“Often the teacher reads out my bio and it sounds wonderful and then I begin by talking about all the things that aren’t on google! The hard bits of life!”
Lisa Jacob’s an incredible biography, encompassing 139 Irish international hockey caps before earning a contract with the Irish rugby sevens. In 2016. For good measure, in 2016, she completed the 2,150km Race Around Ireland.
As part of her latest venture, she is drawing on the experiences that spurred her to those moments to try and help others find their “Hidden Strength”.
On Tuesday, February 5, she will be in the Mill Theatre in Dundrum for a speaker session, doing two slots called “Girls with Grit: Find your Hidden Strength” in tandem with Trish Patterson as part of the evolution of their new project – www.hidden-strength .com.
It will include a session with hockey schools during the day and will be followed in the evening for parents with their kids – anyone from age 10 and up – coaches and teachers who are interested in developing hidden strength in young people.
In the talks, Jacob and Patterson will share their lessons from international sport, war zones and ultra marathons, speaking about navigating “the challenges that life throws at you,” Jacob explain.
“I just hope that I can help people to be successful and happy- whatever that means to them”.
The project’s genesis was 18 months ago when Jacob was co-opted into a corporate talk for 100-people on high performance sport with minimal notice but soon struck a chord.
“I was given about three-days notice which suited me because the less time I have to prepare, the more clear my thinking is!” she explained.
“I felt that the most value I could provide the audience was to explain what I felt high performers do very well every day. When I attempted to demystify high performance sport, I realised that in my own experiences – in international hockey and rugby 7s and doing the Race Around Ireland ultramarathon – I had learned a clear set of skills that I believe anyone can use to be more effective in any aspect of their lives.
Jacob led Old Alex to promotion to the EYHL in a player-coach role. Pic: Adrian Boehm[/caption]“Things like dealing with adversity, setbacks and failure, setting goals but breaking them down into manageable, daily tasks. I spoke about looking at what you can control and being prepared to be uncomfortable if you want to grow.
“By word of mouth, I started to get calls about coming in to various companies to speak about a variety of things like high performance teams and women in leadership.
“At the time I was co-ordinating girls’ hockey in St. Andrew’s College, which I enjoyed immensely but I also felt like I wasn’t using all of my potential and coaching hockey full time wasn’t sustainable for me.“My background is Psychology and Executive Coaching so I was trying to figure out how I could create a life where I was doing work I loved every day, and also pushing myself.”
As she was planning her next move, one of her partner’s friends Trish Patterson was also considering setting herself up as a speaker. She initially grew up in Tristan Da Cunha, one of the most remote and least inhabited islands in the world, before moving to Southampton for school, a major culture shock.
At 16, she passed the army officer selection board and, at 19, was commissioned from the Rotal Military Academy Sandhurst.
During her time in the Army, Trish has led teams in extreme environments all over the world, from scaling 6000m mountains to war zones. Whilst deployed in Helmand, Afghanistan, she decided that despite being slightly malnourished and in a dangerous environment she would run a marathon in her tiny patrol base to raise money for injured soldiers.
Despite soaring temperatures of up to 50 degrees, 72 laps later she completed it in 4 hours and 20 minutes. She has also represented the Army at high level sport in rugby, Nordic skiing and was 1st female in the Alps Challenge 80km race.
“I said that whenever she comes to visit we should do an event together,” Jacob explained. “Hidden Strength began from chatting about what our common beliefs were, how we have overcome challenges and essentially what we believe about people: that everyone has Hidden Strength.
“When I go into schools particularly, often the teacher reads out my bio and it sounds wonderful, and I begin by talking about all the things that aren’t on google: the hard bits of life like my parents separating, the time one my ‘friends’ in school laughed when I said I wanted to play for Ireland, the times I didn’t get picked on the team or selected for a tournament.
“I speak about failing in many ways like exams and driving tests to big failures that took a long time to get over like failing to qualify for the Olympics.“I talk about lots of things have helped me to achieve like stretching myself and how to do that, reaching out for support, understanding yourself etc. I would like to think I am as honest as I can be, I am happy to talk about anything and be asked anything at the end.
“I have created my own models now that explain how I dealt with setbacks and failure, so hopefully the audience can take them and use them for themselves, but I try to tell them with my own stories so they are memorable.
“I suppose if I was to talk about what is important to me, it is helping people to be their best. I am equally interested in performance and wellbeing. I believe that if people are feeling good about themselves, and about their work, their personal goals or other aspects of life that are important to them, that they will flourish.
“Often there is just one thing that is holding us back, and that’s the space I love working in. We have set up the Hidden Strength Academy to provide 1-2-1 coaching support to young people (mostly secondary school students and those in their first year in college).
“Everything is centred on lifeskills that you may not necessarily directly learn in school- for instance planning and organising, managing priorities, your time and energy, coping strategies etc
“When I look back on my development as a player and a person, coaches played a huge role in helping me to achieve and compete at a high level, and to navigate the challenges that life throws at you. I just hope that I can help people to be successful and happy- whatever that means to them.”
** To check out more about her new venture, click here: https://www.hidden-strength.com/
** for further details, see the flyer below