Whilst strictly not anything to do with business, accounting or finance, I really thought this story is one worth sharing.

Those of you who don’t know, in a former life I was fortunate enough to be afforded the privilege of travelling around the world refereeing test match and super rugby for a few years. It was a wonderful lifestyle, and an opportunity to meet some inspirational people. I find name-dropping somewhat uncouth, so I’ll avoid that, but I happened to bump into one of the unique personalities from that period a couple of weeks ago and I have been reflecting on it a fair bit since.

Tom Carter played inside centre for Sydney University during their golden era where they won a stack of NSW Rugby Shute Shield Premierships, and he played ten years for my beloved Waratahs.

Tom’s rugby resume is one most young rugby wannabes would happily take. Ten years of pro-rugby with a super rugby title to boot. Not bad for a young lad from Young in regional NSW.

What stands Tom aside for most is that he talked more on the field than any of his contemporaries, and generally most people he played against would say the talk wasn’t overly positive. To keep it simple, most of Tom’s opposition wanted to belt him because he wouldn’t shut up and did a solid job of getting under their skin. As a referee who was neutral but extremely close to the action, I always found Tom’s sledging to be mostly ridiculous, with many a funny element to it. I did catch myself laughing both at him and with him many times.

When you recognise that 90% of his opponents were trying to belt him, Tom’s resilience and ability to play week in week out under that pressure, in the most physical of backline positions is a genuine credit to his physical preparation. Couple that with the fact that (no disrespect TC!) Tom was nowhere near the most gifted rugby talent. His passing is far from renowned, and he was not blessed with lightning footspeed. Considering all that, Tom’s career is extremely impressive, and that’s before you speak to his clubmates. I never heard one of them speak poorly of him. In fact, Tim Davidson, long-time friend and captain of Tom’s, and one of the most respected of his generation speaks with great emotion that Tom’s work ethic and dedication to his club mates is beyond peer.

So why am I telling you this? If you can bear with me there are three key messages that I have been dwelling on since I bumped into Tom a couple of weeks back when he was playing for the Classic Wallabies in Orange.

Message one; you don’t need to be an outstanding talent to succeed at anything in life you choose. What you need is a channelled focus on the deliverables you can control. Tom’s physical preparation was so outstanding he dragged a team of perennial underperformers to the top of their field. His preparation is what drove his ability to be there week in and week out, and what we see as resilience is just a dedication to perfect preparation.

Message two; Tom never worried about what anyone around him thought of him, except his club mates. The stories of Tom’s behind the scenes work with his team mates and the juniors coming through is legendary. To the point he paid for physio for some of the younger clubmates and found them work when required. A true clubman.

Message three; and this only came to light when we caught up in Orange. When you achieve all your goals and move on from something that has been the very core of who you are, it is important to have something positive to move towards. Tom and I spoke briefly of the challenges faced exiting professional sport. After devoting your life to something for over a decade, to no longer have that as a part of your life, it is crucially important to have a focus moving forward. Tom has recently started running marathons, which I’m sure is motivational, and fits in with his post-rugby career as a fitness trainer ( He was saying that without a direction to move forward he had started to languish and form some bad habits, a scary spiral when you head that direction.

This third message is where I think it becomes relevant to business and finance. You can quickly become disillusioned and depressed after achieving some success, and it is extremely important to establish new targets. This can be true after achieving a sales target, after launching a new initiative, or most concerning upon retirement.

We at PBF like to talk with our awesome clients about what is motivating them to continue their positive journeys. We’d love to have a chat with you about your goals for business and life in general.


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