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Laura Penhaul – Building Teams, Leadership and Elite Performance (#70)

Lessons from the leader of the Coxless Crew that set 2 World Records for being the first all-female team to row unsupported across the Pacific.

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Laura Penhaul - Building Teams, Leadership and Elite Performance (#70) | The Black Country Buddhas Podcast | My Home Vitality

Introduction to guest:

Laura Penhaul was Team Leader of the Coxless Crew that set 2 World Records, in January 2016, for being the first all-female team to row unsupported across the Pacific, which took 9 months to complete and 4 years to prepare for.

In this podcast we talk about how Laura and the team prepared for the row, the dynamics needed for a good team, mental models and leadership principles that you can use in your own life and what it feels like to get caught in waves as high as three story buildings!

We also discuss Laura’s current role as a performance manager and how she goes about getting the best out of her clients.

She’s got a wealth of experience in this field having been:

  • The performance manager of Mark Beaumont as he circumnavigated the World in 78 days by bike,
  • The lead physio for the Paralympic Programme of British Athletics, and the British Ski Team,
  • And supporting athletes through Vancouver, London and Rio Paralympic Games.

More from Laura:

Instagram: @laurapenhaul

Twitter: @laurapenhaul

Key quotes and takeaways from the show:

Search for your potential and strive for it, don’t let significant adversity be the driving force!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how stupid you may feel – Always ask “why?” and “can we?” Ask questions like a child.

A strong “why” (vision) allows you to persevere through tough times. “Go forwards into it, don’t avoid it.”

“Failure” is part of the process – succeed or learn!

Find people who think differently so they can see things you can’t (to highlight your blind spots).

Have different lenses for seeing different perspectives and making decisions.

It’s all perspective – “Losing sight of shore or approaching another shore?”

“Perfection doesn’t exist.” (but it’s nice to aim for).

“My best always.”

You can receive advice but you don’t have to accept it.

Learn your own body literacy.

There’s no one-size-fits-all, every individual is different and there is no golden bullet.

“What works” changes over time for most people.

To perform well, you must optimise health.

“Ink it, don’t think it”. “The mind is for having thoughts, not holding them”. “A short pencil is better than a long memory”.

Trust, openness and adaptability makes a successful team.

“Don’t leave a pebble in your shoe!”

Question of the day:

“Why do we wait for adversity before we realise what our potential could be?”

Links to podcast sites:

Listen on Audible
Listen on iTunes
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Stitcher
Listen on Overcast

The full podcast:

Related episode:

If you like stories of endurance, mental strength and pushing life to the limit, you will love our podcast with Dean Stott, a former British Special Forces Soldier, Private Security Expert, 2x World Record Holder, Adventurer, Philanthropist, Author and International Speaker.

Dean became one of the very first army members to join the SBS (Special Boat Service).

He then established a distinguished career in the private security sector where he was renowned for his willing to take on any job, no matter how dangerous.

In May 2018 he cycled the longest motorable road in the world – The Pan American Highway (14,000 miles from Argentina to Alaska), gaining two world records.

If you want tips from an elite performer, if you like stories about intelligence and human fortitude or if you’re interested in the military, private protection or cycling, you will enjoy this podcast.

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Show notes:

  • 00:00 – Overall show introduction.
  • 00:38 – Finding your purpose, happiness and success in life – mhvpath.com.
  • 02:39 – Introduction to today’s show.
  • 04:31 – Why take on a 9,000-mile unsupported row across the Pacific?
  • 08:49 – Why the Pacific and not the Atlantic?
  • 10:50 – How to build an effective team (including support team).
  • 17:16 – How do you know when you need help?
  • 20:59 – How do you get over adversity and ignore critics?
  • 26:13 – How did it feel losing sight of shore?
  • 27:35 – Did Laura embrace the journey spiritually and emotionally?
  • 29:55 – Are we losing the art of dark humour?
  • 32:00 – How to make difficult decisions during tough times.
  • 39:03 – A mental model for decision making.
  • 42:14 – How does a rowing boat survive 40-foot waves?
  • 46:20 – How do you access drinking water in the middle of the ocean?
  • 48:07 – Weaknesses that Laura didn’t know she had.
  • 57:48 – When to take advice (and when not to).
  • 59:50 – Laura’s performance management framework.
  • 01:03:20 – Laura’s advice for performing better.
  • 01:07:29 – Some of the things Laura assesses for her athletes.
  • 01:09:26 – Track the big pillars of health through journaling.
  • 01:11:40 – Laura’s life principle.
  • 01:12:03 – What makes a good coach.
  • 01:12:13 – Resources that Laura recommends.
  • 01:13:01 – What makes a successful team.
  • 01:13:38 – Where to find Laura and her future projects.
  • 01:15:20 – Sasquatch in Nepal and bad puns.
  • 01:16:08 – Where to find more, next week’s guest and mhvpath.com.

People and resources mentioned:

In alphabetical order:

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