Do Hard Things: Steve Magness

Alberto Salazar was once the most revered running coach in the world, leading athletes including Mo Farah to the very top of their game. But, in 2019, Salazar was banned from athletics for violating anti doping rules. This week’s guest, Steve Magness, had worked alongside him at the Nike Oregon Project – and he was the whistleblower whose claims were followed up by a BBC Panorama and Pro Publica investigation, leading, ultimately, to Salazar’s downfall.

It’s fascinating to hear Steve explaining his role in what is a truly incredible tale. While he says being a whistleblower led to a traumatic nine-year period of his life, he says he doesn’t regret it. And what he learned during that time informed his most recent book – called Do Hard Things. He busts myths around what toughness and resilience really mean. Toughness and grit isn’t about projecting confidence or some of the other the obvious stuff, like running marathons or taking ice baths. It's about being authentic, embracing having hard conversations... right through to sitting still and doing absolutely nothing. 

In this episode:

  • Overcoming the doubting voice in the head
  • Steve's key role in exposing high-profile athletics coach Alberto Salazar
  • The importance of not being dependent on achievement and success to ‘fill an internal hole’
  • How his view of athletics has been tainted by the Salazar experience
  • ‘Tyrant leaders’ who rely on fear to motivate
  • The similarities between good leadership and parenting
  • The four key pillars of doing hard things
  • Confidence is quiet and insecurity is loud
  • The importance of being ‘secure but flexible’
  • Self or no self - do we really need to have a conceptual identity?
  • Avoiding emotions & embracing boredom
  • Why often the hardest thing is doing nothing
  • Embracing having hard conversations

Steve Magness' website:






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