Throughout his career Dr. Michael Gervais has followed a central question:
Is there a common thread connecting how the greatest performers in the world use their minds to pursue the boundaries of human potential?
Gervais is a high performance psychologist working in the trenches of high-stakes environments with some of the best in the world, training the mindset skills and practices essential to pursuing and revealing one’s potential. His clients include world record holders, Olympians, internationally acclaimed artists and musicians, MVPs from every major sport and Fortune 100 CEOs.
A published, peer-reviewed author and recognized speaker on optimal human performance, Dr. Gervais has been featured by NBC, ABC, FOX, CNN, ESPN, NFL Network, Red Bull TV, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Outside Magazine, WIRED, ESPN Magazine and others.
He is the co-founder of Compete to Create, a digital platform business helping people become their best through mindset training. The firm works with a limited portfolio of Fortune 500 companies and leaders to switch on culture and individuals through high performance mindset training and coaching. Clients include Microsoft, Boeing and Zynga.
He is also the host of Finding Mastery, a podcast that takes you inside the rugged and high-stakes environments of those on the path of mastery to explore how they train minds to be at their very best. Gervais unpacks and decodes each guest’s journey, psychological framework and mindset skills and practices. Past guests include, Mercedes Benz Formula 1 Owner Toto Wolff, Microsoft’s CFO Amy Hood, ultra marathoner David Goggins, two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion Carli Lloyd, CEO of Amusement Park Entertainment Jimmy Smith, Pixar’s CFO Lawrence Levy, Seattle Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll, big wave surfer Ian Walsh, among many others.
Dr. Gervais received his undergraduate degree from Loyola Marymount University. He completed his PhD while studying under the father of American applied sport psychology, Dr. Bruce Ogilvie, at San Diego University, Integrative Studies.
Below you can take a look at some of the projects Dr. Gervais has been a part of. He likes to think of this as his “working laboratory.”
What is the intersection between psychology and innovation to extinguish fear at the edge of space?
The purpose of the Red Bull Stratos mission was to transcend human limits. Supported by a team of aerospace and performance experts, Felix Baumgartner ascended to 128,100 feet in a stratospheric balloon.
He made a freefall jump rushing toward earth at supersonic speeds (mach 1.24), being the first human without a capsule to travel at the speed of sound.
His successful feat on Oct. 14, 2012 holds valuable medical and scientific research data for future space pioneers.
When your life and your family’s future depend on you getting it right, can you be in command of your craft and mind?
Millions of people across the globe held their breath as American skydiver Luke Aikins jumped out of a plane without a parachute or wing suit.
He fell for 2.5 minutes, from 25,000 feet, eventually safely landing in a 100ft x 100ft net that he and his team built.
Aikins is now in the history books as the first complete skydive without a parachute.
Is it possible to have a dual-pronged goal of winning and staying connected to loved ones, on the world-stage?
At the 2012 summer Olympics, Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor won their third gold medal putting them in an elite group of athletes who have won three consecutive Olympic gold medals.
The challenge inside the challenge was to maintain connection to loved ones, while at the same time win a third Olympic gold medal.
2016 Olympics US Women’s Volleyball What is the balance between team harmony and the razor’s edge?
The 2016 US Women’s Volleyball was on a quest for their first gold medal, and to do it while creating a culture that values the doer as much as the doing.
After winning silver in the 2012 Olympics, with a culture that was purely outcome focused, the team went on a mission to build and repair relationships, work together in harmony, and relentlessly compete on the razor’s edge.
The team won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games. Despite their deep desire to stand on the top of the Olympic Podium for the first time in US history, they collectively and surprisingly wouldn’t have traded gold for an outcome-focused culture that didn’t generate deep relationships, purpose and meaning.
What is possible in a team environment with alignment in philosophy and approach with the leader?
The Seattle Seahawks have consecutively made the playoffs the last five years, two of those runs resulting in trips to the Super Bowl. The Seahawks won their first Super Bowl in the history of the franchise in 2013.
Relationship based organizations have a distinct competitive advantage – “when the going gets tough, the tough stay connected.”
Both culture and performance are accelerated by alignment with the leader, investing in relationships, and teaching others the tools to become their very best.
Can the mindset skills & practices that help elite athletes perform at their best be applied to individuals in Fortune 100 companies?
After working with Head Coach Pete Carroll at the Seattle Seahawks, we found clarity on how to sustain a high performing culture and how to train the mental skills required for world-class performance. We wondered if those same mental skills and practices could yield similar successes inside world-leading businesses.
We are now working with Microsoft and other world-class organizations to train their work-force to train the mindset skills that support growth, progression, and deep meaning in life.
We have trained over 30,000 people and are finding that the performers in intense contexts benefit from mindset training, both in business and sport.
What are the mindset skills required for extreme solitude and complete self-reliance in the wild?
In early 2018, Lia Ditton will aim to be the first women in history to row from Choshi, Japan to San Francisco, California, completely solo.
She will travel the Pacific Ocean, without a guide boat, without physical assistance of any kind. Lia’s only relationships for 4-6 months will be with herself and mother nature. She will row for up to 14 hours a day, only breaking to eat, use the bathroom and sleep.
The journey will be 5,500 nautical miles across the pacific ocean, in all her glory. The journey is expected to take 4 to 6 months.
Three women have attempted before her. One was lost at sea, the other two were picked up at sea under-duress. Lia will test the limits of extreme aloneness and self-reliance.
Pinnacle Performance Center To unlock potential, what are the psychological, physiological and nutritional best practices?
There are three inter-related elements that impact optimal psychology: mind, brain and nutrition.
The Los Angeles high performance psychology center (Pinnacle Performance), is a working laboratory to refine best practices to optimize: mindset skills training, brain performance and performance nutrition.
Innovative partnerships with brain performance training technology, USC Performance Science Institute, and world-class nutrition blood-analyses has led to insights and practices to accelerate the learning curve to unlock human potential.
Can we impact the next generation by teaching future business leaders how to train their mind to unlock their potential?
As a co-creator of the Performance Science Institute at the USC Marshall School of Business, the aim is to create an institute that measures the science of human optimization. The process to unlock human potential is typically reserved for the wealthy or world-class performers.
In an effort to impact the next generation, this institute is using a multi-disciplinary approach across psychology, athletics and neuroscience to research the best practices of world-leading performers, so that we can better train future business leaders on how to develop an optimal mindset to pursue their potential.