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#51. JARROD WALSH – Why You Need Passion and Self Awareness to Perform at Your Best

EP 51. JARROD WALSH

#51. JARROD WALSH – Why You Need Passion and Self Awareness to Perform at Your Best

Jarrod Walsh is generous, kind, supportive and bloody good at what he does. A sports and corporate MC and once a Nova radio announcer, Jarrod knows all to well what impact nerves, anxiety and questioning your self worth can do to your mental wellbeing. Sharing his story of how he has overcome bullying, ego’s in the workplace, his father walking out on his family and being made redundant after 16 years, Jarrod’s values, world view and commitment to being a better friend, father, husband and person, show why he’s arguably the best at what he does.

An honest and down to earth chat about how to build self awareness to keep showing up and performing at your best, whether that’s on the track, oval, court, boardroom, corner office or out in the backyard with your kids.

Jackie 3:29
Jarrod, thank you so much for chatting with me today. I’m pumped to talk to you. I mean everyone probably in South Australia who is a sports fan will know exactly who you are, because you’re all over the place. And what you do, I mean, you’re just brilliant at what you do. And if you don’t know this, you probably do but 75% of the population have a fear of public speaking, which makes what you do even more incredible. So I thought I’d start there and ask how on earth he got to be so good at speaking.

Jarrod Walsh 4:07
Well, that’s very kind of you, Jackie. I’m very grateful to be on here because I listened to your podcast so to actually be a guest it means a lot. So thank you very much for the invitation. Yeah, it’s a bit of a strange one. Like I’ve always if I look back at growing up as a kid. I always wanted to be in front of a camera for some reason my dad worked in radio so I was always aware around a radio studio just practising like it was kind of second nature. But I think the ability to speak publicly had a lot to do with just taking a bit of a risk. And I started like emceeing to crowds at nightclubs and I did it to know people so I would actually go to, in South Australia, there’s a pub called the ALMA, which is on McGill Road, where everybody used to go, apart from the night that I was emceeing and my friend was what that what that allowed us to do was to have a bit of fun, take a few risks, feel like less pressure. And what that does is that allows you to test your boundaries on certain things. I always tell people that I’m working [in] community radio. So they see community radio, there’s a couple of mentalities you can have, you can have a mentality of, I mean community radio, all I want to do is get to commercial radio and work at one of the big stations, which in theory sounds great. But in community radio, there’s no restrictions. As soon as you get to commercial capital city radio, there’s restrictions everywhere so it’s like your training ground to practice what works well for you to work on your style. And most importantly, like tap into yourself to be authentic because there’s lots of emcees out there there’s lots of radio announcers you want people to go I know exactly your style your presentation because when the microphones on you’re the same person as it is when it’s off but you just project you’re projecting your voice a little bit differently

Jackie 6:20
So how long were you in community radio?

Jarrod Walsh 6:23
I wasn’t in community radio.

Jackie 6:25
You weren’t?

Jarrod Walsh 6:26
No. That’s the thing.

Jackie 6:28
Right. But this is practice at the ALMA where there was no one?

Jarrod Walsh 6:32
Yeah, but the reason I’ve raised community radio was because I never wanted to be on the radio. So I crashed this, the most important station vehicle that we had and because the company $150,000 and the basically there’s a big antenna and a crash into power lines at West beach one night and the power lines went over the front of the van there were ambulance, police officers, fire brigade, and they they bait they literally said like if you got out of the vehicle, you would have died because there were live wires everywhere. So then the next day while I was freaking out about losing my job when everyone else was freaking out about me losing my life. The bosses said, “Ah, we can’t really have you driving the cars at the moment.” “That’s sweet.” They said “you want to have a go on the radio?” “Yeah, no worries.” But because of my mindset of not wanting so much to be on the radio, I was just myself. And for NOVA at the time I was at NOVA for 16 years they thought this is a really nice fit for someone and the way that they wanted this station to go because they wanted someone to sound casual. relatable, and not like your traditional radio jock that goes “alright, yeah, coming up in 10 minutes you get a heads up, Justin Bieber, get some ice cold cans of coke from the Black Thunders.”Oh, I couldn’t do that.

Jackie 7:53
Really? Cuz you just proved you’re pretty good at it.

Jarrod Walsh 7:58
Yeah, yeah. So it was, I think, having a radio studio at your disposal, it taints the community radio thing. Whenever people came into the station, I said the most important thing you have right now is a security pass to the building. That’s because you’ve got everything at your disposal. So go in, try stuff, take a risk, because the worst thing that can happen is it doesn’t work. And you’ll learn from it.

Jackie 8:20
Yeah, yeah. Recently, I had the chance to participate in one of your courses, which was great fun. And so I’ve been following you for a long time. I’m a big sports fan. So I’ve been to many games in South Australia when I was there. So I knew who you were. But I didn’t know you. And during the course, you told your story growing up. And that to me was, I mean, made me respect you even more. You’re a media personality now. Right? And I think as people on the outside looking in, we can very much place our own judgments on people when we have got no idea. And so understanding your story gave me more respect for you. Can we start there for a moment? And just Can you tell us a bit about you growing up?

Jarrod Walsh 9:22
Yeah, yeah, for sure. So I grew up in Tasmania. With a normal kind of family. I’ve got an older sister who’s three years older than me, and we had a really nice comfortable life. My dad was [on the] radio in Tasmania. But as any child goes through, I got pretty badly bullied at school physically and verbally. Like, there were some times the bullies would even ring up my house and prank call and just burp into the phone. I can [tell] my mum, the hard thing was that, my mum being a parent would try and confront the bullies, but then that would increase the bullying. I once got hit in the head with a hockey ball on the hockey field in Tasmania. My mum ran onto the field because obviously she wanted to check if I was alive. The next week I was called a mummy’s boy. And I’m like, going hold on, I’m concussed here […] And it was a really weird thing. It was like you see in the movies, you’re literally catching the school bus and no one wants to sit next to you and they’re bullying you. So from that, I started developing tics. As in like I would, I would open my mouth until it split on the side of my mouth when I get really nervous. And it still happens as an adult. Sometimes I’ll start sniffing and just go (sniff) just randomly. And so my mum took me to see a specialist and they diagnosed me with a mild form of Tourette’s. And they had connected that to the bullying of how tormented I was. So for me, the difficult thing was, I never really had really close friends at school. And then, towards the end of 1999, my dad came home and said, “Hey, guys, we’re moving to Adelaide.” What? And I was 15. And my sister was just about to turn 18. So for that, I didn’t want to because I was going into grade 10 at school. I didn’t want to move my family over there. I’d never been to Adelaide before. The only thing I’d heard about Adelaide is that it was hot and the Royal Adelaide Show had a roller coaster. I mean, when you come to Adelaide, and you see The Mad Mouse, what it was, that’s not a roller coaster, Jackie. That’s the Tasmanian version of a roller coaster. So everything’s bigger. So anyway, the way that the timeline happened was we, it wasn’t, “Hey, do you want to move to Adelaide?” It was “we are moving to Adelaide.” So we had my sister’s 18th birthday party. The next day, my dad and I flew to Adelaide for the first time. The day after that I started school. And the day after that was my birthday. And I came home from my first day of school walking along Henley Beach crying, saying to my dad, I had a horrible time, all I want to do is go out to those guys who are playing in the water and hang out with them because I want friends and it just didn’t happen. So starting off in a new city and having no friends, being affected by bullying. And then it happened here in South Australia too, because I was obviously from Tasmania. So there’s incest jokes, it’s standard kind of high school humour that people think is hilarious without realising the impact it has on people. And that’s fascinating in itself, which I’ll get to in a second. From that my whole life and my focus was to please the bullies. And that translated through to university for my professional life as well. And with my semi okay profile in Adelaide, I tend to attract certain people coming into my life that aren’t real friends, but I’m better at it now. But I was definitely, I was pretty naive. And I thought I had lots of really good friendships from people that I didn’t. So my whole mantra was, basically to try and please the people that didn’t like me. And I’d forget about the people that did, and I had a whole, I miss[ed] this whole sense of value and purpose. I kind of [was] just floating along. And then on the night of my 21st birthday party, my dad decided to leave the family, at the party. So that in itself was like another defining moment where I’m going, “Oh, jeepers, this is my night celebrating my 21st.” My mum is crying, and she’s like, “I’m just so happy for you.” But the next day I found out is because Dad told her at the party he’s leaving. So there’s a lot of stuff that builds up into value, purpose, who I am as a person, and what the hell am I doing? I know, it’s a very long winded answer to your question. But um, yeah, there’s a lot that has kind of happened to lead to where I am today.

Jackie 14:00
Where it is then because you mentioned who you are. And you know what that meant for you. And value. Let’s talk about value and self worth, how did that eventually come about for you? And how has that shaped the way you then move forward in life, and when you’re tackling those hardest situations?

Jarrod Walsh 14:26
Yeah, so the difficult thing for me with value and where I thought my path was in life–I think every person grows up wanting to emulate what their family or parents do. So my whole childhood, I was exposed to seeing athletes and media personalities like in Tasmania. You know, like I’d go to the cricket in Tasmania, and the Australian cricket team would come and shake my hand and know me by name. We had Ian Healy, who was the former test wicket keeper–he came to our house for dinner. Like, it was just normal for me. So I was really comfortable in that environment. But as soon as dad left the family, my mentality of [how] I wanted to do something in the media or within sport…that vanished, because I wanted nothing to do with my dad’s name. And that I think was […] as an adult now, and as you know, I’ve got a wife and kids. I understand that relationships don’t work, but it’s how you handle the situation which defines you. And I don’t think my dad handled it that well, I know you’re not my therapist, but I’m being completely honest. So everything that I did was like, I don’t want anything to do with sport. I don’t want anything to do with the media. But it still kept coming towards me. And it was a really weird situation. But, I also see in pride, everything that I’ve done in my career, I’ve done myself. So I’ve, I don’t speak to my father. And we sometimes cross paths. But everything that I’ve done is something that I’ve done within myself, which I’m really proud of, because I haven’t had to go, “oh, he’s Peter Walsh’s son.” So then going through my career and values, I’ve had to learn a lot along the way. And that’s, I think, being open and honest enough to actually say “this is what I’m going through”–people are getting better at it now. But if you look at the past 10 years, men especially, they don’t say they’re not doing okay. And it’s a real shame, because it’s a really confronting and vulnerable position to be in to go, “Hey, I’m struggling today, let’s talk about it.” Some people can’t handle that, they’re not prepared to handle it. So I tried to put myself out there enough for people to go “Okay, this is a safe place.” And it took a lot of time for me to do that. Speaking to counsellors, within my workplace, it was understanding that relationships aren’t defined by the four walls that you’re working. And that’s a really difficult thing. So my journey of value and purpose is actually understanding myself more and understanding that it’s not something you can flick a switch and go, “Cool, here’s my value, here’s my purpose.” That changes every day like that, that has to evolve with everything. So it’s been a continual journey.

If you want to learn the art of communication, check out Jarrod’s website and course:

Website: https://www.jarrodwalsh.com.au/

Instagram: @walshjarrod

Facebook: @jarrodwalshmc

Twitter: @jarrodwalsh

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