Ep. 66: Olympic trainer Daniel Stewart on enhancing motivation and performance with music

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

October 27, 2020

Athletic anthems can be used to enhance motivation and performance in athletics, on the job, and in life. Author and trainer-to-Olympians Daniel Stewart discusses selecting the perfect song for your situation, the role of song lyrics, and converting your anthem to a mojo mantra.


Daniel Stewart

Joining me today is Daniel Stewart, one of the world’s leading experts on equestrian sport psychology. He’s an internationally acclaimed author of three (soon to be four) books, including Pressure Proof Your Riding. Daniel teaches clinics to thousands of riders each year, has published countless magazine articles, and is the equestrian sport psychology and rider-fitness consultant to many equestrian associations. Daniel’s clients include Olympic athletes, and I was hoping to talk to Daniel in time to release this episode in July during the originally scheduled 2020 Olympics, but Daniel’s schedule was completely packed, and I told him I’d take him whenever I can get him, and I’m thrilled to be getting him on the show now!


  • Daniel brings a holistic, multi-pronged approach to his coaching. He tells us about when he realized that music could be a part of enhancing an athlete’s motivation and performance or both.
  • Daniel talks about selecting athletic anthems for different purposes: calming, empowering, pumping up
  • Music plays a role in our mood, motivation, energy, stamina, and pain perception. Music can pump us up, calm us down, make us happy, and lower our perception of pain by up to 20%.
  • The best songs containing hidden positive messages, which can have a mantra or positive-affirmation effect. [To learn more, listen to my conversation with a psychologist in Ep. 51: Conscious music: How do lyrics shape my mental narrative?  with Jamie Goldstein, PsyD]
  • Daniel tells us about his newest book, coming out in February 2021: Bolder, Braver, Brighter.

Connect/Other Resources


Daniel shares an audio clip of his son playing the ukulele under a magnificent arch in Arches National park in Moab, UT.

Closing words

Thanks again to Daniel!

I am planning a future episode on the topic of music as a gift – ways to gift music to others, which is the gift that keeps on giving. These can be practical gifts, gifts of musical experiences, physical items or non-tangible items like an original song. If you have any creative ideas to share, I would love to hear them! You can connect with me on social media, email, or my website. 

Thank you so much for joining me today. Until next week, may your life be enhanced with music.

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3 responses to “Ep. 66: Olympic trainer Daniel Stewart on enhancing motivation and performance with music”

  1. […] I want to end with a shoutout to listener James Dand. We had some conversations recently through LinkedIn, and James is doing some great work in the UK as an “Empowerment Songwriter.” James is commissioned to create music for companies and individuals specifically as their own empowerment anthems. You can learn more about using music this way at James’ website, or by listening to Ep. 66, with Olympic trainer Daniel Stewart. […]