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December 21, 2020

Resilience lessons & Coping with Adversity – Anna Hemmings MBE Olympian Inspiring Leadership interview with Jonathan Bowman-Perks MBE

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Have a clear Goal to help you find a way forward despite the odds against you. Build a strong support network – it’s a valuable source of resilience

RQ – Lessons on Resilience & Adversity – Anna Hemmings MBE Olympian Anna founded Beyond the Barriers Training Consultancy in 2009 at the end of a glittering sporting career, where she won 6 World titles in marathon kayak racing and competed at two Olympic Games. Anna saw a great opportunity to use her experience at the highest level of sport to inspire people and help them overcome their own barriers and fulfil their potential; with this mission in mind, Beyond the Barriers was born.

Since transitioning from the world of elite sport into business Anna works globally as a training consultant, executive coach, a workshop facilitator and keynote speaker. She is adept at translating the lessons that she learned in sport into the business world and has developed a reputation for helping individuals and teams unlock potential by breaking down those barriers that may prevent change and improvement. She aims to help others build personal resilience, meet challenges head on and achieve results. I interviewed Anna Hemmings MBE, OLY who has done so much for the Inspiring Leadership Trust and the charity work of Leigh Bowman-Perks. Anna’s tale is one of triumph over adversity… After becoming a 3 time world champion she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and told by medical experts she might never race again. But Anna battled her way to full recovery and between 2005 and 2007 she went on to win a hat-trick of three world titles in a row and compete at her second Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. Anna learnt some valuable lessons about resilience which she is passionate about sharing.

Her top advice for building resilience: 1. Have a clear Goal to help you find a way forward despite the odds against you. 2. Build a strong support network – it’s a valuable source of resilience 3. Balance stress and recovery – resilience is as much about how you recovery as it is about how you endure. Look out for:

1. A feeling that you are working longer and harder just to keep up?
2. You’re finding it difficult to switch off and relax
3. You lose your temper at the smallest thing and find it difficult to manage your emotions.

Anna said – you WILL face demands and stresses – so how do you recover and find balance?

Like in sport you must spot when you empty your metaphorical tank. She knows from bitter experience that constant energy expenditure without rest and recovery leads to depletion of your health and wellbeing. It is key that you spend and recover energy. The maximum is 90-minute periods of focus with short recovery and focussed breathing in between. Disconnect from the phone for a few minutes. Find strategies to get back your energy – the compound effect will be phenomenal.


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