midnight to four in the morning because nothing else is going on and people aren't calling.

And I don't, I'm not wondering what I'm missing. My FOMO is not in full force from midnight to four. So to, you know, again, some of that for, you know, is interesting. What, what does it take for you to get present and let's figure out how we can do that more. So I love that. So before we get into our last two questions that we talk or we ask everybody can you just briefly share, I know you mentioned your website, so folks, you can go there to learn about all these different things, but I know you have a best-selling book, as I mentioned early on.

And you also have a podcast and you're creating something for soccer resilience too. So can you just share the little, the few different products, three different things that you have that can help our, our audience in, in these different areas that we've [00:38:00] talked about.

[00:38:01] Cara: Yeah. Well, thank you for that opportunity.

My book is called the On the Verge: Wake Up, Show Up, and Shine. And it really is about living in your natural state of clear mind, bright body and an open heart. So it's about how to be present. But th and I, and I talk a lot about my work with sports teams. In the book as well. And my experience as an athlete though, how do we wake up show up and shine every day.

And really it comes down to being as present as often as much as possible. And my podcast is called On the Verge as well. And that is a daily podcast. I go Monday through Friday, they're short. To eight minute snippets and tips, mental fitness tips, stories, inspirations, motivations. I get into flow when I record those.

I absolutely love it. I'm like right there at the edge of my seat when, and whenever I'm recording. So you can check that out as well. And the work that I'm doing with Omari and with the mental [00:39:00] wellness company is to partner with different organizations to help, to educate. Different populations on gut brain mental wellness.

And because I think that at this point in our mental wellness or mental health pandemic, there are just way too many people suffering. And so we need to offer natural solutions for people, to kids, especially kids, for kids and anybody else that may be feeling like they're languishing or depressed or having, you know, a lot of anxiety too.

To improve their mental wellness into hopefully experienced mental fitness. So again, all of that can be found on my website. Just reach out to me. I'm, I'm a person at the end of the email, and I'd love to get into conversation with anybody who's curious, or what

[00:39:50] Phil: is that email?

[00:39:50] Cara:

[00:39:53] Phil: Keep it simple, same, same name for the podcast for the book cares, trying to see people simple force. So you can focus on the things that matter and you [00:40:00] can be present in other areas. All right. So, last a couple of questions. What lessons learned directly from, from sports, also sports for you? You can, it could be soccer with your, with your girls or figure skating or track or roller blade.

I neglected. I got asked that

[00:40:15] Cara: what that is that

[00:40:17] Phil: I show that show that rollerblading around the world, like in your twenties, I saw that on your bio. And I was like, all right. So before we get into this other question, that's that I think was probably once something was burning on people's minds. What tell us about.

[00:40:30] Cara: Well, I'll, I'll be quick about it. But since I was a figure skater, I was living in New York city and skating, and I had a friend that owned a skate shop and he started carrying these things, things called roller blades. It was in the late eighties. And so he asked me to teach in central park. Bought a pair of skates.

He'd send them to the park and I teach them how to skate because roller blades and figure skating are very similar. And then, so I ended up auditioning for team rollerblade, which is the performance team for the [00:41:00] company. And they were at the time. With sending us around the world educating people on what inline skating was rollerblading.

And so we did hip hop shows on rollerblades, you know, under the Eiffel tower and all over Japan and all of our many other places.

[00:41:17] Phil: All right. So if you have a video of that, you need to share it and we can put that on the show notes. I've just said, if there's something on YouTube or Vimeo or something, I'm gonna find this.

I gotta find that that'd be fantastic. All right. If not, we're all going to be bummed and disappointed, but that's okay. That's okay. All right. That's so cool. Doing rollerblade show at the base of the Eiffel tower. I mean that that's, that's just that doesn't get much better than that. All right. So back to this question, what lessons learned directly from sports have you used in your marriage and your parenting.

[00:41:46] Cara: I think it's consistency as an athlete. I just learned the importance of consistent action, even if it's small actions, but it has served me well in my marriage. I've been married [00:42:00] 31 years and my daughters as well learned that in their own sport. I think it's one of the most important reasons why we should get kids involved in youth.

Sports is just to understand that slow build is really the name of the.

[00:42:16] Phil: Oh, that's great. That's so good. All right. Last question. What have you read, watched or listened to that has informed your thinking on how soccer and other sports explain life and leadership?

[00:42:28] Cara: Well, as we talked about before the podcast, I asked about Ted Lasso, because I mean, I'm such a fan from a leadership perspective, but I'm going to give you another one.

And that was book I read a few years ago by Diana Nyad the swimmer, and it's called. Oh, my gosh, I forgot. It's something about why find your, why? No, no, it wasn't find your way. Find a Way. That's it find a way, find a way. And she swam from Cuba to Miami. She was the first human to ever do[00:43:00] that. Took her many, many attempts and her mantra was find a way.

And it's definitely something that I have lived with that. And after reading that book, it just you know, it, it ingrained it in my, in my brain. Find a way if you want it, find a way you may have to be flexible. You may have to change course, but find a way to.

[00:43:20] Phil: Oh, that's, that's a great way to finish this interview.

Thank you Cara, for being a part of the conversation. Thank you for all that you're doing. Just super, super encouraged by everything we were able to talk about today. Thank

[00:43:32] Cara: you so much, Phil. It's been my pleasure. Yeah,

[00:43:35] Phil: absolutely. Our eye folks. So once again, thank you for being a part of the conversation as well.

If you want to go deeper with a Coaching the Bigger Game which we've talked about on this show, and we'll, we've talked about on the off season talks as well. You can do that at You can also get involved and find out more about what Paul and Marci Jobson are doing with the Warrior Way

program at [00:44:00] And you know, if you want to have any questions, if you have any guests that you think would be good on this show, please reach out to me, And if you have any questions that you have for me, or I can, I'd love to be able to have a conversation with you there as well.

As always folks, we hope that you're taking everything that you're learning from this show, and you're using it to be a better parent, to be a better spouse, to be a better leader in whatever capacity you are leading. And to continue to remind you that soccer does explain life and leadership. Thanks a lot.

Have a great week.