Sportscaster, social media influencer, global keynote speaker, and author Monique Billings joins me to discuss finding balance, finding effective ways to get it done (in life and in sports), and her first book, Finding Balance—A Playbook for Wellness.
She shares lessons she has learned about patience, what taught her to finally trust the process and let go, and talks about the monastic process of writing her book. Monique also highlights the interesting contrast between her background as a young athlete, which taught her to train her mind, but not her body, and explains why she prioritizes being super cognizant of what she takes in mentally, physically, and spirituality. She also offers some great advice about getting back to yourself when you’re in a slump and not feeling like your best self and talks about why learning to train your mind is key to being able to figure out your identity outside of what you do.
Monique is a star basketball play and an author talking about her journey. [00:18]
As a young athlete, she was taught how to train her body but not taught how to train her mind. Monique gives much credit to her experience at UCLA. [03:15]
As a young person, 18- to 21-year-old range, it is the time to figure out who you are. There is so much attention on you as a young athlete. [07:22]
Figuring out who you are outside your sport is so important. [10:37]
What were the obstacles she had to overcome on the way to becoming a basketball prodigy? [11:00]
There is a lot of politics behind the scenes of the recruiting and scouting. [15:11]
Just put in the work and don’t get so attached to the resulting outcome. [16:28]
That good athlete finds a winning formula in many different areas of life, not just focusing on the one sport. [19:56]
What is Monique’s future dream? How does her typical day go as she coordinates her hobbies and goals into the mix? [22:52]
In off-season, many WNBA players play overseas. Monique has played in ten countries if the last five years. [25:33]
- Brad Kearns.com
- Brad’s Shopping page
- Monique’s Instagram
- Monique’s UCLA Bruins Bio
- Finding Balance
- What is NIL?
- “When you put in the work, you don’t get so attached to the result behind it.”
- “Who are you becoming in the process of the work you’re putting in? That’s the most important part.”
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I’m author and athlete, Brad Kearns. Welcome to the Be Rad podcast, where we explore ways to pursue peak performance with passion throughout life. Visit brad kearns.com for great resources on healthy eating, exercise, and lifestyle. And here we go with the show.
Monique Billings, superstar, basketball player, and all around, I’m gonna call you a modern Renaissance athlete because you do so many things, it’s truly incredible. And if you’re watching on video people, she is running with this right now, <laugh>. Um, so we’re connecting on the occasion of your wonderful book launch. But there’s so many things that we can talk about. Um, let’s talk about that, that book launch first, and then of course we’ll get back to, uh, the content. But I’d love to hear your journey from, uh, starting out as hot young basketball player and then going, taking it all the way to the big time.
Wow. It’s crazy. And a journey is exactly what it is. It’s been about two and a half years for me throughout this whole process from when I started writing to now holding the book in my hand, which is, it’s so surreal. I’m big on health and wellness. I feel like that has always just kind of been my niche. And I always wanted to, I wanted people to understand where I’m coming from or have that same feeling that I feel like I feel good when I wake up. Like I, like you said earlier, like, I’m positive and I’m happy. I want everyone to feel like that. So I was telling my manager that and was like, you need to write a book. And I was like, isn’t that what you do when you’re like 40? Like, I don’t wanna write a book <laugh>. I don’t wanna write a book.
Not right now. It’s like, not my time, not my season for that. But I do feel like we all have a purpose in life. We all have a calling. And so I will say it felt like it was a calling. Um, so I just started writing. I was playing abroad. I was in Russia. I had just finished my third W N B A season, and then I went to Russia. So it’s a Russian winter, so I’m not going outside. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I’m not doing too much. So I’m literally just in my apartment writng. And it was almost, it was just very monastic, I would say. Like, I would take time every single night. And it just felt like I naturally loved journaling, but it just felt like I was just journaling, getting all my thoughts off. And then I have an editor who was amazing. DJ Booker is his name, and he edited my book and turned it into what it is today.
So the title is called Finding Balance, a Playbook for Wellness. We’re looking on your Instagram, you’re doing your morning meditations, and you have all these other attributes. And I should say this is not necessarily connected to athletics. And I, I don’t feel like the athletic population is tapped into things like balance or wellness. So, um, I don’t know what’s, what, what’s your perception there?
I really want this book just to be for everybody because wellness is for everybody. It’s not just for athletes. It’s not for non-athletes either. I’st’s really just a holistic thing that everyone can tap into if they want to. But I’m coming from an athlete perspective. So in the book, I’m addressing how my whole life being, um, a young athlete to now a professional athlete, I’ve been taught how to train my body, but I was never really taught how to train my mind. And so I have to be very intentional every single day and make sure I’m in taking the right nutrients, just like I’m eating the right thing. So my body feels good. I have to make sure I’m listening to the right things so my spirit feels good. I have to make sure I’m reading the right things and being super cognizant of what I’m intaking, spiritually, mentally, physically, all of that.
And so what I’m picking up here is something that’s kind of a part from the athletic experience. Cuz generally, especially when you get to be a high level player, which you were as a young person, it’s all about winning. And the system, even the coaches, the teammates, the whole system is calibrated toward the end goal. And they don’t give a crap if you’re balanced or spiritual or feeling good in the morning. They just want you to pull the rebounds.
So you kind of had to branch out beyond the narrow path of the athlete, which I would say is difficult because we’re demanding so much of you as an athlete. I don’t, I don’t care if you meditate or not. I just wanna see you pulling down that rebound. So how did all this integrate in it? At what point did you realize there was a bigger world out there?
I would say in college, and we were just speaking of U C L A, shout out to UCLA
<laugh>, um, great experience at U C L A, my head coach, she actually did pour into us as a collective, our team, um, as women before athletes. So she gave us those tools and taught us how to become women, you know, and I think that’s really important. And not everyone has that opportunity. Young men as well. They don’t have those opportunities. Like I had, I was blessed to be able to be put in that position, to be given those tools. But like I said, like I, I felt good learning how to train my mind, and I’m like, I want more of this. So I’m like, what does that look like? How do I do that? That led me to figuring out who I am outside of what I do. And that’s something that I didn’t really understand in college, but that’s what this book is about. And it’s about figuring out and understanding who you are outside of what you do. Like what’s your character if you’re not pulling down those rebounds, if you’re in a slump, if you aren’t feeling like your best self, how do you get back to that? So, um, I give keys and just steps that I would say have worked for me throughout my journey. And I’m still figuring it out. I don’t have it all figured out, but, um, like I said, I just wanted to share with the world what has been put inside of me.
So you’re saying, I would, I would say that’s unique that the program actually supported this. You’re talking about Coach Cori Close?
My son was involved with the UCLA program just after you, you didn’t cross paths, but he had a great experience there too, as a scout team player. So he was part of the practice, uh, situation there. And you see coaches, uh, kind of presenting themselves as, um, holistic or, or talking in these high-minded ideals, but then it turns out a lot of times to be just talk mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and so what you’re saying is that this was, Cori was the real deal, and she was fostering an environment that was more than just winning and chewing up and spitting out players.
Exactly. And the actions spoke for that because she was bringing in mentors of hers and other people who have gone through the system at U C L A, just different resources for us to tap into. And I feel like as a young, not even adult, just a young teen, young adult, maybe being in that space, that 18 to 21 year old range, it’s like, that’s a, those are very important times to figure out who you are outside of what you do. And so her bringing in those resources, I feel like were awesome, and all we had to do was tap into it and not everyone did. You know, maybe it wasn’t their season for that. Maybe later down the line they will. But, I tried to tap in as much as I can and take advantage of those resources. And those people who came into our program would speak to us and pour into us.
I guess it would theoretically help you cope with what’s a whole bunch of pressure as that young athlete. And you’re describing yourself as, you know, in those maturing years. So you weren’t, yeah, you weren’t all 100% swagger, even though you’re a good player. <laugh>. I mean, tell us kind of how that struggle looks behind the scenes when everyone’s watching you, they’re counting on you. You’re this many stars of a recruit, so you’re getting attention even before you turn into the maturing woman. You’re just a kid in high school, but all of a sudden you’re, um, especially these days mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there’s so much attention on you.
Well, I will tell you, it is no joke. And especially these days with social media, it, I feel like adds so much more pressure because everyone is looking at a highlight reel. These young kids don’t only feel the pressure on the court, on the field, wherever, you know, whatever sport they’re playing. They’re also feeling pressures when they pick up their phone and they leave the court, or they leave the field. And so, I know it’s hard and I feel for those kids. And so this, um, book is really for them. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, it’s for everyone. But I was writing to my younger self when I wrote this book. Yeah. Um, it, it, like you brought up pressure. It is, it is a lot of pressure. It’s not easy. Um, imagine waking up in the morning, you have practice, you have lift, you gotta go to class, your body’s sore, but you have to do it. You have class for three to five hours throughout the day after class. You go to tutoring, you gotta eat at some point and study. It’s just, it’s a lot. It’s a lot to try to balance.
Yeah. I don’t think the average person realizes how much time is dedicated to the program. And you hear people talking about, oh, I, I, I think there was some people that were against the N I L and saying, look, these athletes get a free education. It’s like, no, no, it’s not free. Because they work 40 hours a week for the sports program. Literally, they, they own you pretty much year round.
I’m so excited for the N I L. Like, I think it’s fantastic that kids are able to monetize on, um, their brands, on their personalities and really just build themselves up as being more than an athlete preparing for life after their sport, after college, because the ball does go flat. Whatever sport you play, like, you know,
That could have been a book title, Monique <laugh>, the ball does go flat. Finding balance,
Right? I had to have stolen that from somebody somewhere down the line. But, um, you know, it doesn’t last forever. So figuring out who you are outside of your sport is just, it’s key. It’s so important. But back to N I L, like it is exciting for these young kids. I’m almost like, can I get a couple years of my eligibility back so I can, you know, capitalize on it? <laugh>?
Yeah. It opens up so many things, including just the true, um, economic fair play of what the athletes bring to the, to the table and the attention and the, the revenue they bring. So yeah, open season. Love it. Now, in your, the bio for the book, it says you’ve overcome many obstacles in your climb to the top and have seen many succumb to life’s pressure along the way. So, why don’t you tell us, let’s, let’s go back a little bit to the beginning when, um, you first started to become a basketball prodigy and perhaps saw the opportunities ahead of you and having to negotiate things at a young age. And maybe we can just kind of work toward our, our present day, especially your, your global odyssey of playing all over the place besides Atlanta.
Thank you so much. Man, I had no idea when I was a young girl that I would be where I’m at today. No idea. I, I would say I almost didn’t dream big enough. I’m from a small city called Corona, California, and it’s right outside of LA but where I’m from, like, no one makes it to the pros. You know, no one has this superstar lifestyle. And so I didn’t know that that could be a possibility for me. But at the same time, that was me, not only not dreaming big enough, but being humble, which there’s a balance to that in itself, because you wanna be humble so you don’t get humbled. But at the same time, like <laugh>, if I could tell my younger self anything, it would be to dream big and to go after it and have the dreams that scare you.
Like, that’s totally okay. I go chase it. But, obstacles, I would say it, for me, that started with my sport began maybe in high school. I wasn’t a McDonald’s all American. I was, I was slept on and definitely had the capability to be and the potential to be, but I wasn’t. And so that was frustrating for me. I just had to work. I just had to continue to work. A couple months later, I get invited to my first USA camp, which was super exciting. I didn’t make that team, but the next camp that I ended up doing, I did make. So that was, um, a great achievement. But I do feel like in my career, there have been many times where I’ve been slept on, even in the W N B A draft, um, being in the draft room, expected to go top 10, I fall to 14 or 15.
I don’t even know because it doesn’t matter at this point. It’s like once you’re here, you’re here and like you work to solidify yourself. It a number doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you’re number one, it doesn’t matter if you’re number 32, like the work that you put in on your journeys. That’s what matters. The what you produce, that’s what matters. That’s what I’ve learned. But there have been trials. Thank God I haven’t been injured seriously this past season. I had a ankle sprain. So that was another hurdle, another injury. But something that my dad had instilled in me when I was in college. Um, I was saying, why me? Why me being so dramatic like we’re trained to be? And he said, why not you? That shifted everything for me. Like my whole perspective changed. Why not me? Like I’m not above any injury. I’m not above any, um, hardships. I’m not above any of that. And so I need to embrace whatever’s put in front of me. I know that God is gonna see me through and just stay faithful and stay grounded to the process.
Do you think you were, when you say slept on, I love that <laugh>. I love that expression. I haven’t heard that. Were you deserving McDonald’s all American and, and making those teams? Were you, do you feel like you were overlooked or you needed to level your game up a little bit? Which one wasn’t?
I was definitely overlooked. Uhhuh <affirmative>, and I was in the pool, like I was being looked, being recruited. But something that I have learned is the politics behind everything. You don’t go to a certain camp, you’re not gonna get, um, notoriety from certain scouts or certain blog bloggers that, you know, pick the candidates of a McDonald’s, all-American, stuff like that. So I don’t even wanna blame it on that, you know? But how I do feel, I do feel like I was, I was slept on.
Yeah, it’s, it’s still kind of ridiculous how lousy of a job these highly sophisticated recruiting and scouting things do. And, um, it’s like when you see a player who’s, um, you know, undersized or something for their position, Russell Wilson fallen way back in the draft, just like, Monique, it’s like, come on. You know, they’re, they’re, um, they’re, they’re stuck in these patterns where, yeah, I guess you don’t, you can’t see the player’s heart or you can’t see some of the intangibles, but it’s also just so you know, so, so glitzed up, um, at some point, um, maybe will, uh, evolve the system and be able to be more selective or, or give, you know, people a chance that shows something special. But, um, I guess that, you know, serves to, I guess it could have served to discourage you and, and put you back a step or, you know, you, you formed that belief in yourself. But since I need to come up with a question here. You talked about, you know, that fine line between dreaming big and dreaming really big out of Corona to go make it to the W N B A, but not too big. Because I think, especially in our era today, we have the posers and, um, you know, the people that are full of fluff and they’re doing too much time dreaming and not enough time shooting free throws.
Yes, totally. I mean, it’s finding the balance between that pun intended. Um, you know, it’s, it’s all about believing in yourself, keeping that faith, but also putting in the work to do it. And if it doesn’t happen, I was just listening to a soundbite yesterday from Inky Johnson, who is a mentor of mine. Just when you put in the work, don’t get so attached to the result behind it. Like you just have to put in the work. And if it doesn’t happen the way you want it to, who are you becoming in the process of the work that you put in? That’s the most important part. And that’s what the journey is all about. Like, we have to release the expectations. We have to release the outcome. Outcome detachment is a big thing. Something that I am still working on and I am focused on and really trying to embrace cuz it’s hard. We all want, um, the mountaintop moments. We want to be the champion. We want all of those things. Everyone does. The work to get there is not easy at all. It’s not easy, it’s not sexy, it’s not always fun. It can be mundane, but when you put your head down and you do that work, it’s like, who are you becoming in that process? That’s greatness. Okay. Whether you win or not, that, that in itself is just greatness.
Okay, now I want everybody to push that 32nd backward button on the podcast player and listen to that again. That was so beautiful. And for a young athlete to speak in those terms, I mean, it, it took me many decades to come to that realization that it was all about, you know, appreciating every step of the process and releasing your attachment to the outcome. And I was gonna ask you, but you answered it yourself. Like, do you have to check on that every single day and recommit to that incredibly difficult goal to, uh, you know, to make it all about the process? Because you know, when you, when you succeed and, uh, let’s say, Hey, you did get drafted, now you can coast. Like, um, who was, oh, is Coach Alfred? Uh, he wrote a book, a former UCLA coach where, you know, he was two-time NCAA player of the year. He made it to the NBA. That was his highest dream in life. And then he said he just coasted because it’s like now what he was all about the outcome of making it to the pros. And so he went and played golf and didn’t work on his game anymore and had a shorter career than he deserved. So it’s kind of funny, like you can even get in trouble when you reach all your goals and then, you know, blow up and become too big for your britches.
Hmm. That’s a really good point. Yeah. I mean, I think it’s good just to continue to challenge yourself though. You know, even when you hit that ceiling, that glass ceiling of you thought this was gonna be it, this is what you wanted, you made it, okay, what’s next? Like, let’s keep hustling, let’s keep grinding. How can I continue to better myself? Um, my favorite quote, which is in my book, is to be better than yesterday, not as good as tomorrow. Like, how can I continue to strive for greatness and excellence?
And in your case, you are sprinkling in all these other ambitions to do some, uh, commentating, you’re very professional with your social media. I mean, you’re obviously having a good time in traveling the world. Yeah. But you got collaborations and it’s, it’s a very, um, uh, streamlined operation you’re doing speaking and then you’re taking on this massive book project. So how does that mix in with your important devotion to basketball here in the prime of your career still?
I mean, we keep the main thing, the main thing, I just came from a workout, you know, like I just got it in. So I’m always going to basketball’s priority right now while I’m playing, while I’m in my prime, just entering my prime. Like, I’m gonna make sure that I, I work out, not just my body, my mind, and my spirit as well, every single day. And along with that, taking breaks, like I was just on a two-week vacation, like, it’s so good to take breaks and to recharge, refresh, so you come back even stronger. Basketball’s always gonna be the priority, but while I am, I have this great platform, um, I’m like, why not? Why not do all the things? Why not squeeze all the juice out of the, the lemon while I can? And so I’m having a blast. I plan to continue, God willing, being able to do all these amazing things, traveling the world, being able to, to play abroad, meeting so many people, great people, connecting with people. Like that’s what life is about. This is the journey. You know, I, I do have my long-term goals and things that I see in my future, but
Watch out. People watch out
<laugh>. But right now, I just want to enjoy the moment, enjoy every single day, whether I’m, um, going through different battles, various battles, whether I am just, I don’t know, fighting. It’s, it’s me versus me. So fighting through that every single day. I just wanna make sure that I’m having fun and I’m enjoying it.
Yeah, I suppose especially someone like you, maybe not for everybody, but if he were just to practice and train for basketball and then come home and play video games and eat ice cream, it might not be as, as good a success formula as branching out into all those other areas. I think it does help you find balance from just being obsessed with sport, because that’s not an easy, that’s not an easy route for anybody. I think a lot of people think that’s what the athlete does, is they, you know, they, they play, they practice, they go home and veg out. But, um, that might not be a winning formula.
I do wanna add to that though. Everybody’s different. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So for some people, that is their winning formula and that makes them feel like the best version of themselves. And maybe in another season of life they’ll find a different system or routine that works for them. But if that is working for them and they feel good, shoot, go with it. That doesn’t work for me personally. I just, I can’t function like that. I love having so many other interests and passions, having the, um, possibilities and just the resources to be able to attain all of those things that I’m trying to, but not everybody is like that. You know? Not everybody wants to be a television personality or wants to be a broadcaster, and that’s not everyone’s journey. Um, that’s been mine for a very long time. So I’m like, I’m gonna pursue all the things while I can. But like I said, everybody is just, everybody’s different, but they have to be able to find what works for them.
What is your big giant future dream? Do you wanna share it?
That’s a great question. I would say, I don’t know if I have a big giant one because it changes like all the time. But one of my goals for the future is just to be a television personality outside of sports. You know, I still want to broadcast, but I wanna be a lifestyle personality. I wanna be on the red carpet talking about outfits, dresses, interviewing people, um, even taking it a abroad because I love traveling. So being a global personality, I think that is a really big goal of mine.
Can you describe a typical daily pattern for a professional basketball player these days? And also you can sprinkle in how you throw your other hobbies and, and career goals into the mix?
Yeah, absolutely. So it depends on like what season you’re in. So if you’re in season at me, and most of, I would say my colleagues we’re very much so the first athlete that you reference, you know, you go to practice, you go home, you veg out on healthy food and you do it all again the next day. I mean, sometimes you can watch Netflix, you watch film, whatever. But for me, and like I said, a lot of my friends, like, we like to just rest while we’re in season because season is, it’s rapid, it’s quick, something’s always happening. So it’s good just to be able to find those pockets of rest while you can, cuz it’s not always gonna come and that keeps you sharp, that keeps you the best for your game. But in the off season, I feel like that’s a great time to pursue, um, whatever you’re interested in.
So if that’s doing an internship that’s traveling most women in the W N B A play overseas, a lot of people don’t know that. So during this time, a lot of us will play overseas, which I’ve had beautiful experiences playing overseas. But yeah, I’m in my off season right now, so I have more time, you know, I’m not focusing on games, I’m not in game mode. And when I’m in game mode, I’m super locked in. But when I’m in the off season, it’s a different level of locked in. Like I’ll do my workouts in the morning, but then in the afternoon, like I might have a game to go broadcast or, um, I might just wanna go to the spa for the day and relax, or I might just wanna go shopping, or I might just book a trip for the weekend. Like, this weekend I’m going home, I’m going back to Cali. So I’m excited for that. You know, the off season, there’s so many more things that you’re able to do. Um, so it just depends on the time that an athlete is in.
What kind of broadcasting are you doing now?
So, broadcasting for PAC 12 network. Oh, really? I have broadcast mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I broadcast for the Atlanta Hot. So,
Yeah. So squeezing in, you’re, you’re in off season from both the international leagues as well as W N B A, but that seems to get pretty busy when you have the season for Atlanta Dream, W N B A. And then in, in a few short years, you’ve played your, your bios like Russia, Australia, Israel, Korea, China. Tell us about that.
10 countries in five years. Wow. And it’s been beautiful. Like, it’s not, it doesn’t always seem like it’s the most glamorous of lifestyles, but it is such a blessing and I see it in that way because I’m able to connect with so many people. I have friends all over the world. Like I can call my friends in Russia and I can call my friends in Korea, Israel, I’ve been to so many places. I have connections in all of those places. So it’s been a journey. It’s been a beautiful journey. I plan on continuing to play abroad. Something coming up in the near future. Can’t announce it yet, but I will be playing somewhere soon possibly. So yeah, it’s been, it’s been great.
And these are like shorter seasons, but you can also have an opportunity to make, um, as much or more or significantly more salary than the W N B A, which is where most of the public in America sees you and associates you with. Is that, does that sound accurate?
Yeah, so the season, it depends on where you go. It can be anywhere from eight months to four months. It just depends on where you go.
And you can manage that along with the W N B A season.
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Ok. W N B A season is a summer season, so it starts in May, late April, May-ish, and then it ends in like September, October. And then usually W N B A players have about two weeks off and then we go overseas.
Okay. So if you’re in off season training mode now mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, describe how you go from morning to night.
So morning I wake up, I pray, meditate, journal, do all that stuff, cook some good food, then I go work out. :ike I said, I just came from the gym, so I did a lift and then I’ll get on the court for about an hour, then I come home and sometimes I’ll have various tasks like, just things I have to do around the house. But, um, cooking is big for me, so I love cooking. Just anything that makes me feel good, like resting, refueling, watching movies. Lately it’s been sitting outside on my patio and my backyard, like, that’s been really nice. So I don’t typically have this much time off. So it’s been beautiful being able to just to figure out like, what do I wanna do today? You know, doing interviews and being interviewed by amazing people like yourself. So different things like that throughout my day.
What about a in-season pattern when you’re, uh, traveling, preparing for games, what does that routine look like?
In season, I’m a lot more focused. So same morning routine, wake up, say my prayers journal, do all that good stuff again, eat some great food, go to practice. And I’m in the gym for maybe like five hours watching film, getting recovery on my body, going through practice, weights, all that stuff. More recovery, excuse me. All of these things. Um, just to make sure I’m feeling good, make sure I’m feeling like the best version of myself. And then again, I come home. Usually when I’m in season, I, when I come home, I’m done for the day. I’m tired. We just practice. I’m in the gym for five hours, like I’m taking a nap. So usually I’ll take a nap and after my nap I’ll get some food, maybe hang out with some of my teammates, but I keep it light. I like to just relax.
What are some of the recovery methodologies that have worked for you and some of your favorite training practices? I don’t know if it’s certain weight routine or calisthenics or mobility exercises. What are the, what are your favorite stuff?
I am a yogi. I love yoga. I try to do yoga every single day in season, outta season, um, outta season I do hot yoga. So I’ve been doing that. It’s been kicking my butt. It’s hard, but it’s so good, especially mentally just pushing through and like telling myself like, I got this, I can do this. In season, just I have all the tools, all the gadgets, the norma tech, the um, hyperized guns and all of those things. Um, I’m constantly getting massage, maybe like every other day. I personally love massage, so I’m always on the table and I’m very proactive when it comes to my body. So like I said, I’m always stretching, doing some type of yoga, active recovery in the pool. I just, I listen to my body and whatever my body needs in that moment, I just make sure to give her.
How do you think the overall athletic population is doing there? Do you see a lot of your teammates similarly committed to all that?
I would say on different levels. You know, everybody is different. So I think I’m kind of extreme when it comes to my level of recovery and how I take care of myself. But in order to be a pro athlete, you have to have some type of method of recovery, some type of routine. So I commend all of my colleagues who are in the league because it’s not easy to maintain your body, to maintain, um, just everything that it takes to be a professional athlete.
Yeah. It seems like that awareness and the commitment is escalating. In recent years where, I don’t know, a decade ago or two decades ago, they would, the talented players would show up into the professional leagues, they play their game, they’d go out and, uh, goof around and not pay much attention to anything except the next game. And now it’s like, as you described, you’re going to work every day. You’re in the gym or in the training facility for hours and hours doing one thing or another toward your recovery and your performance. That’s pretty, pretty awesome.
This is my job, this is my nine to five. This is how I feed my family. And so yeah, I take it seriously.
So let’s talk about the book now. It started with you, you’ve had a habit of journaling and then you started to envision this idea of, oh, look at that cover. If you’re watching on, on YouTube, she’s got the tree pose what’s that called? The tree pose where you get your foot on your thigh and rest? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Oh, very nice balance. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, a balancing pose from Monique on the cover of her book. Um, who knew she was a professional basketball player. She looks like a yoga instructor on there. But how did that take shape over the last two and a half years? And then talk about some of the key features of the book. You can even go over your favorite sections or whatever.
Yeah, so after, like I said, my manager really encouraging me to step out on faith and write this book. I wrote for a year and a half, um, my editor, we would go back and forth. He would gimme different suggestions, we would kind of just gloss it up. He did a beautiful job. So that took about almost a year in itself of editing. So we finished last December of editing and it’s so amazing going through this book process because I didn’t know how much it takes. It takes a lot and you have to have a very dedicated and committed team, which I do. And I’m so grateful for my team who’s helping me produce this book. So it’s, yeah, since last December when we finished, we, uh, I had a photo shoot in LA my be some of my two of my best friends, um, took the photos and the videos, um, the behind the scenes and the cover photo from my book.
So that was very special. Being able to choose the images and choose the fonts and the text and all the different things that I want to go in the book. My, um, editor had helped me with that. And my illustrator. So yeah, it’s in the, since I would say December, since last December when I finished, it’s just been a whole nother process of itself. I thought once I finished writing, I thought, I was like, okay, it’s good. Like, we’re ready to go. But that’s not the case. There’s so much more that goes with that. And just making sure, I want the book to feel good. I want, when people open it up, I want them to, to really feel it and to really be in it. And it’s a, it’s a very light read. It’s a easy read. I wanted it to be that way so anyone is able to read it.
There’s a lot of just little motivational quotes in there. I sought out different professional athletes like Solomon Thomas, um, Angel McCoughtry, mentors of mine, David Melter. Um, and they have put little pieces and little gems of their own thoughts and opinions within this book. So I thought that was very special and it’s just come together so beautifully. It’s, I would say it’s, um, teaching you patience, because if it was up to me, this book would’ve been out a long time ago. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But I have, I’ve had to learn how to be patient and how to trust the process, how to release it, how to let, just let go and trust that everything is gonna happen, how it’s meant to.
And now, as my first publisher told me when I turned in my, probably turned in my, my finished manuscript, he said, congratulations, you just completed 10% of the work. And the other 90 is marketing, promoting and getting the word out. So it sounds like you’re, you’re putting some good effort in there. Is, this is late 2022. Is the book out, uh, at this point or what’s the release date?
Yes. So official launch is November 10th. I’m so excited. Pre-launch is still going on. So anyone watching and listening can order the book on my website, mobile billings.com. The book is there. It’s also in my Instagram bio, the link. Um, yeah, I’m gonna be releasing on November 10th officially. I’m excited because I’m having a couple launch parties with my close friends in Atlanta and I’m having one in LA I’m gonna be doing a couple signings. So yeah, I’m really, really excited.
Wow. Sounds like you got some good promos set up. That’s awesome.
I hope so. <laugh>.
Well, um, you’re, you got a, a top secret new team or league to head off to and it sounds like it’s kind of a free for all where you’re just, you know, finding out what opportunities are available all over the globe and considering where you’re gonna go next season.
Exactly. Yep. You said it best, just taking everything day by day, going with the flow,
What are some of your highlights from, from bouncing around all those countries and playing? Tell me about the level of competition compared to the W N B A and all that kind of thing.
I would say the level of competition is typically weaker, and that’s why they usually bring one or two Americans in to help with that. And so usually I’m the only American on my team. It’s rare that I’ll have another teammate, maybe two, but usually, like when I was in China, South Korea, I was the only American. And so in those countries, those young girls, not young girls, but the, the ladies who I’m playing with, they don’t speak English for the most part, <laugh>. So a lot of times I embrace that I’m learning Russian, I’m learning Mandarin, depending on where I’m at. And that’s fun for me. I lose it. I end up losing it when I leave cuz I don’t have anyone to practice with. But I was actually just playing in Tunisia with the Jordanian team, and so they’re trying to teach me Arabic and it’s fun. And you asked about the highlight. The highlight is just the people, the people that I’m able to connect with and meet that if it wasn’t for basketball, I never would’ve met. It’s just been so beautiful. Like I said, I have friends for life and all of these places that I’ve played that I do plan on going to visit again and hopefully one day when I have a family of my own, taking my family to all the places that I’ve played and, um, almost allowing them to experience what I had experienced.
So how do you manage on the court if English is not being bantered about amongst your teammates, I wonder if, are the coaches usually bilingual where they can kind of intervene with you or you have an interpreter, but that’s on the sideline? So how does that work? Both on the sideline and on the court?
I’ve dealt with both. So in the Asian countries, I had an interpreter and if the coaches swinging, yelling
At me, they’re waving their arms wildly on the sideline. Your interpreter’s going crazy, everyone’s quiet. What the heck’s going on? Oh, my,
My gosh, man, the coach is yelling at me in whatever language he’s in. I’m like, I don’t understand you. So, you know, you yelling at me doesn’t really make sense, but my translator would have to just translate it. And my translators have been so sweet. So they’d be like, well, he said, you know, they’re trying to say it in a very calm,
Oh, it’s one of those, one of those indirect translations. Yeah. He says, keep trying hard <laugh>.
Exactly. When I really just got cussed out and yeah. Right. I probably, I could feel it. I can’t understand it, but I can feel it. So I’ve dealt with that. Basketball’s universal though. If you know how to hoop, you know how to hoop, put the ball in the basket and get some stops on defense, that’s universal. That’s a language in itself.
Uh, so in the book mm-hmm. <affirmative>, are we gonna learn about, um, some yoga diet? Is it mostly like mindset, physical stuff?
I would say it’s mostly mindset. Um, the cover might be a little misleading and I hope it’s not, but it’s,
It’s, yeah, we can go learn our yoga poses somewhere else. But yeah, the idea that a, a pro basketball player devoted to yoga, that’s so cool. It’s a, it’s a great balance between the, the hard work and a sport that’s both aerobic and anaerobic. So I think you picked a good, a good outlet there.
Thank you. Yoga has definitely been like a great release for me. Um, and it’s allowed me to have a, a healthy relationship with basketball, so I’m very grateful for that. But the book itself, it’s very mindset driven. Like I said, it’s mindset and it’s spirit. I want people’s spirits to feel good. I want people to feel good on the inside as well as the outside, but feeling good on the inside, being light, showing up as your best self, those are things that you have to work towards and try to maintain every single day. And it is a challenge, but you have to recommit and realign every single day. And I hope that the book helps people in doing that.
Have you always been this way since you were a little kid, Monique, this kind of, uh, outgoing, bright spirit? Or did you kind of develop in, in tandem with, uh, becoming a, a star athlete and negotiating some of these things?
I would say it’s always been in me, and thank you. That’s a very nice compliment. I would say it’s always been in me, but I didn’t always know how to manifest it and how to bring it out. I’ve always been, typically I’m like an introverted extrovert so I can speak to, you know, crowds of thousands of people. I can broadcast and do all these things, but I’m introverted. Like, I like being at home in the comfort of my own home, relaxing, not around too many people, just very low key. And I feel like I’ve more so always been that. But I’ve just had great, I’ve had a great family. My mom, my dad, even my sister who have poured so much into me has given me this wonderful foundation. And there’s so many people around me who have also lifted me up and just really taken me under their wing. And I feel like all of that, I, I’m like a sponge. I took all of that in and, um, tried to just bring it out in the best way that I possibly could.
Whew. Besides that, do you have any complaints about traffic in the Inland Empire? I mean, come on now. Oh, way <laugh>. Okay. Finally.
That’s why I’m in Atlanta. <laugh>.
Finally, we got something, we got something negative out of her after, after the entire conference. Oh my goodness. Monique Billings, what a pleasure to connect with you. Best of luck with the Atlanta Dream and your international basketball escapades and all the other cool stuff. I strongly urge, uh, listeners, viewers to go pre-order that book Finding Balance, follow you on Instagram, all that great stuff. I can’t wait to read it myself. And thanks for listening to everybody. Monique Billings, da da da da <laugh>.
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