"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses her words of inspiration - stay humble, work hard, being kind.
By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea
Stay humble, work hard, be kind. Some words of inspiration that I found inscribed on a plaque that I bought in a $2 shop 10 years ago. I still have that plaque sitting on my desk at home, and every day make a commitment to doing each of them.
It’s funny what resonates with you. Sometimes it’s words of inspiration, sometimes it’s a place or an experience. Sometimes it’s the people we meet. On Friday, I interviewed two inspirational athletes, Ali Brigginshaw and Gretel Beuta. Two very different women joined by a united passion for sport and a focus on easing the path for female athletes. The experience was as much about learning about them as it was about learning about myself in that moment.
Ali is a leader in every sense. She has been advocating for female athletes since she was 10 years old and hopes that one day, she’ll get the opportunity to enjoy watching female athletes get paid what they are worth as professional athletes. Her vision is that gender will no longer be a barrier when it comes to negotiating how much an athlete should be paid. She spoke fondly about the influence of several people in her life, including the late Graham Murray who preached the values that Ali still lives by today - ‘Use your please and thank yous, be in uniform and be on time.’
Ali shared how she didn’t resonate with these words initially, however learnt that putting these three simple things into practice creates a positive ripple effect that quickly spreads into other areas of your life. It’s a powerful reminder that words are just words until we start putting them into action and living by them.
Gretel is softly spoken, calm and considered, and whip-smart. Turning her back on a college basketball scholarship in the US to remain close to family, she was passionate about health and nutrition and commenced a Nutrition and Dietetics degree at Griffith University. Now finished her degree and expecting baby number two, Gretel’s focus is on seeing what the future brings. She is loving the idea of finding out where her new degree will take her, and looking forward to spending more time with her husband and son as they await the birth of their next child and prepare to build their new home. Gretel openly welcomes the ebbs and flows of life, ready to confront and deal with the challenges as they come while always making time to celebrate the wins with her family and friends.
So what did I learn from this experience?
Knowing nothing and still going into that interview knowing nothing about these women would have been disrespectful. In the weeks leading up to the interview, I did loads of research to the point where they both felt like old friends. They genuinely valued this, thanking me for taking the time to do my research.
What an easy way this was to immediately build rapport and show respect for another person.
Lesson 1. It doesn’t matter how famous a person is (or isn’t), I must always remain humble by respecting and valuing a person’s time by doing some research on them beforehand.
I was nervous leading up to this interview and my inner critic went into overdrive reminding me that this type of gig was not my day job, and I had no idea what I was doing. Fortunately, I didn’t listen and instead chose to sit back and immerse myself in the experience. We were only three questions in, and suddenly one of the organisers was giving me the wind-up signal. Wait, I still have another eight questions – where did the time go? I was so engaged in the conversation that what felt like five minutes had been closer to 40! Under what I had perceived as a high level of stress I had been able to successfully achieve a state of flow!
Lesson 2. Has there been times when I have spoken to myself unkindly, and let opportunities pass by because of fear driving my lack of self-belief?
I often align competitiveness with type A behavioural types, expecting ambitious, organised and impatient tendencies to emerge at some point during a discussion. Meeting Gretel was a great reminder of how polarising this type casting can be, and how the environment and conditions can play a fundamental role in igniting the competitive flame within.
When mentioning this to Gretel, she simply said, ‘Oh, I get white line fever as soon as I step onto the court.’
For those interested in health and nutrition, you might like to check out the Health + Wellbeing Queensland, A Better Choice Conference and Expo 2023, where Gretel will be one of the conference speakers https://hw.qld.gov.au/abc-expo/
Lesson 3. Working hard for what you want can be successfully supported by practices that support us not to hold onto things so tightly that we lose our sense of self and purpose.
Stay humble, work hard, be kind.
Before the interview with Ali and Gretel, I thought those words of inspiration were about how my behaviour, the way that I turned up, would impact on others. Thanks to them, I now realise that those words and the ripple effect that’s created when I practice them also has a direct effect on me.