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Realising your Dreams & Achieving your Goals (What it's Really Like) | Mick Colliss | Keynote Speaker | After Dinner Entertainer - 05 June 2019

Realising your Dreams & Achieving your Goals (What it's Really Like) | Mick Colliss | Keynote Speaker | After Dinner Entertainer

Mick Colliss is an author, writer, sports commentator, MC, keynote speaker and modern day poet. He is widely regarded as Australia’s best after-dinner speaker and entertainer. A true professional and master storyteller, Mick draws in every audience with his incredible true, tall tales and wraps it up with his fabulous sense of humour.

Tell us about your dream to represent Australia?

Like most kids growing up, my dream was to play for Australia. Every game of backyard cricket was an Ashes test match and I was always Dougie Walters. In winter, I’d play rugby league and I’d dive across imaginary try lines, commentating as I did “Colliss has scored for Australia!” As I got older, I started taking my sport a bit more seriously. I remember heading out to the Sydney Cricket Ground to watch World Series Cricket – Australia versus the West Indies, Australia versus New Zealand. Test matches where I’d run on to the ground after the game and pat the retreating batsman on the back. I’d watch rugby union test matches and sing the anthem at the top of my voice. I tried to imagine what it must be like to have 40,000 people screaming my name. To be standing out there, in the middle, wearing my nation’s colours. I didn’t dream about owning my own home, having a job or getting married. I dreamed about playing for Australia. 

I made a few junior representative teams and that fanned the flame. I had an amazing training ethic and worked my arse off. I’d written all these motivational lines on bits of paper and had them stuck up in our shed where I used to do some weights. I can still remember them now: “There’s no point only being 90% or 95% committed because there’ll always be someone who’s 100% and they’ll beat you every time.” And “I will be ready, and perhaps my chance will come.” 

I had all the desire in the world – just unfortunately not the ability. But that dream never left me.

As it turned out, I did finally get to represent my country – when I picked myself and three mates in the first ever Australian Sudoku team. We travelled to India to compete at the World Sudoku Championships, despite the fact none of us knew how to play. I did my first puzzle on the plane during the trip over – it was my chance to wear the green and gold and I took it with both hands. It was the realisation of a dream I’d had for as long as I can remember and it fills me full of pride to be able to stand alongside the likes of John Eales, Steve Waugh and Shane Warne knowing we’ve all played for Australia. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

How can people counter setbacks when working towards their goals?

From the outside, it’s easy to look at people who have achieved great things and think they’re lucky. That it has all come naturally, with minimal effort. But it never does. I remember watching my now wife playing in a world championship and it all looked so glamorous. But that was for two weeks. No one sees the daily 5.30am swimming sessions, the training, the weights, the rehab, the restricted social life, the falling asleep at the dinner table. You need to understand that it’s not meant to be easy. Setbacks and failing are normal. They’re part of the process. They’re obstacles and they might get you down, but they’re not permanent. You’re not the only one going through those tough times.

For me, the most important thing about countering setbacks is your attitude because it’s the only thing you have control over. No matter what the situation, you’re the one who decides whether to stay positive and get on with it or to get down on yourself and give up. You can’t choose your ability but you decide on your attitude. Attitude is everything. No matter what you’re doing, you can always find a positive.  

What is something interesting about you that people might not know?

Where do I start? I’m extremely good looking and I’m quite gifted musically. I am self-taught in piano, drums, guitar and ukulele. My favourite food is a buffet, I don’t like spicy food and I’ve never had a drink of coffee. I also write and recite sports poetry and was asked by Tennis Australia to write something to celebrate 50 years of Open Era tennis. I recited it on centre court at Rod Laver Arena during the Australian Open. I’m the 4th best athlete in my family but the only one in a Hall of Fame and I reckon I’m a shoo-in when Sudoku Australia names its Team of the Century. I’d say my favourite ICMI person is Carmen, but everyone already knows that.

Learn more about gifted Mick here.

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