PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE US - ALEX STEWART
You might have seen him on TV at the Comm Games last year - we did!
Jumps Coach | Coach of the 2018 Commonwealth Games Men’s High Jump Gold Medallist, 2018 Diamond League Champion and Australian High Jump National Record Holder | Coach of Malaysian Men’s High Jump National Record Holder | Dad & Husband | Studying Japanese
Alex Stewart (Coach) and Commonwealth Games High Jump Gold Medalist Brandon Starc
- What are the top 3 tools that have been gamechangers for you: apps, books, courses, people or services.
My gamechangers have all been people who have significantly influenced the person and coach that I am today. Vasily Grishchenkov (Russian Jumps Coach based in Melbourne) was the man that encouraged me to become a coach having seen something in me that even I had not seen within myself. He is a man of strong conviction and always remains true to himself. Nelio Moura (Brazilian Jumps Coach) is the coach that I aspire to be like. He has been successful at the highest level in sport and is still hungry to learn more and improve his craft. He is willing to share and always ready to listen, he is a fantastic father figure and role model to his athletes, and he is devoted husband and father to his wife and daughter – a true success. Fayyaz Ahmed (Great Britain National HJ Coach) is an amazing person, a fantastic coach, a true artist. He has a background in the dramatic arts and his application of language and communication in general is outstanding. He has also been incredibly kind and helpful to me and for that I will forever be grateful.
- What is a key goal you have achieved recently and why was it so important to you?
I recently coached one of my athletes (Brandon Starc) to win the Commonwealth Games Gold Medal in the Men’s High Jump. He went on to win the Diamond League Trophy (Perhaps equivalent to winning the Formula 1 Trophy???) later in the year and equalled the National High Jump record of 2.36m which had stood for 21 years. This was important to me as it was validation that I could coach someone who was truly world class. I always believed I could do it but to actually do it was very satisfying – There are still a lot of goals to achieve but this has definitely been a huge year in my career.
- 3 pieces of advice to others in achieving a career that is their passion.
Be truthful – Either with yourself or with those people that you surround yourself with. A friend of mine once said that “A harsh truth is much better than a false positive.” Being positive just for the sake of being positive is a waste of time, the only real way to progress is always to tell the truth and be honest.
There is no substitute for hard work – It is very simple, not scientific, and not by any means profound…If you work harder than everyone else then you will stand a good chance of being successful. You must do at least one thing that makes you better every single day.
Mentors – Get one or several if you can. Mentors are a great way to fast track your development. I am a big advocate of finding out what the best people in your chosen field are doing and see if you can do it better. Relationships are a two-way street and it is important to remember that you must contribute to the mentor / mentee relationship.
- What is a business goal you have right now that you want to share with us? And why do you want that?
- How do you keep your goals and review them in an organised way?
At the end of every season I will sit down and start to plan for the next season. This will commence by reviewing the season that has just passed and looking at what was or wasn’t achieved and why this was the case – what worked? what didn’t work? And what do I need to do to make it better? This review will to a large extent form the basis of the goals that I will set for the upcoming season.
Once my goals are set, I will then go about writing an annual plan which essentially acts as a guide for the year ahead. This annual plan will be sent out to various stakeholders and will get discussed – it becomes a very real tangible thing. The annual plan very rarely unfolds exactly as you want it to, so while the goals may remain the same, the plan is at times a very fluid concept and at times it may look nothing like you had thought it would. You must be able to adapt or redirect depending on the scenario that you are faced with.
- Who keeps you accountable?
My great friend and colleague Matt Beckenham (Coach of Women’s 100m National Record Holder Melissa Breen). He is the one that I can always count on for an honest answer or opinion. He is great at being able to ask questions that cause me to take a step back and look at my situation from a different perspective. He has been by my side for many of my successes (and failures) and is always one of the first to offer congratulations or condolences. I value him greatly because I know he has very similar goals and rides the same rollercoaster of emotions that I do.
- How often do you review your goals and what impact does it have?
My goals are always written out and easily accessible, but they are also always in the back of my mind. As a coach I am constantly monitoring performance and assessing how the athlete is tracking towards the goal.
- What questions would you ask an entrepreneur that inspires you? And can you answer that same question for you? 😊
Based on Q9 I would have to take a question that Lewis Howes asks all his guests – “What are your three truths?” (i.e. If you were to die today and the only record of you that remained on earth was your three truths, the three things in life that you know to be true, what would they be?)
- I already mentioned it above in Q3…. Be truthful, tell the truth, be honest.
- To flow on a little from my first answer… Be true to yourself 100% of the time, never apologise for who you are and be proud of who you are. Never conform to what other people want you to be or what you think other people want you to be.
- Please and thank you are powerful words. A former NFL Player named Ray Lewis once said that “Yes Sir will always be Yes Sir…. Yes Maam will always be Yes Maam, it will never change.” The point is that manners, common courtesy, chivalry and respect are never a bad thing. If more people used these words or displayed these behaviours, then our world would be much better for it.
- What podcast are you loving right now? Why?
I have been a long-time listener of Lewis Howe’s Podcast: “The School of Greatness.” Lewis interviews a range of guests on his show, all of whom are world class in their respective fields. I love the respect that he has for all the guests and I love the fact that so many of the episodes cause me to research and discover things that I had not considered. Some of my favourite episodes have been with Apollo Ohno Anton, Esther Perel, Ray Lewis, and Amy Purdy.
- What’s your advice to others who haven’t started setting goals yet?
Start! If you have no goals, you will lack direction and there is a good chance you will never come to realise your true potential.
Thank you Alex, what an incredibly inspiring collection of answers which reflects highly on the achievements you are getting for yourself and your athletes.
No doubt as a coach, your coaching goes beyond how to jump and into their life aspects as you have touched on above, so they can grow as people and have a greater connection to their goals. They know who inspires them, they know their goals and their 'why' for achieving them and they will be truthful.
WOW! If that doesn't make you want to be a better person, I'm not sure what will.
Alex is super approachable, so contact him if you have any questions on Instagram - handle below. Follow him for more inspiration as he travels the world with his athletes.
Instagram Handle: @alexstewart81