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080: A Gratitude Mindset with Brett Robbo

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How can a gratitude mindset transform your day to day life? Our guest knows and he’s going to tell us on today’s episode of Awesome Health Podcast!
Brett Robbo is a performance coach, holistic wellbeing specialist, podcaster, and father. He is also
a former sprinter at the Australian Institute of Sport, and then went on to work with Olympic and Paralympic champions and other high performance sporting teams as a performance therapist, sprints coach and strength & conditioning coach. It’s clear he’s worked with some of the most elite athletes around, and he’s learned a lot about a gratitude mindset in the process.

On today’s show, we talk about what started his journey. Brett says he has always been an optimistic type of guy, a lover of life. His grandparents had a big influence on him and helped shape him into the man he is today. They were young grandparents and were active with him. His grandfather steered him towards the athletic/performance path, hoping to keep Brett away from the drinking and working in the mines culture that was so prevalent in their hometown.
They had a very special bond and meant the world to Brett, and a lot of other people as well.

Tragically they were killed by their own son in 2015, and the loss rocked Brett’s world. He had never lost someone close to him before and it changed him. He was in Phoenix at an internship and one day he spoke to a psychologist from the Institute of Sport and she told him he was going to become more of a whole person after this loss. It was a pivotal moment for him: he realized he would spend every day of the rest of his life trying to be a better version of himself so that other people around him could also be better versions of themselves. This life-changing moment also showed him the power of shifting your mindset, and he began to change his.

That experience helped him grow in many ways, and he shares some of that growth with us on this episode. Specifically, he shares some tips to help if you’re going through a challenging time. He says everyone responds to adversity differently, but support is key, whether it is online or in person.

Another tip he offers is being aware of what we are feeling and our own experience: notice what you are thinking, feeling, and doing. From there we can learn to accept what has happened rather than resist because what we resist persists. Accepting what has happened means feeling all the feelings we have about it, not denying those feelings or pushing them away but really allowing our bodies to feel and have the full somatic experience of our emotions. Doing so actually creates an opening within us to move forward.

Brett explains what that looks like along with how influential our gut health can be to our physical performance and also our mental attitude. Be sure to join us and hear it all on this edition of Awesome Health Podcast!

Episode Resources:

Read The Episode Transcript:

Wade Lightheart: Good morning, good afternoon and good evening. It's Wade T Lightheart from BiOptimizers with another edition of the Awesome Health podcast. And today we are going to talk about mindset, and joining us today from the other side of the planet, the land of down under, we have none other than Brett Robinson. And I want to talk a little bit about Brett's background. We're going to get into it. He's a performance coach. He's a holistic wellbeing specialist, a podcaster, a father, and an optimistic lover of life. He's an addict, but not the one that you think of shooting up on the street. He's addicted to gratitude and he has a lifetime experience in high performance sport. He's a former sprinter at the Australian Institute of Sport and the beautiful thing he's been able to travel the world, living his dream as a high performance sporting teams' performance therapist, sprint's coach, strength and conditioning coach and treating and coaching world record holders and Olympic, Paralympic champions.

Wade Lightheart: Now he's very similar to myself, started in a nice elated town, little county down in Australia called Khobar, a small population. It was a great way to build some deep core values with his friends and his family and things like that, but the bottom line is he's got an great attitude. We were talking before this, he's living the dream, but more importantly, we're going to talk a lot about perspective and mindset. I think so much is focused on athletic performance, get this level and do this thing, and achieve these goals, and all that sort of stuff. And we can oftentimes lose ourselves and all that sort of stuff, but Brett's figured it all out. Listen to his podcast, it's great, Brett, welcome to the show.

Brett Robbo: Wade, thank you so much. I'm super grateful to be here and like they said, at the start, I am addicted to gratitude, because it makes me feel good. And hearing your voice and your optimism, and your energy also makes me feel good. So thanks for having me and thanks to all the listeners.
Wade Lightheart: Yeah. Great to have you on the show. I guess before we get started into mindset and how important that is, and I love, have a favorite quote of mine, which is from Gandhi in the background here is 'Be the change you want to see in the world'. Of course, for those of you listening on the video or watching on the video, you see that, those listening, you're not going to see that. So I just want to share that. Tell us the backstory of how you became so focused on mindset and gratitude. And I think there's some really devastating things that's transpired in your life. I would say that that's initiated that. And one of the things I've noticed, more often than not, is oftentimes people who have had some really tragic things happen to them, end up having the best attitudes in life. Can you talk a little bit about your backstory? How you got to where you are, how'd you become a performance coach and then how did you get this whole mindset component down?

Brett Robbo: As he said in the intro, I grew up in a small country town and then went to the Australian Institute of Sport as a sprinter. And in Australia, rugby league is one of the football codes that's really strong. I had the opportunity to either choose sprinting or rugby league. So sport was just in my blood, in my DNA, in my every day, love and desire and I often warn people when I'm presenting these days when I start to draw, because I'm a terrible drawer. I'm a terrible artist. I can't fix things. I used to beat myself up and think I was dumb and hopeless, and everything like that, because I wasn't creative at all. It wasn't until later in life realizing that my creative outlet was actually my mind and my sport. So, being heavily involved in sport and then getting into Paralympic sport as a performance therapist and traveling the world with different Paralympic teams, wheelchair rugby, the winter, snow ski program, track and field, and did that for seven years, I'm working with Australian football teams and then went into full time coaching.

Brett Robbo: So I was a sprinting jumps and strength, and conditioning coach. Predominantly once again with the Paralympic track and field team and also across other sports. So for the last few years, I've been out on my own as a performance coach and working, not just with elite athletes now, but working across the domains of mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing, working with all humans and a lot with kind of business people and entrepreneurspeople with highly stressful jobs, who need to understand the foundational elements of what it means to thrive as a human. I mean, we all do and that's why I love working with everyone, but also honing in on the performance aspect and realigning that. I guess my attitude around mindset and my optimism, and my addiction to gratitude, I've said I've always been an optimistic lover of life.

Brett Robbo: I've just loved being around people, loved attacking life, loved trying to get the best out of me. And then as I got into performance therapy and coaching, I love to try and get the best out of other people and just having an understanding of the importance of linking it all together. Growing up in that small country town has played a big part of it, because, you know, five and a half thousand people, the nearest town was a couple of hundred kilometers away, so we're forced to know everyone, and there's a lot of independence, there's a lot of close mates ships, there's a lot of time with family and it's amazing. Like it really does create that bond within. And my grandparents were just super close to me. They were young grandparents, super active, and you know, I used to train with them.

Brett Robbo: I used to travel with them. My grandfather became my sprinting coach through high school too. He didn't know anything about sprinting, but he could see that if he didn't take me on board, I would probably fall in the rut of be drinking and working in the mines, which was the culture within the small town. And he took me on board and I created him, he got me into the Australian Institute of Sport and kept me in alignment with my goals and visions around that. And my grandparents, they taught me a lot about business and entrepreneurship. They had a lot of businesses. They taught me a lot about love and respect. They were always cuddling and kissing, and smiling, and whispering sweet nothings into each other's ears and through their actions and behaviors, they taught me what love is. I'm super grateful for all of that. My grandfather, wasn't just my coach, he was my idol and my best friend.

Brett Robbo: I think when you grow up with people like that in your life, they become a part of you and a lot of my thought processes around decisions I would make would be based around their influence in my life. My parents are very loving and caring as well, but my grandparents had this special connection and special bond, and a special drive in my life. And unfortunately in 2015 those two of the most influential and inspirational humans in my life, my grandparents, they were murdered in their own home, back in Khobar and it was by their own son. So my uncle. So as you can imagine that just, you know, I'd never faced real adversity before. I'd never had any challenges. I'd never lost anyone close to me and I just spiraled mentally and emotionally. At this stage, I was a full time coach at the Australian Institute of Sport and based in Sydney at that time.

Brett Robbo: I was actually in America at the time doing an internship in Phoenix. And yeah, it just rocked me to some deep, dark emotional places that I didn't even know could exist and all of a sudden that optimistic addiction to gratitude type life, it was kind of just swept out from underneath me. It really hit the whole community, because they were such big community members. There was almost 3000 people at their funeral in a small country town of five and a half thousand. And it rocked our whole family for a long time and it took me a long time to get through it. I was working, it was about a month later, I was working with a psychologist from the Institute of Sport and she said to me, you know, I was explaining everything, never lost anyone close to me before.

Brett Robbo: And she said: Robbo. So people in Australia have nicknames. People call me Robbo for Robinson for short. She said: Robbo, it sounds like part of your life has ended. And I said: Oh, I hadn't thought about it like that, but yeah, I guess you're right. Then talking about it a bit more and then she said to me: you know, you're going to be more of a whole person after going through this, because I'd explained I never lost anyone before. She said: you're going to become more of a whole person after going through this. I remember, just head down, tears in my eyes and I process what she said and then I slowly looked up, and I looked at her, and I had this massive smile on my face. And I said: Kate, that is the best thing that anyone could have ever said to me, because every day all I think about doing is trying to be a little bit better version of myself so I can help the people around me be a better version of themselves.

Brett Robbo: So if I have to look at this situation, this most the shittest situation in my life, this devastating situation in that way, then that's exactly what I'm going to do. And that was a turning point for me, where it started to help me understand the power of shifting my mindset and I'd realized that I'd been the victim and stuck in the poor me and I was very angry and frustrated, and resentful, as you can imagine with it, you know, it was quite a messy situation. From that point, I decided to think about it differently and thinking well, okay, so this is making me a stronger person. This is making me a whole person. And you know, this hasn't happened to me. It's happened for me. And then understanding those mindset shifts. It wasn't magic overnight, but it just started to change my way.

Brett Robbo: Cause' I was turning up to coaching with my athletes and I was there, but I wasn't there. I was there physically, but I wasn't there mentally and emotionally. And all of a sudden I started to learn these tools through this psychologist and I rang her up one day, a couple of months after we'd been working together. And I said: Kate, I've just realized I'm a coach and we use strategies and processes, and techniques with people, and I just realized, you're obviously using something with me, what's it called, because it's working and I love it? And she laughed and she said: it's called acceptance and commitment therapy. And I said: all right, who wrote the books? Where do I start? How do I research more about this? And she laughed and she said: okay, I think you're ready for the first step, just start with this book called 'The Happiness Trap' from dr. Russ Harris.

Brett Robbo: So I started with that book and that was the trajectory then around learning more about human behavior from it, from that deeper level of understanding the mental and emotional linkages, and not just the physical and mental approaches. And that really took me on the trajectory and I started learning. So I did the courses with dr. Russ Harris, did acceptance and commitment therapy, did other neurolinguistic programming, other mindset coaching, and just really broadened everything from my own learning and growth through that adversity. But then also seeing how I can use that substantially and with depth with my athletes and in the people around me and all of a sudden I was able to be that shift from that victim mentality, that victim mindset and that poor man, that frustration and anger to overt back to that optimism and that gratitude. So shifting from resentful of what had happened to grateful for the time that I'd had with them and just understanding the energetic shift from within, and then how that was perspiring with my goals and visions in my life and how that was working with the athletes that I was working with and Paralympic and Olympic champions.

Brett Robbo: I used to be addicted to human performance, because that's what sport is all about. I was an athlete. I was a performance therapist. I was a performance coach. And it was all about performance, addicted to performance. And now I say I'm actually addicted to human behavior, because I understand that that leads to human performance.

Wade Lightheart: Great. It's a great story. Of course, obviously tragic, but yet finding the golden nuggets within tragedy. And I know on my own self, when my sister died at an early age and I went through that at 18, she was four years, my senior. And, you know, traditionally people like: Oh, that's horrible. She had this cancer, was a traumatic, horrific thing and similarly there's an anger and a frustration that comes up and I'm sharing this with our listeners, because oftentimes they see people who are well world renowned athletes or who's who in the business level or they're in a position of authority, or excellence, or whatever, or they have a great attitude and they think: Oh, well, bad things don't happen to them or their life is perfect, or all that. That's not the case.

Wade Lightheart: I think the Buddha said it 2,500 years ago that you know, suffering is inevitable. It's part of the human condition. We all suffer from old age. We all suffer from disease. And eventually we suffer from death. So many people see that as a tragedy, as opposed to radically accepting that and recognizing that every time that I see somebody, my friends, my loved ones, whoever, that I'm one step closer to the last time. And that's when I know things I learned. And what it allowed me to do is to bring back to the presence of the quality of what's happening when I'm seeing somebody. Going through the traumatic phase and I think there's a disease that is spreading around the world and it's victimized. It's a competing narrative for who can be the biggest victim, who can have the historical aspect or con like, it's just gotten insane. If you look back the history of every human on the planet, we can see horrific components that all of our ancestors were suffering. You know, rape, war, violence, theft, murder, disease, dysfunction, oppression. I mean it's the history that we've all inherited as humans.

Wade Lightheart: There's another side to that. Somehow we made it. Somehow we're here as the result of somebody pushing through that from 10,000 generations and beyond. How was it that, obviously having that influence, how has that mindset component for you influenced your life, your coaching, in what you do, and what have you seen from going through that dark, dark place, and then coming out the other side, quote, unquote, a more whole person?

Brett Robbo: Yeah, and I would say that I'm at the other side as more of a whole person, but I also often think about, well, at the moment, that's the worst thing that's happening in my life. It doesn't mean now that tragedies won't come along. It doesn't mean other challenges won't come along. So when I start to feel myself, that I'm like, life is amazing, abundant, grateful like it is right now. I don't go and sabotage myself, because of that knowledge. I just remember, that's why I keep up with all the tools that I've learned. That's why I keep up with all the mindfulness, the breathing, the gut health and gut brain connection, like you guys are the experts in. Making sure that I'm living optimally so when the next challenge or adversity comes along, I'm ready. I'll go through the stages of what's necessary, but I won't let it bury me.

Brett Robbo: I won't sabotage myself by thinking that by going back into victim mindset, like you said, like a lot of us can do. But in answer to your question, the another big part of it is, before this happened, working my whole career with Paralympic athletes and when I was a sprinter at the AIS, I was training alongside Paralympic athletes. So these are guys that, you know, have experienced major adversity personally. And what I learned about spending a lot of time with these kinds of athletes is, there is a lot of people in the world with disabilities. There is a lot of talented people, who become disabled through injury or illness. So working with some people with meningococcal, who would lose their limbs, or some people would be car accidents and become quadriplegia or farming accidents and amputees, whatever it might be.

Brett Robbo: What I learned is the difference between the ones who became Paralympic athletes and even Paralympic champions compared to people with a disability. The ones who focused on what they did have, not focusing on what they don't have anymore, not focusing on what they can't do anymore. They focused on. So they accepted this adversity in their life. They accepted that life is different now and then they focused on: okay, what have I got now? And what can I move forward with? Is that no legs? Okay, what can I do with prosthetics? Is that I'm a quadriplegic? I worked a lot with quadriplegics. Okay. So this is where I'm at. It's fricking tough. It sucks. Yes, I'm missing out on things, but the more they focused on this is what I can do. I can push the chair around, or I can get this help…

Brett Robbo: They are the ones who stayed mentally and emotionally in control enough to be able to do the daily tasks, taking off, going through just having the habits and rituals that were empowering and serving them that enabled them to build the building blocks towards their success, as opposed to. When we focus, so looking at the athletes with a disability who focused on all the things that they couldn't do anymore, and they slipped into that victim mentality, the poor me, the blame, the guilt. And I realized that that was a determining factor, that it was a lot, yes, obviously skill and talent was a part of it, but a massive part of it was the mind of what they were focusing on on a regular basis. So I stepped away from that and looked at my personal life and the people around me and that's what I've taken into performance coaching.

Brett Robbo: Now, with everybody that I work with, you have to acknowledge the challenges, the adversity, but if we're not accepting it and then focusing on what we can control now, moving forward, then what we're wasting our energy on is actually holding us back. And what we're wasting our energy on is allowing us to sort of slip and shift into that victim mentality. And what I call the disempowering side of… I have this quadrant that I worked through with people and with that understanding that it becomes a part of the game of life is becoming very aware of that. So when, because we will get triggered into the frustration, the resentment, the victim mindsets, that's part of the human experience, whether it's the COVID, whether it's the weather, whether it's people around you, lots of different things in our external environment will trigger us into that. And the longer we stay there, the less able we are to move in the trajectory that will help and serve us. So we start to get stuck in thosestates.

Wade Lightheart: Really really well said. Could you break down maybe what you've noticed, particularly? There's probably people listening to this that are going through some tragic or challenging situation, or almost hopeless, or one that makes you kind of question your soul, go through the dark night of the solar, whatever. Is there some tips that you've learned from working with these individuals or from your own experience that you think could offer some insight of how to address someone that might be going through a challenge right now?

Brett Robbo: The first tip is that I acknowledge that everyone experiences adversity very differently. So there's no linear. There's the steps that people can go through, but I believe there's no linear approach. Some key elements to it are support. So if you don't have family support around you, understanding that there is ways to get that support online and through the telephone and that's a really big part of it. We never on our own. We might think that we have to do things on our own, but we're never on our own. So support is a massive part of it. It depends on what phase they're in too. If it's the initial phase, there's such an emotional roller coaster that you don't know how it's going to present themselves, but as we move through time, like I said, the biggest thing for me to begin with, and what I see with people is that mindset shift. The mindset shift comes with acceptance.

Brett Robbo: So the first piece of the puzzle… I've worked with some of the world's best sports psychologists, some of Australia's best positive psychologists and human behavior experts, and they all talk about the fact that without acceptance, we can't truly move forward, because if we're not accepting, we're kind of resisting or denying. And the opposite to resistance is… Resist will persist. If we're not accepting the fact that things are different, what's happened, then we can't go to the next piece. So we'd talk about working through the acceptance and that true acceptance, not just saying it of: Oh yeah, I accept that it's happened, whatever. And then you're still stuck in that denial or that blame, or that guilt. That's not enough. You have to truly feel that acceptance.

Wade Lightheart: What does that mean, just to dive into that, cause' I think a lot of people can skim over that, but this is a very critical component? And at what point, like, what is the earn marks that you've truly embraced acceptance kind of like on a cellular or soul level, as opposed to: Hey yeah, I accept it kind of thing, you know what I mean?

Brett Robbo: This is where somatic intelligence comes into it, which means the intelligence to feel what you're feeling. So when you accept something, you create that openness, you feel it within yourself that you're not tense. You're not resisting. You're not trying to defend even internally or externally through your words. So that acceptance piece is almost like, there's the saying that we've taken the weight off the shoulders. You just feel that little bit lighter. It doesn't make anything different about you physically if you've had physical trauma. It doesn't change the rules and the laws around COVID. It doesn't bring people back that have passed away. What it does, is it opens some neural pathways. It creates. You start to, almost happen to that liminal space between your conscious and subconscious mind again, where we can start to really do the deep work. So the acceptance is just that feeling of: okay, this is different.

Brett Robbo: I'm ready. Ready for what? I'm just ready to be open. Okay, I'm ready now. And that'll feel different for everyone. Some people listening to that will realize, Oh, okay, I get it. And some people might still not get it. And the work is to keep questioning yourself. Well, how I accept it? Am I ready to move on? Or am I still choosing? What am I thinking about the most? This was a big one for me, where I realized the acceptance phase came, when I stopped thinking about the tragedy, I stopped thinking about the hatred and the anger and I started to think about my gratitude for the time that I had with them. I started to think about how I can utilize this point in time as a stepping stone to help me and help people around me. So just thinking a little bit differently about the situation about myself and those steps forward made me realize: okay, now I've truly accepted. When we start to shift those processes.

Wade Lightheart: Okay. And then the next step after kind of an acceptance?

Brett Robbo: The acceptance moves into the awareness. So I look around the AAA battery method, which is what I call it. So AAA. No, sorry. My bad. The awareness is actually before that, because we've got to be aware of. Sorry. We're aware of that. So that's the noticing of the fact that we have victims, the noticing of our mindset and our thought processes and our actions that are hindering us as opposed to helping us. So it's the awareness of all that. And then the acceptance opens things up.

Wade Lightheart: And then that's where the support person or persons, or group, or whatever, is kind of providing that insight to kind of really where you're at, giving you feedback and then helping you kind of move into that next position of true acceptance versus resistance of victimology?

Brett Robbo: Exactl, right. Absolutely. And then it's from there that we then start to. It's the awareness and acceptance. It's almost, it goes hand hand obviously, but if we're not aware of how our emotions are disempowering us, how our mindsets are holding us back and putting us in, as you said, the victimology, then without that awareness of how it's hindering our life and the people around us, then we're not going to be able to make the change. Without awareness we don't know what we need to change. So the awareness, the acceptance, and then the third piece is the action. And this is where the action is different for everybody. So the action could be that… Is it the breath work? We do a lot of breathwork with people, cause' we can change and we can tap into our emotional wellbeing and shift energy through certain types of breathwork. Is the action then that we are taking other steps forward, like learning more about it?

Brett Robbo: Is the action then shifting the mindset? Is the action then to engage in community groups? Whatever that action might be, that the support people around you are helping you with is that action then to get back into it. You know, a lot of people through tragedy and adversity will stop doing the things that actually made them feel good before. So like exercise, like serving themselves through their nutrition, through their mindset, like being around people that lift them up, they start to want to shelter more. So the action steps can be about just reminding themselves what lights them up again and starting to go through those processes.

Wade Lightheart: Yeah. That's good. I think a lot of that's so true. It's so easy to kind of disassociate, cause' the pain sometimes is so deep and it's almost like it takes up. We have a term, it takes up so much mental ram, that you just seek out sort of escapes. Whether that's eating or drinking, or drugging, or some sort of behavior that kind of disassociates from the current pain. And then getting away from the things that are the foundation of kind of healthy optimized living. It's almost like it's a trigger event that on one set is counter productive for health, but on another set, going to that wholeness allows you to kind of plumb the depths of the dark side of one's psychology. And I think it was Carl Jung, who said that you don't really know yourself until you've actually fully explored the darkness within yourself. And I think in today's kind of mamby pamby, a world of… What is it called..? It's kind of like pseudo spirituality. It's like, I'm gonna do this meditation and I'm going to be rich, and famous, and powerful, and live my perfect life, and everything's kind of Facebook polished and curated, and everything's amazing. There's a deep, deep avoidance of going into there and understanding what we all have to face inside our psychology. So it seems like this is part of the process. Would you say that's accurate?

Brett Robbo: Absolutely. I'll refer back to that book, that was a turning point for me too, 'The Happiness Trap'. When my psychologist put me on to that, I thought: awesome, this is going to be so inspirational, I'm going to love it. I was reading it, and it's one of those books that takes you on a journey where you have to do. It was all about going back and experiencing to work through the emotions. So it took me and I still can vividly remember being on, dark nights, just like the situation that just happened again, because it's just going through and clearing the emotions and going through this kind of work. And that's what you're saying, like going into that darkness, as opposed to trying to avoid it, when we feel a little bit of the pint or we don't want to go over there. And what is that?

Brett Robbo: Actually, when this all happened… My grandparents were killed, they were shot by their son, so murdered and shot and I immediately stopped watching TV or listening to the radio, because the last thing I wanted to hear were the words, murder and shotgun, because I didn't want to even think about where that might take me. And it was ages later that I said it to my psychologist and she pulled me up on that and said: when do you ever think that it's going to get easier? What are you waiting for? Where you think that's going to take you when you hear those words? And I said: I actually don't know. I don't want to know. And she said: how long do you want to leave your life avoiding things that might have words in, and what might trigger you based on you don't even know what it's going to do to you?

Brett Robbo: And so working through that, and I thought: you're right, I don't want to live in fear. I'm not going to let this, because that might turn into another thing that I want to avoid, because I'm afraid of that pain. So it was then all of a sudden, stepping into that pain and turning the radio back on again and watching the news, which I hated anyway. I haven't owned a TV for the last four years, and haven't watched the news for that long anyway, but just exposing myself to it again. And sorry, that's not why I don't watch the news, it's for other reasons, I just don't think it's very helpful at all. I expose myself to the things that lift me up. But that was then stepping into that pain and stepping into that, letting it take me down and understanding.

Brett Robbo: Okay, when I do feel that, because it did trigger me, it triggered a bit of anger and a lot of sadness again, instead of avoiding that, okay. Just feel it and process it. And the more I did that, the less apparent it was. And then also now openly, obviously. I can talk about it, whereas before it was very much, or maybe I shouldn't talk about it, because I don't know how it will make me feel. I see that transpire across every human that I work with in some capacity. If there's an avoidance, that's like the opposite to the acceptance. If they haven't gone there and experienced what it's going to be like, of course they don't want to expose themselves to it in other areas. You know, a lot of the mindset work that I do with people is actually about getting out of the head.

Brett Robbo: So people think about, I talk about shifting positive or not positive language, but helpful and empowering thought processes and mindset shifts. But a lot of the time it's the meditation, it's the mindfulness, it's the breath work to really get out of our head, because our mind, you know, 40 to 70,000 thoughts everyday, it gets bloody busy up there. And the busier it gets the harder it is to focus on what's important. The mind becomes a distraction. I talk about these days a lot of the work that we do is to help people just push those distractions away, because the world is full of them and also understand the ones that are internally that are distracting also, and really just compartmentalizing and filtering through that and so the less noise we have going on in our head and the work that we do with the calm mind. We say: calm mind, resilient life. People want resilience, but linking, we make irrational, illogical, reactive decisions from a busy mind. We make rational, logical, great decisions, and we respond to situations from a calm mind. So calm mind, resilient life.

Wade Lightheart: Very, very well articulated and understanding. So let's flip the switch a little bit on that, and let's talk about what you've experienced on the other side of that and how that's become transformative and how that works into your coaching work and what you've been able to accomplish and share with other people in the world of performance and life optimization and all these kinds of things that you do? What's the golden nuggets that have been mined out of this experience?

Brett Robbo: Well, where to begin… There's so many. I think the greatest one is, it is perspective, obviously. So understanding, I love the saying by Wayne Dyer 'Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.' So now, personally, in business I was employed full time working in high performance sport and then saw a greater opportunity and also did some work to align and understand my deeper purposes and mission in life. And so the job that I was doing, and I was extremely passionate about coaching Paralympic champions, working with Olympians, I realized that it was actually the ceiling that was keeping me. You know, working full time in high performance sport was actually preventing me from moving more in alignment with my true visions and values, and missions, and purpose. So taking that shift in the middle of 2017 at a time where my athletes had won Paralympic gold medals and broken world records. I got Paralympic coach of the year.

Brett Robbo: I was working with some amazing Olympic athletes at the time and took that shift. And now in this world where, you would understand when you work in your own company, in your own business, and you're growing in that way, there's a lot of challenges. There's a lot of opportunities. But there's a lot of challenges and that good old monkey mind can really just jump on top of you and make you feel small. I always talk about the comparison mindset. I love that saying that comparison is the killer of all joy, because as soon as I started comparing myself to other performance coaches, I started to feel disheartened and I started to judge myself internally without even realizing it, or just feeling a little bit depleted and then realized: okay, so I'm looking at these other performance coaches instead of being inspired my mind is telling me that I'm not as good as they are, because I'm not working with the people that they are.

Brett Robbo: So I just catch that. So that's the awareness, I accept, okay, I'm human, I let my mind go there. And the action is shift that straightaway into I'm inspired. I'll learn what they're learning. I'll do the extra work. I'm inspired to know that that opportunity exists. So changing the way that I look at things, the things I look at change, it becomes an opportunity as opposed to a challenge. So perspective is huge in that way. What I would also say is understanding that openness and moving towards things… They've got me down the trail of, Wade you guys are experts in around gut health and gut brain connection. I realized that I was making choices around. I wanted to try keto.

Brett Robbo: I can't say it was keto, but high fat, low carb, for example. And I loved the idea of it. I was kind of lying to myself that it was working really well for me when it didn't, because I was having messy energy dips, I was getting these random aches in my joints and couldn't put two and two together, but because I was just telling myself, this is awesome, mental clarity, everything I was choosing to listen to and read was all about the benefits of it, but it obviously wasn't serving me. So it took me down the path to start working with a functional medicine practitioner, doing the deeper tests, understanding my gut microbiome the gene testing understanding. I actually don't process fats very well so it wasn't serving me at all. Just that openness to dive into those pain points again, that reminder when I would come to working with people and helping them step into the darkness, and then I'll reflect and ask myself the questions a lot, these days of: where am I lying to myself right now?

Brett Robbo: Or where am I not being truthful to myself? And just finding those little elements and then: Oh, okay, so that's actually not fully serving me. What is it that I'm avoiding? And then stepping into that. Honestly, that's a huge one, because that's a really hard thing to do with those small elements in life and when we look at habit change and the daily rituals that we have and understanding that they contribute to our quote unquote success, or they contribute to us feeling stuck or holding us back in any way. Working with people to help them optimize their lives it's looking at all of those key elements and just understanding the different approaches. One key thing, like I said, was I used to be all about positive psychology, positive terminology, positive mindset, positive thoughts and I thought that's why I was an optimistic lover of life, but then realizing that that's actually, I could be really frustrated and really angry, really resentful and putting a positive thought in my mind is not going to help.

Brett Robbo: That's the times when learning to get out of my head and learning the deep work, and the meditation, and the breath work. So in answer to that question as well, one of the gold elements that it's led me to is around breath, work. Understanding the mind body connection and how we do that through the breath and studied a lot of things, you know, Heartmath Institute, one of my greatest mentors here doing a lot of breath hold work as well and just exploring all of those elements, doing some shamanic breath work and the cycle breathing and going into the somatic intelligence and understanding more around that. So when I work with whether it's athletes, performers, executives, or stay at home parents, you know, the breath is the link, the major piece to the puzzle that helps with everything.

Brett Robbo: I worked in high performance sport my whole career, so I look back at that and think: wow, I should have known everything about breathing, but we didn't really learn much about breathing at all, not even around its efficiency to the maximum point. And I look at the world expanding now around breath work and I think the people from above must be looking down and just having a laugh and think: I can't believe that it took this long for so many humans to understand the power and the importance of breathing and how that links everything together and helping them through their challenges. So I feel like everything that I'm doing now is kind of, like you said, where does that go to now? It's changed my perspective and my skill of awareness and acceptance to move through life in that way, to become more open and aware.

Brett Robbo: I really love learning from other people now, or not now, I always have, but you never stop learning, right? Knowledge isn't power. Applied knowledge is power. So when I feel like I'm coaching a lot of the same sort of things to people, I understand that's, because it's what they need, but then I think: what's next? What else are we missing? What else can we help in there? To be honest, when I was exposed to you guys understanding the power of the digestion aspects, like I said, my experience around the high fat, and they're not serving me, so I thought, okay, so carbs is my fuel. I bet now understanding a little bit more around the fact that we can actually support that through great supplements and a good supplement protocols. So now I'm kind of really keen to explore that a lot more to understand, right? What's around this space that I've been missing out on?

Wade Lightheart: So well articulated and orchestrated. Let's talk about there's so much of things that was very impactful and very practical in your application. So, I guess the next thing we're going into mindset is how do you continue to keep the balance between routine and integration of new things as part of your mindset? Like is there a rule or ratio, is there a practice, like what's a day in the life like, or how is it that you're led to a new discovery?

Brett Robbo: Through experience I realized that I can very easily overwhelm myself in this technology age, listening to so many podcasts and audio books, and doing programs, and courses, and just wanting to learn, learn, learn, learn, learn. Realizing that I wasn't actually giving myself the time to apply what I had learned, so therefore, a lot of it was actually pointless from my perspective, because I was learning about it, but wasn't implementing and understanding how it can actually make change. So where I'm at now is that if I hear a recommendation, I won't just jump on it and go through it. I want to explore and just learn. And I asked myself the questions, how can I practice that? How can I implement that? What area of, what I'm doing right now, can that help bridge? There'll be things where I look at it and say: I see the potential, but I'm not ready for it yet.

Brett Robbo: So I need to create the space as opposed to saying: yes, learn about everything. It's saying no to some things and having one audio book on the go instead of 15 and just really accepting that. For example, now, it's the breathing. I've been doing it for years, but got to a point where really understanding how to implement it to a lot of different areas and running it through my workshops with everyone, but now wanting to really dive deep and make sure that I am understanding the science at that deeper level and also the expansiveness of it beyond what I thought I did. So now it's the one course, the one book, the one mentor at a time around that space to open me up. And like I said before, now being exposed to what you guys do, it's like, okay, that's an area that I'm willing to explore, because I'm not overloaded and overwhelmed with everything else that's going on.

Brett Robbo: It created that time and that space and that awareness, that that's something that can add to that, because I look at a lot of the things that I've used and when like the acceptance and commitment therapy, when I was going down that rabbit hole, that's all I was focused on away from my sports coaching. And that was brilliant. It got me to a great level, but then I sort of got to that point where then it was programming at the same time as deep state repatterning at the same time as this at the same time as that. And then that's when it gets overwhelming.

Wade Lightheart: All right. So I know that you run courses, you run training, you've run events and these types of things. So can you talk a little bit about who they're for? How do they get ahold of you? How do they find out about these things that you're doing, where you're taking people through some of these processes?

Brett Robbo: Absolutely. So I guess the easiest places, my website And so B R E T T R O B B As I mentioned earlier in Australia, we get nicknames very easily. My last name is Robinson, so that's where Robbo's come from. On the website you can find all the information on there at different times, running different online programs and you know, for different levels. So there's the thrive program that is laying the foundations, it's looking and exploring, and everything. But more than that, I would say to people, you know, I've got my podcast and the reason why I love referring people to that, and I'm sure it's the same passion behind you, is that on there, I'm picking the brains of other experts, including yourself. Picking the brains of people from health, wellbeing, spiritual, all these different elements so I can understand better, but then that's a great way for other people to learn about which rabbit hole they want to dive down.

Brett Robbo: So the podcast is called Sorry, Your Life Of Impact. And the .com used to be the website for it. And like I said it's a great free resource and we'd love to just hear from people. I want to say to the BiOptimizers community, for everyone that's listening. I will offer a discount to anyone for any programs that I'm running for anyone that reaches out to me when they're on and says that they heard me on this podcast, because I want to encourage people to reach out. I love hearing from people. I love feedback. I love connecting with community and really hearing from people in that way. So if you're listening to this and you see when a program comes up at any stage at all, hold my word that I'll add a credit discount for you guys as BiOptimizers community.

Wade Lightheart: Thanks so much. Any social media handles that you like to use or anything like that?

Brett Robbo: Instagram is @brettrobbo1 and Facebook is Brett Robbo.

Wade Lightheart: Beautiful, sir. Brett this is one of the most interesting pieces, I think, that we've done on the podcast recently. By the way, folks I've listened to his podcast. It's very uplifting. It's very positive. And I think for a lot of people in this world where there's struggling with acceptance there's a tendency to avoidance or a tendency to anger and for someone such as yourself, who has such a high level of performance and work with so many people in extraordinary adverse situations and going through an adverse experience yourself as a human, there's no one more qualified to speak on the matter and to really provide an insight. And so I'd like to commend you for your work and to think that your grandparents would be very impressed with what you've done and how you've been able to honor their legacy and carry that forward.

Wade Lightheart: Thank you so much for being on the Awesome Health Podcast with BiOptimizers. For those who have been listening with us, it's another great episode, reach out, check out Brett's podcast, check out what he's doing, because there's probably someone that you know in your life, or maybe someone in your family, or maybe you that is avoiding something or is getting triggered by something, or hasn't accepted a limitation, a tragedy, an experience in your life and you haven't taken the opportunity to turn that, to become a whole person. And Brett's your guy, check him out. Brett Robbinson, thank you for joining us on the Awesome Health Podcast. For those who are listening, thank you so much for joining and we'll see you on the next episode.

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