John's High Performance Journey
I grew up in a small town in South Africa called Richards Bay, the son of entrepreneurs and philanthropists, Tony and Tulla Roussot. A product of my entrepreneurial parents, from a young age, I was passionate about showing up as the best I could be, at school and on the sports fields, always striving to achieve strong results academically and in sports.
I was the type of kid that had a hundred things on the go and every weekday involved some form of extracurricular activity. I was always on the rugby, cricket, and swimming A-Teams, over weekends I water skied, cycled, and went to the gym. Throughout my life, I cultivated my enjoyment of singing and acting, playing the lead roles of Danny Zuko in Grease, and Pippin in Pippin. I also performed in the Broadway Parade Musical in Cape Town, and I have sung at events across South Africa and in the UK, including a big band show I created called, Into the Swing of Things. Despite the varied activities and chaotic schedule, I always seemed to find a way to succeed in all areas of my life and thrived on being busy, productive, and effective.
"Though young, I was beginning to understand that success leaves clues.
Whenever I was taking care of my well-being, and following my passions - my performance improved. I was more focused, productive, confident, and courageous."
At the age of 5, I started karate, to “defend my mother from strangers!” (not that she needed defending from anyone, but I guess it was good motivation to start my journey to receiving a black belt in karate.) There were around 10 of us in my group of friends in the first lesson which whittled down to around 5 after the first year, and slowly everyone dropped out. But because I stuck with the lessons twice a week for the next seven years, I mastered the fundamentals of each level, graded through the belts, and ultimately became a black belt sensei at age 12. This was one of my first life lessons in mastery, where I began to understand the power of habits and small daily actions.
“Looking back to the moment of receiving my black belt, I now realise that was the start of a never-ending journey of discipline, consistent effort, and the pursuit of excellence (self-mastery).”
I began my first corporate job at Procter and Gamble in Cape Town, moved to Johannesburg, and four years into my career, I left to start an entrepreneurial business. Three months into my new project, my Dad committed suicide after a back operation that left him feeling physically and mentally incapacitated. He was a man of faith and love but had lost hope, and the only thing he ever took was his life.
I moved back to Richards Bay to pick up the pieces, support my mother and take care of the family coffee shop business, thinking I would sell that quickly and move my mother back to Johannesburg with me. Six months after my dad passed away, my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer, and she fought bravely for the next two years before she passed away.
During that time, I bought the coffee shop from her, realising that there was so much I couldn’t control, and that I had to work with what was in my hands. So I mortgaged my house, renovated the coffee shop, strived to create an excellent experience for customers and staff, and within six months, we had doubled the turnover and tripled the profitability of the business.
All things happen for a reason. My coffee shop experience taught me so much about business, customer service and experience, building high performing teams, and delivering outstanding products and services to beat the competition. I also met my wife in my coffee shop… a beautiful story for another time!
I married Daleen, we settled down and had three children within three and half years, and as my family grew, so did my ambition (partly by necessity to provide at a higher level!). After our third child, I battled to find the work-life balance I wanted and needed. I very quickly found myself overweight, not exercising, and just in a bad place emotionally, mentally, and physically. I had a strong realisation that something needed to change. When I looked around me, long hours and total exhaustion seemed to be markers of success, with people sacrificing their well-being and relationships in favor of professional progress. Late-night emails were rampant and projects completed in the early hours of the morning were celebrated in group huddles.
"That’s when I realised it wasn’t just me that needed to change but my company’s culture and moreover the Corporate mindset towards performance."
I began to research and study science-backed high-performance coaching curriculums. Busy professionals want and need strategies and tools that are proven to help them achieve heightened and sustained levels of performance. My quest to find the best performance curriculum on the planet led me to become a Certified High Performance Coach through Brendon Burchard and the High Performance Institute, who I’ve now partnered with to take High Performance Habits to organisations around the world.
We teach a variety of different programs, intended for all levels, from executives, leaders, high potentials, to teams and new starters. Our aim is to liberate greatness for every individual in an organisation by teaching the mindset and productivity habits which drive results and lead to job satisfaction.
What motivated you to start FiiT4GROWTH?
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, I was working as the Global Commercial Capability Director for a multinational consumer goods company.
Companies across the UK, and indeed the world, abruptly shut their offices and instructed employees to work from home indefinitely. Stripped of their normal working environments, it was the end of the corporate world as we once knew it.
Employees were left hunched over laptops on kitchen tabletops, glued to screens and anxiety-inducing daily bulletins, with video calls being the only lifeline to the outside world. Already exhausted parents juggled virtual school and work deadlines simultaneously and the boundary between our work and our personal lives, which was once blurred became indistinguishable.
"I knew, more than ever before, that everything I had learned from training as a high performance coach, and decades of intentional study and practice of the strategies that lead to success, was critical to survival in this “new world.”
As the international crisis unfolded before our eyes, I realised how thirsty we were for non-working time and for the experiences we tried to squeeze around the consuming vortex of work. It might have seemed crazy to a lot of people who were are opting for safety and security but that was exactly the time to step up and show the way, that we could indeed, put “life” in “work-life balance” - allowing us to recalibrate and prioritize those things that keep us connected to our core of well-being. I quit my corporate job and launched a free six week programme of high performance for those in need.
We had people registered from the West Coast of the US all the way through to the East Coast of Australia. Some were being made redundant, others were on furlough, others struggling to keep afloat in companies that were affected by the pandemic.
We saw the benefits that routine, habits, purpose, being clear on who you are, and taking small incremental steps towards goals, can have on an individual - despite the planet being at total standstill.
"It was almost as if the world needed to slow down, no - actually stop - for people to realise that the small actions they take each day lead to the people they become over a period of time. Daily disciplines compound to create success over time."
It was there that FiiT4GROWTH was truly born. As the pandemic ensued and reversing the equation became the norm, companies also realised they needed to embrace individual needs and progress first or watch their performance aspirations go up in flames.
What is Your Future Vision?
I have a vision for a world where individuals, teams and businesses are able to liberate their greatness using the strategies and tools I’ve had the privilege of implementing in my own life, so that they can achieve their personal and professional goals faster, while maintaining their wellbeing and relationships.
Everything in my past, the great experiences, and adversities, have created my purpose and passion for people, my fight against mental and physical health issues, and my desire to inspire, encourage and uplift the people around me.
A Spirit of Excellence
At FiiT4GROWTH, we are committed to doing things with a spirit of excellence. It’s as simple as always showing up as the best versions of ourselves, and consistently striving for improvement - and we are committed to the never-ending pursuit.
High standards can encourage us to grow, solve problems, delight our clients, and do quality, meaningful work we are proud of.
What gets in the way of people trying new things, learning new skills, or speaking up? Mistakes and the fear of failure. But what if we reframed mistakes and instead of thinking about what we might lose, we asked ourselves, “What can we gain?”
At FiiT4GROWTH, we see the valuable learning experiences and opportunities we can get from making mistakes, and the journey they take us on. We like to call it “failing forward,” and it helps change our perception and fear of failure, turning them into the stepping stones for success.
At FiiT4GROWTH we believe that there is a higher purpose in everything we do. Purpose is everything. It's our north star. It helps us stay on track, focused and inspired and delivering amazing work that serves everyone around us.
We focus on the bigger picture, take small but incremental steps with the faith that they will lead us to the big changes we want to see in the world. It's all in your hands!
Leadership is a Action
When we think of leaders, we often think of positions or roles, but FiiT4GROWTH we believe that leadership is everyone’s superpower.
Your leadership is evaluated daily by how many specific acts of impact, growth, empowerment, courage, and self-respect that you demonstrate every day and everybody has the capacity to create those acts. When those behaviors inspire, encourage and uplift co-workers, clients, and the community, we call those moments leadership.
It might not be a surprise that at FiiT4GROWTH we value growth! After all, it's in our name, and it's what we help our clients to do every day. We are always innovating, looking for new ways to make our clients shine, solidly perched on past successes, but never satisfied with the status quo.
We value growth as a team, as individuals and in each other's professional and personal lives. We encourage and cultivate a culture that pursues personal mastery alongside business excellence creating multiple levels of success!
Be Bold, Brave & Brilliant
At FiiT4GROWTH we value being Bold, Brave & Brilliant.
Being bold is the secret sauce that allows you to act bravely in spite your fears. It is essential to living an authentic, successful, and fulfilling life.
It comes before anything else, allowing you to take your first steps to begin, to step up, push the limits of what we think is possible and create brilliant things.