Charlotte Lorimer interviews mentor and former rugby league captain for Great Britain, Jamie Peacock, about his wellbeing programme and why he banks with Starling.

“We have to focus on what we can control. I can’t control what tier I’m in, I can’t control what Boris Johnson says or what Covid does. But I can control how much news I watch, how physically active I am and what I eat,” says Jamie Peacock, former rugby league player and entrepreneur. “If you focus on those things, it can take a lot of the stress away.”

Since retiring from Leeds Rhinos five years ago, he’s dedicated his time and effort to helping business leaders, teams and individuals improve their mental and physical health. “There’s a lot of information out there. What I’ve tried to do is distill it down to things that anybody can do,” says Jamie, 43. “You’ve got to keep it simple.”

This philosophy - keep it simple - is what underpins the three areas of his business: mentoring, motivational speaking and wellbeing programmes. It’s also what brought him to Starling when it came to choosing a business account.

Developing a wellbeing programme

Jamie’s 30-day wellbeing programme and accompanying book Be a Champion centres on four pillars: positive mindset, good sleep, eating well and keeping active.

His advice is straight talking and accessible. “For example, in terms of sleep I’ve suggested five simple things: turn off phone an hour before bed, no alcohol on weekdays, make sure your room is really dark, write a to-do list and don’t watch any news at night.”

Since the start of 2021, almost 20,000 school students have completed the programme, offered to them for free through his partnership with wellbeing provider Schools Advisory Service. “I want to help people improve what they do by making different decisions. I also want to get people to move away from thinking it’s all about talent.”

Transferring skills from sports to business

Jamie’s emphasis on effort, decision-making and risk-taking over innate talent is what made him a great rugby player. It’s also what makes him a great entrepreneur. His advice for others:

  • “Take calculated risks off the back of hard work.”
  • “If you say you’re going to do something, just do it.”
  • “Look after your customers and do right by them.”
  • “Base decisions on feedback - always ask people what their opinion is.”
  • “Reach out to someone. Plenty of people want to help you out.”

He also encourages everyone to think about their three core strengths, write them down, prioritise tasks according to those strengths, and end the day by writing down three achievements.

Finding the right business bank

Jamie is someone who knows both his strengths - good with people, adaptable, determined to do the right thing - and his weaknesses. “My weakness is detail - I can lose track of things quite easily. But the Starling app allows me to keep track of my spending. It helps me do something I’m not good at.”

He became a business customer in 2020. “I researched different banks and Starling looked like the best one,” he says. “I liked the fact that it was trying to do things differently - it was aligned with my values.”

He applied for an account by downloading the app and once it was open, chose to switch to Starling. “The changeover was super easy and using the app has been so simple. It’s also really easy to get hold of somebody. It’s perfect for me.”

Staying motivated

Jamie applies the phrase ‘keep it simple’ across all areas of his life, including his fundraising efforts. Last year, he ran a 45-mile ultra-marathon and raised more than £50,000 for Rob Burrow, a fellow Leeds Rhinos player who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2019.

“In an ultra-marathon, you’re putting one foot in front of the other. It’s not vastly complicated, it just gets more difficult to do that. I just kept thinking to myself, ’All you’re doing is running. Your friend Rob Burrow is bravely fighting a terminal illness with no moaning and absolute dignity. That’s the type of motivation I use when I’m running. And it can be the same for getting through lockdown.”

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