Archive for July, 2016

Running on empty? How to avoid burn out.

Posted on: July 20th, 2016 by Rob Opie No Comments



I count myself pretty lucky to be able to follow my great passion in life – which is:

to explore human greatness.



My performance coaching role affords me the opportunity and privilege to meet and work with some of South Africa’s great business leaders – and great sporting champions.

They are all high flyers – with high level game plans – and they all have a burning desire to reach the next level of performance, growth and contribution.

They go on. From good to great to greater – and some on to genius.

What’s more, they are making huge contributions to the creation of the South Africa in which we all want to live– where people are empowered, capable and resourceful.

But, the one thing which they all commonly report , is at times in their glittering business or sporting careers, going close to what is called :


In sport it’s simply called “ Loss of Form” or “Out of Form “

This happens when high level game plans begin to cram up with complexity. They grapple with one of the key ingredients of human great.

And that key ingredient is?

billgates_warrenbuffettAt a dinner hosted by William H Gates , father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, for a number of hand-picked business people, he asked those present to write down on a piece of paper the single word that they deemed of utmost importance to their continued success in business.


Two guests, namely Bill and Warren Buffett wrote down the same word:


The most important thing I have learnt in life is to focus my energy on what is important in life– Bill Gates

stevejobs1Steve Jobs added another angle:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.


And probably the best advice goes way back many moons:

Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistification – Leonardo da Vinci

Human Great is achieving Sustained Success and Significance in life. (S.S.S )

It’s certainly no one-day game.

And to keep going , one needs to closely guard :


The easiest, most efficient and most effective way to do just that – is to take heed from one of the greatest investors:

My advice. Invest in yourself – Warren Buffett

Investing in oneself means optimally aligning the three  P’s of Personal Branding: namely :

 Purpose, Priorities and Performance.


HUMAN GREATNESS IS AN ICEBERG-01The great champions of both business and sport invest in their personal brands – as the three all important P’s serve as one’s compass in good times – and one’s scaffolding in challenging times

The great champions set up right .

They open up wide the road to ”Human Greatness”.

They block the road to ” Burn Out” .

They focus on what is truly important in their lives .

Focus innoculates . It’s the anti -dote. And it helps them to make life look easy.

They live in a world of Authenticity, Simplicity and Synchronicity.(A.S.S)

In a talk I recently gave  , someone quick in the audience,  asked

Are you asking us to make an A.S.S. of ourselves ?

Yes, keep it focused .

In sport, it’s called :  “In Form. Sublime Form, Class Act .”

In the words of Richard Branson :

Branding is Everything

Indeed it is .

ROBO COP 3For more Insight, Innovation and Inspiration and how to use THE GAME PLAN METHOD to avoid “Burn Out ”  please do get in touch at:


Rob Opie is a Brand Strategist, Speaker, Author and Performance Coach to Business executives, Corporate teams, Sports teams and Individuals.

Cover-212x300Rob’s latest book: The Game Changers: Good to Great to Greater is available FREE to readers as an instant digital download on his site :

Beware “E” Power. It magnetizes performance in sport. And in life

Posted on: July 19th, 2016 by Rob Opie No Comments

Watching Henrik Stenson make it look all so easy at Royal Troon, it’s hard to believe how his career has seen such incredible highs and lows.


Once known as “The Comeback Man” after twice falling out of the top 200 ranked golfers in the world, Stenson has seen it all. Many moons back when his ranking had dropped to a lowly 631st, his coach Peter Cowan had commented:


He was driving it so badly he could not hit the world – let alone a fairway “

But, all that was a distant memory when he arrived at Royal Troon, fresh from a win at the BMW International, which had broken the shackles of playing runner up to Jordan Spieth so many times in 2015.

Stenson was brimming with Faith, Confidence and Belief – the champion’s cocktail.

It’s as if he had “a few extra clubs in his bag”.

After his record-setting performance, with the gleaming Claret Jug at his side he quietly revealed:

If I didn’t believe .I wouldn’t be sitting here

Stenson hinted that he had a premonition of his fate at Royal Troon. He didn’t just think he could win. He thought he would win.

He explained:

I felt like this was going to be my turn, it’s not something you want to run around and shout, but I felt like this was going to be my turn. I knew I was going to have to battle back if it wasn’t, but I think that was the extra self-belief that made me go all the way this week.

Nick Faldo paid the following tribute :

That was links perfection. I’ve never seen anything like that. It was incredible.

Henrik Stenson had something else in his bag . Another potent cocktail called “E- Power “- Emotional Power, which when unlocked and unleashed can produce awe- inspiring results.

It comes from finding deeper meaning and purpose.

For Henrik Stenson, it was the death of close mentor and friend on the eve of The British  Open, which magnified his purpose, and magnetized his performance

I feel like he has been with me all week – Mike, this one is for you, said an emotional Stenson as he raised the claret jug one more time and kissed it.

It is strange how personal tragedies can actually free up the mind, and allowed Stenson to find a new plane, a serene plateau.



That’s the best I’ve ever played and not won – Phil Mickelson



For Phil Michelson it was a case of you prepare and prepare, you play brilliantly, but one day some guy has simply just got your number.

That guy was Henrik Stenson.

It was his time, but to understand his story, though, is to know that it never came easy.






Rob Opie is a Brand Strategist, Speaker, Author and Performance Coach to Business executives, Corporate teams, Sports teams and Individuals.

In the words of ‘The Greatest ’

Posted on: July 8th, 2016 by Rob Opie No Comments


At the halfway point of 2016 the world has already lost an inordinate amount of great performers, artists,public figures and sporting celebrities. Towering over all of them was the figure of Muhammad Ali- a colossus of humankind who passed away on June 3rd at the age of 74.


Great is not something one is given in life. Great is something one must take in life.

Muhammad Ali’s story , like so many great athletes, is one of using his innate and gifted physical talents to both shield himself from hurt and deliver himself from a life of adversity , poverty , struggle and  injustice.

In so doing Muhammad Ali went on to become arguably :

The Greatest of all time

Pain and fear were the twin evils that shaped his character while growing up in a deeply segregated Southern American town of Louisville, Kentucky.

Pain and fear drove him to become one of the most recognizable and celebrated people in the world, and it was a worldwide recognition which transcended the sports world.


He achieved what it is to be great :

Sustained Success and Significance

He was a three time heavyweight champion of the world ( itself an astounding feat of multiple come-backs over many years ), he championed civil rights, he questioned and denounced the purpose of war, and he championed the fundamental human right of freedom of religion. In all of this Ali was the embodiment of a better America – a better world.

His legend was built on performances such as 1974’s “Rumble in the Jungle’, as this hot October night was billed by promoter extraordinaire Don King.

1465035477_rumble-in-the-jungleMuhammad Ali arrived in Kinshasa, as a boxing legend.

With age stacked heavily against him, Ali had clearly lost speed and reflexes since his twenties, and almost no one gave him a chance against a man who was considered one of the hardest punchers in boxing history: George Foreman

But, Ali was not adverse to risk. He did not see what other people believed.

He was wildly popular in Zaire, with crowds chanting “Ali, Bomaye” (“Ali, kill him”) wherever he went.

The provocative and outlandish trash-talk of his younger years in the sixties had earned him the nick name , ‘The Louisville Lip ‘ , but when “The Rumble ” came around he had elevated that ability to the next level of  high wit , deep wisdom and  soulful poetry .

If you think the world was surprised when Nixon resigned, wait ’til I whup Foreman’s behind! I’ve done something new for this fight. I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick;I’m so mean I make medicine sick.

Born into adversity, Ali was to become so much more than just a boxer.

He instilled hope and pride in generations of Americans, and there are many life lessons one can take from the great man – both from inside and outside the ring.

Here are just five of those lessons on leadership – and life:


If Ali was the greatest thing in the ring, it has to be said that he was near genius out of the ring when it came to personal branding – which comprises the 3 P’s  namely : Purpose, Priority and Performance

Every living being was born to accomplish a certain purpose. It is the knowledge of that purpose that enables every soul to fulfil it.’

Where one’s passion meets the universe’s need,that is where one finds one’s purpose.

Ali lived life on purpose. And with purpose, everything becomes possible.

He was an Entertainer. He was an Educator. He was an Enricher.

Proud , inspirational ,confident , charismatic ,contrarian and principled –  Ali was very clear on his priorities in life – as well as his purpose-  and purpose and priorities always become the key ingredient of one’s performance .

When you saw me in the boxing ring fighting, it wasn’t just so I could beat my opponent. My fighting had a purpose. I had to be successful in order to get people to listen to the things I had to say.

Ali knew he would not lose.

He had very high levels of a champion’s cocktail known as FCB: Faith, Confidence and Belief.

That cocktail is served up on the tray called self -branding.

Champions are not made in gyms. Champions are made from something deep inside them– a desire, a dream, and a vision.’


Ali was no stranger to adversity. He understood adversity.

He not only fought sporting opponents, but he fought the oppressive systems of the US government. For four years during the prime of his boxing career he was banned from fighting in the United States.

Such loss of one’s best years would be tough for anyone to take , but a measure of true human greatness is how one reacts to the worst of times, as well as the best of times.

Ali knew how to bounce back from adverse times. And how to turn adversity to advantage.

Thomas Carlyle summed it up best when he wrote that adversity is the diamond dust that heaven polishes its jewels with.


Leverage comes in many different forms and sizes.

Ali’s choice of leverage was the power of affirmation. It was an integral part of his armoury.

SONNYAfter just 15 professional fights he found himself up against the much feared Sonny Liston – and no one had any hope for him.

Ali’s response? He simply called Liston a big ugly bear.

He’s too ugly to be world champion. The world champion should be pretty like me



Great Champions apply leverage to create and build a position of strength.

Affirmation was Ali’s way of doing it.

He believed that repetition of affirmations leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen

Mind you, some said his lips were often faster than his gloves.

I’m the greatest, I said that before I knew I was


It’s never easy taking a balance when one’s job is to be the greatest, but the great champions who do manage it – go on to live long fulfilled lives of happiness and health.

Great examples are Nelson Mandela and Warren Buffett.

Sadly Ali was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984 at an early age of just 42.

Ali was suddenly in the biggest fight of his life.

Did Ali’s boxing career cause Parkinson’s, was the question on everyone’s lips?

Medical experts are divided on this one, so no one can say for sure. However if  you ask meta – physicians on what triggers Parkinson’s, they will tell you that it is a human emotion dis-ease – an imbalance created when one has an obsessive desire to control everything and everyone.

In Ali’s case it must have been near impossible to achieve what he did, without this obsessive desire to control.

Control was Ali’s way of dealing with pain and fear, to which he was exposed to, very early in life

But, every great sporting champion has to eventually grapple with the reality that one’s ability to control wanes the day that one hangs up the gloves – or boots.

Life teaches us that to be great comes with the very high risk of falling into the human trap of imbalance.

Only now are we beginning to learn how unbalanced human emotions can play havoc with one’s life and health.

Boxing created a superstar, but pain was the price he paid.



Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

Ali-charityMuhammad Ali changed the world in the ring , but perhaps more significantly he changed the world out of the ring. He made it a better place for all.

He made a difference and, at the final bell, that is all that really matters .

When asked,what would you like for people to say about you when you are gone? Ali responded:




I’d like for them to say he took a few cups of love, he took one tablespoon of patience, one teaspoon of generosity, one pint of kindness, he took one quart of laughter, one pinch of concern, then he mixed willingness with happiness, he added lots of faith and he stirred it up well, then he spread it over a span of a lifetime and he served it to each and every deserving person he met

Ali was true legend, who inspired and gave hope to millions around the globe.

A legend who had an unique human ability to mix authority –  with humour and humility.

I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven’t lived in vain.

Ali wrote his own story. He created history.

And he transformed the world.





Rob Opie is a Brand Strategist, Inspirational Speaker, Author and Performance Coach to Business executives, Corporate teams, Organizational teams. Sports teams and Individuals. For more Insights, Innovation and Inspiration please visit:


His new eBook: The Game Changers: Good to Great to Greater is available free to all readers on his home page.


Rob Opie can be contacted at


Posted on: July 6th, 2016 by Rob Opie No Comments

At age 34, fourteen years after his first test , the 2015 Rugby World Cup proved to be a great swansong for Richie McCaw,  the most capped All Black in history, the most capped player in history, and probably the greatest rugby player the game has ever seen.

On his last playing visit to Durban, I took some time out to ask him what has taken him to the very top of world rugby – and kept him there for so long.


At 18, his uncle and mentor John Bigsy McLay asked him what he wanted to be in life. His answer:

An All Black !

His uncle retorted:

Richie, you do not just want to be an All Black, YOU want to be a Great All Black. Write it down, sign it, and put it up somewhere – John Bigsy McLay

Richie could not bring himself to write it down in full – as he had not yet made the national age group team – so he wrote it down on a McDonald’s napkin as:


 Great All Black . And signed it.

Back home, Richie pinned the napkin up high on his cupboard – where no one else could see it. It was his signed stairway to heaven – committed at eighteen with ‘Head and Heart’.

Using the prefix ‘Great’ before whatever it is you want to achieve in life, does something special.

It sets the stretch. It sets the commitment. It sets the tone for the way things will get done.

And it creates a high performance culture of great.

Importantly,  it also means that it puts ‘winning against the odds’ before ‘winning at all cost’.

Human Greatness is far more than fleeting success.

It’s longevity.

And it’s best captured by three powerful S’s which define Human Great:

Sustained, Success and Significance

Richie McCaw – with 16 years at the top of world rugby– an ordinary guy doing extra-ordinary things – a shining example of stepping inside of great.

The thing that has made him a great player is his ability to want to get better – his game has evolved over time, hence why he is probably, if not the greatest we have had –  All Black Coach Steven Hansen

In sport and in life – the Great Champions do more. They make next happen.

The body will do what the mind says – Richie McCaw


40027-61968 Cell C Logos.inddFor Team Cell C who are perfectly positioned as the People’s Champions of South Africa, it would be beneficial to apply the prefix:




Brands and Teams with purpose are something special to see.

They are the real game- changers .They go the extra mile . They reach the next level.

And they know that those who believe in shared prosperity, and have a strong social purpose, become even greater.

Business becomes a force for good.

Well done Team Cell C.


Key Insight

Using the prefix ‘GREAT’ commits one to a culture of great.

ROBO COP 3Rob Opie is a Brand Strategist, Inspirational Speaker, Author and Performance Coach to Business Executives, Corporate teams, Organizational teams, Sports teams and Individuals.