#386: Guest Interview: John O'Sullivan

Season #20

Today on the podcast, I am pleased to introduce the founder of Changing The Game Project, author of two #1 best-selling books, podcast host, and internationally known speaker (including TEDx and The U.S. Olympic Committee), John O’Sullivan! 

John and I go way back; we’ve spoken at conferences together, we’ve done booths together, and we’ve learned from one another. He’s someone I respect, admire, cheer for, and look up to in the sports world. John is known for his wealth of practical, hands-on knowledge, and his passion for helping parents and coaches show up for their athletes in ways that really matter. He believes in creating a player-centered environment and tough-love coaching with compassion.

What makes this episode stand out as being particularly relevant to parents and coaches is that John talks in-depth about how we can support young people RIGHT NOW, as the ripple effects of COVID-19 impact our world today. He gives sage advice about how you can support your athletes, push your athletes, and also hold space for their unique mindset challenges during this time. 

After being a guest on John O’Sullivan’s Way of Champions Podcast, it was so fun to put him in the hot seat and sit in the student’s chair. 

I love this conversation, I learned a ton, and I’m sure you will too. 


Follow John:



Instagram: @ctgprojecthq 


WOC Conference: 


Here’s a glance at this episode:

[4:32] John begins by telling us about his upcoming virtual conference and its impressive line-up of speakers, including Steve Kerr, Dave Aranda, Trevor Ragan, and Ron Adams.

[8:22] How can we support athletes in a COVID-19 world? John talks openly about the importance of addressing athletes’ mental health. He points to a notable increase in eating disorders, anxiety, and divorce. In his words, “in the last two years, the amount of kids I know in [these situations] are probably equivalent to the previous 25 years combined.”

[15:12] When athlete behavior changes, there’s usually something going on behind the scenes. John suggests asking one key question to get the conversation rolling, and shares how at-home stress can manifest on the field. Finally, John explains how he actively works to create a safe and joyful space at practice. 

[23:28] John answers the question, “How can you hold athletes to a high standard while they’re struggling?” He likens cognitive injuries to physical injuries and encourages coaches and parents to treat them with compassion while holding them to a ‘rehabilitation plan’. 

[29:53] Burnout is REAL. John believes the best way to prevent burnout is to put yourself first, and sometimes that means hitting the brakes. If we can’t take care of ourselves, we’ll never be able to fully show up for others.

[37:12] Peeling back the curtain on his own practice with mindfulness, John knows from experience that just a few minutes a day of mindfulness can be life-changing. 

[41:36] John and Lindsey wrap up our episode today with 5 rapid-fire questions. With a quick discussion about Atomic Habits, John’s favorite outdoor activities, his family, and his love of coaching, John leaves us a few final nuggets of wisdom to end the episode!



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