The word “libero” is an Italian word that means “free.” In sport, it captures a player who roams freely – with the design that removing some of the structural constraints for one player will enhance the overall performance for the team. In life, a central part of living and moving freely involves removing the mental constraints that amplify anxiety and frustration. It is the quality of one’s thoughts that determines the ability to live freely.

This conversation is with Nicole Davis. Nicole represented the United States at the 2008 Olympics and 2012 Olympics, helping USA to a silver medal both times. She was also part of the US team that won the 2014 World Championships.

Nicole retired in 2015, and was known to be one of the best (if not the best) in the world at her craft — and if you haven’t been one of the best in the world at the thing you care most about — parenting, business, entrepreneurship, your craft, or maybe simply being you — I think you’ll find so much value in the conversation.

To be successful as a libero in volleyball, you need to be a great communicator, be able to handle pressure and know how to position others for success.

Sounds a lot like life, too.

Here’s to carving your own path, freely.

Simple Joys,


“You can shoot a shot 10,000 times in a row, but when the world is watching if you are saying to yourself ‘What if I mess up?’ that’s like going to Vegas and rolling the dice.”

In This Episode:

  • Learning the hard way about the appropriate time to confront a coach
  • Focusing on what is controllable
  • Enduring a difficult family dynamic growing up
  • The impact domestic abuse had on shaping her as a person
  • The cost of her competitive edge as a child
  • The difficulty in embracing the good that comes from constant failure
  • Finding the thing that makes sense to you
  • Her ability to pick up a new skill quickly
  • The lonely journey that separates an Olympian from other athletes
  • Why it’s ok if something is difficult
  • Her approach to practicing mindfulness
  • The pressure of the Olympics and how she responded
  • Importance of understanding where confidence comes from


“When it feels different, can you manage it?”

“Confidence isn’t from preparation, it’s from the things you say to yourself.”

“Mastery is a journey without an end point”


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