Determining the purpose of your life: Tips and insights from renowned psychologist and coach Dr. Jim Loehr

April 28, 2021

Determining the purpose of your life: Tips and insights from renowned psychologist and coach Dr. Jim Loehr

Jim Loehr

Performance Psychologist and Co-Founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute

Dr. Jim Loehr. Dr. Loehr shared the insights he's gleaned from his career studying and training high-performiing athletes and leaders.

Is it possible to figure out the steps to living a purposeful life in just one hour? We got pretty close in our latest Walker Webcast with world-renowned performance psychologist Dr. Jim Loehr. Dr. Loehr shared the insights he's gleaned from his career studying and training some of the highest performing athletes and leaders, and he provided tips and methodologies we can all utilize to make sure we're leading with character and living fulfilled lives.


With energy management technology, Jim and his team improved the productivity and engagement level of elite performers from business, sport, medicine and law enforcement. The discussion kicks off by discussing athletics and the mindset of elite performers. When coaching athletes, Jim prefers to focus on the non-action moments, considering only about 30% of a match consists of actually scoring points. Listen as Jim explains what happens during the down time and how it affects reflects an athlete’s performance.

Through his work, Jim realized a common theme among athletes all across the board: there is a place people go when they are at their best which enables them to ignite at the highest level. Physical, spiritual, mental and emotional factors all play into this mindset. The more fun you have, he says, the more you draw in this feeling. In sports and in life, taking control of “dead time” can only put you on the right path forward. Then, he explains the mindset differences in team sports vs. individual sports. He explains stress as a regenerative place which allows for reflection and regeneration.

Then, per Willy’s request, Jim breaks down the Goldman Dilemma. Goldman posed the question to athletes: Would you take a drug to guarantee you overwhelming athletic success, but would cause death in 5 years? He found that 50% of athletes would opt to take the pill, implying that for many athletes, winning is of the most importance. Jim has dedicated his career to the idea that winning is not the end game, but rather fulfillment, satisfaction, integrity and treatment of others.

The conversation shifts to discussing Jim’s coaching work with businessmen and CEOs. He says one of the biggest dilemmas faced by coaches and CEOs alike is around a sense of urgency and patience. Room to think and articulate is the best thing to have for building character. In Jim’s book Leading With Character, he articulates that character is not a natural human instinct, but something that comes with training. With so much emphasis on individual success, most people begin to realize that leadership means to bring others to a new place. If you want people to work at their highest potential, they have to feel valued.

Jim explains the significance of a personal credo, which is a statement of beliefs which guide one’s actions. Many companies, including Johnson & Johnson, have their own credos which help guide them in terms of crisis and uncertainty. At one point Jim realized the deep flaws of moral machinery and the need for finite personal morals. He estimates we make 10-12 moral decisions each day, most of which are given very little thought or foundation. To those he mentors he asks: what do you want on your tombstone? To begin where you want to end up and work backwards from there, he believes is where true morality and foundation can be established.

In closing, Jim shares the secret to full engagement and how to recoup in times of rest. What does it mean to give the life within you to those around you? And what is powered by disengagement?


Learn more about Dr. Jim Loehr
Learn more about the Human Performance Institute
Learn more about Willy
Connect with Willy on LinkedIn

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