Jamie Fitzgerald

Today I am at Teaching for Intelligent Mindsets where we will hear from Carol Dweck, Guy Claxton and Jamie Fitzgerald. I will try to post blogs about each session so my next few posts will be far more bullet points rather than a flowing post of any sort (if any of my rambles ever achieve a flow!?).

This is my post on Jamie Fitzgerald‘s talk. For those who haven’t heard of Jamie you should check out his website, he has won the Cross Atlantic Rowing Race, was first to walk unaided across Antarctica and helped organise the volunteers for the Rugby World Cup. First impressions are that this awesome Kiwi adventurer is a great story teller – why have I not heard of him before!?

His Growth Mindset based on a set of questions:

What could be possible?

Great story about how he got involved in Atlantic Rowing Race just 3 weeks before as a fill in for an injured person and then went on to join the winning crew. The creative prep they took for crossing Antarctica and the importance of shared values for any group – plus the role this played in organising the Rugby World Cup volunteers.

How will we get there?

If you don’t know what you stand for you will fall for anything. Training for Cross Antarctica in Wellington by walking for 10 hours towing 4 car tyres. Building their relationship and ideas on daily routine through the preparation phase. Not leaving training camp until the wonderful day occurs for 7 days in a row – holding yourself to account.

RASCI model for accountability

How will we work together?

Every evening shared a story with each other about a story of success. Someone that had overcome struggles to succeed. Became a habit for them as they crossed the Atlantic. 30 minutes of story telling followed by them thinking what does this mean for us on the ice tomorrow? During the Big Walk across New Zealand where students joined him for stages, Jamie realised he had to change his approach so that the students chose to operate with certain mindsets rather than being told to work that way. In the Atlantic rowing race they set rules around keeping tone/vibe up. If you were annoyed you had to wait 3 shifts and if still annoyed then could raise the issue – and had to be in a foreign accent. A talk of this nature on Day 2 when the storm hit resulted in 42 hours of rowing against a storm when everyone else put sea anchors out. At the end of the storm they had gone nowhere but were now 30 miles ahead because everyone else had gone backwards.

Sometimes when you think you are making the least progress, you’re actually making the most.

How will we measure progress?

Let’s stop making the measurable things important, and start making the important things measurable. MacNamara?

When you have a great day at work, what has happened? Great discussion prompt. Number 1 thing from business research on this question was that people felt they had made progress. Progress does not have to be on something tangible – it can be in the mind, learnt something new.

What is a focus of the informal conversations is what gets done in the group/organisation.

What have I learnt?

When they walked to the South Pole (52 days) they arrived and were greeted by the Scientists that live there in Summer. One of the Scientists asked him how much weight he had lost. He weighed himself and found out that he lost 32 kilograms in those 52 days. This prompted him to think more deeply about what had occurred during the process. It was a powerful message to reflect deeply on the learnings throughout a process.


I wasn’t so sure how Jamie was going to stand up to being on the same day as Carol Dweck and Guy Claxton but man, he was great! I definitely recommend checking out his website http://www.inspiringperformance.co.nz/ as he was incredibly inspiring and an awesome story teller!


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