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The Everyday Performance Mindset With Dr. Lauren Loberg

We are excited to have sports and performance psychologist Dr. Lauren Loberg on the show this week to ruminate on the intersection of everyday life and this idea of a “performance mindset.” Everyone wants to do their best and, using insights from working with the world’s top athletes (think: NFL stars and pro skiers like Mikaela Shiffrin), Dr. Loberg shares her tips on how we can implement high performance mental strategies into our daily lives. Together, we discuss anxiety, flow state, and the value of mental preparedness. 

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Key Moments
“If someone comes to you and says, ‘I want to be fit this summer,’ what does that mean? What exactly does that mean? Or, ‘I want to be more present.’ Well, what does that mean for you? What does that look like? Like, what’s the action? Because when people provide us with these really arbitrary things, and sometimes they do, they can keep judging themselves on it because there’s no measurement to it. Does that make sense?”

“I think that everyone can be mentally tough, but it’s also a thing that takes time. Remember that some of the things you struggle with mentally might stem from a pattern that you’ve had for 50 years. Putting this in the context of sports, if you tried to change your golf swing or basketball shot after 50 years of playing, would you be able to fix it in five tries? No. The same goes for mental toughness.”

“You can kind of learn how to embrace fear, the fear of when it becomes paralyzing. That’s the part that you have to talk through.”

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Transcript

David: 0:16

Hey Lauren, how are you today?

Lauren: 0:18

 I’m great. How are you?

David: 0:19

I’m good, it’s great to have you on. Thank you, so that our people understand better than I can explain it, could you explain what you do?

Lauren: 0:31

In general terms, I try to help individuals elevate their performance using their mind and their mental tools, rather than we train our body all the time but we don’t train our minds, so trying to highlight how that can make a big difference. That lends itself to anybody, because we all perform all the time, whether you’re an elite level athlete, or you’re an executive, or even a mom, the dad, whatever. We’re all performing all the time and there’s ways that you can have a better mindset in different situations.

David: 1:16

I mentioned earlier. Before we get on the call, I really want another word, for when I think of performance, I think of either like the the McJagger movie, performance, or I think of somebody on a stage or elite athlete. But what you’re saying is performance is really I interpret it as being like the best version, bringing the best version of ourselves to the table.

Lauren: 1:39

Yeah, that’s how I like to say. I mean, obviously I work with elite level athletes, but that’s trying to get in that specific moment. How do you bring your best self to that game and how do you recognize that and tap into that?

David: 1:59

So if somebody came to you I know you mostly work with athletes or military people or people that we would recognize but say I came to you, lauren, and I said, lauren, I want to be a better version of David. What would that conversation look like?

Lauren: 2:15

Well one, I would say. There’s this element of it’ll take us a little time to get to know each other. I think there’s one thing that I put out there all the time is it’s a partnership, but in reality you drive that shift because the one thing about mind is it’s fairly subjective and it’s based on. I mean, there is science, we can track stuff, but most of everything you’re going to tell me is self-report. So getting to know unlike if you did 50 push-ups last week and 65 the next week and you’re like I’m stronger mentally is more. Mental strength is a feeling, or maybe people will recognize it in your body, language or things like that, but it’s definitely a lot harder to measure. But also recognizing that I think everybody resonates with I have to train my body all the time to stay healthy or to do whatever activities we want to do, but we don’t train our minds. That’s where we miss the boat a little bit, I think. When you want to perform at your best and be your best version of yourself, if you only call on that, however many days a year, what makes you think that it’s going to work in that moment if you haven’t trained?

David: 3:50

You have a couple of footballs. I see behind you and I think that you’ve worked with folks in the NFL so say I was. We have to use our imagination here. I’m an NFL quarterback, never going to happen in a zillion years or at any point in my past what had ever happened. But so I say, hey, lauren, I’ve got all my mechanics, I know how to do all this stuff. But sometimes I’m just like off. How would you approach that situation?

Lauren: 4:23

Well, I think, first of all, you hear a lot of the times people say, with whatever sport, oh it’s 99% mental or whatever. And I subscribe to a different thought process and, like these physical challenges, it’s actually probably 95% physical. Like you just said, I’ll never play in the NFL when I worked at the NFL. I’ll never plan the NFL either. I’m a five, six blonde female. And there is that element where people say if you see it, you believe it, you can do it. There’s some times of you physically have to be able to do it and genetically be able to do it in different things. So do they first, what’s causing that lack of confidence? Do they believe in their physical abilities when they step out onto the field? There’s only those little doubts. Maybe it may also be sometimes like we would go back and revisit some good games and some games that weren’t as successful. And what were the differences? What was leading up to it? I mean, sometimes it’s not the mental, sometimes it’s the low-hanging fruit that’s like did you sleep well? Are you eating well? Those kinds of things, so getting to know. And then are there patterns?

David: 5:59

Is it.

Lauren: 6:00

You’ll hear people say oh, I don’t like to play at that stadium. Well different things like that and just pick away asking questions into what are their thought patterns and what is it where they feel like there’s an issue and then dissect that and make it more and more narrow to finding what is the action they have to do. Because quite often when stuff’s coming up it’s because their thought patterns are too many going on at one time and they’re not focused enough.

David: 6:41

So this brings me to something, a discovery I had the other day. So I’ve been training my balance. It was really just like standing one foot, and then it became standing one foot with my eyes closed. And just for reference, when I started one foot, eyes closed, it was about three seconds and the other foot would go down Like I just couldn’t do it. And then I got better at it and now what I do is at night I have an electric toothbrush and it has like 30 second cycles on it and so I can close my eyes, stand on one foot and brush my teeth for 30 seconds. But only I, just I figured out this trick in my mind. I imagine either a circle or some kind of container with a dot in the middle of it and I keep the dot in the circle and you can tell me what’s going on here. But I can like, once I get it locked, like I’m just, I’m there, like I’m not. You’re not going to tip me over what’s happening there.

Lauren: 7:43

So, from what I can tell, from what you’re telling me, is like I think the circle on the narrow dot is what narrows down your thought process and it gives you something really simple to focus on, which allows you to calm your mind and find that focal point to maintain your balance. And I think, if you think about it People talk about being in the zone. Even have you ever gotten off a you know, even a podcast, and then like I don’t know what it just happened, but it just that was amazing. It just kind of flows right or you get off the hill and so that’s kind of that. Peak performance is really when you Chop your head off and you’re not thinking. But quite often, when we are, things are not going the way we want them to. We go in the opposite direction and we overthink Because you’re asking yourself what am I doing wrong? How did I? You know Whatever it is, and so what you really want to do is narrow down the thought patterns and get closer to that. But that peak performance only happens, I don’t know, two to three percent at the time and for the most, some people it they never Feel that you know. So a lot of it is figuring out what are my cues in this scenario? Where do I, where it’s my focus? How do I narrow things down and making sure that also those cues and focuses are kind of the right thing for whatever they’re working on?

David: 9:19

Okay, I’m gonna give you another personal story. So last year I did this silly thing at the age of 64 to take up ski racing. Never done it before in my life, recently good skier, but it was essentially an entirely new sport. I had no idea and Every day there would be like I just like learn all this stuff. And it was just this. I had a brain full of stuff as I’m constantly thinking about Body position, hip position, leg, foot, how are my, what are my toes feeling? And then all the you know visual, dynamic information coming at me. Oh, and then, towards the end of the season, after we’d stopped the coaching and I was just free skiing, I Decided to ski with music, mm-hmm, and I was just like the whole level better, and I realized what was going on. Was I stopped Think like all that other stuff was just in my brain, right, and it just had to be not really thought about, just sort of automatically accessed. You know, I was just like, oh, this is really fun rolling stone song and look at this thing that I’m doing. Isn’t this fun, right? And when we first, the first time I met you, we had a discussion about I think I mentioned this about music and you were telling me the utility of the music Understanding. Are you amping up, are you bringing down? My recollection is there was a young kid who’s like listening to death metal or something, and you said to him yeah, for you you want something opposite. And and so I took this to heart and and I’ve been over the sim ski trainer and I’ve spent like I’m about six months Creating the perfect ski race Playlist, and it wasn’t death metal, but it was very sort of up, yeah, and I thought, okay, I’m gonna try something different. I’m gonna like take Lauren’s suggestion. I played Mozart piano music which is entirely dissonant, with Running gates at high speed. It’s just like a whole and like, initially it’s just weird, but then it got better. So what, tell me? What’s going on in my head that made that better? I?

Lauren: 11:25

Try to figure out. As I learn to get to know someone, you have to figure out different sports or different things, right? Like? Some people need to really build themselves up, some need to calm themselves down. I mean, I was a 10 meter platform diver, so you want your nerves a little bit calmer. You know, and I took some football players up to the 10 meter and you know they have a completely different type of engagement when they’re going out onto the field, and so we kind of compared and talked about that when I was in graduate school and so I think, in addition to that, as we used more music and different things, it’s also people tend to think well, I always have to use that like heavy pump-up music, but in terms of what’s your level of activation for performance, if You’re too relaxed, you’re not going to do well, and if you’re too Too amped up, you’re not going to do well. But there’s still a spectrum there of where people are in terms of what helps them engage in Whatever activity they’re doing, and so I think sometimes people think they have to be amped up, but they’re already, you know, anxious and nervous and kind of the adrenaline’s already running and they need to calm themselves down a little to like Be able to just perform. It kind of goes both ways, I think there’s. I work with another athlete and he told me, if one more person tells me to relax, you know I’m gonna go nuts, and I he was too relaxed and so we were trying to figure out how does he bring that intensity to the start gate? And I think you want to be intense but not tense, right, and so, depending on what people use the music for, that’s how it engages, and then I also try to have them. You know you made that playlist, may still be useful someday, but have people have multiple playlists, because then you’re also you’re minimizing your thinking, even if it’s like, oh, I’m just scrolling through my phone, I don’t know what I want to listen to. You know we want to have a little bit, not to the point that it’s ritualistic, but have some different ideas and it might depend on how you wake up in the morning in terms of what kind of playlist you listen to.

David: 14:00

I love this idea of what you said the narrowing thought patterns and it is meditation go into this realm.

Lauren: 14:12

Yeah, absolutely. You know mindfulness, meditation. You know trying to be in the present and Accept. You know accepting whatever is going on. I think some of my Colleagues who are in, you know, in the eastern portion of our world they don’t have to teach that skill, but we don’t really have that here in the Western world. It’s not really part of our everyday language. So we have to teach that and then Go from there how to quiet the mind. But also I think it’s not an easy task. You know mindfulness and meditation really, and Like I think of traveling to, you know, losa and Tibet and watching these Tibetan monks. I mean, they practice it all day, every day, and if you listen to Dalai Lama, he’s like I don’t have it nailed. So I think sometimes there’s this expectation of like, oh, if I do this, you know, and yes, it helps, but it’s, it’s a skill and you’ve got to practice it. And I would say, probably practicing that skill off the hill or off the out of the office or whatever, you have to practice it there before you take it into like a high stress environment and this idea of Nairing thought patterns and being present to what’s really going on, not remembering something in the past or projecting into the future.

David: 15:48

I think that this is a super useful thing. As we talked earlier, performing is like you. That’s life right you’re performing and I and I think that being able to bring yourself into the moment. So, if you have an elite athlete, are there cues that you give them? Or you say, like I want you to pay attention to, like how your feet feel, or like what do you have them focus on? To narrow that attention, to bring them into the present.

Lauren: 16:22

I Actually try not to come up with their cues or their words or different things like that, or and I try not to. You know, maybe they’ll start with learning a relaxation script, but I Don’t want anyone to be tied to something Like my voice or anything like that. My job is to work myself out of a job, because you want to give people the tools so that they can do that themselves. So it’s more Having them explain to me Maybe they’re technical and tactical goals. I’m not a coach. I’m not gonna coach them, but I’m listening to the wording, whether it’s the negative first or the positive act. You know, I want it to be the positive action. I’m listening to like how many things it is, because, also, I could say like with a gymnast. One time she gave me this laundry list of everything she’s thinking. I was like your routine is already over before you finish telling me what you need to think about, and so sometimes it’s a matter of Playing with cues. Like, though will go back and forth a lot of it. I try to get them to engage their coach to make sure that they’re focusing on Whatever that action is. Is that the correct action? And I also talk about the domino effect. You know there are some physical movements that if you do one thing, the others are gonna come. But people are thinking like every single element of it. For example, if we’re talking skiing, if you are, you know, trying to get your shin on the front of the boot and you’re leaning forward, but they’re like, oh, I have to lean forward and I have to bend my knees. You’re gonna bend my knees or your knees because you’re gonna fall over, otherwise, right so. But people are like, oh, I have to bend my knees more, I have to do this more, I have to. So trying to narrow down that way, but also, you know, having the different cues you use, like it made, you need to play around with it in training, because that’s where you have do-overs and comps, that you have one shot really. So trying to, you know, play with it and figure it out, or figure it out early on in the season, and you also have to figure out how many things you can focus on. Some people can take more information than others, and so that sometimes takes me a little bit of time just to get to know the person and hear what’s going on.

David: 19:16

I love the domino thing. It’s not which is like how stuck I got last year. It was like everything. It was like robotic, it’s like this to this, to this, to this. You know, I think of like someone who’s a basketball player or a football player when the arm goes back to throw the football, this is an entirety of a movement. Right, it’s not just one little thing. There’s like it’s all this, it’s the whole package going on at once.

Lauren: 19:44

Right. And then you get my when it knows about their sport, the more they you know can do it. So I also sometimes just like with visualization, get them to visualize something nothing to do with their sport, because when you’re thinking about your sport you’re definitely more analytical and you’re looking for different things. And I want to get it out and to see if you even have that skill to just visualize properly, before we start working on visualizing your sport.

David: 20:16

Oh, so something completely different than what the person’s doing.

Lauren: 20:20

Mm-hmm.

David: 20:21

So if I’m doing if I’m I don’t know what I’m doing a bike race or a ski race or something you’re talking about like, oh, you’re on a boat.

Lauren: 20:28

Yeah, or like walking on a beach or walking and hiking on the forest trail, and then you know, working with Paralympic athletes, then you also have to change that dialogue because of whatever’s going on, you know, depending on their disability. So fine-tuning it for that person sometimes will make like a script that’s for them as well, and then I try to get them to record it themselves.

David: 20:58

So then that, because you eventually want them to just do it in their own mind and not need anything, I think, for a lot of people at least, I’m going to say like guys, things, like physical things, are not as scary to us as emotional things.

Lauren: 21:16

Mm-hmm.

David: 21:17

So I don’t know, it’s just how we’re wired, like you know. Possibly the scariest thing I could do would be to, like you know, my wife is like we need to talk tonight. I’m like, ah Right, oh, no what. And it could just be, like you know, like oh, what are we having for dinner, or God knows what. But like the terror rises up my back right, so in it with emotional things like this. How do you deal with that?

Lauren: 21:47

Well, part of that is, I would say, in those contexts it’s. Then you bring expectation to it and you’re worried about the outcome. Right, and the outcome isn’t something you really have control over, Because it’s two of you coming to talk, or even in a race or an event like. We don’t have control over the outcome, although American society is very good at focusing just on the outcome. But you want to focus on the process of you know, and maybe if you knew a little bit more, like you said, maybe she just wants to know about dinner, and then you ask a question and you learn a little bit more about what’s going on, and then also recognizing like, what can I control in this scenario and what can I not? And most times the things people are worried about are the things that we can’t control.

David: 22:50

Yeah, like what’s she going?

Lauren: 22:51

to say, right, yeah, and if I, you know I can prep someone going into, you know, going to talk to their boss or going to talk to their coach, and in that case you just say I want you to model the behavior that you’d like to receive, but I still have no idea what the person on the other side is going to come back with.

David: 23:18

Model the behavior you’d like to receive and who’s also. All this affect your life.

Lauren: 23:25

Well, I ironically had a gymnastics coach that was like kind of way ahead of the game and she had us visualizing and doing different things when I was like eight or nine and focused on self talk and all those kinds of things. I don’t know that I necessarily knew what she was doing per se, and then a part of my life, and I did meet with a sports psychologist at a different point, at different points in my career, and I do remember being young and doing that and so which is probably a little bit before it’s time because of that coach, I try to practice what I preach. So, you know, in terms of maintaining balance, I you know I’m available. Well, like we met at the gym, right, so I work out with a trainer all the time. I make sure that I’m doing physical therapy, different things to maintain my own stuff. I am available to my clients. But I also say there’s a good chance, like if you call me on a Saturday and you’re at a race, I’m gonna be out skiing or hiking or whatever. I’m happy to talk to you, but that’s where I’ll be. So you know, when nobody’s perfect, it’s a constant, we’re always trying to better, or I feel that we should always be trying to better ourselves and better what’s going on, whether that’s your physical stuff or your mental stuff, and so just continually challenging my own self to implement it into my day to day so that I can, you know, speak to it also not just from like, oh, this textbook says this, but from a, you know, personal experience, I guess.

David: 25:24

I know some people. They cover their houses and post it notes. Effective or just messy?

Lauren: 25:36

Depends on the person. I sometimes like when you’re talking about cues or thinking of things you know say you’re an athlete or whatever and you have negative self-talk. You have been doing that probably since you were three, two or three, I mean. Some of these things are habits that you’ve had long before you ever tried sports, and so also you have to remember when emotions are high is when you don’t remember your coping mechanisms.

David: 26:15

Right, right.

Lauren: 26:16

So, like when you were nervous on the ski hill, you may have known, okay, breathing, whatever but like there was just too much going on and so we don’t tap into that. And so, until it becomes part of your everyday, I try to create some sort of visual reminder. I mean your coach may be able to say something, or if you have a good friend who can, your wife is like knows, when you go a certain way, you know there’s I mean, we all have certain things Like I know, when I can’t find something, it means I’m in over my head, like I have started to get away from you know, like I don’t know, I don’t know, I can’t get away from you know, like I’ll call my mom, I can’t find my keys or I can’t find my wallet, you know, and that means I’ve just I haven’t taken enough downtime for myself. So, like the post-its, sometimes I’ll have athletes put a post-it note you know, by where they brush their teeth or on the way they, you know, walk out the door. Or, you know, up here everybody pretty much walks around with a water bottle. So I’ll have them, you know, put a sticker on your water bowl or a piece of tape. Nobody has to know what that means, but for you that means, oh, that’s right, whatever we’re working on. Or sometimes people put, you know, tape on somewhere on their gloves or on their skis or whatever inside their bag, whatever it is, things that, so that at least you may get kind of spiral one way or another, but there’s going to be something where you’ll see it and it’ll kind of reset you.

David: 28:09

I’m envisioning like doing that and just like, oh, that would be.

Lauren: 28:12

I mean like post-it notes all over the place. Probably not the most, you know, it’s probably. It’s probably is too much, but everybody I mean some people are very visual. You have to know what the person’s learning style is.

David: 28:27

I mean, I keep going back to what you said about narrowing the thought patterns and to have the trigger. I’ve had a lot of dogs, and other dogs are like humans, but they sort of are like. You get them to focus on something with a cue and then they’re like oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, I remember I can. You want me to do this? Okay, great, but otherwise they’re sort of like all over the place.

Lauren: 28:52

Right, yeah, it’s like avalas, you know, and that’s why you have to make it part of your every day and part of your automatic.

David: 29:00

Right.

Lauren: 29:01

And that does take time. I think most people, when they come to someone who’s a performance coach or a sports psychologist I mean not always, but some people just come because they want to elevate their game. Some people come because they want something to be fixed and but they think also like well, I know that cognitively, you know people nowadays know, you know negative self-talk isn’t always the best thing. Yet we still do it.

David: 29:35

You know, one of the things that I talk a lot about here is the limitation we have as people is often we have a poverty of imagination of what can happen. They were sort of stuck in these you know negativity biases, or we just don’t allow ourselves to think Right, oh, I could. You know, I could do this thing. How amazing. How do you level somebody up with something like that?

Lauren: 30:07

Well, I don’t say that everything’s as roses and sunshine and rainbows all the time, because it’s not, and so you know. And there are days where you, just you don’t feel your best. And so I think it’s okay to say, like today sucks or whatever it might be, and you need to acknowledge that and like, feel that emotion or frustration or whatever it might be. But then you need to circle back to what do I have control over? Like in this moment, right now, and it might be, you know, whatever it is, but quite often I think the negative mindset or the fear of whatever it is, fear of failure, fear of success, is still gauged towards something we don’t control. And so, and also, like, what is that fear? You know, people, if I don’t get, I don’t know, this promotion, or win this race, or, and then you talk through, well, what happens the next day? And unless they’re ultimately saying I quit, they’re going to do the exact same thing tomorrow. Like you’re, whether you win or you lose, you’re still going to training that next day, or you still have a day off, or, you know, with kids, they’ll say, are your parents not going to take you home? You know, are they not going to feed you dinner, like no. So like what really changes? You’ve got that much.

David: 31:51

Where I’m going with this is people self limit. Sociopaths don’t, but most of us do. We self limit and we say, like I cannot go there, I will not go there. I can’t imagine this, because it’s either dissonant with their personality or their view of themselves, or they just don’t think it’s possible, talking to someone in whatever field they’re in, or just as trying to be emotionally present with their wife, or something Like how do you help expand the vision of what’s possible?

Lauren: 32:26

Sometimes through visualization.

David: 32:29

What would that look like?

Lauren: 32:32

So say there’s whatever it is that makes them nervous about the situation, like you said, being emotionally present with their wife. You know, like visualizing, say, you’re in the room together and like when you visualize, you want to use all your senses so you want to tap into, like that feeling and that emotion and then visualize the conversation like actually going well, and so then your mind is recognizing, like, oh, I’ve already been in this situation or I’ve been in this scenario, and that takes, you know, some time and some practice to get to the point. You know where you do that, but I think, but there’s also an element of Still being able to imagine and do different things, but also still staying in the moment as well and like, okay, if this is where you want to go, what’s your process? If someone comes to you and says I want to be fit this summer, I mean I know what that means, but what does that mean? Right, like, what exactly does that mean? Or I want to be more present. Well, what does that mean for you? What does that look like? Like, what’s the action? Because when people provide us with these really arbitrary things and sometimes they do, because then they can keep judging themselves on it because there’s no measurement to it. Does that make sense?

David: 34:20

I love that. I want to be fit. No, you need a measurable and attainable goal, right, I mean?

Lauren: 34:27

I think it’s really good if you want to go anywhere, and I think it also has to be, like you said, attainable. I mean, this is what we see as we’re getting closer to the holidays. In the first of the year the gym is packed on January 1st because everyone says I’m going to go to the gym every single day, this or five days a week, whatever it’s going to be, and then they don’t do that and so then they go. We’ll see it didn’t work and they kind of people fall by the wayside. Part of that is what makes you think you’re going to go every day when you haven’t been going at all. Right, like we need to do it in increments, so like, if you’re saying I want to work out more, like I may just ask you to go once this week, I want you to give me something that you’re like I can do that, because sometimes when people are setting these goals and it’s getting beyond themselves and then they are like beating themselves up because they’re not reaching their goals, then we have to back it up so that they can see that some goals are attainable, so that then they can imagine and see like what you’re seeing far out in the future.

David: 35:39

This sort of gradual laddering up of accomplishment into a realm that I’ve seen this a lot where people, especially like in the fitness community, someone who has never done anything and they’re like, okay, you can do push up on your knees. Okay, great, now you can do three, now you can do five or whatever, and something sort of changes in the mind where suddenly the unimaginable becomes the possibly attainable Right and you move that way. Yeah.

Lauren: 36:08

But if someone is that do 25 right away and then like, oh, I can’t do that, and they instantly give up.

David: 36:16

So you can’t see that path. Right, right, it’s that path and I think that I’m going to retract something I said earlier this poverty of imagination. It has to do with sort of the limit that we can. You know, it’s literally the headlights going down the road at night you can only sort of see as far as you can see Right and beyond that it’s just like God knows what. Yeah, and if we make little steps forward and whatever, the headlight beam goes further, and then you can see further, and then you can imagine further.

Lauren: 36:45

Because I think people who can imagine, can, they can do it. It’s people who are holding themselves back. There’s lots of. You have to kind of pick at that and figure out is it fear of success, Is it fear of failure? Is it self talk? Is it concentration? Maybe their physical abilities, you know, like there could be lots of multiple different things contributing to that.

David: 37:11

I deal mostly with people over 50. That’s sort of our gig.

Lauren: 37:14

I’m knocking on the door. I’ve got like three months.

David: 37:21

We will welcome you with open arms. Thank you. You know there’s so much cultural nonsense out there, not so much self talk, but like cultural negativity about like, oh, you’re this age, Therefore you cannot do this, Don’t even attempt to do this. You know it’s all downhill, give up, yeah, and you know. So there’s this idea of things that you can and can’t do. There’s certainly things that I cannot do now that I could do at 20. But I often tell people who don’t confuse it being hard with being impossible. I think somebody once told me, like you can really learn anything in three years, like you’re not going to be, you know, interpreting Mandarin at the UN, but you can probably banter with a taxi driver in Beijing if that’s what you want to do. But it’s hard right, because I’m sure there are people that come to you and like someone who’s on a 10 meter thing and they’re you know it’s like okay, we want to do a triple double, whatever and land this way. That’s currently impossible for you. Okay, but you can do that. It’s just hard. So how do you like unwrap that for people?

Lauren: 38:43

I think there’s also the element of like, something like that. There’s also fear and fear of injury, fear of you know, whatever. And so and it’s interesting I remember listening to like another sports site who was like, well, you should never be afraid. And I was like thinking about it and I mean, maybe if you’re like I don’t know, a tennis player like you’re not afraid of there’s fear on the court, but not afraid of like falling or something like that. I don’t, that’s not a really good example, but I always had a little bit of fear and I think some of that fear is it means you respect what you’re doing it’s when the fear becomes paralyzing that you can’t, you know you’re not doing it, or moving forward or different things. And so it all goes back to like, whatever your expectation is and that you’re, do you have realistic expectations? You know, I think as we get older, some in that same concept of staying in the now, like, am I doing the best I can do today for what I have right in this moment? It may not. When you’re like, oh, I used to do this and I can’t do that anymore. I mean, I used to train 40 hours plus a week. I’m not ever going to be like that fit again. And so there’s. You know, when you do comparison, that’s also like a demotivator in quite in many cases. And so I think, as we get older, recognizing also like your small progressions, and that’s what we miss, because if you’re missing the goal but you’re not looking at your process to get there, you’re missing the part, the little, small successes you’re excelling out along the way.

David: 40:48

I want to circle back to this fear idea.

Lauren: 40:50

Yeah.

David: 40:51

I’ve heard that too. Like don’t be scared. Well, listen, there are consequences out there, yeah.

Lauren: 40:55

And like I can’t tell you you’re not going to get hurt, right, exactly.

David: 41:01

Yeah, right, there are consequences, yeah, and so you have to sort of weigh like what you’re willing to do. But I think there’s also there’s another kind of fear that you mentioned earlier the fear of success or the fear of transitioning up to something that you’re not now Right, that you’re going to be this other thing, and that’s a different sort of fear.

Lauren: 41:29

Yeah, there’s also the fear of what if I do put everything into this and I still don’t get there.

David: 41:38

Yeah, right, right yeah.

Lauren: 41:41

Like people kind of like, will hold back a little bit because then they have something to go to. Well, I didn’t do this or do that, but like the best of the best will go into something saying like I did not leave any rock unturned, like I’ve done it all. There’s not anything I can point to that is going to. You know, I mean there’s there’s a little bit of luck in our performance as well. So you know, right time, right place, whatever it might be. So I think there’s the fear of like adrenaline. Fear is like you can kind of learn how to embrace that, the fear of when it becomes paralyzing. That’s the part that you have to talk through.

David: 42:32

You and I both know a lot of elite athletes and like we live in a town that’s filled with them, yeah, but there’s like Olympians, okay, so they’re different than us. And then there are people that podium and they’re different than the Olympics. And then there are the people that gold medal. It’s hard I don’t know how to describe this but they, they have, they find a way to win, they just it’s I don’t know if it’s the no rock unturned or there’s like sort of a thing in their head that they’re there, like they just won’t be denied. And I’ve sort of seen this from you. Know, okay, they did whatever their sport was and now, 20 years later, but they’ve still got that thing and it’s, it’s still scary. Yeah, they just, by the way, make terrible coaches because they’re not who you want to coach you, but they just only know how to play a gold medal game. That’s the only. Like they’re just wired that way.

Lauren: 43:35

Yeah, I think so, but there’s also, I think there’s the typical population seems to feel that that those people don’t have fear or don’t have any concerns and don’t ever have negative self-talk or whatnot. And that’s just not true. Right At the end of the day, whether it’s an executive, an elite level athlete, whatever that is, that’s not who they are, it’s what they do. And, at the end of the day, we’re all people and things happen to people. You know we all. Still, you might lose your dog, or you might break up with someone, or you might. You know they’re still human beings and I think that’s one of the things that society forgets. And also, you have to remember what we see is what people want to allow you to see. And and also, like someone called me from ESPN for an article on one of the best in the world and they asked me what are their flaws? I was like are you like? First of all, are you kidding me? And I just said that the flaws that they’re human being.

David: 44:56

Right.

Lauren: 44:56

You know. So I think there’s, yes, everybody. There are some that are just naturally have a mental toughness to them, but they still work at it.

David: 45:12

I was reading in your youth Michael Schifrin, the probably greatest skewers, skewers or ever about how she occasionally throws up before a race and I just thought that really made me like her. That really made me like her.

Lauren: 45:30

And I worked with her then and I think that’s when people miss that. Like in everybody’s view, she was the best of the best, nothing was wrong, and yet she was and she could, was still the best, but she was thrown up before races and was miserable and you know thinking. I’m not doing it. So the cool thing about Mikaela is she was willing to share that and be vulnerable. But there is a time where I said, putting things on your gloves, or whatever. We worked where she put I am on her glove, which meant I’m the same person at the start as I am at the finish, no matter what happens.

David: 46:21

I find that these people like this, who are just like once in a generation sort of athletes, still have the same stuff that we all have.

Lauren: 46:33

They’re human beings. I mean, we all are and they’re just. Yeah, we all have different things that we go through and we all have different things that we want to work on. And just like you work physically all the time to be sharp and mentally to perform like on a dime, that’s something that has to be, is trained.

David: 47:00

Right, excellent, lauren, thank you so much for joining us today, and is there anything you’d like to leave my people with today?

Lauren: 47:10

I think that everyone can be mentally tough, but it’s also a thing that you work on and it takes time and some of the things you’re like struggle with Also remembering that, like thinking back, like it might be a pattern that you’ve had since you were you know you may have been doing this for 50 years. So, like, if you thought about a correction you had athletically and you were doing it for 50 years, would you be able to change it in five tries? No, and so I think people don’t always give the mental side the patience to like build on the skill, because it’s not so, not something you see right away, and then they’re like see it doesn’t work.

David: 48:00

I know we’re at the end here, but this idea of mental toughness is something that my personal belief is that strong people not just picking up weights, but like the whole being a strong human being can be vulnerable. They can be present and they can. They can take emotional and mental risks additional to physical risks that people who may feel themselves weak cannot but you can get there. Yeah, yeah.

Lauren: 48:32

And that’s where you got to be able to and I also think really quickly you work out it backwards At least I do where some of the things you’re doing you may not recognize it till you get home at night and you’re laying down for bed and you’re like, oh, I really kind of got in a hole today. And then we’re working back to then, maybe in the moment you get, are starting going down that path of you know, lack of imagination or negativity, but you’re not quite there where you can change it. And then you get to the point where it’s in the moment you figure it out and you can change it. But then we want to figure out what is it that triggers that to get to that point? And can we work on that first, so that like it’s a progression versus it’s just like, oh, I figure out what the trigger is and then I’ll be able to change it Right?

David: 49:32

Patience and effort and apply ourselves to these sort of things Exactly. Yeah, lauren, this is wonderful. If somebody wanted to get in touch with you, what would they do? I have a website.

Lauren: 49:45

It’s pyramidperformancenet and you can contact me through there.

David: 49:53

Super. We’ll put that in the show notes. Great.

Lauren: 49:56

Thank you.

David: 49:56

Thank you so much for your time today. You were great.

Lauren: 49:58

Awesome, thank you.

David: 50:00

Thank you.



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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

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