Guest Interview: Trevor Ragan

Season #21

Today on the podcast, I am joined by author, podcast host, founder of Train Ugly and the Learner Lab; my friend and fellow lifelong student, Trevor Ragan! 

Working with best selling authors, Olympic coaches, professional athletes, renowned professors, and thousands of coaches, teachers, students, and players from all over the world, Trevor is (in his words) “On an adventure to understand the science of how to become a better learner”. 

Due to his years and years of research, boots-on-the-ground, and behind-the-scenes, Trevor has a special ability to dissect and synthesize really complicated concepts and research into exercises and ideas that you and I can implement. He’s a man of science and great insight beyond his years.

In this episode, we get deep into the topic of fixed vs. growth mindset, how to run towards fear, and how your beliefs ABOUT your emotions actually shape your experience. He shares stories of middle school “anti-talent shows”, talks about the need for psychological safety in teams, and even opens up about being diagnosed with cancer. 

When I first started my podcast, my husband told me, “interview people that you want to learn from”, and Trevor was high on my list. If you hear the scratch of my pencil in the background, It’s because I was scribbling notes the entire time. 

Follow Trevor:

Website :

Audiobook :

Blog, Cancer: Lessons Learned :

The Learner Lab Podcast: 


Here’s a glance at this episode:

[4:41] Trevor talks about how he got here; from creating basketball programs, to creating programs for prisons. Lindsey and Trevor discuss the learning curve for new mindset coaches, failing on a public stage, and what Dave Chappelle has to do with it.  

[12:01] Starting with the quote, “If you want to change a behavior, attack it at the mindet and environment, not just the behavior” Trevor explains how he (personally) runs toward fear. He also talks about the science of stress, and gives tips to help you shift the way you think about stress and other “negative” emotions.

[16:41] Struggle feeds a fixed mindset. But if you can start to see stress as physical preparation and a necessary part of growth, you can build a growth mindset and increase your capacity for discomfort.. 

[22:11] How does your understanding of nerves affect your experience? Trevor points out the problem with toxic positivity, and explains in great detail how you can make room and process difficult human emotions.

[24:54] Psychological safety is “The feeling that I can be myself, take risks, and ask questions”. It’s also the key to great teams (and the science backs it up). When you don’t feel psychologically safe in a group, the learning centers of your brain shut down, and you’re less likely to engage in learning behaviors. 

[29:58] What can a middle school “anti-talent show” teach us about psychological safety? Trevor shares his experience to illustrate his belief that modeling behaviors of vulnerability and bravery and failure builds safety. 

[33:03] Trevor talks about his audiobook (linked above) which includes guest voices and sound effects to give the listener an immersive learning experience. 

[38:21] We all want to be the best, right? But Trevor asks the question, “Do you really need to be a master at something for it to have a massive effect on others?” Trevor makes his case for settling for “B+ work” and talks about how he uses storytelling as a cornerstone of teaching.

[44:55] Trevor speaks vulnerably about what it was like to be diagnosed with cancer and what he learned during and after the experience.

[52:16] Lindsey and Trevor wrap up their episode with actionable ways to grow your mindset and be more intentional about learning. Trevor believes in creating small, sustainable routines to create long-term change and growth.