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The Running for Real Podcast

Dec 24, 2021

Josh Lifrak was the director of the Chicago Cubs’ Mental Skills Program when they won the 2016 World Series, ending a 108-year championship drought.  He was the Mental Performance Coach for the New York Mets, and now he helps even more people optimize their performance through his work with Limitless Minds.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made the past couple of years hard for a lot of us.  Today Josh shares his advice on how to work through these difficult times.

“I was realizing that I could have a bigger reach, a bigger scope of contribution in the world, if I were to move away from sports.”

The work that Josh did with sports teams had a huge impact on them, but he felt that his direct sphere of influence was tiny.  He’d also been working with different companies, and says that he “was seeing how what we teach in sports has this incredible reach into the corporate world.”

He realized that one of his biggest values was in terms of workers’ contribution.  Even though his position in major league baseball seemed to be a dream job, he left it in order to reach more people and to “have them have these moments of ‘aha!’ and these moments where their lives were getting impacted.”

“[Team manager] Joe Maddon…always used to say, ‘be present, not perfect.’”

Changing his career was stressful, but when he’s faced with a situation that could seem overwhelming, Josh reminds himself that “the attempt to be perfect…it’s not realistic.  And I think once you accept that, then you can kind of move past it in a lot of ways.”

“A lot of times we hear, ‘Gotta be positive. Be positive, be positive.’  Well, the reality is there's things to not be positive about.”

Instead of trying to find the positive in everything, he accepts the negative aspects of a situation and then figures out how to move forward.  As he explains, “You can't change what's already happened, but your actions can change what happens in the future. The past is not predictive of the future, but what you're doing in the present is.”

“The biggest thing is making a conscious decision for our own direction in our own minds and deciding how we want to be on a daily basis.”

Being intentional in his actions is a big part of Josh’s philosophy.  That means doing things “with purpose, on purpose.”  You have to establish your own values, rather than simply accepting someone else’s agenda. “ When you decide who you're going to be, then your actions kind of align with that,” he explains.

“When you're in something that you don't really like, what that really is doing is giving you an opportunity to see what you do want.”

The past couple of years have been hard for a lot of people, but Josh sees the other side.  He offers some advice for 2022:  “If there were things you didn't like or if it was a tough year for you in 2021, take stock of that and go,  ‘Okay. Well, what would the flip of that be? This is what I don't want; I’m pretty clear about that.  What could I do to flip that on its head? And what does that look like if it was 180° the other way?’”


Josh’s previous interview on Running for Real

Josh's Twitter

Josh's LinkedIn

Limitless Minds' website

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"Thank you" to Josh.  We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.