Today's guest is Tom Bates, a sports psychologist with a wealth of experience in professional football and Olympic sport.
In the field of sports psychology, few have gained as much professional experience as Tom Bates. Tom cut his teeth working in professional football at numerous clubs including Brentford, Aston Villa, and Birmingham City. More recently, Tom has worked with Olympic athletes across a range of sports including Swimming - coaching Adam Peaty to success in Tokyo 2020.
As Tom chats with Danno, we see his progression from humble beginnings to working at the highest level in sport, and how his faith in Christ has been a guiding light on that journey.
You can find out more about Tom's work and purchase his book at: tombatescoaching.com
In this episode we cover:
0:00 What does connecting sport and faith mean to you?
4:27 Sports psychology and performance culture at Aston Villa F.C.
7:27 A day in the life of a sports psychologist
11:08 Getting started in professional football coaching
14:48 Surrendering to Christ
19:00 Moving to Birmingham City F.C.
21:45 Growing as a sports psychologist in the world of pro football
30:15 The Future Coach: Writing the book
34:58 Getting sacked and stepping into the world of Olympic sport
39:20 Gold in Tokyo 2020 & drawing on God in highs and lows
41:10 Killing the Ego & learning true identity in Christ
Danno: Tom welcome to the Christians in sport podcast you know we'd like to start by saying what does it mean for you to have your sport and faith connect to play or to coach or to look after people connected what does that say to you when i ask it?
Tom: Great first question first of all great to be with you lovely to be sharing this conversation that's a really powerful question actually because when i think about my experiences in sport as a player as a coach as a performance psychologist often times the question I'll ask is what defines performance in sport? And when we go beyond the technical tactical physical we get into the realms of mental and emotional so self-confidence self-belief faith and then we ask as a performer psychologist I ask the question is it possible to work on those things mentally and emotionally to be at my best when it matters and of course the answer is yes but if we go even further if we go beyond the mental and emotional we inevitably get to the spiritual and so many times in my life as a player as a coach I have had experiences where some something transformational has taken place and it really wasn't anything to do with me I was in many ways just a channel for that thing to take place and I'm speaking about influencing positively in the lives of sometimes young children sometimes senior athletes sometimes experienced directors CEOs global heads of department something else moving the pieces around
Danno: A fascinating start isn't it to the conversation because you're a reputed practitioner and you will pick on some of the places you've worked we heard it from Johnny Reid at the beginning what your cv is and you've certainly been around the blocks now in professional sport i am fascinated by the move the mental the emotional to the spiritual I mean is that language that you would is it a concept that you would use in everyday working life when you're working with a range of athletes?
Tom: You know what's fascinating about this Danno is that it's not just in my professional experiences but also if we look at the academic literature surrounding things like peak state self-actualization how we go beyond our just the egoic state into something more than which allows this potential to unleash itself and often times it's referenced in the data it's transformational this going beyond self not explicitly as um as a faith based from Christianity but certainly referenced in the literature which leads towards um faith in God so…
Danno: That makes that makes a lot of sense you can conceptualize it as faith in God as Christian faith in in my case or our case for Christians in sport but the fact that the literature surrounding your discipline really highlights or at least points to the transformational away from my fascinating to me that I’ll pick up then if you don't mind there on some of the research you've been involved in significant research in this regard because when you started trying to get some depth to your own professional training you did find that the thesis that you were working on shifted in concepts what's transformational can you can you fill that in for us?
Tom: Yeah well it kind of coincided with my professional my professional um role at the time i moved from Brentford um as a performance coach with a senior team to a role with Aston Villa as head of performance psychology and culture with the senior team huge great big global role.
Danno: Give us that title again that we've heard it earlier but yeah i mean adding culture to it, say the title once more.
Tom: Yeah so it was a wonderful new role um created by the senior sporting director head of performance psychology
Danno: Which is well understood in the game…
Tom: And culture
Danno: And culture, did you did you discuss that together did he initiate it that's a that's a big jump to whole club culture in the premier league
Tom: Certainly is
Danno: He wanted it?
Tom: Certainly did and i think um it was i say that was my role of course we know that culture is never really one just one person's role but i think it was the club and the senior board of directors signposting the importance of culture and that we if we truly believed in the importance of culture then we needed to signpost it then we needed everyone to buy in and we needed to comprehend what it actually meant not as some kind of consequence of random chance but a conscious creative process of high performance culture that we were all involved with collaboration I guess you could say at its best so available way ahead of their time i think in in terms of signposting the role and combining two uh header performance psychology which is a pretty big role in itself to tag culture on to the end is i think was testament to the fact that they believed that culture was defining in the end for all of us because we're all creating the culture that we live in here we are so what is it how do we do that and how do we improve that and then so but i was desperately inexperienced at that time because i was um a lot younger than i am now and uh had just moved from Brentford completely different club smaller club uh nowhere near the size of employees as an organization and took a lot of understanding to really get inside the global nature of Aston Villa it's a titanic of a football club so i realized i needed to upskill myself and but i started a professional doctorate based on asking the question what is it that defines a culture of excellence in high performance sport huge great big global question subsequently narrowed down over the years shifting towards this idea of what is it that helps human beings flourish in competitive sporting environments you know athletes coaches heads of departments sporting directors owners themselves how do we unleash our inner potential for the benefit of everyone not just ourselves and so there is this there was a shift between okay high performance culture but deeper than that let's go beyond that let's go beyond unearthing a human being's potential what is it that's required now
Danno: Listen before we go any further let's ground this now I want a day in the life of now all the best right I want a day in the life of uh where should we start pick one of the sports and then give us that one a day but give us a feel of some of the other sports and sports people you work with a day in the life of.
Tom: Yeah okay or well where should we go well let's go with British Swimming so am meeting board of directors um thinking about the landscape before Paris 2024 how we built best help our emerging athletes come through over the next two years and also solidify the high performance of our current athletes and secure their success so really just about the journeys of the athletes and how we maximize their long-term performances then probably off to one-to-ones with a number of different athletes and that could be any one of the high-performance centres Stirling Bath or Loughborough and this is more of a one-to-one interpersonal session. Followed by a little bit of lunch probably somewhere in there and a flat white um off to working with the coaches uh being in and around the sessions at the centres so observing training in action um getting to work with the coaches closely and understand where they're at with the programs and each periodized cycle and training plan uh probably culminating in a in an end of day reflective team performance debrief connecting all of the practitioners into disciplinary across the country and in many cases the world to make sure that we're all aligned.
Danno: Alright that's British swimming but what else could you have been doing on that day?
Tom: Yeah could have been down to Bristol with Bristol bears rugby team in the premiership in the Gallagher premiership working with a fantastic head coach down there by the name of pat lam again revolutionary leader he integrates with the players with the coaches and with the staff organization wide understands the role really well but then it could be off to work with a number of different footballers professional players in the premier league championship and down up to Sheffield Wednesday to work with the first team there or across down into London to work with GB basketball there's just a tremendous variety in the program and that's really what i love that's what i love and i think it's that variety which improves the role in many ways in different contexts you know.
Danno: Got to ask how you manage to rest because whenever i do see you seriously you're you you've got time you've got time on the ball pretty much always and sometimes I’ll see you in zoom calls from your home the children around and the dog wife obviously but I will I don't see any you do have time on the ball give us a feel of that then because with a lot of professional people listening to this how do you find that how do you do that.
Tom: It's a constant working progress um I’m not sure if the proverbial balance exists I’m really not uh but i do know that you know might would be Hannah my wife is just simply fantastic um she is very good at keeping the children in perspective as a priority and it does take that um I think it takes a conscious prioritization it would be easy for me to be seven days a week six am until bed uh on purely work focused.
Danno: Let me let me circle back into your own story uh going to Villa young in your career with that role and responsibility for the sporting director um means that you'd made some ground Brentford a villa before that starting at Bournemouth take us back to the earliest days of your own personal and professional development your own faith journey mixed with that early start then as a performance psychologist
Tom: wow so I’ll go all the way back to um playing schoolboy football in Cambridge and um you know believing and really wanting to be a professional footballer and got close played for some uh great clubs was part of some wonderful youth development programs and went on trial lots of different places but ultimately didn't make it and so therefore that time was probably the first time where I had to sort of question my you know who am I then where am I going then if this isn't going to be me this isn't going to be my dream for my life what else is there who what is beyond this then um so loved coaching and eventually studied psychology and P.E. at a level at long road fast forward into a Bournemouth undergraduate first ever course of its kind bachelor of science combining sports psychology and coaching sciences brilliant loved it um still wanted to be a coach because I loved playing still but I was never going to be a professional and then very blessed to meet some fantastic mentors whilst I was studying my undergraduate outside of the university actually and came into contact with a guy called joe roach AFC Bournemouth who was head of youth then and Eddie Howe who had just finished his playing days and become centre excellence manager fantastic in the nucleus of coaching uh getting to go on a Thursday night under the Astro turf lights on the with Eddie taking some sessions and interrupting my session sometimes had a great technical practice planned and 20 minutes in he's taking over.
Danno: No, son, leave it there
Tom: So really great experience
Danno: Was he a great guy? I mean fantastic everybody speaks so well of Eddie Howe from the beginning great guy?
Tom: Yeah really was and so blessed to be in and around good packed full of enthusiasm you know for both of us I guess we both shared that that we were just starting out and you know everything was possible his passion and enthusiasm that he had and his ability to transfer his knowledge from playing to coaching to different ages even then it just finished was really incredible so but at the time to be honest with you Bournemouth were in league two I was still working part-time as a lifeguard coaching and working for free providing sports psychology service to the under-18s and because at that time what was sports psychology and how does it make us better and how can you improve performance well we've never had one before in football so why would we have one now to persuade us that and but we're not going to pay you for that by the way you've got to do that for free so that was a wonderful journey and I remember uh after about a year and a half wonderful experiences with some senior pros naturally evolves work with academy players but then eventually it became very valuable to the senior pros and because of the I guess early success the opportunity to come up to come to the midlands um but here's where it gets interesting because this is where I say that there was something else someone else moving the pieces around because at the time I was living I was working part-time AFC Bournemouth living in a one-bedroom apartment working as a lifeguard teaching trying to make ends meet my long-term girlfriend who's now my wife became pregnant at the time Hannah and I didn't have enough money to live down in a one-bedroom apartment let alone secure the future of a you know a child so that's when that's when I think my faith really I got in touch with my faith in a way that I never had done before and completely surrendered I remember praying um visiting church speaking to God really asking some pretty deep questions about what he wants me to do with my life and um that's why I say that that journey at that point led me to surrender completely.
Danno: What was the background to that how did you know these things where did the idea itself of God come from faith do you have any background in that?
Tom: Yeah um ah so really interesting mum and dad both believe in God in completely different ways um mum was and is a practicing Catholic so she goes to church every Sunday without fail told me that I needed to go to church every Sunday without fail and dad would say you know they would have they would often bicker you know he would say I don't need to go to church every Sunday I can speak to God right now in my living room if I want to so I grew up with that yes very diverse experience yeah of the presence of God yeah.
Danno: So why that tipping point then do you think that just then how old are you 22 yeah 23 yeah 22. yeah why the tipping point what was that capture it for us what you really went through when you say you came to faith then what does that mean what does that mean for our listener?
Tom: Yeah so I had just finished a four year long bachelor of science graduated with a 2-1 not the best grade but you know valuable experience quickly realized that that degree was never going to be enough to do what I wanted to do thus doing my badges even then I wasn't experiencing really a breakthrough in the industry yes I was so determined that I’d moved down from Cambridge to Bournemouth spent five years of my life there and I wasn't about to I wasn't prepared to go into something that wasn't what I had spent so long studying the reason I say came to faith then surrendered because I realized at that point my journey had been driven by I think an ego that I was in control of everything I could make things happen in my own life um I was the one moving the pieces around if it was up it was meant to be then it was down to me yeah and all this sort of stuff fight my way through despite setbacks rely on my own levels of resilience et cetera et cetera but there was an emptiness there was an emptiness that um I think caused me to realize that um at that point in my life I knew of God but I didn't know God I knew of my mum's connections the catholic upbringing certain different types of prayers but I didn't truly know him I didn't connect him in a way that it's very difficult to describe if I’m honest.
Danno: It's existential it's a personal experience we're talking about here for sure let me push on a year or two from that then how did that consolidate itself so coming to Christian faith an existential experience that becomes a personal reality which you'll talk to people about comfortably these days at the highest level of sport as a very respected professional person one more question on the on the journey to face how did you who how do you consolidate that security of faith in those first few years you came to work here obviously at Birmingham city yep which is where we are today how did that work
Tom: Well that's what I mean about God moving the pieces around, so backtrack slightly back in Bournemouth nowhere near the finances required to look after a new born family and started to just ask God for help about what he wanted me to do with my life and this is what I mean about um not of my own accord I started to receive uh emails invitations interviews things that I would normally go after proactively that just started turning up and I really have to say that that's how it happened and there was an opportunity that came up here that was part-time it wasn't even full-time and but it was on significant more money than I was on in Bournemouth and so I made the leap to come to the midlands no one here no family no friends no but this opportunity to work for this great club um Birmingham city and uh and the rest is history from there but I think um it was a leap of faith professionally personally existentially uh and just completely surrendered and trusted in the fact that this is this was the right thing to do I I had met Christian people here at the club as part of the process of the interview although that wasn't how I got the interview and so there are I came to acknowledge the signposts along the way that if this was really where I should be then um you know can I have some kind of sign yeah as part of that process.
Danno: Yeah and so the window we're talking about here Tom uh professionally I think you're coming to faith in this middle twenties eraish early to middle twenties um Birmingham city we went to West Brom from Birmingham yeah then Brentford then villa so we're moving around a bit now villa's the big a real big job how is it working out when you're in the midlands in those other clubs how is that shaping up for you what were you learning what were you developing both professionally and spiritually.
Tom: Yeah wonderful so first of all fantastic time here three and a half years um again progressed through the academy ranks into the senior realms and the service I think of sports psychology was in its infancy becoming more popular across sporting context I think in other disciplines probably more advanced in football we are still a little bit behind in terms of a certain sense of to a degree open-mindedness of an understanding of what the role is and how it can help I think there's massive progress now but I certainly developed um a lot of skill sets professionally across when I moved from Birmingham to West Brom I think the coaching pedagogy that West Brom was something that I’d never seen before uh.
Danno: Who was that down to?
Tom: Well I think there were some wonderful people there Dan Ashworth was the director of..
Danno: Well enough said a national director of football at the time that'll do no but seriously I mean entirely innovative yeah of course you went to work for Dan.
Tom: Yeah and at that time I didn't know what I was about to encounter I was just going to a new club I knew that they were innovative but and then I got to know that very well and that's what I mean about being blessed to have so many great teachers and mentors along the way yeah I think he gave me so much but I think probably a global understanding or appreciation for the main parts of running a successful football club he opened up my lens if you like I was looking through a coaching lens I was looking through a sports psych lens but he helped me to think bigger to rise above and see everything from a global perspective.
Danno: So the move your move from West Brom to Villa and adding culture to sports performance yeah he has a significant lens offering application there right he you saw the world differently you knew it but Dan was a big encourager in that journey then.
Tom: Huge and he believed in it you know he's the here he is at the top of the football club yeah a leader outstanding leader was is will continue to be who continuously improves which is one of the things I really love about him but he really understood the value of the role and how best to integrate the role across all the departments not just in the coaching realm or not just with the players so help me big influence really big strong positive influence helping me to grow up essentially in understanding how the role might benefit but then of course very quickly I moved to Brentford to work solely with the seniors.
Danno: Yes so that moved to Brentford and they were so I mean look at them now but it started then yeah I mean the investment in Brentford when you went there was a very very clear qualitative and quantitative analysis of how to build a football club wow so you were in with those guys right at the beginning of that process yeah tell us a little bit about what you are learning there professionally and personally.
Tom: Well I think what I've learned is that um just to name drop a few of the significant people involved yeah good Matthew Benham.
Danno: I mean what he was the owner right he was the one with the foresight give us a couple of lines on that because not a I’m just thinking I’m saying Dan Ashworth who is now at Newcastle united as a sporting director but really galvanized the whole England setup just before leaving for Newcastle this year so you know absolutely giant of the last 12-15 years Cambridge based yeah nice at one point get that in but when you went to Brentford then so Matthew takes over the club give people a feel of what that meant because it was a radical transformation.
Tom: Radical Matthew Benham owner of Brentford football club is uh outright visionary outstanding fearless creative leader um uh I think in many ways bucks the trend of everything traditional about English football.
Danno: And was castigated yeah when he took over at Brentford and laughed at!
Tom: Yeah very much you can't do it that way it's never been done that way what do you think you're gonna what are you gonna be the first yeah yeah um and but the great thing about him is that he really is somebody who embodies because when we say innovative it sounds quite sexy doesn't it it sounds quite fresh and bold and but what often we forget about that whole process of being innovative is it involves a lot of failures a lot of setbacks a lot of challenges along the way and he really used to go from setback from challenges from failures for paleo to failure trying something new without losing that passionate enthusiasm of the end goal and also inspiring everyone around him to say now listen you know we'll just if we just try this idea a different way or we consider this different way or maybe think about it in this way and it liberated the organization so the culture of Brentford although I didn't know at the time was so we couldn't outspend other football clubs so we had to out think and just that process in itself having to out think to be creative to find new ways of doing things created a culture of courage of freedom of excited innovation from the staff um and of course we had people like phil Giles and Rasmus Ankerson as the two sporting directors first ever to split the role and take the you know reigns of two different ways we had um a kicking specialist from Poland we had a head of football philosophy from Denmark we had an Italian set piece coach we had a Dutch head coach and a Dutch assistant head coach and performance psychologist uh I remember my first day we were sat around in the team meeting room and it was like being at un we needed the later um but again you know Matthew wasn't uh deterred by that he created a melting pot of diverse thinking as a competitive advantage.
Danno: There's too many avenues to go down here and there they're just too many avenues to pursue let's jump from Matthew and Brentford now then we've talked about villa we've talked about West Brom talk about Birmingham talk about Bournemouth we haven't got near being in Tokyo and all the work you've done around particularly swimming and other sports for GB athletics and track and field and swim teams where you are today now as we're in this discussion so much access to innovators particularly in football in those early times that gave you these opportunities to grow when you wrote when you authored the book uh which will be in the notes for the podcast I made some notes on the future coach and because it's all about coaches and sports psychology you're really wanting the coach to get it so you're speaking as somebody with an eclectic view across all staff and all people not just players and coaches but there are nine things you think I’m gonna crystallize what I've got thus far in life and design things for coaches how did you shape the book?
Tom: I thought about I think that when people ask me you know when did you write the book it was released in 2017 but of course I think over the last the ten years before that I was always writing the book really through reflective journal entries and different papers that I wrote through the lMA as well and had a collection of these ideas but reinforced and evolved really with practical experiences as I grew as a practitioner too as a coach so I think the book was in the writing since 2007. um but surfaced in 2017 as an amalgamation of concrete experiences that I knew at that time really made a difference because I’ve been privileged to have been in some incredible frontline dressing rooms under some significant head coaches managers directors of football owners so I knew that these things were defining yeah.
Danno: And this is providential isn’t it I mean you think of the names we won't repeat them again some of the names we've just talked about here I mean these are pivotal tipping points in professional soccer as it is today professional football as it is today aren't they yeah I mean obviously the result of your work and the book is you'd met Lee Casley here presumably Birmingham city yeah and obviously he's central now in the England setup for the development of young players and you regularly do seminars together is it slightly weird for you to see it almost being normative Gareth Southgate Lee Carson the whole team really in England in England anyway in England football yeah I mean this is a generation of people who don't see it as innovative to be doing these things or to think these ways that must be so exciting to have been part of the journey of these guys.
Danno: Yeah yeah absolutely and like you said there are so many names to mention that we probably couldn't mention them all but I think to come full circle it reinforced my faith that these things were important yeah and that a new generation of coaches had emerged and were emerging and are emerging to shape the very fabric of of football in our country um it doesn't get much more exciting than that and lee and Gareth were two who um I was working with Gareth was interviewed for the book and shared some of his experiences and it's just a real privilege like I said to be around these professionals lee was the first team captain of here when I first arrived at Birmingham city uh turned coach and um what did you see in me what did you see in lee somebody that was able to continue to evolve to grow to improve not to be afraid to think differently I think that was the one thing that stood out he was senior first team captain but even at that time when he was you know 17 years in the premier league captain every club that he'd been at arrives at Birmingham first team captain but what he did as a captain is brought the young players with him spent time speaking with them working with them if he was involved in a practice he'd actively be coaching them through whilst in the practice and playing and performing himself you know so ultimate senior leader within the team but cared uh it brings me right back to the first chapter which is the relationship coach yes the relationship coach on this idea that people don't care how much you know until you know how much you care.
Danno: But in your time you know you say 2007 to 2017 in that decade the book's written but ridiculous really I mean this is a formative stage for you but it's synonymous it's coherent because it's at exactly the same time as significant changes in English football e triple p comes in a little bit after that but the whole vision of the elite player performance plan was both technical and tactical and about personal about holistic people slip over to your uh other hats then with GB at Tokyo and for those I’m sure people be interested in this you know the sort of historically macho male football world of the naughties that we've seen transition in when you move from that to working with individual athletes track and field athletes swimmers that's a shift right where was that world at in relation to your football world when you first stepped into it.
Tom: well without being disrespectful to the industry of football when I started to work in other sports professionally I realized how far football actually was still behind and Olympic sports in particular it was like stepping into an oxygen chamber because they I didn't have to convince or persuade anyone that performance psychology you know mental skills training was important for elite performance it was the reverse they wanted as much as possible to search for the one percent that would define performance for them when it mattered in the arena and so again richly blessed to walk in to an environment that was led by some senior directors who created that culture who accelerated that culture and um my integration into Olympic sport was really because of the culture and leadership that those senior directors.
Danno: What was the first step of that how did literally how did that happen because you'd worked in football for a long time yeah big decision actually to take work outside of football I mean contracts and jobs and roles in big professional clubs what was the action that precipitated that move what did you do?
Tom: Well some reflection after I got sacked at Aston Villa and we lost to Fulham at Wembley in the championship playoff and some significant reflection took place of whether or not I wanted to be involved in professional football full time I’d done it 15 16 years of my life up to that point and I just felt again that there was a that I needed to go and experience different performance contexts to understand my role I needed to grow actually to go beyond performance psychologists working in football to go and experience different environments to go and see if what I knew could be applied in different environments so the first step was to reflect on that and of course when you leave a job or a position you're afforded that time to go and do that so then uh through different series of combination conversations really working with other practitioners I've had a mentor work with me for many years by the name of Bill Beswick he's been so influential for me professionally and so we did progressive thinking together to sit down and think about what the next step would look like and formulated this idea of you know going independent becoming an independent consultant and um and there's always that fear I think that was very real very present what if I don't get any clients what if there are no players that want to work with me anymore what if there aren't any organizations that believe in this well so again another pivotal point professionally but also in my faith journey um to take the step outside of something that I've been doing full time for 17 16 17 years.
Danno: Interesting listening at this point as we we're wandering around big ticket items and personal life there are two periods this may be a bit too superficial but there are two periods that you've narrated for us anyway which is that leave not going to make it as a player and the significant existential experience you had then and a faith experience and then now you're getting head hunted by people all the time once you've gone to Birmingham you know people want you for jobs they want you you've climbed and climbed and climbed you've got probably the biggest title in English football in terms of the opportunity to influence with a culture added on to the typical name that would go with your job getting the sack you say it that's a blow right because you're not used to being sacked at all at this point are you yeah what about your f he's mentioned your faith was an important factor in this period you've articulated some of us have you found you draw more on God and adversity is that normative or not necessarily so it's not meant to be a leading question it's not meant to be.
Tom: Not necessarily not necessarily for me personally there have been times of I mean I remember being in Tokyo Japan when Adam peaty became the first man to defend his 100-meter breaststroke gold medal from Rio to Tokyo so not just four years but five a significant moment of genuine admiration respect love for someone who I have a very close relationship working relationship with and you know so I remember also being so thankful thankful to God for those experiences at the peak of my what you could call inverted commas success as a practitioner so not always in adversity but I do think particularly those two experiences we've talked about inevitably adversity has stood a certain element of searching and reflection and asking deeper questions than beyond the day-to-day surface.
Danno: And I think rather than being the questioner but a commentator at this point my experience of mostly professional football being much older than you but across a range of sports Olympic sports and so on has been that one aspect of the Christian faith that I've observed in people's lives over a number of years will be almost a three-fold consequence of being an elite athlete and indeed coach for that matter is that a Christian faith gives you an assurance almost that when it's going really well you're always remembering well these gifts that I have to do this they are gifts I was given them by my creator and I I’m able to use them and I’ll take agency in them but there are good highs aren't there and there's a humility in the high not always but sometimes you'll find a humility as a high in the Christian as a Christian in the lows you'll find a depth of learning and realization that actually God loves you whether you're successful or not when it's all stripped away and of course that's the bit we don't fancy but both that's why I asked it in the way I did it both are significant you know the highs and the lows in different ways they draw you back to who's the source of your being here in your life and then and then finally and I I look I hear this in you here now as we're talking those two things give the capacity to give away to love to to not be so consumed with one's own success or failure at any one moment that there's something left in the tank as it were or change the metaphor in the ram to give to give to the other to get your eyes off yourself would that be a fair reflection of your ups and downs and how have you used that capacity to have equilibrium to love others in your professional life.
Tom: I think I’m still on that journey is the first thing to say so I don't believe for any second that I've got it cracked right now but what I think changed um is that striving ambitiously striving occupationally to get to the top in inverted commas um is was very much driven for me by the sense of the ego particularly when things like um television documentaries came out sky sports BBC Netflix across different production companies there's a temptation for the ego to get involved and say you're the man well done and then I've got this sense of for me my background in work working class family so none of my parents or family members went to university and so there's that personal journey as well that you reflect on and say the temptation is to say yeah I did this so my ego was large and then there's this wonderful thing by Dr. Wayne Dyer I've got to bring it up because it's something it's my go-to when i want to see this is one of my islands um the ego ed edging God out ego edging God out and there are five constructs and i can recognize myself in this so much over the years and even to a degree now number one is i am what i have so let's think about this in the context of industry so here's an industry with stratospheric finances involved that inevitably at some level can lead to the corruption of character let's just say number one: I am what I have the money the cars the fame the status that's my identity. Number two: I am what I do I am the head of I am the superstar striker I am the gaffer I am what I do. Here's a big one number three: I am what other people think of me the press the media the fans the sponsors the manager whoever. Number four: i am separate from others. Five: I’m separate from God. And i think to go back to your question during the times of adversity I've recognized I've been able to recognize how large my own ego was during the successful times and therefore a depth of reflection that went beyond this surface identity of those things which ultimately results in I’m a child of God and Jesus Christ is my lord and saviour and everything that i have here on this earth is a true blessing it's a gift as you just said when i recognize those gifts that's when I’m less concerned with what success is I’m less concerned with whether or not the managing director of the organization is going to think I’m good at my job if i give a presentation I’m less concerned with what the so-called key decision makers think and I’m more focused on whether or not I’m saying is true or not and how can it help others so everything becomes about service removing myself from and being a really a servant leader if you like has transformed everything and that couldn't take place that could not take place without surrendering
Danno: Tom Bates absolutely class thank you very much indeed.
Get the perfect start every
A weekly devotional for sports people