I can tend to have a blinkered approach to things once I’ve set my mind to something, I try to achieve it and ignore the self-doubt and maybe the potential doubts that can be expressed by other people.
I first met Julie Howle around 2010 or 2011.
I always knew she was a talented triathlete but never really knew the exact nature of her work (I knew it had something to do with cancer and surgery).
It was only recently when I was looking for a few skin cancer doctor that I became aware of Julie’s work.
She’s the Head of the Melanoma and Sarcoma Multidisciplinary Groups at Westmead Hospital here in Sydney. She is also a Clinical Senior Lecturer at The University of Sydney and has won a number of international academic medals, awards & scholarships.
Julie is also an Age Group World Champion triathlete, having won her AG at the ITU Long Distance World Championships in 2017.
Plus she’s a 2x finisher for the Hawaii Ironman in Kona (in 2017 and 2018).
So we start this conversation by exploring her childhood and whether she had a competitive spirit as a kid and the events around switching degrees at University that (and I quote) “laid the foundation for a lifetime of the imposter syndrome”.
We also discuss:
- how being resilient and focusing on her goals has helped Julie navigate her experience with the Imposter Complex,
- how the words “World Champion” sit with her,
- why she took almost 10 years from her first triathlon to do her first Ironman,
- her experience at her 1st Hawaii Ironman Championship in Kona and why being sick in the week leading up to the race was a good thing,
- how she’s realised getting stuck in ‘comparison’ ruins her enjoyment of the sport,
- how she balances life as a surgeon and triathlete,
- how she (as a melanoma specialist living here in Australia, a country with one of the highest rates of skin cancer) protects her skin from the sun while training and racing, and
- what you need to do to protect and monitor your skin.
Julie is such a softly spoken, humble and genuinely lovely woman.
I feel like she personifies the old saying ‘speak quietly and carry a big stick’ - the stick being her achievements, both on and off the sporting track.
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