In this week's episode of The Learning Network's Community & Family Studies Podcast, I am joined by courage creator & resilience revolutionary, the appropriately named, Nadine Champion! Nadine is an international speaker, mindset coach, champion kickboxer & martial artist whose mission is to help women get back up, leave life’s dressing room and courageously create a life they love.

Throughout the episode, Nadine unpacks a few things around courage and resilience and how we can be the best versions of ourselves. Nadine explains how she uses mindset training to overcome that wild voice in our heads that doesn't always say the nicest things by using our emotions, feelings and thoughts as fuel for positivity rather than letting them get in our way.

We also chat about how this mindset shift can be used to help students get through their HSC without getting hung up on self doubt and struggling to cope with the pressure and stress.

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Since 2004 I have been teaching PDHPE and Community & Family Studies. I love learning. It lights me up. I am so passionate about supporting you to be the best educator you can be.

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Show Transcription


Episode Into - Kelly:

In today's podcast episode we're joined by the amazing martial artist champion kickboxer international speaker Nadine Champion. The deme champion is a courage creator and resilience revolutionary. She is an international speaker, mindset coach champion kickboxer and martial artist with over 35 years of experience, the DNS wholehearted mission is to help women get back up, leave life's dressing room, and courageously create a life they love. rising to prominence by doing her first ever public speaking event in front of two and a half 1000 people. The dean was a closing speaker for TEDx Sydney with a speech entitled 10 seconds of courage, which is now her book actually, she took a giant swing at creating a new life and she demonstrated the mindset tools that led her to success, but were also instrumental in her resilient recovery from cancer. The presentations much talked about grand finale changed the course of her life, launching a successful professional speaking career and seeing her author a book of the same name. She now spends her time passionately teaching life changing mindset tools, cuddling sausage dogs, and enjoying being a newlywed CAFS group. Please welcome my very special guest expert wet Nadine Champion.

Podcast Intro - Kelly:

Hey, I'm Kelly Bell. Welcome to The Learning Network Podcast. I guide Community and Family Studies teachers, newbies and experienced, through best practice to improve knowledge, increase empowerment and alleviate stress, to help you and your students to make meaningful connections across the course. I will share strategic and purposeful applications from my 16 years experience in the classroom that I have adopted to increase student motivation, enjoyment, engagement and results. Together, we will grow and transform your CAFS crew to the next level without impacting your sleep and wellbeing process. To join my free how to improve writing and fast track results webinar, head to So tune in, get inspired and let's connect, learn and grow together. 

Kelly: Hey, everyone. And welcome back to the Learning Network Podcast. Today I have been joined by a very special guest and a deep connection that I've made only recently. So huge welcome to Nadine Champion and the JD is going to share with us today, her lessons in life going from a martial artist to a speaker, an author, and an all round, amazing human being. So a huge welcome to our podcast in a day.

Nadine: Thank you very much. That's the best introduction I think I've ever had my self esteem just went through the roof. Very good.

Kelly: And obviously, we're going to focus on a few of those things today. But I think the daily is going to unpack a few things say around courage and resilience, how we can be the best versions of ourselves, but also what lessons she's learned from, you know, her work in martial arts, and you know, a few trophies in the background if you are watching the recording, but also now, a speaker and she also has a TEDx talk that I'm sure you'll absolutely love, but we haven't a day or two ourselves today. So, Dean, would you like to share with our listeners a little bit about yourself and your background? And how you got to where you are today?

Nadine: Yeah, definitely. Let's start it today backwards, otherwise, it's gonna sound completely different. So as you said, these days, I make my living primarily as a speaker. So I go and speak to everyone from kindy kids right through to, you know, big corporates about courage and resilience, primarily. So I get to go into their environment, and use martial arts as a metaphor to explain. You know, I package it as mindset. But what I'm really talking about is, I don't know about you, but most of us have a pretty wild voice in our heads that talks to us all the time and doesn't say nice stuff a lot of the time. So I talk to talk to them about mindset. But really what I'm talking about are our emotions, you know, the feelings that come with these thoughts, and how that can either get in our way, or be the fuel that we use to really create positive things for ourselves and others.

So, you know, I work as a speaker, now I work as a mindset coach wrote a book and that all came from the TEDx talk that you mentioned, if anyone wants to check it out, it's on YouTube. So if you pop in the den champion, or 10 seconds of courage, it'll come up and you get extra points. You can watch it right to the end without tearing up without crying. I cry in it, so it's okay. But yeah, so that was a life changing moment for me and so much of the work that I do is around recognising that these life changing moments that we all have, don't necessarily happen on stage at the opera house like it did for me, the life changing moments we have and that we create for other people actually happen in private conversations within our own mind where we make a decision to go left or right. Yes or No, try something, do something, say some thing, or hold ourselves back. So that's the primary focus of my work. And how did I learn about that? Well, I've been doing martial arts for 36 years. And, you know, you learn a lot about overcoming obstacles facing challenges. Being a young woman in a male dominated sport. You know, I learned a lot about courage and about perseverance and determination. Also, how to kungfu people and snap them in half. The way the handy skill to have Yes, wax on wax off. That was the thing like karate kid was like a big influence on me when I was you know, I'm very, very happy to say that, you know, I got to live some of my own Karate Kid moments. And hilariously, I'm just reading my my favourite book again, I haven't read it news, the power of one by Bryce.

Kelly: I love that.

Nadine: I love that book. And I read that as a teenager, and now I'm reading it with such different eyes. You know, there's so much about learning about the human spirit through a sport. So in that book, it was boxing. So I love it.

Kelly: I haven't read that book for so long, either. It might be on Mondays for the spring holidays. I think. Nadine, obviously, you've just opened up a whole big, cannot can of worms, but a whole, a whole group of so many things that we can really dive into. And I think a lot of our listeners are PHP teachers. So they've got a background in PHP. And often many of us come from a sporting background. I know for me, when I was, you know, kid, netball, I've played netball for the last 34 years. But finally on the weekend, and my coach, which I know, crazy, but I've learned so much. I reckon I've learnt more this year about myself and my sport than I ever have in my last, you know, 34 years. And it just, I'd like to think like, My husband actually said to me, because I came back with a bit of a niggle in my knee, I said, Oh, my knees killing it, or they just give it up. And I'm not giving this up. I'm like, I'm 41 this year, and I'll be playing netball until I'm about 70. I reckon. Because I think there's so many lessons that we can learn from sport. And I, I think when I first became his peak PE teacher, I've wanted to instil you know, my love of health and sport with my students. But I think it's so much more than that, you know, about ourselves about resilience and never giving up and lessons we can definitely learn from sport are really powerful.

So first of all, I'd really love to hear from you around preparation for, you know, for our kids, our students have their HSC very, very soon. We don't have too many lessons on here. But I think it's important for us to share what, how much of a mindset, or how much of that frame that our kids need to get into, in preparation for something big. So I say to my teachers, it's like the Grand Final, they're preparing for either the grand finale, like a dance or the grand final, like a sporting event, you know, for you would be like the main event. They've kind of worked so hard in the background, to work to this point. Yes, the HSC is not you know, it's not the be all and end all it's not the end of the world. But I think, you know, for the kids, for students, they're still quite young. A lot of I think a lot of the kids still get hung up on, I can't do it, you know, will I be good enough? Or that sort of sort of stuff? So what sort of messages do you send to young students or even I suppose young girls around, you know, that never give up kind of attitude.

Nadine: I think, first of all, let me preface this by saying I believe I earned the right to speak on these things by you know, failing by, you know, chickening out of stuff. So I only have the right to talk about courage because I know what it's like to chicken out frequently. But, you know, when it comes to school, the pressure of being a teenager, the pressure of exams, the pressure of what am I going to do with my life, you know, all of those things are so much and in my case, the things that were happening in my family life at the time of, you know, going into year 12. Were too much. So I left school at the end of year 11. And it became one of the biggest regrets of my young life. So I moved to the city I started working. You know, I look back on it with gratitude, because it taught me a lot, but I know what it's like to not handle the pressure. Well. So what did I do with it later, you know, my martial arts career taught me, you know, when I got my black belt, my my sensei, my teacher said to me, now that you've achieved this, where are you holding yourself back? Where could you transfer what you learned from this into the rest of your life? And I said, Oh, actually, I didn't finish school. You know, I feel like my career prospects Unlimited, because I'd let my mind get the better of me. So you know, He said, Well, what are you going to do? So the first thing I did was I went to TAFE. And then I, you know, got a degree from UNSW. So I reset my ability to handle the pressure.

So when it comes to handling pressure, you know, one of the key things that we talk about in competition, let me use again, the metaphor of martial arts or getting in the ring. As a kickboxer one of the key things that we do, when it comes to succeeding, in game, the big event, your moment where you have to do well, it's learning to handle the pressure in a way where we we pressure test ourselves leading up to it time and time again, because you have to have the external skill set. So you have to be able to do the work, do the exam, I have to be able to do the competition externally. So the skill set is a given. That's the bit that has to be worked hard on. But it's how you handle that pressure mentally. So if you're never stressed, and then you go into a really stressful situation, and you're not used to what happens to you physically, mentally, emotionally, it will usually have a detrimental effect on your ability to perform your skill set. So we call what we do something along the lines of trained hard, by easy, work hard leading into it perform better on the day. And the word, the clearest example I used when I was going for my my first title fight, I would go and train each week leading up to that match with two heavyweight World Champion men. So they were literally both twice my size. Can you imagine what happened to me mentally on the way to the gym every week? I was stressed out, I was scared to even get in the car. You know, we have all these thoughts and feelings about what could go wrong. What am I doing, I'm not going to be able to handle this, I'm not going to be able to succeed on the day, all of that natural mental emotional stuff. But when I keep going through those feelings, and still show up and do the work, and deal with the pressure, what I'm left with is a feeling of resilience, of self belief, hard one, self belief so that on the night of my match, when I look at the girl who's my size, she doesn't look so scary. So if you're in if you're leading up to big exams, etc, or anything stressful in life, what I always suggest to people is they do something extra that will give them strong emotions at a regular interval leading up to it might be just going to Zumba it might be you know, try posting silly dances on Instagram reels. Yeah, exactly something that makes you feel out of your comfort zone. So that when you are literally out of your comfort zone, it's not your first rodeo, you have a little experience with it experiences everything I believe.

Kelly: Yeah, I love that analogy. And I think I always say to the kids, I hear these conversations with students I've taught, you know, HSC for a really long time. So high stakes exams, you know, since I was super young, and the kids used to say to me on this, I just need to get my study notes in, like, you know, order, or I just need to rewrite my notes and like girls could talk mainly girls, and like, girls, it's not about the notes, it's about you preparing for the end game, it's actually you preparing for what's going to look like in the HSC not preparing for something that you know is you know, you're not going to be asked to rewrite your study notes or read a textbook and then you know, copy and paste something because actually doing exam questions under pressure, you know, with a time constraint No, by yourself, no notes, no, nothing, put a timer on and actually test yourself. And I think, you know, even for us as humans not putting ourselves under that pressure, because I think a lot of us have become so I don't know, we talk about you know, wrapping our kids in bubble wrap or, you know, um, helicopter parenting that that type of thing. I don't know if we give ourselves an offer to like opportunity to actually test ourselves and go, you know, what, how much can I push myself to see if I can actually achieve this? I think a lot of our kids and I think even maybe as adults, people just opt out really easily, and don't push themselves harder and go, What am I actually capable of here? What can I actually do to really scare myself and push myself.

Nadine: I mean, our brain chemistry is designed to keep us safe. So staying in your comfort zone, who doesn't want to be in their comfort zone, it's lovely in their their snacks. Your brands are amazing. It's lovely. But you know, that is why we back away from testing ourselves often if there's an easier way to do it. It's human nature to go towards the thing that's less painful, more comfortable. But then you miss out. You miss out on the learning the opportunity to grow. You know again to use you talking about the lessons learned from sport. I was explained to my students the other day that I once watched I once watched a fighter in the gym who had a match coming up. They weren't very experienced. I watched them spar sparring, practising with their friends. And I said gently like, don't you have a big match coming up? In other words, they're rewriting their notes instead of doing the exam questions. Again Yeah. And I said, Oh, can I make a suggestion? Speaking from experience? If you spy your friends, you won't be as prepared as if you spar people who are really challenging for you. Yeah, you know, you need to be sparring fighters, you need to be doing the exam questions. And you know what? You disregarded it. And that's okay. But I'm sure you can imagine what happened in that match. Yeah, it wasn't a good outcome. But, you know, it's listening to people who are speaking from experience like you when you're suggesting to them, rewriting your notes, you know, might be the more comfortable option, but it's not going to feel like the thing that you're getting yourself ready for? Yeah.

Kelly: That's good advice. And I think, you know, we all have coaches and teachers and people who are like, had the best intentions, I think some of us, you know, no, put our hands over our ears and go no, not listen to that. Because it is easy. It's an easier path. Okay, so as I've said, too, many of my listeners are actually teachers, so I kind of want to dive into them a little bit now, if that's okay. So, for everyone around the country around the world, the last three years has been very hectic with COVID lock downs. This the C word, you know, influenza this year, for many of my teachers, they are feeling at the point of they can't continue with their work. I conversations, you know, through the week would be things like our kill, you know, I had to have the last few days off, I'm sick again, or I just can't do it anymore. I want to do all these men. And they do they literally have that they'd love education, they love being teachers, but they just find it really hard to, to, you know, pick themselves up off the floor and go, You know what, I'm actually better than this. And I can actually get through it. So I'd love for you to unpack some big lessons around courage. And then I suppose with that, around resilience, I know, I know, my teachers have it in them, because they've proven to themselves but also proven to the world and our communities that they are amazing. They're adaptable, they were so quick to come online with online learning in 2020 2020. Gosh, it feels like a fuel cycle was like maybe not that long ago, but it does feel like it was a long time. You know, I know for me, COVID was an absolute silver lining for me. I was a statistic, I left the classroom because of what happened to me at school. And I was very burnt out and i i decided to leave and I didn't leave for the comfort I left to actually challenge myself. But I you know, I'm in a very different position to some of my teachers who, you know, who still love teaching, and I look, I, I could have stayed there, I could have stayed and been teaching for the rest of my career. But I knew there was something bigger inside me to give back to my teachers. But anyway, I'd love love for you to kind of unpack courage and resilience from all of your amazing learnings and teachings.

Nadine: Oh, I hear you sister, I think you know, I had a relatively good experience during the COVID time. But that doesn't mean that I wasn't like so many other people that I've interacted with this year. You know, I found a little off something, you know, it's not the end of the world. But some things a little little funky. You know, I'm hearing that time and time again, from you know, people who have very relaxing lives right through to people who have high pressure, you know, full on life. So I think there was a seismic shift in the world, which created a whole lot of ripple effects. So I picture it, like, you know, you you skim a rock and you get all those little, you know, there's those little ripples that come out. There was one and maybe it was small. And then there was another one after that it was a little bit different, a little bit different shape, different size felt different. There are all these little things that have shifted for people. Things aren't the same. Even just you know, the news for two years was Doom gloom. Scary not that the news is festive regularly. But there was a lot of negativity, experiences that did make people uncomfortable. You know, I am a cancer survivor. So eight years ago, I had Hodgkin's lymphoma and I'm a recovering control freak. Didn't know about you. Yes, waving at me. I'm a teacher. Though, having had a few you know, like control issues. You know, which were around performance and trying to excel and trying to live a good life and you know, that then when I got sick, I found out oh, I'm actually not in control of that much. It was a shock to me. I don't know about everyone else listening but I wasn't aware. You know, so I found out a lot about what it means to You only control what's in your, in your ability to control and stop imagining you can control the big stuff.

Kelly: Yeah. And I was just about to say my favourite prayer because I'm, you know, I'm a good Catholic girl went to a Catholic Primary School, High School University and then watching an all girls Catholic school, 14 years. My favourite prayer is a serenity prayer. And it's not just, I don't, I don't think I pray like, you know, not Father, Son, Holy Spirit, I just say to myself, you know, I can't control this, I don't have control of this. And I say to my, my own family a lot like, you don't like stop thinking about the past or stop thinking about what's happening, you know, tomorrow, you can't control that just deal with what you've got. And I think a lot of us do get caught up in that, you know, of the what if, and then what happens, like, just work out where you are, and control what you have what you can, what you have control of.

Nadine100% I agree, there's a lot of wisdom in the Serenity Prayer. You know, I first heard of it, when I was much younger, in the in the context of 12 Step fellowships, I think there's a wild amount of wisdom in that, for me, the takeaway with the Serenity Prayer is not resisting. So knowing what I can't control, and then not creating resistance against it, because that is a massive waste of energy. So when we can't control the world, there's no point railing against it and creating all of this inner turmoil with that. So so much of what I've seen in this year, and it's ongoing, I'm talking about this week, you know, people say, I don't know why I'm a little I wish I didn't have to, you know, there's so much stuff that's that's coming up for people that's really tricky, but hard to put their finger on, you know, as opposed to will this happen. And now I feel it's more like big picture. Wild stuffs happen. And now I'm filling all these unusual things that are a little 10% left of centre this way. 17% Different angle to the right. You know, so it's a little, it's a little squirrely, and I think this is a really good opportunity for people to recognise their ability to get back up. So talking about resilience, in some ways, the whole world got knocked down, and is still being knocked down. Because it's unfortunately not over yet. I don't know that but it's still going. And it's it's been ongoing for years. And there are a lot of tricky things when I was watching the Queen's funeral last night, you know, on TV, there are a lot of things that are very waiting happening in the world. And it's I think it's just making lots of people feel a bit smushed, let alone their jobs, the pressure of family wearing all the different hats every day. You know, it's it can be tricky, but it is. I don't know if you know, the work of Brene Brown. Did Brene Brown power of vulnerability?

Kelly: Yes. Love that. Yeah.

Nadine: Oh, great teacher. So, you know, I really like how she made so clear to the world that the times that make us more resilient, the experiences that make us more resilient, when they're happening, they feel the exact opposite. So we feel burnt out, we feel smushed, we feel like things are getting too stressful. When you come through that time, and you're still running, and things are okay, and you've managed to regroup you just got more resilient but as it's happening it may feel like the wheels are falling off the waggon.

Kelly: Yeah, yeah. And I get that sense that not only you know my teachers who are you know, in my membership in my courses, you know, teachers who will message me on Instagram or also did make it tonight kill we have you know, every every turn we have three masterclass sessions, but they sent me an email I'm sorry, I can't be there. So I'm like, that's cool. Like life happens. It's all sweet like the recordings there. You guys can access it later. You know, so but this happened or school or got so much marking to do I've got this to do. We had, you know, two teachers away to their head to take up, Mike. That's a lot of you know, teaching is stressful in itself with all the personalities and the hormones of teenagers, especially for us as CAFS and PHP teachers. Some of our teachers are tears as well. So having all those hormones racing around the classroom, and then add on, you know, the next thing, the next thing the next thing No wonder I like I said, I love that concepts. watch people do feel smart, because there's everyone's wanting so much of you. How do they pick themselves up and keep going and use that strength and resilience?

Nadine: I had one of my top students who has been with me for 20 years I call them students because their martial arts students, you know. I have one of my top students say to me yesterday when I was speaking to him, how do you keep on giving? And I think it'd be a lot of, you know, a lot of the people that you work with and giving by nature, that's part of being a teacher. It's not about you. It's about everybody. meals. And the second you hear a teacher who it's all about them, everybody switches off. You know, they want to hear their own voice as opposed to doing their absolute damnedest to wholeheartedly share the information they learned so that you can make your life better. That's my mission in life, you know, and a big part of the work that I do is just getting people helping people to use their courage to recognise what it is they really want. So if I say, do you, what do you want? One of the hardest questions to answer? It seems simple. But you know, when you really get down to it, what what do you really want in your life? When you team that with another tricky question, what do you need, have encouraged enough to say, what I want to do is, you know, the next 10 hours of blah, but what I need, and I took my medicine this morning, I had a lot of work to do this morning. But what I needed was to go and enjoy the sunshine, to go put my feet in the water to do some breathing exercises, to you know, say thank you out loud, start my day with gratitude. And then listen to a podcast as I walked back up the hill, you know, I needed just a little recharge for myself before I start my day of giving. So that can take courage sometimes to put a boundary there even with yourself and say, I need to do this first. And then I'm going to go into what I want to do.

Kelly: Yeah, I think, you know, many of us in the teaching space talk, talk about the analogy of you know, your cup. Now, if you're, you need to, you know, put you can't pour from an empty cup, and you know, put your oxygen mask on first, all those sorts of things, but I think you have to be selfish, like, I really think as humans, as teachers, as bombs, you know, you have to be, you have to put yourself first if you don't, if you don't put yourself first, you know, you can't help other people. And I think, look, we could have a whole podcast episode about that. That one, you know, core principle, but I think you know, for on the ground for teachers, it might be going, Okay, let's reset, let's reset our morning and go, instead of having that rush, you know, moving kids, let's maybe wake up a little bit earlier, or just take, you know, that first half an hour, you know, getting ready for the day for me for nobody else. But you know, no one else in your household that need to kind of be involved. But for you to have that start to date. Like for me, if I don't go to gym in the morning, I it just has a really negative impact on my day, if I don't go and I feel guilty, like, I feel guilty getting up in the morning, and you know, not waking the whole house up, but I don't but but I'm like no, hang on. If I don't have this, I'm not going to be you know, as productive as what I usually am or you know, because my hills, whatever. But also just that time to, to myself is really important. And I don't know you, yeah, you can have lots of opportunities for time through the day, you know, as a teacher, they do kind of filter in a little bit. There's not a whole heap of time throughout the day. But I think for a lot of teachers, maybe bookending like their morning and their afternoon with something for themselves. Just one thing, that might be a great way to start just one thing for them. I don't know.

Nadine100% You know, and you you said something that I hear all the time from my mindset coaching clients, I feel selfish. And it's such a you know, as women as moms, we're not allowed to, can't do something for yourself. It has to be selfless, like, it's we've been taught that that's the ideal of motherhood of womanhood. But you know, in asking ourselves what we want and what we need. Sometimes it really is having that courage to honour. You know what, I think I need to go to the gym, three mornings this week in order to not, you know, yell at anyone or, or throw a lunchbox across the room or, you know, like, whatever it is that you feel is right for you, and especially listening to your intuition. We have a very wise mind, in our gut that speaks to us calmly and quietly. And that mind is so often shouted down by that voice in our head that is loud and fast that says you're being selfish can't do that. You know, what do you like? That voice? That crazy person that we all know. That voice can take up so much time and energy that you could have just gone to the gym?

Kelly: Yeah, there's your free medicine like do you think I was? I was not laughing. I think about people they complain about how crap they feel how tired they are like, You know what you've got free medicine just like down the road or No, put your joggers on and there's free medicine out there waiting. Don't do something physically A lot of you know, a lot of my teachers should know, these their PE teachers, not all of them are. But look, you know, food, nutrition water, the ocean. Exercise is absolutely free. And I think, you know, I think without getting into too much about mental health, I think that's, you know, one thing that can really impact on someone's mental health is the fact that they're not doing all these things for themselves, but also looking at that self care. And look, we predict to the kids, we even teach a concept in our course called wellbeing. And llbean has six factors. So it's like if you're socially physical, the cultural, economic, spiritual, emotional, and I forgot one can remember emotional, economic. Anyway, we talked about that. And we talked about needs and wants. So when you talk about what do you need, what do you want, but I think we're all good at practice it like, you know, talking about that, but not actually putting it into practice. And we forget, I think we really forget what we actually what we actually teach the kids.

Nadine: But isn't it about taking our own medicine, like I put my hand up and say, I can talk about courage, because I know a lot about what it feels like to experience fear and hesitation and self doubt. You know, the fact that I can write a meal plan and take someone for a workout and, you know, help their self esteem mentally. All of those things. I know a lot about that, because I've helped other people. But I have to keep returning to that beginning point for myself, which I've done this week. Last week, again, you know, and take my own medicine, because I've just gone through a really busy few months, high pressure, few months, I started to get burnt out. So what I wanted was to keep going and pushing what I needed, I had to take a few days off. And then I had to reset my nutrition, I had to reset my exercise. And even last night, I went for a run. But I had things that I was practising and working through mentally. So instead of staying home and working on those at my computer, I took them with me mentally. So I'm running and I'm working in my brain and I was multitasking. And you know, and then this morning, I took the time to have quiet time. Yeah. So I think part of it is just strategy in getting the most done, but also recognising, we're always going to get out of alignment. We're always going to forget to take our own medicine. But that I think is part of what I believe makes a good teacher is you're speaking from experience. But you're also humble. It's not that you've got it perfected. You know, this is good parenting, I guess as well. You know, like, I'm still working on it. I'm still going back and doing what I know to be right. Would you like to join me?

Kelly: Yeah. So, so powerful. I would love to ask you a couple of things about martial arts, if that's okay, not inside. But what? What are the biggest lessons for you? Like, I'm really curious, for me personally, but also, from a speaking kind of perspective and teaching. How did you kind of take what you learned from martial arts and go, I actually have something inside me that I want to teach people about? And how do I? How do I use those lessons? Because I think as teachers, we, like you said, we share so many stories with our kids and our students. And often there's so many, I call them gems, so many gems, teachings that. Like it's, there's a reason for this, like, for me, I say, there's always a method to my madness, it might sound a bit crazy that you're gonna do this with your kids or your students. But trust me on this one I've learned from experience. So I'd love to hear how you kind of went from that martial arts background, you know, raising, you know, achievements to going okay, these are the lessons I want to teach other people.

Nadine: Absolutely. You know, I had a very good teacher, a Mr. Miyagi teacher, since I was about 21. And he he's very famous martial artist, and fighter. But he said to me early on, I'm a better teacher than I ever was a fighter. And he's world famous. So I was like, Oh, really? Tell me more. You know, and I would do lessons with him. And he would always say to me, write it down. That's why I have a pen in my hand. I'm doing little notes as you're talking to make sure that I answer your questions, right. He taught me how to be a student. He taught me write it down. And then he taught me how to tell a story with a lesson that then you make a succinct tool that you can give them to us. So same thing, he would tell me a story for 20 minutes, but then it would have a one minute lesson. That was very, very clear. And then it would have a one sentence to a point something they can tell themselves. So he modelled that for me. You know, I picked it up over the years. And that's why when I wrote a book, I told the story, but I also put the lessons in little little boxes within the story and I summarise them all at the back like a textbook. You know, because it's about learning. It's not just about the nice story. So I think there's a there's a technique and a strategy to that. But also, you know, I constantly challenge people when they tell me about their experiences. Have you ever written it down? Have you ever written just a bullet point page of your best stories of your best lessons, your biggest learnings? And 99% of time people say no, you know what they are. But have you ever written them down so you can see them clearly. And then put them in order, like which ones are the best ones, which ones are the ones about resilience, about handling pressure about ABCDE, so that you end up with these stories like a utility belt, you can just pull one out at the right moment. And here's the point of it. Because when we get clear on what we've learned, and what we have to offer, we can deliver it better, I believe, and my, you know, my life changing TEDx Talk moment, actually came one year after I had cancer, and one of my students who'd been with me for a long time, asked me over coffee, if I would ever think about doing a talk. And she's she worked in advertising, she suggested, I think a lot of people would relate to these internal concepts.

So not getting out there showing the external martial arts, but sharing what we call internal training, which is the mental edge the mindset tools. She could see it. I thought people wouldn't be interested unless they did martial arts. Oh, how wrong I was. Yes. So I didn't know she was on the Organising Committee of TEDx Sydney. So she was putting feelers out to see if maybe I'd be open to it at a really inopportune time. Yeah. So the last thing I wanted, I had no public speaking experience, not since you know, English class in high school. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So it was like, the last thing I wanted was two and a half 1000 people staring at me at the Opera House, they made me the closing speaker. It was wild, I'd never done any speaking before, I was still trying to work out how to do short hair and draw my eyebrows back on because I was still recovering from being sick. And, you know, it was a beautiful thing. When they said to me, they asked me what I would like to talk about, and I just talked, we they interviewed me for an hour. And I just told stories, and they said, Yep, great. And when it came to choosing the stories, you know, because TEDx talks fairly short, I looked back on the stories that I tell all the time. So you think about which stories do you always tell which stories have the biggest impact when you share them, which lessons have you learned that you've had really run deep with you. And that's what I made into my talk, you know, and then I acted it out at the end. And that was the thing that, you know, changed my life, and that people keep letting me know, impact on them.

Kelly: Pretty cool, pretty awesome. All right. To finish off, I'd love to hear maybe a few lessons around, around teaching and what, what teachers can do to pick themselves up to be more resilient, and to use that, that courage to, to keep, you know, doing that good fight doing what they they signed up for, and what's really deep inside them, you know, with their, their teaching and why they became a teacher in the first place.

Nadine: You said something before that, you know, that jumped out at me, he was saying, you know, if you feel there's something bigger inside you, it's knowing that, you know, I'm sure when I teach and when your listeners are teaching, you're not just going through the motions. You know, it's not just I have this external skill set that I'm going to share you and you're going to copy me and my work here is done. You're also teaching the person you're teaching the person about themselves and how to deal with themselves as well as how to deal with others and how to deal with pressure and and by the way, you need to learn this thing. You know, so much of it is around I believe connection with people and helping them grow. Not just learn so learn and grow together.

Kelly: It's funny you say that, have you seen what my arms I saw? Connect logo?

Nadine: Oh, perfect. Excellent. Well, I'm on brand for you. But it's I guess it's true, right? Like there's there's so much more to it. And I when I you know, I wrote a book about I go and speak to companies about the incredible, profound effect having a good teacher has had on my life. I don't know where I'd be if I didn't have this teacher in my life, you know, I would be a completely different person with a completely different life. If you can find that one student that connects to you, but you make sense to that's open to and wants to learn. And part of what my teacher uses is to say write it down. And if he sees you go off and have a drink and you don't write it down, he knows that one's not ready yet. That one's not but the one who comes back with the pen Egypt notes and questions like me. Yeah, I got way more than I bargained for because I was really hungry to learn it. So I think, you know, if we never lose sight of the fact that you can have a profound impact on someone, and it may not become apparent immediately. But if you ask anyone who's the best teacher you've ever heard, they'll tell you, right? I know, hey, yeah, it's maybe it was someone you liked. Or maybe it was someone that, you know, really said some things that got in there. And maybe it was someone who said the right thing at the right time. Let me just use one more metaphor from the ring. Competition.

Kelly: We love sport, don't worry.

Nadine: Especially I use this, especially when I go and speak in really male dominated companies that are very competitive. So what tends to happen is I walk out on stage, and I get a lot of arms folded, sitting back in the chair, in their suits, which is that thing of what have you got to teach us? What's this chick...she's going to talk to us about punching people in the face. What a knucklehead, that kind of vibe, like, they have no idea what I'm about to talk to them about things. But you know, I'm delivering, I'm delivering this in a sporting package like it's it bit contents differs from packaging. So, you know, what I make really clear is you can compete all the live long day, you know, like, just you doing your job that you're there to do that part is the given. That's the external skill set, how champions are made. In my world. If you put two people in the ring, who are of the same size, the same experience the same skill set, the one who has a better mindset. So the mental edge, the one who has a better strategy, will often outperform the other. But here's what really makes champions take it from the external skill set to the mental aspect. Often when things get tough, the one who wins is the one who has more heart. And when you teaching, I think it does involve a lot of heart. It's not just the mental and the external skills. I would hazard a guess that most most people get into teaching because they care. Because they want to be there for other people be in their corner, help them to grow and learn. And you know what I do, whether it's speaking, teaching, martial arts, mindset, coaching, it's all about at a core level. I want to help people, I want to I want to live a good life by helping others live a good life. And I think it's always returning to that even though you get stressed, even though you get burnt out, even though that one did their own thing. You know, there's a love for what we do. And my sensei calls it a labour of love, you know, teachings, a labour of love, and I'll be doing it while you're 70 years old playing netball. I'll be I'll be teaching and you know, and enjoying it. Because it's, it's so rewarding. It's better than any trophy when you see somebody really get something and their confidence grows. How beautiful is it? 

Kelly: Yeah, it's so nice. And I look, I think there's been a lot of negativity around teaching and education, especially in a show at the moment. And globally, I think and I think some of us get caught up in it and kind of go well, yeah, why not? Why not. And I will go back to why became a teacher and look like, I kind of feel a bit like I can't, I actually left the classroom. But I didn't leave it because of the kids. It was not the children, the young adults, it wasn't the kids at all. It were those toxic negative people weighing me down, they weren't letting me shine. And I thought, well, I can sit here and I can retire at this school and continue to do what I love to do in my classroom in my bubble, or I can get out of that and actually make a bigger difference with people who actually care. So, you know, my teachers that they love teaching, they are stuck, I think at some points and as we all do, but I think I say to them, it's funny, you said that about, you know, it's not what you know, it's not you know, I, the best trainer, or the smartest person. My teachers I've said that said it to him before he could be the most amazing teacher in the world. But if you can't connect with your kids, if you can't see some sort of connection, or, you know, just to see way into their life, you're not going to they're not going to work with you, they're not going to work for you because they're like, Oh, hang on, who's this? You know, who's this chick trying to make us do some work if we're not seeing them for who they are? And for that person that they are and you know, they've got their own baggage, they've got their own story to share. And I think um, yeah, you know, pick our teachers back up. And I'm looking at, you know, at the moment as as we record this, it's about to get spring and we're about to go into the school holidays. But yeah, you've held a pack so many things. I could literally sit here for the next two hours and sitting to have our own personal TEDx talk with you.

Nadine: Absolutely. You know, and it's a beautiful thing like I'm taking my medicine as we're having this chat like, it really there's so much purpose and meaning behind the reasons that people teach. And, you know, it's so important to never, never forget the massive life impact that you can have on, you know the right person at the right time and on each other, like all teachers are in each other's corner, right. Like you're all in the fight together. Exactly. And it's, you know, it's a beautiful thing. I think it's a great way to spend a life.

Kelly: Yeah. And look, I love education, and I feel blessed to be able to do what I do. And the teachers, my community, my membership, I call it my CAFS crew, like they are like a crew. We're together working. We're not against each other at all. And I think there are some teachers in some schools who do you know, that competitiveness, I don't know why, like, we're not a business where we're teaching the future, we should be working together. And that's literally why I created my business.

Nadine: And what a beautiful opportunity to give people like to be on the same team in each other's corner, which I believe is the antidote to so much of what has been troubling people in the last few years. It's deliberately reconnecting with people who also want to grow and learn and are on a mission like you.

Kelly: Yeah, sounds awesome. Before we finish one question for you around advice that you might give to your younger self.

Nadine: Oh, advice to my younger self, sorry, there's a there's a time going off in the background. And if you can hear that, advice to my younger self, I would say don't be so hard on yourself. I would say believe that, you know, everything will work out in time. And then it's never too late. It's never too late to make changes and and to act in your own best interest.

Kelly: Okay, very good advice. And team. Thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it. Where can our listeners connect with you and find out more about your programmes?

Nadine: They can watch my my TEDx talk on there as well. Or you can connect with me on social media. So Instagram, I'm @Nadinechampion_ and you can check out my content.

Kelly: Awesome. Thanks Nadine.

Nadine: No worries. Thank you so much.



Thanks for joining The Learning Network, I'd love to hear what connected with you most about today's episode. Take a screenshot and tag me on Instagram and Facebook, @thelearnnet. If you'd like to know more about my courses, MasterClasses, Coaching and Mentoring and Membership, you can DM me over on Facebook or Instagram or head to Don't forget to stay connected by subscribing to Apple Podcasts or Spotify, and if you love today's episode, I would be so honoured if you could please leave me a review. See you again next week. Let's continue to connect, grow and learn together to make a huge impact on the students we teach. 

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