Part One of Two: The quest for authentic greatness may mean a complete reinvention. A close examination of your perception of self, of your belief in what you’re capable of, in who you fundamentally are. It may mean asking the tough questions: Who do you spend your time with, how do you invest the hours of your days, what do you decide to focus on? It may mean that in order to make a quantum leap in the direction of positive personal development that you leave your old self and parts of your old life behind entirely.
Today’s guest is someone I have admired for 18 years – and I’ve had a front row seat to witnessing his complete 180-degree transformation. He is someone who never craves or seeks out the spotlight, unlike his obnoxious wife. He is as close to being completely devoid of ego as anyone I’ve ever known. He is humble and unassuming and kind and driven and determined and he believes in the power that we all possess to transform our lives. To reinvent. To climb our own Mount Everest. Whether it’s from quitting smoking, giving up the consumption of fast food and meat products overall, reigning in a relationship with excessive partying and drinking, going back to school to pursue higher education, or starting on a path to see what you’re capable of when it comes to physical fitness – my guest titan has done it all. And I would know, because I am married to him.
When I met Chad Bentley in February 1999 -- on the night he grabbed my bum cheeks and slurred “I think you’re awesome” at an Irish pub in Vancouver -- I knew he was special (and not because he grabbed my ass). I saw in him a beautiful person, but a beautiful person who didn’t see it in himself yet. I’ve always said that Chad is like buried treasure, the deeper you get, the more richness you find. In the last nearly two decades, I have seen Chad transform – he was always an athlete, don’t get me wrong. He was one-to-watch during his days as a rugby player in Abbotsford before a terrible knee injury took him out of the game and under the surgeon’s knife many times – and onto the sidelines, where he went into a bit of a downward spiral. Reassessing who he was: If he wasn’t this rising rugby star, who was he? Instead, he became what he calls “the club drunk” that person who would binge drink in an effort to appear that he was having a good time, but really it was to mask his own feelings of lack of worth. It was a time of tremendous uncertainty about the direction of his own life. I met Chad on the tail end of this, on the cusp of a new beginning. Almost like the space between two paragraphs. We knew one paragraph had ended and we had no idea where or when or how the next one would begin. But we needn’t have worried. Because when you’re committed to the process, and when you ask the tough questions, the answers and the beauty reveal themselves.
Chad walked away from his old life. If there’s something tough that you have yet to contend with, I can safely ascertain he’s done it. An unsupportive social environment? Moving from sedentary to active? Smoking? Going back to school? Diet and nutrition? He’s dealt with it. He is a guy who not only went back to school, but in addition to tackling various business courses at the undergraduate level, obtained a certificate in plant based nutrition from Cornell University. Chad, who went from living on a diet of chicken wings, is today a vegetarian endurance athlete who represented Canada at the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii. Ultraman, is the equivalent of doing approximately 2 and half ironman distance events in three days – a 10km (6 mile) swim, a 420km (260mile) bike, and an 84km (52mile) double marathon.
I am excited to share Chad with the world -- we have listeners in 45 countries now. He is as inspiring as they get. And my daughters – our daughters – could not have a better role model. Here’s the thing, he had strep throat when we recorded this chat, and he had to dart off to the dr. So we had to keep the chat to 35 minutes or so. I thought that would be enough time, to you know, give a top-level introduction to this person, this titan, I live with and talk about so much. But we barely scratched the surface. Remember: Buried treasure, right? So, for the first time ever, I am going to do a Two Part interview. Today’s is part one, and I am going to snag Chad to sit down for a part two later this week and we will post that next Tuesday.
Chad calls himself shy. I don’t feel he’s shy, I think he’s just not showy. He’s not arrogant. He’s real and calm and never that Look At Me person – and in this chat, he is open. He’s open about his struggles over the years with self-worth, something we all go through. He’s open about his one-time binge drinking. And I want to thank Chad for that – I think when people achieve greatness as he has as an athlete on an international scale, there’s a tendency for us to gloss over the hard times. To curate a life on social media for example that it’s all about the good times. And this is what makes him such a motivation to so many people. He made the decision to transform. He made the decision to walk through the dark times and the hard times and to come out on the other side.
Nature strengthens through struggle, if we look around us we see examples of that everywhere. And I am honoured to live with a titan who embodies that – Chad has struggled, and fallen (just as we all have) but he rose again, and when he rose it was a whole new him, and a whole new life. And I am so privileged to have been there to see it all.
If you think Chad is someone you’d like to connect with, in 2017, Chad will be launching “Plants. Life. Sport.” coaching – dedicated to helping others transform their lives in the way he has. No, you don’t have to do an ironman to work with Chad. All you need to have is the desire to make a positive change, and he will be there for you, step by step – because guess what? He’s been there. I remember when he and I did our first 5k run together – and he remembers too. And it doesn’t matter where you live on the planet, reach out.