I am sitting down watching the CrossFit Invitational, a team competition of fitness athletes based on regions around the world. It has me revisiting something I read a few months ago.
“Chasing Excellence: A Story About Building the World’s Fittest Athletes” is a book written by Ben Bergeron, the coach to notable Crossfit athletes Katrin Davidsdottir and Matt Fraser, and encompasses his training take on building a mentality for success.
The book came out the week before the Crossfit Games, the CrossFit community’s marquee event. Being involved in the Crossfit community as I am, plus the fact that his book was free with Kindle Unlimited, I dove right into the book. Glad I did.
PROS: One of my favorite parts of this book, is that it is not long. Over the years I have labored through many books (or given up outright) because authors spend at least 150 extra pages elaborating points and sharing analogy more stories. I finished this book in three short sittings (two really, but the call of children broke one sitting into two). His style is quite conversational and easy to digest. If you are into Crossfit then you will love his insiders look at how athletes are during competition.
CONS: If you are not part of the Crossfit community you may be less endeared (or interested) in the journey of the athletes that he shares about. He does do a nice job of sharing the personalities of the athletes and circumstances of their story, but if you do not have any idea of them beforehand you will likely not be immediately drawn in as I was.
So what does it take to create excellence and a champion?
My big take away, according to Bergeron, the real difference maker in success is the mentality of a person (not just an athlete). At the highest levels, the skills of people are often the same. How individuals approach the challenges which face them makes all the difference in their success.
Breaking it down a bit further there are definitely things an individual can do in order to gain an excellence advantage.
First one must commit to the small things which one controls that lead directly to long term goals. If your goal is to become a writer then short term goals, such as daily writing, daily reading, article writing, blog writing, etc. are key to becoming that writer. Writing occasionally, though helpful, is not going to give you the mastery and skills needed. This is often referred to as “the process” in other circles (totally talks about Nick Saban and my Crimson Tide!). Laser focus on the process of training gets you past your weaknesses and builds on the strengths. Second, being positive and embracing the adversity is a key mental edge over ones competition. Especially in an athletic competition everyone is experiencing the same adversities (except maybe the morning and afternoon groupings at The Open). Approaching challenge with a positive manner will affect your results. Thirdly, Grit, because sometimes you just have to buckle down and get it done.
If you are seeking some motivation to get moving, better yourself, then this would be a good book for you. If you do the CrossFit thing (especially as a coach), then I would say this is required reading.