Transcript: Thanks, Allan. This is David Brower with our special guest today, Brian Bergford of just down the road from me in Thornton, Colorado. Brian is a peak performance coach at Bergford Performance, specializing in helping motivated athletic business owners gain the tools to take their businesses and their lives further. He’s focused on creating powerful psychology and mindsets, which is colored by a depth of experience across a number of disciplines. Brian, welcome to the show. I’m glad you’re here, man.
Brian Bergford: Oh, thank you very much. I am very excited to be here with you.
David Brower: A number of disciplines. Tell me about that. You’re doing everything from climbing, to dog training, to inspiring professionals. What’s all the things you’re involved in right now?
Brian Bergford: I guess I would take it back a little ways and walk through how I arrived here.
David Brower: Great, great.
Brian Bergford: In college, I studied psychology. That’s my background is the human aspect because I’ve always been tremendously fascinated by the mind and the power that that has to either be our best friend or potentially our worst enemy, depending on how we use it. I’ve always been obsessed with human performance and potential. What’s interesting is back years ago now, like a decade, I found that I had, and this is actually in college, a gift for working with animals as well, specifically dogs. I began just organically working with some people to help them through some issues, behavior problems, whatever was going on. That grew over time to the point where it took over and became a full-time gig for me. I left the corporate world and built up a couple successful businesses in that industry, a training and behavior rehab company as well as a dog boarding daycare facility, and got those to the point where I had people managing them, built some success there so that I was able to go revisit my first love, which was working with and coaching people.
Brian Bergford: It ties into the dog training thing because when I’m training dogs, I’m not actually training dogs. I am coaching people in how to train their own dogs and communicating that message to them. What’s interesting is I wrote a book called Transformational Dog Training two years ago. It’s basically a self-help book for dog owners talking about the way that they interact with their dogs and the way they live. Everything from just their energy and their lifestyle can have a profound impact on some of the issues that might be cropping up for people in terms of behavior problems. Again, tying that into the human performance aspect, what I wanted to be able to do with Bergford Performance Systems and what I’ve been able to do is focus very specifically on the people psychology and be able to do a much deeper dive with folks specializing, again, in CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, high level executives that also compete in some form of athletics, which could be running, it could be swimming, it could be triathlons, it could be those spartan races, any number of things.
David Brower: Sure, sure.
Brian Bergford: I’ve really enjoyed that. Of course, the reality is I’ll work with anybody that’s a high performing person that is really looking for an extra edge to kick it into high gear.
David Brower: It seems like when you threw in the athletic aspect, it seems like a fairly small niche, a very nuanced niche. Is that fair, or do people just come out of the woodwork and find you? How do they connect with you?
Brian Bergford: Yeah, yeah, that’s a good question. It is sort of a niche. The reason I play in that space is because I’m a business owner and I’m a competitive athlete myself. I compete in swimming, and I absolutely love that. I just relate really well to it. There’s really a tremendous number of people out there that actually do fit within that. I agree with you, it’s very much a niche. It’s such a pleasure to serve that psychographic, if you will, and work with clients that are … There’s a certain mindset that comes with somebody who’s competing not only in business but in really pushing themselves not just as leaders but their own bodies and their personal leadership as well. That’s really what it all comes down to is personal leadership because that is what allows us to max our potential, or it’s going to be the bottleneck on things …
David Brower: Got you.
Brian Bergford: … depending on how we conduct that.
David Brower: How did you turn your fear of water into competitive swimming? That’s got to be fascinating.
Brian Bergford: Yeah. Took a while, took a while. When I was really young, my parents were great. They took me to swim lessons, and I had complete meltdowns at the pool. I think a lot of kids do have a fear of the water, right?
David Brower: Yeah.
Brian Bergford: It’s fear of the unknown. It’s kind of a scary thing initially, but mine was unreasonable. It wasn’t just a little bit of angst. It was a legitimate phobia. It was completely irrational fear of being submersed in water. I did not really make any progress in swimming lessons other than running out of the pool screaming and crying.
David Brower: Sure, sure.
Brian Bergford: When I got older, post, gosh, the 2008 Olympics, I think, in Beijing, this was a little bit of the spark in the seed, is I saw Michael Phelps do what he did there. That was so awe-inspiring to me because, again, I love that. I love people performing at their potential whether that’s athletes, or artists, or I don’t care. It’s just incredibly inspiring. That was a little bit of a spark, and also just the desire in me to not be a person where my fear was dictating what I was and was not going to do. I was like, “To heck with it, I’m going to take up swimming,” and got some swim lessons. Long story short, grew into swimming on a Masters team, eventually competing. I love it now. Now it’s a great passion of mine. Got back about a month ago from my second national championship competition, which it was just an honor to have qualified to go.
David Brower: Oh, yeah.
Brian Bergford: I was so excited for that.
David Brower: Congratulations.
Brian Bergford: Thank you.
David Brower: My wife gets up at 5:00 in the morning, goes and swims with a Masters group. She’ll swim 3,500 yards just because she wants to.
Brian Bergford: Oh, yeah, yeah.
David Brower: And she’s 65.
Brian Bergford: That is fantastic. I remember seeing the Masters swimming workouts years ago. When I saw them, I thought people were exaggerating in terms of the number of yards they were swimming, the lack of rest between sets, because swimmers, we don’t really rest a lot. If you get 10 seconds after you’ve swam 100 or 200 yards or meters, that is a lot of downtime for a swimmer. It was just hard for me to even comprehend that in the beginning. Yeah, it’s amazing. Kudos to her. That’s great. I love it.
David Brower: Your experience with that, and I’m sure other things because we all have some fears along the way that hopefully we figure out a way to conquer them so they don’t tear us down too much, I’m sure you’ve had some other fears that can share those kinds of stories with your clientele and let them know that they’re not alone with their fears either, right?
Brian Bergford: Yeah, exactly. It really is any time we want to grow and expand, I don’t care who the person is, it boils down to there’s going to be some level of fear of the unknown that we have to move through to get obviously to the next level. That is a process for people that really, really want to stretch the edges of what they were created to be. That is an ongoing process. It’s not something you do and you’re like, “Thank god that’s over.” It happens again and again. It’s just that process of breaking out of the cocoon and spreading your proverbial wings. Then after a while you realize, “I’m in another cocoon,” and you learn to build your wings even stronger, but you have to push through. It’s just part of the human condition.
David Brower: Fear of the unknown, that’s a real deal, whether it’s in business, whether it’s athleticism, whether it’s health. Most of us, knock on wood, can figure out a way to handle a lot of situations as long as we can eliminate the fear part so we have something to focus on, something to think about, something to have a plan for. That fear is just numbing.
Brian Bergford: Yeah. That’s the art of it, right? The people that really break through and continue to progress in their lives and achieve the goals and the visions that they set for themselves are incredibly adept in my experience at encountering fear and knowing how to deal with it. This notion that somehow there’s people or maybe they’re either incredible business owners that are tremendously accomplished, or they’re elite athletes, the idea that they don’t experience fear somehow magically just isn’t the case. But they are very adept, again, at knowing how to address the fear, and how to process that stress, and turn it into something that they can effectively use.
David Brower: Absolutely. You do a lot of one on one coaching, a lot of public speaking. What do you find more gratifying, or are they just different?
Brian Bergford: That’s great. They’re different. They’re both tremendously gratifying for different reasons. The interesting thing about speaking to groups of people for me is a couple things. One is the group dynamic that comes into play. There’s something about that that’s very exciting. You can only get it when there’s a collection of people, that group momentum that you can build. You can reach people at a larger scale that way.
David Brower: Sure.
Brian Bergford: The one on one work, the beauty of it is we can get into real deep dives, and we can go right to the heart of the matter, customize things for that individual, and absolutely create changes at a much more profound level because we can go through different layers and find out exactly what they need. That’s more of a depth issue where the speaking engagements is a matter of scale.
David Brower: I don’t want to assume, but I would think that the speaking engagements bring you some one on one opportunities, right?
Brian Bergford: Yeah, absolutely. It’s interesting, because you never really know who it’s going to be, right?
David Brower: Right.
Brian Bergford: You can’t look out at a group of people and pick like it’s going to be them. Even if you happen to speak with them at the event, it’s fascinating to me who raises their hand and says, ‘I want to take things further, and I know to do that, I need some coaching, or I can cut way back on the amount of time it’s going to take me to get to where I want to go through getting coaching.” It’s so interesting, you really can’t pick it. You just have to sit back and watch, and see who comes into the fold and is hungry.
David Brower: It has to be, I would think, a couple of things. One, it has to be organic, and number two, they have to shake a bit of fear just to raise their hand.
Brian Bergford: Yes, absolutely.
David Brower: All of a sudden, “Uh-oh, I raised my hand. I got skin in the game. Now what am I going to do?” That’s part one of our interview with Brian Bergford.
Allan Blackwell: Your 20 Minute Podcast with David Brower has been brought to you by Audible. You can listen to any of David’s podcasts anywhere podcasts can be found including iHeartRadio, the Spotify mobile app, and at davidbrowervo.com/your20minutepodcast. Until next time, thanks for listening.