42: Will Jefferson – Founder of Performance Catalyst Ltd and Former 1st Class Cricketer

April 5, 2021

Will articulates clearly, openly and insightfully his roller coaster ride through his career as a 6ft 10 1st class cricketer right through to running his own business supporting the development of individuals and business.

Will is the Founder of Performance Catalyst Ltd. After having served 12 years as a professional sportsman, playing both County and International cricket, Will transitioned into the business world as a successful business and sport consultant. Will has a plethora of skills that are founded on his background in professional sport and experience in business as well as his life-long passion for the psychology of human performance. Equally competent working one-to-one and with larger groups, Will’s thoughtful and empathetic approach combines his powerful ability truly to connect with people and to share his deep personal insights into the art and science of excellence.

Will represented Essex CCC, Nottinghamshire CCC, Leicestershire CCC and the England A team at home and abroad. He scored over 10,000 runs in all forms of the game, scoring 17 First Class hundreds. Will’s first role upon retiring from cricket was working for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for the England Women’s cricket teams throughout their performance pathway as the Personal Development and Welfare coach. He worked with the senior women’s team (including Katherine Brunt, Anya Shrubsole, Nat Sciver, Georgia Elwiss and Holly Colvin), and the Academy, U19 and U15 teams. Both while playing and since retiring from professional sport, Will has worked as a consultant delivering workshops to male and female school sports teams, sports scholars and team captains, as well as mentoring sports scholars 1-1 (including Tom and Ben Curry) and giving inspirational talks. Will currently works as an ECB Coach Development Mentor for coaches on the International and Specialist coaching programmes.

Will has a wealth of experiences which clearly shines through in this conversation. There is something in his story we can all relate to and learn from. 

I hope you enjoy!

 

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Success quotes or sayings:

Played all sports through to age of 16/17 yrs

Played Rugby 5’s

Father influence and learnt from older siblings

Height – helped and hindered.

6ft 8 when leaving school

Played men’s cricket at 15 yrs old.

Had to become comfortable in my own skin.

Many years to get to grips with this and see this as an advantage

Connection and relationship with my coach was key – early career (17yrs) through to latter career (28yrs)

Coach allowed me to express myself and reach my potential and ability

Maximising my talents – from being tangled, through reverting to basics back to loving the game.

Strip away everything that wasn’t important.

Allow my gifts to shine through

Had to step up at a young age.

Went to the coaches at a young age to find out how I could improve. Allowed my interest, curiosity, and inquisitive mind to come through.

Factored in how to be ready for the next level up…

My Curiosity comes from a young age – ‘What do I need to do to get better’ Grown and developed this mindset. Fuels and excites me.

Enthused by variety. Look outside the familiar and bring back in.

Mentoring relationship – expertise and outlook that can help!

‘Attitude is everything’ – from Merve Genis

Attitude in everything – not just sport!

Difficult periods – severed tendon in wrist

Turned my attention to what could do and what was possible – could do mindset!!

Leave no stone unturned to get back to full fitness

Attitude is everything examples – Shane Warne. Initially played man before the ball then a few weeks later scored 222 runs. Catalytic moments that positively impacted.

The pride coming through from the coach – the attitude and hard work paid off.

Catalytic conversations = strong relationship and respect for the person/coach and the ability to ask the tight questions in a timely manner.

Asking questions of unlikely people in unlikely places

It is hard to get clarity all on your own. Get clarity of mind and iron out your thinking.

Nuances and small percentage rewards – look in different places.

Found the ability to bounce back – showing greater consistency with mental approach.

Understanding what it takes to perform at your top day in day out

Life changing news being told you will never run again on that hip. Leading to transformation and re invention

The importance of a reflective period. How this helped and aided the transition. It gave me some time to get some closure on my cricket career. This was not a quick process!

Creating something as meaningful and fulfilling as my cricket career – if not even more so – was and is my aim!

I considered how to best use my time to best equip myself for the next phase of my life.

I used a career coach to help me reflect and consider who I am as a person (not just a cricket player).

Feeling of positive momentum, direction and purpose as moving toward new identity

Getting out there speaking to people I knew and networking was an incredibly important part of the transition years. The importance of the support structure.

Willing to embracing the uncomfortable – build, develop and finesse a new set of skills

Take lessons from one environment and transfer into another

Learning and a sponge for information.

Taking insights and turning them into action. The ability to act on what you have learnt…or what you believe to be right.

Insight to action….

Clarity – get to close to our own problems and can’t see the wood for the trees.

Objectivity is so important. People to support and challenge.

Humility is needed to expose yourself to new.

Key foundational starting places – Self-awareness and self-knowledge – hold the mirror up and engaging those around you

Skilful reflection is key to any performer looking to move their performance levels forward

 

Quick fire questions:

The books that you would recommend are?

Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career by Herminia Ibarra

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge

Sudden Influence: How Spontaneous Events Shape Our Lives by Michael A. Rousell

 

How do I prepare to be the best version of myself…

Mind – body connection.

Exercise – swimming and cycling (Healthy thinking space!)

Carve out the time every week

 

 

In one sentence – What advice would you give to your teenage version of yourself?

Express yourself – freedom of thought and mind

 

Who has made a big impact on you?

Father – strength and ability to re-invent himself.

Wife – different in character and personality and celebrated this difference.

 

Whos’ Sport Story would you be really interested in hearing?

Phil Jackson – NBA coach

 

 

Coaching questions I would like to pose:

1

Reflect back and identify a couple of Pivotal moments in your life – what made them pivitol and how have they helped you and hindered you to date. What might you value changing?

2

What skills and behaviours have you developed in one environment that you can transfer and call on in another? How might you do this more?

 

Contact info:

Website: www.performancecatalyst.uk

Email: will@performancecatalyst.uk

LinkedIn: Performance Catalyst

Twitter: @performancecat

Instagram: performancecatalyst

Facebook: @PerformanceCat

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