Interview with Derek Redmond
You are an admirable example of willpower and endurance. Where does your energy come from?
I think my energy comes primarily from my attitude and I definitely got that from my Dad. He gave me loads of advice, starting from a very young age, and taught to take a business approach to my career. Not so much in terms of making money but more about meaning business and taking things seriously.
Dad came from a very poor background in Trinidad but, when he arrived in Britain in the 1950s, he soon realised there were opportunities to be taken – that’s what he did!
What similarities do you see between business and athletic teams?
Some might see it as a cliché but there’s something to it – sport is business and business is sport. If you look at the mind sets of successful business people and sportspeople, there’s not much difference at all. They’re self-starting, entrepreneurial and they never take no for an answer.
Why should clients use you for their next event?
Well, I think I have a unique understanding of what it takes to get to the top. No matter which arena you’re competing in, the same qualities are required and I have my own way of getting that across to my audiences. I know about the sacrifices you have to make and, from experience, I have learnt how to cope with setbacks and, ultimately, overcome them.
What do you personally gain from public speaking?
Simply put, I love doing it – I could talk for England and I really enjoy seeing people realise they can achieve more than they thought they could when they first walked in the room. I get a particular kick out of seeing the moment the penny drops for an individual, that moment of revelation – you can see it their eyes. That’s why I do it!
What is the most unique experience you have had as a result of your job as a motivational speaker?
Every presentation is different to all the others – unique surroundings, a fresh audience – there are different dynamics at work every time. I get a massive buzz passing on my message and I like performing for crowds, often the bigger the better.
An audience of 25,000 is a bit easier to read than an intimate one of, say, five people like one I did recently, as people tend to go with the flow and get involved. Small audiences perhaps make people slightly more self-conscious and the trick then is to relax them and get them to interact – that way I can feed off them.
As I say, I really enjoy motivational speaking and I’m privileged to be able to do so, but, to be honest, it doesn’t quite match up to winning a World Championship. We can’t have everything, can we?