612. A Living Example of Transformational Leadership
Henare Hona O’Brien
Henare was at a turning point and decided to attend a personal growth seminar. The speaker was dynamic, caring, inspirational… and happy. It was clear he had achieved success, yet he was still there helping other people. Henare said to himself, “OK, that’s my next step!”
Henare Hona O’Brien is a gifted, intuitive coach, spiritual teacher and a breakthrough trainer. Together with his wife, Kate, they are known as Australia’s number one transformational leadership couple and produce the world’s biggest personal development summit, collaborating annually with more than 100 of the greatest thought leaders of our generation, including Jack Canfield, Gregg Braden, Brendon Burchard and many more.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
In his childhood and teens, Henare found refuge, and excellence, in athletics, ultimately playing basketball in New Zealand’s top professional league. The son of a Maori mother and Irish father, he says he recognizes many elements of his dysfunctional and socioeconomically disadvantaged family life in the 1994 movie, Once Were Warriors. As imdb.com describes the film, “A family descended from Maori warriors is bedeviled by a violent father and the societal problems of being treated as outcasts.” But Henare also fondly recalls many bright spots. “Coaches and teachers were beautiful balances and guides for me, considering that the other part of my life was quite unbalanced. Sports not only gave me an opportunity to express that type of energy that was coming through me, but it also gave me wonderful mentors and guides as to what a person could be when truly dedicated to something.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
In the midst of a successful career in professional basketball, Henare recalls, “At 26, I had an epiphany sitting on a beach in silence. And in that silence, I realized that if I did not have everything I had accumulated in professional basketball in New Zealand, with more women than I could sleep with, more money than I could spend, all the things you would see in a Hollywood movie around luxury I would not know who I was.” In the painful three years that followed, he made amends to people he had wronged in his life, and he found a new path as a transformational teacher and coach.
The Most Powerful Lesson Learned?
“In the Maori culture, which is part of my heritage, we have a saying, ‘He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.’ It is said in answer to the question, ‘What is the most important thing in the world?’ And the answer means, ‘It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.’ So, most of the time, Kate and I keep our focus directed outside of the difficulties people are going through, to create things for people that are really generative to their learning. Everything we present is designed to be exciting, inspirational and new. Instead of focusing on what is not working in people’s lives, we concentrate on what IS working in their lives. That might not be as big as what’s not working, but it gives them, and us, a sense of being alive, of being wonderful human beings with purpose.”
Steps to Success from Henare Hona O’Brien
1. Focus on what is going right, going well, in your life. Let that generate the energy to drive you forward.
2. Do not let your culture suppress or dominate the fundamental fact that all people, physically and spiritually, are created equal. Celebrate being alive!
3. Let yourself have a big vision and let others play their part in bringing it into being.
Connecting With Henare Hona O’Brien
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