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True North & Transferable Skills

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Today’s topic is something I probably don’t give myself enough credit for. In an attempt to avoid the arrogant/self-absorbed tag it is something I don’t talk about much. To be honest, I baulked at answering questions about it for a long time. 

In reality, its a part of my life I’m incredibly proud of and appreciative for. Upon reflection, it played a bigger part in my development than I realised. It is in a large part responsible for who I am and what I have today.

I was fortunate enough to play a high level of football for 6 years. I played 60 odd games of VFL at Collingwood Football Club. The club I grew up obsessing over, barracking for, and dreaming of playing for. During that time I also represented Victoria 3 x and won 4 Premierships with Frankston YCW.

I learnt a lot over this time. About my self, about others, about winning and losing, about failure and achievement. I had incredible coaches, the worlds best teammates, a bunch of lessons and memories which will last a lifetime.

Here’s the thing. I learnt more than I realised over those 6 years. (Not to mention the 12 years of football I played before starting at the pies). I was fortunate that a sport I loved taught me many transferrable skills I am now able to apply at work with my team. Self-direction and learning in business, and coaching. And with my friendships, relationships, goals, failures and achievements. 

When we take up a skill or start something new. Very rarely do we think about the universal uses of the lessons we learn. When we learn the piano we don’t think that maybe it will help us write a book in 20 years.

When we spend a few months labouring after school finishes we don’t realise how it can shape our work ethic for the rest of our life.

Everything we do can teach us not only how to transfer the skill to other areas of life, but how it can improve who we are, and our capacity as a human being. *Deliberate practice is the most important part of this improvement, but I’ll get into that in another blog.

One of my coaches at Collingwood, Dale Tapping, said something to me in my second season that has stuck with me ever since.

“Hard work has a funny way of paying you back”

Now, this is pretty simple information. But in its simplicity, and the delivery, I realised the universal application of this piece of advice. The more work you put in, the more you’ll get in return. It may not be today, it may not be next week, but one day you’ll be rewarded. 

I never made AFL. I was never good enough. I never won a VFL Premiership, but what I gained was more beneficial for my life. I gained an understanding of the importance of skills such as Discipline, commitment, leadership, communication, process orientation and deliberate practice. Just to name a few.

The funny thing is, all of these are teachable skills. So if I need to improve or teach someone else, the capacity to do so is there. Leaders aren’t born, they are made, and we all have the opportunity to be a leader.

These all serve me daily in my current roles, that 6 year period has become the foundation for what I’m trying to do in this gym, in our community, and in the world. 

Funnily enough, that hard work is paying me back, just in different ways to how I first anticipated. 

When Virtus first opened. I wanted to make the world a better place through health and fitness. Through teaching and empowering our clients and athletes how to be better versions of themselves.

I’m starting to realise that Performance Training, S&C and coaching is just a vehicle for this. It’s an excuse to have a bigger conversation around transcendence and evolution. It’s an opportunity to talk about how we can find our purpose and meaning.

My phrase for Purpose, Meaning and Growth is True North. 

True North is finding your ‘thing’ and creating a body of work to do your part in making the world a better place.

True North has three pillars. 

Discover | Cultivate | Evolve 

My goalposts are shifting. As a Coach, I love to help people get from where they are now, to where they want to be. In a health and fitness setting, where I’ve spent most of my working life. I’ve seen some incredible physiological and psychological transformations over the past eight years. 

What I’m starting to realise, is that the conversation needs to shift past squats, deadlifts, HIIT and Keto. And move towards how we can develop our edges to be more capable versions of ourselves, outside the four walls of a gym or workplace. 

My True North, is helping others discover, cultivate and evolve theirs. In conjunction with the incredible work that is happening at Torca Terrace, I’ll be launching True North over the next few weeks. 

A personal and professional evolution program to help you become the person you are destined to be.

I won’t be giving too much more away now. 

​But this will be one of the hardest things I’ve done, and I’m incredibly excited for the challenges and growth that lay ahead. 

How crazy and exciting and scary is life.

Be amazing. 

Watch this space


(Below: A bloody Wallace after probably (not) courageously going back with the flight to stop a certain goal or take a hanger, circa 2013)