About Dr. Eddie

Dr. Eddie O’Connor is a professional speaker and both clinical and sport psychologist, specializing in removing barriers to peak performance. He is a Fellow and Certified Mental Performance Consultant through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, and member of the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry. Dr. Eddie has worked with youth, high school, collegiate, national and international, Junior Olympic and professional athletes and coaches, as well as performing artists and musicians.

Dr. Eddie is frequently sought after by media, appearing regularly on FOX News in Grand Rapids, a featured guest on SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio, and quoted in ESPN.com, NBA.com, Los Angeles Times, Runner’s World, NYMag.com, and CNN.com.

He is author and host of “The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life” by The Great Courses, quoted in the New York Times as being the “Netflix of learning” who recruit “the world’s greatest professors” that “are truly special.”

An international presenter with over 350 speaking engagements and media appearances, Dr. Eddie delivers a powerful and entertaining message to his audience.


I wish I heard of sport psychology earlier …

I was a runner in high school. That was my identity. A risky choice since I wasn’t the fastest. But I was dedicated and worked consistently hard year round for four years.

I hit a mental block my senior year. You know those milestones that can become a challenge … hitting the 100th home run or extending a win streak? Well, I desperately wanted to break 2:10 in the 800m before graduating. Yet week after week I came across the finish line in 2:11, not tired! Then go over to the bleachers and throw up as if I were exhausted. I felt like I pushed as hard as I could, but with the awareness that I still had something left in the tank, my mind said, “Ugh, I could’ve broken 2:10 if I just pushed a little harder.”

After grad school, I figured out was going on – and I see this in many of my clients too. My identity was wrapped up in my performance. Not meeting my goal was a tremendous psychological threat. So in my head, by not giving 100% and coming across the finish line in 2:11, I didn’t really fail. I had an excuse!

This excuse protected my ego. It kept hope alive that I could run faster and achieve my goal.

Except each week it also prevented me from succeeding by holding me back from doing what needed to be done to win. Ultimate failure had to be risked. But my unconscious mind wasn’t ready to let me take that risk and feel the pain of failure and what that would mean about me (remember my worth and identity lied in my performance).

It ended well, though. In my very last race of the season I came across the finish line in 2:09.

But was that really my best? I had been on the cusp of that time for over a year! If I was willing to risk it all more frequently and push each week could I have broken 2:05? Even a 1:59?

Unfortunately, I’ll never know.

So I promise you, I understand your performance anxiety. For those of us with a strong athletic identity, winning and losing can determine our worth. And that pressure hurts our performance.

I wish I had answered my “what if I don’t break 2:10?” question back in high school. I would have realized that nothing would have changed other than an unpleasant experience of disappointment. Because I was failing each week and my friends and family still loved and supported me, my girlfriend didn’t break up with me. My worth and value was in many other aspects of who I was.

If I knew that earlier, the pressure would have been relieved and I would have felt lighter and ran faster of sure.

So please know this … You are more than your accomplishments. You are more than the wins and losses, your position on the team, your body shape and size, your job title, your income. These are things that you do, not who you are. You are so much more than that.

My mission and passion to help you …

As both a clinical sport psychologist and Certified Mental Performance Consultant, I help high achievers (athletes, performing artists, business men and women) overcome obstacles to excellence.

What obstacles? These are the most common::
– performing better in practice than in competition
– playing even worse after mistakes
– perfectionism that creates pressure
– inconsistent play
– lack of motivation or unable to commit to training
– anxiety or depressive symptoms following injury
– fear re-injury or lack trust in the healed body part
– performance anxiety including “what if …?” thinking or overthinking?
– comparing yourself to others with fear that you don’t measure up
– get distracted by the score, or rankings, or pressure of expectations
– fear of letting coaches, teammates or family down if you lose or make a mistake

If these sound familiar, I can help!

And I’ll help in a different way, because I know you’ve already tried to block out the negative and tried think positively. And if that was going to work 100% of the time you wouldn’t still be reading this looking for a better way.

There is one. Because sport (and life) is filled with pressure and adversity. And if you are looking for relief first, you are not going to do well in competition. There is a way to train to be your best under pressure. To meet the adversity head on and excel through it.

This is the space I work in and would love to help you.

Start here to learn about our Success Stories Community. I am also available for 1:1 tele-health consulting and have several other resources for you under the “Resources” tab also at the top of the page.

One of my biggest mistakes …

You read above how achievement drove my worth in high school. Well that lasted for quite a while through graduate school and early into my career.

My early business cards read “… because average isn’t good enough.”

I was so proud of it at the time. I was the “performance excellence” guy after all, so of course average wasn’t good enough! I wanted to help people reach their potential and not settle for anything less.

At the same time, I was fueled by a feeling of not being good enough and a needing to earn my worth through achievement. This mantra of average not being good enough was a projection of my own insecurity.

It worked really well in the beginning driving me to achievement, recognition, admiration and promotions. These are all positive and reinforcing, and they are also short lived.

The “I am good enough” feeling after a win or achievement doesn’t last very long. The need to achieve again shows up very quickly. It becomes a treadmill of constant running and not getting anywhere. It’s exhausting.

A life fueled by not feeling good enough risks getting out of balance. With the need to achieve, people can let work or training take too much of a priority and neglect family, health, recreation or recovery. Mental health can suffer with depression and anxiety. The pressure to win can become all-consuming.

My clients struggling with performance anxiety have all this in common.

I realized I was sending the wrong message.

I looked at my business card and tore it in half.

By stating average wasn’t good enough, I was inadvertently shaming those who didn’t win … which is most of us most of the time! It is absolutely the wrong focus. I don’t want my clients running away from failure.

I want them running toward life-giving goals.

So now, when I work with clients, it is all about focusing on those admirable qualities and actions that give their lives meaning and purpose. Learning how to lean in to the adversity and deal with the fear of failure that may arise.

Because it isn’t the outcomes that defines you. It is the character you demonstrate as you pursue those dreams. Maybe that is excellence in a particular area. Maybe it is harmony across several. You get to decide what is good enough.

I’m doing this with you …

Sport psychologists should “practice what we preach.”

There is a process to achieving excellence that must be practiced. As performance psychologists, we cannot simply teach these skills. We must apply them in our own lives. Things like practicing mindfulness, attention to sleep hygiene, engage in disciplined physical practice (exercise, sport, musical instrument), and demonstrate emotional control.

In this way we can empathize with the challenges our clients face like fear, doubt, and lack of motivation. We can also share in the many benefits of improved recovery, performance and mental/physical health.

I look forward to walking alongside you in your journey, sharing both the science and experience of the skills I am teaching.

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practice what we preach

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