Lauren Johnson used to serve as the Mental Conditioning Coordinator for the New York Yankees, now she has her own consulting practice. Bulldozing obstacles in the industry and her personal life, Johnson sits down to tell her journey of eventually reaching success, the trials of getting here, and her mission to help people improve their lives through the choices they make.


Brett Gilliland  00:01

Welcome to The Circuit of Success. I’m your host, Brett Gilliland, and today I’ve got Lauren Johnson with me, Lauren, how you doing? 

Lauren Johnson  00:08

I’m great. I’m great. Thanks for having me today. 

Brett Gilliland  00:10

Absolutely, you are a mental performance coach and a speaker, you own your own consulting company now, and done some work with professional athletes, specifically, even the Yankees and a lot of business leaders and fortune 500 CEOs. And so a lot of stuff we’re going to talk about today. So I’m really, really excited about diving into it, but you’re up in Northern California, I just came from old Tahoe. So that’s a beautiful part of the country.

Lauren Johnson  00:32

One of my favorites. 

Brett Gilliland  00:34

Amazing. Does it get old being out there and the beauty of these mountains and these trees?

Lauren Johnson  00:38

Never, absolutely never. Now, I’m still a little bit of it takes a drive for me to get to Tahoe, but man, I try and get up there as much as possible. 

Brett Gilliland  00:48

It’s beautiful. It’s amazing out there. Well, if you can Lauren, why don’t you give us a little lay of the land? What’s kind of made you the woman you are today? Some of that background and kind of set us off on the right foot on who Lauren Johnson is?

Lauren Johnson  00:59

Yeah, I mean, that’s kind of a heavy question. Let’s see, what we’ll start with the easy stuff. I grew up an athlete and an athlete household my whole life, fell in love with soccer at a really young age. It was like it was a mixture of both fun and really challenging for me. So I completely fell in love with it. And the second I started doing it I was like, “this is what I want to do.” So originally, I wanted to be a professional soccer player. That was my goal. You know, back in first grade, when they asked you who you want to like what you want to become.

Brett Gilliland  01:32


Lauren Johnson  01:33

And while school was fine, and I was decent at it, it was really like sports that always, I was always drawn to sports in some way. And so as I went into, you know, my college years, not only do I play at the collegiate level, but I knew that past college, I wanted to work in some sort of sports. And so originally, I actually wanted to be a physical therapist, because I’m like, “Okay, this is, I can get the closest to working with athletes. You know, besides being a coach, and this is really exciting to me.” Well, then my senior year of college, I found sports psychology, actually, after I became injured as an athlete, and completely fell in love with it. Because the one thing I didn’t love about physical therapy is, I was a kid, I love the connection with my clients. But I’m not very good at the medical side, like and it didn’t excite me, like, not my thing. Like, I felt like it was a requirement to have this other piece of it. So when I learned oh, there is an actual job that is all about your connection with the client and helping them to overcome these mental obstacles they are facing holy cow! That’s for me. So I actually my senior year I decided to, I finished off my degree in kinesiology, minored in psychology, and then went full force ahead for Master’s in performance psychology. And it’s, you know, kind of led me down the path I’m on now.

Brett Gilliland  03:03

Yeah, that’s great. That’s great. So how did you, how have you built your quote unquote, resume, if you will, right? Because I mean, Yankees one of the most, well, the winningest organization in major league baseball history. I know you spent some time with them. It’s like how does that happen? Like, so talk to our listeners, and not necessarily “Yes, it’s the Yankees.” But how do we go do something that may be bigger than what we think we could do? And then believe it and go get it done?

Lauren Johnson  03:27

Oh, that’s a great question. Yeah, if you would have told me out of grad school that in a couple of years time, you’re gonna work for the Yankees, I would have thought you were crazy, not because they didn’t think I could do it. But because up until then, I didn’t believe it was possible. And I had a lot of people in grad school and otherwise, and I know a lot of grad students have this, have had a similar experience where they’re told, like, sports jobs are the hardest to get, like don’t even you know, they kind of like steer you away from it. And I, part of me believed that part of me was like, “Oh, screw that, like, I can get it.” So I graduated from my master’s program and I had two job offers. And one, I ended up taking one and turning down the other, but the only thing about the one that I ended up taking was that it required like six months before I was going to be placed in an actual role or position. And it was very common for this role, I was–– that I had gotten, and so six months goes by and I don’t hear anything. And at this time, mind you, I’m preparing for this so I’ve moved out of my apartment I think I was living with my grandma at the time like and like it was living with which who, by the way is like one of my best friends, one of the most incredible times of my life, which we can go back to that later, but she’s amazing. However, I’m like living with my grandma. I am I have a master’s degree and I, I’m like, just kind of like in limbo waiting to see where I’m going to be moving to. All my stuff’s in storage. And I remember I was I was visiting my boyfriend at the time, but now husband, and we were driving up to Tahoe, believe it or not. And that’s when I get this call. And it was in response to an email I had sent in the email was, “hey, just checking in six months has gone by I haven’t heard anything. Like, when should I be expecting my job placement?” And I got a response that said, “We’re sorry, the job is no longer available.” All the way up to Tahoe to have like, a fun weekend with my boyfriend, you know, soon to be husband. And I was like, in tears. 

Brett Gilliland  05:47

Yeah, just got kicked right in the teeth.

Lauren Johnson  05:50

Just devastated. Yeah, my whole, like, all my plans were just uprooted. And now we’re supposed to go celebrate. Like, I just cried, wanted to like crawl in a hole. And I just remember how upset like, devastated, I wasn’t thinking, I can’t even go back to the other job. Because it’s six months has passed, they’ve already refilled, they’ve already filled the position. So I’m kind of screwed. So I after, you know, having my own little pity party, and you know, being upset, I was like, “What am I gonna do about this?” So I ended up calling, you know, a lot of people that we actually talked about before this calling a lot of people that I knew in the field. And people that, you know, were mentors to me, or were already working in pro sports. And I, you know, call them for advice, and was there any jobs available, and there was just nothing. And even when there were things, I kept hearing the same thing, when you just need experience, and which is a very frustrating thing to hear out of grad school. So I’m now like, my deadlines for my for my student loans are approaching. So I’m like, well, I need to make money. I can’t like sit around waiting for like these jobs to happen, or to get experience before I can start applying. So I end up getting a job at Starbucks. And it was really humbling. But I will never forget, my mom used to tell me. She said, “You are never too good for any position.” 

Brett Gilliland  07:16

Great advice. 

Lauren Johnson  07:18

You are never too good to work in a position, you think you are never better than any other position out there. She said there are times where you have to roll up your sleeves and do the difficult thing. And yeah, part of my ego was like, “I don’t deserve to work at Starbucks.” 

Brett Gilliland  07:33


Lauren Johnson  07:35

I, you know, and Starbucks was exactly what I needed. So I’m working there humbled by the whole thing. And one day this guy drives up in the drive thru. And we’re chatting, like, we’re chatting it up. And he goes, “so are you in school?” And it was a common question. Most people were. But I said, “no, actually, I just graduated.” And he’s like, “great. What did you get your degree in?” And I like was so proud to tell him I was like, “Oh, I got in performance psychology.” And this guy just starts laughing in my face. Like, fun belly laughing and I’m like, “Oh, this is great.” Yeah, I’m like, do I have something on my face, like, what’s, what’s so funny? So finally, you know, I have no problem with confrontation. So finally, I just asked him, I was like, “What’s so funny?” He goes, “oh, you got one of those degrees, you’ll never use.” 

Brett Gilliland  08:27


Lauren Johnson  08:30

And it was like a gut punch. Here, I am already feeling like, I am not in the position I should be and now somebody’s telling me like, there’s a chance you’ll never leave here. Because you’re not going to do anything with that. And I was so pissed, like, I walked away, somebody else had to hand him his drink. But it got worse as the day went on, because I started ruminating on this. And have you ever had that where somebody says–– 

Brett Gilliland  08:55

Yeah. That’s what happens. A lot of times, the hardest feedback is, and the feedback, even if a spouse right gives you feedback, you may be mad, but you’re mad because it’s true. Oh, yeah. 

Lauren Johnson  08:55

It sticks with you. And you just keep replaying it like a broken record. And every time you replay it, you experience all the emotions all over again. So that’s happening. And then I get mad, because I’m mad, because I’m like, Lauren, they just got, you don’t event know this guy. Like, why do you care? Like, why are you giving him all this power over you? And that’s when I had this like, A-ha moment. And I realized I wasn’t upset because he was rude. I was upset because he was right.  Yeah, because there’s a part of it. That was 100% true. 

Brett Gilliland  09:42


Lauren Johnson  09:43

And I’m not sure if it came from anybody close to me, I would have paid attention to it the same. And it, what it forced me to do is it forces me to look in the mirror and go “Alright, so if that’s true, what is your response going to be?” Because I realized, like, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna make much progress if I just turn around when I’m faced with adversity. And that’s essentially what I was doing. And so that day, I Googled how to start your own consulting company, started my own consulting company, worked the earliest shift at Starbucks, it was, I had to get up at 2:30am, my shift started at 3:30. worked until 12. And then from about 12 to four, I would go on LinkedIn and send out messages, cold calls, pick up phones, like, and I, my goal was just to get in front of anybody that would allow me to work with them, because they knew that if I could get in front of them, and I can show them the value of what I had to offer that, more, more than likely, I’m gonna get a client after that. And if not, at least, maybe I’ll get a referral. 

Brett Gilliland  10:49


Lauren Johnson  10:50

And that’s what I ended up doing. And little by little, I started getting some traction. And people would see my work and they would refer me to somebody else. And then that person would refer me to somebody else. So suddenly, I built a, you know, very humble company, but a company enough to pay my bills where I didn’t also have to work at Starbucks, right? And after a year’s time, I actually had some friends that worked in baseball that, that sent me the job opportunity from the Yankees when it came out. And I interviewed and I got the job.

Brett Gilliland  11:27

Boom, podcast’s over. Dedication, perseverance, courage, right? I mean, I think a lot of similarities. I was 22-23, 23 years old, when I started the financial wealth management business, right. And still to this day now, 20 plus years later, I’ll have I’ll talk to young folks and they’re like, “Yeah, but who’s gonna give their money to a 23 year old?” I’m like, Yeah, you’re right, who is going to do it, but I think just sometimes ignorance can be bliss, too, right to where here I was in this new town, St. Louis, I wasn’t from here. Now, here you are building a consulting company, you’re cold calling people you don’t even have any clients that you’re consulting with or that you’re helping performance mindset, right? But yeah, you had a belief, you had a vision, you had action, which is one of the circuits of success, hence the name of the podcast. And so I could go on and on about that stuff. But I think sometimes not sometimes, most of the time, in my opinion, you’ve got to take action, without the answer. Do you agree with that?

Lauren Johnson  12:26

Yeah, it’s actually, the core of what I’ve built my company on is this idea that you become a lead by choice, not by chance, I could have made a totally different choice. 

Brett Gilliland  12:37


Lauren Johnson  12:38

I could have chose to stay exactly where I was, and, and allowed fear to take the wheel and allowed other things and outside circumstances to, to make decisions for me. But that’s the thing about being a victim and you’re in your situation, whatever situation you’re in, when you’re a victim, you’re pointing outside of you. And when we point outside of you, we give our power away, because now we’re requiring things externally to change in order for our situation to change. And where, sure, you could argue it was not my fault that suddenly the job wasn’t available. You can argue all of that. But what good is that going to do for the situation I’m in? Like, it’s not going to do any good. It’s the question is like, “Okay, well, now, what are you going to do about it?” Because mental performance is oftentimes about accepting your reality and choosing your response. And the reality is, your reality isn’t always great. 

Brett Gilliland  13:32


Lauren Johnson  13:33

Sometimes it sucks. And you have to like it. That’s the thing. A lot of people like, “well, isn’t accepting it like accepting defeat?” No, it doesn’t mean you have to like what situation you’re in. But what you’re doing is you’re accepting the fact that this is the reality you’re being faced with. And now you have a choice to make on how you’re gonna respond to it.

Brett Gilliland  13:53

Yeah, I talked about that with attitude just, just simple with that, like this morning I don’t know about you, I have to have an alarm go off, right to get me up. But I am a good sleeper. But I have a choice, right? We all have a choice every single day and to your point choice on to be successful or not. Right? Is, is a the the word “choice” for me is a big powerful word. Like I love that word. Because it is nobody else’s choice. But Lawrence or Brett’s to choose how today is gonna go does that mean everything’s gonna go great? Does that mean every voicemails gonna be perfect? Every email is gonna be here, you know, here’s millions dollars, or here’s this big consulting job. No, it doesn’t mean that. But it’s how we choose to live that reality. Right? And how you do something with it. And so I call it the bounce back theory. And you mentioned this a little bit earlier, but the most successful people in my experience, they bounce back from defeat quicker than others. Right? You had your pity party you call it it’s exactly what I call you had your pity party. Some people’s pity parties last five minutes, some people’s last couple of hours, some last a couple of days, some last month, some last a year. But the most successful people people bounce back quicker from defeat thoughts on that.

Lauren Johnson  15:04

Oh, man, I love this. Because a lot of times, it’s actually it’s funny, I actually have this sticky note. So for anybody that’s actually watching, I will explain it for those that aren’t. But this is how I describe, I was talking describing this to somebody the difference between like an amateur athlete and a professional athlete. And when it comes to their mentality, that the top squiggly line has very high highs and very low lows. And the bottom one, there are still highs and lows, but it’s the in between that shifts. And that mental performance doesn’t make you invincible. It makes you adaptable. And this is a good example of what that looks like, is that professional athletes, they still go through highs and lows of performance. But they’re more adaptable when those things occur. And so therefore, the highs aren’t so high and the lows aren’t so low. And so they’re able to establish more consistency over time. And more consistency within their results. And so I could not agree more with you. I think that’s an really important point.

Brett Gilliland  16:01

I’m looking for a book. What’s the name of it here? It Takes What It Takes. Have you have you heard? Have you read that book?

Lauren Johnson  16:07

Yeah. By Trevor Moawad? Yeah, we actually–– 

Brett Gilliland  16:10

God rest his soul, by the way.

Lauren Johnson  16:12

––my director at the Yankees and him are best friends or were best friends. He frequented into the Yankees quite a bit.

Brett Gilliland  16:20

Okay. It made me think of that. When you, when you showed your lines, right, he talks about basically I’m paraphrasing here, but taking the emotion out of it right. Don’t let your highs be too high. Don’t let your lows and be what’s he call it, neutral thinking? I think if I remember correctly, but it but it’s true. But I can also be guilty of that. From a raging optimist standpoint, I like to live in that moment. Because it can propel me on to something else. Even though that thing didn’t happen. I like to think it’s gonna happen for a while. And something else may happen. I don’t know if that makes any sense or not. It’s probably a little confusing, but I think I don’t like to go into the into the depths. But you certainly do it on a journey of entrepreneurship, for sure. Or sports?

Lauren Johnson  17:02

Oh, entirely. And really what that really what we’re talking about here is our relationship with our emotions, our relationship with our responses, because emotions you’re right, they’re not they’re not bad, feeling positive, feeling optimistic, or even feeling angry or upset. There could be benefits to both of those things. But the question is, where does the benefit lie? And for a lot of people, when they ride those highs, or when they ride those lows, that, it really becomes a something that gets in the way of their ability to perform consistently. And so one you know, one great tool, again, that Trevor Moawad talks about is neutral thinking is being able to detach from that, that’s a great skill to have. Now, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have emotion. Because pain is a catalyst it’s a catalyst for change. It can be a catalyst for growth. And then you know, optimism and positivity can be a great motivator. It when we are building momentum oh man, there’s a lot of science behind momentum and motivation. But what we do know is that there’s a balance between the two, when we look at actually our neurology and our chemistry, is that too much of either can become a really bad thing. And we have to be able to have the balance in order to sustain it long term.

Brett Gilliland  18:18

Yeah, I think. So when I hear that heard you say that motivation or use that word. Let’s talk about purpose. I mean, motivation, in my opinion, you talked about like, I know you’re a speaker, but I think you’re a speaker for change is the way I would say it right? Is actually let me get this meat and potato thing. Let me take one nugget and implement it in my life, then there are motivational speakers, right, you’re ready to run through the brick wall when they get done speaking at the conference, but then you leave the conference, you go to the airport, or you drive home wherever you’re at, and that motivation is gone by tomorrow. Right? So go ahead.

Lauren Johnson  18:53

I was just saying I love you for saying this because I the amount of times when people like oh, you’re a motivational speaker I’m like no, not exactly.

Brett Gilliland  19:00

There’s a difference, there is a massive difference and I want to make sure I say that out of respect for what you’re doing. It is for me, there’s motivation motivation is great, right we need it we got to have it. But there has to be purpose right and you can probably see this on this on the camera, I don’t know if you can or not on the microphone “F greater than P” people listening this probably get tired of hearing me say it but future greater than your past. That’s my personal mission statement. That’s our firm’s mission statement is helping people achieve a future greater than their past. And for me what I had to find, now I’m 44 years old, when I started when I was 23. I started on motivation, right? The conferences, the books, the things I needed, but now it’s purpose. Right? So when you hear that what comes to mind for you?

Lauren Johnson  19:42

Oh many things, many things. I can go down so many, so many paths with this one I’ll start with this is that I agree with you motivation is, I always think of it kind of like a power plant. Power Plants don’t have energy they generate it. And so motivation is often we treat it as something we either have or we don’t. But really, it becomes generated with action. And a lot of times, it comes after the fact. And the thing I hate about motivation is that a lot of people use it as a prerequisite. Like, oh, I have to feel this way. 

Brett Gilliland  20:17


Lauren Johnson  20:17

In order to act this way. And there was actually an example, I was working with a golfer. And this day, in particular, I was just out observing one of his tournaments, and we’re out there and he, he’s having a bad day. Like, you can kind of see, you can see the frustration building and building. And, you know, I watched him, you know, three putt and he’s pissed. And so he throws down, he literally throws his putter to the ground, goes over, like, pulls out his driver, and his caddies like picking up this stuff. Like, as he’s as he’s doing this, and like, literally almost runs to the next hole. And then I’m having to like, jog to keep up. He, he goes through every like, literally abandons his routine entirely. Putts some balls, swings, and we watch as it goes directly into an, into a hazard. 

Brett Gilliland  21:07

Yeah, yeah. 

Lauren Johnson  21:09

We I mean, hello–-

Brett Gilliland  21:11

I’ve done it.

Lauren Johnson  21:11

Right. That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. And so he was so pissed, he, he walked off and quit. 

Brett Gilliland  21:22

Oh, wow. 

Lauren Johnson  21:24

I gave him his space for a little bit, till he calmed down. And then we sat down to talk about it. And I was like, “Hey, what happened back there?” And he goes, “I don’t think you understand.” He goes, “I hate losing. That’s just how I am.”

Brett Gilliland  21:41

I love that, I actually hate that statement. It’s just how I am. But go ahead.

Lauren Johnson  21:46

Me too. So you and I are the same with this. And I said, “bullshit.” And he’s like, he kind of like, looks like stops for a second. I like shocked him. And I said, “That’s not who you are. That’s who you’re choosing to be.” I said, “you can be angry. And still your cool. You can be upset, and still maintain composure.” I said “you can be fearful and still act in a way where fear is not in the driver’s seat.” I said, “your feelings and actions do not have to match to coexist.” And I think it was the first time he had heard that. 

Brett Gilliland  22:31


Lauren Johnson  22:31

And up until that point, he believed, like a lot of us do is, we fall it––somehow like along the, along the path of performance, we believe we have to feel some way to act some way, it’s complete crap. You can feel one way and act entirely different. It’s hard to do. Sure. But it’s not about like faking it till you make it. It’s learning to behave it even when you don’t feel that way. 

Brett Gilliland  22:56


Lauren Johnson  22:56

That is discipline. And that is high performance.

Brett Gilliland  23:01

I’m writing that one down, behave it even when you don’t feel like it. Because you’re right. I mean, I grew up in an environment that was the old fake it till you make it type thing, right? And it’s like, I never connected with that. But you hear it, and then you somehow in your 20s, you start to believe that you know, somebody’s driving on the road. Listen, this, Don’t fake it till you make it. Like he just said, behave it. Right? behave the way even if you don’t want to. And I talked about again, attitude, your belief system, and your actions ultimately get you results. That’s the circuit of success, right? That’s what this show is all about is your attitude, beliefs, actions, get your results. There’s a lot of things in between there. But when you have those things, that again, back to that motivation, and that purpose, I think you got to dig deep and find out why in the hell are you doing what you’re doing? And if you don’t know the answer to that, I don’t know what to tell you.

Lauren Johnson  23:52

And, you know, most people don’t have that answer. When I meet with a lot of people, like, I’ll give you a good example. I was working with a CEO up in Canada recently. And there’s a lot of things we’re working on in general. And one of the things is he wants to exit his company within three to five years. And it was funny because he didn’t say that originally, originally he said, “Oh, I want confidence.” I want this, I wanna be able to walk into a board meeting and this is, this is fill in the blank and it’s just anybody that knows their why can spot when somebody thinks they know it, but they really don’t. 

Brett Gilliland  24:30


Lauren Johnson  24:32

And it’s because what a lot of times we have, like the surface why and there’s nothing wrong with that by the way, having a why that’s temporary or that can carry you through today or tomorrow and it be more surface level. There’s a place for that. But when we’re looking for our true why our true purpose it what it really does is it is a couple of layers deeper and it, oftentimes takes somebody else to reflect back to you and help us get there. So I asked him, I was like, “that’s not it.” And he was like, “What do you mean? How can you tell me that? That’s not it?” I was like, “because it’s deeper than that.” And so I kept asking, like, “what do you want?” And he would tell me, “I don’t know, what do you want?” And then the process and I actually learned this from my good friend, Nick Kabuto, that in the process of just asking, “What do you want?”, time and time again, after a minute, you’ll start to see us diving deeper into layers. And what we learned is that he didn’t want, he didn’t want what he wanted, just so that he could feel good about himself walking into a meeting. He wanted what he wanted, because in two, three years time, he wants to exit his company, so that he can spend more time with his children. So that he can be the dad that picks them up after school. And there’s a legacy he wanted to be able to leave. And so when we really dove deep and understood that his whole energy shifted, and the reason why this is important, is because when you’re speaking to your Y, you’re speaking to the part of the brain that is responsible for decision making. And so that’s why when you don’t feel like doing something, and you go, “well, I should, because I just need that confidence.” You’re not like jumping off the couch to do it. But when you connect to something greater than you, like your family, your legacy, the example that you’re leaving, suddenly you go, “I gotta get up.”

Brett Gilliland  26:32

Yeah. But I think the reason people don’t do that, though, in my opinion, is it’s scary, right? Because once you admit it, and I always say peel the onion layer back, like you’re talking about these layers, right? So once I peel that back, and now I’ve kind of, always say Pandora’s Box, everybody’s got the box, and I got a key, and I got to unlock that key to let this thing out. Right? And so we do that with clients. “What’s important about money?” “Well, I just want to be secure.” Now, “what’s important about being secure,” right? What’s and you just keep going and asking them questions back about what they just said. And then it’s, it’s not every time but you’d be shocked at how many times actually, you know, we’re grabbing Kleenex because somebody’s crying, right? And that’s the jobs, to tie it back. But it’s very scary because once you admit it, now the fear comes in. And then the mind in my opinion is made to protect ourselves, right? Our parents tried to protect us as kids. We tried to protect our own kids. And so the fear comes in there and says, “Man, I just admitted this thing. Now I gotta go do it. What happens if it doesn’t happen?”

Lauren Johnson  27:35

Right, yeah. I mean, I, have you experienced that before where maybe like, even your why or even some of the goals that you’ve set have have scared you like fear, which I’m sure you had.

Brett Gilliland  27:47

Well, I’ve even had the thought of like, Who the hell do you think you are? Right? Like, why? Why like the future greater than your past? What the hell thinks you made, what makes you think Brett, you can make somebody’s future greater than their past? Right? And you have to fight through that demon earlier. And I do think it comes with experience, because I’ve had different mission statements over my life for different purpose statements. But I can honestly say, this is the first one that was the real, real, real, real one. Like it’s what I get up to do every single day. And I think I’ve eliminated a lot of other negative emotions in my life, knowing that future greater than your past purpose, right. But there are lots of things that scare you.

Lauren Johnson  28:24

Oh, yeah. And I, I resonate with that, because so I remember one time I was explained, I was talking to, you know, something, something along this very similar lines that we’re talking about with a player from the Yankees. He goes, “Well, you’re not allowed to think that way. Like you’re a mental coach.” And I was like, that’s precisely the reason why I think that way, right? I was like, because how can I teach you the things that I do if I haven’t gone through it myself? 

Brett Gilliland  28:55


Lauren Johnson  28:56

It’s when people ask me, “Lauren, like, why do you why do you love this field so much?” The answer is because I was the athlete that needed it. 

Brett Gilliland  29:04


Lauren Johnson  29:05

I was the person that constantly got in my own way that I thought if I wasn’t perfect, then I wasn’t worth shit. Like, I had all of these things that actually led me to this field because I needed it. And I think we continue, of course, it evolved from being a soccer player to now, you know, about to be a first time mom, and I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. And I’m terrified. And there’s a lot of fear associated with it. There’s changes that are happening that I’m like, rejecting. And so the different chapters in your life will require different mental skills or iterations of them. And I need it the most. And so I don’t teach anything that I’m not willing to do myself. 

Brett Gilliland  29:46

Yeah. But with that, I think two, is just pick the mom obviously, I’m not a mom, but I am a dad. I’m a dad of four. And I think that so many times, whether it’s business, parenthood, whatever it is, we just think we got to know, right? I remember driving home the first time you guys will probably experience as you drive home, we had to drive home on an interstate with our first baby. I’m 10 and 2, I’m going like 45, you know, I’m a fast driver, right? And I’m going like, these people were freaking crazy, you know? And it’s like, it doesn’t come with a rulebook, right? Dealing with a pandemic running a company didn’t come with a rulebook. Right? Striking out 37 times in a row doesn’t come with a rulebook. But that’s where my opinion faith in a higher power, but faith in yourself, your belief system, your process, that’s what has to come in that we as a human being, like, like advice to you, right, as you have in I know, you know, this, I’m speaking to the coach here. But the point is, you have to have faith that it will show up, the rulebook will show up in how to be a mom, right? And you will figure it out, and how to be a mom times two, or in my case, the dad times four, and it just shows up, but you got to believe it. And you gotta have faith in that.

Lauren Johnson  30:55

I love that you said that. And I have, and it’s a reminder that I constantly need. So thank you for sharing that. Because I will never forget when I first, you know, found out that I was pregnant, and we were you know, body changes are happening and I’m like rejecting them because I’ve been like a super fit athlete my whole life. And I’m like, what’s happening? What is that? 

Brett Gilliland  31:16


Lauren Johnson  31:17

It’s like, my body’s so foreign to me, I had a friend and I texted her, I said, “Hey,” and she’s a good friend of mine. Since college she’s had, she’s now on her second kid. And I, I text her I said, “the first time you got pregnant, did it feel like somebody just dropped you in the middle of the ocean? And you had no idea what direction tp swim in?” And she’s like, “Absolutely, absolutely.” And so I think that that analogy doesn’t, isn’t just for pregnancy, but it’s for a lot of other things in life, like you had mentioned is that sometimes the best lessons in life are the ones where you feel like you are lost in the middle of the ocean, and you do not have a clue what direction to go in. 

Brett Gilliland  31:53

Yeah, absolutely. 

Lauren Johnson  31:55

It’s the exploration, right? The only way that you start to learn what direction is the right one or not, is by exploring it. And by choosing one and going, and then it may require a course correction, it may require turning around, you might get lucky the first time we go, nailed it. But how are you to know? And so I do think that some of the best lessons do come from that degree of discomfort and, and honestly, like complete and utter vulnerability.

Brett Gilliland  32:23

Well, I think it’s learning to write and it’s, it’s okay to make a mistake, whether again, in business or and being me, hell and apparently, I make mistakes every damn day, you know, and it’s like, but you got to learn from them. And we all learn from those mistakes, and then do something about it to not do it again. But again, I will do it again. I still make the same mistakes.

Lauren Johnson  32:44

Yeah, if you’re, if you’re constantly making the same mistake, you’re not learning. 

Brett Gilliland  32:48


Lauren Johnson  32:49

If you never make any mistakes, you’re not growing. 

Brett Gilliland  32:51


Lauren Johnson  32:51

And so one of those, it’s one of those, you know, paradigms that, you know, we want to pay attention to, because, man we can get in a cycle, just not making any updates. 

Brett Gilliland  33:01


Lauren Johnson  33:01

But then, if you’re so, but at the same time understanding that mistakes are a part of the process, as you’re, as you’re growing. And as you’re developing.

Brett Gilliland  33:10

Yeah. So what would it be if I followed you around, you know, for a week, a month, whatever, pick your timeframe, I followed you around, and I said, Okay, I’m going to find these 1, 2, 3, 4 points I know, Lauren Johnson will never miss, what are those things?

Lauren Johnson  33:27

That’s a great question. I don’t know, I’ll have to think about that. What points 1, 2, 3 points, I don’t know, one of the things I kind of live and breathe by is, I think that there’s so much power in any moment, by understanding where your control doesn’t, doesn’t lie. It’s a very foundational principle, you know, in the sports psychology field. And the reason is, because I think that, you know, especially as a young athlete, I gave my power away a lot. And when you attempt to control things that you can’t, it ends up controlling you. And that’s what happened is I was being controlled by all these outside circumstances, I was being controlled by, you know, other people’s opinions of me or things like, you know, jobs falling through, you know, alot of things that were totally outside of my control. I would lend so much of my mental currency there. And so one of the things that is so foundational in my every single day, and in terms of dealing with any adversities, or struggles, or even decisions I’m making, is I go back to kind of this idea of understanding where my control does and doesn’t lie. Because I think a lot of times, it became such a default setting, to just if I didn’t like it, that was the thing I focused on and it’d be it’s, you know, that negativity bias that our mind it’s like so attracted to, and so for me, one of the things without fail is, is I will always know where my power lies. And if I get upset at something about something which, trust me, it happens, you can ask my husband. But that’s yeah. Oh, let me tell you about that, however, but what always happens is that there’s a little I give myself a little bit of time to be upset. But my bounce back is pretty quick. And it always starts the catalyst for the bounce back always begins with that question is where does your control lie? And where doesn’t it? And what does that mean for your next step?

Brett Gilliland  35:31

Well and we talked about that earlier right? The bounce back theory, as I call it, I just was speaking to a group of people, young, young professionals a couple of weeks ago, maybe and, and that’s, that’s the advice like, how do you get over disappointment, and for me it’s, be disappointed, have my pity party be pissed off. I mean, I mean, be absolutely pissed, because you’re golfer guy, I don’t want to lose, I don’t want to lose, my wife and I will race around the yard just to not lose, right? I mean, it’s, we’re competitive, our kids are competitive. And, but I guess my point is, is again, faster, but put the game plan together. So if I didn’t like that thing that just happened, then for me, I go to my black journal with an ink pen and my mind, and I put together the game plan. That’s gonna get me out of that shit that I don’t want to deal with right now.

Lauren Johnson  36:17

Oh, yeah, it’s so true. There’s, you know, my husband, I, he, his head’s gotten a little big because of this. So I, nobody send this to him, please–– He already, given him enough credit for this. However, it’s important for people to hear this because it honestly impacted me a lot. And it happened not long ago. And he asked me a question. And what it did is it took me out of the moment that I was in it, it gave me a third party perspective. And it’s a powerful question that stuck with me that I asked constantly. And when I’m upset, or I’m in, you know, in frustrated or something happens, the question I often like to ask, besides Where does my power line where it doesn’t it is? “What typically helps in moments like these?” He posed that question to me once, when I was upset. And what it did is it suddenly made me zoom out. Because right when we’re in our emotions, we are so in them, and sometimes we identify closely with them. And this gave me a moment to almost have that third party perspective where I could zoom out and look at my situation. And then I could actually reflect on past experiences, in what helped. And then what my brain naturally did is what might help now. And what I realized in that moment, the answer at that moment, was giving myself like a 24 hour period to just be upset, but not address this yet. And then come back after I was, you know, I created space from the emotion I’d created space from the initial shock. And then I could respond appropriately. And so that’s not, that’s a question I offered to you and to the right question. Because it really, it really makes you, again, like you said, creating a future better greater than your past. It makes you think on your past in order to create a better decision for the future.

Brett Gilliland  36:28

Send. Yeah. And I think coaching is a big part of all this too, right? I mean, I had a coach for years. And you look at pick your favorite athlete, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, Tom Brady. I mean, Tom Brady’s got an entourage around it, right. And it’s, it’s people around you that and to your coach that your to your golfer that you ask him questions, you need to hear that stuff. And you’d be smacked in the face sometimes and wake up and ask questions that are hard to ask to ourselves. So for our listeners, I would tell you find a coach, it doesn’t have to be a lot of money, find somebody, right? Maybe it can be a lot of money, depending on their budget, but find somebody you can go to, to get help to ask you these questions and go through that. Would you agree with that? I would assume so based on your, what you do.

Lauren Johnson  38:51

I just called my coach earlier today, I have coaches that I use right now, you know, for different reasons. But I invest a lot of money in coaching, because I see the value in it. And every coach themselves, by the way needs a coach. So if you are a coach saying like, Oh, I don’t need it, because I am a coaching, BS! Yes. Oh, we all do you know why? We all have blind spots. And there are there are these three areas that I actually created a video about this last week that elite performers, you know, do differently than than average performers. And it’s, it’s this idea that number one, they don’t play victim, okay? They’re not sitting around feeling sorry for themselves. Number two, they under–– they’re lifelong students, and so they’re constantly trying to learn and develop. So one of the things and you’re like if we followed you, what’s something you wouldn’t miss, is I’m constantly learning. So whether that’s reading books, whether that’s taking a course, whether that’s being coached, or applying something new, like you know, homework that my coach gives me, which by the way, I’m in a very uncomfortable position right now with learning a new skill. And so I felt like I was taken back to like a beginner again, so thank you to one of my coaches for that. And so that being a student is huge. And then the third thing is they understand the value of who you surround yourself with. And so they surround themselves with not people that don’t necessarily are “yes people” or just will agree with them, but other like people that also want to improve themselves. And so I, I, this is so important for me, it’s been so important, like for the last five years, I’ve noticed, is just who I surround myself with, and who I choose to spend time with my proximity to certain people, it matters. And it’s, it’s become more important, the older I’ve gotten.

Brett Gilliland  40:38

Which I just talked about this, I don’t know if it was on a podcast or somebody else, maybe somebody an advisor in our office, but you can feel somebody’s presence, positive or negative, right. I think John Gordon, who we talked about, before we started recording, he talks about in the energy bus, you know, as a 15 feet radius, you can feel somebody’s presence, positive or negative, get rid of the negative vampire, right? Stick around the positive people. And it’s, I’m lucky that my friend, I shouldn’t say lucky, has probably been done this way because of who we are, and our values connection. But my friends lift each other up. One is not jealous of somebody else’s success. And if somebody does something, or you get a high five, let’s go, like, that’s awesome.

Lauren Johnson  41:19

And that’s how it should be. And I understand that that’s not how the world entirely operates. I realized that’s not everybody’s reality. But rou’re 100%, right. Like, if your response to somebody winning is like, I have to pull them down, like we you need to look in the mirror. Yeah, and I think we’ve all had that experience before, if we’re all honest with ourselves, for other reasons, whether it’s jealousy, or, you know, fill in the blank, however, the best like, you will never find somebody who is doing well for themselves and working hard, pulling somebody else down. It’s just that is not allowed in my circle. If you do that, that’s fine. That’s the but that is a reflection of you, not me, and my proximity to you is going to change as a result of it. Because I need to be surrounded by other people that want to see me win. Now, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be honest with me or give me feedback. Thorough feedback. That’s not what I’m saying. But we all know those people that are, that are negative, just to be negative. And I think Justin Su’a does a really good job of explaining this. And he says, it’s the difference between fountains and drains, there are fountains in our lives, those are the people that you call, you know, when something good happens, who do you want to call and share it with? 

Brett Gilliland  42:31

Oh, yeah. 

Lauren Johnson  42:32

Yeah, they’re gonna fill you up! And then there are drains. And those are people that they’re calling you and you’re like, I don’t want to answer that. Yeah. And so it’s like, it’s I think it’s important to understand who are the fountains and drains in your life, and sometimes you can eliminate the drains entirely. But for those people that you can’t eliminate, then the question is, how can you change your proximity? Because proximity is power, the closer somebody is, the more that again, you can feel that energy, and it can actually impact you versus maybe you just need to create some distance, maybe you’re just not available this Friday. Or this weekend, like you usually are.

Brett Gilliland  43:10

On the power of “No’s” used too, I’ve learned.

Lauren Johnson  43:13

That’s been a tough one for me, but one I’ve gotten better at an exercise a little bit more.

Brett Gilliland  43:17

But I also think that you collectively, when you’re building it, and especially in the early days, you got to say yes to a lot of things like I did this is four years ago, but I just remember what I did 40 things I learned in my first 40 years, right, and one of them was I said, take the coffee meeting. Just take it, like I don’t know, maybe something good comes out of it. Maybe it’s a complete waste of time, maybe a connection of a connection of a connection that I won’t know about till five or seven or 10 years from now happens. I don’t know. So I struggle with it as well. I mean, I I’m pretty darn good at saying “no” now. But I think in the early days, when you’re on the grind, and I’m still on a grind. Don’t get me wrong. But my point is, is that you got to take the coffee meeting sometimes, but then also be very protected, right? So I call them F to the fifth power, my faith, my family, my fitness, my firm and my fun. Those five F’s, if I can decide based on this thing coming at me look at it through a lens of one of those five things. If the answer is “Hell, yes,” let’s go. If it’s “no,” then let’s we’re saying no. Right? But it’s got to move the needle on one of those five areas. So do you have a decision making process like that, or anything similar to that?

Lauren Johnson  44:28

You know, I do I have, I have a decision making process in my business. And then when it comes to my friends, it’s a very different decision making process. But I would say that in terms of my business, I have, I have an incredible business strategist that I work with. Because turns out in grad school, they teach you psychology, not business. So that’s an area that I was like I need help in. And so what we’ve done is actually I think, I think creating a system or a filter, first starts with clarity. Because once you’ve gained clarity, then you can apply the filter that is in alignment with that. 

Brett Gilliland  45:06


Lauren Johnson  45:07

I love it. I love it. All right, now we’re gonna have a little fun, I’m gonna steal your cell phone from you, okay, now besides email and calendar, because that’s boring, and you got to have them for work. What’s the one thing that I cannot delete on your cell phone that you got to have? Just in your life, it’s a thing you just want, you’d have some stress.  I think where I struggled to say no before, is I wasn’t always clear, but I could feel the alignment shift. But I didn’t anticipate it. And so I would say no, say yes to things I should have been saying no to. And so now, the filter actually comes from the things that I have actually set for my goals, I’ve created a 10 year plan, a three year plan, a one year plan, a six month plan. And when those things don’t align with those, that’s where I have to say, okay, it’s kind of like that, that story about the British rowing team, you know, will it make the boat go faster? And it filters your decision making because if going to the bar does not make the boat go faster then they’re not going to go. And so for me, it kind of like asking that same question to myself, like, will it make the boat go faster? And if the answer is no, I don’t do it. Audible. 

Brett Gilliland  45:54

Ah, I like it. 

Lauren Johnson  45:59

Audible. I––

Brett Gilliland  46:02

I so wish I could listen to Audible. I’ve got I think 15 books in backlog because if I just never, I like start to fall asleep. I like I gotta read the real book. Like, I’m trying to drive down the road for 30 minutes and do it I’m like, next thing I know, I’m like, I don’t know what the hell just happened.

Lauren Johnson  46:36

I’m like half and half, because I’ve read into that before. And I still like having a physical copy. But there are some books that I want specific things from. And so audible is like the way that I go with that. And then if I want a hard copy, I’ll go get it. But I I’m gonna say I like both, but audible, I probably couldn’t live without and Uber Eats.

Brett Gilliland  46:57

Uber Eats–– Big deal from Amazon yesterday, I had to send a text message to my family because my, especially my two older boys, they’re in high school, and, you know, you look at their little, they got their own little cards, I gotta go make some money, we’ll put some money in there. But it’s this damn GrubHub you know, whatever the fee is to do GrubHub and Amazon Prime members, they just took a little stake in GrubHub. So you get some free deliveries from GrubHub as an Amazon Prime member.

Lauren Johnson  47:22

Well, maybe I’ll need to download some grub because I also have Amazon Prime.

Brett Gilliland  47:26

There you go, you get some free food delivered to you. That was the worth right there the price of being on The Circuit of Success, which is nothing other than your time, and now you’re thinking “Why the hell did I do that?” Anyway where do our listeners find more of Lauren Johnson.

Lauren Johnson  47:39

So you can actually, the best way is to go to my website, which is And that’s spelled out “” All my social media handles on there, you can check out my latest events on there and––

Brett Gilliland  47:53

You have one coming up in November, right? 

Lauren Johnson  47:55

Yes, we have one coming up in November. This is for mental performance coaches. So people in the field of sport and performance psychology or those interested in the field, working in the field, and we bring together some of the most incredible people that are currently in the field and fields that should, that support it. Meaning like, again, grad school does not teach you business. So, we bring in some really great business experts and things that actually help you to do the work in the field.

Brett Gilliland  48:20

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Well, we will put all that in the show notes. I’m sure there’ll be a link that you can share and we’ll put that in the show notes as well and people connect with you. But Lauren, you’re a rock star. Thanks so much for being with us on The Circuit of Success. I’ve enjoyed our time together.

Lauren Johnson  48:33

Hey, thanks so much for having me. This was a blast.

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