TEDx stage – Why your next business hire should be an athlete

Below is the transcript for the 3 minute presentation I gave at the TEDx Sydney Pitch Night in March 2020. You can watch the video below (apologies the first couple of seconds are missing from the video). TEDx is all about sharing ideas that matter, and I hope this is an idea that resonates with you.


Would you apply for this job?

If successful, you’ll have to wake up at 5am to start work every day. You’ll be required to get 10 hours of sleep a night so that you perform well on the job. You’ll be working weekends, and you’ll be travelling constantly for work. You’ll have to completely give up alcohol, sugar, and your social life. You’ll be doing repetitive tasks over and over again until you can do them perfectly, often with your boss telling you how poorly you’re doing. We will put you under enormous pressure to perform at certain moments, and have a thousand people watching to see if you fail.

Oh, and we aren’t going to pay you to do this job – in fact you’re going to pay us.

Would you apply for this job? Thousands of young Australians already have.

The career I’m talking about here is sport.

And the idea I’m sharing is why your next business hire, should be an athlete.


I’ve worn the green and gold for Australia in 3 different sports. But for a decade I’ve also been a management consultant, working with some of Australia’s largest companies.

Did you know athletes are more likely to win the lottery than qualify for the Olympics? Or that only 0.02% of athletes ever get drafted for a professional team?

Would you dedicate yourself to a company for a decade if the odds of success were that low?

If you want someone that dedicated… hire an athlete.


Conversations with my coach tend to go like this…
‘That was wrong.’
‘Do it again.’
‘Your little finger was out of place on that triple somersault.’
‘Do it again.’

The bottom line is… athletes are coachable. We take feedback every day from our coaches, our teammates, and of course losing is the ultimate feedback (and we all lose at some point).

How would you like to do a performance discussion with someone who is hungry for your feedback, trusts you completely, and then goes and executes on absolutely everything you said.

If you want someone who is coachable… hire an athlete.


As a beach volleyball athlete I’ve stood on the sand, holding the ball, ready to serve. I’ve stood there knowing that ten years of training has come down to this single tournament, this single match, this single point. And then, I’ve made the serve. That’s pressure.

And if you want someone who can handle it… hire an athlete.


Australia reveres our athletes. Now, it’s time to employ them. If you want someone dedicated, coachable, and who performs under pressure…then you won’t find them on LinkedIn. You’ll find them on the court, in the gym, in the field, in the pool, or in my case, on the sand.

Make your next hire, an athlete.

March 11, 2021