Steve Backley, the former Olympic javelin champion, will make the keynote speech at the NMBS builders merchant industry conference with fellow Olympian Roger Black on Saturday.
Backley – who won medals at five consecutive Olympic Games – runs a coaching and motivation business with Black and both men will share with delegates some of the lesions they learned on the athletics track and field.
The pair will make the keynote presentation this Saturday at the NMBS conference in Marbella.
“You fail, dust yourself down, come back stronger, Backley told BMJ’s Mark Rowland in an exclusive interview in the June issue.”
Backley has always been interested in performance and what makes a difference -initially for his own benefit. A lot of that insight came from his mistakes, and how he learned from them. When he retired, he started to wonder whether he could share that with other people and could it help them on their journeys? Then the opportunity arose to get into public speaking and full-day workshops.
“I’ll be telling delegates how I got it right and wrong. There times in my life where I made a mess of it and I learned from it. I think that’s quite a translatable trait; when you fail, what happens next? In a sporting context, that’s when champions are born. You fail, dust yourself down, come back stronger.”
People often perceive successful people, particularly those involved in sports, as being ordained with talent, as being lucky, Backley says, but there’s more to it than that. A lot of people who are born with a talent can only go so far without hard work and the right attitude.
“To get onto the Olympic roster and compete at that level, it’s far more behavioural than anything else. Of course, you need the talent in the first place, what we call the ticket to the party, but when you get to the party, it depends on what you do there as to whether you have a good time or not.”
“It’s the people who get on with it, accept their weaknesses, work on them and set their sights a clear goal, who are in a good position to be successful. It’s giving your dreams a higher purpose by having the clarity, drive and vision to turn it into a reality.
“All of that is key if you want to have renewed and sustainable success. Turning up and winning once isn’t actually that tough if you’re talented. Doing it again, coming back and repeating that success – that’s what I mean by champion.”