10 Minutes with international keynote speaker Jim Lawless

By Anita Jaynes on 25 November, 2018

Jim Lawless is one of the world’s leading keynote speakers. Over half a million people on five continents have been entertained and inspired by Jim’s presentations and many more by his best-selling book ‘Taming Tigers’.

Jim has advised companies globally on creating cultural change and elite teams, working with some of the biggest names including Apple, Barclaycard, Axa and BT. He delivers around a hundred keynote addresses around the world each year on transformation.

Uniquely, he also believes in testing his framework for delivering change on himself first. He won a £1 bet to transform, from overweight non-riding 36 year old consultant to televised jockey within 12 months of sitting on a horse using his Taming Tigers framework. He used it to become GB’s deepest freediver, the first to pass 100m, in eight months. Both achieved whilst working at his day job because, as he says, “change must happen whilst we are fulfilling our current commitments”.

Jim holds a Bachelor of Laws degree, qualified as a solicitor and practiced commercial law in the City of London and in a major IT company before founding Taming Tigers Limited.

Ahead of Jim’s visit to Bath in March 2019 to speak at the South West Business Growth Summit, we grabbed a coffee together to find out more about him and the conference.

How did you transition from city lawyer to Taming Tigers?

I came from a poor background where gaining a profession was the ultimate prize. I took the legal route but became unhappy and by my late twenties, I had to change.

I resigned, with great trepidation, and went to drama school for a year to grow up and shake things up. It was a huge risk and it paid off. When I left, I set up a company to teach stagecraft to senior people. It was my clients who recognised that what my company was doing was helping their people to think and act differently – and courageously – to transform themselves. They invited us to design some large change programmes. Working alongside companies like Accenture who were delivering the systems and proceeses, we delivered the “people” side. Over a couple of years, the business was organically transformed from what was then known as Optimise to Taming Tigers.

Why Taming Tigers?

Our response to the uncertainty and risk of trying new things to deliver a new result – with no guarantees of success – is visceral; it creates a large emotional and physiological change in us. The Tiger concept was invented to acknowledge that fact and to give the “enemy within” a name so that we can be more aware of it.

We do not teach the learnable skill of personal adaptation and change. Yet this will be the defining skill in this century. Our psychology and neurology were conditioned and built to thrive in the industrial age. We’re still preparing our children for the industrial age. We do not teach them about accepting and managing uncertainty, emotions, mental processes and risk. We teach them to “get it right for the boss”.

Taming Tigers is my best attempt at teaching this learnable skill. And we need it urgently in all areas of society.

What inspires and motivates you to get up in the morning?

My family and my death. It’s the most incredible world, with so many amazing things to see and explore and so many beautiful people to explore it with. We can forget that very easily by pretending there is no urgency to live – and then accepting “humdrum”, certain and risk free lives as acceptable. I also find great reward in helping people overcome fear of change and understand how to assess whether a risk is worthwhile – and if it is, to have the courage to take it.

What will delegates learn and take away from the South West Business Growth Summit?

A greater level of self-awareness and an understanding of why we have the physical and mental response to uncertainty and change that we have.

You will take away the basic groundings in psychological and neurological factors that we have to be aware of if we are going to successfully manage ourselves, our thinking, our emotions and our businesses through a process of change.

Everyone will leave having chosen and committed to an exciting objective that they would have  thought impossible before entering the room. Everyone will identify how their individual beliefs might frustrate the goal – and precisely what to do about that. To hold ourselves accountable for delivering change, everybody will leave with a mentor from the group to work with.

Oh – and we’ll all practice riding a finish at the races and and have a go at some elite freediving exercises to steady the mind – and to move effortlessly past imagined boundaries!

To book tickets for the ActionCOACH South West Business Growth Summit on 1st March, 2019, at Bath Racecourse visit: www.businessgrowthsummit.co.uk