Training is about investing time and effort in yourself, to consistently strive to be the best you can be. I was reminded of this when I attended last month’s Aspire to Greatness event at Hope Street Hotel, organised by Linea Connect. This event featured an excellent speaker in Rory Underwood MBE the former England, Leicester Tigers and British Lions Rugby Union player, who also runs Wingman Consulting Limited, which is a performance consultancy business.
On hearing about Rory Underwood speaking at this event, my interest was piqued immediately, so much that I had no hesitation in registering. To have the opportunity to listen to the stories of a sportsman who made 85 England appearances, scoring 50 international tries, and appearing in 3 Rugby World Cups (1987, 1991 and 1995) was very appealing to me, and too good to miss out on.
With a very good turnout the event was opened, by a dapper looking John Haynes of the International Coaching Academy. As one of the most enthusiastic coaches I have ever met, John talked about how your inner world reflects your outer world, which set the tone for an evening of learning, listening and storytelling.
Following on from this, Rory went on to talk about what he has learned from inside and outside sport. Although well known for his rugby career, Rory mostly talked about his 18 years serving in the Royal Air Force, as a fast jet pilot with over 3,000 flying hours, which I was very interested and rather surprised to learn about. I found this to be a bonus, because having experienced life outside of sport, this made for a more interesting talk.
Rory was an excellent orator, relating his sporting and life experiences, giving a colour and balanced texture of interesting eloquence. From this, Rory emphasised several important points with regards, to the importance of working as a team, changing poor business behaviours, and consistent training and development. These were points that Rory had applied successfully to his careers in rugby, the RAF and also with his consultancy business. In addition, Rory also had a warm and funny sense of humour with a few anecdotes from his pilot training in the RAF. For example, Rory talked about when on his Hawk jet training, an Anglesey farmer left a rude message painted on his barn, due to being constantly irritated with the continuous flyby of Hawk jets overhead.
Along with leaving the audience spellbound, Rory also made some excellent points, based on his rugby, flying and business experiences. These points relate to self-development, some which made me look inwards and think about my own personal characteristics. In order to give you an understanding, I have included some of these key pointers below.
- Training is an investment and not a cost.
- Successful people and businesses work effectively with others as a team.
- How do you know if the success of your business is down to the people under you?
- How you walk and talk is very important.
- Seek to understand first, before being understood.
- The hardest thing to do is change your behaviour.
- The only mistakes you ever make, are the ones you never learn from.
- It takes a long time to develop a skill to the point of competency.
Reflecting on the event, I was glad to have attended. This is because to have the opportunity to listen to a speaker of Rory’s calibre and experience was something completely different, and one that was informative, and full of useful wisdom. With his experiences inside and outside of rugby, I found Rory easy to listen to, entertaining and extremely knowledgeable, as well as down-to-earth. In addition, he was also kind, humorous and a gentleman too.
To conclude, I would like to thank Rory for his inspirational contribution, and to John Haynes for opening with his customary wisdom. My thanks also go to Ian Chambers of the Linea Group for kindly inviting me to such an enjoyable event, full of networking and conversation. My thanks also go to the staff of Hope Street Hotel, for their kind and generous hospitality.