You don't have to born a champion to be a champion
"OWN your results, successes, defeats, victories and failures."
This was the advice from seven-times world champion surfer Layne Beachley AO who gave an inspiring, entertaining and forthright keynote address to the Richmond Club at the Ballina RSL on Friday night.
Speaking at the second Richmond Club event, where she spoke in conversation with guest interviewer Sofie Formica, Ms Beachley said everyone has the ability to be the best person they can be in business and their personal life, if they are true to themselves.
"You don't have to be born a champion to be a champion person," she said.
"You can become the best version of you once you take the time to clearly identify what that is."
An audience of over 200 business leaders from across the Northern Rivers were enthralled to hear Ms Beachley talk about how she had transferred and developed her business and leadership skills from a career as a professional surfer to a life in the corporate arena.
She spoke of the challenges of winning seven world titles, then the difficulty of making the transition from being an elite athlete to taking on the business world.
Plus she spoke candidly of the successes and mistakes she made along the away.
As the founder and director of her own foundation, Aim For The Stars, as well as her current role of chairperson of Surfing Australia, Ms Beachley sees part of her job is to support young people to achieve their dreams across a spectrum of career opportunities, including surfing.
Ms Beachley also openly spoke of the challenges of dealing with inflexible people and corporations and how she overcame these challenges through a positive mindset..
"I'm in relentless pursuit of improvement," she said.
"But you have to listen to yourself, to be clear about what you want to achieve."
She said having the ability to be resilient and determined, helps sustain success.
Ms Beachley said life in business can be as tough as fighting for a world title.
"I've have seen more sharks out of the water than in it," she said with a smile.
However, she said when the structure of being a professional athlete was removed, she felt she lost her sense of purpose and direction.
"But when you are in the spotlight, you don't put your hand up and say you are lost and you need help," she said.
"Then when I went along to the Manly Seagulls Angels club, which was made up of successful retired women, and when I told them how I felt, they looked at me and said, well that's normal."
Ms Beachley said she had since learned perspective is vital to success across all areas of your life.
"Had I asked myself what do I want to feel, I would have worked out what I wanted much earlier," she said.
"Too many of us subscribe to an illusion of what we think people expect of us, which compromises our happiness and when we don't subscribe to this, we feel we have let people down. The limitations we have across all areas of our lives are usually self-imposed."
No matter the size and type of your business, Ms Beachley said leadership is also a key responsibility which needs to permeate through all areas of peoples work and personal lives.
"Leadership should not be compartmentalised, irrespective if it's been achieved in sport, arts, business or music" she said.
"Leadership is leadership and once you become a leader you need to share the knowledge and your experiences, leverage the opportunities to help others and provide assistance to the next generation."
She said never to underestimate the impact you can have on someone's life.
"That's why I mentor executives at Hewlitt Packard in the States and young girls in Australia through the Aim for the Stars Foundation," she said.
"Because someone changed my life and said I see you, I hear you, I believe in you, it gave me the confidence to succeed,"
Ms Beachley received a huge round of applause when she told the amusing story of meeting her husband INXS guitarist Kirk Pengally, after being set up on a blind date Noiseworks frontman Jon Stevens..
"We are opposites, he's nocturnal, I'm not, I love the beach, he doesn't," she said.
"But what I learned is, don't wait until its perfect to believe that it's right".
Ms Beachley said she hoped guests would leave with a sense of being positive about themselves which translates into all areas of their lives.
She said it's important to be true to yourself.
"When you become successful everyone wants to know how you did it," she said.
"For me it took reflection and sense of self-awareness."
The Richmond Club's event also raised funds for NSW Marine Rescue Ballina, who are replacing the engines for their fleet.