Michael Gervais: Overcoming The Fear Of Other People’s Opinions


Michael Gervais is a high-performance psychologist who has helped some of the world’s most successful athletes overcome mental & emotional obstacles on their way to excelling in their sports. He was on the sidelines when the Seattle Seahawks won a Super Bowl, when beach volleyball players Kerri Walsh & Misty-May Treanor won Olympic gold – & when daredevil, Felix Baumgartner set a skydiving world record for the highest-ever free fall.

In his new bestseller, “The First Rule Of Mastery: Stop Worrying About What People Think Of You,” co-written with his partner, Kevin Lake, Gervais argues that the single greatest constrictor of human potential is our fear of other people’s opinions (FOPO).

FOPO shows up almost everywhere in our lives—& the consequences are great. When we let FOPO take control, we play it safe & small because we’re afraid of what will happen on the other side of critique. When challenged, we surrender our viewpoint. We trade in authenticity for approval. We please rather than provoke. We chase the dreams of others rather than our own.

As the antidote, Gervais says the key to leading a high-performance life lies in learning how to redirect our attention from the world outside us into the world inside us. Discovering how to accomplish this – the mental skills & practices – is one of the key themes of this conversation. As you’ll also hear, so is the importance of gaining clarity around our personal purpose. 

Gervais believes valuing the opinion of others over our own creates a huge obstacle for optimal success in life. “But few want to do the hard work needed to change. The greatest, however, have a vision, & they commit to following it. They have great capacity to experience what’s uncomfortable, because they know that’s the way to self-mastery.”

What separates the boys from the men (and the girls from the women!) is the focus of this highly informative conversation. Truly one of our most interesting & compelling episodes.

By Mark C. Crowley

Mark C. Crowley is the author of Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century which has been taught in 11 American universities. He is a global speaker, leadership consultant and thought leader on the topics of workplace culture and employee engagement.