Blake Sergeant is a man on a mission to bring personal development to the masses. And from one-on-one coaching sessions and group seminars to his business that supports entrepreneurs, The Faculty, it seems he is well on his way.
Blake Sergeant talks over his mission during Morning Coffee
Speaking to Blake during one of our Morning Coffee sessions, he let us in on how he got to where he is now, and where he’s heading next.
Hi Blake. Start by walking us through your morning routine…
My morning routine starts the night before. I’m religious about [getting] seven hours of sleep. I’m more religious about that than exactly what time I wake up in the morning. So I normally wake up around six, six-thirty. Sometimes earlier if I’ve got a cycle, but I’ve got to have seven hours sleep.
Then I’ll meditate for twenty minutes and I’ll visualise for five minutes. I do all of this in bed. I wake up, prop the pillows up, meditate, [do] five minutes of visualisation, and then it’s black coffee while I read something called a vision statement. To be clear as to how I want my year to end and who I want to show up as on a daily basis, and I have that written up on a vision statement that only takes a few minutes to read, but gets me set and reconnects me with my bigger purpose every morning. And that’s how I start.
Talk us through what being a Performance Coach really entails.
In its simplest form, performance coaching is to help people live their potential. Which sounds quite ‘big picture’, but it depends on who I’m working with. Sometimes I work with people who have no clue about their purpose yet. In their early phase, they’re trying to find purpose and they’re trying to creating a vision for that, and how the next twelve months of their lives are going to turn out.
But then I work with some CEOs and businesses where I help them create a business. And their [goals are] much clearer, so we work out what they need to do consistently to show the best version of themselves. [We look at] what part of their psychology we need to work on with them. What are the limiting believes or fears that are holding them back?
Sometimes I work with Olympic athletes that have a pretty clear picture of what they want, but we’ve got to help them to operate at the highest possible levels.
Tell us a little bit about your philosophy.
For me when growing up, I guess success was thought of as wealth and money, and that never quite sat with me. There’s nothing wrong with having money but it’s not the be all and end all. There are lots of people that have money and they’re completely miserable. So for me, my definition of success is to a fulfil-ionaire; that’s somebody who is rich in all areas of their life. That’s ultimately what I help people to achieve for themselves.
How is performance coaching different from life coaching?
I guess life coaching is a big term. You can be 18 years old and do a two-day course and call yourself a life coach, so that one end of the spectrum. [And then there’s] Tony Robbins who arguably created the coaching industry. He, in a way, was a life coach as well. So life coach is very much a massive umbrella term for everything that helps you perform better at life.
But all I’d say is that just because somebody calls themselves a coach that doesn’t necessarily mean they know what they are doing. If you’re ever going to look into getting yourself a coach, the most important thing to look at is results and testimonials of people they’ve worked with before. Go and find results. Now, there are so many coaches out there with the ability to work with people from different parts of the world. Probably whatever you’re needing helping with, there is probably a niche coach that’s particularly great at doing that. So go and find the coach who is the best in the world at what they do.
What tips can you give for being happier in the work place?
The first tip to being happy at work is to make sure you’re happy outside of work. We put so much focus nowadays on our career and we think that it defines us. We forget that although we might feel like we spend all our time at work, we actually don’t. We have weekends, we have evenings. So if we look at the wheel of life and we look at career and business as being a part of that, there is also socialising, family, relationships, personal growth, health…. There are so many other areas of life. So, first look after all that so that the focus doesn’t go so much on work
And then I guess a bit more of a hard-nosed performance coach in me would say that regardless of who pays your salary, you’ve got to be the CEO of you’re own life. There’s no point sitting at work complaining because at some stage you applied for the job. You wanted to go there and they said ‘Okay we’ll have you,’ and you went, ‘Yes I’ve finally got the job.’ So don’t complain sitting in the seat that you’re in.
You may find that the environment isn’t perfect for you. But if you move, you have to take yourself with you so make sure you’ve done everything you possibly can. We’ve all at times had bad bosses and colleagues… I mean, so what? Focus on things that you can focus on and understand that, this chapter of your life is paired with the company you’re working with at the time.
It doesn’t always have to be like that. If you want to get happy at work, get clear on what you want as a person. Be the CEO of your own life, squeeze as much as you can from that opportunity, even if it’s imperfect and don’t be afraid to move. If you’ve outgrown your position in the company you’re working in, [you’d be] happier if you] moved rather than getting caught in the comfort zone where you then get negative going ‘oh I don’t like it’. You know you’re not a tree, you can move. So those would be my tips.
What’s the motto that you live by?
I think of it more like a mission, if you will. I work like a three-part mission, which I didn’t always have. In fact, they never taught me in school how to find a purpose in life.
You know that you want fulfillment, you want meaning and you want to be happy — and that ultimately comes from contributing and growing. Being a part of something that’s bigger than myself, being a part of a mission is where I find my happiness. So my three-part mission is to live my potential by helping others to live theirs.
The second part is to help bring personal development to the masses. Because when I uncovered the industry, the knowledge in there I was like… Why isn’t this taught in schools? It was incredible. It’s not really out there, but it’s getting better.
The third part is to help change the education curriculum. Yes, I think a lot of what I do as a performance coach is fixing bits the could have been avoided where people picked up limiting beliefs, fears or un-empowering beliefs. So I have to then work with their psychology to get rid of that stuff. When actually, if they got it right in the first place within the curriculum and actually showed them how to become successful and fulfilled, then I might be out of a job. But that would be okay.
What has been your biggest challenge?
When my bullet proof plan for success — which was school, to uni, to millionaire by 30 — fell hard at the first hurdle. It’s just what I was lead to believe. Go to school, get good grades — well I didn’t get good grades but, you know — go to uni and then be a millionaire by 30. But I found myself at uni realising that I’m never going to use any of this stuff and this is a waste of time. So I dropped out of uni. And at that point, that’s it all camel crashing down.
That’s when I hit ground zero, had a meltdown, felt sorry for myself for about two years and then started reading books and looking for success, and that’s what put me on the journey that I’m on today. And that’s what I uncovered over the course of that decade really, and now I share that with people.
What do you still want to achieve?
I still want to bring personal development to the masses. I still want to help change the education system. I’ve worked with some pro athletes but I’d like to work with an international team, that’s on my list still.
Who has been your professional mentor or inspiration?
It’s a tough one because there have been so many, so I almost wouldn’t want to pick one out. Although I would say that the most important person at the most important time was when I wanted to go full time in coaching and I’d read hundreds of books, autobiograhies and books on psychology, but I wanted to go work with somebody who as doing it at the highest level.
So Australia’s top business coach is a guy called Andrew Roberts – or Robbo as I know him – and I pestered him for about three moons until he finally said: “Okay. come out and work with me.” I went and worked with him for 18 months. I shadowed him and helped him put a program together and learnt a huge amount there. He would probably be my most important mentor. But then I’ve found other mentors to help me with different bits along the way, too.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be patient, success takes time. You don’t have to defer happiness, you can be happy along the journey. Not ‘I’ll be happy when I’ve got this or that.’
If you could tell yourself something ten years from now, what would that be?
Keep doing the basics. Success is a daily habit. Stay committed to your mission and pay attention to details.
Complete this sentence: ‘I am happy when….
I am happy when I’m with others. I’ve very happy by myself as well, but I’ve very happy when I’m playing sports, football… When I’m active. When I’m working with clients, especially like a group of clients or when I’m running an event or doing some sort of change work with people. Really happy when around friends and family. Yeh, the simple things really. I don’t have a sports car.
When do you think it’s necessary to compromise?
I think it’s good to compromise with the way you achieve your goals, but never on your mission. If you’re committed to achieving an outcome, then that’s amazing. If there’s something that’s truly important to you, that’s part of your mission, something you really really want that isn’t linked to ego, right… Ego should be left at the door when creating goals.
If you’ve got something really important, if you’ve got a mission, don’t compromise on that, but be really flexible and compromise on how you’ll get there. It’s a little bit like an ant. When it goes somewhere and it comes across an obstacle, it finds a way around it, compromising on the route. But ultimately it gets to where it wants to go.
What book are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading The New Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr Maxwell Maltz. He originally wrote it in 1960 and he was a plastic surgeon. Basically, all of us in the coaching industry owe him a debt of gratitude in some way shape or form, it’s just that most people don’t know that the knowledge we have now came from all the way back then.
People would come to him and say: “Look, I feel under-confident, I’ve got this scar on my face, I’ve got this hook nose, my ears stick out… Can you do something? Because if you were to fix this then I would be more confident then I’d be more successful in life.’
So then he’d fix people and what he’d find was that, with some people, he’d fix their nose and they’d be a new person. They’re like: ‘I look amazing.’ Their confidence would go back up and they’re like: ‘I’m fixed!’
But with half of the people he’d operate on, there would be no change. Even though everyone else would tell them they look incredible, they would say: ‘No, no I don’t feel any different.’
So what he discovered was the absolute core of anyone’s success is their self-image. It’s their identity, and basically, that’s a lot of work that I do with people. You can give people strategy all day long but if they don’t have the self-image, the self-belief, they’ll never be able to get those goals because their unconscious brain will not allow them to act out of congruence with how they see themselves. Which is why a lot of people can’t lose weight, they can’t get the promotion, because until their unconscious brain believes it, their conscious brain can’t achieve it. Anyway, that was in 1960 and we’re still not teaching it in schools.
How would you like the world to remember you?
As someone who helped bring personal development to the masses and helped changes the educational curriculum.