The Leadership Athlete with Nicole Soames

Nicole Soames is a best-selling author of four business books, she’s also the CEO of Diadem Performance, in this show we how to reframe your role as a leadership athlete. Some great learning including:

  • Why there is nothing “soft” about soft skills
  • Explore the characteristics of a commercial athlete?
  • The difference between Influencing and negotiation
  • The three hats of the Leader – Manage, Lead and Coach

Music: ” Upbeat Party ” by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA

Transcript:Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services

The Leadership Hacker News

Steve Rush: In the news today, we’ll explore the relationship between leadership and professional athletes. Professional athletes can sometimes have a bad reputation, with stories of out-of-control behavior often seen in the media. This front-page drama in which the media in all facets of news,  can often overshadow great athletic performances. And as such, it’s easy to forget the important contribution athletes make consistently to society. Sports nut and journalist James Bailey wrote an article in Bloomberg Businessweek called Athletes: Natural Born Leaders, and he focuses on five reasons why professional athletes will make great leaders. And here are those five reasons.

Reason One. Professional athletes are determined. True, many are endowed with physical gifts, but realizing them as hard work. Progressing in sports means negotiating and increasingly exclusive series of hurdles that can’t be cleared without discipline, focus, patients, practice, and then more practice. It takes decades of sweat and investment to bring whatever a leader possesses to fruition. We simply won’t follow somebody who hasn’t demonstrated determination.

Reason two, Teamwork. These men and women won’t just preach teamwork, they practice it. A sports team is just like a jazz band. Integration is necessary to gather a coherent whole, but everybody gets a chance to shine. There may be a most valuable player, but he or she is first among equals. Everybody has a job to do, and nobody gets a ring or trophy. More than ever modern organizations need cross-functional teams to support them.

Reason three, Appreciating fellowship. Professional athletes appreciate fellowship or follow the leader as it’s often known. And it’s not just a playground game. It’s actually an experience in serving greater purpose. Athletes understand the tangible advantages of executing a plan and their goal achievement is often contingent upon them following that plan well, and truly, and leading is rooted in having learned lessons of following.

Reason four, Cognitively complex. They are cognitively complex. They grasp a dynamic flow of many interrelated variables simultaneously. And any fan will tell you that any successful sporting team or sports franchise can be really quite convoluted and complex. The plays themselves always have intricacies upon intricacies. And one work, a challenge with a hundred unpredictable factors requires seamless adaptation and improvisation on and off the field or the pitch, and it’s this kind of agile thinking and adaptability in today’s fast-moving world that’s an essential part of leadership.

And reason number five, the ability to handle pressure. Professional athletes know what it’s like to work under pressure. There are enormous stakes, a lot of people are watching. Their investment in time, talent, money, reputation, all of these ever present. They have to check-out anxieties and injuries, they have to stay calm, cool, and collected under pressure. One player loses his or her nerve or composure, the efforts and the rest of the team could be absolutely flawed. There is nothing more valid in today’s stressful business environment than having a level head.

So there we have it  five reasons! Transferring that to the commercial world, that’s another story. Well, that’s been The Leadership Hacker News, and now we’ve explored professional athletes make great leaders. Let’s get into the show.

Start of Podcast

Steve Rush: Our special guest on today’s show is Nicole Soames. She’s the CEO and founder at Diadem Performance and she’s the bestselling author of four books. The Negotiation Book, The Influence Book, The Coaching Book and The Presenting Book. Nicole, welcome to The Leadership Hacker.

Nicole Soames: Hello.

Steve Rush: Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to be with us today, Nicole, it seems like an age since you and I last met, but in the meantime, we’ve been through one lock down, two look downs… I think we’re in our third lock down as we record this. How’s life for you?

Nicole Soames: Well, I’m just desperately hoping it’s the third and final.

Steve Rush: Exactly, right. Exactly. So, for those folks that are tuning in today that haven’t met you before, perhaps it’d be useful just to give a little bit of a backstory as to how you’ve arrived at doing what you’re doing?

Nicole Soames: Sure, so, I grew up at working for a company called Unilever, selling trunk loads of household brands to major customers that I’m sure you would have heard of like Tesco and Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. So, think trunk loads of fish fingers, magnum ice creams. And then when my freezer was full, I decided to move on to selling chocolate digestives, Jaffa cakes, hula hoops. So massive household brands, huge multi-million-pound contracts. And as my career developed, so did the level of responsibility I had. Instead of just having the pressure of managing these multi-million-pound customer relationships. I also found myself responsible for managing large teams of people. Managing those large customers themselves. So, I suppose, full on blue chip corporate life and the more the years rolled forward, the more it dawned on me that my passion was not just for business. It was also for people. So, I decided to retrain as a coach and a facilitator. And I’ve been doing that now for, I’m sort of embarrassed to say, but 17 years and I’ve got the scars to prove it and the gray hair.

Steve Rush: Awesome. What was the moment then for you when you said, right – I’m going to pivot away from my corporate life and focus more on helping others?

Nicole Soames: I don’t know if there was an actual moment, but I was given the privilege when I was selling Jaffa cakes and hula-hoops working for a company called United Biscuits to be a sort of internal trainer, partnering up with external trainers. And I found myself at the front of the room leading and trying to help people get better at their jobs. And I was like, Ooh, quite like this being up at the front and having a platform. And that was, I think the first eureka moment, if you like that I had, that was perhaps helping people and being in the people business was my vocation was my destination. So, I think that was when it first really dawned on me. But I think in reality, it’s only on reflection that you draw those conclusions. I’m not sure it’s like, it happens live in the moment.

Steve Rush: Yeah, and the focus of the work that you do with Diadem Performance now is all about that kind of people development space, isn’t it? And helping people move through different situations. And I guess much of the work that you’ve done over the last six months has probably been more remote focused and virtual world. Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing now?

Nicole Soames: Yeah, I mean, it is absolutely trying to help people be the best version of themselves in this current environment, but it was always last and I think anything to do with people and helping people split like food and medicine will always need those things. And I would sort of describe myself and my team at Diadem as performance trainers and coaches, not the sorts you’d find in the gym because they’re all close right now. I suppose we’re about training commercial, what I would call commercial athletes. So, I’ve got this notion, this hypothesis, that in business, we expect a sustained performance, much like you’d expect on the pitch or on the field. The sort, I would say is delivered by athletes. Yeah, in the commercial world, we expect those results, but we’re not nearly commercially fit enough or agile enough or even resilient enough. And that’s where myself and my team come in. We’re about helping create commercial athleticism in teams, in organizations, in companies.

Steve Rush: You and I have spoken about this before actually, and the whole principle of organizations don’t take as seriously, their commercial fitness, as well as maybe they do their financial fitness or their product development or their marketing strategies. What’s the reason that you find from your experience that organizations don’t apply that same level of thinking?

Nicole Soames: I think it’s rooted Steve in the fact that it’s down side easier to measure the financial performance. And it’s easier actually to provide people with technical support than it is soft skills. And these, all of the stuff that myself, and my team train and coach people in are often referred to as soft skills. But I think it’s the wrong phrasing, really the wrong title.

Steve Rush: I agree.

Nicole Soames: Because… thank you, there’s nothing soft about these skills. They’re fundamentally important to success. In fact, I mean, there’s lots of stats out in the marketplace on this and just Google these sorts of things. But most of our successes is down to what you would call, human engineering, not technical engineering. And yet most people get support and training and help in the technical space as opposed to the soft skills space. And then you add the commercial aspect to soft skills and it’s even harder to provide the right stuff. So, in my experience, having worked for big blue-chip organizations, you tend to, well, this is just my opinion. I felt like I was trained by either very, very clever people like professors and university folk who were only ever theorists. They’ve never sat in front of customers or had to manage people themselves, or you were trained by what I would call explainers who had been there, done that. And they were going to tell you what they did and trying to provide the idea of supporting people with folk, who’ve got authentic experience, but then not just a goer. And it’s not just about them. It’s actually, I think really hard to find. So, I think that’s part of the reason why people don’t, organizations don’t provide what I would call commercial soft skills because it’s not easy to find. And the other challenge, I think Steve is people don’t ask for it.

So, if you take, for example, a team of maybe I.T. folk who are very, very technical, very bright and intelligent and the more senior they get, the chances are that they then have to get results through others. It is extremely rare that they would go, you know what? I think I really need some selling skills.

Steve Rush: Yeah, very true.

Nicole Soames: I mean, it’s just not going to happen. And then you take people in formal selling or client management or account management roles, and you say, so what training do you need? They’re never going to ask for sales training because it’s expected they would know what they’re doing. So, you end up with these massive gaps and people don’t know to ask for this sort of training and it’s then seen as a weakness. And so, people don’t get supported in this space.

Steve Rush: Yeah, and I guess you also often find that people want what they want, not necessarily what they need to become more effective. If you ask that, what training do you want?

Nicole Soames: Completely, and with the best will in the world, people have blind spots. They don’t understand the impact they have on others. And so again, they wouldn’t necessarily ask for these skills.

Steve Rush: Right, as a commercial athlete, are there any specific trait or characteristics that you observed that are essential?

Nicole Soames: Well, I think that what good looks like is starting with the right mindset and the right attitude. And if you’re thinking about an athlete, they would have no chance of winning if they talk themselves down. So, I think the mantras I would use and the four things that are really important and in no particular order, they’re all important. And it’s the combination of them that is so powerful or are as follows. So, relationships count. I think that’s a massively important belief to have. So, whether your relationships are internal relationships or external relationships, the better those relations are the easier it is to disagree. Actually, the easier it is to take accountability, the easier it is to commit to actions. So, relationships matter massively. So that’s one mantra. Second mantra would be keep striving. Elite is not a destination. You’ve got to keep striving for excellence. It doesn’t fall excellence like, like manna from heaven, ambition delivers results, but you’ve got to put in the blood, sweat and tears, and continuously put in the blood, sweat and tears, if you want to achieve and be the best version of yourself.

Then the next one is that together is better. Working collaboratively is always more successful. Lone wolves don’t win, in my opinion. Just think of the amazing human endeavors we’ve achieved through the pandemic. We wouldn’t have achieved them if people hadn’t collaborated. And if you think about the news right now with vaccines and vaccine nationalism that everyone’s talking about, we’re trying to banish that so that we can get the vaccines out to the whole of the world. Cause we don’t get out of this pandemic unless we are all vaccinated.

Steve Rush: Right.

Nicole Soames: So, you know, collaboration matters massively. And then the fourth mantra, I think that is really important to the commercial athlete is every day is a learning day. You have to hone your performance. Think like the margin of aggregated gains, you know, honing, self-reflection. And also, I think massively key is honest and timely feedback from others, which giving feedback is a skill in itself. So, I think those are the kind of four mindsets if you like that the athletes would have. And then you layer on the ability. So, the capability and then the ability to put all of that stuff into action. So that’s, I think the standout for the commercial athlete, and I think what the commercial athlete does is they put emotional intelligence, front and center into everything they do. So, the how stuff is disproportionately important to what you do, the how you do it, makes the difference

Steve Rush: As part of that, how you do it. I suspect that just like other athletes, commercial athletes need to practice all of this kind of stuff?

Nicole Soames: Definitely. Practice, get feedback, you know, you’ve got to do these practices if you like every single day and dealing with people and getting results through people is messy. It’s not easy, it’s not straightforward. So continually honing and being agile and being flexible is really important. The people aspect is so fundamental to getting results, to conversations, to commercial conversations that you have. I know, it sounds like a cliche, Steve to say it, but cliches are cliches because they’re true. People buy people, and I think what that really means is that people buy you, they buy your confidence. People want to do business with people that are like them, that they trust. We know this stuff, but it’s like, not just what you do. It’s about how you do it. You don’t want to be sold at; you don’t want to be told what to do. And so, the relationships and putting that at the heart of everything, I think is so fundamental and relationships are balanced. They should be mutually beneficial. Shouldn’t feel like you’re on the back foot and you shouldn’t feel like you have power over the other person. It should be a mutually beneficial relationship because if it’s not mutually beneficial, then it’s a relationshalf. And those don’t tend to work out very well for one party.

Steve Rush: Definitely, so. I’d love to get into this notion of commercial conversations and commercial performance. And you use that word quite a lot. How does that differ?

Nicole Soames: I think, look, in business, the difference is that one party should be an asker and one party should be a receiver. And if the asker doesn’t ask, then they have no chance of getting what they want. So, I think the commercial conversations part is about projecting confidence is about being proactive, not reactive, whether you’re the asker or the receiver. So, I think that’s what the difference is. It’s just having confidence and control in the conversation that you are having.

Steve Rush: And the other flip of here of course, is that if you get all of these things right in your organization, in your teams, there is a commercial upside to this. There is a commercial benefit when you’re doing this, you become more productive, more happy. New people stay around longer and bottom-line results go up.

Nicole Soames: Correct.

Steve Rush: Exactly.

Nicole Soames: Internally and externally.

Steve Rush: Of course, yeah. So, in terms of doing and what you do with Diadem now, maybe give us a little spin as to what the future holds for you guys?

Nicole Soames: Well, the future is about doing what we do brilliantly with more teams, which is about supporting people with how do you sell and influence with emotional intelligence? How do you sell and influence and negotiate with emotional intelligence? And lead people with emotion, intelligence, and manage people with emotion, intelligence, et cetera, all of the things that make up that commercial athlete. And if I just talk a little bit about negotiation and influencing, they’re things that you have to do, you’re doing every day. Maybe you’re not aware of the fact that you’re doing them every day, but how you do it is the bit that people will remember

Steve Rush: Before we get into that. Maybe for those that are listening, what is the difference between negotiation and influence or is there a difference?

Nicole Soames: Massive difference. Okay, so the difference is that in selling or influencing, that’s about asking. And I think it’s about making it easy for the other person to say yes, buy emotionally and if appropriate, commercially motivating them. So, sort of thing, pull, not push and having confidence to make that recommendation, to ask, to shift the gear from a discussion, have an opinion and back your opinion. I think to me, that’s what influencing is and selling. And everybody’s in sales roles. They just don’t have it in their job title, then the same. So, the same principle for negotiation people don’t have, I mean, who, hasn’t the title? You might have sales and your job title, but you’re definitely not going to have negotiator in your job title, even procurement, which is the negotiation function isn’t called the negotiation function. It’s called the procurement function, which is to buy to procure.

So, my definition of negotiation is it’s also this communication skill. And I think what it is put simply, it’s about a communication skill that helps you find overlapping positions so that the outcome works for both parties. Dead easy to say in theory, in reality, because if you think about influencing. The influencer or the seller knows that they’re asking. When it comes to the negotiation, it’s so much more emotional. How on earth do you know that there is a win for both parties? Tends to be in reality that one person wins the other person’s expense either by design or just by one party, lacking confidence and ambition. So, there’s so much more emotion and psychology, I think, involved in negotiating, which is why I think EQ, emotional intelligence plays a massive part in negotiating masterfully.

Steve Rush: If you think about the whole philosophy of emotional intelligence is there may be one theme that you see that’s present in communicating in a commercial way, as well as influencing and negotiation?

Nicole Soames: I think if you understand emotional intelligence, it is an intelligence. So, it is not one thing. It’s multiple things all applied in the right way. So, I would say that you can package, EQ really neatly into sort of three focus areas. So, they’re stuff that you do, their self-things, there’s things that you do, which involve others. And then there’s also your horizon, your perspective, how you see the world. And it is this, the magic comes. And I think the differentiation and the competitive advantage comes from packaging, all those together in the commercial setting. So, you don’t disregard your commercial acumen and you don’t disregard your technical skills. The magic comes from combining those with emotional intelligence.

Steve Rush: Yeah, so if I’m a leader here listening to this today, and I’m thinking to myself, I need to improve the performance of my team. Where would you suggest would be the best place for me to start?

Nicole Soames: I think as a leader, fundamentally key is that you lead by example. I think what you’ve got to do, you have to demonstrate to your team that you do this stuff yourself. It’s not just for the team, and I think then what you’ve got to do. So, what that means you’ve got to do is you’ve got to actively support your team, which means that you need to provide them with the right training, shameless plug. No, in all seriousness, we have found out. I mean, if you just think about the analogy of parents having to homeschool their kids right now. Parents are really not the best people to be teaching their own kids. Yes, of course parents should support what happens at school, but parents should not be relied on because they’re not the best teacher for the kids. It’s the same in business, the leader, isn’t the best person to provide the training and the skill set,

if you like. They’re the best person to provide embedding in a safe place to practice and a place for people to make mistakes, but they, the leaders should invest in proper skills to help train people up initially. So, think about someone like Andy Murray, he was initially trained by Judy Murray, his mother, then, you know, the more serious his tennis got, the more he was trained by a whole heap of other professionals as well. So, I think that’s a massive part of the leader’s role is to provide the right full training. But then their role is to lead by example and to allow a safe space to practice, right? So, these sorts of skills, influencing negotiating, managing others, presenting to be really successful at them. You need to practice and then do it for real. And then I think importantly, get feedback from your leader who is in the session with you so that they can make sure that the feedback is live and it’s actionable and its real time. So, I think that’s what the leader should do.

Steve Rush: Practice is a really interesting one. It keeps popping up every now and again, in conversations I have with clients where I asked the question around, so how are you going to practice this stuff? And in response, what I typically get is. I’m going to do it with this client, or I’m going to do this customer, or I’m going to do it with this team member, but actually that’s doing it. That’s not practicing and practicing for me is around setting specific time aside in a safe environment so that you can screw up if you have to. And it’s okay, it’s safe. But for whatever reason, people still find the whole notion of practicing some of this stuff really challenging. And I wondered in your experience, what you’ve observed?

Nicole Soames: Oh yes, all of that and more. What people say is that they haven’t got time to practice, but that’s because they don’t see the value in the practice. So, and it’s not just about practicing, it’s about practicing under pressure. So, what tends to happen is, people do prepare but they don’t then role play it for real. So, these skills take practicing with another person because they’re about having a conversation, so that’s even harder. You’re not just relying on yourself. So, you have to ask somebody else to be involved in the practice. And therefore, it takes investment in time. So unfortunately, people think the prep staff is the practice, but it’s the practicing under pressure where you can get constructive feedback that makes the difference.

Steve Rush: And it’s that feedback on the result of the practice that’s going to really make the difference. And of course, if you’re doing it in real time, then you’re not facilitating that learning loop, are you?

Nicole Soames: Correct.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Nicole Soames: And then really important. So, I believe in continuous improvement comes from really good prep then doing it. And then also reflecting afterwards on what worked, what didn’t, and unfortunately, in commercial fast paced roles, and everyone’s under pressure these days, the most likely part of that continuous improvement circle that will go is the reflection. So, the reflection tends to be which gap? What was the deal? What was the result? And not actually, how did you get there? What were the behaviors? What did you do? What did they do? What would you do differently? What worked? What didn’t? So, giving quality time to reflect afterwards, every time that you have these interactions is what helps with ultimately unconscious competence.

Steve Rush: So, you’ve taken all of these experiences and you’ve written four books. So, congratulations, first and foremost, and also selling author, how did you end up writing four books?

Nicole Soames: Because I’m crazy. So, look, I wrote the books to, I suppose, spread the word. You know, the four topics that I’ve written about are things that I’m super passionate about. And if you ever get the chance to browse the bookshelves in an actual physical store, maybe the next time you’re in an airport, it will happen. Don’t worry. We’ll get there soon. And you pick up the books in the business section or the self-help section. In my opinion, a massively over intellectualized over theoretical. So, I wrote the books because I wanted to put out there some concise advice, you know, practical hints and tips that I think really work in the real world. Things that I wished people had told me earlier on in my career. And so that’s, you know, that’s why I wrote the books and I can tell you what. The first one was a massive stretch. And the second one was stretching, but easier. And by the time I wrote the fourth, I was actually quite enjoying it. I knew how to do it, and each time I did it, I suppose I’d hone the skill and it took me less time to bring it to market. But I think the thing that’s different about the books is I’ve fused the concept of emotional intelligence into what is pretty obvious, you know, presenting and influencing and negotiation. And so often they are over theoretical those topics and not actually will, how are you going to do them?

Steve Rush: And of course, it’s the how that makes a big difference to everybody that when they have a learning experience. It’s that, what do I do now?

Nicole Soames: Correct. It’s like now what, and actually, there’s lots of exercises throughout them. They’re nice and concise, and they’re designed so that you can put them down and come back to them and take notes. And it’s like a workbook. It’s like a handbook, if you


Steve Rush: So, do you have a favorite child?

Nicole Soames: Oh, they’re all my favorites. It sounds like I’m dancing now. You’re all my favorites… Look, they are all very different topics and they are, yeah, I think they’re lost in titles. I can tell you that the one that sells the most is negotiation.

Steve Rush: Right.

Nicole Soames: Which was the first actually. So, it is definitely the fastest selling. And I think that’s because most people have had less negotiation training than the other topics.

Steve Rush: This is part of the show now where I flip the lens a little. So, I’m going to now hack into all of your experience and try and extract all of this experience into your top three hacks. So, if I can do that, what would they be?

Nicole Soames: Yeah, I mean. I think the hacks would be as a leader for sure that you’ve got to properly consciously have three hats. I think your role as a leader is to manage, to lead and to coach. And they are all really, really different philosophies and skill sets, but they’re all about getting results through others. So that will be one of my leadership hacks is like, make sure that you consciously think about those three roles. The second would be, be 80% on it and 20% in it. It’s so much, it’s so easy to be overly involved in the detail. In order for you to lead, you’ve got to be 80% on it, not in it. And I think that’s really important. And then the third one is that you should be authentically you. Think it’s so important as a leader that you show people and you share with them what you think and feel, and then aloof leader who’s too perfect that doesn’t show any vulnerability for me is like an ivory tower leader. And you’re not in the trenches with them. So, I really think that you have to share how you’re feeling and vulnerabilities. And if you take the lockdown right now, it, isn’t not helpful for the team to think that the leader is not experiencing any challenges with working like this because it’s challenging for everyone. So that’s what I mean by showing vulnerabilities. So, I think those are the three, you know, if I could package it into three things for the leader, I think those would be the three main pieces of advice.

Steve Rush: Great advice as well, thank you. Next part of the show we call Hack to Attack?

So, this is where something in your life at work in the past, hasn’t worked out well, it could have been that you’ve screwed up at something, but as a result of the experience, you’ve now taken that as a learning in your life and work, what would be your Hack to Attack Nicole?

Nicole Soames: My Hack to Attack would be, you can’t win them all. You literally can’t. If you all winning them all, then you’re not stretching yourself hard enough. And so that winning doesn’t then present you with the best learning opportunity. So, I think that when you don’t win, you get those best learning opportunities and it’s uncomfortable and it’s painful, but they’re the best places to learn. So, you’ve got to dig deep and then dust yourself down and get back up again. And I think what happens is people give up too easily or they keep themselves in their comfort zone. You know, as humans, we are always trying to find the shortcuts. We’re always trying to find the least line of resistance. So that’s what keeps us out of our stretch zones. But I think you’ve got to keep yourself in your stretch zone. If you didn’t fall over, then you didn’t try hard enough. So that would be my Hack to Attack, if you like. You cannot win them all.

Steve Rush: Awesome.

Nicole Soames: And you’ve got to be “pitch fit.”

Steve Rush: And I liked the way you framed it, so you started off with. You can’t win them all. And then it was almost a case of no, you mustn’t win them all because actually you don’t get learning. And I was coaching a startup a couple of weeks back, and the CEO who’s running this startup very, very smart guy, many start up such before. His sole philosophy is I need to fail as often as I can in these first few months so that I can really learn what I need to do. And I just love that whole mindset of why failure is good.

Nicole Soames: Yeah, I mean, clearly you can’t keep failing. Otherwise, there’s something else that’s going wrong. I think that in all seriousness, you must’ve failed at the same thing again. And that’s not then demonstrating you’re taking the learnings. Like with everything in life, it’s a balance, isn’t it?

Steve Rush: Defiantly. The last thing we’d like to do with you is offer you the chance to do some time travel. You get to bump into Nicole at 21 and give her some words of wisdom. What would you advise be?

Nicole Soames: My words of wisdom to my younger self would be. You literally don’t need to know everything. As you get older Nicole, realize that nobody knows everything. So, the secret is to surround yourself with people that are wiser and smarter than yourself, and they will lift you up in your life, I would definitely say that. I wish I’d have known that when I was 21. The next I would say, Nicole, your career is going to be long. Don’t be in a rush. I’m not saying you should wait for the tap on the shoulder, but patience is a virtue. If I hadn’t of had that real gritty, authentic commercial experience, I don’t think I’d be nearly as good a coach and a trainer as I am now, if I hadn’t gone through that. And the last thing that I would say to me at that age is if you want to be happy, then you really need to make sure that you love what you do. And even more importantly, you love who you do it with. And again, you have to learn that you love it. You can’t just go, oh, I love that. It’s not a surface thing. It’s a deep thing. You’ve got to really know if you want to stay with the distance, you will really, really know that you love what you do. And then you’ve got to make sure you surround yourself with people that you really love as well. And then you will be sustained in your happiness. And I am so, so fortunate to have found that in my career and with my team and with my clients, you know, it’s I really am very, very lucky.

Steve Rush: But to make your own luck.

Nicole Soames: You do make your own luck and you grab those opportunities. I do wake up every day and got on really, really lucky that I get to do what I love. And I’m not just saying that in a cliche ways, its genuine. I really do love what I do.

Steve Rush: Very wise words too. So, thank you for sharing those.

Nicole Soames: Pleasure.

Steve Rush: The final thing for us to kick around is that I’m pretty certain people are going to be listening to this thinking, how do I get hold of some of Nicole insights? Where do I get a copy of the book? How can I find out what Diadem Performance are doing? Where would you like us to send them?

Nicole Soames: So, the book, the classic places like Amazon, WHSmith, Forbes, Waterstones. All of the usual suspects, you can find all of the books. In terms of following me personally, and Diadem. Find us on LinkedIn, So I’m Nicole Soames on LinkedIn. I’m on Twitter as well, so that’s nicolediadem, that’s my handle. And then you can also find me on Facebook, Nicole Soames Author, and I’ve got an author’s website. So, it’s So, lots of places, lots of places to find me. And I do regularly blogger as well with my philosophies and my opinion on things. So yeah, that’s how people can get hold of me and Diadem Performance website is

Steve Rush: Brilliant. We’ll put all of those links in our show notes as well.

Nicole Soames: Thank you very much.

Steve Rush: Nicole, thank you for taking time out. I always love chatting to you. Always get a sense of energy and you can tell you love what you do because it comes through in the passion and the way you describe things. So, on behalf of our listeners, thank you for being part of The Leadership Hacker Podcast.

Nicole Soames: Thank you for inviting me, I really enjoyed it.


Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others, and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.

Finally, if you would like me to work with your senior team, your leadership community, keynote an event, or you would like to sponsor an episode. Please connect with us, by our social media. And you can do that by following and liking our pages on Twitter and Facebook our handle there is @leadershiphacker. Instagram you can find us there @the_leadership_hacker and at YouTube, we are just Leadership Hacker, so that is me signing off. I am Steve Rush and I have been the leadership hacker.

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