Today, I am fortunate enough to bring you an interview with multiple world-record holder, stunt performer and entrepreneur: Sam Parham.
Sam is a highly experienced Parkour athlete who has worked in films and TV series, such as Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and ‘The Foreigner’ starring Jackie Chan.
Gain an insight into the experiences and resources that have helped shape his growth mentality and are responsible for bringing him to where he is today…
How did you get into Parkour and become a stunt performer?
Sam: I first got into creative movement from being inspired by the actions of Jackie Chan in his movies. When I was first introduced to parkour, it was actually on a TV show called ‘Jump London’. I realized that this was something that I was already doing on a small scale but didn’t realize there was a name for it, or other people practiced the same thing. This was so exciting to me because I was able to go onto the Internet and find forums where other people were also interested in training this activity. The rest is history, I began training more and more while also creating videos of the new movements I was learning.
Can you tell us about some of the most notable things that you’ve worked on as a stunt performer?
Sam: There have been many notable experiences for me as a stuntman. I have been doing parkour now for 15 years, and eight years as a professional stunt man in film and television. By far the greatest highlight for me, was working with Jackie Chan himself, and even having a one on one fight scene with him in the new movie ‘The Foreigner’. Aside from that, one of my greatest stunts was featured in ‘Game of Thrones’, where I was shot by a giant arrow which launched me all the way over the top of the great wall impaling me finally in the courtyard . Most recently I was also awarded a stunt performance award for my involvement in the ‘Wonder Woman’ movie.
Who were your inspirations growing up and why? Who inspires you to constantly be better today?
Sam: I have had many inspirations growing up, without a doubt my parents were a huge inspiration to me. Not just because of how they had made success stories out of themselves in their own right, but also by raising a wonderful family and developing their careers along the way. Figureheads such as Richard Branson were massive inspirations to me from a business and growth mindest. Of course, Jackie Chan, Scott Adkins, Jason Statham, and many other action heroes I’ve always looked up to in the movies.
More recently I have been studying meditation, and a growth mindset. The work of key opinion leaders like Jay Shetty and Tom Bilyeu, have been very inspirational for me lately to continue to develop my mind, body and soul.
Tell us about the world records that you hold? What was the feeling like when you finally broke them, can you talk us through that day?
Sam: I have also been fortunate enough to accomplish three separate Guinness World Records. These included : ‘Furthest Double Long Vault’, ‘Furthest Kong to Precision’ and ‘Most Wall Flips by a Team of People’. At the time the double Kong was one of my favourite moves and something I became quite recognized for, as such this was probably the most rewarding for me. The Guinness World Records in general was a huge privilege to be a part of, they even did a two page feature of myself and my team of athletes in the 2010 edition of the book.
The day itself isn’t as glamorous as it might sound. Because we were pioneering the activities, we had a number of challenges to complete that day, some were completed, some not. But it was an amazing experience and I was very pleased to walk away with the records that I did.
If you could go back in time and give some advice to yourself as a teenager/young-adult what would you say?
Sam: It’s difficult to say if I would want to go back in time to give myself advice or not. Many of the things I have learned have been through hardship and I don’t know if the same lessons would have been learned or appreciated without going through these difficulties. That said I am a huge believer in the understanding that failure is a necessary part of growth, as well as learning . I would probably tell my younger self to embrace failure more often and more willingly. Trust the process and enjoy the journey win or lose.
Can you tell us about your business ventures outside of parkour? How did you diversify from being a stunt performer to also being an entrepreneur in several different industries?
Sam: I have always been hugely interested in business in general, as such it became a very easy and natural transition for me to want to take much of my earnings and reinvest them into different opportunities. This ranges from property, talent agencies and much more. These new challenges even in themselves have been very turbulent, because I am constantly stepping into unknown territory’s. But again, I am trusting the process and embracing failures as lessons learned.
Are there any people, books, or experiences that you would be willing to share with us, that have really shaped your mentality?
Sam: There are many books and sources of inspiration that I could recommend to people. Ultimately I truly believe the best source of any information is of course on the Internet, and is widely available for everyone. Ultimately you only need to go onto YouTube these days to type in what you are interested in and you have a wealth of information in front of you . I have personally been loving watching lots of podcasts recently on YouTube such as those I mentioned before from ‘Tom Bilyeu’, ‘Jay Shetty’, ‘Leaders Create Leaders’, etc…
I have also been reading books on meditation, personal development and self growth. Such as, ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ and ‘Ego is the Enemy’ by Ryan Holiday, they have been fantastic for me most recently.
How has your role changed in the industries you’ve worked in as you’ve got older?
Sam: I am not sure if it is necessarily a case that my role has changed. I am still very much performing. But it is fair to say that in my industry, as you get older, you expand your point of contacts and your relationships with agencies, producers etc… It would be silly not to expand into doing agency work and hiring other performers to cover jobs that I cannot do, or where clients are asking for more than one person. That is a natural progression, and in the same way, sometimes I am now coordinating jobs and producing them myself as well as performing.
Are there any specific principles that you try and live by and why?
Sam: I don’t know if I necessarily have a set of principles which I live by, but essentially I try to live by the simple notion of what is right and wrong. Do good to others and always see the glass as half full.
How important are the relationships you have with other people in succeeding in business?
Sam: Relationships are everything, and I believe that that goes for many other industries as well. Ultimately you need to develop clients to trust you and want to actively work with you. It doesn’t matter if you are talented, if you’re not fun to work with or be around, then the clients will replace you.
What are you plans and goals for the future?
Sam: In terms of plans for the future, I am always very forward thinking. I want to expand my business and real estate with more properties and rental incomes. I am huge on passive residual income. So wherever I can expand that, I will.
Sam’s story epitomises just how far ambition, networking and learning from mistakes in a practical way can help push our lives in the direction that we wish to.
His successes are less surprising when considering his unwavering desire to constantly learn, improve and the attitude he has towards temporary failure as ‘lessons learned’.
Definitely check out the books, podcasts and the video series’ he has mentioned that have helped shape this attitude!
A huge thanks to Sam for agreeing to do this interview. Look out for our next inspiring and insightful interview coming very soon!
Until then all the best…