Brian: [00:00:00] When we can start an athletic journey with something like, you know what, I’m pissed off, so I’m going to take up this sport, I’m sick and tired of this stuff. I get a lot of your listeners can relate to that. It doesn’t start with the purity of intent. Your hair’s just frickin get going. Get moving, get moving, get moving, but then refine it over time. Because when you get to that place where you love what you’re doing and you can find flow more often, find me an elite athlete on Earth that doesn’t want to be in flow more than they are, like, it’s just too much for me. My performance can’t handle any more flow.
Jesse: [00:00:44] This episode of the Smart Athlete Podcast is brought to you by Solpri. If you’re active at all, whether you’re running or simply out walking for the day, you’ve probably experienced one of the number one problems that active people have, and that’s chafing. Solpri’s all-new, all-natural, anti-chafe balm solves that problem while feeding your skin the vital nutrients it needs to be healthy.
If you’d like to stop chafing once and for all and treat your body right. Go to Solpri dot com to check out the Anti Chafe Balm today and that’s S-O-L-P-R-I dot com. Welcome to the Smart Athlete Podcast, I’m your host, Jesse Funk my guest today, much like me, so we’re going to have a lot of good conversation in love between us, as I’m sure is a serial entrepreneur. Unlike me, though, he is a swimmer with multiple national championships in USA Masters swimming to his name. He’s an author and speaker focusing on sport, psychology and performance optimization. Welcome to the show, Brian Bergford.
Brian: [00:01:48] Thank you, Jesse. I appreciate it, my friend. I’m pumped to be with you, dude. We’re going to have a good time.
Jesse: [00:01:54] It’s going to be great. You know, I I’ve had kind of a nice day today and that both my guests, we could talk a little bit about kind of the mental side of sports in different issues coming up with you. We’re going to talk about probably a little bit different things and I talked to my previous guest, but it’s something that I think about probably more than the average athlete, maybe not as much as you do. But it seems like a component that we were just. We just like to ignore.
Jesse: [00:02:25] You know, we focus on the like, how many reps can I do? Or, you know, like how fast can I do one hundred in the pool or whatever that benchmark for your sport is like, that’s the discipline. You know, I’m going to focus on the physicality. How do I, you know, do yoga or massage my legs out to recover faster? How do I affect the physicality of me? But then we like just ignore that there’s this large organ that’s essentially the engine running everything, and we just try to hope. Hope it’s fine. Hope, hope for the best. Am I on point is that seemed to be the kind of common trend with people you talk with? Or am I off off, off the mark?
Brian: [00:03:06] You’re definitely not off the mark. I think the further along people get in competition and the more they’re approaching their potential or they’re really pushing the envelope, the more the more they start to appreciate and realize it and give it the credit that it deserves. But yeah, by and large, it amazes me that. It is largely ignored or just downplayed the role of its importance, I’m like, where you really going to go train for six or 12 months or even longer? And then at the last moment you’re going to like choke because you didn’t home your mind and get it dialed in to where it needs to be and have the infrastructure in place so that psychologically everything is aligned and it’s going to propel your performance forward like that.
Brian: [00:03:53] That piece is is crucial because it’s it really is the make or break most athletes train ride like they get out there and they do their thing and they put in the reps, yada yada yada. That’s not so much the problem. It’s it’s the mental discipline. It’s understanding the components of that and the, you know, we’re connected on all areas of our lives and our psychology and all these different facets affect one another. And we can’t we can’t. Well, let me put it this way we can’t compartmentalize.
Brian: [00:04:26] But things get leaky eventually, and it really, really, really needs to be attended to. It’s like if you have a house built and you’re like, Oh, it’s fine, you know, we only have mold in like one or two of the rooms, but that’s going to get into the ventilation. It’s going to get all over the place and it’s going to become a problem. Sooner or later. You might get away with it for a while and some people do.
Brian: [00:04:45] Unfortunately, that’s generally when a lot of people look for help is in a reactive state because they have their rear end handed to them. I always appreciate it when people get out on the front, end the things and they’re proactive in their approach and seeking out coaching and insight and making sure that they’re giving it due attention.
Jesse: [00:05:08] I have to look this up also when you keep talking, so you reminded me of talking about being proactive and getting ahead of it, like it’s so easy. And you know, I’ve had a number of injuries over the years and I’m dealing with like a little Achilles thing that we’re taking care of at the moment. It’s so easy to like, get hurt, whether it’s psychologically or physically, and then, OK, now we’ll deal with it because it hurts or something went wrong instead of dealing with it beforehand and being preventive. It’s hard to look up this episode number.
Jesse: [00:05:41] It reminded me of when I was talking with podiatrist Mark Gallagher as episode 125. So, you know, on the day-to-day, he deals with rehab for athletes, right? And we were talking about how the hardest sell for him is like a maintenance program. Once you’ve, you know, dealt with the issue. Physical in his case. Actually maintaining it so that it doesn’t happen again, I would imagine the, you know, the mental components probably similar right or being preventive. It’s it’s like maintenance, right? It’s doing things before anything’s ever wrong. Right?
Brian: [00:06:24] Before you have a breakdown on the side of the road. Yeah, for sure. You know, and the guy used for body work is absolutely phenomenal. He’s he’s a magician and I’ve been going to him for years without something that just like clockwork, right? I go in and it’s always preventative maintenance. And because of that, I very, very, very, very seldom, maybe once every two years at most and going in because of some kind of an actual injury or something that approaches an injury because it’s keeping up on that stuff.
Brian: [00:06:57] And it’s just a different mentality. It’s a different way of looking at it. It’s it’s not wrong to wait until something goes wrong. It’s just the recovery process is going to be a lot longer and you have those huge peaks and valleys and it’s and it’s really exhausting. It’s the same thing with the mental training. When you were talking about being proactive and that type of thing, it reminded me a lot of, you know, there’s more focus now on just at large in society, mental health.
Brian: [00:07:24] I’m like, I’m like the proactive end of that. You know what I’m saying, it’s like it’s like we have a lot of focus on hay when the crops are really hitting the fan and you need to go see a therapist because you’re about to have like a psychotic break. You know, maybe the time to get a little bit of help is proactively right. And what I do like, I’m not I’m not a therapist and like, that’s certainly, but I’m a coach on the front end.
I understand psychological principles and what it takes to build a robust psychology so that you can go out and be aligned with your goals and your dreams and all those types of things, and making sure that then you have a system in place that you can maintain the proper state of mind and stay in the right headspace so that you can be on top of your game and you don’t wait until something breaks down.
Brian: [00:08:11] And it’s just it’s a lot of ups and downs. Some people with the psychological training, it’s very similar to yo yo dieting and other people are right on right on top of it. They stay in the, they stay really, really close to where they need to be. Basically, all the time. I mean, it’s interesting because, for me, just my body and body composition wise, everything like that, I stay within like two pounds max of where I’m going to be on competition day, like two pounds outside of my like, where I’m supposed to be at competition or like outside of body fat percentage. I might get like one percentage out of that max because it’s just so hard to up and down, up and down, up and down.
Brian: [00:08:57] And some people, maybe they just enjoy the drama of it. I don’t, and I love working with clients that are out ahead of it because you look at the compounding effect of having a maintenance program and a maintenance program also, that’s on the cutting edge and you’re really looking to dial things even tighter and tighter and tighter. It’s that compound interest over time. It makes such a huge difference. So it’s not just it’s not just a difference in approach, it’s a difference in ultimate long-term outcome and sustainability for an athlete.
Jesse: [00:09:29] You know, I kind of wonder about whether it’s. So I like it. So this is my own personal views on psychology. Like you, I guess I don’t know if you double majored, I double major. One of my undergrad majors was in psychology because I’m interested in people, but I tend to think like when we think about clinical disorders. I like the description that they are like an exacerbation or an overblown scenario of tendencies that we all have. So it’s like something that we all do, but then it’s gotten, it’s taken over control. It’s becoming way larger in terms of processing power than needs to be, and that is hence the dysfunction. So given that train of thought. It in regards to the maintenance thing.
Jesse: [00:10:28] You know, I wonder. Like, if it’s thinking about athletes, whether it’s simply a subset of the same mentality where like. You know, people will go through their lives and not work out. You know, not do anything, have health problems later and then be like, Oh, you know, now I’m going to take all this medicine to deal with this problem. I kind of wonder if if it’s the same thing, but then just funneled down into a little bit more microcosm because the athlete is physically doing something, but then kind of in the same sense, ignoring that mental component until something goes wrong.
Brian: [00:11:08] Yeah. And it’s an insane thing in our bodies, right? If we ignore or we get muscles, system, a set of muscles overdeveloped or out of balance, it just runs right up that kinetic chain and you can’t ignore that until something catastrophic happens. Right? And so I think that’s really what it is. The more the more truly important it is to your soul to really go after and fulfill the things that are in your heart to do. I think that eventually leads people to again back to this proactive place because if you ignore it long enough, I mean, and all of us have been in really dark places psychologically at one time or another, whether it was from an acute trauma or just some chronic stress, whatever the case may be, a lot of things just happening at once to us.
Brian: [00:12:01] We’ve all experienced. We’ve all experienced an element of that, for sure. And I think it’s just being able to recognize that and have a shorter refractory period and being able to kick yourself back up to where you need to be, but not through denial, but having the tools in place so that you can again proactively maintain where you’re at and process information in a constructive way and to build the mental muscles and have the understanding. Of how to run that machine. We look at our different sports and we become experts in it, and we know all the rules and we know all of this and that ins and outs of all this stuff. And when it comes to our to our head and this goes back to where we started with, right? We can we can let that go.
Brian: [00:12:48] And the problem is, just like with our bodies, you can end up in a place where then you have a health crisis because eventually the tipping point happens and then you’re in big frickin trouble. It can happen to us upstairs as well, for sure. So, yeah, it’s not a fun thing to experience. And I think that no matter where anybody is out right now, today, wherever they’re listening to this, whenever they’re listening to this.
Brian: [00:13:18] Move things forward on that front. Right, take your mental training seriously, take it to the next level because it’s going to impact everything else. It’s going to act everything else. And granted, excuse me, granted there are some situations where people, in order to really go to the next level, there is going to need to be some rebuilding. Like a golf golfer breaking down there, there stroke, because for whatever reason, they’re like, Hey, I’m really great, but this isn’t going to be sustainable or I’m not going to be able to take it to the next level.
Brian: [00:13:57] So sometimes you have to take a couple of steps back. That’s not usually the case, frankly, but sometimes that needs to happen. And I think it takes a lot of courage to be willing to go into a training regimen without whether it’s mental training, physical training, what have you. Take a couple of steps back so that when you move forward again, it’s more of a catapulting effect.
Jesse: [00:14:17] So I actually want to step back a little bit, and I think both of us are on a pretty similar page in regards to the importance of this, but I want to play devil’s advocate a little bit for maybe the person listening. It’s like, all right, I’ll see what this is about. But like, I kind of, you know, I don’t know that this is real or effective. You know, it’s really kind of a soft science or, you know, whatever argument that comes up.
This is one of the other part of my undergrad background from which is Math. So I like, you know, formulas and methodologies and that kind of thing. So, you know, against the soft side, like, is there is there is there a methodology? Is there a, actual concrete practice or is it just like, Oh, let’s get I’ll call it Brian, and he’ll he’ll kind of feel things out and, you know, do do whatever squishy brain work we need, you know, is there is there a process involved that is irreplicable?
Brian: [00:15:20] So is there a process involved? There’s definitely a process involved. I think very much like with schools of thought and therapy, right? And helping people in that regard. There’s a ton of different, different disciplines and they all have an enormous amount of literature and different things behind them and where they’re effective and where they’re not so effective.
Brian: [00:15:44] And so you’ve got a really broad spectrum of schools of thought and methodologies that all have their place. And I tend to just be one of those people where I have. Just from a philosophical standpoint, been very agnostic with regard to methodology, because at the end of the day, nobody gives to craps about my philosophy, about mental training.
Brian: [00:16:15] What it really comes down to is what they need as an individual and pulling from all these different schools of thoughts to be able to develop a plan that actually makes sense for them because we all have different natural aptitudes and we have different ways of processing information in the brain and we have just everything right from from the most basic levels. Are we more kinesthetic learners right? There be more like auditory way more advanced things.
Brian: [00:16:45] And so there’s a lot of elements. And I think anybody that’s listening to this knows the psyche is fairly complex, right? We think I live with me every day. I should kind of know what my deal is. And then we have something happen in our life and it pops up as like, I don’t like what the hell is going on right now.
Brian: [00:17:04] I shouldn’t be puzzled. I live with me more than I live with anybody else. And so there’s a complexity to it. And I guess what I’m getting at is, I think that there’s validity across a lot of different methodologies. And so I don’t subscribe to any particular one because when I’m hopping on the phone with somebody, I’m just trying to figure out, where are you at? What do you want? Why do you want it? Why is that important? What’s beneath it? And then how are we going to intelligently build something out that first of all, it’s going to be compelling to you?
Brian: [00:17:35] Because what’s what’s compelling to me as an individual doesn’t like the person on the other end of that doesn’t really care. They have their own set of things that they’re going for. And so it’s just like, What do you need? Where are we going? Why is it important? And then looking at two things for me that are really big. One is the because this is what I really work on building from the outset, we kind of strip things down. We understand we have clarity around where the person is at and then it’s psychological architecture, right? Like, I’m architecting and helping work with the person to build that out based on what we’re trying to go, not based on what’s most beautiful, whatever.
Brian: [00:18:13] It’s like, what are you doing? And then we go into laying the psychological infrastructure, which is really over time, a process of conditioning that and building that system out and making it more fine tuned. So there needs to be some flexibility in everything that I do with folks because stuff changes over time. And then, you know, two months from now, that person’s not going to be in the same place and we’re going to need to adapt. So I want a very adaptable, very yeah, just adaptable, easy to change flows with what’s going on, but has a base and a core of a system that hits on all cylinders for them.
Brian: [00:18:53] Like what are they most motivated by?
Brian: [00:18:56] Like, what are they moving toward?
Brian: [00:18:58] What are they trying to avoid?
Brian: [00:19:01] What is their larger why?
Brian: [00:19:04] What are their motivations versus their motives as an example?
Brian: [00:19:08] So I’m throwing a lot out here, but this comes back to some of the methodology I was talking about. One example is there’s a lot of things that I guess I can use myself as the example that motivate me what I’m going to practice every day when I’m putting in the repetition, et cetera. There’s things that motivate me, that are very surface level at times and very shallow and kind of selfish and stupid, and I feel silly even saying them out loud. But sometimes it’s just like beating the person next to you and being like, what? Right? But it’s funny because I actually love people.
Brian: [00:19:43] I love the people that I train with because they make me better. And so even though I might use that momentarily as a motivation that doesn’t have a very long shelf life, right? Because I don’t personally really care about beating other people in the moment, it might motivate me. Sure, I’ll use that temporarily. But long term, my motive is what’s most important. What’s the bigger, grander picture?
Brian: [00:20:07] Because we as athletes, if we’re going out and doing something, if if we’re really going to put our, you know, the pedal to the metal, there has to be something that’s compelling, that’s long term that can keep us in the game to where it can be a lifestyle that we can keep going and have that perpetual motion. And it’s not put gas in the tank and then it just burns off, put it in the tank and it burns off. It’s just we have a clean burning energy and it’s just always there and we might have little dips here or there.
Brian: [00:20:37] But over the long haul, our motives, our bigger why’s are so frickin strong and important central to who we are as individual, our identity that we couldn’t get off the train if we frickin wanted to. So that’s a that’s a quick little example. I don’t know if I hit on anything you actually wanted me to touch on, but that’s what came to mind you.
Jesse: [00:21:00] Yeah, no, you’re cool. So you’re describing what like I often talk about or send me off and talk about if you, you the listener have been around it for any amount of time at all. You’ve probably heard me talk about this. I refer to it as a bag of lies. Like, because I’ll say pop culture references like you need a like a grand why just the one thing that’s going to propel you forward each and every day. And and and maybe it’s simply personal experience that jades me. But I don’t think no matter how grand that one singular why is then that it’s not enough?
Brian: [00:21:43] It’s not.
Jesse: [00:21:44] And as you’re describing it and I’m like, I’m like, I almost feel like I need to change my analogy to like a pyramid of lies. We’re like, you know, your base layer is, is those big overarching like, these are the foundations of what it is. It’s it’s almost like a weird Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We’re like that. It’s like it’s like it’s turned on its head, though, right? Like the base is through like self-actualization. And then the higher up you go, the smaller ones that aren’t very sustaining. That’s like, like feeding the ego. I want to be, you know, this person. It’s it’s it’s the just flip Maslow’s hierarchy of needs on its head, basically.
Jesse: [00:22:23] And then you’ve got, you know, the kind of the principles of of the whys you need to build. I guess, although, you know, you know, shelter and food or at the base of his pyramid. And if you needed that and more professional athlete, that’s probably a pretty good why? So it doesn’t quite work, but…
Brian: [00:22:42] It could be. It’s like in a Cinderella, man, you know where he gets asked, you know, you know, what’s different that time he goes, now, this time I know what I’m fighting for. And what’s that, Jimmy? Milk. All right. Like when the stomach hits the backbone, you’re right. And so it’s it’s interesting, though, because, for a lot of us, I think that bigger base of the big lie, a lot of times that’s something more on like a deeply almost at times spiritual level.
Brian: [00:23:14] And all the stuff up top is like little piddly stupid stuff like the way you put it was very interesting with the ego. And one of my personal fascination is like dipping in it, like having a foot in different worlds. I’m endlessly fascinated by spirituality and that aspect of things, but it’s it’s an interesting subject when we come to athletics because it seems so flighty and intangible. At the same time, though, like that, that’s where we as human beings, that’s where the real, real power source comes from.
Brian: [00:23:50] That’s where the sustainability. If we really look at the deepest level that that’s kind of our roots, and then there can be a bunch of stuff on top of it. And I think one of the big pieces, at least for me and you know, the people that I work with to maintain the right type of perspective and balance is understanding the game that we’re playing in the moment and potentially using something like the ego, but that’s a very that’s a very fine line to walk because it can start to turn around and it can start to use you very, very easily.
Brian: [00:24:25] And most people are completely used by it and they don’t even know it right? And they’re being run only by ego things. And I think that’s where a lot of the burnout comes from, because we can start a journey with something like just immense pain. A lot of athletes, especially the ones that just frickin go in their hummingbird’s and they can’t seem to slow down to even think. Sometimes that’s because if they slow down to think and they have too much time with themselves, they’re worried about what’s going to come up.
And you know, that stuff is important to deal with, frankly. But I think looking at something like a clean burning fuel, which would be more of the spiritual side, right? And then there’s the not so clean burning fuel, but we get quick energy from it, and that’s things around the ego, but it becomes caustic over time. You can’t, as an athlete, only live on sugar.
Jesse: [00:25:20] Right. It’s like nitrous like it gives you a boost, but if you do too much, it’s going to blow your engine up.
Brian: [00:25:26] It’s going to blow your engine up like stuff is. I don’t know a lot about cars, but I remember in the first fast and the furious —
Jesse: [00:25:32] And that’s all. That’s what I know. So it’s whole racist cars and that’s about —
Brian: [00:25:38] He’s like, you fried the piston rings because you used too much noss, right? Yeah, and it’s true. Being cognizant of the fuel that we’re using and it’s fine if you just want a short burst thing and you’re just like, I just need to run this 5k real quick. That’s fine, whatever. But if you want to have any type of an athletic life, life style type of a journey, we have to get a lot more thoughtful about how we structure that kind of thing and where we’re coming from.
Jesse: [00:26:07] One thing I wanted to ask you about and it it came from, so last week I was talking with Sarah McMahon and we were talking about mental health and she, like many athletes, particularly female athletes, went through an eating disorder or somewhat pushed on by some of her coaches, who kind of like focused on her and her teammates like bodies and appearance. There’s you know that maybe think about, you know, in part, that ego motivation like, I look good or whatever, you know?
Jesse: [00:26:42] Along those lines, thinking about it seems like maybe I talk with mental about mental health with women more often, or they stick out to me thinking about Vanessa Raw, who was former pro triathlete for Great Britain. Now, when I talked to her, a lot of her career was focused on being injured and being pushed by her coaches. Some of it is a subset of the people that I get to talk to, but I’m sure there’s a larger application like it seems like these people, you know, the ones I get to talk to. So maybe it doesn’t apply to you, the listener, but I would say it probably does, since you’re listening to this kind of podcast. They have enough motivation like you don’t. It seems redundant.
Speaker2: [00:27:34] To push people harder down this path of, like, work harder, push harder, go harder when it’s like they already have enough intrinsic motivation, right? And it seems like. When you have this kind of one dimensional mental approach to these people who already have the required intrinsic fuel, do you often end up with burnout, injuries, eating disorders like you end up with a whole slew and that’s not I’m not for those listening. Listen to Sarah’s own words in her story. I’m not blaming her coaches for her situation.
Jesse: [00:28:11] It’s more complex than that. But just you end up with something wrong because of like this over fueling of this situation. So. I kind of feel like you need more coaches to like. Take a step back and focus on the rest side, so from a psychological perspective, how do we prevent burnout? Deal with like balance, which I think is tough because it’s it’s easy, right, it’s easy to focus on one more rep, just a little bit faster. You know, that’s easy because that’s what everybody does. How do you deal with the part where you’d go, it’s time to rest and being comfortable in that environment, knowing that that may be the thing that actually helps you propel you forward.
Brian: [00:29:03] Great question. First thing I thought of was learning, learning to, not only trust yourself, but listen to yourself as an athlete. There is just no way that you can ignore your intuition and not pay a price on the back end. The problem is when there are so many voices sometimes, and those can be our own voices, they can be the voices of coaches, they can be the collective voices of the people around us. We’re worried about something especially really high level athletes, sponsors, where are they going to think, yadda yadda yadda, that we can, there can be so much static in the air that there’s really no room for us to be able to listen to the most important kind of like small voice inside.
Brian: [00:29:47] Because most, most athletes like they’re very frickin kinesthetic like, that’s the world that they that they live in. They know what it feels. They know what it feels like when to run a certain pace. Right? Like, I know what it’s like to swim a certain pace. Like I could have no clocks and just like here go swim. And based on just how I feel during that, I’m going to come within a second, you know, on a hundred or two seconds on a 200, which is a pretty good guess with no outside clock.
Brian: [00:30:18] So I think one thing is obviously fostering awareness, but there’s a broader picture of listening to and trusting intuition and being willing to speak up about it as well because we can be pushed to do unhealthy things by people even with great intentions, wonderful intentions that want nothing but the best for us, and we want so much to accomplish something we’re so driven. I really want this thing that you’re exactly right. We don’t need a ton of extra motivation as athletes like we came prepackaged with it.
Brian: [00:30:53] I learned that a long time ago when I was working training like the general public. When I was doing personal training, I was at the same time working with the football team at CU as an intern with their strength and conditioning team, and I learned very early on because I was fresh out of high school. I really like working with athletes, not the general public. Now, what’s interesting about the difference between the general public and athletes is how somebody I sort of sees themselves.
Jesse: [00:31:22] Mm hmm.
Brian: [00:31:23] Right? There’s a lot of people that are athletes and they just haven’t owned it. And we chatted about this a little bit before we came on here. But it’s like, just if you’re an athlete and you take hold of that identity, that’s going to change a lot of a lot of things in your life. And it’s going to make a lot of decisions way easier than when you’re hemming and hawing. You’re like, I don’t know, should I go today? Should I not go today? When you’re an athlete, like you show up in your train and you don’t?
Brian: [00:31:49] I remember this poster that I saw in a gym once it was like, “athletes don’t diet and exercise, they eat and they train”. Just simple things like that that that mentality shift affects everything.
Brian: [00:32:03] So going back to what I went off on a rabbit trail here, I do think that we’ve got to, as athletes, recognize that people can be giving us great information. But the, at the end of the day, we have to find out how our internal system works, what makes our engine go and when we’re leaning and leading toward injury, we’ve got to be able to spot patterns. We’ve got to be able to spot patterns. You can catch burnout early if you’re paying attention.
Brian: [00:32:32] If it sneaks up on you, something is very, very wrong. Or maybe a lot of things is right, but you’ve tuned that voice out in your head because, you know, I don’t have time to slow down right now. I’ve got to go. I’ve got to go. I’ve got to go because you’re looking at something that’s three months from now and you’re forgetting that by doing something right now that, you know, deep down, is probably not the best idea. You might have an injury for the next five years. That sucks.
Jesse: [00:33:01] Yeah.
Brian: [00:33:02] That’s that’s a tough pill to swallow. So.
Jesse: [00:33:06] Is that is that a common issue that you deal with is trying to rein people back in? Or is it is there a common issue that you deal with?
Brian: [00:33:16] That’s a that’s a great question. One thing that I find endlessly fascinating is that most most of us don’t know truly why we’re actually doing what we’re doing. And maybe we do subconsciously, but it is not in our conscious awareness. And so we have all these reasons that like, I’m training for the sport, why I want to reach my goal, et cetera. And we don’t even really know what’s going on behind it.
Brian: [00:33:41] And that’s one reason things can get a little bit of out of whack on the back end. Yes, I tend to deal with people that can certainly overdo it. Type A to the Max, you know what I’m talking about, and it’s a beautiful thing to be that type A have drive, have gas on the tank like let’s frickin go man and just be able to punch it like that. Those are my kind of frickin people, you know, it’s like exciting for me to even think about it.
Brian: [00:34:08] However, I am committed to my clients having a kick ass life, right? I want that for them more than anything. And so helping them keep things in perspective really, truly know what is driving their behavior and staying connected to things that are most important to them and not losing sight because any of us were too deep into something more Type-A when we’re always go, go, go.
Brian: [00:34:38] Things can start to fall apart around us, and we don’t see it until it’s too late. And it comes back to this common theme of then the the marriage is in like shambles all of the sudden or, you know, somebody’s business completely falls apart or whatever the case might be, their interpersonal relationships, their relationship with themselves, with their spirit, their respect for themselves, that they lose because, you know, little compromises that they make along the way that they don’t really think about until it starts to kick back around.
Brian: [00:35:09] And we have to look at human beings as what we are a much bigger system. We’re a system. We’re not a compartmentalized set of like, I go in this room and I do this and I go in this room and do this over here. If you really want to have an incredible life. We have to look at all parts and recognize that one thing affects all of the others, and you do not want to win that race to the detriment of your relationship with your children that never recovers from it. And then you die of regret.
Brian: [00:35:49] I mean, seriously, like find me a human being on Earth that would trade a gold medal for their awesome relationship that they did have with their kids where they go, I’m about to die. But honestly, I would take that gold medal over the incredible relationship I developed with my kids. There’s not that many people that would say that, and if they would, I would. I would invite them to ask themselves “Why?”, I’m not making it wrong.
Brian: [00:36:13] It’s just interesting that we would put something way over value to very close, tight knit relationships. So those are some things that I want people to be thinking about that I want to be thinking about as a coach because I I think it’s a responsibility and sometimes it’s hard because we get into a place where we too want the person to win so, so, so much that we can get a narrow focus with them. And I think that the ability for us as coaches, we’re much better coaches when we can keep some appropriate separation and not get sucked into a client’s story in their situation so much that we don’t serve them the best way possible because we’re in it with them too. So I see that as a huge responsibility and a privilege for me with everybody I work with.
Jesse: [00:37:04] I think it’s interesting in. Maybe difficult. Probably it depends on the person and how much time they spent. With themselves and their thoughts and. You know, hard truths and whatever is diving into that. That deep motivation, right? You know, I’ve tried a number of different like motivational styles over the years.
Jesse: [00:37:34] I remember my freshman year of college right before conference, my girlfriend had broke up with me and I was like heartbroken. And one of the older guys who I ran with was like trying to goad me about it and get me angry. And there’s was like, use that anger to run with. And I’m just like. Anger is not fuel to run with, like maybe it is for some people, it isn’t for me. And maybe that comes from like my martial arts background was just like, you know, just that’s not like I would rather be the calm within the storm rather than the storm itself.
Jesse: [00:38:15] Just like, you know, like you said, do we know why? Like why we do things we do, I think, for a long time. But if you don’t mind me being personal here. Part of my motivation was like, feeling like I was good enough that I could be loved and accepted, and I express that through achievement. I don’t think that’s necessarily a uncommon story either.
Brian: [00:38:42] Nope, super common.
Jesse: [00:38:42] Right? You think you think if you have, you know, you have the things, the accolades that will, then people will like you. Well, that’s. No, not necessarily. And probably not because of those things, either. I think what I come back to is. That, you know, it talked about my bag of wise or maybe my new pyramid of lies, if I can change my metaphor. The foundation of that, I think the healthiest foundation. I’m hoping maybe you could give me another one. Is that? It is as simple as. You enjoy yourself. And that’s it. Like, you love doing it, so so you do it.
Brian: [00:39:29] Absolutely, man. I think that is beautiful because you’ve got people out there. To me, they’re actually pretty rare, the athletes that, just frickin love what they do and love the process of it, because that’s a completely different thing. Loving competition or loving winning and training and getting through the grit and the grind for that because it makes it worth it is very different than loving the process itself and just throwing every part of yourself into the exercise, into the sport, into the competition, the game, whatever and being able to invest fully in something when there is that purity of intent and it’s coming from a place of love.
Brian: [00:40:15] That is the most powerful of all when you talked about using anger as fuel because it’s interesting. I think you’re exactly right. It probably has to do with probably a number of things, but one of them being, as you said, background in martial arts. That’s again, that’s a very different mentality. If you’re angry, you’re not in control and that is something that you train yourself out of. Interestingly, I have athletes that I work with where I’m like, Hell, yes, we are using that anger, but I have to make sure it’s appropriate and it’s in sync with their system and it’s used strategically and it’s used in for a season, not for a lifetime.
Jesse: [00:40:56] Right?
Brian: [00:40:56] A lifetime of anger is really, really problematic. Being able to take something that is already an emotion, especially if it shows up on competition day and being able to engage and use that in a constructive fashion because I can’t get rid of it in the moment. That’s really powerful, too. So everything has its place, every emotion, every situation, everything that is said to you, everything that’s not said to you, everything that’s implied, the way that people look at you on competition day, when people are trying to f with you, whatever it is, you can use all of that.
Brian: [00:41:29] And that’s beautiful when you know how to do it and you can flex and flow and you’re not worried about when I show up what’s going to happen. And I hope this is the right way, and I hope that’s the right way. It’s like, Dude, I’m going to make it right. That is that is a totally different attitude to have. And so I think it’s really useful to be able to use anything. But ultimately, what you’re pointing to is beautiful because when we love something we’re tapping into to meet the biggest whys are things that are bigger than us as individuals.
Brian: [00:42:00] They’re way bigger than us, right? I’m doing something, especially for people that may never like, may never know me, and I may never know them to be able to have that kind of purity of intention. There’s something really, really powerful about that. And but you don’t need, you know, somebody listening to this. You don’t need to be at that place, either. Right? I’m not giving this as necessarily advice of like, you need to figure this out and you need to follow again this system, we’re just pointing to different processes and things that athletes can use to power their efforts.
Brian: [00:42:37] But we’re all in different seasons. We’re in different phases, we have different backgrounds. We’ve picked up different mentalities along the way that all factor into the architecture. And then the ultimate infrastructure that we build to support what we’re going toward.
Jesse: [00:42:57] So in what I ever talk about mentality, you know, I can only I can reference other conversations I’ve had, but obviously I can only speak from the life that I’ve lived, so I try my best to, not make it not make a projection on other people based on my values and experience, but there are some commonalities between our experiences. So the thing about anger, the reason, you know, you said, you know, you’re not in control to try to maybe further the metaphor or maybe make a little more complex metaphor thinking about anger as anger, like building a foundation on sand.
Jesse: [00:43:41] And the reason I think of it that way is because, I see anger as a secondary emotion like anger is not a primary emotion. Anger is the expression of an underlying emotion that we want to hide. So it could be fear or grief or anxiety, all kind of different little, you know, really nuances of fear, fear of loss, fear of winning, you know, fear of change, whatever it is, and it gets expressed as anger. So the way I view it is like if I’m angry and the reason I’m angry is because. I’m afraid that. I’m not good enough or I didn’t put in enough training or Joe Blow is faster than me.
Jesse: [00:44:33] Well, then that fear is rooted in in a different issue. Right? It’s rooted in the sense that like. I say from my personal example I mentioned earlier, I feel like I have to win to be good enough. That’s the issue that needs to be addressed and the anger is the expression of that issue until you get down to it, like you’re not laying that foundation to come from a place of control and to take, you know, take power of your entire potential because you’re allowing your mind to be deterred and flow into this chain of OK. I have to be, you know, I have to win to be good enough. And if I’m not, I’m afraid of that because I’m afraid I’m going to be angry.
Jesse: [00:45:18] It’s like there’s all this power working on, you know, these fear, which you haven’t addressed. Instead of addressing it and then taking that energy, that mental energy and putting it towards simply being and being present, which ultimately because you’ve addressed and then let go of that issue makes you more likely to achieve your goal.
Brian: [00:45:44] Yeah. And one of the one of the scariest things I think for people that want to take charge of their destiny, right, is the relinquishment of control. And again, consciously or subconsciously, maybe not wanting to. Go a little bit deeper, beneath which I appreciate you bringing up the personal example, because it’s personal, like it’s very relatable. And I think that it’s also, as you mentioned, quite quite common that thought process those fears, right, that then manifest as anger and then we’re using the anger, but people can definitely be freaked out.
Brian: [00:46:19] Listen, I don’t want to look into it. It’s working for me right now. I’m getting results like, that’s all.
Brian: [00:46:25] That’s all I care about.
Jesse: [00:46:26] Right!
Brian: [00:46:27] And that’s the kind of thing that in the short term, we’re talking about the like nitrous boost. But long term, we’ll completely fry your engine and you only get one. So it’s really about like short versus like long term thinking is is one part of this and understanding. Listen, there’s a whole wealth of just whole other levels I haven’t even reached yet, but I’m addicted to this fuel.
Brian: [00:46:59] And when you said, you know, a lot of times anger, it’s not really anger. There’s something else beneath it. And I think you’re I think you’re very right on that. I think there’s other times where people are just addicted to anger. Like, like, like pure and simple, right? There’s both situations where they they get the hit off of that. They get off on it for some reason, and it’s the adrenaline or they enjoy being wronged and they enjoy being pissed off and they think it’s helping them.
Brian: [00:47:29] And again, it’s looking at like, What are we really after here? What are we after? Do I want to burn that kind of caustic fuel in my system?
Brian: [00:47:39] Ultimately, I think. Going back to purity of intent as well. All paths. Where you really tap into being very, very like, radically present and grounded, radically present, and you’re grounded and you truly, truly get into flow where it’s almost just like that spiritual experience, right? It’s like all paths lead back to love of what you’re doing, and we can start an athletic journey with something like, You know what? I’m pissed off, so I’m going to take up the sport. I’m sick and tired of this stuff. I get a lot of your listeners can relate to that.
Brian: [00:48:16] It doesn’t start with the purity of intent. Your hair’s just frickin get going. Get moving, get moving, get moving, but then refine it over time. Because when you get to that place where you love what you’re doing and you can find flow more often, find me an elite athlete on Earth that doesn’t want to be in flow more than they are, like, it’s just too much for me. My performance can’t handle any more flow.
Jesse: [00:48:43] Brian, as we sort of wind down on time, there’s a question I ask everybody each season I make a new question every season this season’s question. I think it’s great for you, especially because I myself am bad at this, and I was one of the reasons it’s this question is your question. And I don’t think enough of us do this. So I’m hoping you have a good answer not to put too much pressure on you, but this year’s question —
Brian: [00:49:13] You’re making me nervous, dude.
Jesse: [00:49:16] We’re not going to go —
Brian: [00:49:17] Lots to happen here.
Jesse: [00:49:18] We’re not going too philosophical. I had philosophical like season two’s question was what’s what’s the purpose of sport? So many people go deep on that one. But wow, this year’s question is how do you celebrate your wins?
Brian: [00:49:35] That’s amazing question. I want to be thoughtful in my answer, how do I celebrate my personal wins?
Jesse: [00:49:42] Sure. Or how do you or how would you suggest, you know, on the other side to so personally, how do you celebrate? And then since it’s applicable, you know, how would you help people find a way, I guess maybe to to celebrate wins?
Brian: [00:49:58] I think the biggest piece honestly is. Acknowledging and allowing ourselves to celebrate, right, and like frickin little things along the way, we think by starving ourselves sometimes of fulfillment and acknowledgment and victory, we think by starving ourselves will get hungry enough that we’ll want it even more. But you know, if you’ve seen the the film pumping iron, the documentary with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno and all that, I think it was Lou or somebody Lou Ferrigno was talking about how you know, the problem is, you’re at the top of the mountain, Arnold, you’re at the top of the mountain. And so you know you’re not hungry. And he goes, Yeah, but I’m at the top of the mountain, and when I want the food, it’s there. When he wants the food, it’s there, right?
Brian: [00:50:50] So I think taking things in and having a system of celebration, honestly, where on a daily or weekly basis, especially for those of you who and us who are hard on ourselves, having an actual set scheduled system where it’s systematized that you were going back and acknowledging victories, I think it’s great on a daily basis. But if you’re not doing it all on a weekly basis or you just keep a running tally of, you know what, like today, that wasn’t a huge deal, but I. Simple things, dude. Like you paid for somebody’s latte behind you in line. And then you don’t even acknowledge yourself for that, and because it goes unacknowledged, it’s not reinforced, and so it’s hard to develop a pattern of that type of generosity as an example.
Brian: [00:51:39] So what is acknowledged and what is rewarded perpetuates itself and like attracts like and you get more and more of it. When we’re beating up on ourselves all the time, all we get is more reasons to beat up on ourselves because we’re not doing enough. And that is not a healthy space to be in, especially if you want sustainability, maybe for short term stuff. Know the game that you’re playing. Celebrate yourself, your victories and acknowledge yourself and put it in a system.
Brian: [00:52:10] I have it’s funny like me personally since part of it was a personal question. I have a planning session every Sunday. And one of the things that’s in big, bold letters is celebrate your wins and celebrate your victories. And it’s a big it’s like highlighted. How many times do I almost. The only way it could be more obvious is if I had it in a flashing neon light. And yet? It’s so easy to overlook because we’re just thinking about the next thing and what do I need to do next and what am I trying to do here? And we don’t sit back and build that positive momentum for ourselves. So that would be my encouragement to people is just systematize your celebration.
Jesse: [00:52:54] The solid I like that because I like systems like a Math guy, so give me systems and rules and equations, and I’m happy, so I will try to figure that out because I’ve got.
Brian: [00:53:06] Can I say one thing real quick? Go for it. The beauty of everybody is that everybody has their own system and equations. Nobody has their own formula. And when you when you watch, when I watch movies about Math or you, I was like, You know, PI is a great movie as anybody knows what I’m talking about Darren Aronofsky. But then you have things like goodwill hunting and just watching the beauty of these equations. And it’s actually kind of magical to look at because it’s almost like seeing nature but distilled down into numbers and that type of thing.
Brian: [00:53:40] There’s a beauty in that. And what’s most beautiful is that everybody has their own ideal equation. But because we’re evolving creatures, that equation should be shifting and changing. And that’s the thing we’re always trying to dial in. So anyway, just for what it’s worth, I’m fascinated by math. I’m not good at it. My wife is a Math major, but I think there’s beauty in it because there’s beauty in nature and all that stuff is tied together.
Jesse: [00:54:07] I just, the system amazing thing I think is good, because then it’s it becomes a part of your routine. It’s not something you have to kind of force yourself to do in the sense that like if you’re already not good at celebrating your wins, like, I think there’s a tendency that you might procrastinate in doing so. So if it’s already on the schedule and it’s something you already review, you know, as a regular thing, then I think it becomes less likely that you ignore it. So I think that’s part of why I like that.
Jesse: [00:54:42] Brian, if people want to get in touch with you, see what you’re up to. Check out what you do and all that kind of stuff. Where can they find you?
Brian: [00:54:51] I mean, if they want to contact me directly, they can just shoot me an email to my personal address, which is just email@example.com, if there’s anything I can do to help whatever people might need. Also, my website, which is bergfordperformance.com, hopping on there and making sure to get on my email list because they get free access to my app and it’s got a bunch of courses built into it. It’s like a learning lab.
Brian: [00:55:17] There’s a lot of free stuff in there and it’s really good on mental training and some of these things that we’re talking about today to give people some different tools and things to pick and pull from. Again, it’s not like customized one on one coaching. That’s what coaching is for, but it’s sort of a database where people can really take hold of some stuff and just take little snippets here and there, and it’s available. So that’d probably be the place to do it.
Jesse: [00:55:42] Sounds good. Brian, thanks for hanging out with me today.
Brian: [00:55:44] Of course, thank you, Jesse. I appreciate you and the work that you do on my friend. This has been it’s been awesome, man. I had a good time. I hope you had a good time. I hope the listeners had a good time…
Jesse: [00:55:53] Yeah, it was great. I hope the listeners enjoy it as well. So we will see you next week with another guest.