Finding True Motivation—with Sonya Looney

Understanding your sources of motivation can be key to achieving your athletic potential, yet it's a topic that can also be surprisingly complex. We talk with mental performance expert Sonya Looney on how to find your motivation.

athlete being coached in gym by trainer
Photo: Shutterstock

Motivation is a tricky thing. Hollywood makes it seem like you’re one workout montage away from achieving your goals. But the truth is that effective motivation—whether it’s to train on a cold wet day, complete your first race, or finish an Ironman—is far more complicated.

Sport psychologists have identified a number of factors that affect our motivation, including whether we are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated and whether we are ego- or task-oriented. Pro Tour rider Sepp Kuss is possibly the most task-oriented athlete we’ve ever had on this show and that has helped guide him to win a stage of the Tour and lead his team captain to the yellow jersey.

Here to help us dissect this important topic is Sonya Looney, a world champion mountain biker and host of the Sonya Looney podcast. Looney uses her background as a mental performance coach to help us translate the complex psychology of motivation into tools you can use to learn more about your own motivation.

Photo: John Adrian

Along with Looney, we’ll hear from Ryan Bolton of Bolton Endurance Sports Training, Lauren Vallee, the owner and head coach at Valiant Endurance, Sepp Kuss, and Ultraman world champion Dede Griesbauer. All four will share with us strategies for maintaining motivation.

So, whether you’re driven by internal passion or external rewards, let’s make you fast!

References

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​Hays, K., Maynard, I., Thomas, O., & Bawden, M. (2007). Sources and Types of Confidence Identified by World Class Sport Performers. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 19(4), 434–456. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/10413200701599173 

​Jowett, S. (2008). What makes coaches tick? The impact of coaches’ intrinsic and extrinsic motives on their own satisfaction and that of their athletes. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 18(5), 664–673. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2007.00705.x 

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​León-Guereño, P., Tapia-Serrano, M. A., & Sánchez-Miguel, P. A. (2020). The relationship of recreational runners’ motivation and resilience levels to the incidence of injury: A mediation model. PLoS ONE, 15(5), e0231628. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0231628 

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Episode Transcript

Rob Pickels  00:04

Hello and Welcome to Fast Talk, your source for the science of endurance performance. I’m your host Rob Pickels here with Coach Connor.

Rob Pickels  00:12

Motivation is a tricky thing. Hollywood makes it seem like you’re one workout montage away from achieving your goals. But the truth is effective motivation. Whether it’s to train on a cold wet day race your first race or finish an ultra man is far more complicated. sports psychologists have identified factors including whether we are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, and whether we are ego or task oriented sepco Us is possibly the most task oriented athlete we’ve ever had on this show. And that has driven him to win a stage of the Tour and helps him lead his team captain to the yellow jersey.

Rob Pickels  00:49

Here to help us dissect this important understanding of motivation is Sonya Looney, a world champion mountain biker and host of the Sonya Looney podcast. Sanyo uses her background as a mental performance coach to help us translate the complex psychology of motivation into tools you can use to find your own optimal motivation. Along with learning we’ll hear from Ryan Bolton of Bolton Endurance Sports Training, Lauren Valley, the owner and head coach of valiant endurance Pro Tour rider for yumbo visma, Sepp Kuss, and ultra man World Champion DeDe Griesbauer, all four will share with us strategies for keeping athletes motivated. So whether you’re driven by internal passion or external rewards, let’s make you fast.

Julie Young  01:37

Hi, listeners, it’s Julie young,

Dede Barry  01:39

and DD Berry.

Julie Young  01:40

We’ve had a fantastic time recording a special podcast series. That’s all about performance, nutrition, youth athletic development, training and physiology for the female endurance athlete.

Dede Barry  01:52

We’re excited to share our knowledge and tap into leading experts like Dr. Dan Ellis, Jen psagot, Dr. Emily Krauss, and Katherine cram, fast talk FEM is coming this January, and we can’t wait to share it with the fast talk labs community.

Trevor Connor  02:11

Well, Sonya, it’s great having you on the show. I’ve actually really been looking forward to this because this is a really fun subject that can go a lot of different directions. I know you were helping us with the outline here. And the outline went through a few versions. And even when I was looking at it before the show, I was like, Oh, I would completely change this around now. So it’s going to be one of those fun episodes where I think we’re going to cover some really interesting topics and probably go a bunch of different directions. So thank you. Welcome to the show.

Sonya Looney  02:40

Yeah, I’m super pumped to be here,

Rob Pickels  02:41

Trevor, this is an interesting episode, because you mentioned wanting to change around the outline. In preparing for this, I think I changed around my entire understanding of motivation, and task orientation and everything else. So I’m super excited for this conversation to

Trevor Connor  02:57

Yeah, and Sonya, I mean, this is one of the reasons we’re really excited to have you on the show. Because I know this is something you talk a lot about on your own show. But motivation is one of those really cool things that you think you have understood. And if you watch a lot of Hollywood movies, it gives you a particular impression of it. But when you really dive into the science and dive into the motivation of very experienced very mentally tough athletes, it’s actually really almost the opposite of what you think it’s kind of surprising, isn’t it?

Sonya Looney  03:25

Yeah. And I mean, I think something that’s really interesting about motivation is there’s so many different theories. And there’s different origins of motivation, whether it’s to fulfill a biological need, or to fulfill a psychological need. And you can drive yourself crazy looking at all the different theories and trying to understand all of them.

Rob Pickels  03:42

Yeah, I certainly agree with that there was more research and man more in depth science on this than I really thought that there was going to be looking at it and it is a little bit overwhelming. So I hope that we’re able to find kind of a more clear, simple understanding throughout this episode, and walk away with some actionable information for people.

Trevor Connor  04:01

So why don’t we start with the really simple place? Sonya, what is motivation? How would you define it?

Sonya Looney  04:07

Motivation is what causes a person to act. So it can be the reason why you need to do something, or that you want to do something. And I think something that people get confused is that they, they think that motivation is how you act. But that’s really goes into like the habits and goal setting piece. But the motivation is what causes you to act. And a lot of times people think about motivation, and it’s on a continuum. So despite you know what is motivating you, it’s usually not just one thing or the other, it’s usually a bunch of different things that are mixed together on a continuum.

Rob Pickels  04:41

And on one side of that continuum, I do just want to point out that there is an actual, a motivation, such that people really do lack motivation to do things and that was interesting. Yeah, for sure.

Trevor Connor  04:53

And there’s a lot of science behind this. So even what I loved is I thought I was gonna be really cool when I created the outline I threw the self determination theory in there with its three bullets. And then Sonia immediately comes back go, oh, we could talk about that. Or we could talk about this theory of motivation, or that four points of motivation. So there’s a lot of different ways in the science that has been defined. Where do you kind of land? What theory on motivation, would you say is the one that seems to resonate with you?

Sonya Looney  05:20

I mean, I think that one of the primary theories of motivation, especially as it pertains to athletics is self determination theory. And most people listening have probably heard of this. But the people that do the research the psychologists are, and scientists are DC and Ryan, and they talk about autonomous motivation, meaning acting from a place of personal choice, having three psychological needs. So the reason why you do what you do, is because you’re trying to fulfill these psychological needs. And those psychological needs are autonomy, competence, and relatedness. And we can go deeper into what those all mean.

Trevor Connor  05:54

So why don’t we dive into the man, I think autonomy is the fairly easy one, that that’s really you want to have a sense of self that’s independent? Or how would you define it?

Sonya Looney  06:04

Yeah, it’s feeling like you’re in control of your own behaviors, and that you can take action to impact your goals. So if you don’t feel like your actions matter, and then you don’t have a sense of control, then it’s really difficult to be motivated to work towards something whenever you feel like you can’t impact that. And it also comes from a place of willingness, volition and choice. And that can be contrasted with control motivation, where you’re doing something for a reward or to avoid punishment. And that often comes from a place of pressure, or somebody putting demands on you. And those two environments feel really different.

Rob Pickels  06:39

Yeah, and I do want to point out that within this autonomy, it’s not necessarily a true independence, where you’re not related to anyone else, there’s definitely a structure with which people are going to work and to cooperate. But it’s ultimately the choice with how you’re engaging with that, and being able to make what you believe are the best decisions moving forward.

Sonya Looney  07:02

Yeah, I kind of laugh a little bit, because I think about we’re talking about, you know, having kids earlier, and I have a toddler. So you actually try and give your kids a sense of autonomy, too. And that’s when you give the toddler you know, two choices, you can have this or that which one is it?

Rob Pickels  07:15

Exactly. And it works incredibly well, for any of the new parents out there. Just make sure there are two choices that you’re okay with. So so when you’re moving on, let’s let’s talk a little bit about competence, which I think is important, because a lot of this is going to be driving the athletes that we’re talking about today.

Sonya Looney  07:32

Now, competence is believing that you are able to learn the skills that you need to seek mastery, it’s saying to yourself or feeling that you are effective. And then you have a sense of competence that results in balancing skill and challenge. And I think that the balancing skill and challenge is particularly interesting as an athlete, because you can frame that any way you want, whether it’s a technical challenge in mountain biking, or maybe it’s a physical challenge because of the length or the intensity of the event. And then there’s the skill piece as well, that comes with cycling, depending on what type of sport you’re doing, and cycling,

Trevor Connor  08:06

I love that you guys brought up kids, because this whole idea of motivation, I’ve been thinking about a kid motivated to get a cookie, oh, the cookie jar. And what happens if you put the cookie jar up on a shelf that takes the autonomy away. But if you have a kid who’s got an overinflated sense of their own competence, they’re going to use all sorts of furniture in your kitchen, to try to get to that cookie jar, probably do a lot of damage along the way.

Rob Pickels  08:28

Yeah, unfortunately, my son proved his competence very quickly with his ability to climb to reach high things, and then also to unlock the child locks on drawers in the kitchen. So I actually think that we were helping his motivation by trying to prevent him and giving him a challenge that he could overcome kind of

Sonya Looney  08:47

a rebel there.

Trevor Connor  08:48

So let’s go. The third one relatedness.

Sonya Looney  08:51

relatedness is feeling like you belong to something feeling like you are cared for or that you care for somebody else. And whenever you’re working towards something, having that sense of relatedness, that sense of I belong here, and that you’re not doing it by yourself. I think that that actually adds to your motivation quite a bit. Because think of all the times where you’ve been doing something by yourself, or you’ve been doing something knowing that you’re not alone. And depending on whether you’re doing something for somebody or doing something with somebody, I think that that can impact it as well.

Trevor Connor  09:21

And this is where the analogy breaks down. Because that kid relates to nobody except the cookie jar.

Rob Pickels  09:26

Yeah, yeah, it is interesting on the relatedness because I think that we can look at this in orders of magnitude of scale, right? There’s the relatedness of your immediate group around you. Maybe it’s literally the physical relatedness of the people that are doing the event with you. But at the same time, I like to engage in a lot of solo efforts white room in a day, and I love to do that stuff by myself. But there is still a relatedness to a larger community of mountain bikers or people that like fk T’s, even though the activity itself is an individual event for For me in that moment, so everybody has this sense of belonging, whether that’s to your nuclear family or to a larger group. So I’m sure that my son was being related to a raccoon, and it’s thievery, and he was able to, you know, find relatedness through cookie stealing.

Trevor Connor  10:22

There we go. I think this is something that applies a lot in a team sport, certainly, if you have somebody who’s on a team, and they feel like an outsider on their own team that’s going to kill their motivation. Or if they really feel connected with the people on their team, that’s going to be very motivating for them.

Sonya Looney  10:38

But I think this also applies to individual sports. And, Rob, you touched on this a little bit. I think this is why large mass start events are very appealing, like large gravel events, or something like the Leadville 100, is because there is a lot of different people have a lot of different ability levels. But people are all doing this together. And this is another reason why stage racing can be so sticky, especially on the mountain bike side of things is because everybody’s doing the same course and you’re sharing the same experiences. And that inner connection makes you feel like you can do more, and it makes you want to do more, too.

Trevor Connor  11:09

So something that I saw in the bits of research I read is how much motivation relates to both the idea of self esteem, and your sense of control. And it seems like this theory, the self determination theory, they just threw at us when you’re talking about autonomy and relatedness that gives some clue behind why self esteem and that sense of control are so important.

Sonya Looney  11:29

Yeah, self esteem is something that’s so interesting. I think a lot of listeners probably grew up during this self esteem era where you’re awesome no matter what, and everybody gets a participation medal, and those types of things. But Scott, Barry Kaufman is a psychologist who’s defined self esteem based on two components. And that is self worth and mastery. So the mastery piece comes back to the self determination theory. But the self worth piece is really interesting, because I think a lot of times, people can have task dependent self esteem or state dependent self esteem, or they only have self esteem if they’re better than somebody else. Versus the self worth piece is about I’m a worthy human being. And there’s a really interesting skill called the Rosenberg skill of self esteem. And if you go through that a lot of the questions on there are about if you feel like you’re just a good human being who is capable in your life, and not necessarily, am I better than somebody else?

Rob Pickels  12:24

Yeah, you know, going back and re looking at this. Sonya, I’m interested in your take on something because I dabble and I know a little bit and you know, a heck of a lot more than we do. But when we’re talking about the self determination theory, and we have the autonomy, we have the competence, we have the relatedness are these equal needs within people? Or do individuals show more need? Like, I would think that autonomy is more important to me than relatedness. But Trevor, it could be different, you could be different? Or are these just like you have to meet these levels? And it’s the same across everyone?

Sonya Looney  12:59

I don’t know the answer to that. I would think that it’d be more along the lines of what you said, because it probably depends on what you index more on, do. You need to feel more autonomous autonomy is actually a value that a lot of people can have in their lives. So if they want autonomy over everything else that can impact the decisions they make. Some people need the relatedness piece more. So I think that you’re touching on a really important point. And if people can think about what they need the most on this, or what they’re missing the most, that could actually really help them in finding more motivation towards their goals.

Rob Pickels  13:30

Yeah. And I think that that’s a great point that you just made there, Sonya, because I don’t know that the recommendation is to try to change yourself to make yourself quote unquote, better. It’s to be honest with yourself, perhaps and say, This is what’s important to me. And I do need to focus on that, because it’s going to help my motivation.

Trevor Connor  13:48

Yeah, for sure. All I know, is I want that cookie, and I’m good in that cookie, jar, whatever it takes.

Sonya Looney  13:55

I am competent, and I’m worthy of the cookie.

Rob Pickels  13:57

No, there’s a box of chocolates on the stairs to your office. So you could just scoop that up on the way back here. But they’re not ours. They were delivered to somebody else. But they were delivered to our address. So I think they’re the finders keepers on this one,

Trevor Connor  14:09

you’re gonna eat those chocolates, aren’t you? Sure am.

Sonya Looney  14:12

I know the way to your heart, I’m gonna chop

Rob Pickels  14:14

them into amazing wintry hot chocolate is what I’m going to do.

Trevor Connor  14:19

So when we were thinking about what we wanted to focus on today, you brought up this idea of intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation, which I find really fascinating. So basically, you’re saying there’s two types here of motivation, and they can have a very different impact on how you perform and on your results. So let’s dive into those. Tell us a little bit about what is the difference here?

Sonya Looney  14:40

Yeah, I mean, I think that first of all, I don’t want to say that one is always better than the other and I think that a lot of people will have both of these types of motivation going at the same time. But intrinsic motivation is about doing something for the sake of the task itself. So you’re doing the the work or the training or whatever it is. Because doing that thing is actually rewarding in and of itself. Whereas extrinsic motivation could be because you’re doing it to win something to get validation, recognition, money. So a lot of times those things are both on the line at the same time. But it’s what are you focusing on between the two. And I think that extrinsic motivation can be demonized a little bit. But intrinsic motivation is going to make you grittier, it’s going to make you more persistent over time. Because doing the task and loving the task itself, is going to keep you going. Because whenever you are looking for a result as motivation to keep going, and then you don’t get that result, then you might want to stop. And a lot of times, you can’t control the result of something that you’re doing, you can only control doing the task and loving the work for the sake of the work.

Trevor Connor  15:48

So this dives into something I’ve seen a lot in the research, which is this idea of task orientation versus ego orientation, where some people when they’re setting their goals, or figuring out what they’re going to focus on. As you said, they’re very task oriented, I just need to do this, and then do this and then do this. And I think one of the best examples ever seen is we had set coos on the show. And we actually talked to him a little bit about this. And we asked them, you know, what are you trying to accomplish, expect him to go, I want to win the Tour de France, I want to get this result. And that result, he goes, Oh, I don’t know, I just I go I’m given a task to do. And I just go and make sure I do that task. And you could really see this guy who’s probably the top American cyclist right now, this is just this is my task, I’m going to do that task, whatever whatever it happens to be. Where that ego orientation is very much as you said, I need a result, I need to beat other people. And what I’ve certainly seen in the research that the issue of that ego orientation is, if you don’t win, or it’s looking like it’s unlikely you’re gonna when you kind of shut down, there’s just nothing left to motivate you. Since we talked about that episode was set, let’s hear a quick clip from Episode 55, where he talks about going into a hard race not fully prepared, and how he was balancing the task versus ego orientation.

Sepp Kuss  17:05

I think mentally it’s harder for me to be in a good mental place. If I know that I’m not like at my best physically leading into a race. I mean, for me, it’s just in general, it’s an adjustment being with like, you know, Team, Team trainers and everything, not not in a bad way. It’s just, you know, I’m used to having being very autonomous. And for me, I don’t need people like checking in to see how I’m doing training, I just do the work and confident in what I do and then usually works out. But yeah, before that race, I was in a bad place physically. And I think maybe mentally to it just because I knew that it’s gonna be a hard race, like, I’m not anywhere near my best shape. And even in my best shape, it would still be a really hard race to get through. So

Sonya Looney  17:49

yeah, I mean, that ego orientation piece refers to their innate abilities. So if they go out and they do something, and then they find that they aren’t doing as well as they think, then they say, well, that’s proof that I’m not good. And that’s really similar to Carol Dweck fixed mindset of a performance defining your talent, whereas somebody who is more task oriented, the athlete is determining their ability based on their level of effort or the judgment of their own performance. Yeah,

Trevor Connor  18:15

so I actually just read this weekend, a really interesting study where they took basketball players, and had them do a free throw competition. So you had 50 shots, and that’s how many times you could hit the free throw. And what they did is one time they did it, where there was no competition. And then the second time they did it, where they were told there was competition. And they were saying there was a big prize for whoever won this competition. And then they basically lied to these people about how far behind they were in the free throw contest, to get them very stressed about the competition. And then they assess these people in terms of that intrinsic versus extrinsic, or task versus ego orientated. And what you saw was the people that were highly ego motivated and low task. As soon as they had that competitive stress, where they were told, Oh, you’re way behind, their performance plummeted, compared to what they were able to do when they weren’t in a competitive situation. were people that were very high, intrinsically motivated or task motivated, and had low ego or low extrinsic motivation. They were the same. With both. It didn’t matter the competitive stress that was being placed on him. There’s no get whatever. I’m just gonna keep trying to perform here.

Rob Pickels  19:28

What was interesting, Trevor, and I don’t know that we read too much into this. But in that study that you’re sharing, if I remember correctly, the group that did poorly in the competition, right, very high ego and low task motivation. They were the top performers when there was no competitive.

Trevor Connor  19:47

Yeah, they were very close, but they were the top performers. Yeah.

Rob Pickels  19:51

So when it’s just them shooting free throws with nothing on the line, they actually outperformed everyone else, you know, and I began thinking like, how do we put this in the real world? old contacts. And I do think that oftentimes we see athletes that in practice, or having fun with their friends, absolutely crush, put them in a competitive situation and there, they make mistakes in cycling, you know, we don’t have to just think about free throws, maybe in cycling, they just pick the wrong line, and they crash because they were an inch to the right, and they hit the rock. So it is interesting to see how this plays out. And I think that we can kind of identify people in all of these different groups. And hopefully, we’re thinking introspectively, and thinking about ourselves in this and how we can do better.

Trevor Connor  20:34

But Sandy, I’m really interested in your thought on this because Rob’s dead, right that it did surprise me a little bit that the group that is the most motivated by competition by comparing cells to other people performed the worst in a competitive situation performing the best outside of competition. And the people that were the least motivated by competition by comparing themselves to others performed the best in a competitive situation.

Sonya Looney  21:00

Yeah, I mean, I think there’s a lot of different things going on here. So there’s a really interesting study that shows four different quadrants. So you can have high task high ego, low task, low ego, you know, all the four different quadrants of that. And the flow state, you know, the me Hi, chicks in my high flow state theory, the people that were getting closer to that flow state, who were always people who are in that high task area. So even if they were high task, high ego, or high task, low ego, those people were more in the present moment, they were more without, you know, having all of these different thoughts that are distracting them. And then this high ego low task orientation, people are not in that state of flow, because they’re thinking about themselves, they’re thinking about potential risks and how they’re not performing and how they’re not stacking up, instead of thinking about the task that they’re doing in the present moment. So I think that coming back to thinking about the task does bring you into what you’re doing in the moment, instead of all the threats on your self esteem, or your ego or your worth. So something else that I wanted to come up with and tell you about whenever you’re talking about this freethrow competition, and just competition in general, is coming back to that intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation piece. And sometimes when people are doing something primarily from a place of intrinsic motivation, and then now somebody is trying to reward them for that thing that they were already doing. The extrinsic motivation can actually be demotivating, because of something called the over justification effect. And studies have demonstrated that offering excessive external rewards for something that somebody already wanted to do can lower their motivation, because now they’re not thinking about the task at hand, they’re thinking about this thing that they could win. But that also wasn’t the case for unexpected external rewards. So if you randomly give somebody a reward for something that they’re doing that does not impact their extrinsic motivation.

Rob Pickels  22:50

And Sonia, I think that’s a great point. Because I think that we see that a lot in high level, amateur athletes who are turning pro, when they were doing it for their amateur tennis, when they were doing it for themselves. They were so all in they love the sport. They were on top of training, they did all of the things that they needed to. And then the sport became their job. And they did it for these external factors, they have to make a living. And you see that that’s very, very difficult on athletes, and it oftentimes leads to burnout relatively quickly, with really no other change, say in training load, or life stress or anything else.

Sonya Looney  23:26

Yeah, that pressure piece can really make it difficult. And I’ve been a pro cyclist for 16 years, and I have been thinking about how I attribute this long career and how I’ve stayed in it for so long. And it is from coming back repeatedly to remembering why I’m doing this in the first place. Because there is a lot of pressure whenever people are watching what you’re doing. Whenever there’s a result, whenever there’s money, whenever there’s sponsorships, those are all external things. And again, this is coming back to the continuum piece where it’s not just one or the other. But it’s always remembering why you started in the first place. Didi Grice,

Trevor Connor  23:57

Bauer just won the ultra man world championships at 52. She describes to us how being very intrinsically motivated, contributed to our long and successful career.

Dede Griesbauer  24:07

I’ve always 100% been intrinsically motivated, even as a young kid with Sameen when I announced to my parents that we were going to start double workouts and that morning workout was at five o’clock in the morning, my parents thought boarding school is a tremendous solution to this problem. They were never pushy, they never said you will go to practice. It was always something I wanted to do. I was always driving the bus. And even now I am still choosing to do this. I think a lot of people in my life would be more than happy and more than proud for me to call it a career right now. I’ve accomplished so much and far more than I ever thought I would as a professional triathlete, but I’m still finding the motivation and goals that make me really excited. So yeah, I’m intrinsically motivated. And that’s not to say there aren’t days where I’m like, oh, Lord, I just do not want to do this. This is terrible. I’m bored. I hate this. But the broader theme is that I love what I do and I’m always mindful of that and I’m so I’ve been on the other side I’ve sat at a desk I’ve worked a stressful job that I, I enjoyed, but I wasn’t necessarily passionate about and so the contrast of getting to do something that I am passionate about and that I feel so in control of my career is a real gift and I’m so grateful to get to do it. So there’s a lot of gratitude.

Chris Case  25:25

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Rob Pickels  26:11

Yeah, this brings up an interesting research article I read from 2011. It was Lamont and Kenneally. We can share this with everyone. But the title was qualitative exploration of participant motives among committed amateur triathletes, mouthful as always, and what I found interesting, this was really eye opening for me to read this study, because they identified two primary intrinsic motivations. And that’s it, the two that they identified were competency, getting better at the sport for the sake of doing the sport and getting better at the sport. And then just straight up enjoyment, that people enjoy the act of going out and pushing on the pedals and riding a bike. Those were the only two intrinsic motivations that were identified. But there was many more extrinsic motivations, which is essentially, I do this to achieve that, right. And the first one that they identified was well being, which I was like, that’s an extrinsic motivation. That’s interesting. And they went on to say that health, longevity, stress relief, they’re not related to the activity per se, they’re results of you doing the activity, which makes that an extrinsic motivation.

Trevor Connor  27:24

That is interesting, because I would have put most of those under intrinsic

Rob Pickels  27:27

exactly, but it’s not about the cycling, or the running or the swimming. It’s about weight loss, which is the result of doing these things, whatever it may be. They also identified ego involvement that we talked about before sort of competing in relation to others, external rewards. And this was interesting to me, because under external rewards, they put travel just going to a beautiful place, which I’m like, That’s half the reason I do the things I do you I’m extrinsically Motivated like crap. But yeah, travel, buying new equipment, being able to eat food as an external reward. sociability, I found really interesting the friendships that are developed, that’s extrinsic, because it’s not related to the enjoyment of the activity itself. Self transformation, they identified lifestyle enhancement, right, that’s improved health, making better choices, being a better person. And then the last one that they identify that’s common among amateur triathletes is enduring commitment, completing something that you started because you complete the things that you set out to do. Again, that’s an actual it’s an extrinsic motivation. Because again, all goes back to it’s not about the activity itself. It’s more about the checking off the list.

Trevor Connor  28:44

That really is interesting, because Sonya and your show, you’ve talked about process versus outcome goals, or outcome is what you’re trying to accomplish. And you brought the great point that often you don’t control that, and really focusing on on the the process within the event or whatever you’re doing. And I guess I would have immediately thought, We’ll do this for well, being doing this for health would be more of a process thing. But what they’re saying is, that’s more of an outcome. So on your what’s your feeling on all this?

Sonya Looney  29:12

This is super interesting, because I think that this also comes back to what you value in your life. And that in and of itself can become an intrinsic thing. But this also goes back to the fact that it’s not just one or the other. Whenever you sign up for a race or you sign up for an event, of course you want to compete while you’re like why else would you want to train and go to the event initially, that might get the motivation going to start training whenever you have an event on the calendar. And of course, whenever you line up, you want to be able to beat people or to do as well as possible. You can have primary and secondary goals when you get to a start line. So maybe your secondary goal is a specific outcome that you hope to get at the race. But then you have a process oriented goal of maybe it’s start at a pace where I don’t blow up or corner really well or have a good attitude from start to finish. issue, whatever these process oriented goals are that you have control over. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t care about the outcome and that you don’t have other goals in mind, too.

Trevor Connor  30:07

So one other thing I just want to bring up here that somewhat related to what we’re talking about right now. But I found this really fascinating as I looked at a paper called studying the effects of self talk on thought content with male adult tennis players. And I was really surprised by the results of this study. So as looking at using self talk, I did bring up there’s two ways you can do self talk. One is instructional. So you can tell yourself, you know, as you’re doing your swing, go through all the different steps of the swing and talk to yourself about that. And then there’s that more motivational self, building yourself up type self talk that I belong here, I’m as good as my competition, or whatever the was the guy on Saturday, live or whatever,

Rob Pickels  30:48

you’re good enough, you’re smart enough.

Trevor Connor  30:50

Thank you. That’s Gosh, darn

Rob Pickels  30:52

it people like you.

Trevor Connor  30:54

So the interesting thing was the conclusion of this study was that that type of self talk actually move people away from being task oriented and more towards being very focused on outcomes, and actually, could potentially be less effective in terms of helping their performance. So I found that really interesting and quite surprising as well.

Sonya Looney  31:16

Yeah, that is surprising.

Rob Pickels  31:19

This whole topic is surprising. Something that I found surprising, while we’re on this surprising is, I thought that intrinsic was going to be the end all be all that of course, we have to be intrinsically motivated extrinsic motivation, that’s doing it for all the wrong reasons. But going through a lot of this research, I really identified with these extrinsic factors, because like, Yeah, I actually incorporate those every day. And Sonya, you kind of alluded to this, I think earlier that neither is necessarily good or bad. But I am wondering, is there a time that you specifically want to bring in an extrinsic motivator to help an athlete?

Sonya Looney  31:56

Yeah, I think using extrinsic motivation as a short term motivator, or somebody who’s just getting started into something can be really effective. So if somebody is trying to get motivated to learn something new, if somebody is trying to get short term feedback, so that they feel motivated, that they are competent to continue. And sometimes people need that comparison against somebody else. Or sometimes a short term motivator is really helpful when a specific purpose is needed. And a really easy example for that is, think about that time that your alarm went off in the morning that you really did not want to get out of bed, to go get on your bike. And maybe you use some sort of extrinsic motivator like, oh, I can have, you know, an extra cup of coffee today. Or I can create an extrinsic motivation for yourself, something that you get, so that you actually do this short term thing so that you can go towards your long term goal. And sometimes that’s needed.

Rob Pickels  32:45

Yeah, those are perfect examples, Sonya, and it really made me think that I think oftentimes, whenever we begin something new, it was probably an extrinsic motivator that got us there. I didn’t love cycling, because I didn’t partake in cycling until I had an extrinsic factor that made me want to ride a bike. Right. So very interesting. Yeah,

Sonya Looney  33:07

I think that something that’s really important to think about is that whenever we get into a sport and say, we’re really good at it naturally, to start, and we start getting all of this feedback of, you’re so talented, you have so much potential, then you see people over a period of time quit the sport after just a couple of years, because they started not winning every single event. And that’s going to happen, you can’t win every single event. And it’s such a shame, because you have this person that loved the sport that was probably talented at it, but then they quit because they were so focused on this extrinsic portion. But I think that once you get started, and you have these extrinsic motivations, it’s making sure that you are focused on this task oriented piece of and this intrinsic piece of, well, I love riding my bike, I love doing this for the sake of the sport itself. And not only for this extrinsic reward and meeting other people’s expectations.

Trevor Connor  33:58

I’ve certainly seen that a lot with elite athletes were the ones who are more intrinsically motivated when they’re getting towards that point of retirement. They’ll say, I’m going to keep riding my bike, I don’t care if I ever race again, I just love riding my bike, where I’ve seen people are very extrinsically motivated, as soon as they are not at that elite level and not competing at their best. They literally hang up the bike and never touch it again.

Rob Pickels  34:21

Well, that’s because riding a bike was a means to an end for them. Right. Right. And yeah, I think that if somebody is, you know, the listener out there, if you’re looking for longevity in the sport, then it would very much benefit you to look at intrinsic reasons as to why you do it. Because if those extrinsic factors fade away, then you’re probably going to fade out of the sport too.

Sonya Looney  34:44

And if you’re not having fun anymore, I mean, I think a lot of people can relate with this. There’s times in your life where it just feels hard. You’ve got all of these other things happening. Maybe you’re you’ve been sick, maybe you’re just not performing the way that you want to be performing and you’re out there on your bike and you’re just you’re just not having fun because you’re putting so much pressure and so much expectations on yourself to be a certain way. And I certainly can relate with this. And it’s asking yourself, what do I need to do to reshift my expectations for a short period of time, so that I can be excited about this again, instead of grinding it out and burning yourself out. And sometimes that means reducing training volume. Sometimes that means writing with other people, sometimes that means maybe shifting away from focusing on your fitness to focusing on technical ability, and having that psychological flexibility to shift towards something different, so that you can find that passion for why you’re doing it in the first place, can be really liberating.

Trevor Connor  35:37

So what I’m hearing from both of you that I find really interesting is there are times to use extrinsic motivators. So sometimes when you’re having a problem getting the kid on and going out for your ride, or your run, or you’re having problems getting out of your bed, saying, I’m gonna give myself that extra coffee, or I’m going to have that cookie in the cookie jar, that’s the thing that can get you move in and get you to do it. But if you are not intrinsically motivated, it’s probably in the long run, gonna be very hard to perform at your best unless you can just find that that motivation within yourself to say, I’m gonna go and do this. Yeah, I

Rob Pickels  36:09

think that this is like saying the anaerobic system is better than the aerobic system. And vice versa. If you only had one of those energy systems, you wouldn’t be a very effective cyclist. And I think that it’s the same way when it comes to motivation as well. I think anyone who’s interested in competition, by definition, you have an extrinsic motivation going on. And that’s not a bad thing. Because if you’re only intrinsically motivated, then I could see that individual, because they’re doing it purely for the love or purely for the mastery might have a hard time adhering to a specific training program to going out and doing intervals. Because if you don’t feel like doing intervals, and you’re intrinsically motivated, you’re not going to do intervals. If the weather is too cold, you’re not going to go out and ride your bike, because there is no enjoyment there. So that’s where the extrinsic factors come in, I want to be a successful athlete. So I’m going to go out and I’m going to ride in the cold, because that gets me to my goal. Now the intrinsic side of you gets out there, and you can have an amazing ride. And it was so much fun, and you loved every second of it. That’s where both of them the interplay is really important.

Trevor Connor  37:15

We concluded that we need a balance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. But let’s hear what Coach Ryan Bolton feels about the balance.

Ryan Bolton  37:23

I think intrinsic and external motivation. It’s so so athlete dependent. And I’ve seen athletes become very, very successful, that are driven from completely opposite sides. You know, I’ve worked with athletes who are driven like all the extrinsic factors, money, publicity, that type of stuff, where people are highly, highly motivated by that. And it’s actually a really, really big carrot. Whereas I’ve seen other athletes who are just incredibly intrinsically motivated and can care less about everything else, I kind of feel like it needs to be a balance, I would say the most successful athletes that I’ve worked with do have some level of intrinsic motivation, for sure. And the external factors are a little bit more secondary to that intrinsic motivation. That’s what I’ve seen in general. But I have seen athletes become very successful just being solely one or the other, I can tell you that.

Trevor Connor  38:19

So I know you’ve done something that I absolutely love. And I was really glad to see you write about this, which is, there’s different ways to be competitive, we can be competitive, but it doesn’t mean that you have to have the mindset of I’m going to crush my enemies, I’m going to step on you at the finish line and, and push you down that you can actually motivate and encourage other people and still actually be competitive with them. But it doesn’t have to be a negative

Rob Pickels  38:46

for the record. Trevor is on tape previously episode saying that crushing people is his motivation. So I just want everyone to remember this.

Sonya Looney  38:57

Well, I think you can have multiple motivations. And yeah, I wrote this article about competition not having to be a zero sum game. Because I think that a lot of people are afraid of competition for this exact reason that if they aren’t number one, what does that mean about them? And what can they get out of competition, and you can certainly show up to a competition and want to absolutely want to crush everybody there to be highly competitive, to look at everybody else and be thinking all these things. And at the same time, while wanting to be highly competitive, you can think well, I also am here and I want to compete against people who are better than me, because that is my utmost opportunity to do my best and to express this task that I’m doing in a much better way than maybe I couldn’t have done if these people weren’t here. And it also comes down to a performance that you’re proud of. And on my podcast, all the top performers I have interviewed I always ask them, What is your goal whenever you’re lining up for a race, and of course they want to win the race, but they say my number one goal is to be proud of my performance and that comes back to that task orientation piece. So competition doesn’t only have to be about winning or losing, it can be about bringing other people up around you, it can be about creating an environment so that you can have even more mastery than you ever thought that you could. And if you can get to a start line with that in mind, and not only about crush or being crushed, that can relieve some of that prerace anxiety that we tend to have, and help you hit your free throws. There you go.

Trevor Connor  40:20

Important thing about competition, I tell all my athletes this is it’s relative, you know, we can say so and so is really fast like are you gonna look at a Usain Bolt and say, Man, he is incredibly fast at that 100 meter, you know, you put him in 100 meter race against a cheetah, actually is pretty darn slow. So it’s all relative, we do a degree or measured either against our competition or against ourselves. And when it is relative, there are two ways of elevating yourself. One is to put down your competition, so you make them worse. And by comparison, then you up or higher. The other way is to elevate your competition to seek the best out of them and to help them accomplish their best. And then see if you can elevate yourself with them. And that’s the way I’ve always looked at competition. I love finding somebody who’s really strong, really good. And see now I measure up against them not because it’s I have to crush them. It’s here’s somebody at a really high level, let’s see if I can strive to that level.

Rob Pickels  41:22

That’s the deepest thing that’s ever come out of you. And I want to put it on a t shirt and sell it on fast Doc labs.com.

Trevor Connor  41:29

Should I go back to the media life? No, no pressure on me to see them running before you.

Rob Pickels  41:36

But as a coach, you want to build up your enemy, so that they’re as fit as possible so that when you crush them, it really means something. Yes,

Sonya Looney  41:43

I think that comes back to whenever you’re lining up for a race is this validation of myself as a human being or not. And if you’re lining up for a race, and everybody is a threat to how worthy you are to your self worth and your self esteem, then a competitive environment probably isn’t very fun. But if you have a stable sense of self esteem and self worth getting to the competition, the starting line can be a really exciting place to see what you can do.

Rob Pickels  42:09

Yes, Sonia, can we dive into this a little bit more on the self esteem and self worth side of things, because I do think that we can talk about a very powerful motivator here. But this is one that I really tend to try to steer people away from because if your self worth is tied to your results, it leads to a very tumultuous life for people and potentially a lot of unhappiness and sadness can be tied into that. That’s just my personal take. But I’d love to hear about self esteem and self worth from you.

Sonya Looney  42:38

Yeah, I mean, this is a really complicated topic. Because a lot of times we are celebrated whenever we do well, and we’re not celebrated when we don’t do well. And we get this conditional attention, conditional love from people whenever we are good. And that can go back to how we were praised as as children among our parents and our peers. So coming back to Am I worthy human being, am I okay, if I win, or if I lose, that is something that needs work if you haven’t done that, and sometimes people need to actually work with a professional in order to build that stronger sense of self worth.

Rob Pickels  43:14

And I will say this is something that we dealt with a lot within the junior team that I coached and managed. And parents, I would love for you to pay attention to this side of things. Because I think that you said conditional self worth, Sonya and correct me if I’m wrong. This happens without you even realizing it. And it happens just like this, you have a junior rider who is out in the race really well, the parents are happy and you have a celebratory dinner and they get to stay up late or they get a new bike part or whatever it is. And then you have another race where the rider doesn’t write as well. And you don’t even have to say anything bad. You don’t have to chastise them. You don’t have to say anything negative, but not having those positive rewards. The rider notices those things and they say when I ride well, I get ice cream and ice cream is good. Therefore I did good. And it’s that easy. And this is a big reason that I stepped back from coaching when my kids were now old enough to be in this program so that I can just be a parent and cheer them on and be happy no matter what if their first or their 10th. I try very hard to react exactly the same way. And it’s difficult.

Sonya Looney  44:29

Yeah, William James calls that unconditional positive regard towards yourself. And I think that whenever we start giving people things for doing well at something but not not giving them anything when they don’t do well, that can become really challenging. And that’s where I mean, all the listeners probably can relate with how you think about failure and whenever you didn’t do as well as you’re hoping or whenever something went wrong. What can you learn from that situation and celebrating that growth and that learning piece as much as winning the race Because ultimately, at the end of the day, yeah, you’re gonna be excited about the things that you want and the things that you did well, but resilience and grit come from what you do whenever things don’t do well, and the things that you can can gain from that so that you can bring it forward to next time.

Trevor Connor  45:13

I mean, this is something I’ve touched on a bunch, and this is a big one for me is that we demonize failure and we shouldn’t, failure is a very important part of growth. And the fact of the matter is even the most successful among us, it’s going to fail a lot more than succeed. I mean, take a sport like cycling the winningest cyclist in the pro peloton, each year wins maybe 15 races, out of the over 100 that they do that is the top performer in the entire professional peloton is winning 12 15% of their races, they are losing a lot more than they are winning. And for most of us, the percentage is much, much lower than that. So if you only see success as winning, you’re gonna be disappointed a lot. And you’re gonna fail a lot. And to me, there’s nothing wrong with failure. As you said, failure is something that you grow from failure is how you you push yourself and you strive. I think it’s a great thing. And it’s unfortunate that we demonize it.

Sonya Looney  46:08

Yeah, this goes back to that extrinsic versus intrinsic continuum and doing the task for the sake of the task itself, finding the reward, I like to say the work as a reward, because at the end of the day, like you said, The most winning is person isn’t going to win most of the time. So finding the reward in the work itself is the most important piece.

Trevor Connor  46:28

I can tell you from my personal experience, if anybody ever asked me what was the race I performed the best at it was also the race I finished so far behind the peloton, they were actually tearing down the finish banner when I crossed the finish line. And I look at that race I performed. So well in that race, my legs were on fire, I was doing great snap, my bike chain kind of took me out of the race. But that goes back to when we talk about the performance versus focusing on the outcome. You don’t control the outcome. And that’s where I didn’t control the outcome. I thought I had this race one, my chain got snapped, which I had no control over. And I ended up having to walk many miles to the finish line. And like I said, they were tearing it down by the time I got there. Yeah,

Rob Pickels  47:08

walking and or running and cycling shoes is a large accomplishment. So you can definitely notch that one out. And some

Sonya Looney  47:14

of the talks I’ve done, I have pictures and stories. And I noticed that a lot of the pictures I use are of me walking my bike, and I always promise people that actually do ride my bike.

Rob Pickels  47:26

Yeah, but so on, you’re looking back at what you’ve done over the years, you’re definitely involved in a lot of extremely grueling events that make it impossible to pedal every foot of that activity.

Sonya Looney  47:37

So going back to what you said, Trevor, it’s, it’s about a performance that you’re proud of. And I wrote this in the article I wrote about competition that my most proud cycling accomplishments are at races where I didn’t win. And it’s because I was better than I ever could have been. And it didn’t matter how I was relative to somebody else.

Trevor Connor  47:53

And conversely, I mean, I’ve had races that I’ve won, I look back on and go, No, it’s nice to get the win, but and feel like it performed all that well. And feel the satisfaction from those races,

Sonya Looney  48:04

I want to add one more thing about motivation, a lot of times we are waiting for that feeling of motivation to get started. So whenever we’re talking about that example of waking up early in the morning, or going out when it’s cold, we’re just waiting for motivation to strike, and it’s never going to strike and then we might never go out. So motivation follows action. So something that I started using when I train through both of my pregnancies, and something I started using with my first pregnancy was to make the goal to show up instead of to ride for a certain period of time. And if we think about if we only have an hour, or maybe something happened in our schedule, oh, it’s not even worth going for an hour. But if the goal is to show up and have your motivation, follow the action instead of the other way around. You leave space so that you give yourself a chance to actually perform instead of just waiting to feel a certain way.

Trevor Connor  48:54

So I think what the time we have left here, what I’m really interested in hearing from you is how to take everything we’ve been talking about, and for athletes to apply it to the training and to the racing.

Sonya Looney  49:06

Yeah. So I think the first thing to do is to look at your goals, or the reasons why you’re doing something and decide where you are on this continuum of intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. So think about that. And then revisit the self determination theory of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. And if you’re struggling with motivation, maybe see which one of those pieces that you need to add in a little bit more.

Rob Pickels  49:29

Yes, on. Yeah, I think that that makes a lot of sense. And the being honest with yourself aspect of this, I think is really important, right? This is a topic where people can think that they know what the ideal answer is and try to morph themselves into achieving what that ideal answer is, but ultimately, being honest and saying these are the things that motivate me. And if I’m struggling with motivation, then maybe I need to rethink how things are going I dive in a little deeper change my viewpoint but at the very You have to start with that understanding of the basis of where you are.

Sonya Looney  50:03

Yeah. And then going back to that task versus ego orientation, and realizing that if you can find ways to be more excited about the work and the task itself, that you’re going to enter a higher level of persistence and motivation and flow, and it’s okay to have a high level of ego orientation as long as you can bump up that task orientation piece. So revisiting why you like cycling, or whatever the goal is that you’re setting for yourself, why do you like that thing? And what is the reason that you’re doing it and coming back to that, and setting goals that are based on things that are within your control instead of something that is out of your control? And that can be a way to boost up that task orientation piece while still holding wherever you are? On the ego orientation spectrum?

Trevor Connor  50:44

Exactly. I mean, it is okay to say, Yeah, I’m ego oriented, I get a thrill from crushing other people, hopefully, you do it nicely, and you buy him a beer afterwards, and you tell some good horror stories, you know, be a good person about it. But it’s okay to be that person. But going to a race and just saying, I want to win it, that doesn’t lead to actions, how are you going to win it, you have to figure out what am I going to do in that race? That’s going to lead me to that win? So how am I going to set my pacing? Am I going to try to go with the breakaway? Or am I going to try to win in the sprint? Am I making sure I’m fueling enough throughout the race, so they have energy left at the end of the race? Those are the task oriented things that you really need to focus on that are going to get you those results. So I think even if you are very ego oriented or extrinsically motivated, you have to start building those skills of how to be task oriented, because that’s ultimately what’s going to get you the result that you want.

Sonya Looney  51:40

And also the training leading up to the event, you’re doing it because of who you are. This is an identity based goal or habit that you are continuing to wear that groovin. So you’re not only training because of the race, you’re training because you like training in and of itself. Yeah, yeah, I

Rob Pickels  51:56

definitely think that that’s a really important key to longevity in the sport. At some point it has to be about you just enjoy the activity for what that activity is. And I think that a lot of people do get there once they’re involved in the sport once they begin to get that mastery. And that competence that we talked about earlier in the episode makes a lot of sense.

Sonya Looney  52:17

Yeah. If you’re plateauing, or backsliding, which happens to all of us going back again to why you’re doing it and what makes it fun, and then trying to reshape those expectations so that it can be fun again.

Trevor Connor  52:26

Finally, let’s hear from Coach Lauryn valley with one more reason why being intrinsically motivated is important.

Lauren Vallee  52:33

Intrinsic motivation is really important, particularly for athletes who race long course triathlon, the training to be successful at long course triathlon is grueling. It really just is. And so it takes a special athlete to be really invested in the day to day being a law of course athlete. And so one of the things that I strive to do in the programming for my athletes is to reinforce confidence. And so by using perceived exertion, this is actually one of the main reasons I coach by perceived exertion. What it allows an athlete to do is check in on okay, what what is fast today, I have, you know, that’s my language for highest output. And so an athlete may be doing a session at the track trying to do efforts at fast and their their pace may be 20 seconds off from the previous week. But if that athlete can be flexible, and make the session work, and if after the session, they’re like, coach, that was all I had 100% honest, that is all I had, then what that does, instead of looking at that, that workout, like the failure like Oh, you were 20 seconds off your your paces. That was, you know, terrible. What you can do is you can reframe it with the athlete and say, Wow, okay, you say you felt pretty miserable when you started that warm up, and you still got through that session, and you still produced fast on blasted legs. And this is a session that you can pull from when you are out on the clean K between the energy lab running back to Kalani. You’re going to feel blasted, but you’re going to have the confidence that we’ve rehearsed this over and over and over. And that’s how I help build intrinsic motivation. It is really just showing the athlete that they can do harder things than they imagined they can do.

Dede Barry  54:25

Hey listeners, it’s Didi Berry. Julie and I are launching our fresh new series this January that focuses 100% on the female endurance athlete as we bring in the new year. Our hope is to empower coaches and athletes with this cutting edge science based information that’s all about the female athlete. We’ll be covering topics like performance, nutrition, youth athletic development, and training throughout pregnancy. We look forward to sharing this rich and enlightening information with you.

Trevor Connor  54:55

Well, Sonya, it’s been a fascinating conversation. As I said, I love this sort of sign and some sort of discussion. And I really think we’ve only touched on some of it. So this would be an interesting conversation to revisit at some point. But I’d say why don’t we leave it there for today, and you’ve heard the show before. So you know that we always finish with one minute take homes. So let’s start with you, what is the most important thing you would like our listeners to take away from what we just talked about,

Sonya Looney  55:23

I think my take home is coming back to figuring out why you are doing whatever it is that you’re doing and trying to love the work for the sake of the work itself, instead of being focused on the outcome of the work.

Rob Pickels  55:35

Yeah, for me, I just want to emphasize that point, again, of if you’re an individual who’s working with an athlete, whether that’s a coach athlete relationship, or a parent child relationship, know and understand that your communication in regarding to results or reward for their performance, that can very much flow back to the athlete and have major effects on the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation on the reward state for that person. So just always be cognizant of that communication of that reward structure, whatever it may be. And just make sure that it’s aligned with your athletes that it’s aligned with your intentions.

Sonya Looney  56:15

Can I add something in there? No, it

Rob Pickels  56:17

was my take home song. Go ahead, Sonya.

Sonya Looney  56:20

Just going back to that growth versus fixed mindset piece of rewarding the effort instead of the result. And that’s exactly what Rob is talking about. So talking about their effort first.

Trevor Connor  56:30

So I’m going to start with I used to get asked when I was up at the center up in Canada. Could you tell if people were going to go very far if they weren’t? And they’d always ask me, what did we look for? And it was never, oh, we looked for this test on a lactate test, or a vo two max test. I mean, those certainly helped. But there was just an attitude that you would see in athletes or a mindset that you just I’m not sure I could quite describe it. But you just recognize it and went, Yeah, that person’s going far. They’ve got that mindset. And I think we’ve talked a lot about it here. And it’s not what you see in the movies, you’d actually be quite surprised. As I said, it’s not somebody who’s I have to crush my enemies, it’s much more somebody who’s often very just focused on what’s the task at hand and how they get there. They’re very intrinsically motivated. So whatever it is, I think that mindset is very important. And as much as I’ve beaten up in the movies, I’m just gonna leave with one of my favorite moments in a movie, one of my all time favorite movies, which is Rocky, there’s that moment right before the fight where Rocky’s talking to Adrian and just says, flat out, I can’t beat this guy. But that’s not why I’m going into this fight. He basically said, I just want to go into the ring and see if I can go 12 rounds with this guy. And that, to me is it was just a great example of the mindset. It wasn’t. I have to win. I have to crush it was really that. Let’s just go see where I measure up the mastery mindset.

Rob Pickels  58:02

I thought it was gonna be something from Terminator, but

Sonya Looney  58:05

I do love Terminator.

Trevor Connor  58:07

It’s good movie too. I’m not sure it has a lot of sports psychology.

Rob Pickels  58:10

Well, Sonia, we appreciate you coming on the show today. It was it was a fascinating conversation. I know that I certainly learned a lot. We’re looking forward. I think that listeners should definitely check out your podcast you definitely proved your competency here today. And you know, I thank you very much.

58:26

Thanks so much.

Rob Pickels  58:27

That was another episode of fast talk. Subscribe to fast talk. Wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcast. Be sure to leave us a rating and a review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on fast talk are those of the individual as always, for more endurance sports science information, you can check out our knowledge base at fast talk labs.com For Sonya Looney Ryan Bolton Lauren Valley degrees power set PCOS and Trevor Connor. I’m Rob pickles. Thanks for listening.

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