The secret use for baby gates you’ve never heard of

The secret use for baby gates you’ve never heard of

People use baby gates for a number of reasons.

Parents typically set them up to keep their tiny tots from wandering into a room that’s “off limits” or to prevent them from plunging headlong down a staircase.

People also use them for their pets to limit access to specific areas within the house... Come to think of it, a baby gate would have come in handy and prevented the moment of infamy I talked about in my email a couple weeks ago when one of my dogs pizzled in my wife’s shoe… but I digress.

Anyway, a few minutes ago I got back from a run, let my dogs outside, and then reset a baby gate we have in place downstairs.

And then this question came to mind:

Why don’t we apply the baby gate concept to our mental training?

I can’t be the only one who runs into trouble whenever I wander into certain mental “rooms” that I know I should probably steer clear of. It really annoys me when I do it, too, because once I come to my senses and realize where I am and that I need to get out, I’m like, Why the heck did I let myself wander in here in the first place? I know better than this!

Cue guilt and regret and shame.

Have you been there?

Would you like to stop backing yourself into corners psychologically, and eliminate habits that keep tripping you up?

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you spent more time in rooms with plenty of light, joy, and space to move freely?

Well, I have just the solution for you: Māby Gates!

And if you purchase within the next 15 minutes, you can get TWO Māby Gates (mental baby gates) for the price of one! That’s two Māby Gates for the low, low price of $0 (just pay separate processing and handling).

And using my patented mental delivery system, you can take possession of your Māby Gates instantly! All you have to do to acquire these magical devices is picture them in your mind, and then either wink, nod, or smile to accept delivery.

Do that now.

If you did it... Congrats on the purchase of your new Māby Gates! Here’s how to use them…

First, think about the mental rooms you enter that never seem to work out well for you. These could be as general as rooms occupied by worry, depression, gossip, or anger, or as specific as complaining – or making demeaning remarks – about your spouse when talking to your friends.

Really, we’re talking about anything you know is a bad habit. Bad habits, after all, are a product of the series of thoughts you followed that lead you into taking wrong action.

Next, pick one “mental room” you want to stop entering and imagine yourself stretching a big, beautiful, Māby Gate across the entrance to that room. Now secure it by locking it in place.

Installation is now complete.

The great thing about Māby Gates is that you can open them or step over them to get to wherever you choose to go. If you want to enter a certain room despite the Māby Gate in front of you, you are still free to do so.

But often times, the mere act of putting up a Māby Gate that’s decorated with warning signs and clear reminders of what you’re choosing to forfeit if you enter – as well as what alternative rooms you could choose instead – will help you cross that threshold less often.

This all boils down to using a simple, admittedly silly, mental image as a powerful reminder. If you use your Māby Gates consistently, you’ll cultivate a greater awareness – and be more conscious – of where you allow your mind to go.

Instead of just reflexively barging into the “Anger Room,” you'll see a Māby Gate on your approach, and it will remind you that you have a choice.

Taking a deep breath and thinking for five seconds before you enter a room with a Māby Gate can be the difference between having a miserable argument (and rest of your night) with your spouse, and having a good laugh, conversation (and maybe some other stuff) instead.

But it requires you to not just go careening carelessly through the Māby Gate without exercising awareness and thoughtfulness on the front end.

See how these Māby Gates work?

Simple.

Now that you know how to use your Māby Gates, start putting them to good use, and if you like them, let me know about some of the victories you experience as a result!

- Brian Bergford

The ridiculously stoopid thing I did last weekend

The ridiculously stoopid thing I did last weekend

I normally don’t eat any type of animal products – with the exception of fish for the benefit from the oils – and I keep a pretty clean diet. Now, “clean” is a relative term, and plenty of over-the-top people would consider my diet hideously unclean, but most normal people would consider it pretty darn good.

Anywho, last Saturday, it was one of those magical nights that I was going to deviate from my normal routine and have a cheat meal. But I took things waaaaay too far. In fact, right before I gave the waitress my order, a part of me was ever so subtly whispering Don’t do it. Doooooooon’t do it! But I was looking at that menu thinking of how obnoxiously delicious it would taste.

So, I did it. And those damn beef enchiladas almost did me in…

I was like Odysseus and the enchiladas were the Sirens calling to me from the rocky shore. Unfortunately, I was only loosely fastened to the mast, so I escaped my restraints and steered my ship aground. What an idiot.

Mind you, my body isn’t used to processing meat. I can get away with having a little chicken once in a blue moon when I cheat on my diet, but red meat is dangerous and I knew that going in. I, of course, told myself a tantalizing lie about how maybe this time it would work out okay. Can you spell, "stoopid"?

To be balanced in my reporting of the incident, I should point out that the song of the Enchilada Sirens was delightful. Those cheese-covered, beef-stuffed cylinders of yummy goodness were amazing. I was humming my own little Mmmmmm noises the entire time I was eating. It had been so long since I had a good beef enchilada. It was like meeting back up with an old friend.

Unfortunately, that old friend sent me on a week-long downward spiral. It was like I’d remembered the wonderful moments we used to have together and conveniently forgotten that my old friend was actually a deceitful, trifling wench. Thus, I yielded to temptation, enjoyed some momentary pleasure, and woke up the next morning on the proverbial rocky shore, battered and bruised.

Seriously – my energy was shot for the next 7 days. Mentally I was functioning at about 70% of normal. My body didn’t have the get-up-and-go power I’m used to. And yesterday I competed at the first swim meet of the year and got rocked. I was embarrassingly slow and just puttered along running on fumes.

In the words of the great Nacho Libre, all I kept saying to myself was, “SUCKS to be me right now!

And I had no one to blame but myself. It wasn’t like I got food poisoning because the restaurant didn’t prepare my meal properly. I had no business ordering beef anything.

This morning, thank God, I finally felt back to my wildly energetic, ready-to-charge-hell-with-a-water-pistol self. It is a galaxy away from how I spent the last painful week…

What lesson did I take away from all of this?

Don’t do stoopid crap that you know you shouldn’t do.

Stoopid hurts.

Being stoopid will cause you to lose momentum, so steer clear! If you shipwreck yourself as I did, it’s not like you can blame someone else – you chose to be stoopid. You weren’t ignorant if you’re honest about it. You knew better at some level, yet you pretended you didn’t and proceeded anyhow.

Please, the next time you’re thinking of doing something you know deep down is utterly stoopid, just remember “Brian’s Epic Beef Enchilada Siren Disaster” story. And then?

Just. Say. No.

Save yourself the unnecessary heartache – and heartburn – of killing your energy and performance. And then take all that extra energy and funnel it into things that are going to make you truly happy long-term. After all, that’s what it’s all about: long-term satisfaction and fulfillment in your life.

The bright side of making a stoopid decision is that it gives you an experience to remind you in the future of what not to do, and can help you further appreciate the value of sticking to your normal, high-performing systems and habits.

But I’d still recommend avoiding stoopid.

One thing that will help tremendously is having someone who can keep you accountable and on track toward your highest aspirations. If you truly aspire to world-class performance, you’re going to have to get world-class mentorship and coaching in place.

For more information on said coaching, check out my coaching page.

- Brian Bergford

Some of the best advice I ever got about achievement and teamwork

Some of the best advice I ever got about achievement and teamwork

On a sunny morning a few years ago, I found myself sitting in a coffee shop across from a friend and business management/leadership expert.

At one point in the conversation I was expressing my utter inability to comprehend mediocrity. Since he worked with many organizations and the thousands of people within them, I knew he’d have some good perspective to share. “Why on earth” I asked him, “are people even capable of being content with living an ‘okay’ life and being ‘pretty good’ at what they do?”

To me, that was an absolutely absurd way to live – I had difficulty understanding how someone could walk through life with a “good enough” mentality. For me, it was like, What the hell? Be the absolute best you can possibly be and don’t settle for anything less!

It was at this critical juncture that he chimed in and helped change my perspective.

As he sipped his coffee calmly, he reminded me of something I’d “heard” before but never really heard, at least not at the level that creates true depth of understanding.

“Brian,” he said “not everyone has that kind of desire, and besides, the best teams aren’t composed of superstars.”

We went on to discuss the fact that so-called “All-Star” teams don’t tend to win games like they should. Just looking at the depth of talent on the roster of an All-Star team, they should put other teams to shame. But they rarely do. Why?

There’s no synergy or cohesion.

For one thing, an All-Star team is top-heavy with a bunch of achievers who, a lot of times, have HUGE egos. And then you bring them all inside of a unit where they’re supposed to put their egos aside and work together for the good of the group…

Like that’s ever going to work.

There’s a reason why All-Star teams that actually do kick serious bootay – like the Navy Seals or Army Rangers, for instance – are subjected to rather ruthless training that breaks them down as individuals. They are subsequently built up as a single unit where all members completely rely on one another and work together seamlessly to accomplish a larger mission.

Outside of these rare examples, a concentrated grouping of serious achievers tends to set the stage for some serious conflict, which completely undermines performance.

How could it be any other way?

I mean, you have a bunch of competitive crazies all grouped together. They’re not going to hold hands and see what they can do to support and understand each other’s feelings better. They’re going to mercilessly step all over each other in the kerfuffle of a winner-take-all stampede.

What my friend pointed out to me that day was that great teams need one, maybe two, superstars, and then a bunch of B and C players to round out the roster. There’s tremendous value in people who aren’t obsessed with achievement; They actually support the process of success because they make cooperation possible and fill critical roles. Superstars can’t win games without them.

So needless to say, I learned a lesson that day – one that has been unbelievably helpful to me in many ways.

That lesson was liberating. It helped me just relax and stop getting frustrated with people who don’t show next to zero ambition (although I must confess that when I’m around them for extended periods of time I still tend to throw up in my mouth a little). I finally recognized the real value of all contributing members within a unit and came to appreciate individual differences even more.

And while there’s a part of me that still can’t understand why people who clearly have magnificent potential settle for mediocrity, I don’t get bent out of shape about it anymore. Don’t get me wrong – I loathe mediocrity, but do my best to keep my fear and loathing of mediocrity pointed at my own life, not the lives of others.

If you are one of my fellow top-performing, high-achieving, bootay-kicking beasts, I hope this information has contributed some helpful perspective to you as well.

- Brian Bergford

What to do when you feel like a big ol' bowl of crapola

What to do when you feel like a big ol' bowl of crapola

In the last newsletter I sent out, I mentioned that in this installment, I’d write about one challenge someone emailed me about – something that’s been hamstringing their performance efforts.

So here we go: Kimberly relayed that she is very much on track 95% of the time with regard to her goals and training. However, she laments the times she stalls out because, for whatever reason, she doesn’t feel up to the challenge of the day or moment.

She said that sometimes this is due to feeling under the weather, or there’s a strain in one of her close relationships, and other times she generally just doesn’t feel like herself. Consequently, she finds it difficult in such instances to perform at the levels she would like to.

In other words, when she feels like a big ol’ bowl of crapola, her performance tanks.

Can you relate? (Please say “yes” because otherwise Kimberly and I are all by ourselves on this one.)

So, instead of launching into 50 different ways to pick yourself up (one of which I’ll be posting about on Instagram later this week), I’m going to keep this simple.

When you feel like um… you-know-what, here’s what to do (in my extremely humble but correct opinion):

Stay in the game.

Allow me to elaborate…

Feeling like a giant pile of dookie is enough to knock most people out of the running entirely, because EVERYTHING they do and every decision they make has its genesis in the dictates of their feelings. If you’re reading this blog then you likely don’t belong to this category of sad peoples, thank God.

However, this issue can still be trying even for the baddest of you badasses out there. I know it is for me. And the most basic, yet effective, remedy I know of – when the crapola bowl is warm and in full brew – is to choose to stay in the game and be consistent.

Will you perform at your absolute best?

Probably not.

But you will have done two things that mediocre mortals and ne’er-do-well folk never have the experience of reveling in.

One, you will have reinforced your commitment to stay the course no matter what, and two, you will find second and, in some instances, third winds you didn’t even know you had access to. It takes grit to get the ball across the goal line whether we’re talking about sports, parenting, art, or business. And that takes developing a certain mentality; one that says “I don’t stop working on my mission just because I’m not ‘feeling it’ right now.”

There are obviously wise times to take a break – your body has ways of telling you when you need to back off. But most people confuse having a tired body and a whining mind with needing a break. Big mistake. And frankly, it’s the “out” that weak-minded people take constantly.

I’ll even go so far as to say it’s the days when you feel like crap that are your biggest opportunities to separate yourself from the pack of whiners, complainers, and the crowd of second-stringers who bench themselves whenever they’re not feeling 100%.

If you stay in the game and play to the best of your ability even when your mojo feels farther away than a Mars rover, you’ll gain a level of grit, strength, and respect for yourself you can’t really get any other way. You’ll also come out ahead when you reach the other side because you’ll still have momentum; momentum other people completely lost out on.

- Brian Bergford

Why I don’t do “life coaching”

Why I don’t do “life coaching”

Once upon a time, my wife was giving me a hard time about not wanting to partake in a Swedish massage while we were on vacation. She proceeded to extol its virtues – the relaxation it would provide, the fact that it would be a couple’s massage we could enjoy together, yada, yada – and I soon relented.

I actually found the experience pleasant, and while on vacation it was fine. But just as I also enjoy lounging in a chair by the pool for hours on end while on holiday, Swedish massage is definitely not something I would choose to invest in as a primary modality for bodywork. “Why” you might ask?

Because I’m obsessed with peak performance, not pleasure.

If I’m going to invest in bodywork, Swedish massage might feel nice, but it just isn’t going to get the job done performance-wise. Athletes need to keep their bodies tuned to the highest levels possible. As such, any type of massage or bodywork I’m going to regularly invest in needs to be something that’s actually going to help my body be in its absolute best condition.

I couldn’t care less if it “feels good.”

I don’t even mind if it’s downright painful at times.

All I really care about is finding a professional who’s going to dig in and identify where my body is out of balance and then help me get it back on track - I want to work with someone who’s a master at that.

It’s the same with my roster of coaching clients, which is primarily comprised of athletic executives and business owners. These people have a ton of drive, and regularly experience insane levels of demand placed upon their time, their bodies, their psychology, and their leadership. And when these people seek out coaching, they don’t go looking for a “life coach.”

There’s nothing wrong with life coaching, don’t get me wrong. It’s just not what I provide.

I’m the guy who’s going to dig in and work with you to make sure you enjoy life and perform at the highest levels possible.

It’s like deep-tissue work for your life and dreams – it won't always “feel good” in the moment, but it feels absolutely fantastic when you’re winning on the playing field of life. Helping people experience that is my passion.

So if you’re looking for the “Swedish massage” of personal coaching, I am absolutely, positively not your guy.

But if you’re serious about finding someone who understands the psychology of the world’s best performers, and can coach you to greatness and personal fulfillment through mastery of your mental game, we need to talk. Book a free 10-minute No BS call with me here to see if we’d be a good fit. You can also check out my Performance Reignited masterclass designed for high-achievers who need to get their edge back by clicking here.

- Brian Bergford