“There’s no such thing as a big moment, there’s just another moment.”
At the highest echelon of elite performance, all the athletes possess otherworldly talent. Their thirst for glory is equally preternatural. All of them train to the outer limits of physical possibility. And they are all extraordinarily adroit at focusing on almost inhuman, impossible goals.
So what accounts for the distance between the Olympic gold medalist standing proudly atop the podium and the athlete watching the games on television at home?
Is it luck? Talent? Support? Resources? Of course every result is significantly influenced by some combination of these important variables. But all things being equal, the difference between the champion and the also ran boils down to one distinct variable:
Once the embarrassing last stop on a flailing athlete’s career, the world’s top sports psychologists now enjoys a highly influential and respected role proactively honing the mental and emotional edge of today’s most successful athletes, CEOs and creatives looking to elevate peak performance beyond the imaginable.
Enter Dr. Michael Gervais — the go to high performance psychologist everyone is talking about.
A key member of the Red Bull High Performance Program, Michael works in the trenches of high-stakes environments with some of the world’s most prolific Olympic and professional athletes — rare air where there is no luxury for mistakes, hesitation, or failure to respond.
Dr. Gervais’ results are beyond impressive. If you follow the NFL, then you might recall Michael as the guy Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll credits as integral in their 2014 Super Bowl win for the meditation, mindfulness and other crucial team building techniques he helped foster and instill into the fabric of the Seahawks organization and team culture that paved the team’s path towards incredible success.
You might also remember that Felix Baumgartner’s now-infamous Red Bull Stratos jump from an altitude of 128,000 feet almost never was simply because Felix simply could not overcome the high level of anxiety and claustrophobia he experienced every time he donned the jump suit. It was none other than Gervais who helped Baumagartner resolve the issue and get Stratos back on track. No Gervais, no history making jump.
And more recently, Michael is the man behind Luke Aikins, who astonished the world this past July by becoming the first skydiver to jump from a plane at 25,000 feet without a parachute or wingsuit and live to tell the story.
Dr. Gervais has also worked intimately with US Olympic Team members like beach volleyball superstar Kerry Walsh Jennings, as well as swimmers, snowboarders, golfers, basketball players, track and field athletes, an impressive array of top collegiate programs, and professional sports organizations including the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB and UFC. In addition, his work has played an integral role in the US Military, as well as several collegiate and high school programs.
While Dr. Gervais’ roster includes some of the sports world’s most elite, this isn’t just about high performance athletes.
Whether you are an athlete or a weekend warrior, an executive or a stay-at-home parent, it’s about transcending our self-imposed limitations to unlock dormant potential to unleash your unique, most authentic life.
Because everyday, every one of us — irrespective of circumstance — has the opportunity to create a living masterpiece.
Today marks my second conversation with Michael. Picking up where we left off in December 2014 (RRP 120), this conversation delves deeper into Michael’s life, experience and message, further canvassing the psychological topography of performance and even probing some surprisingly mystical terrain.
We cover a lot of ground in this conversation, including:
- shared podcasting experiences
- the psychology of “the interview”
- the freedom of courage
- explaining an “off-axis” nature
- the principles of effective coaching
- hardship and hurdles—the 2016 Olympics
- improving performance and relationships
- in pursuit of pain
- Michael’s mystical flower reading
- the razor’s edge
- the power of positive thinking
- placebo and nocebo effects on health
- mastery of self
At it’s core, this is a conversation about self mastery. A state of being that isn’t about motivation. And has nothing to do with winning. It’s about courage. It’s about pursuing the razor’s edge of what’s possible. It’s about belief.
And it’s about love.
A very special human, Michael is truly one of my favorite people and this conversation reveals why. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed having it. And while you’re at it, make a point of subscribing to his podcast. A unique mining of the mindsets behind high performers across a diversity of disciplines, Finding Mastery stands alone.
Peace + Plants,
Spots are now available for our Australian retreat— for info visit plantpowerworld.com
Check out Julie’s podcast divine throughline
Thanks to this week’s sponsors:
Note: One of the best ways to support the podcast is to support the sponsors. For a complete list of all RRP sponsors and their respective vanity url’s and discount codes, visit my Resources page and click “Sponsors”.
In addition to curating conversations with those who have dedicated their life toward Finding Mastery, Michael has vowed (with the help of co-founder Pete Carroll) to help 1.5 billion people be the best they can be. To learn more check out winforever.com.
Background, Context & Reference
- Connect With Michael: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
- WSJ: The Shrink on the Seattle Seahawks’ Sideline by Matthew Futterman
- USAToday: One of Kerri Walsh Jennings’ most important accomplishments came at home by Josh Peter
- USAToday: [VIDEO] Kerri Walsh Jennings Behind The Gold (feat. Michael Gervais)
- HuffPost: Pete Carroll And Michael Gervais On The Blueprint Of A Successful Culture by Kira Brekke
- American Psychological Association (Division 47): Society for Sport Exercise & Performance Psychology
- FieldGulls: Seahawks’ Michael Gervais on sports psychology by Danny Kelly
- Seahawks: Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll: “If We’re Not Having Fun, I’m Screwing It Up”
- Outside: What’s Behind The Relentless Pursuit of Excellence? by Brad Stulberg
- TBRNews: Local sports psychologist shares path of mastery by Michael Hixon
- People: Meet the Husband and Father Who’s Skydiving from 25,000 Feet Without a Parachute by Tiare Dunlap
- CNN: World first: Skydiver plummets 25,000 feet — with no parachute by Euan McKirdy
- IndieWire: Meet Luke Aikins, The Man Who’s Going to Jump Out of a Plane With Just the Clothes on His Back by Steve Greene
- NYTimes: Skydiver Survives Jump From 25,000 Feet, and Without a Parachute by Maggie Astor
- CNN: World First – Skydiver Plummets 25,000 Feet — With No Parachute by Euan McKirdy
- NPR: Skydiver Luke Aikins Sets Record For Highest Jump Without Parachute by Maquita Peters
- NatGeo: This Man Jumped Out of a Plane With No Parachute by Andrew Bisharat
- Book: Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection* by John E. Sarno
- Book: Man’s Search for Meaning* by Viktor Frankl
- Book: Tao Te Ching* by Lao Tzu
- Book: The Alchemist* by Paulo Coelho
- Book: Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives* by Dan Millman
- Book: Full Catastrophe Living* by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Notable People Discussed In Today’s Podcast
- Dave Marsh: current CEO/Director of Coaching at SwimMAC Carolina in Charlotte, N.C.
- Pete Carroll: head coach and executive vice president of the Seattle Seahawks
- Bill Belichick: head coach of the New England Patriots
- Vince Lombardi: American football player, coach, and executive in the National Football League
- Pat Riley: American professional basketball executive, and a former coach and player in the National Basketball Association
- Kerri Walsh Jennings: American professional beach volleyball player, three-time Olympic gold medalist, and a one-time Olympic bronze medalist
- Anders Ericsson: Swedish psychologist and Conradi Eminent Scholar and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University who is internationally recognized as a researcher in the psychological nature of expertise and human performance
- Jon Kabat-Zinn: Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School
- Felix Baumgartner: Austrian skydiver, daredevil and BASE jumper, best known for his participation in the Red Bull Stratos project
- Luke Aikins: American professional skydiver, BASE jumper, pilot and Aerial photographer
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy
- RRP #097: Dan Harris On How A Panic Attack On National TV Led To Meditation As The Path To Happiness
- RRP #237: Anthony Ervin: The Rebel Olympian On Chasing Water, Finding Meaning In Gold & The Search For Authenticity
- RRP #239: Ryan Holiday On The Perils Of Ego & Inherent Value Of Humility
Thanks to Jason Camiolo for production, interstitial music and audio engineering; Chris Swan for production assistance & show notes; Shawn Patterson for graphics.
*Disclosure:Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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