[S3E1] How to push through your limits in sport and business with Jamie Parker

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Are you trying to combine your passion for sport and/or the outdoors with your career? Or striving to be the best you can be, both in and outside of work?

If you’re interested in finding out how an ultra running and adventure mindset helps you succeed in work and how a CEO mindset helps you succeed in sport, you’ll love this podcast interview with Jamie Parker – the President and CEO of Jaybird, an ultra-runner, husband and father. We discuss overcoming challenges, importance of mindfulness, the adventure and athlete mindset, and one of the key elements to success.

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About Jamie Parker

Jamie Parker has always been finding ways to marry his passion for the outdoors and sport with business, as an athlete, and also by working with and supporting athletes. After 15 years of working for Nike, Jamie received the opportunity to be the President and CEO of Jaybird. Jaybird creates premium sound Bluetooth headphones for athletes, runners, & adventures, whether they’re going out for their first run or training to run 100 miles faster.

In our conversation we explore Jamie’s love for ultra running and how it’s helped him be the best CEO he can be and vice versa.

How to work through your biggest challenges

Jamie’s biggest challenge as CEO of Jaybird has been the steep learning curve going from a footwear to technology company, and creating a premium headphone that’s the size of your thumbnail (that’s the Run XT)!

When faced with a challenge, it’s important not to give up and let negative emotions, such as stress, overwhelm and anxiety overpower you. According to Jamie, the trick is to use your adventure mindset, stay calm and centred, and surround yourself with the best possible people.

At Jaybird they find and work with the best of the best, no matter what. As a result, their team is spread across 14 different time zones! Jaybird is now one of the fastest growing private companies in the world and the third top premium headphone brand in the US.


How the adventure mindset can help you overcome challenges

Jamie’s loathing for running transformed to love when he moved to Manchester, UK and discovered fell running. All of a sudden it wasn’t about PB’s or who has the fastest time, but it was all about enjoying the adventure.

Jamie unlocked the adventure mindset and discovered the fun, freedom from time and exploration of limits that came with ultra running. When Jamie raced his first ultra, Mountainman, he achieved something he never thought possible and fell further in love with the sport.

Part of the adventure mindset is the sense of hitting a challenge (or the wall when running) and thinking: 

  • How can I calmly work through this and push on?

  • How can I navigate out of this challenge and move through self-doubt?

Staying calm and pushing limits

Jamie’s go-to techniques for remaining calm and pushing boundaries used to be being organised and chunking down problems into easy, bitesize pieces; however, he now believes mindfulness and breathing practices are the most important skill sets.

It’s important to be aware of your emotions and become mindful of them, tapping into your ability to change state by using your breathe and letting yourself relax. 

Elite athletes are problem solving and pushing their physical limits all of the time, but they often don’t know to manage stress. When a pressurised or stressful situation occurs, it’s vital to know how to re-focus on your breathe and enter a calm state.

With the help of one of the world’s top sports psychologists, Dr. Andy Walshe, the Jaybird team took some of their athletes, including Rory Bosio and Knox Robinson, through a series of exercises to help them learn the power of breathe. 

The athletes mindset is becoming and more important, but having a sharpened mind isn’t just important for athletes, but for anyone, whether you’re the CEO of Jaybird, work in the city, an international mountain leader, or a scientist.

Surround yourself with the best people

One of the key elements to Jamie’s success, both in ultra running and his career, has been surrounding himself with the very best people. Without the incredible people around him, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

Jamie discovered that although ultra-running is an individual sport, it’s all about the supportive community and inspirational members helping you through the difficult times. Something he experienced for the first time during Mountainman.

Whether it’s in your athletic journey or career, it should never be a individual pursuit, but a team and community event. Connecting with amazing people and solving problems together is always more successful (and fun!) than solving problems on your own.

You tend to naturally find and attract these people, as you have similar passions and ambitions, and live within the adventure mindset. You’re willing to take risks, enjoy living in your discomfort zone, and persevere and problem solve through challenges, among other things.

By surrounding yourself with the best people not only does it help you perform at your best, but it also helps you to become better.

To surround himself with the best people, Jamie asks himself:

  • Who am I working with?

  • How can I work with the best possible people?

  • How can I work with the best possible teams?

Resources

Jaybird Website | Instagram | YouTube

Work with me on your mindset to achieve extraordinary performance

Connect with me on Instagram | LinkedIn | YouTube

What is mindset coaching? (blog)

How a bespoke 1-day mindset bootcamp can help you achieve extraordinary performance (blog)

[S1E12] How to unleash your best self with the adventure mindset with Adelaide (podcast)

[S2E11] How to develop a adventure mindset to help you overcome the impossible with Adelaide (podcast)

[S2E10] How to live adventurously and enhance your mental toughness with Dave Cornthwaite (podcast)

How an adventure mindset can help overcome the seemingly impossible (blog)

6 ways to be more present with Lululemon Athletica (blog)

Rory Bosio 

Rich Roll Website | Finding Ultra

Dr. Andy Walshe

Knox Robinson 

Run Dem Crew

Mountainman, Switzerland