with greg layton

The Inner Chief is for leaders, professionals and small business owners who want to accelerate their career and growth. Our guest chiefs and gurus share powerful stories and strategies so you can have more purpose, influence and impact in your career.

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In this episode of The Inner Chief podcast, I speak to Dr Jeff Spencer on building your champion mindset and your pathway to your potential.

Jeff has spent the last four decades helping athletes win over 40 Olympic gold medals, as well as coaching Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods, and helping our own Natalie Cook OAM OLY to represent Australia at 5 Olympic Games.

When he was 11 years old, Jeff wrote a contract with himself that a decade later he would make the 1972 USA Olympic Games team, a goal he achieved by competing in two separate cycling events.

He has also authored three books, been awarded International Sports Chiropractor of the Year, and is the creator of The Champion’s Blueprint methodology.

He is also an award-winning Glass Blower with his art appearing in some of the world's top galleries.

These days, Jeff is a mentor to athletes, businesses and other high profile clients, including the likes of Sir Richard Branson, the band U2, Nike, Hitachi, and the health brand Bulletproof.

In this episode we talk about:

  • Why winning is a skillset underpinned by you starting in a place of receivership
  • Taking charge of our automatic fear-based survival reactions
  • The difference that makes the difference with clients like Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, and Natalie Cook OAM OLY
  • Internal personal congruence towards a champion’s mindset on the day.

Thanks to James Whittaker of Win The Day for introducing us to Jeff.



Connecting with Dr Jeff Spencer

You can connect with Jeff via LinkedIn and his website.

Books and resources


“If you expect to learn life lessons from perfect people, you're not going to learn anything from anybody. It's our own judgement that prevents us from having amazing experiences.”


Key points from the episode

  • Many people believe success is achieved through willpower, tools, techniques, and hard work. Hyper-focusing and extreme planning are often seen as ways to eliminate chance. However, these beliefs are misleading and rigid, limiting our potential for insight and growth.
  • Discovering untapped potential requires receptivity and openness to possibility. It's not about imposing a rigid path but about allowing revelation and shortcuts.
  • A morning routine should include a receptive state, not immediate action, to allow creativity to emerge. The concept of “receivership” involves listening and being open to conscious awareness.
  • Restraint is crucial to avoid fear-based survival instincts that lead to counterproductive actions. Human nature tends to focus on hard work, fear of failure, and survival instincts, which can hinder the realisation of full potential.
  • True potential arises from harmony among mind, body, and soul, not just pushing harder.
  • There are four potentials – full potential, known potential, hidden potential, and emergent potential. These must work together for a complete system, like a sports team needing all players to perform well.
  • Humans have a natural instinct to seek and explore, which drives curiosity and achievement. Our decision-making is influenced by opposing forces – survival-based instincts and the instinctual seeker, leading to internal conflict and low-grade anxiety.
  • Developing a champion mindset involves pausing automatic survival responses and asking four key questions: What do I think about this? Who am I? What am I going to do? When am I going to do it?
  • Reconciling oneself involves addressing limiting beliefs, regrets, and past mistakes, and accepting the humanness of making errors.
  • There are predictable stages in human development, marked by certain challenges and tendencies, such as midlife crises and reassessment.
  • Cultivating compassion, self-forgiveness, and letting go of resentment are crucial for personal growth and reconciliation.
  • Despite achievements, everyone faces vulnerabilities, and understanding these can lead to greater self-awareness and fulfilment.
  • Embracing one's humanness, acknowledging limitations, and practising self-compassion are essential for leading a balanced and purposeful life.
  • Lance Armstrong's uniqueness and philosophy set him apart. He faced a dire cancer diagnosis but used pain as a reminder of being alive. Most people mentally give up before reaching their biological limits. Lance’s motto was: Pain is temporary, quitting is forever.
  • Going all in and leaving everything on the field is a crucial mindset.
  • Reacquainting oneself with your body and identity in midlife is essential. People often lose their identity in pursuit of success, leading to an identity crisis. Seeking guidance, counsel, and wisdom helps navigate life's challenges.
  • Successful individuals, like prolific producers, value honest conversations to understand their playing field. They seek honest interactions and options to navigate challenges and implications. Their commitment and intelligence are essential traits.
  • Many high achievers lack early guidance about potential risks and circumstances that could divert them. A conversation about the dangers of being precocious in the limelight should happen earlier to avoid straying off course.
  • Men and women have biological and neurological differences, and individuals are unique. Understanding what makes each person tick helps set realistic goals and pace for progress.
  • The Champion's Ladder offers a framework for achieving full potential. It consists of five competencies:
    • A champion's mind goes beyond affirmations; it absorbs and interprets complex data, making thoughtful choices based on present context.
    • Controlling your day is vital for efficiency and leadership. Aligning activities with natural hormone peaks and valleys optimises performance.
    • Preparing well and understanding the process of goal pursuit is crucial for success. Avoid the misconception that failure is the only path to learning.
    • Developing the ability to anticipate potential obstacles and opportunities prevents blindsiding and fosters better decision-making.
    • Jeff Spencer's experience with his adopted daughter taught him the importance of never giving up on the possibility of a miracle. Show up, commit, and hold space for positive outcomes.

Stay epic,