Must Read: "How to Win Friends and Influence People"
Everybody in the world is seeking happiness—and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions.
— Dale Carnegie

From Amazon:
This grandfather of all people-skills books was first published in 1937. It was an overnight hit, eventually selling 15 million copies. How to Win Friends and Influence People is just as useful today as it was when it was first published, because Dale Carnegie had an understanding of human nature that will never be outdated.

Financial success, Carnegie believed, is due 15 percent to professional knowledge and 85 percent to "the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people." He teaches these skills through underlying principles of dealing with people so that they feel important and appreciated. He also emphasizes fundamental techniques for handling people without making them feel manipulated. Carnegie says you can make someone want to do what you want them to by seeing the situation from the other person's point of view and "arousing in the other person an eager want."

You learn how to make people like you, win people over to your way of thinking, and change people without causing offense or arousing resentment. For instance, "let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers," and "talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person." Carnegie illustrates his points with anecdotes of historical figures, leaders of the business world, and everyday folks.

HB Unfiltered: Multitasking is Weakness

Originally Posted on

By: Heather Bergeron

I know this sounds terrible to say, but sometimes it’s almost frustrating how badly I want to prove Ben wrong…but, I just can’t.

He’s just right.

His latest focus is how multitasking is a weakness.

He talks about how multitasking is usually something people try to do: employers try to get their employees to get better at it, and we will sometimes even sit down and figure out how we can do more of it.

I know because I’m one of those people. I’m a stereotypical mother of 4 who’s, basically, trying to figure out how many things I can do at any given time without putting myself or other people in danger.

Can I make my coffee, cook Bode and Love’s bacon, and ask Jonah what’s going on at school that day all at the same time? Can I eat my breakfast, check what’s up for training today, and FaceTime my parents at the same time? Can I brush my teeth, make my bed, and keep the kids from, literally, killing each other at the same time?

I start that list from the moment I open my eyes in the morning, and keep it going hard until I close my eyes in bed at the end of the day. And, even then I’m trying to get myself to sleep while trying to figure out what I’ll start with when I wake up.

Unfortunately, now thinking all of this through, I’ve gotten very good at it.

Ben’s made me realize that what’s unfortunate about it is that when you multitask you’re basically half-assing the things that you’re doing. You’re giving everything and everyone less than what you could and should be giving them.

If you have 100% of your attention to give something, but split that up over 3 different tasks, you’re trimming down the amount of your attention that you could be using if you had just focused on doing one of them at a time.

More simply put, the quality of what you spend your time doing suffers when you do more than one thing at a time.

And, that goes for everything because just like everything else in life, the little things matter, too. Sometimes, even more than the “big” ones.

It’s easy to admit that you would be more invested in a conversation with your mother on the phone if you weren’t folding laundry and checking your email at the same time. Of course you would “hear” more of what she said, you would think more about the questions she’s asking you, and you would remember the things she asked you to do if you weren’t distracted by other things. That’s an easy one to admit to and make an effort to change.

It’s the other ones that I want to fight as much as the next person: eating a meal or snack and checking Instagram, pushing Love in a stroller and talking on the phone, or driving to the gym and flossing my teeth.

Those are the ones that involve throw-aways, things that don’t “need” a lot of my attention. I don’t think of eating as something that needs my brain; it’s not like I need to sit there and focus on cutting up my salad or how I’m chewing. It’s going to happen somehow. And, especially now that I weigh and measure my food, it’s not like I need to think much about whether I’m eating too much or too little. Just keep going until my plate’s empty.

But, the experience is lost to some extent when you start zoning out and open up your Instagram app. You are less likely to ask someone to sit down with you while you eat if you can just be entertained by your phone instead. You do eat faster just so you can “get through” it and move onto the next thing. You do flip through your Instagram feed and barely even pay attention to what’s on your screen because you’re pulling together another fork full of food.

One of the worst ones that I am guilty of is watching Maya’s field hockey game while chatting with someone. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Ben or Katrin or another parent, but when I’m at Maya’s games and I start talking to someone…even if I do everything in my power to keep my eyes peeled on her little #20 jersey…everyone gets short-changed. Whoever I’m talking to loses some degree of my attention because I’m trying so hard to do what I came there to do, namely watch Maya play field hockey. And, I inevitably lose track of what’s going on in the game because I’m trying to pay attention to the person I’m talking to. Everyone loses a little, and nothing is really “gained” by me trying to do two things at one time.

So, here we go again. Heading into the day after a 5AM life-altering conversation with Ben Bergeron before he leaves for work, trying to muster up the courage to change something I’ve been programmed to do my entire life.

It’s exhausting. But, it’s fantastic. All at the same time.

And, I’m the luckiest woman in the world to have that sort of inspiration in my life.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE BOOKSHELF: An ongoing list of the books I've recommended most.

Learn About Your Wife, Not Marriage

As entrepreneurs we've been taught that there is nothing more important than “knowing your business.” 

As CrossFit Affiliate owners, this means investing time into learning the ins and outs of gym operations: marketing, pricing, cash flow projections, lease negotiations, demographics, management, and (of course) coaching fitness, health, and wellness.

The truth is, there are more important things to know about than “your business," and that is “knowing your members.” Not in a know-who-your-target-is kind of way, but in the traditional way of “knowing” people. What do they like and dislike? What is their family life like? Do they enjoy their jobs? What are they passionate about? Can you tell when they aren’t being themselves or completely comfortable?

As Coach Glassman says, becoming a successful coach is easy: “Be totally invested in your clients; emotionally, physically and in every way possible.”

Remember, it’s better to know one thing about your wife than everything about marriage.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE BOOKSHELF: Visit for an ongoing list of the books I've recommended the most.

Complacent is the Enemy of Excellence

Complacent says: 

“This is good enough." 
"I don’t know how to make this better." 
"I don’t want to make this better." 
"I don’t need to make this better.” 

Excellence says: 

“This can be better." 
"How can I make this better?" 
"I want this to be better." 
"I need to make this better.” 

Complacent says: “That doesn’t matter.”

Excellence says: “Everything matters. Every detail. Every Interaction. Every moment is an opportunity to be better.”

Complacent is seeing things only from your point of view.

Excellence is seeing things from your customers’ points of view.

Complacent is ignoring details and focusing on urgent issues. 

Excellent is focusing on details while putting first things first.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE BOOKSHELF: Visit for an ongoing list of the books I've recommended the most.

How to Have That Tough Conversation

Every gym has a member that, when he walks through the door, the coach and the members think, "Dammit, he's in my class."

Certainly fewer, but not an insignificant number of gyms also have a coach on staff who isn't meeting the expectations of the owner or the other coaches.

How do you deal with these different, but similar, situations?

The easy thing to do is ignore it and hope it goes away on its own. Maybe the member quits or starts taking another class. Maybe the coach quits or (even more unlikely) shows up one day a changed person.

The more likely scenario: Nobody quits and nobody gets better. The only thing that happens is your community suffers.

The harder thing to do with that member or with that coach would be to sit down and have a tough conversation. But even that isn't enough.

Since that conversation will be fraught with conflict or drama, we need to first begin building up their emotional bank account. We need to first give and give and give, before we ever think about taking. We need to build a surplus before making a withdrawal -- because, to be sure, any conversation about how a person isn't meeting your expectations is going to be a withdrawal.

If you spend two weeks making deposits into their emotional bank account, making them feel like you truly have their best interest at heart, they'll be far more receptive to you when you have that conversation. 

They'll be less defensive and more open to your suggestions, which will lead to less drama, less conflict, and a better community inside the gym. 

BROUGHT TO YOU BY BEN'S BOOKSHELF: Visit for an ongoing list of the books I've recommended most.

Must Read: "The Way of the Seal"
It takes discipline to focus only on high-value targets instead of giving in to the temptation of the low-hanging fruit life serves up daily.
— Mark Divine

From the Publisher:
Blending the tactics he learned from America’s elite force with lessons from the Spartans, samurai, Apache scouts, and other great warrior traditions, Mark Divine has distilled the fundamentals of success into eight powerful principles that will transform you into the leader you always knew you could be. Learn to think like a SEAL and lead.

In The Way of the SEAL, ex-Navy Commander Mark Divine reveals exercises, meditations and focusing techniques to train your mind for mental toughness, emotional resilience and uncanny intuition. Along the way you'll reaffirm your ultimate purpose, define your most important goals, and take concrete steps to make them happen. A practical guide for businesspeople or anyone who wants to be an elite operator in life, this book will teach you how to: 

  • Lead from the front, so that others will want to work for you
  • Practice front-sight focus, the radical ability to focus on one thing until victory is achieved
  • Think offense, all the time, to eradicate fear and indecisiveness
  • Smash the box and be an unconventional thinker so you're never thrown off-guard by chaotic conditions
  • Access your intuition so you can make "hard right" decisions
  • Achieve twenty times more than you think you can

Blending the tactics he learned from America's elite forces with lessons from the Spartans, samurai, Apache scouts, and other great warrior traditions, Divine has distilled the fundamentals of success into eight powerful principles that will transform you into the leader you always knew you could be. 

Learn to think like a SEAL, and take charge of your destiny at work, home and in life.

Establishing Expectations About Scaling

Here's an all-too-common scenario inside of a CrossFit affiliate:

You have a new member come in and go through your Elements program. Their first class in "general population" is Grace. This new member was once an athlete and still considers himself to be pretty fit.

You're warming the class up and you let him know you think he should do the workout with 95# on the bar. He gives you the thumbs up.

You go through the skills and technique portion of class. Members begin loading up their bars for the workout. 

Your new athlete notices that many of the women around him are also loading their bars to 95#. He thinks, "Oh hell no. I can do more than they can," and sets off in search of a couple 45# plates.

You remind him that you agreed 95# was going to be appropriate for him, but he insists that if that's the weight women are doing, he can do more.

And this small thing morphs into an emotional clash.

That's because class number one is already too late to talk about scaling. That's something you need to clarify the first day they're in the gym, when there's no emotion involved, when they're all by themselves or when you have the entire Elements class scaling. 

In those situations, he understand he's not scaling because he isn't good enough, but because that's your procedure. You give him all the reasons and rationale behind scaling. He understands that you're looking for a low trajectory toward a distant horizon. He learns that the fitness we're aiming for isn't going to be found tomorrow, but two years from now. 

So, day one of Elements, we talk about scaling.

It's not enough just to talk about it, though. Our actions once he leaves Elements have to match what we've talked about.

The conversation should go something like this:

We want you to continue working on mechanics and consistency before we start playing with intensity. For that reason, we're going to have you go with 50% of the load and 50% of the volume for every workout during your first month of classes.

For month two, we'll ramp that up a bit -- we'll have you do 75% of the load and 75% of the volume. We'll use this as a general rule and tweak and scale things every day. But 75% will be our base.

After that, heading into month three, we'll sit down and put a plan together based on where you're at and how we're feeling.

I know Elements formally ends in two sessions, but I want you to understand that it doesn't actually end for two months. 

Cool with that?

Now it's all laid out, so when you get into class it's, "Hey, we're going to do 95# and 15 reps, and we're going to do 3 reps on the minute."

He gives you a thumbs up because he understands why -- that he's aiming for proper mechanics and technique, and that intensity will come later.
You can't reach that understanding in the heat of the moment.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY BEN'S BOOKSHELF: Visit for an ongoing list of the books I've recommended most.

HB Unfiltered: Mat Fraser is Smart

Originally Posted on

By: Heather Bergeron

There’s no question about Mat Frasier’s level of fitness this year. He was untouchable at the Games, creating so much of a lead between himself and 2nd place that there was about 0% drama involved with the men’s competition. You couldn’t even make up a storyline that was interesting because the only story you could focus on was how insanely fit this guy was across the entire board of tests that Castro laid out for these athletes.

Mat came in 2nd place in 2014, and again in 2015.  But, when you watched him those last two years, you knew he was insanely fit then, too. 

What was so obvious to me this year in comparison to the previous two years was this: Mat has become a far more mature and smart as an athlete.

When we saw Mat in the hotel on Saturday morning, he was telling us about how much food he had been eating.  He, himself, was shocked by (A) how much he had eaten throughout the weekend, and (B) how great he was feeling because of it. He said he normally never eats any food in between workouts.

If you watched Mat get no-repped, like, 10 times on the ring handstand push-ups (which is probably one of the worst movements to get no-repped on), you were likely wondering when he was going to storm off the floor, whipping his head back and forth in a fit of fury and lashing out about how pissed off he was at his judge for being so unfair to him. 

Instead, he dealt with it, adjusted, and came off the floor unfazed by it all because he was still able to finish in 4th place for that event. Had this all happened last year or the year before, it would’ve been a totally different scene.

Two Tests to Hire Great Coaches

CrossFit Affiliates are only as good as their coaches. 

Yes, having a huge, new, tricked out building and the latest and greatest equipment are nice, but they are the icing on the cake (mmmm….cake). 

We are only as good as our coaches and that is why your members come to you. They could get some bumpers, a box, and pull-up bar and do 90% of the WODs at home, but they want what great coaches deliver.

So how do you hire GREAT coaches? This is the biggest question in our industry.

The answer is…you don’t. You hire GREAT people, and develop them into great coaches.

Resumes, certifications, credentials, experience, education…even athletic ability aren’t as important as a couple of intangibles. At CFNE we look for potential coaches to pass two hypothetical tests.

1. The Caring Test: Do they care about you? Do they care about your business? Do they care about making a difference in others lives? Do they care about their work ethic? Do they care about being the best? Basically, do they have passion?

2. The Car Ride Test: Could you take a 4-hour car ride with this person? You driving and them sitting shotgun, and have a great time. If you won’t enjoy 4 hours, you’re not going to enjoy working together for years.

It boils down to (1) do they care and (2) are they cool. 

Yes, these are intangibles, but it's the intangibles in our business that count. Not the L1 credential, not the specialty seminars, not the B.A. in Exercise Science. 

If they pass both of these test (cool and caring) you can teach them how to be a great coach (the “Development of Coaches” is a topic for another day). If they don’t pass these tests, they aren’t right for your business regardless of the other credentials they bring to the table.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY BEN'S BOOKSHELF: An ongoing list of the books I've recommended most.

What it Means to Lead

It’s true that experience and a track record of success will build credibility and create more confident leaders, but it’s not your successes that people follow.

People follow leaders. People follow those that inspire with authentic passion, commitment, integrity, and an ability to connect.

They follow individuals who take stands and do the right thing regardless of how hard it may be.

Leaders don’t complain; they take ownership of their situations. Lead from the front by accepting responsibility for everything.

Leaders are genuine and speak the truth. If someone isn’t performing great, don’t say it’s great. Sugar-coating things just to make others feel good will undermine all of your feedback and lessen your ability to lead.

Leaders involve others and listen as much as they talk. They praise in public and criticize in private. They celebrate other successes like their own.

Leaders are consistent. They keep promises and are reliable.

Leaders have strong core values. They know what is truly important, what really creates success, what they have control over – and ignore the rest.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY BEN'S BOOKSHELF: Visit for an ongoing list of the books I've recommended most.

Must Read: "5 Levels of Leadership"
Anytime you think you’ve arrived—whether your position is the lowest or the highest in the organization—you’ve lowered your expectations for yourself, sold your leadership short, and fallen into a no-growth mind-set.
— John Maxwell

From the Publisher:
#1 New York Times bestselling author John C. Maxwell explains how true leadership works and makes it accessible to everyone. Leadership does not come from your title. In fact, being named to a position is only the first and lowest of the five levels every effective leader achieves. To become more than a boss people are required to follow, you must master the ability to inspire and build a team that produces not only results, but also future leaders.

The 5 Levels of Leadership are:

1. Position-People follow because they have to.
2. Permission-People follow because they want to.
3. Production-People follow because of what you have done for the organization.
4. People Development-People follow because of what you have done for them personally.
5. Pinnacle-People follow because of who you are and what you represent.

By combining the advice contained in these pages with work and a willingness to learn, anyone can rise to a higher and more effective level of leadership and thus make a greater impact.

Double Loop Learning

A common trait among the most successful, accomplished people is that they are Double Loop Learners.

Double Loop Learning is rare. Single Loop Learning is very common. 

Single Loop Learners look at external factors for the reasons behind their successes or failures.

A gym owner might think they're not as successful as they'd like because of the competition down the street or because her coaches aren't motivated enough. An athlete might think they aren't progressing because they're not following the right program or because they can't afford the right sneakers.

Double Loop Learners take a deep look at their strengths and weakness, realizing that those are the factors contributing to their success or failures. 

I get it. That's hard to do. 

It's much easier to brush it off as the universe not rewarding us. It's much harder to admit that maybe we're not a great leader. It's much harder to admit we're not great at delegating authority, or taking direction, or exercising patience in our lifts.

The New York Times had a short article a few years ago called "The Secret Ingredient to Success." The author closed with this:

No one’s idea of a good time is to take a brutal assessment of their animating assumptions and to acknowledge that those may have contributed to their failure. It’s easy to find pat ways to explain why the world has not adequately rewarded our efforts. But what we learned from conversation with high achievers is that challenging our assumptions, objectives, at times even our goals, may sometimes push us further than we thought possible.

If you want the bumper sticker version of that, it's this: If I'm not where I want to be, it's my fault. If my gym isn't as successful as I want, it’s on me. If I'm not the athlete I think I can be, it's because of what I'm doing or not doing. 

Look at your routines. Look at your goals. Look at your methods. 

Then get to work.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY BEN'S BOOKSHELF: Visit for an ongoing list of the books I've recommended most.