Let me get this out of the way early on.
When I was a kid, The Paralympics were not a big thing. There, I said it.
At most, we were probably aware of Tanni Grey-Thompson on a name recognition level, and that was about it.
I don’t think it’s anything really to be ashamed of on our part. It was mostly down to the coverage, or rather, a lack of it.
Over the years though, things slowly began to change, as did our perception of The Paralympic Games themselves.
No more were they simply a bolt-on to the main event of the Olympics.
Now, they were the arena of The Superhumans.
Just look at this trailer for the coverage of the Games this year on Channel 4.
Remarkable achievements by ordinary people who make you feel insufficient by comparison.
That’s kind of how I felt chatting to both of our first two guests on The 1% Club Podcast – by comparison – not enough. Inferior. A wasted potential.
Here they were, a visually impaired man who knows he’s headed for complete blindness, and a profoundly deaf woman who had the sheer audacity to turn the world of music completely on its head.
Talking to me with my stupid, simply basic, full composite of senses I was wasting every day of my life.
What you have to get your head around is really that their disabilities mean very little to them, and nor should they to you.
Neil Fachie and Evelyn Glennie would have excelled whether they were completely able bodied or not. The fact they aren’t has actually acted as a driver and further propelled them to greatness and achievement in their chosen fields, but make no mistake, they were always destined to reach the summit anyway.
This podcast came about in a year where the world had been topsy-turvy, and that’s understating things.
What the world experienced as one made a lot of us reconsider many aspects of our lives.
Speaking for myself, I was working very much like normal, recording voiceovers, radio broadcasting and podcasting – 95% of the time from home, and I was very much aware of the need to record something that inspired me, lifted me up and gave me strength at a time where I thought we could all use a little of that.
Purely by chance, when sharing some of my existing podcast work on LinkedIn, Neil Fachie commented on the clip, and we got to messaging each other about podcasts we enjoyed and the type of genre which most appealed. Neil mentioned he fancied having a go at podcasting.
And that really is where The 1% Club Podcast was born.
A shared love of podcasting. A combined interest in people.
Our aim was to chat with high achievers from various walks of life, ask them about their background, get them to share the ups and downs of their journey and what it was they thought about themselves which had helped them create the exceptional.
The object was having had these conversations to look back and search for similarities in the answers. Perhaps there were habits these people shared. Beliefs and practices which were common. Traits, or directions they’d all travelled.
If we could distill those down to make one list, we’d be able to pack the ultimate Toolbox For Success allowing us all to take away these things, implement them in our own lives and attempt to become elite performers in our own worlds.
And with that, came a secondary side order of nature versus nurture. In Neil’s case, he believed all of his success is simply down to hard work, but would our other guests share that opinion or would they, like me, entertain the possibility that perhaps even a tiny sliver of their success was down to pure dumb luck?
That they’d been in the right place at the right time?
That they, perhaps, were a supreme athlete because both their parents had been before them?
Maybe money, location, genes or opportunity had aided them, and not just the graft Neil spoke about.
So that’s what we wanted to achieve – a podcast which shone a light on high achievers from all walks of life to try and become better ourselves, which in so doing, asked if fate played any part in their success, and in its recording gave us and the world a lift when we needed it, and fulfilled Neil’s goal of making a podcast himself, all whilst he trained as one of the Superhumans for the 2020 (now 21, we know) Tokyo Paralympic Games.
In future episodes Neil will join me around my side of the desk to chat to our various guests, but in Episode 1, he takes the hot-seat himself. Well, what’s the point in having a high-achiever on the team and not using that to your advantage?!
A 14 x World Champion. A Paralympic Gold and Silver Medallist. A 4 x Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist. And, an Aberdeen FC supporter.
Which of the above is the only thing Neil and I have in common?
On Monday August 23rd, he’ll tell you about everything that’s gone into that, as well as his hopes for competing in the Tokyo Paralympics for Team GB at the end of that same week.
He discusses the highs, lows and highs again of his dual sporting career, his future in business, how his wife Lora has impacted his life, and ultimately what he believes are the crucial elements of his own character which have proven pivotal in his toolbox for success.
Every one of our guests in Season 1 has something to give, and lessons to be learned.
Every one is valuable on some level.
Prepare to be amazed, inspired, and humbled.
I have during the course of this season, laughed and cried multiple times, felt inferior on every occasion and, ultimately, uplifted.
I hope you feel the same.
From Monday, you can download all the podcasts we publish here.
You’ll be able to watch clips from all our guests on YouTube
And you can read more about them here on the blog.
The 1% Club Podcast – Approaching excellence, every conversation.