Alex Auerbach is a performance psychologist, currently working with the Toronto Raptors NBA team. Prior to this role, Alex has been a college football coach and also worked with the Kansas City Chief’s NFL team. He held the role of Director of Clinical and Sports Psychology at the University of Arizona. Alex applies the principles and practices of elite sport to everyday health and high performance.In this episode we discuss mental health in a sports setting, the difference between a coach and a therapist, and how to achieve sustainable high performance and maintain motivation over time.

Originally published May 2023

This episode of Actualize is hosted by Rob Pintwala, the founder of First Session.and Kim Foster Yardley, a Clinical Psychologist and mental performance coach and owner of The Mental Game Clinic.

First Session

Find the right therapist for you.

First Session exists to help you find the right therapist for you so you can get help now. We deeply believe that the fit between you and your therapist is the most important factor for a positive outcome. First Session is committed to making your search for a therapist user friendly, transparent, and trustworthy.


Alex Auerbach (00:00:00):

We've just probably spent a long time socializing each other into chasing the wrong things. So whether that's like more money or status or fame, at the end of the day, we still have the same needs, right? And those needs are not solved.

Rob Pintwala (00:00:23):

Welcome to Actualize a podcast focused on the intersection of performance, ambition, and mental health. I'm Rob Pena, and I'm joined by my co-host Kim Foster Yardley.

Kim Foster Yardley (00:00:36):

Rather than fixate on the wins and successes, our mission is to uncover the whole picture of the human being behind the performance. Join us as we interview top performers across business, sport, and the arts.

Rob Pintwala (00:00:51):

Actualize is presented by first session. Have you ever considered trying therapy or simply just wanna level up in your personal or professional life? I started first session back in 2019 to help Canadians find the right mental health professional for them. Since then, we've connected thousands of Canadians with the right therapist, and I'm really passionate about helping each individual find the right fit in the therapist for them. We spent hours and hours interviewing therapists across Canada, and each one of them has a professional video for you to take a look at while you decide who might be the right fit for you. Check us out at

Kim Foster Yardley (00:01:28):

Actualize is also presented by the Mental Game Clinic. The Mentle Game Clinic was founded by myself, Kim Foster Yardley. I combined my 20 years of experience as a clinical psychologist with my passion for sports psychology, and I built a team of therapists who specialize in working with high performers, Olympians and founders. Find us@

Rob Pintwala (00:01:59):

Today's guest is Alex Auerbach. Alex is a performance psychologist, currently working with the Toronto Raptors NBA team. Prior to this role, Alex has been a college football coach. He has worked with the Kansas City Chief's n NFL team, and he's also held the role of Director of Clinical and Sports Psychology at the University of Arizona. All right, Alex, thank you so much for joining us today.

Alex Auerbach (00:02:24):

Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here with you both.

Rob Pintwala (00:02:26):

So, Alex, what got you into working with high performers, and why are you still in this field and what keeps you here?

Alex Auerbach (00:02:33):

So I, I started my career as a college football coach and really had my eye on becoming a head coach. That was kind of the first dream. And so there was always just something about sport, right? There's a really good energy. I basically get to live my life around a game <laugh> and, you know, be outside and do anything that cut against the traditional nine to five in a cubicle as a, as a kid sounded really pretty appealing. And then as I got deeper into coaching, I got really, really fascinated with like, what allows people to actually execute at this level. So I, I did coaching for a little bit and then found that where I was most passionate and what gave me the most energy was actually the work with players on stuff happening away from the field. You know, so of course I, I liked the on-field stuff, but getting to sit with a player and talk about some difficulty they were having in class or picking a major or thinking about their future, like that stuff I thought was really interesting.


And I of course, saw for those players how that kind of thinking ended up impacting what was happening on the field. And so there was this really interesting experience I was having where I was sort of noticing some of that stuff. And so ended up doing a bit of soul searching when I kind of burnt out of coaching and kind of figured out like, oh, sports psych would be a really interesting path. And then the more I've gotten into it, the more, you know, I've sort of fallen in love, right? It's a really cool opportunity to unpack what actually makes people elite. And ultimately, like I'm trying to figure out how I optimize myself and how I become the best version of myself. And so there's a bit of me search in there, I suppose, too, right? But you kind of get to see, see it all happen.


And so that's what brought me here. That's what brought me to the field, was just this deep fascination with human performance and human potential. And what's keeping me here is learning more about myself, getting to see it play out in live time finding a role that I think is a better fit for me and who I am as a person and what I value. And feeling like I can make a difference here. And then, like I can help people not just the people I work with on a day-to-day basis, but people who are sort of like within my world or interested in the same stuff by sharing what I know I can help people do the same thing that I'm doing.

Rob Pintwala (00:04:35):

Amazing. I, I saw that your is a doctorate was in counseling psych. Yes. How would you describe the difference between like coaching and then more counseling and therapy? Like where do those overlap and how are they different?

Alex Auerbach (00:04:51):

Yeah, so I guess to start counseling psychology, as you may know, as a pretty strengths-based human-centered endeavor, right? But at its core, it's still a degree designed to treat mental illness, right? Or, or, you know, mental ill health or whatever you want to call it, right? The, some, some sort of challenge that a person is experiencing or facing. And so I think that's sort of the starting point of a doctorate in counseling psychology, right? And it's what leads to the clinical licensure and all these other pieces that, that come with it. But I think where they overlap is that both counseling and coaching I do think are, you know, strengths oriented, human-centered endeavors ultimately built on, you know, good relationships and some person trying to help someone else, right? And in exchange of ideas and, and hopefully people, both, people moving forward in their, in their own way, I think where they diverge is probably a bit of the challenges that they're equipped to handle.


And I can like totally own some bias in this, but I do think you know, counseling, when you go through a PhD, you leave with about 10,000 hours of work. And so your ability, I think to build like a really rich model of human psychology and human behavior is probably a bit different than that of a coach who you know, many coaches are trained in frameworks and have built some repertoire around skills to execute, and that's also valuable. But the, I think what you are trained to conceptualize in the way you're taught to think through problems, I do think is a bit different.

Kim Foster Yardley (00:06:23):

I must agree with you. You know, having also gone the psych route and then kind of gone into coaching, there's definitely a much stronger emphasis on process and thinking of patterns underlying what's happening. I just wonder how that informs your coaching practice.

Alex Auerbach (00:06:40):

Yeah, I guess for me, when I'm doing more executive coaching or coaching of other performers, generally I like to describe myself as a psychologically informed coach, right? So my coaching process is still a bit process-oriented. It is still a bit of pattern recognition. It is still a little bit searching for the deeper psychology, but what I would say is probably a bit different is in the coaching practice, I'm not really going after or touching any of what you might traditionally consider pathology or dysfunction, right? I, I try to really leave that for licensed mental health professionals who are operating in that capacity, right? If they came to me as a therapist, of course I feel like I could provide treatment and support around that. But because the capacity we have is not really designed for that, right? I try to maintain that ethical boundary and, and refer out as appropriate. But I do find that my coaching practice coaching process does look a bit more unstructured, I guess a little less rigid, more flowy, more process oriented than your typical executive coach who might be a bit more structured and have a framework that they're really intentional about applying and moving people through phases. I, I just, I I slice it a bit different.

Rob Pintwala (00:07:51):

And Alex, your, your clients if that's who you call them right now, like, you know, in N B A players, do you cross that boundary of like coach versus sort of therapists? Like is that, do you straddle that or how does that look when you're working with them?

Alex Auerbach (00:08:07):

Yeah, it, it all depends, right? I mean, some players are coming for, you know, mental health concerns or for a particular stressor that they're dealing with. And obviously in that capacity, my role is to provide support and be a therapeutic ear and offer therapeutic services to the best of my ability to that player. And if I'm not the right fit, and to find someone who is the right fit to help address those concerns. But I also have players who come with what I would consider more coaching related issues, right? How do I optimize performance focus better, perform under pressure, build confidence? And so certainly I'm using psychological a theory to inform a lot of how I'm moving someone toward that goal. For example, using like bandura's theory of self-efficacy to help build confidence, right? But the approach might look a bit different.


There might be more of that kind of coaching flavor. It is a bit more directive, it is a bit more goal directed and goal oriented. It is a bit shorter sometimes and very action packed. And really, again, with no emphasis on sort of the underlying clinical side, right? Where in a therapy relationship I might pull on like where does the self-doubt come from and how long has it been here? You know, if a player is not really seeking that, then it's not my job to go pulling for that <laugh>. And that's how I think of it. I think other people would probably disagree with me on that, but, you know, we can, we can slice it however we want, I suppose. <Laugh>,

Rob Pintwala (00:09:29):

Yeah, I had, I had one more question about that. Like my last four years I've been focused on building this company that helps people choose the right fit in terms of a therapist they wanna work with. I imagine that the players that you know, on your, on the team that you work with maybe not, don't have a ton of choice. Like maybe they have to, you know, I men I heard you mention, maybe refer out if you're not the right fit. Like, how do you think about that relationship with your, with the players and building that relationship, like based on all your past experience before you, you know, join the raptors and how do you, like, how does their background and their preferences that are, you know, maybe sometimes subjective, you know, how do you call this stuff out if like, you're, you're the only person, or maybe there's a team of you that they can work with, like how do you kind of try to remove that bias?

Alex Auerbach (00:10:19):

Yeah. So the first step is to recognize like no one can be all things to all people, right? So I, I've never had that sense that that was gonna be my responsibility. And I was very clear even when I interviewed for this job, that it wasn't gonna be possible for all 16 players and 65 staff to all love me, right? And everyone would only want me, and that that would be it. So the starting point is not having that much ego involvement in it, right? Like recognizing that it is okay to not be all things to all people. So I think that's sort of the foundational premise that underlies a lot of how I think about getting people help, which is just that ultimately the outcome we're after is getting this player better so he can perform better so the team can be better so we can win games and go win a championship, right?


That's what this is all about. It's not about me showing up and feeling bad or feeling good because player X wants to work with me, or so and so doesn't wanna work with me. It's not really about me, right? It's about what they need and what's gonna be most effective for them. And so I've built a pretty robust referral network in the city and around the city with people with different specialties and different areas of interest. And ultimately I'm trying to match, you know, people based on what I know of them and they're presenting concern to the person who might be the right fit. And so for many things performance related, I might be the right fit, you know, that is something that I'm, I'm good at. And there aren't that many folks in Toronto who really have a deep expertise in performance, at least not right now, that's growing like crazy, which is awesome.


But there are also certainly people in Toronto who are much, much better equipped to deal with things like substance use or disorders of addiction or gambling than I would be. And that's a function of my training. That's not a function of who I am as a person. And so because I don't see it that way, it's pretty easy to connect. And just like anything, you give them a menu, you know, here are the options, which one looks good? And, and we try it. And if you don't like it, we just keep refining until we get it right, because again, ultimately the goal is to get people connected to the right person to help them. You know, the best, one of the best predictors of therapeutic outcomes is the quality of the therapeutic relationship. And so if we can't form that, I'm just doing you a disservice by keeping you here. And it's my job to find you the best thing I can possibly find you,

Kim Foster Yardley (00:12:27):

Alex, just maybe somewhat diverging, but how much do you have to manage or deal with or confront mental the stigma around mental health issues or even around, not even if it comes to mental health issues, but just even that question of I'm not doing too well in my performance. Do you come across that and how do you manage that?

Alex Auerbach (00:12:49):

Yeah, I think I would say the stigma is changing. So like in it, every day it's really hard to know how much stigma really exists. I mean, I'm very fortunate. Like I, I work in an organization that welcomes me in every day. I'm seeing as part of the team and part of the staff. There's no, you know, oh, that guy's a psychologist and you just over there and you can't come to anything and you know, you just, we just keep him in a closet all day and hope that people go use them, right? Like so I, I'm not facing any of that, so it's really hard to say like, boots on the ground, oh, there's a lot of stigma. There's no stigma left. I, I think where I've come to appreciate is that everyone's kind of on their own journey, right? And some of it's based on background and some of it's based on what they've been exposed to or experienced, you know, when they went to university, right?


So I used to work in a college setting that had three practitioners. We were incredibly ingrained in the culture. We had relationships with every program. And so any student athlete that came out of our university would be able to leave and say like, oh, I've been exposed to psychologists, you know, not necessarily I worked with a psychologist, but I know what they do. I know how they can be around, I know what the benefits are, I understand what the services are. But obviously, you know, at this level we have athletes from all different places. And so they may or may not have had any of that, that exposure. And so sometimes what I think could feel like stigma is really like not knowing. And most people are a little bit aversed to things they don't know. And so it feels sort of crappy, but it's not really, I don't know that it's fair to call that stigma as much as it's like, sort of we need to educate and help people learn and, and be aware of it more.


I think the performance side is always interesting because it, it's still very vulnerable to say you know, I'm struggling with this and this is kind of a core part of my identity, and I'm having a hard time breaching my own expectations of fulfilling my potential. Can you help me? Is a very, very hard thing to ask for. And so I do think there's still some resistance there, but I do think there are some, you know, what I would consider like ga gateway drugs, basically <laugh> to therapy or performance coaching, you know, things people do feel more comfortable talking that are kind of basic human things that can open the door for some of these other, you know, conversations, right? So the, the most obvious one is sleep. Where everyone's sleeping. Sleep is a struggle for all of us. We're traveling a lot. There's a lot of nights in hotels, there's a lot of back to back, so there's a lot of late night flights. So it's normal for people to have difficulty with sleep. And that can often be the first thing that people ask for assistance with. And you get a good sense then of what they understand and what barriers are still up and how we can help.

Kim Foster Yardley (00:15:19):

What should be some of the other examples of gateways?

Alex Auerbach (00:15:23):

Sleep is probably the main one. I think other gateways would be dealing with like very specific mistakes. You know, so often people feel pretty comfortable troubleshooting a specific problem, but not like a more global set of problems related to that, right? So, you know, I missed a shot or I made this mistake in my job, or I gave this bit of feedback, like, can you help me think about that? So having like a very focused narrow problem you're working on, I think can be a gateway into some of the other things. And then the other one I think is relationship issues, right? Whether that's, you know, coach relationship issues, romantic relationship issues, you know, just relationships are at the core of what it means to be a person. And so we all kind of struggle with that. And so it's, I think, a bit easier to come talk about those things. Cause you can often make it about the other person as a starting point. And so it feels less personal. Obviously you have to get into what your role is, that's how relationships work. But as a starting point, you know, it's pretty easy to say, I'm struggling with so-and-so how can I do better with them? Or What do you think I should do? Or what do you think is up with them and, and how do we navigate that? I think those are kind of the three big pathways in,

Rob Pintwala (00:16:28):

I got a bit of a broad question here. It sounds like you've worked with a ton of athletes over the years college level and now professional level. What do you like when people look at, you know, professional football player, professional basketball player in the, you know, N F L or N B A? Most of the time they're just so composed you know, for the mo for, you know, for the most part. And I think like, you know, I would think that, you know, these people are just sometimes almost machine-like, or if they do get emotional, it's, you know, they use that to their advantage. But based on kind of your work with them in their personal lives and things like sleep and, you know, whatever else has come up, what do you think peop like the general public might, you know, misunderstand about these professional athletes being, you know, all, like, are they like humans like the rest of us, do they struggle with the same issues or are they just bigger than that and past that stuff?

Alex Auerbach (00:17:30):

Yeah, I mean, look, right, we all, the public sees the athletes for two and a half hours every other night in the nba, right? There's a lot of time that happens in between games for normal human life to show up. So, you know, the, the short answer is, I mean, of course, right? We're, we're all human and the players and, and coaches and staff, we all have the same kind of needs, right? Like, we all want a sense of agency in our life. We all want to feel significant and connected to other people. We all want to feel like we're growing and making progress on things and players are no different. You know, everyone wants to be loved and, and know that they're cared about and feel valued at work. You know, I think those, those things are sort of universal. But you just wouldn't get exposed to that in the course of a game because that's not really the time or the place for it.


And so, where I think you sometimes see, you know, players sort of appear like non-emotional or like they're, they're just able to sort of maintain that composure like you're referencing. I mean, some of it is like, look, we play 82 games a year, right? Some of these guys have been in league nine years, like, I don't know my quick rudimentary mass, like 700 plus games at a certain point, right? You do get used to the ebb and flow of performance. You do get used to the ebb and flow of the demands and just like everyone else, right? Is a job, right? And so they know that they're showing up to work and this is something for them to do. And there is a certain way you're supposed to present at work and sport in a lot of ways gives a bit more flexibility to show emotion and to show anger and, you know, do things that we wouldn't typically do in a corporate environment or even, you know, for those of us around the players, like that's not always, you know, behavior that I think would be condoned.


But you know, you all, you, you get used to it, right? You get used to it the same way a salesperson gets used to making pitches, right? Pitch 700 should feel and look different than pitch one through 10, right? While you're kind of learning something new, right? Or if you're a startup founder or CEO and you're baking pitches to investors, right? The first five or 10 are gonna be a lot more anxiety provoking and you are gonna feel those more and the no is gonna hurt more, then it does on pitch a hundred. But you learn and you get the reps and you figure it out. And, and the same way we kind of like idolize, I think people in high performing positions and, and think of them as sort of like robotic or above superhuman, right? Everyone has the same kind of core things that they're after.

Rob Pintwala (00:19:42):

One, one more question based on that too. Like, now that you're at the absolute top level working with these players in the nba, how often are you working with them as almost like celebrities trying to deal with like withdrawal from being able to live a normal life out in public and like being seen and being asked for their autograph and this and that, and also what happens when there's a bad headline about someone? Or, you know, even during like the trade deadline season, you know, anxiety around that. Like, I, I know there are three questions there, but like, you know, I'm very curious about this stuff.

Alex Auerbach (00:20:20):

Yeah, I, I think it's great. I, I I wish more people were this curious, right? Because I think it, it helps promote a more like, honest dialogue about what it means to be in sport. I, I mean, I think there's probably a degree to which players in the professional leagues recognize a bit of the responsibility that comes with the position that they're in. I, I think everyone kind of feels a little bit of that. Like, I, I wonder what it would be like to be more like normal, if you will, right? <Laugh>. but I, I think by and large, like there are, you know, it just comes with the territory and you kind of get used to it, right? There's a bit of an adjustment, and I think ev everyone kind of goes through this phase where it catches you off guard a bit.


You know, you're, you're not maybe used to being as in the public eye or you're not used to the things that you do that you think are mundane being so interesting to people. And so there's a bit of an adjustment there, but I think by and large, it's just one of those things that comes with the job. And so you recognize that eventually the job will end, right? You will have a, a pretty long phase, right? Most of these players careers will wrap up by 30 and you'll have, you know, 50, 60 years to have that more normal life outside of the <laugh>, outside of the limelight, so to speak. And so I think you, you just try to balance it, right? You try to educate them about how much more people are gonna be paying attention to them, why it's important to, you know, represent themselves well, the benefits of doing it that way.


And then I think people sort of get it. I, I think, you know, the bad headlines, I guess I would, I would kind of bucket into media broadly, right? And I think, you know, to me, I think one of the hardest things is social media. I don't think people realize how much what they say impacts other people. This is like a very general statement about social media, but the, the same is true for our players, right? I mean, they see the mean things that people are saying. They see the racist things that people are saying. They see the hateful things that people are saying, and everyone's a person, right? So that hurts. That's just stuff that I think is like completely unacceptable behavior, but it does impact the players. And, you know, you try to build in coping skills and tools for managing that, right?


Not looking at social media at specific times, deleting social media altogether, being off your phone, whatever. But it's part of the game of being a professional athlete right now. It's part of building your brand, it's part of being in the public sphere. It's part of endorsement deals. There's a lot that goes into social media that's bigger than, you know, responding to the comments or being criticized or whatever. And so I think, you know, just like anything, those, those things do hurt, right? If someone said something negative about any one of us in a really public way, I think we would all be a little bit bothered by that. And I think people forget that the athletes are still people, and that's not really something that people sign up for, right? Like, no one signs up to be called bad names or criticized publicly or anything.


Like no athletes out there not trying hard <laugh>, you know, they're all putting in the best effort they can to win, and they're giving the best that they have. And just like everyone else, sometimes they fall short. But imagine if you, you know, had a crappy day at work and you got on social media and underneath your name where all these things people were saying about how terrible you were, how much of a disappointment you were that you should just be shipped off somewhere else that the team doesn't want you, you know, those things are, are just, I, I think there's only bad that comes from that kind of engagement. And then I, I guess to me, like the trade deadlines and the rumors and that kind of stuff, I, I think that stuff is, is different, right? That's also, to me, kind of comes with the territory where you do know, you know, for better or worse, right?


There's ob obviously psychological impacts of things like trade. So that's not to minimize or dismiss that at all, but it's to say, you know, when you sign a pro contract, you're aware that that's a possibility you might get traded. You're aware that this is just part of what goes on. I mean, and even from before you become a pro athlete, right? If you play Madden or NBA two K or anything else you're exposed to, oh, trades are a thing, right? And players can get moved around and you'll have free agency, and that's a chance to move. And so once you're living it, as much as it can hurt when it happens, it is, it is part of the game.

Rob Pintwala (00:24:18):

I've heard you talk about how like there's this culture of, I don't know, like I heard you reference like David Goggins in terms of just like how much of a you know I guess kind of like machine he is and, and how, I guess how much conviction he has in his, his way, his way of life, right? And mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, you know, like people, like, I think it's a Jocko Willick, maybe, maybe I mispronounced the name, you know, people like this I guess more males in my, you know, <laugh> in my experience. But like <laugh>, the, I know that the hustle culture is getting a little bit more scrutiny in terms of at least like the tech world where I sort of live in the corporate world. But like how would you, how would you kind of advise someone who's not at, you know, top level of performance but is interested in growing and improving, whether that's in their career or sport to kind of like navigate all this kind of, you know, advice and all these other experts out there who put out books, but also like how does that maybe relate to like their own individual uniqueness as humans?


Like how do you, how do you think about that?

Alex Auerbach (00:25:37):

I mean, at its core to me, I just go back to the science, right? So the science suggests that people feel best about their growth that they're making and having when they're making progress on what are called self concordant goals, right? Goals that are aligned with our values and aligned with our deepest inner compass. And there are a lot of ways to make progress on our goals that matter that don't involve running a marathon until your feet bleed or waking up at four 30 in the morning and, you know, doing that day after day, right? And so the first step is to just consider what is best for you, right? What do you actually care about and what are you working toward? I think a lot of times when you see like the grind set, right, or the rise in grind mentality or whatever you wanna call, it's just sort of like blind following of this dogma that people assume will help them be better.


It's kind of the same crap you see on social media where people talk about dopamine hits or cutting out alcohol. I'm like, yeah, sure, right? Like there, there's, sure, there's benefits to drinking no alcohol, but like, we don't need to go so crazy that we're now tweeting about our five day streak of not drinking alcohol and how much better our life is, and everyone should do it, right? And so part of it is like that you're gonna get me on my soapbox, right? But like, the dogmatic conviction about these things gets reinforced, right? It gets reinforced on social media in a way that sort of like blows the narrative out of the water. But the data really suggests set a goal, figure out how you're doing about it, monitor your goal, progress, actively evaluate, adjust, and try again, right? And if you're doing those things and you're iterating on your own growth and learning over time towards something that's meaningful for you, you're gonna feel better.


You're gonna feel better, you're gonna perform better, you're gonna build skills, you're gonna learn more. All of those things will help you move up the path to high performance. And the one kind of like dogmatic thing I actually do like and appreciate from this space is the sort of 1% better every day thing. And I've heard people criticize that like, oh, well if you get 1% better after every day, like, what do you do on day a hundred? But it's like, that's not really how the math works, right? Compoundings a little different. And so I think the idea of like just taking one step every day, and those can be steps of different sizes, right? Some days you're gonna feel like you have a ton of energy and you can run 10 miles, and some days you're gonna be tired, and the best you can muster is a 15 minute walk.


And both are okay, right? There's no like right or wrong. You don't have to do it the same way every day. As long as you're making meaningful progress on something that matters to you, your performance is likely to be elevated over time, as is you are feeling good about yourself, your sense of agency, autonomy, competence, all these other things that we would look for as a signal of your own growth and development. And so I, what I would encourage is just for people to one, like, look at what works for you. Two, think about what you're really working on, and then three, to like honestly assess whether or not what you're reading or hearing about is the right answer. Like, could anyone tell me what the real benefit of waking up at four 30 is in the morning? Like maybe there's some for some people, right?


Oh, I get more work done at that time. That's when my body naturally wakes me up. I have more quiet time and I can get done the things I wanna get done. Those are all really good reasons to do that, right? But there's no like magic formula that says if you wake up at four 30 every day, now you're gonna be elite. Like, that's just not how it works, <laugh>. You still have to do the work. You still have to make progress on the things that matter to you. And so when you see those kinds of approaches, those things can work for some people. But excellence by and large is idiosyncratic, and there's no right way to get to the top. And so ultimately people should be after what's gonna help them be the best that they can be, not what's the way I can most closely mimic someone who might have also been successful.

Kim Foster Yardley (00:29:25):

I mean, it sounds to me, Alex, like you're talking about how to foster intrinsic motivation and really choose your goals based on your values and what drives you. What are some of the strategies that you recommend or, or the ways that you work in helping people to, to shift that focus? Because especially if you're in high performance areas, whether it's sport or tech business, there's a lot of external pressure. There's a lot of external noise. I mean, we've just been speaking about that. How do you help your, your coaching clients and your athletes to manage that?

Alex Auerbach (00:30:04):

Well, I guess I see those as like two different things, right? How do you manage external pressure and then how do you stay aligned with your values? So I, I'll answer the second one first and then we can talk about pressure. But you know, I I think staying aligned with your values is hard, right? I mean, this is just, we're all pulled in different directions and it's not something we often sort of reflect on or check in with ourselves about. And so, you know, I think the starting point for staying consistent with your values is regular reflection on what is still meaningful for you. What are you after? What would make your life most valuable or meaningful? And being flexible and willing to adapt or adjust those as your value shift. Like, I don't have the same values at my age now that I did 18 years ago, or 16 years ago, or 12 years ago.


And you just kind of roll with it and you keep adjusting what you're after to fit with the, the life that you're trying to craft. I mean, this is my own like theory, but I, I think we're all just trying to get like progressively more directionally correct about the life that we wanna live. And so you run a lot of little experiments and you kind of figure out like, does this get me closer or further? And then you refine and then you check in and make sure that still fits with what you're after. But that regular reflection piece I think is really valuable. And being honest with yourself about how much or how little you are living a life aligned with your values, I think is a really good starting point. And then I think if you're trying to build, you know, an identity, then you can also, which is sort of like related to the intrinsic motivation piece.


You start to do things like Jane's Clear suggests, which is like, ask questions about that identity that would help you make decisions, right? So what does a person who values respect, what would they do in this moment? What would a person who values family do right now? You know, those things will help you craft more of that identity will help you feel a bit more intrinsically motivated, as will the goals and, and the other pieces we've just touched on. And then I think when it comes to managing pressure, I mean, that's where the reflection piece is so valuable because you can come back to the sort of anchor point of what's really meaningful for you. But when you don't reflect and you just sort of go through the motions, it's easy to be pushed and pulled in these different directions. So I think that's one piece.


But I think secondly, you know, very tactically it's things like focusing on what you can control. You know, and staying connected with that. It's being aware of how much effort you still have left to give and controlling your effort effectively. And then I think it's sort of like offering feedback when there is pressure that's not helpful. You know, if you have the chance, like in a corporate space to sort of let people know like, Hey, this just isn't working for me. I think that can be valuable. I mean, certainly in the corporate world, like there's a ton of data now that shows that performance pressure by and large is, is pretty unhelpful. I mean, there's some interesting moderators and other things that go on and helping people manage external pressure, but for the most part, what we should really be trying to cultivate is getting people checked into their values and crafting work around that so that people can be the best that they can be.

Rob Pintwala (00:33:03):

I'm curious about when your motivation sort of, and values kind of shift. Like, I'm just kind of just thinking hypothetically, and, and maybe this isn't a good example, but you have a player, an NBA player who maybe gets a college scholarship. They grew up maybe very poor and you know, they looked at basketball as like kind of their only way out. Maybe they'd wanna support their family they ended up making it to the nba. Now they've made it like, do they, how often are you seeing just, it doesn't have to be the exact same example, but folks that are needing to kind of shift their, like what fires them up, you know, if you've kind of just like hit all your goals and then you're in what now and how do you like successfully transition? What drives you? When you have to like, look for new things without like losing momentum?

Alex Auerbach (00:33:59):

That's a big one. <Laugh>, I wish I, I wish I had a really like cl good, clear answer for you. But th I mean, this is something I personally struggle with too, right? Like, I set a goal, I work, I reach that goal, and then I arrive and I'm kinda like, eh, like was that, was that what I wanted? Was that enough? Was it not hard enough? Like where did I go wrong and where, what do I need to do next? And so, you know, like the data in the sports world is super interesting, right? We do have data that shows that players perform worse after they sign a big contract and they do kind of ascribe that to a lack of motivation or losing motivation or not having something that you're clearly working on. I think it's probably a little more complex than that.


So my early thinking is like when you achieve that kind of success, right? Or you reach a big goal, there is a natural kind of like, almost like a collapse at the end of an Olympic race, right? Like you just run 400 meters or 800 meters, you run really hard, you got a gold medal, but like you need to recover. And so I think sometimes we experience that collapse as an absence of motivation. And I think really, I'm not a person who believes that we lose motivation. I'm just a person that believes that we're differential motivated for different things. And so I think in that moment, it's not that you're not motivated, it's that you're more motivated to rest than you are to keep achieving. But that can feel like, oh, I've lost motivation, or I'm not doing anything meaningful, or I'm not working because you've just been sprinting, you know, you've just been working really hard to get to this point.


So I think that's the first step is just sort of like normalizing and recognizing that this kind of collapse, this sort of like needing to rest and recharge was a normal part of the experience of achieving high hard goals is to need some time to rest and recalibrate and then start again. And then I think the second step is to figure out was this goal that I just worked on, right? For me, you know, I I think very rarely is our first solution to something the right answer. And yet we sort of just like assume we should continue down the path because we've started making progress. That's the whole sun cost fallacy idea, right? So we've started building this product or building this company, or we ran this marathon and now we need to figure out like, should we do it again? The natural human instinct is be like, of course we should, we just ran a whole marathon, right?


We just built this product. Like we have to keep going. But the reality may not, that may not be the case, right? And so I think the second step is that kind of reflection. Like, is this still directionally correct? Am I headed in the right path? Am I still doing something that's meaningful and motivating? And then I think third is now setting a new goal and figuring out how is that goal linked to your values, linked to your larger purpose, and what will it take for you to get there and when can you reasonably get started? I think those, that is how I'm starting to make sense of that kind of collapse. And then there's obviously like deeper things that go into it, right? There's the hedonic versus eudonic wellbeing kind of paradigm that I think could be a part of this. But you know, by and large, I just don't know enough yet to say definitively this is what it is.

Kim Foster Yardley (00:37:11):

I, I think it's so interesting what you're saying, Alex, especially that last piece, because there's also this, and I, I'd love your insights on this. Kind of there's this perception that there's some kind of utopia, <laugh>, you know, and yeah, maybe that's, you know, you, you just kind of leaned into that a little with, with your last comments. I was just wondering if you wanna speak further to that, that sometimes our perfectionism is actually driving us and we perhaps have unrealistic expectations of the state we're supposed to be in all the time. And I think I, i dunno where I came across this, I think maybe it was the New Yorker, but that we fear being ordinary. Like there's this fear of being ordinary that wasn't around a couple of years ago. Yeah. I just wanted about your thoughts on that.

Alex Auerbach (00:37:59):

That's really interesting. I mean, on the fear of being ordinary, I guess like the first is recognized, like we're, we're all actually pretty ordinary in most ways, right? And we're all fairly exceptional in some ways that are unique, right? And that's one of the things I work a lot with and with high performers is like, I I call it leaning into your fixed mindset, but it is like recognizing what about you is special. Cause there is something, and if you haven't like quite tapped that or you're not sure, there's probably more assigned that you haven't found the right, like match quality, right? Like there's, there's a fit issue here, not a you issue. And so I would encourage people to like keep pushing on that because I, I really believe everyone's got something that's sort of unique to them that allows them to be special.


And that in like 85 to 90% of our traits we're mostly gonna be pretty average or below average, right? Like that's the, the say. We can't, we can't be excellent at everything. We can't be all things to all people, but I think you're, you're exactly right, which is like, I mean, there's all sorts of socialization processes happening here, right? There's the socialization, like written into the constitution of the United States, for example, that we're all like entitled to the pursuit of happiness and like that that should somehow be our like highest and best use, right? And that might be for some people, but I, I'm just not sure that that's, that's the case. And what we're finding data-wise is, you know, more and more people, they find their life enjoyable, meaningful, significant when they just do novel things. You know, when we have a sense of psychological richness is what it's called, tends to be a pretty robust predictor of overall wellbeing.


And so what I'd say is like we've just probably spent a long time socializing each other into chasing the wrong things. You know, so whether that's like more money or status or fame, you know, the, at the end of the day we still have the same needs, right? And those needs are not solved financially usually, right? Those are not things you can pay for. And so I, I think it is helpful for people to recalibrate and try to tap into that deeper sense of purpose, what makes life meaningful for them to stay grounded in those values. And I think what people will find is the more they do that, the better their life feels, even if they wouldn't necessarily describe their life as constantly joyous. And I think those are two different goals. But that doesn't mean that they're one is better or worse, so that life is somehow less good because it's not always happy. Hopefully that made sense.

Kim Foster Yardley (00:40:28):

<Laugh>. It did. Thank you. No, it did.

Rob Pintwala (00:40:31):

I got a bit of a question about making sacrifices, you know, for achievement. When, when I is the, is the kind of <laugh> I was thinking about just asking you, you know, what sacrifices are required, but that's, that's not interesting. I, I'm kind almost more <laugh> interested in like if you're, if you wanna reach the absolute highest level and, and you're sort of like deliberating if the sacrifices are worth it, whether it be, you know, spending time with your family or, you know, having a social life or you know, partying or whatever in, in sports, if you're even considering the trade offs, is that a sign that like you're not, you're not the one, like is it <laugh>? Like I'm almost like the Mozart example where like if someone's asking, you know, Mozart how to be Mozart, they're not the one like <laugh>. Like how do you think about that? Like, are are these so kind of determined that it's not even a deliberation for them, the sacrifices or what have you noticed?

Alex Auerbach (00:41:44):

I guess I'd say my, my thinking has evolved a lot on this. I had a, I have a really good mentor, a good friend of mine now who has for a long time said he believes that like high performers require some level of misery in, in conjunction with this sacrifice you're, you're describing. And that it's, it's sort of like, is just a really hard, crappy existence. I'm butchering his, his presentation of it cuz he's, he's a little bit more eloquent about his argument than I can be. But you know, the, the principle is sort of the same, right? That there's this massive sacrifice that this sacrifice does require a bit of discontent. But ultimately you're kind of like pushing towards something that you have like one shot at doing and so you have to make a decision like is that sacrifice worth it or not?


So there was a time I really rebelled against that view and I was like, no, that that's not right. Like I just don't agree that this is the way that it has to be. And then there was a time where I was like, actually maybe you're right cuz that's what I was seeing. I was like, huh, this is an interesting pattern that is emerging. Like there is this level of sacrifice that goes into it that just does necessitate a bit of, I don't know, dise, right? Whether that's like true unhappiness or something else, probably like up for deeper debate. But there was the sacrifice that was being made, right? And then I think most recently my thinking has evolved a third way, which is that actually I think that we jump to making a sacrifice because that's easier than it is to figure out how these things that we perceive as barriers fit into us becoming high performers.


And so, like for example, I was talking with someone yesterday about a challenge that they're having this barrier that they're facing that they feel like is limiting their ability to reach their potential. And I think where we landed was maybe there's a way to manipulate or use this barrier to facilitate performance if it's handled the right way. And so there are some things that I think are just necessary, like quote unquote sacrifices, right? Like if you wanna be an NBA player, like you can't really go out drinking five nights a week, right? Cuz we play three nights a week, it's just not gonna happen. You're gonna probably have to give up some of that partying. But the sacrifices that we typically think of family time away from kids, I'm not convinced anymore that those are sacrifices we have to make. And I'm not convinced that if you're asking the question about it, that that means you don't have it.


I actually think if you're asking the question, you're probably closer to figuring out the right solution if you will, then you would be, if you weren't asking those questions at all. And we're just sort of blindly sacrificing. But I think the natural inclination is to just blindly sacrifice. Cause that's actually easier. It is easier to just sort of like deal with the consequences of being away from family or cut out partying altogether or cut out social support or whatever than it is to ask yourself and really try to figure out how would I position my relationships in a way that enhanced my performance. And we're also still meaningful and valuable to them because that involves me, like considering someone else and thinking about all these other dimensions and potentially having to put in more work somewhere else that we may not feel that we can do.


But I'm becoming more interested in that view. I'm not sure that it's right, but I'm more interested in that as a potential solution. And that high performance is really about figuring out how you can get all of these elements of your life to work together in harmony. That doesn't mean it's all balanced or all equal at every given point, but that they're all sort of spinning for you. I do think that that's possible and that that doesn't require this really deep sacrifice and misery, but it does require a lot of really hard work and intentionality to get to that point that I think most people would just sooner choose to cut stuff or sacrifice than they would to do that work.

Kim Foster Yardley (00:45:59):

Alex, I I actually, I I feel like I've been moving in a similar direction in that the more I work with founders, the more I work with in, in the tech industry and with high level performers, I feel like that idea of perfect balance is a myth, you know, that we can have this work-life balance and it's perfect. And I really like what you're saying around that. It's also around recognizing that to build what you, to build out from what you value means that this, it's gonna ask something of you. That's what I'm hearing. And in and responding to that to that call or to that discomfort, that disease that you're feeling can actually bring not necessarily greater balance, but at least help you to feel more congruent with what you value and, and where you wanna go in your life. I'm not sure that there's a question there, but I'm just, you know, thinking about cuz at some points, I must be honest, when I have been doing this work and I've been thinking, oh my word, there's no such thing as work life balance, it can feel quite disheartening and I'm quite liking hearing you being quite optimistic actually and about and, and, and have with your experience that's, that's quite validating and quite affirming, encouraging them.

Alex Auerbach (00:47:23):

Well, good, I'm glad it's encouraging. I I mean look, I I could be wrong. Like I'm, I'm very open to that possibility. But I think, I think that the, we really like fell in love with the word balance. And I think that is sort of like built on this illusion that will do everything the same. Like, I'll have 50% work time and 50% family time. It's like, okay, in that scenario, where do you sleep? Well then it's like a third of each, right? I'll work a third and I'll family a third and I'll sleep a third. And it's like, okay, well what about time for you? Well now I'll cut it into quarters, right? And it's like, ultimately we shouldn't really be focused on the math of it. We should be focused on like the season we're in and what works for us right now.


And so, like, when I think about working with high performers generally, whether that's a CEO or a pro athlete, a lot of it is figuring out where you are in what phase and what does that mean for you right now. You know, because for a pro athlete, for example, like you've got, if you're lucky, a 10 year window to maximize everything that this can be for you. And then after that it's gonna end and you're gonna have to reinvent a lot of yourself. You're gonna have to reinvent how you think of yourself, where you are in the world, who your friends are, what's possible for you, what your day-to-day looks like. And the same thing is true for CEOs and other kind of high skill professionals, right? Like you have a company, you've raised some money, you're now getting ready to grow like crazy. Like you maybe have a five to eight year window for this thing to be epic.


And then after that, you might have more money than you have now, but you're still gonna have to figure out who are you, what do you do with your day, what does it mean to not be building this company anymore? And all those things are, are challenges to overcome. And so in that particular season, this idea of balance may not be right for you, but that doesn't mean harmony is not a solution. That doesn't mean you can't figure out how to configure these things in a way that's virtuous, that works for you, that's still aligned with your values while recognizing that the demands in this phase are a bit different than demands you'd have in other phases.

Rob Pintwala (00:49:31):

It's very hopeful. I, I think it's very hopeful. Look like, it's like this is like what I most care about actually. And my next question was, do you have any, you know, alive or still alive, retired or, you know, deceased examples of high performers who seem to have kind of reached this point of harmony, even if for a short period of time? Like, is there anyone that you're like kind of studying or curious about or how can we interview them?

Alex Auerbach (00:50:05):

<Laugh>, <laugh>. How can we take all, all their secrets? I mean, I guess I can tell you sort of the genesis of like where some of this came from cuz those are some of the examples. I can't say that there's anyone that I've like worked super closely with that comes to mind. But I mean, look, I started, like I said, as a college football coach, which is sort of like coaching athletics generally is the quintessential sacrifice, grind it out, hard work over everything. Environment. I mean, there was a time where I worked like 120 something days in a row from five 30 or six in the morning until 11 or 1130 at night with no days off even during a bi-week. Like I've done that. I've, I've done that work.

Rob Pintwala (00:50:47):

You were working with the offensive team. Yeah. Offensive line team as well. Like that's a sacrificial bolt

Alex Auerbach (00:50:54):

<Laugh>. It was, yeah. I mean it was, it was I was working on the offensive side of the ball. It was just, it was a lot, right? And I was young coach, I was still kind of getting like exposed and I was like, I had a, a coach who I now, I now consider a friend, but at the time was sort of like half mentor, half nemesis. And he was like, I was like, man, I'm coming off practice one day. I'm like, oh coach. I'm like, tired man, I'm just wiped out. And he's like, oh, you'll sleep when you're dead hour back. And I'm like, what do you mean like this, this can't be a solution. But that was like a genuine response for him in this moment. And then about six months later I went to this coaching convention for all the college football coaches and there was a panel for graduate assistants and early career coaches and that was me.


So I went to this panel and I'm listening to all these coaches I idolized, like talk about how hard they work and with the sacrifice they've made. And then it got to Chris Peterson, former Boise State head coach and former Washington head coach, who's also, you know, kudos to him taking a step away from coaching to prioritize the other things he values in life. And he was like, well that's just not me. And I'm like, oh, this is interesting. He's like, yeah, I show up at eight and I leave at six or five 30 every day. And I'm like, huh, okay. Like, so it is possible. And then he was probably the first person I ever heard say, work smarter, not harder. And I'm like, oh, that's interesting. So there are people that do this. And this was a guy by the way, who had like lost two games in five years and had, you know, won the historic kind of bowl game versus Oklahoma, I think it was a Fiesta Bowl with the fake Statue of Liberty behind the back.


And he did the little finger guns thing, right? Like he's became legendary for that. And so this is this incredibly successful coach who's like, I don't, I don't do it that way and I don't believe in it. I'm like, ah, that's kinda interesting. And so then I'm started to go down this path like, well who else would that be? I went and I interned for the Kansas City Chiefs. My boss at the time at a brother who worked for the Cardinals. The Cardinals had a coach named Bruce Ions. And through the grapevine I learned like Bruce Arian supposedly will fire his staff members for missing family member events. And in fact, this happened like in the last two or three years this happened where someone missed like their daughter's ballet recital and he just was like, you're outta here, dude. Like this is not acceptable and this guy won a Super Bowl, right?


And you're like, huh, okay. Like it is possible. So I don't know them super deeply, but there are these like kind of peaks of examples where you see it happen. And really now that I'm deeper in it, what I think happens is these people are incredibly skilled at figuring out when exactly they need to push harder and don't push harder anytime beyond that. Cuz I have to imagine that Bruce Arians probably did a little bit of grinding in prep for the Super Bowl, but that was like, yeah, this is like a two week sprint where it's all gonna come down to three and a half hours and I need to be like maximally locked in. And so for this two and a half weeks, like I can do that, but for the preseason game against some other team, not in my division, that we're not playing all season.


Like, no, I probably don't need to work 90 hours this week. And I think it's that kind of flexibility that allows high performers who are living that way to do it really well because it, it is a bit of an illusion that all performance activities are equal, right? This is certainly a corporate allus illusion that everything we do between the hours of eight and five is all equally important. And the reality is like maybe 15 to 20% of what you do on any given day is like actually really important to moving the business forward. The rest is just sort of like routine stuff you gotta do. And it doesn't mean it's not important, it just means it's probably not as important as that 15 to 20%. And so the best performers are figuring out, okay, how do I like go super hard and max out that 15 to 20% and then given 80% on the rest of it, because that's what I need to do to be really, really great. So I do think work smarter, not harder as possible. And there are a few examples and I'm sure there are more that I don't know of. And I hope those people start speaking out <laugh>.

Rob Pintwala (00:54:59):

Yeah, us too. I, you know, yeah,

Kim Foster Yardley (00:55:01):

That's a call out.

Rob Pintwala (00:55:03):

Wait, what? That was great. That was great. And I'm like, I Kim, like I imagine, you know, for, for women in, in high performance, especially those who want to have a family who have real interruptions, <laugh> you know you know, like the examples are few and far between of people who actually, because like society doesn't seem to necessarily reward the top performer who has a great family and you know, goes on vacations and shows up at like, there there is like little headlines of, you know, people showing up at their kids' sports practice or something like that. But, you know, it's, it, it seems that society is still rewarding, you know, the Steve Jobs and the Elon Musks and the Michael Jordans and the, you know it's, it's very interesting. I'm wondering like how that we're here to make the shift happen <laugh>.

Kim Foster Yardley (00:56:03):

Hmm. I mean, I really like that idea because isn't it so counter to, to this 100%, 100% of the time mentality, which is just completely unrealistic. I think, Alex, what I'm hearing that, and I, and I think this must be very hard, but to work in that way where you're, where you're flexible, where you know when to push 120 and then go back to 80, I think it requires like quite a deep level of honesty with yourself, right? And, and, and an ability to step away from your ego and not get caught up in trying to prove yourself or play out an image to others. It feels like we're circling back to that idea of really being in touch with what you value and kind of that idea of at the end of the day, the only person that's looking in the mirror is you. When you look at the mirror, can you be honest with yourself around where you're putting your energy? I'm just wondering if that is what is counter to that hustle culture that we're talking about now?

Alex Auerbach (00:57:11):

Yeah, a hundred percent. I think you have to wonder aloud to yourself often is this actually what I want? And I think what you will find for most people, a lot of people, high performers and, and the rest of us alike, that we actually spend a sad amount of time doing things that aren't really all that fulfilling for us. Some of it is just like the necessary evil, if you will, of, of the work environment or whatever else it is that you're a part of. But a lot of it is just never really stopping to question a lot of the assumptions we've made along the way or the decisions we've made along the way. And so to go back to the James clear example, be like, well, what would a high performer do in this situation? The answer isn't always double down and try to just bulldoze through, right? Sometimes the answer is not do this thing or they would cut it out, right? And so to answer and reflect honestly about what it is you're after is a skill. It's really hard. But if you can kind of lean in and push yourself in that way, I think you'll find that you're much, much better off.

Kim Foster Yardley (00:58:12):

I also find that clients are afraid to ask themselves that question or they, sometimes there's a lot of work whether I'm maybe more when I'm working as a therapist and then when I'm working as a coach where it's like, it's scary to ask that question or to finally admit that actually I'm unhappy or this isn't working for me. There's a, there's a moment of his existential crisis, I think, or, or fear about what's next mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And sometimes there's that kind of thing. What if I just keep going, like kind of tunnel vision kicks in if I just keep going and I just ignore that little voice that's telling me that I'm unhappy, it'll all work itself out, you know, but it never does. <Laugh>, can I just say it Never Does it, does that align with your experience <laugh>?

Alex Auerbach (00:58:57):

I like the wishful thinking part of it. Yeah. I mean, I think that in general people are way too afraid of honesty. And I think it would be helpful for more people to appreciate honesty with ourselves and honesty with others is like one of the best services we can do. <Laugh> is one of the best things we can do for ourselves is one of the best things we can do for other people. And that doesn't mean don't be tactful or don't really be considerate. It just means like if you actually want to achieve your full potential, you do need to honestly figure out whether or not what you're doing is working or not working. And it is scary it that it is a 100% scary to be in a place where you can imagine that the path you've gone down is not right and wouldn't you rather know that right now and change that today than figure that out in 50 years and look back and be like, gee, you know what?


I really screwed that up. I have this one opportunity to really make my life what I wanted it to be, and I passed and now I filled with regret and disappointment and hear all the things that I missed. You know, those are, those are your options in that scenario. And so, you know, I think you, you can space it out or help people make that decision by bringing the consequences more into the present moment, right? There's, there's often not an immediate consequence to just continuing on a path that you're not sure is a hundred percent correct. Like, you just kind of keep going through the motions. But there is a consequence in the long term that's pretty hard to imagine unless you do it deliberately. But once you start to think about like, how will I really feel on my deathbed? It becomes a lot easier to manage. You know, imagine that that might feel pretty crappy if you continue <laugh> and, and that you should wanna make a change right now.

Rob Pintwala (01:00:42):

It seems like that reflection piece is just so much har like harder these days with all these distractions and devices and where, whereas like my example would be, you know, we look at people who book therapy appointments on our website and it is so consistent that people start their first therapy. Like they'll book their first therapy appointment on Mondays. It is a huge spike and then it, and then it slowly dips until it, you know, hits the lowest point on Saturday and then increases on Sunday a lot, and then Monday just spikes. So it's like people have to feel that pain almost in order to be like, get out and not, not saying that therapy is, you know, the only answer to making the change. But I'd love to spend a few minutes just talking about you. And your career is super impressive and I love hearing a little bit of your insights and interests into yeah, the achieving this kind of state of harmony and you know, what, what are you kind of interested in right now in terms of, you know, the future of you? And as, as far as y you know, I've, I've heard you say in the past too, that you enjoy the rotational work. Is that still something you enjoy and where do you see, you know, the future headed for you?

Alex Auerbach (01:02:01):

I wish I had a crystal ball cuz that would help. That would help me a ton. Yeah, I mean, you know, I love what I do. I'm very fortunate to be working in a supportive environment in a place with a lot of really high performance, high potential people and a quality organization. So, you know, I I think I'd love to keep doing my part to advance mental health and athletics and mental health in high performance settings generally. You know, I'm finding a real joy in some of the, the outside opportunities I have to work with CEOs or large companies I've, I've found to be really kind of fun and impactful work. And so, you know, I'd love for some of my future to be spent on kind of spreading principles of health and high performance to help as many people as I possibly can.


You know, the sun will probably set at some point on my sports career. I don't know when that's gonna be in like most people in professional sports. It probably won't be my choice. But you know, there's a reality that that's, that's gonna happen. And so when that happens, like I've got a lot of other things I'm interested in. I can't tell you when they'll happen in the future, but I'd really like to work in climate change. I don't know what I would be doing there, <laugh>, but, you know, I think it's, it's a really important kind of pressing problem. And so I've thought, I've thought a lot about that, but I think the next, this first chapter in my life has been a lot about sports. When this chapter closes, whenever that might be. I think the next chapter will probably be a bit about scale and helping more people have access to some of the work that I do, as many people as they're interested in it and wanna be a part of it. And then maybe the third chapter will be spent trying to figure out how we save the planet from our own self-destruction.

Rob Pintwala (01:03:40):

I love that I've had the similar thought, thank you. And some more confusion about how I'd get into climate change <laugh>. As far as the scale you've definitely acquired a lot of, you know, an online audience and your content's fantastic. Where can people look you up to, to see some of the content you put out?

Alex Auerbach (01:04:01):

Yeah, so I have a newsletter, a couple newsletters. I write one's called Unfair Advantage. It's really like the intersection of coaching and psychology with my friend Cody Royal where we talk a lot about kind of the wellbeing of coaches, but also ways coaches can enhance their own health and high performance. I write my own newsletter called Perform which is also about the principles of high performance. You can find that on beehive. It's perform dot beehive, B e e H i, confusing website Twitter at Alex Eck, PhD, LinkedIn, same thing. Those are the the main places I hang out. And I appreciate your kind words about the content, just doing the best I can to, to help as many people as I can. And we'll keep sharing stuff there.

Rob Pintwala (01:04:45):

Incredible. Kim, any final words?

Kim Foster Yardley (01:04:48):

No, just, it's been so great to reconnect with you and and also to hear your perspectives. I think one of the things I'm going to walk away with is how important it is to, to be reflective, to be honest with yourself and attune with your values. And I, but I think also to be open to change, to be open to adjusting as life moves forward. Like you said, that they are these seasons and we can adjust with the season we are in. We don't have to have this quite rigid approach to how things work. So thank you. Thank

Alex Auerbach (01:05:24):

You. Thanks for having me.

Rob Pintwala (01:05:37):

Thank you for listening to this episode of The Actualized Podcast. You can find the show notes for this episode as well as all other episodes at first If you like this podcast, please leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform. Thank you again and we'll see you next time.

More episodes