Eddie the Eagle, renowned Olympic ski jumper and the subject of a recent Hollywood release, toured to Greater Bristol last week for Business Leader’s NextGen speaker series. Eddie – whose real name is Michael – addressed an audience of 200 business leaders from the South West and beyond.
Eddie’s resilience, sunny disposition, and fierce determination to achieve his goals infused his speech, which detailed his career as an Olympic ski jumper. Make no mistake – Eddie was never in danger of winning a medal. Nonetheless, he overcame his lack of funding, lack of training, and in one case a broken jaw to compete in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. Eddie ate food out of bins and slept in barns in order to achieve his dream.
Eddie offered some of his favourite life tips for businesspeople chasing their goals.
Eddie said: “I think the most important things for business leaders are resilience, tenacity, and never giving up. You have a certain goal you want to achieve, and a certain journey in mind, but there could be lots of different ways for getting from A to B.
“You might get a few knockbacks and face a few challenges, but you have to get around those obstacles – whether you go over them or under them or through them, you can find a way. Never give up.”
And Eddie the Eagle? He may not be an athlete anymore, but he hasn’t lost his unique character.
“At the moment, my goal is to make hay when the sun shines,” Eddie said. “I’m very busy following the release of the film doing talks, but it won’t last forever. So I’ve got my head down, working as hard as I can, ultimately trying to make as much money as possible, and then once everything dies down I can get back to my plastering.”
In between flying around the world as an inspirational speaker, Eddie gets back to his roots.
He said: “I still enjoy plastering and building. I’m renovating a house at the moment, so any free time I have, I’m there. I find it very therapeutic, it keeps me grounded, and it’s completely different to my PR side. I enjoy that. I like the variety.”
NextGen is a series of events produced by Business Leader in collaboration with Weston College and Albert Goodman LLP. Inspirational speakers from the world of business and beyond give their tips, tricks, and anecdotes to the biggest players in the South West business community.