“Having said that, every day we’re chasing excellence. We’re trying to make it better every single day. So, I love that differentiation between… Because I think people hear excellence and they think that, like, we have to be the best, we have to be perfect, we have to be everything. It’s not that at all. It’s about how to know how to move the needle every day towards [perfection]. And if you’re doing that, that to me is excellence.” – Ben Bergeron
Ben Bergeron is the owner of CrossFit New England and has coached numerous CrossFit Games athletes including champions in 5 different categories (male and female individual, male and female masters, and team). He publishes programming for competitors for free through CompTrain which is followed by thousands of athletes around the world, and coaches Masters athletes through CompTrain Masters. Ben is well recognized in the CrossFit community for opening 3 successful affiliates (CrossFit New England and Tilt I and II), and he shares his best practices for affiliate excellence in seminars and immersion experiences for affiliate owners. He is also the author of the best-selling book, Chasing Excellence, a handbook on how to achieve greatness in your career, relationships, and life through mental toughness, character, and the process.
I caught up with Ben to chat about his book and to learn more about how we can all take the principles he uses with his athletes and apply them to our everyday lives.
In this episode we discuss:
- How the idea for Ben’s book, Chasing Excellence, came about
- How Ben found the time to write amongst his other commitments
- How the book morphed from strictly a book on mindset focus into a more engaging behind-the-scene story of the 2016 CrossFit Games
- How Ben developed the hierarchy he uses for coaching athletes: person, process, ability, strategy
- How Ben focuses on strategy, ability, outside influences, and character with his athletes
- What Ben looks for in an athlete
- How working with his team, CrossFit New England, was the beginning of developing his coaching hierarchy
- How Ben takes his coaching concepts and emphasis on the process and character traits and applies them to regular daily life
- Why CrossFit New England’s mission is to create humble, hungry, happy people
- The difference between reacting and responding
- What is mental toughness
- How the unknown and unknowable tests from the CrossFit Games select for the most physically and mentally dominant athlete
- Joe Friel’s quote, “Think like a bumble bee, train like a race horse,” and the theory behind it
- How removing a self-defeatist attitude can open doors to so many more possibilities
- The difference between practice and deliberate practice, training and competing
- The importance of passion and purpose and why it’s crucial to maintaining long periods of deliberate practice and training
- The importance of the “why” behind your sport
- The difference between perfection and excellence
- What it means to chase excellence, and what excellence means to Ben
- What Ben thinks is the biggest thing that holds people back from chasing excellence
- What kind of reflections Ben has on the 2017 Games season, and what he’s taking into the 2018 season
- What Ben is currently working on that he’s most excited about
Ep 28 – James Hobart on Teaching, Competing, and the Real Purpose of CrossFit
Ep 56 – Katrín Davíðsdóttir and Ben Bergeron on the Process of Creating a Champion
Ep 73 – RISEing to the Occasion with Olympic Swimmers Caroline Burckle and Rebecca Soni
Ep 77 – Austin Malleolo on CrossFit and Corporate Culture
If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.
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Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.