Unleashing the Olympian Mindset: Toby Jenkins on Leadership and Success

Posted on May 10, 2023 in Podcast

Get ready for a super-charged episode of REDD’s Business and Technology Podcast! In episode 27 join our hosts, Jackson Barnes and Nigel Heyn, as they chat with Toby Jenkins!  

Toby’s not just an ex-Olympian from the 2004 Athens Olympics, he’s also an entrepreneur, author, high-performance leadership coach, and keynote speaker! Discover how he took the plunge into the digital world, founding Bluewire Media in 2005.  

Find out how Toby’s passion for team development led him to leadership coaching. Learn the secret sauce to building a high-performing team culture, with tools like Jim Collins’ Good to Great and Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0. Toby reminds us that practice makes perfect and that daily practice is to achieving team success! 

Get inspired as Toby talks motivation and the power of self-awareness in reaching personal and professional goals. But don’t get too carried away with psychometric testing! Toby explains why focusing on performance behaviour matters more than obsessing over personality traits. 

As we navigate the remote and hybrid working world, Toby shares his insights on investing in technology and making face-to-face interactions count.  

Lastly, dive deep into Toby’s personal motivation and what drives him in life and career. Spoiler alert: it’s all about making a meaningful impact and embracing the present moment!  

Tune in and get ready to be inspired by Toby’s incredible journey!  

If you would like to discuss any of the topics discussed in this episode further with a REDD expert or if you would like to be a guest on the show, please get in touch either via our website, [email protected] or through any of the links below. https://redd.com.au  






Key Takeaways 

  • The importance of clarity and alignment in building a high-performance team culture 
  • The value of daily practice in fostering personal and professional growth 
  • Understanding the significance of motivation and staying connected to what truly matters 
  • Embracing technology while valuing face-to-face interactions in the age of hybrid working 

In the latest episode of REDD’s Business and Technology Podcast, hosts Jackson Barnes and Nigel Heyn sit down with high-performance leadership coach, ex-Olympian, entrepreneur, and author Toby Jenkins. Toby shares insights from his journey as an athlete, entrepreneur, and leadership coach, emphasizing the importance of clarity, motivation, and staying connected to what truly matters. 

Creating a High-Performing Team Culture: According to Toby, building a high-performing team culture starts with clarity and alignment. Organizations should develop their people and align them with the core values and strategic direction of the business. This process requires daily practice and commitment to ensure consistent progress. 

Developing Individuals and Personal Growth: Toby emphasizes the importance of understanding one’s values, purpose, and what energizes them. This knowledge can be transformative for both individuals and teams as they work together to achieve their goals. He also recommends the Valued Living Questionnaire as a helpful tool for assessing personal values and aspirations. 

The Power of Motivation: Motivation is a key factor in overcoming challenges and pushing through difficult times. By reconnecting with what truly matters, people can find the strength and determination to embrace adversity and strive for their goals. 

Embracing Technology and Face-to-Face Interactions: In today’s increasingly hybrid working environment, investing in technology is crucial for maintaining productivity and communication. However, it is equally important to value and prioritize face-to-face interactions when possible, as they can foster deeper connections and understanding among team members. 

Conclusion: Toby Jenkins’ insights on high-performance leadership and personal growth provide valuable guidance for individuals and organizations alike. By focusing on clarity, motivation, and staying connected to what truly matters, we can build strong teams, foster personal development, and achieve our goals. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how REDD can help your business thrive in the ever-changing world of technology, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We’re here to help you navigate the challenges and embrace the opportunities that come with growth and innovation. 


00:00 – Opener 

00:38 – Toby Intro 

00:55 – Toby’s journey from the Olympics 

06:58 – Switching to business career from being a professional athlete 

08:18 – Creating a high performing leadership team culture 

09:17 – Clarity to adapt the vision 

10:47 – Aligning people to the core 

11:14 – Methods of getting the vision 

12:50 – Reinforcing alignment in the business 

14:08 – Problems within leadership teams 

16:30 – Challenges on engaging the team 

18:23 – Advice on attracting talents 

21:23 – How to unlock the most potential out of an individual? 

26:00 – How does Toby teach self-awareness? 

26:28 – Valued Living Questionnaire 

28:44 – Idea of positive thinking 

31:28 – Psychometric Testing 

32:40 – Performance behaviour 

37:10 – What technology can drive that high-performance? 

38:14 – Common challenge that people are facing 

40:06 – Investing in technology 

41:27 – Toby’s motivation for his career 

42:54 – Stoic Reflection 

47:15 – End 


About REDD  


REDD is a Technology Success Partner business headquartered in Brisbane, Australia. The Business and Technology podcast focuses on the commercial application of digital technologies in business. Guests will include industry experts, vendors, customers, business owners and anyone with unique insight to share. We discuss and explore current events, issues and stories relevant to business leaders, entrepreneurs, technologists and everyone in between.   


REDD is a leading provider of the following services  

  1. Digital Advisory Consulting 
  2. Managed Technology 
  3. Cloud Computing 
  4. Cyber Security 
  5. Connectivity 
  6. Unified Communications 


Our Vision  

We believe, in the not so distant future, that people will not only deserve, but demand greater access to frictionless tools and systems that enhance and uplift their lives. Technology can create a truly blended lifestyle between work and play that prioritises mental health and wellbeing for our people, while increasing efficiencies and the effectiveness of emerging technologies in the workplace. We believe the future of work is built on perfectly balanced and curated tech stacks that seamlessly interface with the people they are built for. And it’s that future we’re building toward. 


Full Transcript:

Hello and welcome to Red’s Business and Technology Podcast. I’m your host, Jackson Barnes, and I’m your co-host Nigel Heyn. Today we’re sitting down with a special guest, a high performance leadership coach, keynote speaker, ex Olympian, entrepreneur, and author, Toby Jenkins. Toby, thanks for coming in. Really appreciate it. I’m out of breath now from that massive introduction.


Thanks, Jackson. Thanks Nigel. Thanks for having me guys.


No problems at all, mate. Did you want to start with your journey? So maybe just for the order of people listening who have no idea who you are, what you did in the 2004 Olympics, and then give us the journey from then till now.


Yeah, sure. So yeah, 2004 was the Athens Olympics. Water polo was my game, and loved it. It was an incredible journey up to that point as well, over a long period of time, basically from high school all the way through to Athens after Athens. And even throughout that journey, I was studying at uni doing commerce and tried to do science and ditched that in the end because it took up too much time. But ultimately, I’ve always been interested in technology and this whole thing called the internet had come along. And so in 2005, I started a company, a digital marketing company called Blue Wire Media with my business partner Adam Franklin. And we ripped into this idea that the internet, geez, maybe, probably isn’t going away, so let’s just see how we go. And at the, at that point in time, we kind of had, well, job offers and that kind of thing, and figured, well, we could either go and do an MBA and pay someone to teach us, or we can go figure it out for ourselves.


And so we took the ladder, nothing to lose, borrowed laptop, sitting on the deck of the parents’ houses and cold calling and door knocking and the full shebang. And then realized that, and then the internet obviously continued to grow. The platforms exploded, the channels and all that kind of stuff arrived. And it was a fascinating journey. And so Blue Wire is still going now, and so that’s been 18 years or something like that. And so in incredible journey as an entrepreneur, and I guess for me, if I think about the chapters as an athlete, it was really very much focused on how good could I be? Yes, I’m operating in a team, but how good could I be as an individual, whether that’s strategically, tactically, health, fitness, psychology, all the above, how good could I be? And then how does that layer into the team? And then once I started the business, when I came back from Athens, to be honest, it was a pretty big transition and I was really wondering what was going to fill the void of just passion and drive and intensity for


The vigorous training and hype and getting there. And


Absolutely then what? Now going all in to sort of chase this goal. And ultimately, I looked back and I had probably two weeks of contentment post Olympics. And then it was like, okay, what’s next? And for me, the business really rapidly took that over and I was like, wow, this is actually going to be deeper and harder and more challenging and a steeper learning curve than I’d ever expected. And I was really excited by that. And that was how nja and I sort of crossed paths in the early days of Blue Wire, trying to figure out what was business all about. Night was a couple of years ahead of us in terms of IT associates at the time.


Good memory times. Yeah,


Yeah, here in Taang as well, wasn’t it? Yeah,


Haven’t moved far.


No, haven’t one block or so. So that was an amazing journey and


Really part for that, sorry, for me was like, how good could this team be then? Yeah. So it went from all about me to still me as a leader and developing me, but also as an organization, how could I mold and shape this organization? How could we be the best team we could be? And then over time, blue Eye went through a few different iterations. It kind of meant that most of our team was now distributed offshore and using agencies and all sorts of stuff globally, which was really exciting too. But I realized that I was missing the piece that I was most passionate about, and that was team development at the time. We were having weekly coaching conversation with staff. We were sort of following as much best practice as we could, Jim Collins, good to great Liz Wiseman’s, multipliers, all these frameworks, Verne Harnish, all kinds of stuff, which was super fun. And then


You found out, Toby, just to pause for saying that you, well, that’s what you were passionate about, was building that high performing team


And really developing my people. So that really excited me. But then when this business model sort of changed and we moved into online education and distributed team and stuff, it really changed the dynamics of the business. And around that same time, or a couple of years later in 2016, my dad actually got sick and died from a brain tumor. And that was one of those moments in time where it was like, look in the mirror, what’s important, who’s important? Why am I doing this? And it really shook me up at the time. And so figuring my way through that transition, I guess ultimately meant I had resigned from Blue Wire because I sort of didn’t have a home in my own business anymore. And then the transition out into, well, what was next? And


Is that because you were so good at bullying a high performing team that year he didn’t need yourself?


Maybe got myself out of there. But no, it was more just the passion piece. The digital marketing had been an amazing journey, but I realized I wanted to double down on this people development path path and was introduced to a framework called All around the Science of psychological flexibility, which is all around how do you unlock performance for individuals, align people with their own sense of values and purpose and goals and mission and help them work in situations of stress and pressure. And it really tied back into that performance kind of space that I had been in as an individual athlete, found myself in as a business owner at various points as well. And so yeah, just decided that this was my thing to go all in on. Awesome. And I’m the kind of guy who loves to go all in and do things.


Good to hear. Toby, I’m looking forward to getting some insights for the audience around that kind of building a high performing sales team and developing individuals and what works from a culture point of view, apart from just generally hearing your story. So let’s start with why did you go into the business investor, founder kind of space after being a professional athlete?


Pure interest, I, I’d always been interested in business, figured it was a vehicle and a skill set to learn any other, and I just thought, oh, well, let’s have a go. There was nothing to lose at the time, as I said. And yeah, I don’t know, I was just really interested by it and the dynamics and the possibility I guess, of creating something as an expression really of who I am, creating an organization that enabled me to have an impact that was bigger than I could have as an individual. And that was a exciting journey. And N I’m sure you felt that too, as in terms of starting and leading these companies, right?


A hundred percent. And look, I guess Tobes, I’ll say that when I met you through the Blue Wire journey, you’ve always been passionate about bringing people together. So there was the internet transition, people needed websites, people needed technology, and it was finding, you know, want to help people. And that’s the ethos of Red as well. Yeah, we want to make people’s lives better through technology. So I think that’s why we’ve stayed connected for two decades and you know, are still kicking some great goals and hence the reason that you’re here on as a guest. So yeah, really appreciate it.


Yeah. Oh, it’s fun to be here too.


It’s probably a lot of baby insights we could get out of that kind of digital space, but not while we got you in here, let’s speak about more the high performing leadership and then building a team and what you’re doing now. So let’s start with how do you create a high performing team culture?


It starts with clarity. And so where are we headed? And one of the best resources on this I think is Jim Collins Good to Great and his other book Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0. And in terms of that alignment, where are we headed and the clarity of what that looks like. One of the benefits of sport, if I take the translation of my Olympic experience, is that exactly when and where you’re going to be if you make the team what it looks like. I was standing outside the stadium in Sydney because I’d missed out on the team in Sydney and I said, I remember promising a mate of mine, I’m going to be inside that stadium next time round. And there’s a lot of luck that comes and goes and chance and a lot of hard work and all that sort of stuff. But ultimately it’s that clarity.


You can adopt a vision and so it becomes really exactly what it looks like. But in business, I think part of the challenge is to actually architect that vision to get the buy-in of the people who are with you on that journey. And then to what I would describe as the relentless pursuit of the important. So what truly matters to us building out this vision, this direction, the impact we want to have, the contribution we want to make as an organization, and making sure that actions align with that end game. And that applies both personally and in individuals. And I think this is a really big thing that probably gets missed in the translation of the sporting context into business having been in both fields now, is that the inner sporting context in Olympic team, 90%, 95% of that time is spent developing the individual capacity of the player.


The 5% then gets added to the team layer. And of course the team layer is a differentiator in a situation whereby the individual capacities are matched. But the reality is that n there is no one team in the Brisbane A Grade rugby union for instance, that is going to beat the All Blacks regardless of team functional dysfunction metrics or cohesiveness or anything like that. So the ability really for an organization to develop its people I think is and align its people to the core of what truly matters strategically in terms of impact and purpose and how you measure your road to that as well. So


What are some ways that you, you’ve seen that’s worked really well in terms of getting the vision, the clear path you’re going down or on what’s important, but articulating that to mid-managers and then back to the individuals, what are some methods that you’ve seen that will work really well?


Yeah, look, I think co-creation of the vision so often, and particularly in founder led businesses or own led businesses, the core understanding of the founder or the owner to know who they are and where they want to go is super important. And to me, of everything that’s the biggest unlock for an organization is clarity of the founder. The owner of the leader means that they can continual, continually realign the team on a day-to-day basis as opposed to even a monthly quarterly thing. It’s really the ongoing kind of daily practice that really makes a difference. And so breaking it down from where do I want to be, what does that look like? What are my key numbers, Jim Collins would call it your behag, your big hairy audacious goal. And how do I break that down into what that looks like from an activity standpoint now today to make sure I’m making progress against that. So the things that I’ve seen work really well are the formation and the development of that vision, but almost all of the value lies in the relentless practice of realignment because you can wordsmith the hell out of purpose, mission, values, but ultimately it’s all just words on a wall, unless it is used as decision making tools on a daily basis, moment to moment to actually align teams and individuals to those outcomes.


And how do you reinforce that alignment and that vision down for everyone in the business?


Yeah, look, the tools are, there’s probably no shortage of tools and it’s independent of tool. It’s like if your style as a leader is to talk to it, talk it. If your style is to write to it, write to it. If it’s a Microsoft channel, slack channel, email agnostic to the outcome, the only, sorry, agnostic to the tool. The only thing that matters though is daily practice. That’s where all of the value gets created. It’s not one-off events which are inspiring and interesting and engaging and need to happen as well. But man, how many times have we all seen organizations sort of go through a rebrand or a revisioning process? And that’s not where the value gets created. It’s super important work to do upfront so everyone gets clear. But ultimately, what are you doing day to day? How does this vision translate into your decision making here?


Let’s good insight because yeah, creating a vision once needs to be done, but then you’ve got to reinforce otherwise just that one workshop you did, all that one consulting you’ve got into created a sentence, right? Yeah. So that’s some good insight. Let’s roll back to what problems are you seeing within the work you do on a daily basis now with leadership teams?


I think it’s both of those ends of the spectrum. So we have clarity, so where are we headed, how well have you answered that? And how well have you engaged in included the team, particularly in distributed workforces, right? Which is, because that is something that has changed recently is people are now you’re just not getting the day-to-day interaction in remote workforces that we once had. Water cooler talk. Yeah, exactly. And the incidental sort of opportunities as a leader to nudge people or nudge behavior. And so how do you get people to get the buy-in for the clarity and then how do you just keep practicing the daily practice? I mean, I don’t want to keep banging on about it, but I will because I think that is where the money lies. And as individuals, how aligned are we to ourselves and what we choose to bring to an organization. So


I got hilarious to pivot this too, but Nice. Did you want to ask any questions before?


No, look, I think I’m sitting here enjoying the, listening to the commentary and I think probably the analogy I see you’ve gone through tabes is that as a high performing athlete, so it’s rep repetition, continuing to do the same thing, refining, getting better, better. And we see this with all business owners we talk to. I think they look for a bit of the paracetamol, the quick solution,


The silver bullet.


Yeah, exactly. And I think you’ve just reinforced, part of you being such a good leader and helping people on these journeys is just keeping them, holding them to account that this is the end result. This is our bhag. So what you just asked for about in terms of what do you see as the common challenges, I guess if I’m a listener listening to us today, probably keen to understand if I see this in my business, I’ll look at something that I need to potentially talk to TOS about. Just trying to understand more about those and challenges that tend to continue to crop up. And people always fall back to what they know don’t actually muscle memory, they go back to the lowest common denominator. So just trying to alleviate that, really keen to understand what you’re seeing and strategies around that.


Yeah, look, I think the challenges that I’m being engaged on at the moment, how do you engage a team? How do you help people drive their own sort of sense of autonomy and engagement personally? And to turn extrinsic motivation into intrinsic motivation is the gold standard. And so how do you help people manage their own wellbeing, particularly in remote environments And now obviously in Queensland and Australia I think is the legislated sort of awareness of mental health as well and the responsibility of boards and stuff. So how do you help people work in these complex environments where there is stress and pressure and still make choices that move you towards where you want to be? And so that challenge of a remote workforce and then how do we make the most of in-person time is a really common one. How do we help our people manage with the new degree of STR or all the different stresses and pressures now of hybrid working? How do we keep the comms up where once upon a time there was water cooler, talk to your point Jackson, and how do we get really intentional around it? And I think this is where once upon a time we could do things by default just by we were in an office that’s gone


See person in chair, therefore doing job. That’s how it used to be, right?


And now it requires intention and design and thought and that’s hard. But if done well, you know, build the competitive advantage, you build the team and the culture. I realize talent is a massive issue at the moment for just about every industry. So how do you retain and attract the best? Yeah, what’s


Some advice you’ve got around that piece, the attracting and then retaining talent? I’m putting you on the spot


Here. Yeah, no, it’s good. Know who you are. So who are you? And I think this comes back to Jim Collins’ work as well, which is who are you as an organization and how does that get reflected in the detail of your job ad of your hiring process, of your onboarding process, of your ongoing management process? Because unless you’re walking your talk, why should someone stay?


Why should someone stay? And I guess having seen also the cost to execs and leaders and even I guess even in my own personal experience like the founder, as a founder, even having to resign from my own business, which was pretty tough going at the time. The willingness to align and the discretionary effort, the extra mile, all that kind of stuff is really unlocked by knowing who you are, what do you truly want, what are we truly trying to achieve as an organization and are we willing to translate that into, I was talking to a guy the other day, company he was working with, had a bunch of values and then a 27 page contract, employment contract.


The disconnect between values and the execution of a contract is critical because it people will smell in a heartbeat whether or not you’re walking your talk on your culture and the people who are attracted to that kind of culture. It’s not to say there is anyone, right? Culture, it’s just to say that you have your own it know who you are and then it will do a bunch of the work for you in terms of keeping the best, attracting the best. Ultimately everyone has a home and it may not be in your company. I’m a big believer in that, but I’ve also seen the cost of people sticking it out in places where aren’t happy, where they don’t have that sense of alignment and people pay heavy prices for that emotionally, financially. And I think, and that just seems to me like a absolute squandering of potential of human potential, the


Individual, but also the business burden to go and replace that person as well and find the right person on water person if they’re the wrong fit to begin with, or you promised the culture, haven’t got the culture, that kind of thing. So yeah, completely understandable. Let’s pivot it a little bit to individuals. Say scenario. Is a person trying to a mid-manager, for example, trying to grow an A one person, how do you unlock the most potential out of that? At an individual?


Yeah. Actually mean the science is using, using an evidence base called psychological flexibility. And ultimately it’s kind of three things. One is the acknowledgement that life is not all rosy. There’s good times, there’s bad times, in fact they’re inextricably linked. There’s trial and triumph, love and suffering, however you want to frame it. And if you take that as given, then how do you help someone work with the tough times? How do you help ’em stay focused even in the good times? Because confidence and excitement can be as much of a distraction as pessimism and sort of negativity. Because if you’re an investment banker and you are confident of your deal, my question to you is, have you done your due diligence or have you just been Duke by the ceo? If you are a excitement as a salesperson, are you listening or are you talking? The absolute performance behavior is to listen, right? Ask questions, listen, help the person understand their need and come back to you,


Find their problems, solve those problems. Yeah,


Yeah, exactly. So how do you go through the discovery process and really enhance that curiosity and truly understand what they need as opposed to, so this whole myth of pursuit, the relentless pursuit of confidence and happiness and all that kind of stuff is just a myth. It’s absolute nonsense. And so the sooner we accept that, which is hard because that’s the hardest bit, then we can practice mindfulness and being present. And often people sort of stream mindfulness as sitting on a mountaintop in lotus position saying, I’m to the universe. But mindfulness is not that. It’s your ability to come back to the present and reconnect and then ultimately do what matters. So what matters here, what matters right now. And the interesting part of that too is that it’s really contextual. So for one person, the performance behavior is to listen for the other person, it’s to speak up. And so you need to understand the person, they need to understand themselves. And quick, here are six questions that I use to get people started. Give ’em a bit of momentum if they’re feeling stuck or what have you. Question number one is what are your values? And what I’d encourage any of the listeners and what have you to go through is just literally put a 32nd clock on each of these questions and then just banging out whatever comes first. Because having had hundreds of these conversations, the first 30 seconds is normally yeah,




Honest one, yeah, it’s your intuition. So it’s normally really close 80, 90% of the way there. You don’t need to spend any more time particularly for individuals, but what are your values? Who is important to you? What is important to you? What is your purpose? What would you willingly do for free? And what energizes you?




And if you spend three minutes on that, and even as a manager managing someone else, if you ask your direct report or what are your answers to those questions, what you’ll pull out is not, you’re not looking for definitive answers, you’re actually looking for the threads, the stuff that truly matters to this person, the stuff that may help them unlock their own intrinsic motivation, how they might align. And what you’ve done then in asking those questions is help them bring to the surface and make conscious choices around what truly matters as opposed to the reality is, in an organization, how I show up and how I connect what matters to me, to the organization that is alignment. So the organization banging on about OKRs or pick your framework, any framework goals, it doesn’t really matter. Banging on about that stuff is one, it’s necessary to have clarity, but if you can help someone really connect to what matters to them and then help them see what matters to them is in alignment with what you’re trying to do as an organization,


That’s great advice. Finding out what is important to them and then see where they’re at and see if you know where they’re going and if that does align to what the business needs as well. So that’s good advice. I didn’t prep you for this question, I dunno, but I think you are going to be a good spot to answer this. Again, self-awareness is probably something that that’s like big these days. I think people just being aware of what is in their skillset, what’s not on their skillset, what should they do, they not do what they take on board. For example, how do you teach self-awareness?


Great question. I guess there’s a lot of different aspects to that, but going through those six questions is one way to begin a journey around what truly matters to me. So that’s one piece. The other tool that I have and you know can download it on my website if you’re interested, is a tool called the valued living questionnaire, which is a super simple, it’s a scientifically validated test by a, I’ll find that, that’s right. I’ll find it and send you the link to it. Anyway, but


Scientifically validated by Toby Jenkins.


Yes, it’s not by me, it’s someone else. I’ll have to get your website and find out. So that’s perfect. There you go. But if you download this, the valued living questionnaire or my whole toolkit because it comes with a bunch of other stuff, but that one is a way of really quickly assessing what matters to you, how important is something at a given time. So could be anything from family, your personal relationships, parenting, health, spirituality. There’s sort of a bunch of domains. And very quickly I see my clients sort of go, oh yeah, okay, yeah, on a scale of one to 10, I’d rate that as this. And then the next question is, how satisfied are you with it? On a scale of one to 10, how satisfied are you with your actions in this space at the moment? And what happens is that you quickly dissect the context for someone to say, okay, well okay, family’s important.


Health is important, work is important. If you’re, as I found myself actually in my transition out of Blue Wire, I actually did a run through, dad had died. I was looking in the mirror, which is always the hardest place to look and work was nine out of 10 in importance and satisfaction was two out of 10. And so as opposed to a generalized sense of frustration, what the hell is going on? It was like, oh, I now have specificity and our brains love specificity and certainty, and now I can do something about it. Whereas the AM ambiguity is the enemy because it’s uncertain. We don’t know what’s happening. There’s so much going on. And ultimately this boils down to a lot of the performance stuff that I talk in and group settings as well, but we cannot control. We have somewhere between, we have thousands of cognitions a day.


So thoughts, emotions, sensations, memories, all this stuff shows up, imagery comes up to mind all the time. We cannot control it all. And this has been the myth that has been sold to us, I think is this idea of positive thinking and always being positive and all this sort of stuff. And it’s nonsense. It’s absolute nonsense. And if you quickly dissect even a period of your life, you’ll know that you get both, you get the great stuff, the bad stuff, trial and triumph as we were talking about earlier. But if we can’t control those thousands of cognitions, then how do we actually, what can we do? We can’t control our reaction, emotions, thoughts, sensations, whatever to a particular situation. All we can do is choose our response. And so between reaction and response is mindfulness actually is, to your point, the self-awareness Jackson, to know that I’m experiencing anxiety, I’m experiencing excitement, I’m experiencing, oh, here are my thoughts not good enough, or fraudulently shows up or whatever it is.


Everyone has their own brand. And that is the other part, is that an absolute certainty that everyone has their own brand of suffering. I, there’s this point in my workshops where I ask people to answer, what are the tough thoughts? What are the tough feelings? What are the tough sensations? Where do you feel them in your body? And in groups of 6,000, whatever, everyone here not get any answers for those for challenging situations. Does anyone not get any answers for those things? There’s not a soul in the room who sticks up their hand because everyone has it,


Everyone. And I’ve seen behind some pretty amazing trophy cabinets. And this the willingness to acknowledge your own in the first instance and then to acknowledge that in others is how. That’s where empathy lies. It’s where the humanity lies. It’s where really connecting to what matters. And if we’re willing to accept it for ourselves or at least begin to work with it, then we can start to take steps right now that lead us towards not just the impact we want to have, the contribution we want to make, the outcomes, the results, the goals, the person we want to be. That’s what really matters. And living all of that as best we can. Yeah. So


Was long answer, but good answer. Yeah, it’s good answer. Yeah. Na, do you want to ask a question before I No. Yeah. So I wanted to pick your brain on psychometric testing for teams and individuals. Not sure if that’s something that you do as part of, I guess speaking in workshops you would do, but do, what recommendations do you have for businesses who not they have a culture problem, but they want to improve their culture within a business. Would you recommend they do psychometric testing for individuals teams? What frameworks and how often?


Look, there are, I don’t know a lot about psychometrics to be honest. So there probably people better placing than me to respond to that. But my understanding is that there are definitely psychometrics that can predict things like safety behaviors and whether someone is going to be more safe than another person and some really interesting stuff out there. The personality stuff is challenging because ultimately personality basically gets fixed when we’re seven or eight. So there’s not much we can do to change personality barring major trauma. And so if that is the case, then what I often see is that personality profiling becomes an excuse for poor behavior.


Okay, interesting.


Yeah. So, oh, I’m a dominant. Oh, well, doesn’t mean you can be a tool. Yeah. And also what really matters here and in terms of the science of psychological flexibility is that a bit like we were saying earlier, beha performance behavior, which is what really matters is what you do. Performance behavior is different depending on the context. So doesn’t independent of personality, there will be times when an introvert needs to speak up and at times when an extrovert needs to speak up and a time. And so for some people the behavior may be easier or harder depending on personality, but the performance behavior hasn’t actually changed. So the question is how do you act what matters rather than obsess about personality? Yeah, it is a really interesting tool in terms of developing some self-awareness and strengths. And so it’s not at the absence of it, guess the opportunity is to really to use it carefully.


Yeah. About do you see value, and I guess say you were managing a team knowing what kind of profile for example they are, so then you can, I guess manage them more effectively or get the most out of that individual.


Yeah. And I think awareness of what’s going to be easy and what’s going to be hard for a particular person is useful too. The question I keep coming back to though is what really matters to this person? If we were to smash broken glass and say, okay, Jackson, nj, let’s walk over some broken glass shoes off. Let’s do some motivational walking. Anyone want to go have a go? I’m going home,


Doesn’t have any motivational,


No, it’s not going to fly. But if I say, okay, let’s just change one condition of that, which is on the other side of the glasses, bring to mind the person or people who you most care about in the world and they’re in distress and they need your help.


So you’re saying that having a clear goal and understanding with an individual where they’re at from a alignment to goal and what challenges they have, maybe personal or personality profiling or leveraging that,


What truly matters to them, right? Because the broken glass being the analogy for, it’s a good analogy, fear of failure, fear of embarrassment for speaking up, fear of making a mistake, all that kind of stuff, which is so inevitably the stuff that gets in the way of actually behaving the way we want to behave. Almost never am I sitting down with someone to teach ’em what to do. Everyone nearly. And I guess this is the beauty of coaching, is that people typically know what they need to do. There is no shortage of information in the world in how to be healthy, no shortage. The real challenge is getting over and working with your own internal stories around the why you don’t. And so if you reconnect to motivation, then people won’t just be willing to endure the broken glass. They’ll actually embrace it of what in service of what truly matters to them.


And you think of what humanity is capable of. It’s extraordinary. It’s the part that lights me up every day, which is we are just capable of such incredible feats or acts of service in the face of insane adversity. And so how do we unlock that and how do we make that more of a daily happening and intentional rather than accidental? And I think can, if you really connect to what truly matters to you, values, purpose and all that kind of stuff, and spend the time in that space sort of uncovering and clarifying that, then you can genuinely do that. You can. And that sense of energy is often a really good sign as well. People, I’ve lost my mojo. Well, you have all of the answers to your mojo, do you know what I mean? Yeah. I have no answers to your mojo, but I can help you uncover what yours looks like and how you can operate from that place by asking questions and understanding. So then you understand, because I don’t even need to know who you just brought to mind. That’s irrelevant to me. All that matters is that you are clear on it. So yeah, as you can tell, I get pretty fired up. Yeah, that’s good. I love,


It’s what I wanted to get you in. So can I ask a question in terms of technology, we’re in a tech business, here


We are. Yep.


How have you seen that change behavior build high performance team where technology is a tool, but it’s obviously enhanced people’s lives. What’s your experience been from talking about tech and everything you’ve just shared has been fantastic, but what’s the tech that can help drive that high performance?


Yeah, I mean, nj, you’ve been so instrumental to my tech adoption that it’s incredible. And I think back to the time when we went fully to the cloud with you was when the catastrophe happened, Brisbane, Brisbane floods and our building in West End was cut off. It was an island in the middle of the west end for a little while there. And we suddenly realized that even with the backup power source, it wasn’t going to cut it. We had two days offline or something while we waited for the waters to recede. And so that was our critical time to jump into the cloud and you migrated us there, thanks nudge at the time. And so look, I see tech is the enabler. It is an amplifier of what is already there. A really common challenge that I see people facing as sort of the explosion or sort of proliferation of channels, comms channels.


So something that I have found is working really well recently with clients and leaders is getting super clear on what channel cops what content. So if you think go through your channels on email, what do you want to see? Phone calls ever, email me with a problem, call me. And this is so contextual. Again, it depends on the person, depends on the organization. But clarifying purpose of channel means that channels are super useful, they’re flexible, they’re on your phone, you can work from anywhere. I spent a year over living in Switzerland in 2017 and operated perfectly fine back here into clients in Australia and had a ball. And that flexibility was so enriching to my life. And that’s what I think tech enables when it’s done well, the risk is that the lack of clarity means that it enables the confusion. And so that’s where I see people almost getting going.


Really native on tech as well. Okay, if we’re going to be remote, then let’s all be remote, even if we’re in the same room or just we’re all going to roll in the same format. So we’ll have three people here on laptops and umpteen around the world, but it’s when that hybrid is really challenging situation where you’ve got some people online, other people offline. And I think the other thing is to invest in the tech, but then also in really truly invest and understand what you’re doing in person. So in a world of technology, the value of face-to-face goes through the roof, but it requires design and intent. And really interestingly, a massive multinational company had their leadership offsite had a hundred of their top leaders globally fly in. And the number one message from the CEO was, this is about connection. I want you to connect human to human because the rest of the time we’re on tech. So again, what is face to face for what is that channel for? It’s for connecting, it’s for seeing each other as humans and reconnecting to that. So then we’re not just trying to, don’t just try to replicate the human interaction online or vice versa. Make sure you’re dedicating thought to what this tech actually enables for you. It would be my sort of caveat around it. Yeah, it


Makes sense. You definitely, you’re right, you hear that had there in terms of the face-to-face time and the human interaction is more important now as well when everyone is remotely and cloud and yada, yada, yada. So that’s good advice. I was going to ask you, apart from the cliche money and family and those kind of drivers, what keeps you motivated to continue to work and innovate and drive forward your career?


Here we go. Look, for me, Jackson, it’s impact. So how can I help people the way I define my own purpose. So I drink my own Kool-Aid on this stuff. My purpose as it currently sits is to help people bring all of who they are to everything they do. I have my set of values, so love, gratitude, humility, exploration, contribution. I have a BHAG to get to millions of people somehow. And clearly that I’m going to need tech notch. You know, just don’t get to scale of impact without that. I’ve got a million followers on this, so perfect. Right? Love it.


So the thing that really excites me is really just staying on purpose, making that contribution, being as much as helping others be all of who they are in as many moments of many days as possible is living and breathing that for myself too. So how do I bring those values to life as a father? How do I bring them to life as a husband? How do I bring them to life as a son, as a friend, as a business owner, as a coach, there are so many roles that we play in life and hats that we wear. The other thing that really motivates me is a stoic reflection. I don’t know if anyone’s familiar with stoicism, but there’s one of the sort of, I guess leading figures of stoicism is a guy called Lucius Seneca, and he wrote an essay called On the Shortness of Life.


And so every day I have a calculate, I found a website that will calculate how many days I’ve been alive. And so most days of a week, perhaps not every day, but most days of a week, I go and check that as a part of my daily practice. I go and check how many days I’ve been alive. Today I’m at like 15,584 or something. And then that’s really interesting to me because that means that if I think about software and tech in this context too, is that each day it’s really just a proxy number to say, I’ve, I’ve released a new version today. And so how do I bring the best of what has served me in the past forward? How do I test and learn to see if there’s anything that I need to debug? And there’s plenty I can assure you. And then how do I continue to carry that forward?


And that really helps me to see it as an ongoing process. And then the flip side of that number is of course, how many days left to live. And so if I take a quick calculation of 80 minus 80 times 365 minus that number, I’m pass halfway. That means I’ve got 13,000 x days to live. And that drives me forward because anyway, I cut it mean obviously that’s a statistical number at living to 80 or what have you. Yeah, I may have less. When my dad died, he was 66, his father was 98, his mother was 93, full expectation that he was going to be had another third of his life to go. And when he died, it rocked me because I thought, oh geez, I might be two thirds of the way there. So what am I doing? Why am I doing it? And just the constant reminder that it’s finite.


And one of the questions that I find really valuable, particularly recently that I’ve been practicing is just this question of what if this is the last time? So what if this is the last podcast interview I ever did, how can I be here for it fully here? How can I engage and really try to be who I want to be in this moment, in this conversation with you guys? How does that translate in terms of business as well? What do I need to do right now to drive the business the way I want to drive it to be the coach I want to be, but same deal with my kids. What if this is the last time I get to put my girls to bed, I have three daughters. What if this is the last time? Because I mean we’ve all experienced death in some form or another, and putting a finite number on it I’ve found, yeah, has been extremely motivating just to remember that it is finite.


Good advice. And that would probably tie way back to that self-awareness piece. When you wake up in the morning, you see how many potential thousands of days you’ve got left. Yeah. Another thing that helps me in that space is that I think actually Elon Musk, Musks, all the time I’ve seen around this within thousands of years, everyone returns back to dust and no one knows any name. No one would know who Elon Musk is, right? In 10,000 years. So what we are doing here in Brisbane with a couple main population is futile.


But it’s also what I find really liberating around that too is that it takes the pressure off. Yes, we will return to dust and so be it and we will be forgotten and all that stuff. Great, but what does that mean? What does that free me up to do? Yeah. And so it’s an interesting sort of tension point because it feels pessimistic. But ultimately the reflection for me is this liberation of real engagement in the present and kind of, well, if I’m going to be dust, then why not have a crack?




Why not? So definitely And what does a crack look like today? Because I don’t know if today isn’t the last one. So yeah, that’s a few of my drivers, mate. No,


No, I probably appreciate it. Thanks to for coming in. You’ve shared some really good insights around building Hypering team individual and got bit philosophical at the end there. So that, mate, that’s awesome. Really appreciate some of the insights from your journey. Thanks for coming in. Thanks.


Thanks. Sorry I met you when it was version 6,000, now we’re at version of 15. I look forward to having you back at version 20,000.


So thank you. I hope this version’s still better than the old one.


Thank like a fine wine. Yeah, it’s been fantastic, man. Thank



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Nigel Heyn
Nigel Heyn
Founder & Executive Director
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Nigel Heyn is a passionate, business and technology centric entrepreneur. With a natural instinct drawn towards technology, Nigel, under the guidance of his father, successfully built his first desktop computer at the age of 8. This started a journey of research, innovation and technology exploration that continues today. Nigel has successfully built several companies, all underpinned by the desire to leverage technology smarts in order to positively influence business models and realise stakeholder dreams. Leveraging a vast network of global contacts established over many years, Nigel thrives on learning what best practices exist in order to provide digital excellence for his clients'​ successes. In order to achieve true success, Nigel understands the importance of building a team of the best talent available and thus welcomes the opportunity for those sharing similar dreams to reach out and be a part of the vision. In the words of Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it”!
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