Building Mental Toughness with Lauren Johnson, Mental Conditioning Coordinator for the New York Yankees

Lauren is an athlete-turned-mental conditioning coach, who is highly motivating, and relatable with a passion for developing the minds of the elite. Lauren trains professional athletes, military personnel and business professionals through national speaking engagements, educational training workshops and consulting.

For the past four years Lauren has served as the Mental Conditioning Coordinator for the New York Yankees, where she is responsible for aiding in the development of athletes and staff through education, application, and support.

From the playing field to the boardroom, Lauren helps elite performers develop mental toughness so they can be their best regardless of circumstance. Her practical, straight-forward advice and performance strategies provide tangible results and skills that help individuals push through the inevitable challenges life throws at us.

In this podcast, Lauren and Cindra talk:

· How a job at Starbucks led her to the work with the Yankees

· Her definition of failure

· How to zoom into the moment

· The ways professionals are different than amateurs

· Why we should each seek discomfort

 “I don’t think that failure is necessarily a result of doing something, it’s the result of not doing something.”-@_laurenjohnson_
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 “Failure for us is the best form of feedback. It shows you the path of what works by showing you what doesn’t.” @_laurenjohnson_ 
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 “When you’re overwhelmed by the big picture, zoom into the moment that you’re in and focus on just a few things that you can control.” -@_laurenjohnson_
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“When you’re overwhelmed by maybe a mistake you just made or the moment you’re in, zoom out and remember the big picture.” -@_laurenjohnson_
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 “Mental toughness is being your best regardless of the circumstance.”-@_laurenjohnson_  
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“The best athletes are constantly evolving and seeking to get better and their goal is never to finish the climb but to just focus and master the one in front of them.”-@_laurenjohnson_
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“Consistency of effort is greater than our intensity of effort.” @_laurenjohnson_
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Full Transcription:

Cindra: Lauren. I am so excited that you’re here on the High-Performance Mindset Podcast so pumped that you are joining us from California today. How’s your day going?

Lauren: Oh, it’s going great. Thank you so much for having me. I love your podcast and when you asked me to be on it. I was like, Yes. Are you kidding me? So excited to be here.

Cindra: Well, I’m excited to have you. I’ve been connecting with you on social media, which is always really fun you know that we have this great community there, so I love the content that you post. And that’s one of the reasons that I wanted to reach out to you today because I knew that you’d provide a lot of value to the people who are listening, so, grateful that you’re here to spend some time with us.

Lauren: Thank you.

Cindra: So let’s get started. And to start us off. Why don’t you go ahead and just share with us a little bit about your passion and what you do right now?

Lauren: Uh, man. I love the field that we’re in. I am so passionate about just the mental side of not just sport, the performance and how that contributes to our performance in general. And so I think I became passionate about it because I grew up in athletics and so it was very natural part of athletics, but I wasn’t very knowledgeable about it. And so when I learned about it. I think the reason why I loved it so much is because I was the athlete that needed it. And I, when I started to learn. I’m like, oh my gosh, what kind of athlete would I’ve been if I would have known these things? And at the time I discovered it. I was injured, I had kind of retired from playing soccer in college and I decided, man. If I have all this information, all this knowledge. How can I now help others use this and benefit their career and not be in a position where I was in where I was like, man, what would have been like if I would have had this.

Cindra: Yeah, I think you and I have a similar passion. I really struggled when I was in college as an athlete. I had the mental game all figured out in high school, you know, crushed it got a college scholarship, but it was like so up and down in college, and that’s why I’m still passionate about it many years later, because it’s like, I don’t want anyone to feel that same kind of pain that you know you have all this talent, but you know that your mind’s not working, it’s working against you, not for you.

Lauren: Mm hmm. Absolutely. I can relate to that.

Cindra: So tell us a bit about how you got to where you are now in your career? So the Mental Conditioning Coordinator for the New York Yankees. Give me a little sense of and those who are listening, just how you got to where you are now with the Yankees?

Lauren: Yeah. So kind of like what I mentioned about previously with my college career, I played soccer my whole life, and it was senior year in college and I received my fifth concussion. And my neurologist and athletic trainer told me, you know, Lauren, it’s not safe for you to play

anymore and you know as an athlete you kind of go through this identity crisis, and that’s what happened. I mean, I was like crushed. I didn’t know who I was without it, and so
I decided, although I was still a part of the team traveling and, you know, helping in any way I can on the sidelines, I decided to take on an elective course. And that’s when I found sport psychology and I was like, “Oh Holy” And just fell completely in love with it. And one of my assignments was to interview somebody in the field and I ended up interviewing Dr. Sarah Castillo. And you’re only supposed to talk for you know 30 minutes or so we talked for hours. And that was the time when I also realized, okay, I love this so much. And now I know this is the direction I wanted to go in. So I think she really helped me in terms of finding that what I loved and introducing me to the field. And so what I did is I went, got my master’s degree in it. And at the end of my master’s degree I was offered two positions, one IMG Academy and an army position and I decided, you know, to turn down one and go with the other and but the position I had chosen it was going to take about six months to be placed which was normal for this position and about six months goes by and there were other people that I knew that also received some of these positions and I was confused because they were all getting their placements and I wasn’t. And so I reached out and I was like, hey, you know, why am I or, you know, hey, am I going to be placed soon? and I get an email back and they said, “We’re sorry the positions, no longer available.” So here I was, like out. I started out right out of grad school with two awesome job opportunities now it’s too late to go back and, you know, take the other ones because I’m six months out of that and I, it’s not like we can go on and go like a sports like jobs you know it’s they’re not very easy to come by and so I was devastated. But I decided to get a job at Starbucks in the meantime, just to, you know, make some money while I get my feet under myself and one day, everything changed for me. I was working drive thru and this guy came in and you know it was typical if you’re working the drive thru to spark up a conversation with the person waiting for their drink. And so I did and he asked me, “Hey, what are you are you going to school right now?” And I was like, “Oh, no, you know, actually just finished.” He’s like, “What did you get your degree in?” I said “Oh Performance Psychology.” and he starts laughing at me. Like full on belly laughing, and I was so confused. And I had to ask him, I was like, “What, what’s so funny?” He’s like, “You got one of those degrees, you’re never going to use.” Oh, and it took everything within me not to jump out at the window or throw his coffee on him, but I realized at the end of the day, I just kept ruminating about it. And every time I did I was getting more and more angry. I was getting pissed off. And I was so annoyed. And I thought to myself, this guy doesn’t even know you. Why are you letting him get to you? and that’s when I realized it was because he was right. Here I was out of grad school. And instead of doing the very thing that I wanted to be teaching, I was comfortable. Instead of going out and doing something uncomfortable and finding another way I just sat in this discomfort. And that’s why it pissed me off so much is because part of what he said was true. I wasn’t doing anything with what I got my degree in and that was the day that I went home and I Googled how to start my own company. And I started my own company and I got the opportunity with the Yankees. So that’s the short version of how I got here.

Cindra: Well, what I love about that. It was this like this conversation with the person at Starbucks that helped you realize this, you know that you were holding yourself back, you were playing small. I have been reading this book called Discover Your True North, which is an

amazing book and in that book in the book they talk about your crucible moments and these moments of adversity that really do change you trajectory. And that’s when I heard about like I love how it was just like this one person who could make this impact on you. And then you’re like, yes, I’m going to move forward with my dreams. You know, I can do this. Despite having this big, huge setback for six months you’re waiting for this job.

Lauren: Yeah and you know I think that that was one of the things that sports taught me is that you don’t have time to sit and feel sorry for yourself.

Cindra: Right.

Lauren: You make a mistake, circumstances don’t go your way, despite you doing everything that you want. I gotta get my butt back on defense. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself or to play the victim. I have to get my butt back. And so I think this was my lightbulb moment and I was able to translate what I’ve learned in sport to real life and that’s when I was like wait, you know how to do this. What are you doing, this is no different? And so I think that’s what I’m very thankful for the guy at Starbucks, guaranteed doesn’t know who I am. But I’m thankful for him, and that he was willing to have a difficult conversation, no matter how rude it was, I think I needed it.

Cindra: And I hope that people are thinking about themselves as they’re listening to your story. Like what are the ways that you’re holding yourself back right now and just this wakeup call of someone saying and giving an example of how you did. I think it can also wake us up to alright, are we all really pursuing our true potential? And I know just like you do it does take a lot of grit and courage to do this work and to get out there and to put yourself out there. If it’s on social media or to start your own company. So way to go. And I think sometimes Lauren that people like let failure, this fear of failure hold them back so what I’d love to hear from you. And this is a question I ask everyone I just compiled these definitions this weekend, and it was super cool to see, but give us insight of like what failure means to you. How would you define it and tell us a story about a time that you failed?

Lauren: Failure is very simple for me, failure is not trying. I don’t think that that failure is necessarily a result of doing something. It’s the result of not doing something and shoot, I fail all the time. I mean, I’ll tell you right now. Social media is a blessing and a curse of mine. I love certain parts about social media, and I hate other parts of it and the parts that I hate I forced myself to do and trust me, it’s not easy, putting yourself out there for the world to see. It’s not easy failing in front of everybody and knowing that there are many eyes on you, but at the same time I would, I think, a bigger regret or the bigger struggle for me would be regret. I want to know. I don’t, I don’t think anybody on their deathbed regrets trying, but I think everybody regrets not having put themselves out there and trying and I think that failure for us is the best form of feedback. It’s the best form because it shows you the path of what works by showing you what doesn’t.

Cindra: Yeah. Nice.

Lauren: For me, that right there is such a benefit. And I think that when you when you’re willing to learn from the things that you’re not very good at, the fear of it starts to fade away. And so when you learn to fail, big opportunities show up and big moments show up where we can start to improve and get better.

Cindra: So, let’s talk about that related to you and then maybe let’s think of a baseball example. And I think for you and you kind of mentioned social media because I think so many people can relate to this, you know, tell us a little give us a little insight on you know when you’re thinking about failure and posting on social media, get this, kind of describe that to us a little bit more.

Lauren: I’d say scroll back, go all the way back to my first video and first few videos and you’ll see it. I’m so uncomfortable and I felt that way. And it’s, it shows. I didn’t quite know where I was going with some of the things I was I mean everything I thought was good. And then I watched it, I was like, that wasn’t good, but the last thing I don’t take them off. Because to me, they’re still a reminder of how far I’ve come. And I think that there’s two things to know about anything that you start or you begin. When you’re new at it, is number one, you’re not going to be good at it, you’re probably going to suck at it at first. And number two, it’ll take repetition to get better. And so every time that you repeat and you get better, or you improve. And so right there it’s a skill like anything else. It takes repetition and not just blind repetition, but repetition and then reviewing it having some awareness of what areas could you continue or afford to improve and then acting on that. So I always say, you know, take notes. Then take action. It’s a simple process that we can do to continue but just scroll back to my social media, you’ll see, it’s hard to find.

Cindra: So you’ll laugh at this story, but I started my email list. I’m guessing maybe in 2015 right so going to when I started the podcast and I did this, like, three-minute video in my backyard. You know, the sending my email list and I probably did it like 10 times I sent it to my coach and she just kind of said Cindra, this is terrible. Like, you’re not even comfortable. You’re not yourself, but I still posted it anyway. Right, so I feel your pain. Give us a little insight on maybe how that message might be similar or different if you’re working with a baseball player, or when you’re talking to a team?

Lauren: Yeah, I think that baseball is no different. Our arena just changes. And so, I think that the you know the principles that we talked about in mindset is very similar. And it’s universal right, no matter what you’re doing in performance. I think the arena just shifts. And so I think for our guys you know, putting yourself out there, you know, throwing a new pitch in a high pressure situation. And, you know, swinging when it feels way more comfortable to just try and get a walk, you know, whatever it is. I think that every single athlete can identify with putting themselves out there when they’re least comfortable you know, maybe when they’re up against a picture that they they’ve struck out with like every single time they faced them. And now they’re in a big moment and the games on the line and they’re the ones that are having to change the course of that. And so I think that no matter what. It’s different. And I always go back to the process. A lot of times what happens when we’re in these big moments and when

we’re feeling fear. We’re fearing something that hasn’t happened yet. It’s like a this, this could happen, this might happen. And so what we do is we can shrink our focus back down to the moment that we’re in. What can you control because right now. In those moments. It feels like when we get overwhelmed. One of the first things to go is our sense of control. And so then it’s one of the things we can do is we can reconnect. What can you control? I know for me I can’t control the response to videos I put out, but I can control the quality that I put out our players, they can’t control whether or not they strike out, they get a hit, but they can control what pitches they choose to throw in certain counts against certain hitters. And our hitters can control what pitches they choose to swing at and they’re committing to. And so I think right there when we feel overwhelmed. I call it zooming in zooming out when you’re overwhelmed by the big picture zoom into the moment that you’re in and focus just on a few things that you can control. And when you’re overwhelmed by maybe a mistake you just made or the moment that you’re in, zoom out and remember the big picture. This is just a small step in the direction of your goals. And so I think that’s a really great way that we can really refocus no matter where we are at either might be might mean for you zooming in, it might mean for you zooming out.

Cindra: Awesome, great. So, Lauren, when you think about just your work with high level athletes and I’m thinking about your work with the Yankees. But then I know you also work within your own private practice still. Give us a sense of what you see the top athletes who differently related to the mindset or the mental game and they are willing to do?

Lauren: They’re willing to be consistent. They’re willing to do these things every single day. And I think that, I think that the road to being your best it’s lonely, and I think that improving in the things that they’re willing to do on a daily basis. They’re often boring. They’re often on motivating and they’re often it’s often lonely and so they’re willing to put in the reps.

Day in and day out because mental toughness. It’s not a light switch. You can’t just turn it on, when you need it. You have to consistently put an effort to improve the skill, much like any other skill, much like riding a bike, much like learning or building up to run a marathon. You know, much like any skill you just fill in the blank. It takes repetition to improve. And so, what I see is they are in it for the book. They’re playing the long game. They’re not playing the short game. They’re not looking for short term comfort. They’re not looking for short term results. They are in it for the long-term results. And what that means is acting despite how you feel, committing despite what your circumstances look like and not underestimating their ability to improve, no matter what their situation.

Cindra: Awesome. I think that’s so important to act independent of how you feel, because I know you know, for me, the last couple of months, specially right at the top of COVID I, you know, it’s like, I’d rather just sleep all day. Well, nope. I’m not going to get a feel. So Lauren, what do you think mental toughness is like, how would you define it? And then, you know, how would you say that the best develop it and build it?

Lauren: Mental toughness is being your best regardless of the circumstance. And I think the best they build it, through awareness and action. Through those repetitions like I’ve talked about but not blind repetitions. I mean, sure. I’d rather people take action and inaction, but at

the same time making sure that we’re doubling down and we’re watching what are we doing, and what does that providing us at the end. And so I think that every time you fall, and you get back up. That’s one rep for resilience. Every time you trust the process, regardless of result that’s one rep for consistency. Every time that you push yourself outside your comfort zone. That’s one rep for growth. So I think those are the best ways to build mental toughness and the best way I see people building mental toughness is putting in those reps. And I think that first comes down to being kind of aware of where you’re at right now because I think one of the best ways to improve your mental toughness is to first know how and why you fail to maintain that, what are the things that get in the way of it and then being able to put in the reps to improve that.

Cindra: Nice. So awareness plus action. I think that’s important because if you’re not aware of where you’re at right now. Like, how do you know to make the changes. And so when you kind of observe high level athletes, give us a little insight on the ones that are the most mentally tough. What do they may be do differently?

Lauren: I think what they’re able to do is they are, they know themselves so well. They are highly educated on themselves, and whether that is their, you know, emotional IQ. Whether that is what they’re the game IQ is based on like what are their, what are their tendencies and I think that and you know there’s a difference between reacting and responding and I think really great athletes, they respond. They don’t simply react. And so I think that’s like where the difference lies is that they’re able at any given moment to really tune into themselves and being able to then choose their response instead of kind of their reaction choosing for them.

Cindra: Absolutely. And that might be like controlling their emotions during a game or an ump call something that they don’t agree with, or they get tough feedback. Maybe they don’t move up in the system as much as they’d like to quickly as they like to like being able to respond to that not react. I could see how that’s really important.

Lauren: And I think another thing is they’re always students. They’re never done learning. They’re always seeking information they’re always trying to find ways to improve they’re constantly evolving because one of the things that’s, that we know is true is that the world in our lives are constantly going to be changing but it’s our choice whether or not we choose to evolve with it. And I think that the best athletes are constantly evolving and seeking to get better and their goal is never to finish the climb, but to just focus and master the one in front of them and then the next day they’ll focus and master that one and so on.

Cindra: I really like your videos that you’ve been putting on social. I want to make sure I’m saying it right “Not so quarantined questions.” So, give us a sense of, like, why you decided to put those up there and maybe just give us a snapshot of a popular one or one that maybe you really liked and just kind of share that message with us.

Lauren: Yeah, well, I came up with them just because I was getting a lot of questions on social media about how to manage our mindset during quarantine. And so I was originally inspired by

that and it was called quarantine questions and now we’re kind of, now I’m in California so we’re kind of going back into quarantine a little bit but you know it’s a little bit different than it was the very beginning. So it’s now transitioned to not-so quarantine questions. I think one of the, one of my most popular ones was actually the one that I talked about earlier, which was about kind of my journey to get where I am now and but the really take home message of that was to lean into discomfort because we’re not going to make a whole hell of a lot of progress if we turn around at the first sign of roadblocks. If the first roadblock we come up against were like well, that was nice, I tried and turned around, you know, we have to continuously push through that or find a way around that and so the kind of take home message was that, you know, professionals are just amateurs who repeatedly tried, failed, learned and improved. And they didn’t start out great. They became great and so one way to become great is to not avoid discomfort for to lean into it because what we’re waiting for is on the other side of it that growth that we really want in that direction. And so I think that is so important because I think our brains are wired for comfort, you know, our brains, we have evolved as creatures, our brains haven’t and so it’s that is our default setting. Now the cool thing about it is that we know that we can upgrade it and we can develop it with repetition. And one of the ways we can do that is to lean into discomfort, lean into things that maybe are uncomfortable, but you know that are good for you and continuously do that and we can train our brain to seek discomfort instead of avoid it.

Cindra: Yeah, I think that’s maybe a little mind blowing for some people like to seek discomfort, you know, because you’re right, like our brain is just wants to be comfortable. So, give us maybe an example of you or somebody that you worked with a company who worked with, like, maybe. How do we seek discomfort?

Lauren: Yeah, okay. I had a client, a while back, and she really hated the idea of meditation, hated it and I was like, you know, the one thing I know is that not all mental skills are going to work for everybody. And so part of the way that I work with my clients is I will challenge them to do things that are outside of their comfort zone. But if, ultimately, it’s not working. We adjust. It’s not, it doesn’t mean it’s the end all be all. And so I had her do some meditation and she hated it at first was like, oh, you’re gonna make me do this. I don’t like this. I went to yoga once, I hated it. So, I kind of pushed her a little bit. And the first couple of times I had her do a week and the first couple times she’s like, I just can’t my mind keeps wandering and wandering. So we talked about that. And I was like, you’re not supposed to be good at it. That’s why it’s called improving. It’s that you suck right now so that’s there’s that there’s that room for improvement right there. I was like, let’s try and, you know, I gave her some goals and by the end of it. She said, I am so aware of when my mind begins to drift. That I realize all the times it drifts during my fights. And she’s a muay thai fighter. I realized all the times that I’ve become distracted and she starts listing them and the list was like this long. She’s like, before I never even thought about it, but I’m starting to become aware of it. And so I think that sometimes discomfort can be alarming, it can be to shoot trust me, it’s not all discomfort is something I want. So there’s times where I’m like, uhh, I don’t want to do that but a lot of times if we stick with certain thing you’d be surprised at what you can find on the other side and for her it was so simple but it made such a big impact. And that very next fight we realized that the one thing

that helped her win that fight was the fact that she was able to stay more focused for a longer period of time. Because the one thing she kept doing, was she kept trying to go outside of her prop process when things weren’t going well and she would she would want to just change it and abandon it and try and quickly get that get that quick comfort of getting of landing a punch and when she stuck with her process. It ended up getting her a win.

Cindra: Awesome. Pretty cool. And just how like doing something uncomfortable, which is the meditation ended up helping her in that moment, because she could tell and noticed when her attention was drifting, Yeah. Great example. When you think about you know you teaching mindset to top level athletes and performers? What do you hear yourself saying over and over and over again. You know, like, is there something, a theme or a topic that you hear yourself talking about a lot?

Lauren: I think the topic I keep hearing. I hear myself say a lot is consistency. Consistency of effort is greater than our intensity of effort. Because you know obviously like the consistency is a long term we’re playing the long game. And we’re doing that. And I think a lot of us when we think of intensity we think success or are getting to the next level is success. It’s, you know, winning that metal it’s winning that tournament winning that game I’m hitting those home runs, you know, all these big, big moments, but it’s not really that, what it actually is failing, falling and getting back up. Learning from failure, it’s leaning into discomfort. It’s all these things that with time. And leading to success. And it’s not about intensity. It’s about consistency. And so I think that’s the one thing I keep finding myself saying is that the good thing about consistency is that is something that we can do. We can choose to do daily. It doesn’t have to be some big thing. We don’t have to do some huge, you know, you don’t have to go to the gym for five hours, you just simply maybe have to go for 10 to 20 minutes a day.
It becomes much more manageable. When we chop it down to a really simple form and choose to repeat that on a daily basis.

Cindra: I think that people can get so distracted, sometimes by, you know, like things that provide like this immediate gratification, instead of the things that really help them in the long term.

Lauren: No, I totally agree. I think it’s easy to especially when we look at successful people we just see, we see that, you know, it’s like the tip of the iceberg. You know, we see only a little bit of their success. We don’t see everything else that came with it. And so it’s kind of like, make sure that you’re reading the fine print. You have to know, you know when you sign up for something difficult. You have to know all that comes with it and you’re also you’re also agreeing to doing everything that that is required to become successful.

Cindra: So, Lauren, when you think about how you teach a mindset is there a unique topic or way that you might teach it?

Lauren: Yeah. One of the things that I like to do with a lot of my athletes and or clients in general is these contrast principles. So what we’ll do is instead of only looking at what we want.

We also look at what we don’t want. When we’re looking at what we’re going to do, we’re also going to look at what we’re not going to do and when we look at what we want success to look like we’re also going to look at what success. Doesn’t look like or what obstacles might get in the way of that success because I think that it’s awesome to know what we want, but I think it’s equally important to bring awareness to the things that we don’t want because I think oftentimes we can fall into those traps and that’s okay. That’s a part of it. Right. But the more we are aware of it, the more that we can start to plan and what we’re going to do when we, when we come to it when we face it. And what we’re going to do to combat that.

Cindra: Awesome. I think that’s a great strategy to think about what success looks like to you. But what does it not look like or what are you not going to do? Or maybe if people are thinking about the goals that they like for the next six months. Well, what do you need to stop doing or avoid doing to get to that? What do you find is like the power of asking that this idea of like the contrast principles and like asking you know, what somebody does want versus and what someone doesn’t want?

Lauren: Well, I think it’s, I think it brings what they’re up against back down to reality because I think that envisioning the future and goal setting all that sounds great. I do it. It’s really important. But I think that it becomes a very short term benefit when we only look at that because it kind of provides this like you know this beautiful picture of what the outcome would look like, but what it doesn’t do is it doesn’t provide the reality of what we may face when we start to do it because goals are great, but when goals when goals face reality, they’re going to need refining, they’re going to need some fine tuning. Because they’re not going to be perfect. They’re not going to come out exactly the way that we want, because we are in perfectly human and so things are going to happen and things that we may be couldn’t have predicted. And so when we look at the opposite side. We are also looking at what we’re up against. And then you can make a pretty good prediction of whether or not you feel this is something you want to commit to. It’s easy to commit to some fun successful vision. It’s not easy to commit to pushing through all the difficult, pushing through what might happen, pushing through the things that have gotten in the way previously. And when we do that, then we can come out with a better, more realistic plan of what are the things that I need to do and not do in order to get to where I want to go?

Cindra: Awesome. So I know you had the videos of I guess I would call them the quarantine questions right, at the top of COVID. Give us a sense of what did you do to be able to handle all of this change and uncertainty and I’m thinking about your work with the Yankees and how you travel a lot and now your home, you know, and the other ways that you had to adjust and adapt. So give us a little insight on like, what have you been doing during this time?

Lauren: Yeah, I think I’ve really come back to my routines. I think that’s really important because I think a lot of us have lost structure during this time. You know, we’re used to leaving for work or for me I’m used to traveling and having a specific schedule and now being at home. I am creating that scheduled. So I think that my routines have been very beneficial for me because they have provided some structure to my days were without them, I may not have a

ton of structure. And so that’s been very helpful for me and I’ve been really getting back to, I’ve had consistently had to remind myself what I can control. And I don’t love doing virtual sessions with my athletes. I don’t love having to just do phone calls or texts, you know, I like being on the field. I like you know being face to face. I like working with our staff members and everybody else in person. It’s what I prefer, but I think that I could wish for that all day but it’s not going to change our reality. And I always, I’ve been saying this a lot, you know, complaining about our situation is like complaining about playing around a golf with 30 miles per hour wind and in the rain. It sucks. But we all are playing in the same circumstances and so I think the person that wins that round is the person that can be disciplined and their approach and continuously improve despite with certain circumstance. And so for me, it’s how can I remain discipline. How can I continue to improve and provide value in ways that maybe aren’t

what I’m used to, so challenging myself in that way. And it’s been really good. It’s been interesting and I think we’ve done a good job of refining that it has always been great. I think that’s the part of trying new things is, you know, you’re not going to be great at it, but it’s ibeen improving as we’re going along.

Cindra: Awesome. Is there a specific lesson that you’ve learned or an opportunity that you found during this time?

Lauren: Yes. It’s okay to slow down. I’m really good at filling my schedule. And I, you know, it was yesterday actually that I kind of had a really this this kind of came up, ironically, you know my back patio. I love my backyard. It’s just nice to be outside and I sat out there for breakfast, I sat there for lunch and I sat out there. Later that night, and lit a candle and was, you know, reading my book. And I was like, you know, I would never have the chance to do this. I don’t know if I ever sat on my backyard prior to, you know, the quarantine and what’s been going on and it’s those little things that I’ve gained big appreciation for and I think that it’s also taught me, you know, to take care of myself a little bit better. And you know, I think the first thing to go typically for myself is self-care just ironic. But I think I’ve learned how to become a better ally to myself. And take some time and it’s okay to slow down.

Cindra: Yeah, that’s great. I think I learned that that’s one of the things I’ve learned as well. It’s like at the beginning of quarantine I think my exercise schedule, I didn’t have one, you know, because I was just trying to kind of adjust and adapt to all the different changes in my life and my family’s life and kids being home from school. But then once I got like this okay run every morning. This is what you do after you run, it seemed to be like I was also caring for myself. And I think at the beginning I wasn’t doing such a great job sothanks for sharing that with us. So tell us how people can follow you on social and just connect with you, Lauren, if they like to after this interview?

Lauren: Yeah, you can follow me on Instagram and on Twitter and Instagram is @LaurenNicoleJohnson and Twitter is @_LaurenJohnson_. And I have a link up there that you can click and you can email me at. And so, I’d love to connect but those are the ways that you can get in touch with me.

Cindra: Awesome. Okay, so I’m going to do my best. I was writing some notes down I do my best to summarize today, people always tell me they like this so that if they didn’t take notes, they can go back and jot these things down, at least, thank you so much for sharing your story about the Starbucks encounter and just like how that helped you get uncomfortable and just continue to help you build this career so that’s a really cool story of just like an everyday person that helped you kind of wake you up to kind of where you are at. I really liked your definition of failure is like it’s just not trying and it’s really the result of just not doing something. So, putting yourself out there I think you the examples that you gave on social media, with clear examples that people could use. I also appreciate when you’re talking about mental toughness and you said it was like awareness plus action and doing things independent of how you feel that really mental toughness is something that we can develop. And then the zoom in, zoom out. I thought that was a great example and analogy and just continuing to lean into the discomfort right to actually seek discomfort. I thought that was really powerful and how the world’s best do that. So, Lauren, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. I’m grateful that you just impacted thousands and thousands of people. So, thank you so much.

Lauren: Thank you for having me.