Welcome to the Freedom Fridays Project podcast. I'm Pete Clark, your host, the Whispers Guy, it appears that work expands to the time that we give it and I started to explore how I was investing my time and effort, particularly on Fridays, it's evolved to an exploration and experiment with time, energy, attention and identity. And a mindset shift from I have to, to I choose to. So if you're interested in exploring some changes to the way that you invest your time and energy, if you'd like some tips on the way as you make some changes, perhaps to your identity. If you would like the freedom of I choose to, away from I have to, then this is the podcast for you. So welcome to the Freedom Fridays Project podcast. Welcome to this week's Freedom Fridays podcast where I have a I was gonna say an old buddy, but I've known this guy pretty much ever since I came into Australia, and the company that I joined at the time he joined at the same time. And so we've kind of had this journey together, although his background is significantly different to mine, and I'll explain that in a second. And so I'm really quite honored. And I'm really looking forward to because I'm sure we're going to get some banter going on here. Please welcome Julien. (Hey, thanks for having me. Looking forward to it) You're welcome mate. So Julien, before we get into I start the same way. I ask people, you know, ordinary people doing extraordinary things. What's the big change? They're moving from to? So maybe just a headline, what was what's an example of a big change that you've gone through?
So when you gave me a bit of a heads up on, this is the opening question, and it's the same answer I give whenever anyone asks that something, or gets you to reflect on significant change in life. It's going from one completely unrelated career seemingly on the surface to it's like a carpenter going into banking. Yeah, something like that. So it was going from a sporting, you know, full, semi-professional, professional sporting life, travelling the world, enjoying the sun and the rays to putting on a suit to go into the city every day to be a consultant.
Obviously, I know the story. And I know the background and I've kind of followed the story all the way through. Would you just for the listeners just give us a couple of minutes on what you were doing before. So they understand the significance of the difference and to what you ended up doing.
So it all started back in 1988. When I was 16, there's a giveaway. So I had a very fortunate sporting career. I grew up in Western Australia, I grew up with a very sporting family. Mum was a very high level playing netball, Dad was an AFL professional AFL player for about 10 years. And I was expected to do the same and I was actually taking that pathway in AFL. And I came I went to this school and I came across this sport of volleyball, indoor volleyball at the time. And so we're talking about the mid 80s here. And still I was playing basketball and tennis, and cricket and everything as you do as a kid growing up. But this volleyball thing kind of hooked me in and I went this is a really enjoyable game. It's simple, but it's really difficult to master. And I just found some of the movements of it really, really related to some of the physical elements in AFL and basketball, which I was playing at the time. And I was good at it straight away with some mates and, I went to a school that was quite driven and passionate about supporting volleyball as a sport, which is quite unusual in Australia. Having said that, it's the biggest end of the year national sporting event school sporting event in Australia is an indoor volleyball schools tournament. They get about 5000 athletes every year. (Is that right?) So long story short, I gave up all of my around 16-17 I quit all my other sport started and just focused on volleyball never knew it would turn into a career, wasn't a conscious choice. I'm going to make this a career. I just had this drive bubbling away in the back of my head almost like I know this is something I'm going to be doing for the next 20 years. I teamed up with a guy who was about seven years older than me for the beach game, the two on two version. So moving out of indoor to the beach game and at 17 and this is probably the defining moment around what then led me to knowing that this is the thing I wanted to do is at 17, I was we won the national championship. So we were real pioneers in the sport, these days the national champs is quite significant. Back in the day, there's probably about three or four teams that were really going to win that tournament and we ended up winning it. So 17 that was in December and in February the next I just finished my HSC. I was in February, I was sitting on the beach in Ipanema in Brazil playing in the world championships going, and I'm hanging out with all these heroes of the sport all these people I read about and seen in magazines and watching videos. And we play during the day play hard. And then in Brazil, they have these little you know, it's a very much a beach culture at that time of year, we would all the players and the fans we'd hang out on the beach with the locals. And I remember sitting there having a beer in my hand just looking around going How good is this? Yeah. Not a lot of money in it. I'm not retiring on what I did, the experiences. And so that was really the start of then, playing on the World Tour, going to three Olympics, commentating it to Olympics and just spending the world travelling summer to summer for 17 years, a very fortunate life.
Wow, look, we can have our conversation just about that. (Oh, I've got stories.) Let me get a sense. So in your whatever year it was in the the October of that HSC year. There you are mid October, during your English exam. To be followed four months later playing in a global beach volleyball championship on the beach in Brazil.
Yeah, it's quite mind blowing. When I look back at it. I did have those moments going, when I was there doing it going, this is me. This is well, this is what's happening. This is Brazil in 1990, Rio in 1990, right. Still, a lot of people still haven't been there. But it was a I remember getting there and changing, I had about $200 in spending money for the week or the 10 days that we were there. And I changed all that money on the Wednesday that we arrived. And the next day, it was worth half. And then the day after it was because their inflation was something like 500-600% so all the Americans were laughing at me, the greenhorn, they called me the rookie guy, he changed all his money, you know, you change 50 bucks one day, and then you change because the inflation was so high. So this was really interesting times back in the day.
Well, there's so many strands we can pick up on. I'm going to pick up on a couple just to pick up on that. And what I'm what I'm interested in understanding if you can reflect that change of going from a high school kid doing his HSC who was kind of into beach volleyball kind of doing okay, to four months later playing in the world championships on a beach in Brazil, which for most of us is like, you know, iconic. What identity shift did you have to go through? Even in those four months?
Yes. Well, to some extent, it was something that I'd anticipated. Mentally, yeah, I was already thinking, Okay, this is on the radar, it's going to happen. I want it that much it's going to happen. there was almost no doubt and my team mate at the time. We're the same mindset. The interesting thing with the whole school thing, and this is I'm dealing with this now with my own teenage boys is I didn't play any volleyball in my year 12. I quit all my state teams, I quit all my representative stuff, to focus on my studies. Because I was yeah, I had a mom who hit the glass ceiling. She didn't get to uni, because that's what happened back in the day you left school when you're 15. But a very intelligent mum, and she just went you're going to uni. So I put a lot of my effort and time focus resources into getting a mark that would, you know, get me into university to get a piece of paper because she goes, you're going to need it one day. Yeah, this sporting thing is not going to last forever. And I was up for it. And I wanted to do it. So from a mindset point, yeah, that that identity shift. I always knew that, as from an athlete being at the pointy end of a sport in terms of being in the elite. That was for me that from about the age of seven, I had that identity because I was always better than all my mates everything. And I sound like a wanker saying that. But I was always really y'know, pick up a sport like that. And I was always really good at it. Yeah, it was just one of those things, right? So I knew that. My dad I grew up in a house with a professional footballer. So he would take me across the park and he would get me to kick with my non dominant foot left foot kicking right? In AFL it's very rare these days. They don't do it anymore. And he just gave me he showed me how to do it and then I do it like that. It just happened and so I create drills and I do it. And so when I play footy, I was always one of the best on the ground and in the team. I was playing in representative type teams, no matter what sport it was, I always knew that I had an athletic ability. So that started at a very young age. So it wasn't that surprising for me to be, it was more just how cool is this? versus Yeah, well, I'm now an elite athlete.
I've got to go down that path for a moment because that fascinates me. I nowhere near that league, I was okay at sport as a kid. What I'm really interested in that at seven years old to be that good at almost everything. And knowing those are some very formative years, when almost fitting in is the most important thing. How did you navigate that when you were obviously not fitting in? Because you were so good at everything? How did you fit in?
Yeah, I was good, I wasn't a nerd. I was okay at school, had a good group of mates. And you know, as boys, if you're good at sport, that tends to give you a bit of a status in the hierarchy of things like you're the good footy player or the good whatever. And so that's why a lot of boys at school, get sport focused, because if you're good at something, and I'm seeing it in my 16 year old, he's known his high school as being the guy who can duck for as a 16 year old, right? He's quite explosive and athletic himself. So I can see those types of him walking around with his peer group with a certain identity. He's the musician, he's the basketballer. That type of thing. So I remember having at primary school once having this, they pick the teams and the teachers'd go, Julian, you're captain, and the second best guy or whatever, the other guy. Yeah, he was also captain. And I always remember just thinking, y'know those kids who are crap would always get picked last. And I remember thinking, that's just that's not right. And I remember picking all the good kids in my mates and stuff. And then you'd go, and Dave, or whoever that crappy kid was, and I'd always remember, go, how crap must that feel for him to be picked last? So I remember once just picking a whole bunch of crap kids to play on my team. And the other team got stacked, because everyone was like, how come you didn't pick him? And he's picking all the guys who normally get picked last. So for me, I always had, also had a bit of empathy as a kid around not, if you're given the responsibility as a leader or a captain to go make sure that you're spreading the love a little bit, that it's not just about you, and I can do everything. I'd rarely say to anyone that I was good at most sports I picked up because it just you know, it's just not my style. But because we're talking about this. That's the yeah....
And I know that, you and I have lots of great banter together, because we're kinda mates but I know you don't shout about that outside that. I'm going to pick up on something else, yeah. So we're recording this in the Olympic fortnight, right, which is kind of nice. And there's so many things we could chat about. I may get you on later just to talk about that. So I read about and I think it's happening today, Lauren Price, who is a boxer, when she was seven, I think eight but I'm gonna make it up a little bit at primary school, wrote down on a piece of paper 'I want to be a Taekwondo World Championship, I want to represent Wales at football and I want to go to the Olympics'. She has now done all three. And she's actually I think this afternoon she's fighting for, I think the bronze medal match or something like that. So it's interesting. There's probably dozens and dozens and hundreds of kids that didn't think like that. And have done things and dozens that did think like that and I never made it. Did you have any inkling at seven 'I want to go to the Olympics. I want to be a world champion. I want to be a sports superstar'?
Well sports superstar, in my house I am. So at that age? No, because growing up in the country WA the awareness around the Olympics and other sports outside of AFL and cricket was zero. It was quite closed. This is between 70s and early 80s is that your eyes weren't open to Oh, there's other sports that might, global type sports. So I never had a deliberate I mean that that kind of deliberate. I come across those types of athletes too that I go really you were that focused and you had that mindset to write it down and make the decision that I am going to be? I never had that. It was just something in the back of my head. It was just like I know I'm really good at sport.
Did it ever come to the front your head? At what point did you go, 'Oh, I'd love to get to the Olympics.'
It was when, I remember getting up at about two or 3am in Perth to watch the announcement of Juan Antonio Samaranch announce Sydney as the, this was in 1993. And that July of 1993. And I remember him announcing it, and I went, Okay, well, 'I'll be at those Olympics' and I went back to bed. That was, you know, that was a moment when I could see the pathway of beach volleyball heading in that direction, because there was, I'd already participated in the test event in Spain in 92. That was the World Champs, that was a bit of a lead into their 96. And I just remember having a 'Okay, yeah, we'll be in the Olympics in 2000. But the first one will be 96. So I'll be good for that one. And I should still be around for Sydney'. It's just a matter of fact thought that I had, then I went back to bed. I didn't have to really sit down and inspire myself and go, you can do this. It's just like, yeah, I'll be there.
Almost with a nonchalant certainty that it's just gonna happen. There was no need to beat myself up about it. I've just realised this inevitable.
Yeah, I'm really good at this. I'm the best in Australia. If I stay, you know competing on the World Tour, I know where I stand in the pecking order and where things are at, year I should be good to go by then.
I might just ask one more question about the Olympics. Because I'd love to talk all day about this. And then maybe we'll jump into the change that you had to make. You'll have seen the headlines about, you know, Simone Biles, not competing, because of her mental or physical well being, you could argue. And I was a little bit neutral as to what I thought about it, because I didn't feel I've never been the top 1% in anything. So I've never competed at that level to even know what that feels like. And she's like, point 00001% of her of her class, so you're far closer to what that was like than I'll ever be. So from your perspective, you know, at an Olympic Games, you're competing in your sport, and you don't quite feel right, mentally or physically. How do you reconcile that decision?
Well, this is a really big one. And you know, this is my experience, but also then observing others, and I'm seeing it play out everyday during the Olympics. I mean, how good is the Olympics? Is you never feel right, as an athlete at the Olympics, right? And if you do you're kidding yourself, because there's always this immense insecurity and fear and anxiety bubbling away around, you know, this is it, this is everything, for a lot of people, they get one chance. And it's really interesting. listening to, there's people who have been to four or five, I've been to three and I look at people go into four or five and go. That's kind of great to have multiple opportunities, because it's such a great experience, right? There's so many cool things that happen. experiences that happen at the Olympics, that it's our old mate Clyde Perry, who I met, who was working with Don Talbot with the Australian swim team for so many years. It's not those athletes that excel themselves at the Olympics that do well, it's the ones that regress the least. And I remember that because my first two Olympics, I regressed in terms of my performance and what I could do, I got tired, I got tense, and it showed up on court until I found a mindset coach or performance coach who was a former opera singer and opera singer coach and she was just going into some NLP coaching and she used me as a bit of a guinea pig and we peeled back some layers and it changed my life in a lot of ways but from, then, in Athens, my last Olympics stepping onto the court with just this calmness, a serene calmness against the reigning gold medalist that we were playing in game one in Athens. And we completely towelled them up. Because my teammate and I, we were just playing loose that turned the zone, we weren't flustered we were highly aroused, but it was just the right amount. There was very little anxiety about what we were doing. And so key point is I wish I'd had that when I was 20. And a lot of athletes and a lot of sports are still very immature around the way they support their athletes from not just a mindset and performance, then mental health point of view. Because you see it, there's a lot of grief that goes with losing when things are really important. And there's so much on the line and you see a lot of the agony of defeat. And there's also the other side of it, too, where you see, they've been showing Cathy Freeman highlights during these Olympics, and you just watch her cross the line at the Olympics and the expression on her face. And her whole physicality is anything but elation is complete and utter 'Thank god this thing is finished'. I can just Oh, and it's all this. You can just see her just, look on her face. Pure just, this was, that was really hard. And then after a couple of minutes, she gets up and she runs around with the flag and stuff. And so the other side of it is, after you've reached that pinnacle, and you've won, insert whatever performance you're after, what next? And that whole depression or deflation that can happen after 'Well, I've got this thing so what?'.
I thought the best for me, the thing that I can relate to the most with what Simone Biles has come out and said on many, many things she said about it. I think for me, the thing that I relate to the most is, and interestingly for her only because of the outpouring of support and love that she got having made the decision was that she then recognised she was more than just her accomplishments.
That's the other thing, right? Is the how much of your identity is wrapped up as, and this is I call the tattoo effect, I remember in Sydney in 2000. So when you host an Olympics, you get direct entry into every sport, right? So Australia is not really a handball superpower, for example. But we had a handball team. And there's other sports that we don't particularly specialise in or do or we're not like world leading sports, or we don't really play wrestling or whatever it might be, and yet you as an athlete, and so I know this is the case, they were looking for handballers, and so they started pitching different athletes from different sports to create a handball team. And I remember, we're all finished and everyone wanted to go to this tattoo parlour in Surry Hills to get some kind of memento tattoo from the Olympics. And there were seven of us, including me, and I didn't get one. Because I just went well, I'm not here to, I was here to get on the podium, get a medal have something. I'm not here, just so that someone can see my Olympic tattoo on my shoulder or my calf and go, 'Hey, were you in the Olympics?' You know so for me, it's people who and some teams have a culture of once you're in the team, you get the tattoo. I do see a lot of people walking around with Olympic tattoos. So people go, 'Oh, you're an Olympian', as opposed. Y'know, there's that whole 'Oh yes, but how could you tell? Oh, my tattoo, that little thing?' Yes, you know that. And so they hold a lot of their self worth is wrapped up into the Olympian thing. And that's cool, that's people's journey, but that's not mine. And to your point, then around identity is, especially in sports, like gymnastics and swimming, where they get them so early that your identity is you are a gymnast, that's 90% of who you are, as opposed to a daughter, a friend. You know, a physics major, you know, a gardener, a DIY, a surfer, whatever, or all the different identities that we have, and that we can rely on. But when you see yourself as just a gymnast, and I'm sure that's how Simone Biles has seen herself. I'm on the goat I'm the greatest. So when it starts to leave you and the other thing the stuff they do, the repercussions when it goes wrong can be quite significant health wise, right? They can snap bones and all that kind of stuff. So when you're so I don't know her, but I imagine that she's quite wrapped up in Simone Biles, the goat, that when it starts to go wrong, that can be pretty hard to deal with for people. And I always think every day about some of the points that I played in games and at the Olympics that if they'd gone differently would I have been? So some of this stuff is like a grieving process that never leaves you. And, I just go well, it makes you stronger. gives you good stories to tell.
Yeah, I'm going to get to the original point of our conversation in a second. I want to talk about identity, but I'm going to play a little thought experiment with you. So you've obviously played at the highest level in your domain and you would recognise and you talk about, and you and I believe in, the importance of mindset. If you were giving someone advice about mindset, what would your top three tips be?
Be open to the idea of that you need, that getting mindset support would be a really helpful thing to do. Right? That's the first one is being open to it. And not relying on yourself, I always relied on myself I've always been quite independent, organised my own travel training, I was very self driven. I always do solo training sessions, that type of thing. SoI was always quite you know, I'm mentally strong. I'm number one in Australia, I don't need help, until I found someone who opened my eyes to, you know, there's stuff going on, mate that you need to sort out. And it's one of your quotes Pete is the job of most parents is to make their kids less screwed up than they are, the point is that yeah, I thought I was a pretty well balanced, self aware individual. Having my parents divorced when I was 15, the old man wasn't around, some stuff that he did more to make life difficult for Mum, I just didn't respect him, like, why are you doing this kind of thing. So I shut the old man out of my life for a bit. When I realised, when I could have done with having a dad around, for example, when I went alright, I'm making this choice, I'm dealing with this pretty well, I thought, right, from a male point of view until I had some layers pealed back and went you've actually got some stuff to address. So that's quite heavy stuff. And I reckon most people have stuff that they don't address from their past. And if you look back and apologised to yourself and to other people, and you know, worked out what your core reason for being around is, which is love. Ultimately, that's what I learned was, it tends to free you up a lot. I'm sort of tangenting here. So be open to it, get some help from people. And then don't expect that just one, one intervention, or one interaction is going to solve everything for you, it's ongoing. It's non stop.
Thank you. So thank you so much for sharing that. That's brilliant. And actually one of the reasons I asked you was because I think it was you that shared this with me. You went to an Olympic conference, and you heard Michael Johnson speak. And do you remember showing me his slides? So here's Michael Johnson, the world champion, you know, goat at 200 and 400. Everyone loves them. And he's got these PowerPoint slides with advice about mindset. And from what I remember it was set goals, work hard, ask for help. What struck me then, and it strikes me now, as part of the reason I'm doing this is these insights are right in front of us. They're from the guy next door. They're from the girl in Woollies, they're from the taxi driver. They're from the person in the park. There's ordinary people doing exactly the same things as the Michael Johnsons and the LeBrons. And the Beyonce's, the Michelle's that is the same stuff. And whilst we might be inspired by Beyonce, the girl next door is going through the same stuff. It's the same thing - mindset's important, ask for health, what's your purpose? And that's why I'm doing this because I think the answers lie a lot closer to us than these celebrities. They're sitting within us.
Yeah, it's internal. It's an internal thing. And I know I'm sitting here with the Olympian tag, and all that, and that's nice. And I'm really, I feel very fulfilled that I've experienced that. And I was talking mindset with a client the other day and someone had googled me before the session. And they were talking about, y'know we were talking about the Olympics and stuff, and I never say, 'Oh, yeah, by the way, this is my background'. But one of them piped up. And when her name was Theresa and she went, 'Julien, when are you going to tell us about your background? And I went 'What do you mean Theresa' and she goes, 'Well I googled you before the session', and I went, Okay. So I, and I've been working with this other person on the sessions, who was my tech host for about six months, we'd been doing some stuff together. And someone went, 'What are you talking about Theresa, what's his deal?' And so I told them, and the person I've been working with Greg, he went, I've been working with you for six months, and I had no idea that this is some of your background. So yeah, and if you're going to talk about mindset and high level sport, they're very much connected. So, once the cat was out of the bag, I did share it with people. And I was look, I don't want, the reason part of the reason why I don't want to talk about myself or my background, from a sporting point of view is I would be eye rolling too going, 'Oh, he's a frickin Olympian telling me about mindset and resilience and all this kind of stuff. And I'll just be going, Yeah, okay. You're Olympian. I can't relate to that. I'm out here on the shop floor making, you know, insert widget, dealing with my team and grumpy old process operators', that kind of thing. So for me, there's a bit of a disconnect around that. So I tend to stay away from it yet, if there's stories that are relevant to what we're talking about the time I'll go, oh yeah here's a story. Because people love that stuff, too. Right? It's just a little bit of it's entertaining. So I look at this with my boys going, Yeah, they're pretty talented athletes. And I don't want them to just go up to be happy. I want them to grow up to really fulfill their potential. Yeah, as a parent, I don't want them if they're happy, but they're not fulfilling their potential, I want them to stretch themselves a bit more, too. So once again, is reflecting internally and having that journey as a human to fulfill whatever it is, you want to do that you're just not settling for second best.
Loath as I am, I'm going to catapult to your post Olympian career. And so you went from beach to office? You went from bare fee to shoes, you went from board shorts to suit and tie. What did you have to go through to shift that identity?
Really challenging, scary, exciting. Opportunity, about plentiful. It was a bit of everything. So I remember going okay, I know I need to make this transition. And by last 18 months to two years of playing, I knew retirement was coming about every two minutes of those last 18 to two years was okay, so what are you doing with the rest of your life? Okay, all right. Park that what are you doing the rest of your life? What are you doing? So I've got to a point where Yeah, it was nagging me it was bugging me. I knew I had to make the transition. And this is the probably the one of the things I've stolen off you Pete. It's not the change. We all rationalise that and I know that I need to stop playing because as athletes you will retire at some stage. Unless you're Michael Hoy. The equestrian guys still cracking on, yeah 62. At some stage, you've got to, you got to make a change. And I went right, I've got an opportunity to look at this two ways, scary, intimidating, unknown, or exciting, unknown, growth, I'm going to do something completely different. How cool is that going to be? And I remember reminding myself is this one over here it's this one over here. And this is why when I've found RogenSi and this mindset stuff started coming I went I'm doing that I've been doing that. And this is one of the biggest challenges and this is why mindset someone like Simone Biles, she's probably looking at life afterwards. Probably in a better position than a lot of athletes will be financially supported. You get a lot of people transitioning out of pursuing a sport. Rowing's a classic example. There's not a lot of money in it, that a lot of these guys they stop after the Olympics go away for two years, and then they get back into training to qualify again, is that the hardest thing I ever did was work, like corporate life. So much harder than training, weightlifting, running around on the sand jumping, you know I used to go to the beach, you know, three, four hours a day, that was the office down at Manly. And then I've travelled the world going to other beaches, and perform for the rent. You know, I didn't we didn't get a lot of sponsorship or submit you probably get about five grand a year in government support that a pay pay for airfares, there's not a lot of money. Right? The coaches the travel, they get everything paid for plus the per diem, whereas the athletes were very unsupported in a lot of ways. So it was quite stressful competing for your pay packet. But it was such a great life, right? I've been around the world 20 times and seen a lot of cool places. And then having to transition into work life, so it was one reframing it going, pretty scary, exciting. I'll take that option because that's going to be a better energy. And so and then the next bit of advice and so once again, I just another where could I get help from I can't do this by myself who can help me. So one of my mates was in recruitment. So I called him and just said 'What do you reckon you got some advice for me', and he goes, 'Oh, I could give you an internship here you could come and do some free work for me'. That didn't excite me very much. But he said the best thing I can tell you is given where you're at, as you don't have a CV, really, right, from a commercial point of view, you have to make appointments with mates and mates of mates who know you and who know where the opportunities might be, and where you might be a good fit, and just start talking to people and say, I'm out there, I'm after something. And so I did that. And I remember it's a client of a mate of mine. I had a cup of coffee with him in the city, he was the head of learning and development for a large construction transport company, huge company, white listed type company. And I remember sitting down with him, and he goes, 'What are you doing? What are you after?' I said, I don't, I can't remember what I said. But then he goes, Well, I was just up at Rogen and they're looking for consultants, I could put you in touch. And I was Okay, so what do they do? And he gave me a bit of background can't remember what he said, went home, did some googling saw the Rogen plus Si logos when the merger was happening, and just started reading some of the what this company is about and went Oh this is kind of interesting, that mindset stuff, too, I could probably, you know, at least get an interview. So he put me in touch with an old mate of ours, Peter Griffith and made up a resume and made it and I make the joke, I made my resume 14 font instead of 12, or 10, so it went more than one page, And so that conversation worked out. And I didn't target this consulting career that we have and go this is what I want to do, I really fell into it. And it was a little bit of universe delivered, right? Because there's a little bit of still I get to perform. You know, when we're out in front of a room, like being on court, I still get to tap into that performance element. Yeah, I had some really awkward conversations. I remember sitting in some city offices where people going, so why are you here? And I went Oh I'm looking for a job, and I don't really know what I want to do. And do you have any experience, no, I used to play volleyball. Okay, great, mate. Well, we don't really have anything for you at the moment. I had probably 6,7,8 of those types of conversations until something, changed. So there's a little bit of just put myself out there and wearing the consequences.
You said earlier on, I asked you off the cuff, you know, your top three tips on mindset. And I'm paraphrasing, I think you said, you know, obviously, the importance of mindset. Be open, and ask for help. Do you recognise how you applied those three principles in your shift from beach to office?
It was everything. Because then after, well, the last part is, as we talk about is taking massive action right, you can sit there and have all the good intent, okay, I'm going to be positive about this transition, I'm going to start putting a list together of people I might be out of contact. But at some stage you've gotta pick up the phone, you've got to go to Myer and be measured up for a suit, you know, all that stuff that I did. And a large part of it too, is leaving behind the identity of, y'know I was at the top of the sport. And I could have kept going to another Olympics. And I look back and go, I probably could have gone one more with that, they guy I played Mark Williams in Athens, because we were really just hitting our straps and we could've gone but I was starting I had a young family just our first son was coming along. And I went, do I really want to be dragging a bag around the planet again. I've kind of done it since I was 17. Time to move on and get real here. So there's a large part of leaving behind identity of being at the top and then coming in at the bottom of a corporate ladder going, I remember walking in on day one, looking at with Lisa Shannon, she was sitting there, deer in headlights, What's going on, for at least the first three years, four years in that job. It was just so complete, every day was different and full of elements of anxiety and growth and then laughter and it was to eventually then hitting this nice little groove where you go Okay, I get this whole new world. And so it was about leaving a lot of that stuff behind.
It's interesting because one of the first things you said on our conversation was you know, at seven years old, I was good at everything you know, I was the guy that picked up a cricket bat picked up a sherrin and picked up a ball, I could do everything, then you're in a corporate career, you know, a number of years later is when you obviously can't, you're kinda the bottom of the rung, you pick up a pen and go, which hand do I use? You pick up a slide and go, how'd you press go? How do you, do you reflect on how that felt? You're the guy who could do everything to the guy that could literally do nothing?
It's the burning platform. It was like when you don't have a choice, you go, Well, I'm leaving that behind. I don't want to continue with that pathway that career I could have stayed in sport coaching, for example. But I, you know, there's not a lot of money, and I wanted to earn a better income. And I was really excited about going What's this corporate world about and learning something more about the world than this narrow channel of sport, it's quite narrow. And I've got so many of my former colleagues from the World Tour in the sport, they're still in the sport, and they're still coaching. I just don't know how they do it. And we need, sports like ours, as we need people like that, who stay in the sport, and give back and they're so passionate about it, that they've devoted their life to this thing, and I just went I can't do that, it's too much. Because this whole, I'm excited to start at the bottom, because then I go, I meet someone like you and go, he's a teacher, I could learn so much, you know, half of what I do, or a third of what I do is just regurgitate what Pete told me. Or the sales expert, or the other colleagues of ours that I've just pinched ways of operating off. And so that was really exciting. So I stand, you know, I'm now running my own solo consultancy with clients who love me, that's what they told me anyway, in learning environments where I get great feedback from the clients that I work with. And that's really satisfying for me, because that's a performance. And that's where the high expectations that I may have had for myself, as an athlete, I definitely have myself as a consultant.
So you said earlier on in that little speech that, you know, the burning platform, you know, when you don't have a choice, and I'm reflecting on, you know, the premise of this conversation this podcast is moving from I have to do I choose to, but what I heard you say was actually, it can be as powerful when you have to when you have no choice. And so how do you help people reconcile, when they've obviously got choices, they could choose to quit or stay, they could choose to start a business or not start a business? There's no compelling platform, there's no, I have to do this. Any advice for those that are in that? Well, I've got a choice to make. I can choose to or not. So that you know, the energy the platform isn't quite there, any advice on how they might use that?
The other reflection that I used to use as a driver, motivater is I used to think, okay, when I'm 70-75, what do I want to look back on? And go at this point, in my life, where I was making this transition, what would I like myself to look back and go, you did it, you went for it, you made that change, or you played it a bit safe, and you stayed in the sport, and you could have kept going with this or you went a different path. And so part of me was, I used to go out in the future and go, Well, the cheesy question, what do you want for your life type thing. And whether it's you have to look at trying to imagine yourself as a 80 year old looking back at life and the choices that you make. That's one, that's one thing. The other, ultimately, the burning platform for me was I wanted to live in an area of Sydney, that's expensive on the Northern Beaches. And I knew the income that I was going to get from staying in the sport really coaching and moving into that was not going to provide the finances for me to enjoy the environment that I wanted to stay in. So and I had a family coming so I went Okay, so what can I do with where's it going to be initially a role a career where there's going to be an income that can support that there was a real rational point to it as well, right, around a dollars and cents things? Yeah, I want this in my life, being close to the ocean and the coast and staying in a big city well that comes with a cost. So where can I find something that's going to fulfill me as well satisfy those other things?
Cool look, Julien. I really appreciate the time. But more the candor and the transparency and the vulnerability, you've said things today I haven't heard before. So thank you for that. I'm going to finish if I could with just four or five quick fire questions you don't know what's coming so your first stop's your best stop. What's the thing you miss about the beach the most?
The after training dips in the ocean.
Cool, and what's the thing that you gain the most from moving into the life you're now in?
Confidence to hold my own in almost any corporate setting, which I would never thought would be something that I can say.
Cool. sunrise or sunset?
AFL or NRL?
Favorite Aussie word?
I like tickety boo. Or there's a lot of surf lingo go I can go to.
And what's a book that's changed your life?
Whoo. So there're a couple up here I'm looking at, a book that's changed my life. I feel really disappointed I can't answer this off the top of my head. I'm gonna have to pass on that Pete. I can't think of anything.
Okay, cool. Well, Julien, thank you. This has been for me it's been tickety boo.
You know what it means?
Yeah. Julien, thank you for this conversation.
Pleasure. Thanks, Pete.