The Way of the Champion: How to Win Each Day | Sport Psychologist, Dr. Jerry Lynch

Summary notes created by Deciphr AI


Dr. Michael Gervais hosts Dr. Jerry Lynch, an esteemed sports psychologist and author, on the Finding Mastery podcast to explore what it means to be a champion and how to achieve mastery. They discuss the importance of daily practice, intentional living, and the core values of courage, resilience, integrity, and selflessness. Lynch emphasizes the significance of shedding non-essential aspects to reveal one's true self and highlights the necessity of building strong relationships. They also delve into the concept of winning the day by focusing on controllable actions and maintaining a mindset oriented towards giving and service.

Summary Notes

Becoming the Best Version of Oneself

  • Focus on shedding unnecessary elements to reach the core of who you are.
  • Strive to be a master every day, even if ultimate mastery is unattainable.

"You don't go to win a championship. You gotta be a champion first. Becoming the best version of oneself. We have to focus on what can we shed to get down to the real stuff. I mean, to become a master is not possible, but you can be a master every day."

  • Emphasizes the importance of internal growth and continuous self-improvement.
  • Suggests that being a champion is a state of being, not just a result.

Introduction to Finding Mastery Podcast

  • Hosted by Dr. Michael Gervais, a high-performance psychologist.
  • Explores what it means to be an exceptional athlete and champion.
  • Emphasizes committing to being the best version of oneself through practice and more.

"What does it mean to be an exceptional athlete? What does it take to be a champion? Yes, of course, winning is part of the ecosystem here. Winning a game, winning a season. But the real goal, the real goal is to fundamentally commit to be your very best, to be the best you can be."

  • Highlights the deeper goal of self-improvement beyond mere winning.
  • Stresses the importance of daily practice in achieving excellence.

Introduction to Dr. Jerry Lynch

  • Dr. Jerry Lynch is an author, guide, teacher, and sports psychologist.
  • Mentored in multiple sports and authored 17 books, including "The Way of the Champion."
  • Focuses on daily spiritual and emotional training to build qualities like courage, resilience, integrity, and selflessness.

"Doctor Jerry Lynch is an incredible author. He's a guide, he's a teacher, and he's grounded in sports psychology. He's mentored in basketball, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, golf, you name it. He's the author of 17 books."

  • Establishes Dr. Lynch's credibility and expertise in sports psychology.
  • Introduces his holistic approach to training athletes.

The Importance of Relationships in Athletics

  • Relationships are crucial in creating a culture in athletics.
  • Acronym G.I.V.E. (Genuine, Inspiring, Vulnerable, Empowering) is essential for building relationships.

"It's all about relationships, as you know. And both of you were what I call the acronym, but actually, it's a jackronym, a Jerry acronym. Right. The acronym is give both of you tremendously, unbelievably authentic and genuine. The I is very inspiring to watch the both of you navigate your marriage, and what was entailed with that. And the v, of course, is vulnerability. Leadership without vulnerability is non existent. Right. Marriages. Relationships without vulnerability is non existent. And, of course, the e is very empowering."

  • Emphasizes the role of genuine, inspiring, vulnerable, and empowering relationships in athletic culture.
  • Highlights the importance of understanding and empathy in building strong relationships.

Dr. Jerry Lynch's Book: "The Way of the Champion"

  • Inspired by "The Art of War" but translated into accessible language for athletes and coaches.
  • Focuses on implementing concepts like selflessness and gratitude into daily practice.
  • Emphasizes the importance of practical application in achieving mastery.

"So I had this wonderful, wonderful mentor who translated the work, and now I put this work together, and now what we have is we have the essence. I want to say it's not the entire book, but it's the essence of the art of war into language that's accessible to coaches, to athletes, to moms, to dads, to young kids."

  • Shows the process of making ancient wisdom applicable to modern sports.
  • Stresses the importance of practical implementation over mere theoretical knowledge.

Dr. Jerry Lynch's Book: "Win the Day"

  • Focuses on daily actions and behaviors that contribute to long-term success.
  • Emphasizes sustaining success through consistent daily efforts.
  • Uses the example of a tennis team to illustrate the concept of winning each day.

"So what I did with that book was my co author on six of my books, Al Wang, who is very close friends of Joseph Campbell, very close friends of Alan Watts, knows something about Chinese. He translated for me from Chinese to English, from the old book, the Art of War, Sunza's book."

  • Highlights the importance of daily actions in achieving long-term goals.
  • Uses real-life examples to illustrate the practical application of the book's concepts.

Sustaining Success and Implementation

  • Success is not just about achieving goals but sustaining them through consistent effort.
  • Importance of having a daily checklist to ensure consistent progress.

"What you have to do is plantain this. How are you going to win the day and get up in the morning and win the day again? And then win it again and win it every day until you get up on the morning of June 3, and then win the day then."

  • Stresses the importance of daily consistency in achieving long-term success.
  • Suggests using a daily checklist to track progress and maintain focus.

Importance of Applied Knowledge

  • Practical application of concepts is crucial for real-world success.
  • Books and theories are only useful when implemented in daily life.

"Without implementation, it's just words, and they're nice words."

  • Emphasizes the importance of applying theoretical knowledge in practical settings.
  • Stresses that real change comes from consistent application, not just understanding.

Creating a Championship Culture

  • Building and sustaining a championship culture requires daily effort and consistency.
  • Importance of aligning daily actions with long-term goals.

"The ultimate coach's guide to build and sustain a championship culture."

  • Highlights the importance of culture in achieving and sustaining success.
  • Emphasizes the role of daily actions in building a strong, sustainable culture.

Practical Steps to Win the Day

  • Importance of having a list of daily goals or actions.
  • Consistency in daily actions leads to long-term success.

"What are the top ten items that you can do in your life? And now this is for people who aren't even athletes. What can you do? Or how do you need to be, even more importantly, at the end of the day, so that you can be on the track of being the greatest you can be?"

  • Suggests creating a daily checklist to track progress and maintain focus.
  • Emphasizes the importance of consistency in daily actions for long-term success.


  • Success and mastery are about daily consistent efforts and practical application.
  • Building strong relationships and a supportive culture are crucial for sustained success.

"Winning the day is different than winning a championship. Winning the day. Right. It's like doing all the little things, all the necessary essential absolutes."

  • Reinforces the idea that daily actions and consistency are key to long-term success.
  • Emphasizes the importance of practical application and building strong relationships in achieving mastery.

Key Themes and Topics

The Concept of a Top Ten List for Fulfillment

  • The idea behind creating a top ten list is to provide a comprehensive approach to life fulfillment.
  • Each item on the list represents a different aspect of life, akin to spokes on a wheel, with the individual being the hub.

"The top ten seems to be more encompassing. It covers many spokes on the wheel, and you're the hub."

  • This analogy emphasizes the holistic approach to personal development and fulfillment.

Personal Philosophy and Non-Negotiables

  • Personal philosophies and non-negotiables help guide one's thoughts, actions, and daily practices.
  • The statement "every day is the opportunity to create a living masterpiece" serves as a guiding principle.

"Every day is the opportunity to create a living masterpiece."

  • This quote highlights the importance of daily intentionality and striving for excellence.

Components of the Wheel of Life

  • The wheel of life includes personal, professional, social, spiritual, nutritional, and physical aspects.
  • Focusing on these major items allows for a balanced and fulfilling life.

"There's the personal stuff, the professional game, the relationship game, the spiritual life, the nutritional life, the physical life."

  • These components are essential for overall well-being and fulfillment.

Elevated Emotions and Connection

  • Elevated emotions such as optimism, feeling valued, and helping others are crucial for a fulfilling life.
  • Creating an environment of connection, caring, love, and empowerment is important.

"These elevated emotions are being optimistic, feeling valued, helping other people to feel valued."

  • This emphasizes the significance of positive emotions and social connections.

Meditation Practices

  • Meditation is a crucial daily practice for spiritual and mental well-being.
  • The practice includes Vipassana breathing and "feelingization," which involves feeling elevated emotions.

"Every day I have a meditation practice... It's a Vipassana breathing, simple meditation of going to a place where I can feel whatever's happening and pay attention to it."

  • This highlights the importance of mindfulness and emotional awareness in meditation.

Reading and Continuous Learning

  • Reading is an important daily activity for mental stimulation and growth.
  • Keeping multiple books going at once helps maintain a continuous learning process.

"Reading is an important part... I've always got at least two or three books going so that I can keep stimulated in my mind and keep moving forward."

  • This underscores the value of lifelong learning and intellectual engagement.

Nutrition and Physical Health

  • Nutrition and physical activity are essential for feeling alive and vibrant.
  • Being aware of one's diet and maintaining physical health contribute to overall well-being.

"My diet, I mean, it's so important to be aware. Nutrition, so that you can feel it, qi in the Dante, and feel your energy and feel like you're really alive and vibrant each day."

  • This stresses the importance of maintaining physical health through proper nutrition and exercise.

Handling Negative Emotions and Challenges

  • Negative emotions and challenges should be welcomed as opportunities for growth.
  • Building resilience, grit, fortitude, and perseverance is crucial for personal development.

"These obstacles, setbacks, challenges, annoyances... for me, they are the way. They are the way of... building resilience, building grit, building fortitude, building perseverance."

  • This highlights the importance of facing challenges head-on and using them for personal growth.

Night School and Spiritual Bypass

  • Waking up at night can be an opportunity for introspection and addressing unresolved issues.
  • Avoiding the spiritual bypass, which involves taking the easy way out, is essential for true spiritual growth.

"Waking up at 02:00 in the morning is night school... I'm waking up for a reason... I need to attend to it."

  • This emphasizes the importance of facing and resolving inner conflicts rather than avoiding them.

Medication and Self-Medication

  • Medication should be a last resort for dealing with issues like sleep disorders.
  • Self-medication through drugs or alcohol is seen as a form of spiritual bypass.

"The spiritual bypass is taking the pill. That's the bypass. Or even so, coming home from work, having your martini. The spiritual bypass. Medication. Drugs. Self medication. I just won't do it."

  • This stresses the need to address underlying issues rather than relying on medication as a quick fix.

Best Practices in Mind-Body Emotion Work

  • Medication alone without psychotherapy is not considered best practice.
  • Combining psychotropic medication with psychotherapy can be beneficial.
  • Emphasis on doing mind-body work before reaching a full-blown crisis.

"We know from meta-analysis over meta-analysis that medication alone without psychotherapy is not considered a best practice."

  • Emphasizes the importance of combining medication with psychotherapy for effective treatment.

"Give yourself a chance to do some of this work and maybe you can even do it before you're in a full-blown crisis."

  • Encourages proactive engagement in mind-body practices to prevent crises.

Winning the Day: Essential Ingredients

  • Following a list of essential activities can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress.
  • Daily practices like exercise, meditation, and relationship-building contribute to overall well-being.
  • Mastery is an ongoing, daily process.

"When I'm doing those ten things, I don't have any... Pads. I bypass that by doing the things that I'm supposed to do to win the day."

  • Following a structured list of activities helps manage pressure, anxiety, depression, and stress.

"It's a daily vigil of being aware of the essential ingredients that we must pay attention to so that we can live a full life."

  • Emphasizes the importance of daily vigilance in maintaining well-being.

Handling Bad Days

  • Accepting bad days and committing to start fresh the next day.
  • Importance of taking responsibility and making amends to regain control.

"The day takes over. You got to go to bed, start again, get up in the morning, and do it all over again."

  • Acknowledges the inevitability of bad days and the need to start afresh.

"I can run away from that and be stubborn, or I can just say, you know what? I'm sorry. That's on me."

  • Stresses the importance of taking responsibility to regain control of the day.

Controllable Factors and Flexibility

  • Focus on activities that are 100% controllable.
  • Avoiding rigid scripts and allowing flexibility in daily practices.

"100% under your control."

  • Emphasizes focusing on controllable factors.

"I don't want to orchestrate a script. I want to have a roadmap."

  • Advocates for flexibility rather than rigid scheduling.

Philosophical Approaches: Aikido vs. Karate

  • Aikido involves using the opponent's energy to regain leverage.
  • Karate involves stopping the energy or strike directly.

"Aikido is using the energy that's presented, using the opportunity that the other person in the fight is presenting."

  • Aikido focuses on using opponent's energy to one's advantage.

"Karate... is more right angles, stopping the blows, stopping, putting your fists, arms, legs in a position to stop the energy."

  • Karate focuses on direct confrontation and stopping energy.

Sculpting the Best Version of Oneself

  • The best version of oneself is already within, requiring shedding of blockages.
  • Importance of vulnerability and removing professional masks to connect genuinely.

"It's sculpturing. The essence is inside. The best version of myself is here."

  • Believes the best self is already within and needs to be uncovered.

"I want to take my mask off and just be, you know, I don't want a script. I want my character to come out."

  • Emphasizes the importance of vulnerability and authenticity.

Winning the Day: Intentionality

  • Winning the day involves being intentional and purposeful from the moment of waking up.
  • Focus on being kind, grateful, generous, and aware.

"Winning the day is an intentional, on-purpose, vision-driven exercise."

  • Highlights the importance of intentionality in daily actions.

"I don't have to do anything to win the day. That's a real relief. I have to be a certain way."

  • Stresses the importance of being rather than doing.

Morning Mindset Routine

  • A four-step process before getting out of bed to set the intention for the day.
  • Visualization of being in alignment with the day's intention.

"Use your imagination to be very clear about your intention for the day."

  • Encourages setting a clear intention each morning.

"Drill into at least one moment that you can see yourself being in alignment with that intention."

  • Advocates for visualizing moments of alignment with daily intention.

Champion Teammate: Key Attributes

  • Shift from creating great teams to fostering great teammates.
  • Great teammates lead to great teams.

"A great teammate is a real shift... It's helping people be great teammates to each other."

  • Emphasizes the importance of fostering great teammates for team success.

"When you have great teammates, you end up having a great team."

  • Asserts that great teams are a result of great teammates.

The Importance of Selflessness and Giving in Team Sports

  • Athletes often ask the wrong questions, focusing on what they can get rather than what they can give.
  • The right approach is to ask how they can contribute to the team's success.
  • Emphasizes the value of being selfless and a good teammate.

"The wrong question is, what can I get here? You know, will I get playing time? Will I be able to start? I've been a star on my team for the last four years. What's the scholarship money like? What can I get, get, get. Wrong question."

  • Highlights the common mistake of focusing on personal gains rather than team contributions.

"You get a kid to come to the school and say, coach, I want to give you everything I've got to make this a better program. What are the things that you feel that I can give so that I can make note of that? And when I come here, this is how I'm going to be."

  • Illustrates the ideal mindset of an athlete focused on contribution and improvement.

"It's all about giving, and giving gets tied into the whole idea of being selfless, and I think being a good teammate."

  • Connects the concept of giving with being a selfless and effective team member.

Example of an Ideal Teammate: Jen Adams

  • Jen Adams, a former lacrosse player, exemplifies selflessness and dedication.
  • Known for her hard work, team spirit, and willingness to contribute beyond her role.
  • Compared to Michael Jordan in terms of her impact on women's lacrosse.

"Jen Adams comes to mind. Now, you might not know who Jen Adams is, or you might. She's from Australia. She played with Maryland, University of Maryland women's lacrosse, and we won seven consecutive national championships there."

  • Introduces Jen Adams and her significant achievements in lacrosse.

"She gave till she bled. I mean, really, she's now coaching. She's coaching at Loyola University in Maryland. But that woman, that young woman was all about giving."

  • Emphasizes her extreme dedication and selflessness.

"She's often referred to as the Michael Jordan of women's lacrosse. Now, that's quite a compliment."

  • Highlights the high regard in which she is held, comparing her to Michael Jordan.

The Impact of NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) on Collegiate Sports

  • NIL has shifted the focus of athletes and parents to monetary gains and personal benefits.
  • This shift has contributed to a more selfish mindset among athletes.
  • Legendary coaches like Nick Saban have expressed discomfort with these changes.

"Right now in collegiate sport, Nil is happening. Name, image, likeness, and it's changing the game. It has changed the game already."

  • Introduces the concept of NIL and its impact on collegiate sports.

"What you're pointing to is the psychology of athletes and parents and families saying, how much you got to pay me? How much playing time will I get? What do I get out of this?"

  • Describes the new mindset driven by NIL, focusing on personal gains.

"I think this is one of the reasons legendary coach Nick Saban has retired. You know, because there's probably a lot of reasons, but this is one of them, at least, that he's articulated, is that he didn't like the way that the tide had shifted."

  • Suggests that the shift in focus due to NIL may have influenced Nick Saban's retirement.

The Importance of Contribution and Relationship Building

  • Athletes should focus on how they can contribute to a team or organization.
  • Building relationships is crucial for success in sports and beyond.
  • The concept of "giving your heart" is emphasized as a key to making meaningful connections.

"If you're an athlete getting recruited or if you're looking for a new job or your kids are getting recruited in any endeavor, what you're talking about, this is a great lens to set yourself apart, to demonstrate that you are wanting to bring yourself to an endeavor."

  • Encourages athletes to focus on contribution rather than personal gains.

"When you listen to what Mike just said, I've been in that room with coaches, staff, and athletes and parents, and I know that every coach in this country raise your hand if you don't agree with me, and you're not going to see any hands that you want an athlete who is giving, who comes to give and make your program a better program."

  • Affirms that coaches value athletes who are focused on giving and contributing.

"Give them your heart, Mike. It is one of the most beautiful things that I've been able to share with athletes and people that are presenting or whatever. Give them your heart."

  • Highlights the importance of giving your heart and making genuine connections.

Mastery and the Path to Success

  • Mastery is a continuous process involving passion, love, and incremental progress.
  • The concept of "kaizen" (continuous improvement) is essential for achieving mastery.
  • Mastery is about being on the path and making daily progress.

"Mastery is the mysterious process which is at first difficult, but yet it becomes easier with time."

  • Defines mastery as a process that becomes easier with persistence.

"Mastery, it's about giving something extra. It's going the distance, giving that extra bit. I don't think mastery is possible unless you have passion. Love, I can't imagine someone wanting to master something and they don't have the love and the passion and the joy."

  • Emphasizes the role of passion and love in achieving mastery.

"The Japanese have a concept that I believe you're familiar with, and it's called kaizen, Mike and Kaizen is that wonderful, slow, gradual, incremental progression."

  • Introduces the concept of kaizen as a method for achieving mastery through continuous improvement.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

  • The conversation highlights the importance of selflessness, contribution, and relationship building in sports and life.
  • Mastery is a continuous journey that requires passion and incremental progress.
  • The discussion concludes with appreciation for the insights shared and the importance of genuine connections.

"I'm not trying to give you information. I'm not trying to do anything other than you're a great human being, and I want to connect on that level and heart to heart. And we know all the other stuff. That's stuff."

  • Emphasizes the value of genuine connections over mere information sharing.

"I think that sports are about ten years ahead of big business and best practices to bring the best out of people."

  • Suggests that sports can offer valuable lessons for business and personal development.

"And today was a fine day with doctor Jerry lynch. Thank you, my friend. Thank you so much."

  • Concludes the conversation with gratitude and appreciation for the insights shared.

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