I’ve really struggled to write about this episode of the podcast.
No doubt part of that struggle is due to the length of this episode (it is, by far, the longest conversation we’ve had to date).
But also because the conversation is with someone who has learnt how to deal with (real) fear and how to get back up when life (or your opponent) throws you to the canvas.
Nadine Champion is a Thai Boxing and Kickboxing Champion.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have any interest, whatsoever, in martial arts (and I tell Nadine this early in our conversation).
But this isn’t a conversation about martial arts.
It’s a conversation about a normal woman with big dreams trying to find a way through her fear and self-doubt, realising she was seeking approval and validation from her Sensei because she didn’t believe she was ‘enough’ and who (in order to achieve her goals inside the ring) had to confront the reality of who she was outside the ring.
These days, Nadine is a professional speaker after her talk at TEDx Sydney talk in 2015 (also, her first ever public speaking gig) produced a standing ovation and has since been described as one of the most memorable TEDxTalks of all time.
Nadine is also the author of a book called “10 Seconds of Courage” which has just been released. It’s a very real, raw, emotional and honest account of Nadine’s career as a kick boxer, her battle with cancer and her experience of letting her guard down (for once) when she walked onto the TEDxSydney stage.
In this conversation, we discuss:
* the importance of surrounding yourself with messages about the beliefs you choose to have,
* how she discovered martial arts,
* the sticker her Mum gave her when she was a little girl and the profound impact it had,
* how getting injured in her job as a security guard led her to Sensei Benny and some of the lessons he taught her throughout her career,
* practical strategies you can use to “change your thinking” when you’re in a situation you can’t control,
* how she used the “10 seconds of courage” principle she learnt from Sensei Benny to get through her most difficult day of cancer treatment,
* the question she asks herself when she’s afraid,
* why it’s important to speak your fears out loud,
* how to break a board with your bare hands (and it’s not how you think).
Some of my favourite quotes from this episode include:
When you put yourself in difficult situations, it doesn’t matter whether it’s at work or in an athletic situation or in a relationship situation, the type of character you have inherently within you comes to the fore when we’re under pressure.
When you can’t control what’s happening to you, when you can’t control a situation or how someone is treating you or the outcome…, the only thing you’re responsible for is how you respond to that situation.
Find the joy in it - regardless of how bad or difficult it might be.
Fear is just a boundary of uncomfortability that I’m setting for myself. It’s not necessarily a gut indication of danger. It’s an indication for me that I’m not comfortable doing something that, maybe if I did it, I might grow.
The way I gauge whether or not I move forward is: will I regret this later if I don’t do it?
If you don’t take the first step, you can never take the last step. But we get so focused on the last step, we never bother to take the first one.
There is honour in trying. It’s not always about winning. It’s not always about succeeding. There’s honour on giving stuff a go.
Notes and resources:
You can find details of Nadine's great book, 10 Seconds of Courage, here.
Nadine's TEDxSydney talk - 10 Seconds of Courage: Life Lessons from a Fighter
Brené Brown's TEDxTalk - The Power of Vulnerability