Masterclass with Jane Flemming: 'You can't control the uncontrollable'

3 min read

Jane coaches us through career change, preparing for a great future and getting through tough times.

Former heptathlete Jane Flemming believes if you can make money out of what you love doing, you are on the road to prosperity.

The media commentator and owner of a successful promotional company Flemming Promotions says she was lucky to find her passion and hopes her twin seven year olds, James and Samuel, will also find something they love in life. While passion plays an important part, many of Jane’s skills in life come from what she learnt as an athlete.

Lessons from a sporting life

“My whole sporting career gave me time management skills and made me very productive,” she says. The key things she learnt from sport were to:

  • Surround yourself with like-minded people
  • Have the ability to make decisions and take responsibility for them
  • Be action driven.

“Living and working in sport means you seek constructive criticism,” she says. “As a result I don’t take things personally but see criticism as a way to do a better job.

“Sport is a finite career, so you don’t have time to procrastinate and because it was an individual sport I had to take responsibility for my own actions.” All these things have spilled over into her business life, although she has always had an entrepreneurial spirit.

Back at the Australian Institute of Sport in the 1990s, Jane became aware that the 350 staff there had no catering facilities. As a result she set up a catering company providing cakes and sandwiches. It was only the call of her successful athletic career that saw the catering business go by the wayside.

“I have always been busy but able to prioritise. I am a multitasker,” she says. “At my 50th birthday party, my girlfriend said in her speech that I was probably closing a deal while I was sending out the invitations.”

Her latest passion is a new business Live Life Get Active, a community initiative originally aimed at conquering obesity but now also very focused on community. Launched in 2014, the business now has 5000 members taking part in boxing, cross-training and yoga across 30 camps held in local parks. Her goal is to have 150 camps by the end of the year.

Facing challenges

Of course there have been challenges in her life. Her response has always been not to look at the big picture but to tackle the challenge step-by-step.

“My sports psychologist Brian Miller taught me that you cannot control the uncontrollable,” she says. “I am not a dweller. If I have a problem I look at how to solve it. If you are running late for a meeting, there is no point getting upset – just phone and explain.”

Jane has always had an interest in her finances. She has an accountant and a financial planner and believes she and her husband, insolvency practitioner Ian Purchas, are relatively organised for what the future holds – including the boys’ education and their retirement plans.

As she looks back at her 50 years, she says she feels another dose of gratefulness for what life has dealt.

If you’re inspired by Jane’s story and interested in finding your own financial adviser, BT is a good place to start. Book your complimentary initial meeting with an adviser.

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This information is current as at 01/05/2015.