Inspiring Great Leaders Podcast #205 Cassandra Goodman Being True at Work

Inspiring Great Leaders Podcast #205 Cassandra Goodman Being True at Work

Being True At Work

On this episode of the Inspiring Great Leaders Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Cassandra Goodman about being true at work, having clear goals and aspirations, and finding purpose in life.

We also dive deeper into facing certain challenges in order to improve personally, grow as leaders in the workplace and how we could build a relationship with our employees. 

Cassandra Goodman  – Being True At Work

Cassandra Goodman is the founder of The Centre For Self Fidelity and the author of the groundbreaking book, “Self-Fidelity – How Being True To Yourself Uplifts Your Working Life,” released in 2020, and “Being True” published just last year.

With three decades of international business experience across multiple industries, she’s worn many hats. From being the first Global Director of Employee Experience at a major healthcare corporation to her role as a part-time Chief Talent Activator, a Thrive Global program facilitator and executive coach, and an Associate at Monash Business School. Her influence extends to some of the world’s most renowned organizations, including NBN, ANZ, Cisco, Ralph Lauren, Adobe, Mastercard and many more.

Cassandra talks about:

  • Having a clear aspiration
  • Being true at work
  • Having your own vision and purpose
  • Getting lost to find ourselves
  • The definition of ordinary
  • Surveys in the workplace
  • Two kinds of improvement loops
  • Building a culture for non-negotiables in the workplace
  • Authenticity in leadership
  • How belongingness affects the workplace
  • No one size fits all


“It’s not enough to love what you do unless you love who you’re being while you do it.” Cassandra Goodman talks about finding ourselves on the Inspiring Great Leaders Podcast.

“We can get lost by finding ourselves in a job that we suddenly realise is becoming soul destroying. You know, we can get lost in a relationship that doesn’t respect and honor who we are. We can get lost in so many different ways. It’s the waking up to that reality that we have lost.” Getting lost in finding ourselves by Cassandra Goodman on the Inspiring Great Leaders Podcast.

“In order to be enough, I needed to be a high achieving, low maintenance machine.” Cassandra Goodman talks about her family’s expectations on the Inspiring Great Leaders Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Cassandra Goodman
Cassandra Goodman LinkedIn
Craig Johns
Craig Johns
Craig Johns LinkedIn
Craig Johns Facebook
Inspiring Great Leaders Podcast


Being True: How To Be Yourself at Work

active CEO Episode 151 Arash Arabi 16032021

active CEO Podcast #151 Arash Arabi Defeat The Enemy Within

active CEO Podcast #151 Arash Arabi Defeat The Enemy Within

On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Arash Arabi about defeat the enemy within, being a scrum master, servant leadership and the wise enterprise.

We also delve into  systems thinking, emotional intelligence, leadership, organisational design, and how we can inch together towards the goal line.

Arash Arabi – Defeat The Enemy Within          

Arash is a Taekwondo World Champion, Agile and Leadership Coach and a person with a passion for Emotional Intelligence. The author of The Wise Enterprise, Arash Arabi is a systems thinker, and a man who loves trying new languages and technologies.

He studied a Bachelors and Masters in Information Technology from Monash University, and a Professional Leadership Program from Motivation Matters. His career has included IT software and engineering roles with companies such as Oracle and Intrepid Travel, and has been an Agile Coach and Trainer for companies like ANZ, and nBn Australia. Now, he is the founder & CEO of Sprint Agile and is an Agile Coach for IOOF Holdings.

Arash talks about

  • Growing up in Iran during the war.
  • What’s my role in the universe
  • What would you do with all the time and money in the world?
  • Becoming a Taekwondo World Champion.
  • My superpower is endurance through everything I have done in life.
  • It’s what really makes me satisfied internally that really counts.
  • Realising that a successful person needs to understand everyone.
  • Scrum Masters being servant leaders.
  • Economical war versus a chemical war.
  • The Wise Enterprise.
  • Decision making is influenced by our emotions.
  • Leadership is a skill not a rank.
  • How everyone perceives the world to form their opinions.
  • An answer is only as good as the question


“I couldn’t defeat the enemy within, because I was stressed, I wasn’t able to use my skills to the best of my abilities. I had all these tricks up my sleeve that I would easily be able to beat the other person. I couldn’t, as it went 10mins overtime. I couldn’t defeat the enemy within.” Arash Arabi talks about Defeat The Enemy Within, on the active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Sprint Agile
Arash Arabi LinkedIn
Arash Arabi Twitter
Speakers Institute Corporate
Craig Johns
Craig Johns
Craig Johns LinkedIn

Recommended Reading:

The Wise Enterprise

active CEO Podcast with Craig Johns Dr Paul White 5 Languages Of Workplace Appreciation

active CEO Podcast #110 Dr Paul White 5 Languages Of Workplace Appreciation

active CEO Podcast with Craig Johns Dr Paul White 5 Languages Of Workplace Appreciation

On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Dr Paul White about the 5 Languages Of Workplace Appreciation, building trust and loyalty in the workplace and why people want to feel appreciated.

We also delve into working with Dr Gary Chapman, the author of The 5 Love languages; perceived authenticity; leading with appreciation remotely; and how to best to close the gap between what we currently teach, educate and train with what we do and how we know how we learn best.

Dr Paul White – 5 Languages Of Workplace Appreciation

Dr Paul White is a psychologist, global speaker, international consultant and the author of four incredible books, including New York Times Best Seller, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace which he co-authored with Dr Gary Chapman (famous for the 5 love languages), Rising Above A Toxic Workplace, Sync or Swim and The Vibrant Workplace. He is a world leader in building organisational appreciation, who has worked with organisations such as Microsoft and NASA, and is a proud grandfather of six, Dr Paul White.

Focusing on “making work relationships work”, he has a Ph.D in Counselling Psychology from George State University, a Masters Counselling from Arizona State University and a BA Christian Education from Wheaton College. A lifetime devoted to teaching leaders and organisations on how to communicate authentic appreciation has been the backbone to his career as a psychologist at Prairie View Inc, Director of Family Coaching at Navitas, and currently, the Owner/President of Family Business Resources and Appreciation at Work.

Paul talks about:

  • Starting out as an observer and over time developing into a leader.
  • What needs do you see out there that aren’t being met?
  • New York Times best seller The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.
  • Created Motivating by Appreciation Inventory online assessment.
  • 5 Languages of Workplace Appreciation with Dr Gary Chapman.
  • Praising or complementing someone with Words of Affirmation.
  • Focused attention and listening to people during Quality time.
  • Help people get things done that they value through Acts of service.
  • Connect people through Tangible gifts that show you know them.
  • Spontaneous celebrations in the workplace through Physical touch.
  • People want to feel valued and appreciated beyond their production and performance.
  • 79% of people leave a job do so because of a lack of appreciation.
  • People want to be appreciated by all members of an organisation.
  • Remote employees like visual connectivity.

Active CEO Performance Tip

Improve your CEO PERFORMANCE HABITS – Some of your habits aren’t supporting being a high performing leader or leading high performing teams. Remove negative habits and replace them with positive ones. 3 Steps to improving your CEO Performance Habits: 1. Identify and write down your positive and negative performance habits. 2. Then establish ways to move negative habits into positive ones or remove them. 3. Monitor them daily.


“Not so competitive in leadership senses. If people are leading well, them I am happy to follow them” Dr Paul White discusses knowing when to lead and when to follow, on the active CEO Podcast.

“Its about the leadership and understanding the importance of their people.” Workplace Appreciation with Dr Paul White, on the active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Dr Paul White
Appreciation at Work
Dr Paul White LinkedIn
Dr Paul White Twitter
Motivation By Appreciation Inventory
Craig Johns
Craig Johns
Craig Johns LinkedIn

Recommended Reading:

5 Languages Of Appreciation In The Workplace Purchase Book

Fuel Your Body For Leadership Performance Read Article
How Exercise Enhances A Leaders Performance Read Article
Four Basic Fundamentals Of Being A High Performing Leader Read Article
How To Be A High Performing Leader In 2020 Read Article
Four Ways To Overcome CEO Loneliness In 2020 Read Article

Recent active CEO Podcast Episodes

#110 – Dr Paul White (Workplace Appreciation) 5 Languages Of Workplace Appreciation Link
#109 – 6 Principles To Be A World Class Leader Link
#108 – Fiona Robertson (Entrepreneur) Culture Is The Rules Of Belonging Link
#107 – Create Your OWN MBA Link
#106 – Kathy Robinson (Athena Wellness) The Athena Principles Link
#105 – Own Your OWN SPACE Link
#104 – Mark Weatherall (Te Araroa) Leading The Great Outdoors Link
#103 – Be Your OWN CEO Link
#102 – Scott Leggo An Eye For Detail Link
#101 – Own Your OWN VULNERABILITY Link
#100 – Sandhya Shetty Supermodel To Global Influencer Link

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active CEO Podcast #80 Jonathan Rake Launchpad To Go Beyond Borders

active CEO Podcast #80 Jonathan Rake Launchpad To Go Beyond Borders

active CEO Podcast #80 Jonathan Rake Launchpad To Go Beyond Borders
Jonathan Rake – CEO Swiss Re Asia Pacific

On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Jonathan Rake, about his Launchpad to go beyond borders, the World Economic Forum shaping your thinking as a leader, leaders are hired to make judgement calls and performance leadership as CEO at Swiss Re Asia Pacific.

We also delve into the global water crisis, running marathons with Mina Guli the CEO of Thirst, the importance of balancing ones mind, protecting the asset, and amazing human beings doing incredible things.

Jonathan Rake – Launchpad To Go Beyond Borders

Jonathan is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and Advisory Board member, a passionate leader who is dedicated to CSR and community initiatives, and is involved in a project called Global Ledger. Jonathan is a phenomenal global leader, who loves running and has a deep passion for solving the global water crisis.

He studied a Bachelor Commerce Economics, Accountancy, Business and Law from Stellenbosch University. His career has involved working at ABN Amro Bank; and roles in Corporate Business, Business Development and Country CEO of Singapore at Zurich Financial Services. In 2016 he joined Swiss Re as their CEO of Singapore and in 2017 became the CEO of Asia Pacific.

Jonathan talks about:

  • Nelson Mandela’s influence during the transition from Apartheid.
  • His Launchpad to go beyond borders.
  • Culture difference between Zurich Financial Services & ABN Amro Bank.
  • Why judgement is super critical in a CEO and leadership role.
  • Swiss Re focus on clients, but also making the world more resilient.
  • Mitigating all the trends that are disrupting lives and industries.
  • Why the global water crisis is the world’s greatest risk in the future.
  • Chasing the goal, fighting hard & taking yourself into a difficult place.
  • You can’t stay in your peak performance state of mind all the time.
  • Stop take 3 breaths, step away & realise how good you have it.
  • Calming down & getting some rest & starting the day with exercise.
  • Learning that you must not pile your passions into one area.
  • We should be judged by not what we create, but what we leave behind.

Active CEO Performance Tip

To Diet or Not To Diet – People are often looking for the quick fix, when it comes to food. Many people jump on the bandwagon of the thousands of fad-style, celebrity endorsed and marketing designed diets, which have no research into the long-term effects on the body, mind and soul. Science compared every diet and the winner is real food. The only diet that has been implemented and remains over a long period of time is that established 10,000’s of years ago. It is a predominantly plant-based diet with no processed foods and only included the occasional meat when they were quick enough to catch it. Those living by the sea would catch fish and seafood. Why would you incorporate the middle-person in the diet, so to speak, when you can go straight to the source an eat it. What do I mean by this? Land animals generally eat plant-based diets including fruit, vegetables and grains, which are the stable of all nutritious diets. So why do we need to eat red meat, when it is just the by-product of the plant based foods we need anyway? What diet should you eat?


“You are only doing long-term damage if you are running on the edge and stress is building and you are not taking care of yourself. ” Discussing stress and recovery with Jonathan Rake, on the active CEO Podcast.

“When you are travelling and out of your normal environment you don’t get into your level 3 and 4 deep sleep where you are doing the body repair than helps us function. You need to be alert and aware in your environment.” Travel and sleep dysfunction with Jonathan Rake on the active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Jonathan Rake LinkedIn
Jonathan Rake Facebook
Jonathan Rake Email
Jonathan Rake World Economic Forum
World Economic Forum
Swiss Re
Craig Johns
Craig Johns LinkedIn

Recommended Reading

4 Day Week – Andrew Barnes Order Now

How Exercise Enhances A Leaders Performance Read Article
Fuel Your Body For Leadership Performance Read Article
Four Basic Fundamentals Of Being A High Performing Leader Read Article
How To Be A High Performing Leader In 2020 Read Article
active CEO Lessons In 2019 Read Article
Four Ways To Overcome CEO Loneliness In 2020 Read Article

Recent active CEO Podcast Episodes

#79 – Free Your Mind Link
#78 – Hillary Poole Leading Healthy Sustainable Systems Link
#77 – Tips To Fuel Your Leadership Performance Link
#76 – Paul Veric (BTE Consulting) The Peaceful Warrior CEO Link
#75 – How Exercise Enhances Leadership Performance Link
#74 – Lucy Bennett Baggs (Just Challenge) Just Challenge Global Impact Link
#73 – Four Basic Fundamentals Of Being A High Performing Leader Link
#72 – Azran Osman Rani (Naluri) – Power Of The Human Mind Link
#71 – How To Be A High Performing Leader In 2020 Link
#70 – Miles Stewart (Triathlon Australia) A Lifetime Chasing Results Link 
#69 – Deepthi Bopaiah (GoSports Foundation) – India’s Next Olympic Gold Link

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active CEO Podcast How Exercise Enhances Leadership Performance

active CEO Podcast #75 How Exercise Enhances Leadership Performance

active CEO Podcast How Exercise Enhances Leadership Performance
Craig Johns – CEO NRG2Perform, Speaker, active CEO Podcast Host

On this episode of the active CEO Podcast we talk about How Exercise Enhances Leadership Performance, on episode #3 of Breaking The CEO Code. It is a short podcast episode where host Craig Johns decodes a new aspect of being a high performing leader each week.

Craig talks about the positive impacts regular exercise has on a CEO or leader’s performance, including:

  1. Release of happy hormones (Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin & Endorphin), which reduce stress.
  2. Powerful influence on brain function, mental clarity, memory, learning and critical thinking.
  3. Positive emotional effects on self-esteem, confidence, motivation and mood.
  4. Creative juices that inspire new ideas, problem solving and interpreting perspectives.
  5. Development of discipline, focus, energy, stamina and resilience.
  6. Cascading effects of exercising on your entire workplace wellbeing.
  7. Health benefits that minimise the risk of heart disease, mental health illnesses and cancer.

He also provides valuable ideas to help up your type, location, intensity, frequency, training partners and duration of your exercise ensuring you stay focused longer, decrease potential boredom and repeating exercise on a regular basis. It’s time for you to learn how exercise enhances leadership performance in your life.

Check out the newly Breaking The CEO Code whitepaper. It provides an overview of Breaking The CEO Code and showcases the 6 key phases. We also go a little deeper into the 2nd phase PERFORMANCE, where we discuss the 3 P’s of Leadership Performance.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Subscribe to active CEO Podcast on Itunes
Craig Johns Keynote Speaker
active CEO Coaching
active CEO Podcast
Corporate Programs
Sport Performance
Craig Johns
Craig Johns LinkedIn

Recent active CEO Podcast Episodes

#74 – Lucy Bennett Baggs (Just Challenge) Just Challenge Global Impact Link
#73 – Four Basic Fundamentals Of Being A High Performing Leader Link
#72 – Azran Osman Rani (Naluri) – Power Of The Human Mind Link
#71 – How To Be A High Performing Leader In 2020 Link
#70 – Miles Stewart (Triathlon Australia) A Lifetime Chasing Results Link 
#69 – Deepthi Bopaiah (GoSports Foundation) – India’s Next Olympic Gold Link
#68 – Abraham Kamarck (True Made Foods) – Leadership Lessons From The Sky Link
#67 – Liz Volpe (Ambisie) – Dare to Dream Link
#66 – Bill Coletti (Kith) – Reputational Resilience & Transformation Link
#65 – Todd Greenberg (NRL) More Than A Game Link
#64 – Gabrielle Dow (Green Bay Packers) Green Bay Packers Experience Link

4 Ways To Overcome CEO Loneliness

4 Ways To Overcome CEO Loneliness In 2020

Photo Credit – Jack Hunter (Unsplash)

CEO loneliness is a real problem affecting our society. Have you ever felt lonely, isolated and there is no one you can speak to, as a leader? Well, you are not alone!

Harvard Business Review reported that 61% of CEO’s feel that loneliness hinders their job performance. The higher you move up the ladder the greater the responsibility, pressure to deliver results, expectation to remain calm and the level of confidentiality, increases. Has CEO loneliness invaded your life?

CEO’s may find it difficult to speak about their biggest challenges, complex problems or strongest fears with their boards, senior executives or colleagues. They also struggle to confide in their friends outside of the organization as they feel they don’t have the depth and breadth of understanding the challenges that they face. There is also the risk of sharing information and doubts as it could catalyse rumours. 

The lack of privacy that has occurred, as a result of technology, has opened the door to greater public and media scrutiny, and therefore a grey area of what is and isn’t private and public life. To compound this, there are also developing expectations that CEO’s should increase their transparency, vulnerability and openness to become a better leader.

 “With great power comes great responsibility”. SPIDERMAN

As a result, CEO’s quite often experience social isolation as the number of people they can confide in shrinks. Sometimes the number of people CEO’s confide in reduces to a level where they don’t feel comfortable speaking with anyone about the important topics, things that keep them up at night and the tough decisions that need to be made. This occurs because they find it difficult to make it relatable to people who are not experiencing the same challenges and also the risk of confidentiality being breached.

When pressure comes on and issues arise, many CEO’s will try and fix them without reaching out for help, both internally and externally. Poor decisions and escalated problems can occur, and it is at these times when you need to depend on people you have built trust and relationships over a number of years.

According to a study completed by the University of Chicago, social isolation affects human behavior and how the brain operates. fMRI scans showed there is a decrease in the activity of the parts of the brain associated with rewards and a seeing things from other peoples perspectives in lonely people versus non-lonely people. The research suggested that loneliness might be accentuated as lonely individuals may seek to “find relative comfort in nonsocial rewards”. (Cacioppo et al. 2009)

In the PNAS Journal in 2015, research by Cole et al, identified how flight-or-fight responses triggered by perceived social isolation (PSI) and loneliness can lead to illness and premature death. PSI and loneliness can adversely affect sleep patterns, stress hormones, inflammation in the body, production of white blood cells, and executive function, learning and memory (Bergland, 2015).

As a CEO, it is critical that you learn how to overcome the feelings of loneliness to improve your health, home-life and work productivity. It is important to proactively build and develop emotional connections with a broad range of people, as it leads to increased collective positive emotions and well being.

The important question is – Who can you speak with when the going gets tough and the challenges become overwhelming?

Here are 4 Ways To Overcome CEO Loneliness:

1. Build a Team of Mentors

These are the people whom you can consult with when faced with challenges and problems where the answer may not be clear. They are people who are curious, like to ask questions, be prepared to listen and at times make you feel uncomfortable by challenging you to consider other approaches. It is valuable to have a diverse range of mentors, who aren’t just like you. You want people who you trust their advice and opinions, but most importantly will provide the hard truths and perspectives from a different angle. Personally I ensure that my mentors come from different industries, cultures and age ranges. Having a mentor who is younger than you is just as powerful as having someone older with lots of wisdom. Who are the 4 to 8 people you need in your life that give you the confidence, clarity and perspective you need.

2. Create Work-Life Integration

Successful people are congruent with their values and character whether they are at home or in the workspace. Work is part of life, so the theory of work-life balance may not be the best approach. Work-Life Integration is all about understanding that work is part of life and we need to effectively manage the boundaries between when we are working and we are doing other components of our life. Your body and mind needs the space to recharge, rejuvenate and reimagine. Having space in your life for relationships, exercise, freeing your mind and other passions is important in providing opportunities for an outlet, growth, success and diversifying your perspective. It also can provide motivation and inspiration not only to yourself, but other people when you have a passion or two outside the workplace. The relationships; whether family, social or work-related, in your life are important. If you have a partner and/or children then it maybe useful to leave the office before dark and create a cue to ensure you are present when spending valuable time with them. What changes will you make in 2020 to ensure that you have an outlet and focus outside of work?

3. Join a Support Group

Having a support group or mastermind is different to a team of mentors who you are likely to consult and confide in individually. Support groups meet on a regular basis, whether that is weekly, monthly, quarterly or even yearly. It’s a group that is likely to be diverse in nature and provides the psychological safety to discuss, brainstorm and challenge solutions to problems, ideas or challenges that people in the group face. These groups provide a sense of belonging; an honest feedback mechanism where they act as a nurturer, mirror or provider of truth; and can also function as celebrator, motivator and inspirer. They enable you to find clarity and most importantly perspective. An extra bonus is that support groups allow you to form connections that help alleviate stress, anxiety and improve mental health. What mastermind or support group will help you go to the next level in 2020?

4. Embrace the Inclusivity of Courage and Vulnerability

In the past vulnerability maybe seen as a weakness, when in fact it is actually a strength. We grow through adversity, changing our environment and challenging the status quo. Courage and vulnerability are inclusive. Without vulnerability we cannot be courageous and without courage we cannot find the strength to speak up and be vulnerable. As a CEO it is ok to say you don’t have an answer, that you were wrong, are feeling a lack in confidence and that other peoples answers are better. Having vulnerable discussions helps to build psychological safety within your team or between stakeholders. Vulnerability cultivates trust and respect from others, while creating the space for others to speak up about problems, issues or feelings they have. It fosters discussion about key problems and allows people with different perspectives to provide solutions that may not have surfaced before. As a CEO you need to lead by example by taking the first step to showcasing that vulnerability is positive and a key pillar to growth in your organization and life. How will you let your guard down, put your ego to the side and create a space for vulnerability and courage to flourish in your work environment?

It is important to remember that we do not succeed on our own. There is no instant solution or cure to CEO loneliness, and it requires patience and time to create a strong support network and environment. It is important to that as an influential leader that you identify and build strong team of mentors and support group for valuable guidance when there is uncertainty, difficulty confronts us and we need to celebrate successes in life. Take the time to reflect and then recognize how the 4 Ways To Overcome CEO Loneliness can you help you rise up and become a better leader in 2020.   


  1. Cacioppo et al. (2009) What Are the Brain Mechanisms on Which Psychological Processes Are Based? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2009; 4 (1): 10 Link
  2. Bergland, C. (2015) Loneliness: Perceived Social Isolation Is Public Enemy No. 1 Psychology Today, 23rd November 2015. Link
  3. Comerford, C. (2018) Loneliness: The Executive Challenge No One Talks About. Forbes, 7th July 2018. Link

active CEO Podcast #51 Chris Robb Money Can’t Buy Experiences

Chris Robb Mass Participation World Money Cant Buy Experiences
Chris Robb – Founder Mass Participation World

On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Chris Robb about mass participation sport events, growing the Standard Chartered Marathon to over 60,00 participants, being the course manager for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games marathon, and changing people’s lives through money can’t buy experiences. We also delve into the immense power of pause, coping with it being lonely at the top as a CEO, collaborative leadership, inspiring others to make a powerful impact on the world and serving a tennis ball into the back of Sir Richard Branson’s head.

Chris Robb – Money Can’t Buy Experiences.

Chris is an international authority on iconic large-scale mass participation events; a humble, loyal and curious leader; and a passionate family man now living in Bali, Indonesia. He is an enabler of people to have an active and healthy lifestyle, author of Mass Participation Sports Events and Better business Better Life Better World, is a high impact consultant and a champion of Buy 1 Give 1.

Growing up in Zimbabwe, he studied a Bachelor Commerce and Bachelor of Agricultural Management at the University of KwaZulu-Nattal. Getting his first taste of event management while at high school, our guest has over 30 years experience organising and leading events. During his career he has been at the helm of events for more than one million participants in the likes of Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Zimbabwe, South Africa and India.

He established Spectrum Worldwide in Australia in 1992, where he worked on the 2000 Sydney Olympics, before establishing himself in Singapore at the commencement of the Asian health and fitness boom in the 2000’s. In 2015 he established Mass Participation Asia, an annual conference for event stakeholders, before selling Spectrum Worldwide to IRONMAN, in 2016.

Chris talks about:

  • Life growing up on a farm in Zimbabwe, during the independence war.
  • Having a rich upbringing from life experiences, even though they were financially poor.
  • The importance of embracing circumstances you find yourself in.
  • Being an 800m and 1500m runner training on farm tracks and dirt roads.
  • Planning to go back and run the family business on the farm.
  • Being involved in organising the Comrades Marathon while studying at University.
  • Changing people’s lives through money can’t buy experiences.
  • Getting parents out and getting active with their kids.
  • Getting more governments globally to recognise the value of sport especially the social and health impact.
  • Organising the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon with over 60,000 participants.
  • Expanding the JP Morgan corporate challenge running events into Asia.
  • Partnering with Dave Hansen from Supersprint Events and Robbie McEwan.
  • Going from zero to sixty thousand customers within 6 months.
  • Ramping up from a team of 30 to more than 5,000 people over a 3 month period.
  • A mindset expecting that there is going to be a curveball will be thrown at you.
  • Collaborative leadership where you are always looking for a solution.
  • Surround yourself with a great group of mentors much like an athlete has.
  • Having ritual’s and keeping yourself mentally and physically in shape.
  • Helping make it easier for our future leaders to grow in the industry.

Active CEO Wellness Tip

Life Is Not A Dress Rehearsal – It is important that you turn up, show up and be present right now. It’s not about what you did yesterday or what you plan in the future. It is all about this one second, one minute, one hour or even one day and you are ready to go.


“Connecting with a community and a tribe and doing training and things together and taking you into the outdoors. It’s crucial for the health and wellbeing of the world.” Chris Robb talking about the power of sport and events on bringing people together, on the active CEO Podcast.

“I love putting that jigsaw together and making sure that everyone knows what they are doing, but also empowering them to make decisions.” Chris Robb on leading people, on the active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Chris Robb LinkedIn
Chris Robb Facebook
Chris Robb Website
Chris Robb Email
Mass Participation World
Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon
Craig Johns
Craig Johns LinkedIn

Recommended Reading:

Mass Participation Sports Events Chris Robb
Better Business Better Life Better World Chris Robb

active CEO Podcast Sasa Sestic (The Coffee Man ONA Coffee) – A World Beyond Coffee

active CEO Podcast #47 Sasa Sestic A World Beyond Coffee

A World Beyond Coffee
Sasa Sestic ONA Coffee
World Barista Champion
Project Origin
2000 Sydney Olympics
Sasa Sestic – Founder & Director ONA Coffee

On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Sasa Sestic about escaping three wars, transitioning from 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Handball player to entrepreneur, creating ONA Coffee, the powerful impact of Project Origin, winning the 2015 Barista World Championships and a world beyond coffee. We take a deep dive into building a team of innovators, creating a competitive environment, chasing excellence, collaborating with winemaker Tim Kirk from Clonakilla, The Coffee Man movie and book, and the realization that coffee was much more than a social drink.

Sasa Sestic – Podcast Interview Brief

Sasa Sestic is a World Barista Champion, Olympian, philanthropist and remarkable entrepreneur, who immigrated to Australia in 1997, from humble beginnings in war-torn Bosnia. He is considered inspiring, authentically raw and a fun entrepreneur to work with, who authored the award-winning book The Coffee Man. His outstanding sporting ability allowed him to represent Australia in European Handball at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

While working in a Canberra bakery he found his true passion and an obsession for not only perfecting the ultimate cup of coffee, but also finding and roasting the world’s best coffee beans. He has a heart of gold and his devotion to donate thousands of dollars to the farmers who produce the coffee beans in places like India, Honduras and Nicaragua. His love of coffee has led to two Australian and the 2015 World Barista Championships, as well as owning a range of café’s including The Cupping room, ONA Coffee House, ONA Manuka and High Road.

Sasa talks about:

  • His dad surviving -15 degree nights to put food on the table.
  • Playing European Handball for Australian at the Sydney Olympics
  • Transitioning from athlete in 2013 to Barista entrepreneur.
  • Working in 3rd world countries to help them develop great coffee, grow there amazing coffees and see that we are doing something good for these communities.
  • The DNA of ONA Coffee which is community driven and family owned
  • A lot of failures; every time we failed it help bring us closer together.
  • People who love coffee, obsess with coffee and want to innovate.
  • Developing innovative coffee processes that are used globally.
  • Collaborating with winemakers Tim Kirk from Clonakilla.
  • O.C.D – ONA Coffee Distribution Tool
  • His first trip to India in 2011 changed the way he approached coffee.
  • Going deep into the Amazon Forest to search for the coffee bean DNA.
  • The story behind The Coffee Man movie.
  • Introducing consuming countries with the farming countries.
  • The future expansion of ONA Coffee.
  • Flying to Switzerland to understand the science of coffee.
  • Wanting to change the way coffees are sold.

Active CEO Wellness Tip

Talent Is Not Enough – Discipline, hard work and really putting that time into achieving your goals. Talent will only take you so far. What is the plan you are putting into place and implementing to ensure you achieve that performance that you desire?


“Very competitive environment, very high paced, all high achievers, we all love competition and the competition gets the best out of us.” Sasa Sestic explains the ONA Coffee environment, on the active CEO Podcast.

“One of the issues we have is that when we reach these high goals, we don’t spend enough time celebrating. We just set another higher goal. Trying to be the best we can be. We want to compete with ourselves.” Wanting to spend more time celebrating with Sasa Sestic, on the active CEO Podcast.

“2007 is when I realised that coffee can be so much more than a social drink. So much more than something that tastes reasonably nice. A lot deeper purpose to being able to serve a great cup of coffee. We can make the world a little bit better.” Sasa Sestic’s approach to a world beyond coffee, on the active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Sasa Sestic
Sasa Sestic Instagram
ONA Coffee
ONA Coffee Instagram
Project Origin
Craig Johns
Craig Johns LinkedIn

Recommended Reading:

The Coffee Man Book
The Coffee Man Film

Workplace Wellness: World Health Organization Recognizes Burn-out

Workplace Wellness: World Health Organization Recognizes Burnout
Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

This week the World Health Organization (WHO) made positive steps in improving workplace wellness by formally recognizing ‘Burn-out’ as an official occupational phenomenon. The WHO classified burn-out as ‘a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’, under the International Classification of Diseases, and it will be globally-recognized as of 2020.

Feel like work is zapping all your energy and taking the fun out of life?

Do you feel burnt out, run down, emotionally paralyzed or lack the energy to do what you want to in life?

We live in a world that has a workplace culture that tends itself towards high levels of stress, working over-time, depression, detachment and feeling ineffective.

Will Workplace Wellness be the Next Royal Commission?

Will this mean that Workplace Wellness could be the next Royal Commission or Presidential Commission? It can’t be too far away as the effects, quite often catastrophic, that are associated with unsuccessfully managed workplace stress have a major ramifications for sick leave expenses, physical and mental health, personal and professional relationships, loss of productivity, workplace culture and employee retention.

It’s Affecting Those Close to Us!

I don’t know about you, but I am feed up with seeing family, friends and many people all around the world suffering from workplace related depression, mental health and even suicide due to the workplace cultures that cause unnecessary stress and burn-out.

CEO’s, leaders, owners and board directors are going to have to start taking workplace wellness seriously. It wouldn’t surprise me if we start seeing class actions in the near future.

There are a number of companies and organizations that do have positive and effective workplace wellness cultures in place and we must applaud them for being proactive in a space that has a major effect on society and our local communities. They should be used as examples of best practice and rewarded accordingly.

What is Burn-out?

We know that those who are most vulnerable to burn-out regularly navigate complex, contradictory and sometimes hostile environments. The main risk factors of burn-out in the workplace consist of:

  • doing work that is unrewarding,
  • limited control on the work that you do,
  • an overwhelming workload due to time and/or pressure exerted,
  • work that conflicts with our personal values,
  • unfair work practices, and
  • lack of community.

Workplace related symptoms include:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • increased mental distance from one’s job;
  • feelings of negativity or cynicism related to one’s job; and
  • reduced professional efficacy.

We Are Here to Help You

It is now time for you as a CEO or leader to make a positive change place workplace wellness at the heart of your company or organisation.

The team at NRG2Perform are here to support and guide you in implementing a positive workplace culture.

We have developed the Breaking The CEO Code and Breaking The CORPORATE Code. We provide CEO’s and leaders, as well as corporate teams or companies the curriculum and tools to minimise workplace stress, improve mental health and maximise your performance potential.

Programs include the four key fundamentals of Peak Human Performance:

  • ENERGY (fitness) – healthy body, healthy mind
  • FUEL (nutrition) – a Formula 1 car won’t perform on diesel fuel
  • EMOTION (mindset) – you are infectious both positive & negative
  • RECOVERY (recharge) – if you don’t switch the light off it will blow

And, the 3P’s of building sustainable energy for high performing leaders:

  • CEO/CORPORATE Periodization – scheduling your energy & recovery over time
  • CEO/CORPORATE Presence – communicating with purpose, precision & energy
  • CEO/CORPORATE Performance – bringing the energy, showing up & turning up

There is no Time to Wait

Make a decision and act now by contacting Craig Johns at NRG2Perform today, to discuss a specifically tailored Breaking The CEO Code or Breaking the CORPORATE Code program, by calling +61 415 675 939 or emailing