A death-defying former Special Forces Sergeant and a double World Paratriathlon Champion shared the stage with inspirational speakers from business to challenge an influential audience to think their way to improved performance.
Jason Fox, who has starred the Channel 4 shows SAS: Who Dares Wins and Inside the Real Narcos since ending an action-packed military career, told business leaders from some of the top companies in the region how he defied the odds and intense emotional turmoil to succeed when lives were on the line.
Steve Judge told how he battled back after almost losing both his legs in a freak car accident, first rebuilding muscle, skin and bone to walk again and then powering to become World Paratriathlon Champion in 2011 and 2012.
Both men spoke of emotional resilience and of accepting challenges rather than fearing threats, and they were supported by mainstream motivational business speakers Leanne Spencer, founder of Bodyshot Performance, and Martin Johnson, CEO of Hull-based Trans2 Performance and the man behind the T2 Talks programme.
Key figures from businesses including KCOM, Siemens Gamesa, Smith and Nephew, MKM and Willerby attended the event billed as An Evening of Inspiration and Motivation and presented by Trans2 at The Deep.
Sue Murdoch, HR Director of KCOM, said: “We brought a total of 30 people from our businesses because we recognise that Martin and Trans2 can add value to what we do. Trans2 do a lot of work for us around culture, performance and leadership and they have made a massive impact on our business.
“The way Martin puts things across is very impactful – he gets under the skin of a business. Also he’s from Hull and we are a Hull business. Helping other Hull businesses to succeed is an important part of what we are about. We want to help him succeed because he’s helping us succeed.”
Martin, who launched T2 Talks in 2015 as part of his human performance business, urged the audience to encourage their staff to operate in a challenge state rather than a threat state and to focus on what they want to achieve.
He said: “We have got to stop worrying about stress and worrying about worry. As leaders in business you carry the greatest influence over putting people in a challenge or threat state. Stop focusing on what you want people to avoid.”
Steve Judge, a former mechanical engineer and maintenance fitter in a coal mine, told how he used his skills to adapt an exercise bike to enable him to pedal even when his right leg was in a protective cage. He embarked on a new career as a gold medal-winning athlete and built his own business as a speaker and a life coach.
He said: “When people told me I couldn’t do something I found a way. Don’t lean on your excuses. Turn your excuses into challenges. There’s no such thing as failure, only feedback. When you struggle to reach your gold, don’t change the gold, change the plan.”
Leanne Spencer spoke about the frustration of working for a market data company in the City of London, where she was bored and unfulfilled, drinking too much and overweight. She resigned and changed her life.
She called for the introduction of a health charter and flexible working to tackle the “isms” which threaten productivity – absenteeism, presenteeism when people turn up but don’t work, and leave-ism, committed by people who work when they should be on holiday.
She said: “We need businesses to change the way they work and to factor wellbeing into what they do. It’s not fluffy stuff that’s nice to do, it’s absolutely essential and a proven competitive advantage.”
Jason Fox, who joined the Royal Marines at 16 before progressing to the Special Boat Service and spending 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan, took the audience into his confidence with a gripping account of a top secret military operation.
The relevance was the need to overcome the dangerous emotions of fear and helplessness in the most perilous scenarios, and to act to change the situation.
He said: “We concentrated on the challenge. There was always a threat but we never thought about it. I keep looking for the next challenge. It’s not about what the dangers are, it’s not about the threat. It’s about the challenge and how you are going to achieve it.”
Freya Cross, Business and Corporate Manager at The Deep, said: “Martin launched T2 Talks here three years ago and the latest event demonstrated how he has developed a fascinating concept and created something which is of high value to every business.
“These high calibre events have helped Trans2 Performance progress from an unknown start-up at The Deep Business Centre to become a leader in its field, with the credibility to impress some of the biggest companies in the region.”
[Phil Ascough – Ascough Asociates]