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345 Learned Excellence: Legendary Lessons from Navy SEALs, CEOs, Pro Athletes & Big Wave Surfers with Dr. Eric Potterat & Alan Eagle

Monday 15th July 2024
FYD EPISODE 345 Dr Eric Potterat and Alan Eagle Learned Excellence

This episode is exclusively for people who want to have a personal breakthrough in their own performance. And who better to discuss it with but with people who have learned excellence, Dr. Eric Potterat & Alan Eagle.

Alan Eagle is an executive Communication Coach, and he spent 16 years working with a top people at Google. He’s written several other books, and his most well-known for his celebrated book, “Trillion Dollar Coach” about the legendary Silicon Valley coach Bill Campbell.

Dr. Eric Potterat is a clinical and performance psychologist, and he was with the US Navy for over 20 years as a commander. On the last 10 years of Eric’s career. he was the head psychologist for the US Navy SEALs globally.

To say that these two know a little bit about how the top performers in the world do what they do is a radical understatement. And on this episode, we get into all of it, we pop the hood to go deep on their new book learned Excellence, which I highly recommend you pick up a copy of.

You’re listening to Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different. We are the real dialogue podcast for people with a different mind. So get your mind in a different place, and hey ho, let’s go.

Dr. Eric Potterat and Alan Eagle on Maintaining One’s Mental Health in a Chaotic World

Christopher, Alan and Dr. Eric opens the discussion on how they maintain their mental health with all the crazy things happening around all of us.

Christopher highlights the overwhelming challenges globally, from political divisiveness to wars and rising anti-Semitism. Dr. Eric emphasizes the importance of focusing on what individuals can control, citing attitude, effort, and behavior within their circle. Alan adds that staying informed is crucial, but he discourages excessive complaining, urging people to think about actionable steps rather than mere criticism.

“I can’t stand the complainers. Okay, if you’re going to take a position, great! Then I would think through, “what can you do?””

– Alan Eagle

The three then get into how the struggle of balancing engagement with the world and avoiding emotional overload, especially in the face of potentially troubling events in the upcoming years.

Dr. Eric Potterat and Alan Eagle on Mindset, Organizational Culture, and Sustained Excellence in Baseball

Christopher, Alan, and Dr. Eric then talk about maintaining a good mindset in spite of challenges along the way.

Dr. Eric talks about the concept of agency, and how to distinguish between victims, survivors, and thrivers, advocating for the latter by practicing agency and embracing post-traumatic growth.

Alan underscores the importance of choosing a mindset and shares his experience with the Dodgers, highlighting the team’s systemic approach and organizational mindset. Dr. Eric credits the Dodgers’ sustained excellence to a focus on hiring talented individuals, providing necessary tools, and maintaining a process-oriented approach.

Process and Mental Toughness in Entrepreneurship

They then discuss the crucial role of process and mental toughness in entrepreneurship. Christopher draws from Michael Gerber’s “The E Myth,” highlighting how successful franchises attribute their triumph to well-defined processes, contrasting with small businesses’ failure due to a lack of systematic approaches.

Dr. Eric identifies process as a pillar of mental toughness, emphasizing its role among the five pillars discussed in their book.

Alan Eagle also shares insights from Silicon Valley, underscoring the balance between process and visionary chaos at Google, which contributed to its innovative success.

To hear more from Dr. Eric Potterat and Alan Eagle on how to learn excellence, download and listen to this episode.


Eric Potterat, PhD, is a clinical and performance psychologist and a leading expert in individual and organizational performance optimization. He retired as a commander from the US Navy after twenty years of service, during which he helped create the mental toughness curriculum used during Navy SEALs BUD/S training.

Dr. Eric spent several years as the director of specialized performance for the Los Angeles Dodgers and has also worked with Red Bull athletes, the US Women’s national soccer team, the Miami Heat, and numerous Olympic athletes, first responders, business leaders, and NASA astronauts.

Alan Eagle is an author and executive communications consultant, helping leaders and companies shape and tell their stories. He spent 16 years at Google, partnering with executives to communicate the company’s story to clients, partners, employees, and the public.

Alan is the co-author of the books How Google Works and Trillion Dollar Coach, and the author, all by himself, of seven letters-to-the-editor published in Sports Illustrated. He has never won the New Yorker Caption Contest.


Connect with Dr. Eric Potterat & Alan Eagle!

Dr. Eric LinkedIn | Alan LinkedIn | Learned Excellence

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different™! Christopher loves hearing from his listeners. Feel free to email him, connect on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and subscribe on iTunes!