14 Nov, 2023It’s Not Where You Are. It’s Who You Are
“You are what you are, and you are where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You change what you are, and you change where you are by changing what goes into your mind.” – Zig Ziglar
Who are you? Where are you? When was the last time you asked yourself these are two important questions? Are you happy with where you are?
Take a pause and think about who you truly are. What value do you bring to this world? Have you allowed yourself to be defined by the situation you are in?
Circumstances can change. You have the power to alter where you are by knowing your true self. However, peeling back the layers of yourself and getting out of the impostor syndrome is challenging.
Listen in to this game-changing episode and learn to discover the real you. Know how to overcome the challenges in showing your uniqueness and achieving the balance between your inner and outer self.
Ultimately, it is who you are that matters most and not where you are.
Be inspired to make your tomorrow better.
⚡️ You know who you are when you know your why.
⚡️ You are not defined by the circumstances you find yourself in.
⚡️ There is an opportunity to learn and grow in every situation.
⚡️ There must be a balance between one’s vision of self and how it is being played out in the world.
⚡️ Pausing can reveal your calling.
⚡️ Talent is not enough because effort must be put in to develop it.
🎯 2:18 About an Instagram post.
🎯 4:02 Why Dr. Ray Sylvester asks the question “Who are you? Where are you?”
🎯 8:06 Where are you?
🎯 12:11 Who are you and where you are as being inextricably linked?
🎯 18:41 The challenges of getting to know who you are.
🎯 27:02 Having a vision and investing in yourself.
🎯 30:48 Being ready to serve with your uniqueness.
Send us a message and tell us what is your biggest takeaway about this episode. 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼
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About Pete Cohen: Pete Cohen is one of the world’s leading life coaches and keynote speakers. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world have been motivated and inspired by Pete’s presentations. He has professionally impacted the lives of thousands of people worldwide, including business executives, professional athletes, and everyday people. Pete focuses on the importance of closing the gap in our lives between where we are and where we want to be, both personally and professionally.
It’s then all about coaching you to remove the obstacles that are in your way and helping you install the habits of success.
Pete is the author of 20 published books, several of which have been best-sellers across the world, including Shut the Duck Up, Habit Busting, Life DIY, and Sort Your Life Out. He has also presented his own show on TV called The Coach and was the resident Life Coach on GMTV for 12 years.
Pete Cohen (00:00.278)
We're live. We are here. We're ready. We are good afternoon. Good morning, I should say, right.
Good morning, Pete. Good morning, how are you?
Pete Cohen (00:08.414)
Yeah, I'm in it. I am in Epiphany Central. I've been having epiphany after epiphany after epiphany over the last few days and delighted to be having another conversation with you as we continue on this journey of exploration. So yeah, where are you today?
I'm in my office. It looks like a grayer, cloudier day. The leaves are starting to drop. The house is quiet. My son, who was 17 this week, has got a bunch of his friends staying there, all sleeping over, but I haven't heard anyone get up yet. So I certainly heard them at night, but I can't hear them now.
Pete Cohen (00:51.877)
So yeah, all good, all good here.
Pete Cohen (00:57.53)
So, you know, I asked you where you are. I actually know where you are, but you know, we've been talking over the last few days about it's not where you are, it's who you are. And, you know, I made that post that's on Instagram that has had quite a few thousand views and lots and lots and lots of comments. Can you just explain why you encouraged me to make that post?
Yeah, I think it takes us back to our relationship for you two years ago when you started inquiring about what I did and I asked you.
who you were and where you were. And I think you found them to be odd questions. Were they odd, Pete?
Pete Cohen (01:46.59)
No, they weren't odd. It's really interesting. They weren't odd because of... They were different in just in terms of doing something meditating on them, doing those questions real justice, and not just paying lip service to them. So they were not odd at all. Remember, I think I told you this, I had a coach for 16 years and
The first question always was, you know, how are you, how do you feel about where you are right now? And that question was Raphael's way of saying, you know, who are you, where are you? I think that was his kind of way of trying to address what you were addressing with me. But I think I, for many years, I've kind of run away from really stopping and to address who I am. So, I...
didn't do those questions justice when you asked them. And it has taken a couple of years to get to a point of going, well, I know who I am. And I know where I am is not who I am. So they're not odd, but I just think for the first time, I've really, really started to give those questions some real thought. And I've had to stop in order to do that.
What's your take on that? And why do you ask those questions?
That's a great question, double barreled. Let me start with this. When I asked you before, it always intrigues me how someone can communicate who they are. What is their uniqueness? What is their oneness? It's not about appendages to money, things, materials, achievements, but who they are. And it can often confuse people.
because I believe in the world that predominantly exists, we tend to focus in on things. And I think if you look at Simon Sinek's Golden Circles is a good example. He said, people will meet each other and the first thing you will say is, what's your name? So it's a label and then it might be, oh, I'm a very rich person, very successful. Oh, how are you?
successful. And someone will talk about that. But people very rarely talk about their why. And who are you is a form of why. When you know your why, you know who you are. And I believe that you exist predominantly through history and we're working through this narrative for your book, which I'm really excited about. We can see some of the signposts.
that have really helped to draw out your authenticity, who you are. And understanding those is such a powerful position to be in because there's no fear in that space. There's just a sense of knowledge about self. And I think that's one of the ways of answering this, Pete, is when we have knowledge about ourself in a very calm and sensitive way.
there is a confidence that comes from that, that doesn't have to prove anything to anyone, but you can comfortably move and show up in the world on purpose, intentionally.
Pete Cohen (05:29.734)
So, for those of you that listeners that don't know, I had a coach for 16 years and he was a very, very wise man. I likened him to Mr. Minyagi from the karate kid. It was interesting, he said about what your name was because he used to say, you know, you are not your name. Your name was given to you, you know, it's not who you are. And I feel that when you first met me, you were as intrigued about me.
Pete Cohen (05:58.462)
as I was intrigued about you. I mean, literally, that's, if you think about, we met each other on this social media app, Clubhouse, and I started listening to you, and you started listening to me, and I was just genuinely intrigued by, who is this person? It's like, I felt like I could see you in a way that maybe other people didn't. I don't know why, but there's something about you. And I think, looking back, that you saw who I was, but you could also see all of the, I don't know, what you'd,
call it the fluff, all of the non-authentic stuff around me. And what you have helped me do over the last couple of years is to really rediscover who I am. Because I think what I'd like to ask you, is it that, do you think that you are who you are and that's it? It's not like, doesn't matter what you do, that your worth and who you are is always there. So I'll give you an example, Dorothy and...
The Wizard of Oz, you know, I know it's only a story, but she always had the power to go home. You know, Frodo, all of these films that we see, they already had what they needed, but they kind of had to go on a journey to really find out what they actually had all the time.
Yeah, let me go back one step. You said something there. Who you are and where you are part of who you are in the biggest umbrella, but I've split the two. So where you are is your circumstances. But what I'm saying is your circumstances never define you. They're a moment in time. So a few months ago, where you were,
you were a husband, today sadly you're a widower. But that doesn't change who Pete is and your drive. Now when mourning and grief, which it can do, has a profound negative and consistently negative impact on someone's life, unfortunately the trauma has redirected someone's trajectory in life.
And we've talked Pete on this podcast about Victor Franco, and it's probably one of the best examples. I think Nelson Mandela is another great example, is when someone's personal story, so Nelson Mandela for 27 years, because he said, where are you? I'm in a cell.
Is that who you are? No, I believe that every South African should be treated with integrity and given full access and balance and everyone should be treated right. And when he came out, he thought that still, but he didn't see it through the lens of, I need to annihilate or take out everyone who was my oppressor. In fact, he did the opposite. He embraced everyone.
Nelson Mandela is a very good example for me of someone you found out who he was when he was released.
Pete Cohen (09:06.974)
So we also spoke yesterday, because we've been talking about this a lot and it's been hugely cathartic for me. Before we went live here, we were talking about how this terminology is something you've been using a lot. You came up with it, you know, and you've been using it with a lot of the people that you work and you coach and you mentor. And I was saying to you before, this is just a real eye opener to me because you've given me
a greater sense of what I actually do. Because sometimes we don't really know what we do. It's just what we do. And some of those things can be produced results that aren't particularly nourishing to you and things you do that do nourish you and nourish the people around you. And I just want to thank you publicly for really helping me see even more who I am and what I actually do. Because I think one of the things I'm very good at doing is helping people stop and look at things differently.
and actually realize that where you are isn't who you are. You are more than the circumstances that you find yourself in. And within the circumstances of where you find yourself, there is this huge opportunity to grow. And in fact, what you just said there about grief, I can totally understand how someone could go through. So when I was in Florence and I was speaking on stage with the interpreters, there was a lady who came up to me afterwards. I told the story of what happened to me with my wife.
and she came up and she hadn't, someone had to interpret for her. She said that her son died when her son was 16 and how she actually had to make a choice. Her husband also left her. She had to make a choice. And it sounded like the choice that she made was not to be a victim of where she was because that's not who she chose to be. She wanted to live life in honor of her son. And I think what you're saying is...
Through that choice, you can choose to either continue to be where you are, with the circumstances you've been through, and that to affect you in a way that maybe you never really move on from it, or you can choose to do the opposite. Is that what you mean when you...
about some of that language and I'll tell you why, because it's created a narrative at the moment with the anti-victimhood people and then the victimhood people. And I think it's too simplistic to look at it that, and oh, anyone can do anything, we've all got a choice. I appreciate those very quick descriptors of the scenario. So I do have empathy with the point you've made there Pete, but what I would say is that where you are,
Pete Cohen (11:22.974)
and who you are often so inextricably linked that it takes a lot of discipline to understand the subtle differences between them. MJ, a very good friend and client of yours that I've had the pleasure to meet, is a disabled person who, where she is, has some restrictions to what she can do. And I remember a content piece done with you and...
MJ going through London and how difficult it was. However, what shines out to me is the MJ I know, I'm not looking at MJ's position in a wheelchair, although it's obvious she is in a wheelchair. This is a person I'm speaking to, and I'm listening to her heart in conversation. And what I know frustrates her and many other people that I've had the pleasure to interact with that may have a physical...
uniqueness that doesn't fall in with the norm, sometimes they get forgotten. What MJ is saying, well what can I do? I can build down about it, but actually I'm more than just where I am. And that includes something that's where I am is a permanent aspect to her. She's more than just that. Does that make sense?
Pete Cohen (12:50.87)
Pete Cohen (13:03.457)
Pete Cohen (13:11.226)
Yeah, you know, it does make sense to me, it makes sense. And I'd be interested in, you know, our listeners also letting us know what you think about that. Because what I took away from what you said is it is so much of this is around choice. But to kind of make big generalizations about this is quite dangerous because everyone is different and everyone's circumstances are different. And I think what's important is for people just to look at their own.
Pete Cohen (13:38.97)
unique situation that they find themselves in and be curious about this stuff, you know, be curious about.
Yes. And the other point I would say, Pete, is that if I look at who I am all my life, I've worked with people in a support construct, supporting them on their trajectory, whether it be career students, whether it be clients I'm coaching or consultancy projects. So I'm continually sharing bits, but actually a concept.
which is, you know, sometimes very abstract, only comes alive when you put application to it. And what you're doing is you're applying your uniqueness, your onliness to a concept. And that makes it yours. And so there's no, there's no, I'm not a big believer in ownership, although I do work in the music industry and people are very, very precious about intellectual property. So, and people that create.
Pete Cohen (14:23.117)
Pete Cohen (14:43.394)
new designs and stuff. So I, you know, intellectual property cannot say it's not important. But in this case, you know, we're working together, we do a broadcast, we're 4000 miles away from each other. It would be totally the opposite of who I am. If I didn't share anything I thought was appropriate to share with you, as our relationship goes on this journey. Because it's actually more than where we are.
And I often say to you that everything we go through is an opportunity to celebrate because there's an opportunity to learn. And in the learning and the understanding, and we can move forward. And when we first met, I think you saw on Clubhouse, I used to have no purpose, no value. And the no wasn't N-O as it sounds to people there phonetically, but it was K-N-O-W. Know your purpose, know who you are.
Pete Cohen (15:23.877)
Pete Cohen (15:40.695)
then you know your value. And when you're in that space, you'll find a lot of successful people. Often when you hear them go, what was the point when it worked out? And I think you were the first person that encouraged me to watch, say, the Arnold Schwarzenegger Netflix. And it's a hilarious, but also challenging and sad narrative because that's what life is. And what you could see is that actually,
Pete Cohen (16:02.1)
If someone watches that, you can see how is it possible for a bodybuilder to become a film star? Well, for Arnold, he had a role model. He had a picture in his mind from a young age of watching, I think it was a guy, Reg Park, who had become Hercules as well. And they were the stepping stones. So what he was doing was looking at things that he felt, wow, that would, but also profoundly having what he described as a dysfunctional family background.
Pete Cohen (16:26.82)
Pete Cohen (16:33.585)
So when he met his dear wife, having this family and people around him. So who he was, was he always desperately wanted people to appreciate him. And that drove him. So he needed to do that. And his dear, dear brother, spoiler alert, you know, tragically passes. And he mentions that he didn't feel that his brother had really found what was gonna make him happy. And that quote in of itself, I always found...
I find interesting because I believe it's the journey inward where we find happiness and contentment and not necessarily outwards. And I love a film in pursuit of happiness, but very much it's an American culture, the American dream. Someone has absolutely got nothing and then they suddenly achieve and it's based on the true story. And as great as that is, that's where he is. I was here and I was there, but I'm more intrigued what got him from one place to another.
the determination, the persistence, the tenacity, the creativity, that's who he was. The circumstances are subject to change, but those deeper sense of things don't change.
Pete Cohen (17:53.81)
I think that's why when you do that inner work to get to know who you really are, this is the greatest journey, right? It's a challenge, right? I think it's always been a challenge to me and lots of the people I've coached because it's what you find out, what you uncover, and the parts of ourselves or the parts of myself that maybe I don't want to share, that I've been hiding away. And this is such great work.
There's so many things which this brings up. And the great thing is that we can carry on this line of conversation as long as we decide to make this podcast. Cause this, this is what this podcast for me is right now. It's a, it's a very cathartic for myself. And hopefully for yourself as well, Ray, as we kind of uncover layers of each other. And I feel that I'm getting more strength and clarity around who I am and what I'm doing and where I'm going.
But I love the example you gave of Arnie. If you've not seen that documentary series on Netflix, it's three episodes. And in the last one, he says around, it's taken him years to work out that the only way he got to where he got to was because of the people that helped him. And he said, sadly, a lot of those people aren't here anymore. And he wishes that they were because he wishes he could tell them. And I think another example that we gave around, it's not where you are. Where you are is not who you are.
was Dolores Jordan. You know, this story for those people who've not seen the film, Air, which tells the story of her, really. I think the film is about her and about the Matt Damon's character. So for those of you, not for a spoiler alert, but what she obviously worked out was where they were was not where they were going. Where they were going was Michael Jordan would become the greatest basketball player of all time, or at least one of the greatest.
And that's what she was demanding of a shoe manufacturer to look at where he was going, not where he was. And of course they did something, it's just one of the greatest stories. And what is it about that story do you think that really resonates with people? Because we only watch these films. I think sometimes we sometimes forget. We're watching this film because the story is, we relate to the story, the narrative, the characters.
I think that's a great question. In that particular film, Michael Jordan took a brave step because he had some creative control. And although it was about basketball, and arguably the goats, he didn't want it to be about basketball. He wanted to be about explicitly the Air Jordans. And between Matt Damon's character, the Nike representative or Nike for my American friends listening.
and his mother, Dolores, she had a bigger picture. Matt Damon had a kind of picture and when he got it, when the penny dropped and he gave a speech towards the end, it was all about differentiation and Michael, this is your responsibility for the future. You're not just gonna have a shoe line next to all these other players, you are the line. And...
You know, again, for me, there's a very strong element that I really advocate is vision. And I often say that, you know, you start with a vision, but the vision is split. Internally, you've got to start off with a little bit of a selfish aspect. You know, what's my vision for myself? What do I know about myself? That's why you have to ask yourself who you are. Then you have to confront something that's really tough.
you know, what talents have I worked with? Because talent alone isn't enough. So you have to work with a talent and you have to put some effort in, because the saying is like, there's lots of talented derelicts out there. There's lots of people that said, I coulda, shoulda, woulda, but your ability really is an evidence-based internal journey that I have accomplished some mastery or ability in an area.
Now there may be multiple areas. The next thing you have to do is say, well, what I really want to focus on, which I call your love. In academia, in the branding area, there's a term called brand love. Most people at the moment, brand love is a really good application is an iPhone. I'm guessing people listen to it, it's the majority of people who got an iPhone. They just have, I'm a Samsung person personally, but people will say, I've got an iPhone. Well, it's the best. I said, well, tell me what...
makes it technologically best, I don't know, it just is. So that's the success of brand love, when someone just believes everything about it, because they built a community and I'll hear, well, you know, it's easier to communicate with someone who's on iPhone, et cetera, et cetera. That's love. Now, when you've done that, you've now got this vision for yourself based on validated investment in developing an ability, and then a very, very deliberate focus on what you love. Now you're ready.
to ask yourself, where do I want to be with this? And that's the external. And then you then have to spend some time investigating the nature of that market. So Pete, you're in the motivational speaking market, coaching market, but all of those, you have an understanding, market value, what your rate is, what your worth is. And internally, if you know your worth is XXX, say, but someone only wants to offer you X, it doesn't...
Pete Cohen (23:23.883)
discount that because if that opportunity is a stepping stone to where you know you need to be, then you go there. The next to understanding is
Pete Cohen (23:49.716)
Ecosystems. And ecosystems are the specific things we grew up with. So you and I grew up in families that would have their own cultural nuances, the ways of doing things, personalities that we've got used to. And we have to make sure that we understand that our vision of ourselves has to have a balance with the vision being played out in the real world.
Pete Cohen (24:08.846)
And one of the things that I'm really passionate about is sometimes people get intimidated by the environment. I think Mike Tyson is such a great example here. This is a man, when you see any documentaries on him, he would sob. And when I say sob, I'm not diminishing that. He would sob before every fight in his early days. And he would have to be consoled. No, you're okay, Mike. Oh, I'm gonna lose, I'm gonna lose, I'm not good enough. Overcome.
with imposter syndrome, because this was a man who stood, you know, five foot 10, and so just an average man's height, but with a 21, 22 inch neck, just this, and moved, but with the power of a real heavy weight. And he'd go out in the ring and beat someone one round and come out and then be calm. The very next day, if he was fighting again, I think I saw a documentary with him at the junior Olympics or something, and he did.
Pete Cohen (24:56.074)
I could send.
the process from each fight, which meant that Mike Tyson's story is a classical parallel. You and I have been talking, it might be one Pete for you to do a post on, is that when you looked at it, I think he made 400 million and then became bankrupt. 70 to 80% of NFL players, NBA players, are bankrupt five years after they finished the game. And I believe it's because the focus is on where they are.
Pete Cohen (25:45.399)
Pete Cohen (25:50.317)
They get a contract and they're defined by where they are. But who they are is the most important thing. They're more than just a physical body. Michael Jordan's mother was investing in his future self and saying, well, I want you to make an indelible mark. And bless her, she probably didn't even realize how significant it was. I mean, enormous.
Pete Cohen (25:52.906)
Pete Cohen (26:11.882)
Yeah, well, yeah, I've got I've bought my first ever. I mean, I'm you know, I'm a massive I'm wearing Jordan tracksuit bottoms. I bought my first ever pair of Jordan shoes in Hungary. And I don't think I'm going to wear them. I just look at them like almost like a. And not what? Yeah, they are an investment, but they're just so beautiful. And I've bought into the brand and I think what you I mean, there's so much in what you said there.
Investment. They're an investment.
Pete Cohen (26:40.418)
Just going back to the bit about Dolores, she had a vision and Matt Damon's character had a vision and she took his vision and took it to another place. And that to me is hugely powerful. Again, that's why, again, it's so important to surround yourself with people who can help you look at who you are and where you are and help and support you. It just gives another dimension to the power of the mastermind or the people who are supporting you.
you know, he had a vision and then she had a bigger vision. And that didn't fit into his. But he woke up and did look at it differently. And I'm curious to ask you. About in fact, what's interesting also just about Mike Tyson is again, you know, tonight, you know, his story continues as he's been training this in the MMA fighter that's fighting Tyson Fury.
France and Ghana, yeah.
Pete Cohen (27:37.206)
Yeah, and Tyson Fury's dad named Tyson Fury after Mike Tyson. You know, the story continues and you were talking about, you know, I think Angela Duckworth's work around grit, I can't remember who it was that said, you know, time plus effort equals skill. And then skill plus effort equals achievement, something around that. And I remember, you know, this whole thing about talent. Again, just
Pete Cohen (28:07.198)
I remember Ronnie O'Sullivan, I was with him at the golf college where I used to work and a student said to Ronnie, you're just lucky because you're really talented. And he got upset with that because he was like, you think I'm talented? Well, I don't. You know, I've just worked extremely hard with the talent I have. And I got a feeling this could be another podcast. But because you know, that work of knowing who you are and knowing your worth. I mean, this is a massive question.
So I don't expect you to just, you know, pay lip service to the answer. But how does someone work out who they are? How does someone work out what their talent is? And again, I'm sorry to do this to you because I'm asking two questions in one, but I just have to share it. Um, do you also think that if someone is able to work it, I am, I do have a talent for that where it's like, okay, great. But.
the only way that talent is ever going to be what it could be is through hard work and dedication.
The last point is always arguably the first proposition to anyone. Go back to Mike Tyson, his coaches would wake him up at two in the morning, he had trained through and then go back to bed at six. And the reason for that, they could fill his mind with no one else is doing this. This is who you are. No one else is doing that. Where is everyone else? They're sleeping. Muhammad Ali would say,
Pete Cohen (29:34.796)
He would stand in the ring and go, this is the person that's kept me away from my wife for 12 weeks. So they're very strong pertinent sports and examples, but I think your question really is one of the most powerful questions we can ever ask ourselves, is when we strip the onion skins back, who are we? And it does start internally. And we're all different, we're all unique, we all have our ownliness.
Pete Cohen (29:41.452)
And I think it's a question of establishing a sense of being honest with yourself. Sarah Blakely was very honest. She was unhappy as a facsimile seller. Some listeners won't even know what that is, a fact seller. And she went to a bank manager and had an idea. She'd cut the leg off of what they call in America, spandex, or we call lycra in the UK.
and she had pulled it around in mid drift and thought, wow, I can create a new, I think there's a new way of doing a girdle. The bank manager absolutely could not understand anything about where she was, but she's often said that I knew I needed to do this. She knew deep down that she was a self-starting entrepreneur and she was really unhappy being in an environment where she was putting a facade on.
where that business turned into a billion dollar industry. So successful that you got someone like Kim Kardashian who then goes, I really like that concept, but I'm an influence over a new generation. So I'll lean into Skims. So you can see it in business as well, in sport. Mother Teresa, completely different areas. Who am I? I'm here to serve the poor in Calcutta. That's who I am supposed to do.
Pete Cohen (31:01.727)
Pete Cohen (31:26.168)
because my interpretation of biblical truth is, our job is to go out and serve the poor, those imprisoned. So I think it's for everyone to be able to connect with that source of who they are. And sometimes the often test is, and I've said this to you before, sometimes we're called to serve or be, and serve others who are where we were yesterday.
Pete Cohen (31:54.43)
So there's a connection. It's not always the case, but often it can be that case. And I know that's a truth that is a difficult one for all of us to confront, because most people will often say, I know what I'd like to do, but I can't. And it will be their circumstance that tells them they can't do it.
Pete Cohen (32:00.287)
Pete Cohen (32:13.458)
Yeah, it's aware. I can't because this is where I'm at. And, you know, again, my mind is triggered by so many things right now. But you know, this comes back to the other question that you have helped me with, which is, are you ready? Because let's be honest, if you were in a place where, okay, maybe you know now more of who you are and the talent that you have, but are you ready to do what it takes? And that's one of the things I admire about you, because you were very good at judo.
Pete Cohen (32:42.562)
And you know, you worked relatively hard at that, but you realised it wasn't who you were. Right? This isn't... Give us your... I know you've been...
So at the time, yeah, at the time I didn't know, I just knew I was talented at something and I was happy to survive on what I was good at without any effort. Because here's the interesting thing that reveals and I see in people over the years now is if you're talented at something, you've actually not done anything to get it, but you enjoy the plaudits for it. And we often use it in popular culture. Oh, they're just nuts.
talented. Well, Usain Bolt is naturally talented, but he also had scoliosis of the curvature of the spine and his running pattern was offset and he had to overcome all sorts of things to get where he was. Now, I got involved in a sport called judo and I happened to be reasonably good at throwing people and doing that and I trained at an Irish club in
my hometown every Monday with some great coaches and their philosophy was to teach that sport very much in its purest Japanese authentic way. So it was less, it was all about the ability to throw. It was all about the purity of the art. Whereas some of the European judo had moved into what we'd call more grunt and groan.
leg grabs, I get someone down on the ground any means necessary. Well, I was taught that was blasphemy. You know, you had to do it with grace and art. So I didn't know, but I was getting coached in a way and I just had a body type and the shape that worked for it. And I wanted to play. Football. That was my love, because that was everyone kids love. And I played for the local district and county.
I remember playing in a London and I was also a district sprint champion. So when I had the ball and I was a forward, no one caught me. And I remember a player who went on, I remember playing Vinny Samways played for it. I can't remember the team's name. Is it Spurs? I don't know. Forgettable team anyway. There might be the top of the league at the moment. I'm making a joke there to all my Spurs fans, but I remember another player
Might be Mitchell Thomas or someone just coming past me, breezing past me like I wasn't anything. Tackling me, I went up into the air and landed. And as I landed, I knew early in the game I wasn't good enough. I just knew this was not who I, if not me. But, and here's the big but, I then spent some more time and went back to judo, was playing around with that.
Pete Cohen (35:32.514)
This is not me.
And, you know, I was on talent. I think I did a national youth tournament, just went along. And I got in the final. And I remember standing there on the side of the mat going, how have I got in the final? And I looked at the other guy and he looked pretty grim. I thought, can I beat him? I'm not sure I can. And all the, because actually there was no engine room. You talk about Angela Duckworth's formula of skill multiplied by effort is accomplishment.
accomplishment multiplied by more effort is more accomplishment. And there goes the cycle. And I didn't have many layers, Pete. So I went out and lost because I actually didn't have a gas tank because I'd got to the final on talent, but my body was not conditioned. I went on to become university champion. Now in America, if you're a national college champion at anything, people think you're
Pete Cohen (36:17.681)
you know, something and when I did come to America, full disclosure, knowing this, remember understanding the environments you're in, I changed my CV, my resume and under interest at the bottom, I put former national college judo champion as well as senior national bronze medalist, which were accolades. But after that senior British championships, I never fought again. I told my coaches gonna have a break and I just ambled off and within a few months I was teaching.
I was very much falling for the girlfriend at the time who's now my wife. Circumstances changed and I wanted different things. So at the time, Pete, I can be honest with you, I was probably running away from, oh, I don't wanna do any more training for a while. I'll have a break. It's actually through life that I recognized that I failed forward and that actually being able to do that sport.
Pete Cohen (37:34.284)
And the last rostrum I was on, the gold medalist, and he sadly passed in a tragic car accident, he became an airline pilot, but he was, I think, a three-time Olympian, at least two-time Olympian, European champion. The silver medalist is a former Olympic bronze medalist, and the other bronze medalist was a Commonwealth champion. And I reflect on that, and just little old me on the rostrum. That's where my talent got me.
but I chose at the time, probably through fear, trepidation and distraction, to go or take a pause. But in that pause, in that stop, let's go there. In that stop, I discovered what my call was, was to work with people because I understood what it meant to be intimidated by your talent, to ask the question, what would happen if you really put the effort in? And I still got friends going, but if you really put the effort in.
what would happen. And I trained with someone growing up, he was three years older than me. And I watched him put the effort in. So he would, if he had a bad training session, he would go and do more training. But this person, at the time, there was someone called Neil Adams, he became a coach of mine, he's a double Olympic and world champion judo great, great guy, still stay in contact with Neil. And he was sort of a half middleweight champion.
Pete Cohen (38:40.76)
But you didn't.
And then above that was someone else called Denzion White. Incredible person and fighter. But this person I trained with is called Ray Stevens. And he went up to 95 kilograms because there was a space there and he had the height. It's about 6'1". And he won Olympic silver medal. But he often says, and I've heard him speak about this, and he's now a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and runs a very successful dojo.
But I've watched that person and he is someone that I admire because of the effort he put in. He wasn't even the most talented person at that time. There was someone else in the club who remained nameless at this stage, but he's probably the most talented person we all acknowledge. And he didn't even, he wasn't even as successful as I was. And I look at that and think, but you had so much more.
And when you then go back to who you are, there were so many pieces of noise that were going through all of us, that these fine lines of decision-making. I said to you yesterday, I know your love, if you had an opportunity to become a professional cricketer and you needed to swim the English Channel and eat a brick for breakfast, then you would have probably eaten a dozen bricks and swam the channel 10 times. Because I see it in you. You...
Pete Cohen (40:31.511)
I've watched you even hit a golf ball here at Topgolf and the focus and the intensity in the moment of the swing. Outside of that, absolutely relaxed, joking, but then boom, I see you lock in. And I see that discipline in you and I admire that. It's great. I love to see that in people.
Pete Cohen (40:57.41)
But you know, again, there's so much in what you just said there, and I'm sure people will have had their own journey through you sharing part of your journey. And I think when I look back and think what I could have done, I'm so glad I did what I did, you know, because I'm, I know who I am, and I know
what I love to do, I love to speak, I love to be on stage and I feel I'm better than that than I've ever been. I feel I'm a better coach than I've ever been. And what you said there was really interesting because I think a lot of people could be actually good at something and worked hard to be good at something, but then think maybe actually this really isn't for me or I've done enough of this or this isn't really what I want to do. And to give up something maybe that you have talent for, to follow your...
your calling, which again is, I think this is a, maybe a conversation for another podcast. Cause what I would like to do Ray is for us to follow this theme around, it's not where you are. It's who you are because what better work is there for anyone to do to go on that journey? And I would encourage, if this is the first podcast that you've listened to with Dr. Ray and myself, maybe you want to go back and listen to a few of the others and see how this is evolving.
because this is almost 3% of your time today that you've listened to us speaking, which is just two guys, two friends having a chat, really. What would you like people to take away from this conversation today, Ray?
I think it would be focused on contentment. And it's something that's easily said as a word, but really hard to achieve. Where do you find your contentment, your peace? And I think everyone is an individual, they have to find that. Pete, you and I have spoken at length about lots of the conflicts around the world. And I often ask myself the question,
is someone, a country, people feeling better by any action. And if there isn't contentment, then slow down because ultimately that's what we're left with is to wake in the morning and say, I feel at peace, I have contentment. And I think tragically in this world, we define ourselves by a circumstance. And when we do that, we can often make some really rash decisions and they can...
cost us lots over many, many years, over a lifetime, in terms of our relationships with family and others. So I think contentment to me is a real key thing. I hope that makes sense.
Pete Cohen (43:49.482)
Yeah, it's interesting when you were talking about that, I was just aware of how contented I am right now, even with all of this crazy stuff going on around. And I think in order to really feel contentment, you have to stop. You know, you can't just to appreciate, and I really do appreciate these conversations. We would love to hear from you. Feel free to connect.
with us as we continue this exploration that we're on, whether that's on Instagram or, and I thought I'll do is I'll put a link in the show notes to that post that I did about my wife and thank you for encouraging me to make that. I will connect with us on LinkedIn. And in a couple of weeks, I'll be with Dr. Ray with a suitcase full of Marks and Spencer's goodies for your family for Thanksgiving.
and Dr. Ray, enjoy the rest of your day and I'll see you next time. Bye.
Take care, Pete. Bye to everyone.