Natalia Cohen (Losing Sight of Shore) – Embracing the Unknown Presents Endless Opportunities

active CEO Podcast #23 Natalia Cohen Embracing The Unknown Presents Endless Opportunities

Natalia Cohen – Losing Sight of Shore

On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns has a conversation with Natalia Cohen about choosing how we feel, what it takes to row across the Pacific Ocean, lessons taken from overcoming major challenges and embracing the uncomfortable. We discuss strategies on how to minimise conflict, the power of the mind and what it takes to achieve your dreams and goals.


Natalia Cohen is an incredibly resilient, tenacious, ground-breaking and pioneering lady, who has defined logic by purposefully losing sight of shore.

When most people are looking for a goal to challenge themselves physically, mentally and spiritually, they decide to run a marathon, do a triathlon or visit a new country, not this young lady, she decided to row across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to Cairns with 3 (plus 2 who would join later in the adventure) other people she did not know. Yes you heard that right! That’s 257 days or 9 months at sea, covering 8759 nautical miles with a stopover at Honolulu, Hawaii and Apia, Samoa.

Known forher nomadic approach to life, she has now lived in 60 countries, working in thetravel and tourism industries. From Tanzania to Peru, she has seen the world,but nothing like the beauty, power, isolation and serenity of the vastness ofthe Pacific Ocean.

She is now a known inspirational speaker, workshop facilitator and mindset coach continuing to travel the world and sharing her insights, Through the Eye of the Nomad.

Losing Site of Shore

Natalia talks about:

  • Having supportive parents who encouraged her toexplore her passions and do things she love.
  • Our mind can control almost anything in our lives.
  • First taste of ultimate freedom, travelling to aplace all on her own, to the other side of the world where if I liked a place Istayed, if I didn’t like the place, I left.
  • Her mother being the catalyst to being a global tourleader.
  • The opportunity that something incredible mighthappen that day
  • Learning a lot of her life skills through being partof the travel industry.
  • Being thrown into situations where you are immersedin very different cultures, languages, the unknown, being surrounded by a lotof alien situations.
  • Learning to appreciate that a lot of things in lifeare out of our control, and we can only control the controllable.
  • When you deal with challenges, you learn and grow.
  • Seeing the advert with Laura looking for team matesto row across the pacific.
  • The recruitment process including interviews with sportpsychologist, Keith Goddard and completing SAS type drills.
  • The last thing we wanted was four women on a pinkboat being rescued.
  • Doing sea-survival skills, capsize drills, 24hrpractice rows, and strict strength and conditioning programs.
  • It was 90% mental training that we needed to havefor the expedition.
  • We had to get to know each other inside out. Weshared our hopes and our fears.
  • Entering and about to embrace the unknown in anextreme way possible.
  • We just rowed off into the darkness.
  • The first ten days were probably the mostchallenging.
  • We all had our own mental demons that we had tobattle.
  • Making light of the situations out there and makethe girls smile and laugh.
  • The most powerful thing out there is that we havethe ability to choose how we feel.
  • Trust and respect were something that I think reallyhelped us cross the ocean.
  • What holds people back from achieving the life anddreams that they really desire.
  • The ability to look for the positive, even if justonce a day. Stop and reflect each day

ActiveCEO Wellness Tip                                                

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“The 6 people who came to the project didn’t know eachother. They were very different people with different backgrounds and diversepersonality types. The learning how to work together and how to bring out thebest in each other. Understanding what brought out the worst in us. That was ahuge part of the project. They got very used to giving each other constructivefeedback, because out on the boat in the middle of nowhere, there is nowhere torun and nowhere to hide. ” Building a strong team with Natalia Cohen on theactive CEO Podcast.

“Quite often in life you do have to start again. Youdo have to go back to the drawing board, whether it be in your business orpersonal life.” Natalia Cohen on dealing with adversity on the active CEOPodcast.

“We may have crossed our literal pacific, we believethat every has their Pacific to cross and their challenges to face.” NataliaCohen inspiring you to achieve your challenges on the active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Losing Sight of Shore
Coxless Crew
Losing Sight of Shore YouTube
TedX YouTube
Coxless Crew Twitter
Eye of the Nomad
Natalia Cohen LinkedIn
Craig Johns LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole Performance Coaching

Recommended Reading:

Better Than Winning – Ben Gathercoles’s best selling book

active CEO Podcast #21 Bridie O’Donnell Leadership Driven by Authenticity

Bridie O’Donnell – CEO Office for Women in Sport (Victorian Govt)

On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, we get an intricate look inside the energetic life of Bridie O’Donnell, changing careers, her highs and lows as an athlete, the lessons learnt on the bike that have transferred to her role as a CEO, and the mindfulness required to claim a world record. We delve into her work as a CEO and the This Girl Can campaign, leveling the playing field for women and girls in sport and her view on leadership.


Bridie O’Donnell is driven to positively change they way we think, believe and act. Growing up in the Sunshine Coast Hinterlands of Australia, she transformed her career from improving the wellbeing and health of people as a doctor in the medical industry, to being a professional athlete racing to put food on her plate, and now as an up-and-coming leader in the sport industry.

Her medical career included being a physician at Epworth Healthcheck and Epworth Breast Service, as well as paving her way to be a medical expert on Network Ten’s “The Project”, a co-host on Everyday Health, Doctor on the AFL Injury Report, and tutor at Deakin University Medical School.

Not only is she well educated, a talented physician and an astute businesswoman, but she is also an impressive cyclist setting the UCI women’s hour record of 46.882km at sea level, 2008 Australian Road Cycle Time Trial Champion and a 3x Australian representative at the World Road Cycling Championships, she is also completed the Ironman Hawaii Ironman World Championships and is a 7x gold medallist Australian Masters Rowing Championships.

She is clearing the fields and creating new pavements as the first ever CEO for the Office For Women in Sport and Recreation at the Victorian Government. This year, she wrote a book: Life and Death: a cycling memoir.

Bridie talks about:

  • The beginning phase of your life and the parents you choose, are keys to success.
  • Getting the most out of your body as an athlete and the most out of your mind as a student.
  • People who aren’t good at choosing active transport are very good at finding reasons not too.
  • Going sub 11hrs at the Hawaii Ironman World Championships, but not being happy as she wanted to be winning and being on the podium.
  • Being extensively ignored by coaches as she didn’t start rowing until she was 26.
  • Going from 0 to winning the Australian Time Trial Champs in 1 year.
  • Being coached by Donna Razer Lynskey.
  • A lot of athletes overtrain, they do too much, think more is better, or they don’t train specifically enough.  
  • Riding in support of Commonwealth Games Gold medalist Chloe Hosking.
  • The mind games and staying focused for nearly 200 laps when she claimed the world hour cycle record.
  • The challenges during her first year as a CEO.
  • Decline in female sport participation and the lack of female leaders.
  • People keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
  • Life & Death – A Cycling Memoir, her recently released book.
  • Being CEO at the Office for Women in Sport & Recreation
  • Her job being in equal parts a privilege, thrilling & completely terrifying
  • Going surfing for the first time last week.
  •  “Why wouldn’t you do that?”

Active CEO Wellness Tip

 3 C’s to Success –At least once in a CEO’s career they will have a goal to lose weight. It can be a real challenge to maintain a healthy weight if you are constantly travelling, having dinner meetings, socialising with your clients, working long hours, sitting at a desk and under high levels of stress. To break the model you need COMMITMENT, CONSISTENCY and CONTROL. Commitment to healthy lifestyle is about 80% mental and without mental strength and commitment your life change is unlikely to last. Any type of success requires consistency over a long period of time, even when you feel tired, frustrated and cranky. You need the self-control to say no to a beer, calorie-filled deserts, a second take at the buffet and the burger bar. Control the forces in your life to ensure you have time to sleep, rest, exercise and enjoy the basic human rights of eating, resting and exercising. 


“As a road cyclist, when you race, you very rarely win, so you have to start to manage your disappointment or your failure by determining what impact you might be able to have through your performance.” Life on the bike with Bridie O’Donnell on the active CEO Podcast.

“Where you see dysfunction is where the leader does not acknowledge it, assign roles properly, where people don’t commit and aren’t accountable, or where there is undermining and people are desperately thinking of themselves over the wellbeing of the team.” Talking about dysfunctional teams with Bridie O’Donnell on the active CEO Podcast.

“People want leaders to be authentic these days, people who have lived experiences that can be flawed and difficult. No one wants to be lead by a person who behaves as though they have never had hardship and doesn’t feel challenges.” Bridie O’Donnell speaking on Leadership in 2019 on the active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Bridie O’Donnell LinkedIn
Bridie O’Donnell Website
Bridie O’Donnell Instagram
Bridie O’Donnell Wikipedia
This Girl Can
Craig Johns LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole Performance Coaching

Recommended Reading:

Life & Death – A Cycling Memoir By Bridie O’Donnell Link
Better Than Winning – Ben Gathercoles’s best selling book Link