Show Notes

 

Today’s guest is an athlete, author, entrepreneur, and mental conditioning coach who went from being offered scholarships to law school, to moving across the country to live and serve at a homeless shelter in downtown Los Angeles, all because he refused to be comfortable.

To call this man in touch with his authentic voice would be an understatement. Joshua Medcalf has repeatedly fought back the notion of fitting into the standards society has intended to impose on him, including a pivotal moment in time where he chose to shut out virtually every second of distraction in his life to learn and read for 12+ hours every single day. The result – an opportunity to work with perhaps one of the greatest coaches in the history of sports a mere six months later.

He’s built his mentorship and consulting company into a million dollar brand empowering thousands of athletes, coaches, and leaders who are committed to maximizing their potential as human beings. And as if that wasn’t enough to satisfy his hunger to grow and cause others to learn, he’s also managed to publish a staggering 6 books in less than 3 years. Also, he’s one of only two people that’s ever gotten invited to work with the legendary UNC Women’s soccer team on mental conditioning.

 

Where his focus on language came from, how it developed and, its role in experiencing reality. [2:11]

  • The foundational piece is the Bible. It talks about the power of life and death in the tongue.
  • One word might have different meanings to different people. So it’s important we operate in linguistic intentionality and not throw words around.
  • ‘’I get frustrated sometimes when people say, ‘’we need to be positive,’’ and I’m like, ‘’what do you mean by that?’’.
  • Words have power. There’s a reason why comedians have realized that the difference between one word and another can mean a difference between a set working and not working.
  • The difference between two letters in ‘I can’t’ vs ‘I don’t’ can mean a difference in about 80% of people following through or not on a commitment.
  • When you say ‘’I can’t’’, you lose a lot of your autonomy and internal will and power. [5:00]

 

What kind of language needs to occur for coaches to make sure they’re communicating love to athletes in an environment that is often loveless? [5:58]

  • It starts at a level of heart posture. It’s not always about the words that we use but the heart posture behind them. It’s the tone, the body language, but this is always impacted by the heart posture.
  • People feel our heart posture long before they process the words that we use.
  • Young people can see right through things or words that are not authentic. They know whether you care or not, how much you care, and where your priorities really lie.
  • Coaches are always looking for strategies although it’s a means to an end. A lot of people code their heart posture but really it’s in a radically different place and you don’t have to observe them for very long to know that that is the case.
  • It’s not about just words or strategies, it’s about having an authentic heart posture shift which leads to understanding that this life is short and fragile and a lot of things will not matter on your deathbed.

In your theory of the difference between feelings and principles, what can athletes do to make that shift and be better at it?  [12:33]

  • It comes down to the environment most of the time.
  • There are 6 specific things that are the fuel to our hearts. Meaning what we read, watch, listen to, our self-talk, and what we visualize in our circle. These shape our heart posture, our beliefs, actions more than anything else.
  • The way to impact your heart posture and beliefs and getting your focus back in beneficial directions is becoming intentional about the stuff that you fuel your heart with.
  • The music we listen to, movies we watch, the people in our circle, influences us to grow or not.
  • We’re like thirsty people that are guzzling salt water expecting it to quench our thirst. It can’t. [18:11]

 

Why separating identity from what they care about is a hurdle for young athletes to step through. [18:26]

  • ‘’We’re really bad about trying to find stuff to keep ourselves busy from having to contemplate the really hard questions in life.’’
  • There’s a reason why the Bible talks about be still and know that I am God. [20:41]
  • We’re constantly having noise all around us that distracts us from having to wrestle with the peace and quiet, and in the peace and quiet is where important questions start popping up. Questions like what am I doing with my life? Does this really matter? Am I putting first things first?
  • ‘’I don’t try and tell people what their priority should be. I ask them what their priorities are and then I ask them to show me what they do with their time. Then I’ll tell them what their priorities are.’’
  • Corporations and multi-trillion dollar industries sell us happiness and never sell us fulfillment because they wouldn’t get our money anymore.

 

As a coach, control is really natural and it’s a challenge to relinquish it by having athletes make authentic performances. [26:06]

  • We’re programmed to want, but also we’re in an environment that is telling us that that’s what we should be doing.
  • When you go out and spend time with people that are dying, it starts to be a reality check.
  • In order to change the world, you have to be socially disagreeable. [28:53] but to become socially disagreeable you have to go through a lot to be able to act in spite of what other people might think about you.
  • Death is a guarantee for all of us, and it’s crazy how we spend so much time trying to avoid it instead of learning from it and embracing it. We might be able to live more fully if we embraced it instead of running from it.

It’s amazing how different terms, e.g. positivity, make their way through popular culture but don’t truly represent what’s occurring on the other side. [30:56]

  • ‘’I realized whenever I read Carol Dweck’s book Mindset, that I had a fixed mindset predominantly throughout my life. However, had you looked at it from the outside, I used growth strategies and I used growth mindset strategies but at the foundational level, my heart posture, it was to prove myself.’’ it takes place all over.

We’re interested in shifting cultural position on what it means to be an athlete. What is the biggest shift that has to occur? [32:44]

  • When I go and work with division one program, I always tell one or two kids to quit. They will be like, ‘’I can’t quit.’’ But them getting to the place of owning that they could quite go back to the ‘I can’t’ vs ‘I don’t’ notion. This can create a heart posture shift.
  • There are people in coaching that are so desperately trying to control stuff that’s outside of their control. [34:19] Yet, not typically focusing on stuff that is 100% inside of their control.
  • Coaches always try to control all the stuff whereas if they’d just surrender the stuff that’s outside their control and focus on what’s in their control, the likelihood of getting what they want is greater.
  • Surrendering the outcome is about having peace with that which is outside of our control without sacrificing effort or care of what is inside of our control.

 

In martial arts, they say the student is an instructor, too. A transformational leader doesn’t have to do or achieve something before they can share what it is that they’re trying to teach. [40:45]

  • We don’t have to be ahead of somebody to add value. [41:40]
  • ‘’The people who’ve had the biggest impact in my life are people who love me and have been present in my life.’’

What does it mean to be an Omni athlete? [46:30]

  • That would mean understanding that God loves us unconditionally to the point that he sent his son to die for us and that every single being on earth has infinite worth. If we can understand that and that our value comes from who we are and not from what we do, then I think that that frees us up to be able to go and do and perform all the stuff as a human being instead of if we don’t get that we become a human doing. To me, being an Omni athlete would be understanding where our value really comes from and who we are and then being freed up. Be relentless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire regardless of the outcome.’’

 

PULLED OUT QUOTES

  • Words have power. [4:04]
  • When you say ‘’I can’t’’, you lose a lot of your autonomy and internal will and power. [5:00]
  • We’re like thirsty people that are guzzling salt water expecting it to quench our thirst. It can’t. [18:11]
  • There’s a reason why the Bible talks about be still and know that I am God. [20:41]
  • In order to change the world, you have to be socially disagreeable. [28:53]
  • There are people in coaching that are so desperately trying to control stuff that’s outside of their control. [34:19]
  • We don’t have to be ahead of somebody to add value. [41:40]

 

LINKS MENTIONED

Twitter: @JoshuaMedcalf

Website: http://www.t2bc.com/