Clare Balding’s words of wisdom on teamwork, weakness and breaking boxes

Published: 15 Apr 2019

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The phenomenal Clare Balding, UK sports and TV presenter, children’s book author and campaigner for women in sport, joined Dive In in London on Tuesday night and asked the audience to take two messages away from the evening. Here are Clare Balding’s words of wisdom:

1. To always ask yourself how you can help the weakest or least experienced person in the room Success is all down to the power of the team, not our individual strengths. Look at the Team GB women’s hockey team who won gold at the Olympics, Clare urged. They were not the fittest, strongest or most experienced players but they were the strongest team. Anecdotally, Clare shared that all of their pre-match and training meetings are held in a circle so no-one is left at the back. Clare also asked us to challenge our assumptions on what ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ look like. The person who is quietest or least confident may in fact have the most important thing to say, and it is a leaders’ job to listen. Never be afraid of networking – make it your mission to approach the most nervous looking person and make them feel comfortable.

2. To challenge yourself to break down the boxes we put both ourselves and others into As a society, Clare believe that we like safety and things that follow form – we like people to stay where they can be easily defined. This is where the Paralympics are most powerful at making us think, she argued, viewing disability and difference from an entirely new perspective. Talking from her own diverse experience and portfolio of interests and career moves, she argues that it is crucial for us to break the mould, try new things and challenge people’s view of who we are and what we do.