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Optimist Performance

Ollie Phillips


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In this episode, James speaks to Ollie Phillips, a former English pro rugby union player named ‘the most successful England Rugby Sevens captain. Ollie’s exceptional leadership led his team to three world series cup victories, solidifying his place among rugby’s greats.

Beyond his illustrious rugby career, Ollie is the founder of Optimist Performance, an organisation dedicated to empowering individuals and businesses in areas such as Teamwork, Leadership, Resilience, and Change.

Through speaking engagements and consulting services, Ollie shares his expertise and inspires others to unlock their full potential. Additionally, Ollie serves as a Director at PWC in London, leveraging his skills and experience to make a meaningful impact in the corporate world. With his unwavering commitment to excellence and his passion for making a difference, Ollie continues to leave a lasting legacy on and off the field.

Join James and Ollie as they delve into Ollie Phillips’ remarkable journey, exploring his triumphs in rugby, his dedication to empowering others, and his inspiring endeavors in the corporate realm.

Tune in as James and Ollie speak about:

  • Ollie’s early sporting memories and his transition to elite sports
  • How he won his first official professional contract with Newcastle
  • The dawn and journey of his career as England’s international player
  • His unexpected early retirement from elite sports and how he picked himself from this difficult period
  • Why desperation shouldn’t be your drive to innovation
  • How he regained control of his life after losing his source of validation, dependency, and identity
  • Ollie’s accolades, world records, and adventures
  • Mantras that keep him on track and at his peak performance


… and so much more!


Desperation drove my innovation. I had nothing. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to turn.


When you get greeted with a challenging emotional situation, some people take to drink, drugs or whatever else. My vice was women.


The RPA sent me to a place called Cognacity which is like a basic therapy counselling, and we underwent 18 months of pretty challenging work.


You can’t just decide today I’m going to be trustworthy, but tomorrow I’ll be different. You need to live and breathe it every single day.


Just let it go in one ear and out the other.

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