Today our guest is Joelie Chisholm, The Chair of GB Climbing’s Competition and Performance Group and the executive director of the Boat Race company. Throughout her career, she has held many senior positions at the national sports organization level. These include Water Polo Australia, Australian Taekwondo, and Rowing Australia.
Joelie’s passion for sport spanned several disciplines, and it's fair to say that sport at the highest level has been central to her life and career. Today we chat with Joelie about performance mindset, what it takes to be a leader in the upper echelons of sports management, and how the lessons from her sporting career have influenced both her professional and personal life.
Joelie’s recommended reading
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
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And we will be back next week with another episode to discover more, - Tales from the Top.
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Thanks for listening to the show, if you would like to find out more about Kyron Audio or Deverson Design and how we can create bespoke Luxury environments and experiences in your life, you’re more than welcome to book a call with our principals through our websites, kyronaudio.com.au or deversondesign.com.au or follow us on our socials, links are in the description.
And we will be back next week with another episode to discover more, - Tales from the Top.
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Lee Gray 00:00
Welcome to Tales from the top. So many are striving for success. But how do you define it? What's it really like and what happens when you get there? Join me, Lee Gray, Co-founder of Kyron Audio, creators of ultimate home music systems, and my co host Jay Deverson, founder of Deverson design, creators of unique luxury environments. As we celebrate the lives and achievements of those who have dared to dream big and have reached incredible heights. We delve into what drives them now the challenges that they face and discuss the unexpected Tales from the top. Today, our guest is jolly Chism, the vice chair of GB climbing is competition and performance group, and the executive director, boat race company. Throughout her career she has held many senior positions at the national sports organization level. These include water polo, Australia, Australian Taekwondo and rowing Australia, Jolie's passion for sport spanned several disciplines, and it's fair to say that sport at the highest level has been central to her life and career. Today, we chat with John Lee about performance mindset, what it takes to be a leader in the upper echelons of sports management, and how the lessons from her sporting career have influenced both her professional and personal life. Joey, thank you for joining us.
Joelie Chisholm 01:09
Oh, it's a pleasure to be here.
Lee Gray 01:11
Thank you. I was hoping we could start with you telling us about how your love affair with sport began.
Joelie Chisholm 01:18
Yeah, so as you alluded to, it's been something right through my life. And I think now it's part of my DNA. And it started my earliest memories from when I was about three years old when my grandfather turned up in our backyard with a black Shetland pony called Sally. And I was instantly smitten.
It just turned up came home one day from work one day, and there it was. A horse. Yep, I'm gonna get that for my grandchildren.
Joelie Chisholm 01:50
Yeah, he led her in. I don't know if this had been a plot with my dad. And I don't know if my mom was in on it, but I was instantly smitten.
Jayde Deverson 02:00
Yeah, wonderful. Great.
Joelie Chisholm 02:03
And just, I think I was born and grew up in the Lake District. And just we were outside all the time. Basically, the mantra of our family was if it's not bucketing with rain, you are outside. We would ride around the house and we had bikes and scooters and we would create games and most of the time they would revolve around something in question. So I remember building showjumping courses in the backyard and jumping over them and racing my sisters we pretended to be horse and rider, we would pretend, so she would run around pretending to be a horse and rider and then I would run around pretending to be a horse and rider. Yeah, and just I think me and my sister just had so much energy and when we got to school, we were pulled into every sport and just wanted to have a go at every sport. So I'm quite tall. And I think that makes me a prime target for being persuaded to do most sports but to be honest, it didn't take much persuading. I was in everything was good or bad as I was at it, I'd have a go.
Jayde Deverson 03:27
That's great. That's a great attitude.
Lee Gray 03:29
You grew up with horses too, didn't you Jayde?
Jayde Deverson 03:31
I did. My sister was into showjumping and various equestrian events and from about age of six first horse ride thrown on a horse and I spent half my time hanging out around the front of its neck as a horse took me for a ride. I think I was just an appendage that made the horse feel good. But yes, I've ridden pretty much I became a professional rider for for a little while. And yes, grown up with horses. But that's another story about evolving into one or two things, which is a question I'll get back to you later. But there's there's more to go on with at the moment.
Joelie CH 04:12
Yeah, so when I was at primary school age about eight having said I was tall, they pulled me into the netball team and then alongside the horses netball was another sport I stuck with and went on all the way through into uni with my netball the horses were my first love and I show jumped and I never got to professional level but I show jumped and had a lot of fun doing that. But when I went to uni because I lived to I will be living away from home during term time time. I felt it was unfair to my parents to ask them to look after my horse for that period of time for me to have all the fun when I came back in the holidays. So I'm afraid my Horses went when I went to uni.
Lee Gray 05:05
Is show jumping as dangerous as it looks?
Jayde Deverson 05:08
Only if you fall off.
Joelie Chisholm 05:11
yeah, I've done that a lot of times. Yeah. I think it's it is dangerous. You're on a very large animal that has a brain of its own. Trying to navigate over obstacles for me it was never as dangerous as cross country. Because always was shoulder basically hit the jumps, they fell down. Whereas when I was doing cross country back in the 80s, if you hit those, that was they didn't fall down. It's very different now are very different. But yeah, cross country used to freak me out a bit, because there was literally no room for error.
Jeyde Deverson 05:46
That's what I enjoyed a lot was cross country. It was very challenging. And I think to a boy, who grew up with horses, and surrounded by girls who were in the pony club, cross country seem to me at the age of 14, like I was, I was the man. And it's a bit of a show off thing.
Lee Gray 06:13
So the horses went, what happened next.
Joelie Chisholm 06:17
So at uni again. I went to Cambridge, I was one of the first people I went from high school to get into Oxford or Cambridge. I went to King's College. And as beautiful as it was, it was not a sporting college at the time. And so pretty much when I walked in, and they find out I was on the university netball team. I was asked to do everything. I refused because I had to manage my time I was doing a science degree. And I did actually have to go to lectures and attend practicals. And I had three lectures on a Saturday morning. So it was okay. It was I had to say no to a few things. But after about 18 months, a friend of mine persuaded to get in a boat. And that there began my love affair with rowing. Yep. And I had a lot of fun. And I took over as captain year after because my friend Lee who am actually still one of my best friends now. She left so someone else had to take over the reins. And yeah, continued rowing throughout university, got into the development squad for the blue boat, never actually made it to the boat race. But I still had a lot of fun and a lot of great people who I had the great pleasure of being able to reconnect with this past weekend at the boat race through my role as being a director on the board of the boat race company. So that was really special this weekend.
Jayde Deverson 08:01
So what was your discipline?
Joelie Chisholm 8:04
In rowing? Everything and anything.
Lee Gray 08:08
Isn't the boat races eight?
Joelie Chisholm 08:13
So a lot of the university rowing is in eights, and never often go much smaller than a four unless you're trying to get in the Great Britain team. I'm saying that, that was my experience. It may have changed a bit now. But I did everything. Right from single school all the way up to eight on both sides.
Jayde Deverson 08:34
Fours would be the smallest team with a Cox, wouldn't it?
Joelie Chisholm 08:38
Yes. Now although in the 90s there was the Coxed pair.
Lee Gray 08:46
So, Joelie. Can you tell us a bit about the boat? The boat race has got an incredible history.
Joelie Chisholm 08:55
Oh, an incredible history. And so this year, so the 76th Women's boat race and the 129th I think men's boat race. And so it's a really old, well established iconic event. And it is really unique. I think what I hadn't appreciated that I really got to appreciate this year was the way it brings the London community together. So in the morning, getting my caffeine hit before, you know I had to hit the ground sprinting. I went to a local coffee shop run by an Italian family. They were so excited. They had light blue dark blue balloons up they had backdrops for people to take photos. They were so excited and they saw me with my top on that said boat race event crew. They're asking all kinds of questions. We can't believe it's back on the tideway we've missed it so much. This is such a great event. It's the only time we get to see all our friends and family in one place at the same time, and it's a real boost for our business, and I think I just hadn't appreciated that.
Jayde Deverson 10:11
Yeah. Based on that the really big and extremely important question about that. Did you have to pay for your coffee?
Joelie Chisholm 10:21
I did, actually. I did. I did get in a proper cup, but they weren't serving anyone else in the box.
Lee Gray 10:32
But makes all the difference. But there's almost a quarter of a million people, isn't it their turns up to the event?
Joelie Chisholm r 10:37
Yeah. It's the second largest spectator event in the UK. Well, yeah, it's enormous.
Lee Gray 10:43
And when you say old, I mean, I was a little bit of reading prior to this. It's 1829. I mean, is there many other other sporting events out there that are even close to that?
Jayde Deverrson 10:55
Tax evasion is one.
Joelie Chisholm 10:59
I think so. I think there's probably some other rowing events. I can't remember off the top of my head when Henley Royal Regatta started, but that would be up there as well. I would assume they're probably some rugby events up there. And if you take football, I'm not sure when the FA Cup started. But that would have been fairly early. But I think rowing I think we I think there's a lot of historical sporting stuff that we kind of lose the gravitas of so the rowing was so got the boat race that holds this really old and beautiful British tradition. There was the World Championships and rowing was a purely amateur sport. It really was you know, the plucky amateur. If you were in any way professional, you weren't allowed to do it. And in actual fact, there were quite a lot of professional scholars and rowers who competed for money, and in my time with rowing, I actually helped resurrect one of those events, which was the Thames world schooling challenge with the legendary Peter Haining a very well known British oarsmen that he tried to resurrect and I helped and and that moved away too but yeah, there's such a tradition with rowing things like the doggets caught and badge for the best water man. It's still called water man, even though it's water person. Yeah, which is all kinds of watercraft. So yeah, rowing does have an amazing, an amazing history.
Lee Gray 12:40
I mean, your sporting interests didn't finish there. Did they Come on. What was next?
Joelie Chisholm 12:50
So I was rowing in London when I left university and working in London, met my husband there. Unfortunately, I got injured rowing quite a severe back injury and through the rehab of that I was doing a lot of swimming, and cycling. And I wanted to kind of hark back to my horse riding days and try to do modern pentathlon. So I was doing I picked up the air pistol again, when I did it, it was still 10 me to air pistol on one of these fancy running and stopping.
Lee Gray 13:25
just hit another question? Right? Yeah.
Joelie Chisholm 13:29
Yeah. So try to do that but trying to piece together five sports in London was pretty hard work. So actually went into triathlon. The travel would be huge, though, wouldn't it? Yeah, so fencing was a simple school an old school on the banks and the Thames. The riding was out outside in the Greenbelt. The shooting was this little secret place in Wimbledon. This to me was wherever I could get in a pool. And it was a bit lonely. So I actually joined to tryatholon for the swimming and the running part and then got into cycling anyway, because there's a rower, you tend to do quite a bit of cycling as cross training. And then when I started doing the triathlon and actually learned to swim properly. That'll be an alien concept to you as Aussies.
Lee Gray 14:23
Joelie Chisholm 14:26
Yeah. I did the triatholon and I realised that I wasn't too shabby. And someone mentioned to me how there was this age group section of track on you could represent your country. I thought, Wow, I'm never gonna get to represent my country any other way. I'll leave the elite stuff and the Olympic stuff to my husband. But it'd be pretty cool to pull on a red white and blue trisuit and race for Great Britain. Yeah. So that's what I that's what I did. And then when I moved to Australia in 2004, I kept going and the government at the time didn't oh maybe shouldn't be saying this out loud, didn't differentiate whether your age group athlete or an elite athlete so I got my citizenship, fast tracked and managed to represent Australia as well. Age Group triathlon.
Jayde Deverson 15:23
Did you bring glory to Australia?
Joelie Chisholm 15:26
I did better for Australia than I did for Great Britain.
Jayde Deverson 15:30
Excellent, then you were completely and utterly justified.
Joelie Chisholm 15:36
And then my husband at the time was in the Australian rowing team, and he was going to the Beijing Olympics. And then he went on to the London Olympics as well. And that was when doing the three sports became quite tricky because a lot of the rowing so a lot of the rowing international competition is in Europe, so we were spending big chunk so and he was spending big chunks of his time in Europe. And at that point, we decided it was time for us to start a family so I'm afraid triathlon got dropped down to running mainly because running is extremely time efficient out the door train is on do you run in the door train is off. You don't know. No, none of these bike fast growing fast. Yeah, so So that was the running and I don't always run cause whenever you're short on time, like I said runnings, really effective way of doing training. And yeah, so runnings been throughout and then being in Sydney kind of miss being on the water. So jumped on a stand up paddleboard, kind of jumped on the bandwagon with that, and really enjoyed that met a great bunch of people made lots of good friends through that and just such a brilliant way to see Sydney and beyond the harbor and see the harbor from different aspects that you just don't get to see it from just be at a good pace.
Jayde Deverson 17:10
No traffic, yeah, really good.
Joelie Chisholm 17:13
Yeah, no, just a few ferries, but
Lee Gray 17:19
At least they didn't have the hydrofoil that would be dangerous. But back to your running. I saw you participate in an event called the Lakeland 50. Could you tell us a bit about that?
Joelie Chisholm 17:30
Yes. So last July, I did the Lakeland 50 which is a 50 mile ultra endurance running event in the Lake District. Now you might think, Oh, my goodness. 50 mile that's 80 kilometers for the Aussies out there. Up and down mountains. 3100 meters of ascent? I actually have to say
Jayde Deverson 17:53
Is it 3100 in one hit? 3100 In one, is that one single climb?
Joelie Chisholm 18:00
No ]There's two big climbs.
Lee Gray 18:04
Yeah, if you if you look at the graph, I've seen a graph of the distance over inclination. And it looks like a Bitcoin graph. It's Crazy. The spikes. Yeah. I felt a little bit nauseous when I saw it.
Jayde Deverson 18:19
Lakes district is magnificent. But for me, the best way is on the motorcycle, not on foot.
Joelie Chisholm 18:27
Yeah, it's a really special event. And you know, people look at it and awe like you have to be honest, there is every shape size age, background of person who stands on the start line. It was utterly incredible. And I think the reason I did that was big story as well. Running. Like I said, it's been a constant throughout my sporting career, but it's also something that's really important for my mental health. It is my meditation, and I'm a bit injured at the moment. So I'm a bit agitated, because I can't get out running. But when I moved back to the UK, march 2020, and then November 2019, my mom was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. And I came over at Christmas to help care for her. And it was a real opportunity to reconnect with my sister as well. And we both recognize that through this extremely difficult period, we needed something to keep us going. And we joined in the Sunday social runs with the Cumberland fell running group. And that was just incredible. And we kept doing it and my sister she was a junior international badminton player and has kept fit through her life as well. And she has done a lot of running. She has two younger children than mine and, and runs a lot and we just looked at this event And then, you know, lockdown happened and mum passed away two years ago tomorrow actually. And she, we just kept running and it was really useful for both of us to help us with the grieving process. Yep. And in lockdown, all these iconic events got canceled, and the Lakeland 50 got changed to a virtual event. So we said, Well, why don't we do it? It's raising money for charity. It'd be a good excuse for us to run together. Let's see if we can do it. So you had a week to do it in? Um, we were doing it and we were we tried to replicate the event not in the Lake District. But the distances for each stage. No, no. Outside. We could go outside by this point.
Jayde Deverson 20:51
Oh, I presume from when you said virtual that you were on a treadmill or something? Screen Oh,
Joelie Chisholm 20:57
No, we, we could be outside. Yeah. But um, I remember she came down because we were allowed to visit and family bubbles at that point. And she came down and did a couple of the legs with me. And I think we got to do five and we both looked at each other and went, surely this would be easier to do in one go.
Lee Gray 21:17
The over he is in Yeah.
Joelie Chisholm 21:20
So I entered for the following year when the event was back on. Unfortunately, Gemma couldn't she's a teacher and was back at school when the entries were open and and so began my journey to the Lakeland 50. And I think it's the biggest, one of the best things I've ever done. I discovered so much about myself, and met a new community and could draw on expertise from friends as well. I have a really good friend who's an ultra runner too. I think he kind of started doing it, his son died. And it was something that really helped him too. And it wasn't because of that, that I did it. It just so happened the same the same kind of way. And met, I decided that despite all my sporting knowledge and expertise, I didn't have any in Ultra running and that real long distance stuff. Yeah, recommended a coach to me, Kim Collison, who's the GB Ultra athlete and has just won the northern traverse, which is the Wainwright's coast to coast, which is 300 kilometers. So there are truly crazy people out there. And we've developed a really lovely supportive friendship as well. So it's been amazing. Yeah, really, really fantastic thing.
Lee Gray 22:55
Sorry, you mentioned that you learned things about yourself what what kind of things did you learn about yourself through that experience?
Joelie Chisholm 23:02
That I am capable of a lot more than I ever imagined and that I am really good at following a process. And I'm really good at making decisions under pressure. I think so I was training for the race following Kim's program all going really well. We were making tweaks here and there and then then the final run up I developed a few niggles. So I had an achy back, the back of my right knee was hurting. My Achilles was starting to grumble as well. And literally two weeks from the race. I didn't know whether I was going to get to the start line, and then the week before the race. So hip hop, she getting injuries in stupid ways. So hairdressers weren't open. So I was cutting my husband and my son's 12 year old boy doesn't sit this stillest so he was wriggling and I was putting around his ear and I had to dodge so I didn't clip his ear and I hurt my back like I really hurt my back.
Jayde Deverson 24:19
I'm laughing because I cut my boys ear as well before, you know as they're getting older and and I thought there's a bit of an incident and like a little bit close. And I cut my son's ear off. It was either that or hurt my back. But of course, yeah, you chose to avoid cutting your Sunday or well, done you. That's impressive.
Joelie Chisholm 24:40
Yes. So um, I was just gonna say I couldn't really walk properly. And this was a week from the race, my lord. So. I know. So I just decided to nurse my way through it and I think an awful lot of re-framing went on in my head. And when you've done sport in any kind of level, or any sport really and pushed yourself a bit, you get very good at reframing. So I remember rowing, doing two kilometer aerobics and every fiber in my body hurting apart from my eyelashes. So that's what I would focus on. So you get really good at reframing and seeing the positives in things. And I think that week, I realized that standing on the start, that line of the Lakeland 50 Wasn't the start of the race. The start of this journey had been November 2019, when my mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer. And so that really helped because I just came to the conclusion that I stood on the start line and took one step, I'd already achieved enough. If I stood on the start line and got to 10 kilometers, I'd done brilliantly. And I think that attitude just released all the pressure and all the tension, and hence, I got to the finish line.
Lee Gray 26:06
Yeah. So you just got to enjoy the process.
Joelie Chisholm 26:09
Yeah, I did. And I really followed the process and trusted the process interested my body and thought about instances where my body has helped me out before then just drew on that to get to the finish line.
Lee Gray 26:22
I was wonder if we could just change gears and talk a bit about your career and how you made your start as a chief executive.
Joelie Chisholm 26:30
Yes, so, um, like I said, I think sport's in my DNA, and it's given me and my family so much, I've always wanted to give back and I've used it I've done a lot of that through volunteering, whether it being coaching or being on club committees and things. And I think I was treasurer of a club when the lottery funding came in, in the UK, and sport all of a sudden went from these pretty amateur, totally run by volunteers and well meaning people to a multi multi million pound business. So these are like the Olympic sports, then on professional sports. And I really saw I'm, I'm an accountant by training, and made my way to CEO through Finance Director and CFO and COO roles. But I really saw a gap in the professional skill sets of the people that were trying their utmost to run these multimillion pound businesses. And I just kept chipping away and chipping away got turned back a lot. I heard so many times you haven't got any sports administration experience. It took a new board at TrackAustralia who was about to go bankrupt, to kind of see that they didn't need to Experienced Sports administrators, they needed professionals with relevant experience and qualifications. And brought me in as the General Manager of corporate services, I think was my official title. And then it went on from there. And I kind of had this target in my mind of wanting to be a CEO of a national sporting organization by my 40th birthday, and took a slightly sick Acuitas route to get there. So when I left triathlon Australia was actually was my maternity leave for my second child and also supporting my husband at the London Olympics. And after that, I took a sideways step back to a finance director role at rowing Australia. And that was a newly created role and its financial and operational processes at time needed, needed a bit of modernization. And then from there, that was what allowed because that allowed me to take my step up to CEO in Australian Taekwondo. And
Jayde Deverson 29:09
How did you get there? Yeah, are you? So beyond all of this? Were you a provisional brown belt by the time you're 11 in Taekwondo and just thought one day, or, or is it purely a business role?
Joelie Chisholm 29:27
purely a business role. So I've never done Taekwondo. I'm actually working at rowing Australia because I was rowing. My husband had been in the rowing team. Yeah. When I was sat in the boardroom, and there are pictures of the world champions around the walls. And your husband is staring at you from one of those pictures. and your best friends. It's pretty difficult to make challenging decisions.
Jayde Deverson 29:59
To do that. or is it inspiring I see if I was doing that my wife was an I was in a management role. And I saw my wife on a photograph in that environment and that she was one of my wife says, is in. She's quite a champion too. And I have a lot of respect for in her design industry. So if I saw that, I would be inspired. And I think that's the thing that's helping me get there. Did that do that for you, as well? Did it? Did it challenge you and inspire you?
Joelie Chisholm 30:30
Yeah, it did. So it was inspiring, because I really felt that rowing had given me and my family so much, and my husband, if I hadn't had growing there, it really was inspiring. And seeing all these people I knew very well, and were very dear to me, was inspiring, but equally knowing that some of the decisions that you were making were going to affect their livelihood was pretty challenging. You actually cared as well. Yeah, I don't do things by half. I'm a I'm a all in person. And when I'm all in, I'm all in with everything.
Jayde Deverson 31:09
Do you think you needed to say that we kind of work that out? It comes through.
Joelie Chisholm 31:18
So I find it quite difficult. And I think being one step removed from a sport allows you to see things from a different angle. And I'm also a naturally curious person. And you ask lots of questions and find things out. And while your question, Jayde, there really challenged me? And did I find it inspiring as well, I think by me asking what some people would have considered the obvious questions really challenged them too. So I see tremendous value in being curious as well.
Lee Gray 31:53
Yeah, I see that. Yeah, in the business world with mentors, it's quite often you get your best advice from those that aren't in the same field as you. So I think that definitely, that's important
Jayde Deverson 32:06
Definitely, that's interesting. You're saying that because, you know, I'll go back to the relationship that my wife, my wife, and I met 1987. And I went into interior design, because I wanted to meet a nice girl, and I and I did, it seemed a bit superficial as an 18 year old, but she's my best friend. And we're still married. And she tolerates me, she's tolerated me all these years. So I find her an extraordinarily inspiring person, her natural talent or ability, I see great parallels between what Carrie has done and what you have done in so much is that she has fought and work to get where she is. And that's what you've done, you fought hard and work to get where you are. And I look at her, and it has inspired and brought me up, and it's made me feel better. So I feel that I'm a better person for having met and known my wife. And I attribute a lot of my success to that. So I think yes, when you meet that person, whether it's in your personal relationship, or in your professional relationship, and I don't really know what the difference is anymore. A relationship's a relationship. When you find that inspirational person, they can lift and elevate you. So high. And I wonder that perhaps what you have achieved has actually been a leverage for how many people how many younger people, older people to have actually just had a go themselves? Who have you inspired? Who was the person that other people that you have inspired that have gone into great things?
Joelie Chisholm 33:55
Oh, yeah, I think before I say you I've inspired I think your storytelling about your wife really resonates with me, because my husband Rod and I are exactly the same. I think we will both say that our our whole is far greater than the sum of our individual parts. I don't think he would have gone on to be an Olympian without me being there behind him, because yes, success of one person is not due to one person. It's a team, right?
Jayde Deverson 34:27
It's a combination of many, many things.
Joelie Chisholm 34:30
Yeah, yeah. But going back to people who I've inspired, I think there's a couple and someone said to me quite recently that one of my great gifts is being an enabler. And I'd never looked at it like that. It was just to me it was just saying what I saw. So I remember honestly, come into it. Yeah, definitely. A girl came to a girl a woman came to Australia from the UK, and she joined at a triathlon group and I was helping coach at this point in time. And she'd been track athlete, I think she was a 400 meter hurdler. And as it turned out, we were connected because I'd played netball at Cambridge with her older sister, who played netball for England, amazing athletes, she could have done anything, netball was just her chosen path. And I just saw something in Laura, here name's Laura, that I hadn't, you don't see many people just this real love of what she was doing, but also a determination to get better. And she's now a professional triathlete, Laura Siddell. She's won multiple Ironman distance events. And she's now going on to inspire the next group of female athletes. And we're still in touch. And to know that, I've done that, and the cascade effect of that is, is huge, really huge. And I think she's one that sticks out in, in my mind. I think through sports administration, I don't know. I think Australia is still developing that side about inspiring young people to get into it. Because it's hard, right? You are dealing with the most passionate people on the planet, whose passion is, like you say, inspiring and challenging, because sometimes it's not harnessed in the right way. And it's really difficult dealing with that. So I hope I've inspired more when I was at Taekwondo, I didn't realize it at the time until someone showed me an article that Gideon Haygood written in the Australian press that I was one of only two female CEOs of Olympic sports in Australia. And then I know and then when I got to water polo, I was one of six.
Jayde Deverson 37:07
And I wonder is that because we coming out of a period where we have everything was people chose what they did, because of how they were brought up. And boys would do rough things and girls would do nice things. And now we have a world which is where we can all be people we don't have to be. It's not that it's not the gender that decides what we must or mustn't do. It's the heart, it's the emotion. It's the passion that decides that. So all of a sudden, now we have this great freedom as a as a as a people to actually decide our own choice and not have to be restrained by what the pastor said we can and can't do. So we really are our generation really are on that on the edge of the precipice of an evolution of the human condition that allows us to be what we want. And I think you epitomized that from what you've said you epitomised the that break, that that powerful break and that movement forward to personal evolution that is not restrained. And it's people of our generation. Must we have enough we have an obligation to inspire the next generation to say cast off the shackles of what was and move forward into what you as your spirit tells you not not what's on your birth certificate board or on your spirit tells you you need to be and and I think that where you are? Yeah, that's very impressive.
Joelie Chisholm 38:55
Thank you. I hadn't thought about it like that. I think I've never seen being a woman as being an obstacle, apart from any obstacles that I decided to create for myself.
Jayde Deverson 39:08
Yeah, definitely. Although we are we are we are only limited by our own or by our own perception of what others think and expect of us.
Joelie Chisholm 39:18
Yeah, I think I had a sister. I don't know if it's because I had a sister and there were no boys around. Yeah, that were just cracked on and did what we did. My dad had some bikes from age three, my granddad Maria and a pony from age three. My sister was racing BMX's, I think, our first motocross bikes at about six. You know, it just we just did and it was never seen as what we didn't do. But interestingly, my family back in the early 80s. Yeah. But we were quite a patriarchal family. It was like the men did this and the women did this. But Interestingly, my parents enabled me and my sister to go on and do whatever we wanted to do.
Jayde Deverson 40:07
So it was a Patriarchal society. I, it sounds like that, possibly, if you had brothers, you might have been in the shadow. But because they weren't brothers, it was. I want this to move ahead. And I want to share all of these great things. And I've got these great girls, and I want them to be honored that everything's so by them horses by the motorbikes get out and do cool things.
Joelie Chisholm 40:34
Yeah. Yeah, I don't know. It's fascinating. Because like I said, my family was quite patriarchal. There was a lot of No, I'm your father or grandfather, and I know when you will do this. And maybe the rebel in me went, no, actually, I want to do this. So I'm gonna go and do it. And you can't stop me. So maybe that was a real positive? Yeah, I don't know. I don't know,
Lee Gray 41:03
Would it? Would it be fair to say that the bigger obstacle than as opposed to gender, for your breaking through is just lack of experience and that, you know, ridiculous thing where people expect you to have experienced before you possibly could even happen? Was that fair to say?
Joelie Chisholm 41:21
Yeah. And that still happens now.
Lee Gray 41:24
It's crazy. It's a crazy thing. I'd like to talk a bit about high performance mindset, because obviously, this is a this is a big part.
Jayde Deverson 41:34
I think you're my mentor now, I think I've found my inspiration.
Lee Gray 41:42
It ticks every box for you. I think every interest that she's listed on you've done and I've been biting my tongue going, I know that you've been, I've just I've just as much as you.
Jayde Deverson 41:53
I think I've just found my best friend.
Lee Gray 41:56
But I was I was gonna relate a story we previously interviewed David Brabham, obviously, you know, the famous Formula One driver. And sorry. And David's not alone himself, but he's his father Jack, is Formula One. David did some incredible things in Lemon, and the list is long as you're out and the difficulties. Yeah, it's just incredible. Yeah. But Jack Brabham had this saying and he said he would just pointed his head and he goes, looks on this just it's all in here, this game. It's just all in here. And he also showed this incredible story with us about the 89' Grand Prix. And how he had this massive argument with his dad, and he hadn't spoken to him for I don't know, it was a couple of months or something prior. And it was something about when he got his wife pregnant and all that kind of stuff and told him he will never be a Formula One driver. And this just galvanized him. It was like, right, then I'm going to insert explained to show you, and but he talks about, you know how he managed to keep that incredible focus as well. And, and then he talked about how he uses that, mindset in his business career. And I was wondering if you have, you know, similar lessons that you've learned through your sporting career that you now apply into your business career?
Joelie Chisholm 43:31
Oh, gosh, yes. And as you said before, we are people and you said about the relationships not being separate. I'm still Joelie whether I'm doing sport or doing business. So I think the principles from both absolutely cross over 100% agree it's, you know, a lot of this stuff had performances a lot in your head. Even my daughter recognized that she was watching a TV program the other day, and they said, Oh, and these athletes are have these physical, you know, benefits. But where does it really come from? And she's nine and said, it's in your head? I thought. I hope that's my role modeling. Not something she's watched on TV show or something, but it was. Yeah, and I think as well as the mental side, there's obviously you know, the the ones that everyone say that the grit, the resilience. For me, the one thing that's really helped me is being able to trust and follow a process, especially when things get hard, or can seem insurmountable. So that real attitude of just put one foot in front of the other. How do you climb Everest? You put one foot in front of the other.
Jayde Deverson 44:57
Same as eating an elephant, one bite at a time.
Joelie Chisholm 45:00
Yeah, one bite at a time. Absolutely. And I think I also have a very strong sense of what's right and wrong. And I wonder sometimes if that's come from sports binary outcomes, so you read the first across the line, or you're not. I wonder, and I have a really strong moral compass. And I will always endeavour to do the right thing, even if it's a harder thing. Yeah. And I think when you spoke about the inspiration from people, when I was sat looking at their photos, that definitely inspires me to do that, I will do the right thing, even if It's the hard thing. And so the, I think there are things I really do take on both sides in the sport and the business sense.
Jayde Deverson 45:59
Is there a difference? We know a lot of people talk about, don't worry, it's only business or, don't take it personally. It's business. Yeah. What is the difference? What is the I don't see the difference? business and personal life? How do you differentiate other than on a spreadsheet? It's not when you put your if you're an employee, or if you have a business and you're not really interested, and you're purely there for money, then possibly, but if you are passionate, if you're involved, and you're engaged in what you do, like I am with my business, I know Lee is with his what is the difference? There is no separation? Passionate, devotion to your business or to your personal pursuits. You can't say that if someone said to me Mr. Deverson, we've decided to shut down your business, but don't take it personally. I'd be as offended about that as if somebody said, Mr. Deverson we're going to take your family away, and we don't have anymore I would be pretty damn cross. And you can't differentiate. So what you've done in your, in your sporting and your professional and business life. To me, it sounds like your passion, your enthusiasm and your engagement. Everything you do is all external. It's all from the heart. It's it's not from the it's not from the pocket book. It's from your heart. Is that fair?
Joelie Chisholm 47:40
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. I don't I yeah, I can't. I don't understand people who work just for money, or status, or whatever. I've often had people say to me, you know, you could have been finance director of this company and that company and earning, you know, half a million pounds a year and blah, blah, blah. Like, but I wouldn't go home happy. Yes, I wouldn't be showing my children what it really means to work with passion and strive to do what you do to make it better for the people who share your passion. Yeah. Yeah, I can't. It's been interesting, coming back to the UK and picking up non executive roles. And I'm now starting to look at executive roles. And I have looked outside and I can't do it. I can't put the application in. Can't do it. I have to stay in sport.
Jayde Deverson 48:42
God, tell me I have to say you come back from you've you've grown up in lakes district. And yeah, one of the early films that I mentioned, swallows and Amazons. Yeah. Because my children, my sons are now 19 and 20. And, sorry, 19 or 21. And when they were little they used to watch as they you said swallows and Mason's because, because that language, and I think they watched it 500 times. I watched it three.
Lee Gray 49:18
And you still couldn't remember the title.
Jayde Deverson 49:23
Watch the show. And I watched it the first three times I thought, this is heart and emotion like the flexing boys. That BBC show and then the Skippy. And it's all of those things combined. And then the next 497 times was in five minutes segments. But what that did that did and I think about lose the the train of thought, but what that did was create this this wonderful association with a certain period of time, and a wonderful Association with evolution and adventure and excitement. And my boys, both of them have gone on. My oldest son Sebastian was a national under 16 fencing champion. My young son, Jeremy was a gymnastics champion. And they are both now at university and film. And so they have a devotion. And again, they don't separate the personal from the business. If you separate that, it means that I think that you're disconnected from whatever it is you do for a business, it just seems to be a means to an end, as opposed to a way to live. How were you living with? And now the decision where you have to try and transfer from all this passionate stuff you've done? You've gone from England or Australia and the back to home again? How do you? How do you now battle that? I can't, I don't want to do this thing. This is not my passion, but I do have to get a job. Where do you go?
Joelie Chisholm 51:15
I am fortunate in that I have had the opportunity to my husband and I have had the opportunity to set up our lives in such a way that we can give ourselves time and space to find the things that we're passionate about. So, And that's been a very conscious path in our lives. So I haven't had to go and get a job. I now feel ready to get a job. And ideally, I want to go and get a job where it's irrelevant if I take a pay packet home at the end of the month, or not. I've taken my time to explore, and try and find my tribe and organizations and people that I am passionate about and passionate about the direction they're taking them in. And that's a slow process. And I've made mistakes on the way. But I've also discovered quite a lot. And I'm not there yet. So watch this space.
Jayde Deverson 52:36
Oh gosh. You know, would you be I think I'll get to 90. And I think my goodness, I've made mistakes along the way. I'm not sure where I am. And I'll keep going but an honest person who is introspective and contemplates as opposed to ruminate, which is an i say that deliberately, quite a good ruminator. Yeah. And you know, that difference of contemplation and rumination is, oh, my goodness, I love sport. What should I do next? As opposed to? Oh, my goodness, I love sport, but I'm terrible. What am I going to do? I can't do anything. My goodness, that's that's the difference. That's that little sharp difference to the mindset that takes us from I can't do to I can do.
Lee Gray 53:21
Interesting, actually, just before we move away from the mindset, I'm really interested in the whole inner game, and been crazy for the last few years. Right. And we've all had to endure unusual and stressful circumstances. And you know, personally, I think, you know, from seeing my nieces, nephews and, you know, friends of family that the teenage kids, you know, seem to have taken the brunt of you know, of that situation. And I was just wonder what your experience has been like with your children, and you know, maybe some things that you've done to help our listeners, you know, some things that you've helped build their resilience and keep them positive.
Joelie Chisholm 54:03
I have to say they have been incredible. We moved from Australia, on 36 hours notice on the last international flight out of Sydney. They came here to okay, we're living next to my parents in law. So it's an area they're familiar with. But they came with nothing. And I think they lost both their grandparents. So I lost my dad a year ago yesterday and my mom two years ago tomorrow. Goodness, and they had to join a new school. But I think sometimes it's about doing nothing at all, other than being there for them. Yeah, you're just there for them. You're there with a hug. You're there with a kiss, you're there to read to them. You're there to go for a walk around the garden with them, you're just there for them. Because I think the biggest thing that I've learned, I'm really saying this past couple of years is that you can't get time back. It's the one thing you can't get back. So you could never reverse and go back and give them that time, or anyone that time. So I think, for me, it's been about being there for them. Now, in order for me to do that, I've had to do quite a lot of looking after myself, because obviously, I'd lost my parents, I was going through, I still am going through a grieving process, I've had to look after myself. So that old saying of put your own oxygen mask on first is really important as well. So if I hadn't looked after myself, I wouldn't be in, be able to give them the time and be there for them when they need me. And I think as well, it hasn't been perfect. It's been fast and perfect. Yeah, just try your best. Someone said to me yesterday that no one can show you how to be a perfect parent. But millions of people can show you how to be a good enough one. And that's what you need to do. And for me, that's about giving time.
Lee Gray 56:23
Have you found any unexpected positives that come from that, that whole period, especially lockdown
Joelie Chisholm 56:28
I now know what flowers come up in the garden every month. I know weeds come up every month. I didn't even know the names of them before. I think it's really cemented my love of the outdoors. And being out in nature. And I don't mean just being outside your front door. I actually mean being out there and being a small part of what is a massive, powerful world. Yeah, I really enjoy that and miss that if I can't do it. So the the big things I've learned, I think.
Lee Gray 57:08
it kind of makes sense now about the Lakeland 50 as well, that all kind of ties in.
Joelie Chisholm 57:14
Yeah, yeah. And also just the importance of my family unit, my immediate family. So me, my husband and my two children. Yeah, really, really important.
Lee Gray 57:30
Well, we're almost out of time. But before you go, I know you're an avid reader. And, and we know we've talked some great things today about performance mindset and stuff like that. So I was wondering if you might be able to share with us just a few of your favorite books that have influenced you and had a positive impact on your life?
Joelie Chisholm 57:50
Yeah. I think one of my favorite authors, and I read his newspaper articles, and all his books, Matthew Syed. So again, can we have like sporting high performance mindset as well. So his book blackbox thinking, I just thought it was brilliant. That whole learning from failure rather than blaming failure. Yeah, that's really, really stuck with me. And these are the one that's really stuck with me is Rebel ideas. So about having diversity in decision making? has really stuck with me. And that you say invisible diversity. But invisible diversity, too. Yeah.
Jayde Deverson 58:33
He was a sporting person sport. I think we'll see. What did he do?
Joelie Chisholm 58:38
Table tennis. Table tennis.
Jayde Deverson 58:40
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I knew the name from somwhere, I couldn't remember why. It seems to me that sport is the thing that is closest to the essence of life. You find that, or at least I should say, I found that when I examine the lives of sporting people. And listen to what they have to say I am closest to what life is really about. They are on the edge of what it means to be human. Sport is the thing that pushes us and brings us closest to our primordial selves. I only hypothesize this as we're talking.
Lee Gray 59:40
I think I'd have to challenge that. I mean, I feel exactly the same about music and the arts.
Joelie Chisholm 59:45
For me, it's about high performance, anyone who's challenged and pushed themselves to the limits of whatever they do gets really close to the essence because to do that are real lows and you can't? Yeah, I'm not. I think a lot of people if you say your life is one to a 10 being brilliant and one being not great or low. I think the people who have had the 10s have also had more than their fair share of ones. Yeah, I think the people who haven't had the 10s probably cruise along at five or six and think that's okay.
Jayde Deverson 1:00:25
But it's also bad expectation.
Joelie Chisholm 1:00:27
And that's fine. Yeah. And, you know, I really try not to judge and to each their own what works for them. But I think the people I will always gravitate to, and the people who have strived to do something in whatever field that is too high performance. Yeah. You know, in anything.
Lee Gray 1:00:49
Yeah. Book number two.
Joelie Chisholm 1:00:52
Oh, so not sporting, quiet. The power of introverts in a world that can't stop speaking.
Lee Gray 1:01:01
Do you consider yourself as an introvert..
Joelie Chisholm 1:01:03
I'm a huge introvert
Jayde Deverson 1:01:07
Do you hide your introversion behind being successful and loud? Or successful and obvious?
Joelie Chisholm 1:01:14
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. It's a veneer. Yeah. And it's a way of coping, isn't it? And it is, you know, there's lots of research out there that says the extroverts are the ones who get on so as an introvert, you can learn to be an extrovert. Yeah, and but just the whole emotional side and the tugs and pulls that go on inside while you're doing all that? She captured beautifully in her book. Yeah.
Lee Gray 1:01:45
Okay, so can you share what moved you? Can you share what move your work without spoiling the entire book?
Joelie Chisholm 1:01:52
Oh, it's just that last thing, the way she captures the struggle of the introvert in, in a world that currently still favours extroverts, according to the research, I'll allow everyone else to draw their own conclusions, but according to the research,
Jayde Deverson 1:02:08
So share, again, the name of the book and the author so that those who need it.
Joelie Chisholm 1:02:15
it's called Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can't stop speaking. It's by Susan Cain.
Lee Gray 1:02:23
And I've seen your book list online. And there's just one I want to get to before we go, which is, which is atomic habits with James clear. That book was absolutely incredible.
Joelie Chisholm 1:02:36
I think I read that it felt like I read that in about 10 minutes. And I've read it. Oh, my God, everything you've said, is blindingly obvious. So why don't we just do it?
Lee Gray 1:02:47
Yeah, yeah. And at the same time, it's like, jeez, I need to listen back again. Because what did I miss?
Jayde Deverson 1:02:53
So if you read it in 10 minutes, if you read it in 10 minutes, how many times did you read in 10 minutes? Or was there enough?
Joelie Chisholm 1:03:01
I've read it. I've read it right through once and I've dipped in and out and in and out, and I get his weekly sound bites as well. So I'm in weekly contact
Jayde Deverson 1:03:12
So again, maybe maybe shared the name, author of the work.
Joelie Chisholm 1:03:21
So it's atomic habit. Yep. And James clear.
Jayde Deverson 1:03:25
atomic habits. Okay. All right. I just want to make sure that everyone who's listening has an opportunity to not miss the opportunities. Yeah. So so he's going to put them on an exhibit when you're listening. Go to the links.
Lee Gray 1:03:41
Joelie thank you so much for your time. It's been absolutely wonderful to and inspirational to hear your story and yeah, thank you.
Joelie Chisholm 1:03:51
I love it. So that's wonderful,
Jayde Deverson 1:03: 54
Joelie. I go home tonight. And you know, it's an evening I meant to have dinner, I've had a glass of wine, that little bit of cheese. And, you know, I feel like I have had an inspirational overload. I don't mean that to mean sounds clichèd, but it is it's great to talk to you. And we're really grateful for everything you've had to say to us tonight.
Joelie Chisholm 1:04:23
Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to listen and maybe next time we can talk about those old cars.
Lee Gray 1:04:29
Love it. Oh, yes. You've got it I'm not a junkie. Really. I'm not.
Jayde Deverson 1:04:40
But yeah. Now I've been to the lakes district. A lot of time the UK. And I want to know, your motorcycle your choice what you do, because I love motorcycles. I love riding because it's such a powerful release of freedom and It can be riding a motorcycle is Zen. It is Zen it is a freedom. You hop on your bike and you go for a ride and you can just switch off and you can simply be in the moment and not have to worry or think because you have said meditation that when I learned to meditation was a young boy, you clear your mind by thinking about touching your thumbs together without touching and imagine a blank screen. Wonderful stuff. As soon as I'm on a motorcycle, I ride I go through the hills and I don't have to move. Tell me, what do you get from riding a motorbike?
Joelie Chisholm 1:05:51
Well, I mainly rode a motorbike in Sydney so horror, usually, and dodging lots of cars
Jayde Deverson 1:06:02
I was thinking about of course the trends and tend to side of it as opposed to the I've got to get to work as quickly as possible. I'll ride that thing. I hope I don't die.
Unknown Speaker 1:06:19
I get what you said from the running. I do see how a motorbike can give it? I definitely do. My dad was an avid motorcycler. So yeah.
Lee Gray 1:06:33
So it was I until I hit a car at 60k/hr. Again, that was the end of my mind that on a push bike.
Jayde Deverson 1:06:40
I did. I was carrying my trombone on my bicycle home from school peddling. And I looked at my derailleur thing that was going on here, I looked up and there was a car and I hit it when motorcycle somebody ran out in front of me and I shattered a tibia. And so I've got pins holding that together. But you know, I think I can, the feeling I get on a motorcycle and a bicycle is akin to riding a horse. And it is a connection. driving a car is not the same. But riding bike, motorcycle horse, possibly even running I but also for me sailing because I've done a lot of sailing is really it is about half of your effort and energy and your thought has to be about managing the environment. The other half can be devoted to thought. And when half your mind when half your mind is committed to staying alive, the other half can truly focus on your emotions, your reactions, your experiences and your evolution toward a thing.
Lee Gray 1:08:13
Can I start another podcast mate where you you know.
Jayde Deverson 1:08:20
But, you know, I, I have to say generally, this is the first interview that I've done, where I've actually connected on an emotional and spiritual level. And I'm inspired by what you've had to say. So what do you do I mean you're halfway disconnected and half connected. And as a result of that, you're able to focus on the real core essence of what's going on in your heart.
Joelie Chisholm 1:08:50
I don't know I just do what I do, because I believe it's the right thing to do. You know, I've had some really, really difficult times and you know, if you talk to my husband, he'll say over the past two years, he's totally lost me in while I've been managing and caring for two terminally ill parents and going through the grieving process. Just he would say
Lee Gray 1:09:26
I can't believe how many hard times you've been through Joel Yeah.
Joelie Chisholm 1:09:29
And I've got you know, I've done a lot of work to get back but I'm a thinker. And I think that's brilliant and equally not brilliant. And I see that in my son as well whose little brain just switches off. So during the 18 Alexander, so he's riding now and watching, is it there's lots of Alexanders.
Jayde Deverson 1:09:56
Alexanders? Yeah, it's a family name for us too.
Joelie Chisholm 1:10:02
Yeah, so watching him ride has been the joy he gets out of the horses is been really lovely too.
Lee Gray 1:10:12
Yeah. Wonderful. All right, Joelie. We will let you go. Thank you so much. All right, so lovely to meet you and hear your story you take. Thanks, Joelie. Great to meet you, see you, bye. To the listeners, I hope that you enjoyed that as much as we did. Thanks for listening to the show. And if you'd like to find out more about Kyron Audio or Deverson Design, and how we can create bespoke luxury environments and experiences in your life, you're more than welcome to book a call with one of our principals through our websites kyronaudio.com.au, or deversondesign.com today, or follow us on our socials. Links are in the description. And we will be back next week with another episode to discover more tales from the top.