What does success mean to you? Has your definition of it changed over the years and if so, why? | True success is having the freedom to spend my time as I wish. This means when the sun shines and conditions are perfect, I can push my kayak out on the water and I am not chained to a desk. I have a flexible life I spent 25 years building towards. I tend to knuckle down and work more hours in winter when the days are short and I can hire a team of interns and we go go go! That flexibility is success to me.
What do you think is often the difference between people who are good at what they do and people who are great at what they do? | Practice. My very first speech was probably rubbish compared to the keynotes I give today and the big difference is years of practice, taking feedback from professionals and more practice. Having said that, I have a dear friend who says that the difference between ordinary people and extraordinary people is PUBLICITY. Ha ha! How good is that? Most people have something extraordinary about them, we just don’t necessarily see it on TV.
What is one talent or strength of yours, which has been critical to your success? | I’m a good story teller and that skill has opened a lot of doors for me, especially as a keynote speaker.
When you get / got STUCK, what caused it and how did you get going again? | I have only ever been stuck when I have let my health suffer. The only way to unstick that is to put health first above everything including my kids and my income. When your health is your number one priority, everything else flows well.
What is your biggest weakness? | I am terrible at kissing butt. I am all for giving credit where credit is due but I just can’t bring myself to kiss butt for the sake of it. Ewww, it makes me feel sick.
On a psychological or mind-set level, how do you use your mind and how do you think in a specific way to help you achieve your goals and realize your ambitions? | In my first year out of high school I had a serious motorcycle accident and had 14 reconstructive operations to put me back together. Many weeks in hospital gave me a lot of time to kill and potentially a lot of anxiety for my brain to churn over as it looked likely I would lose my leg. Instead, I learned the art of pulling my thoughts away from anxious assumptions of worst case scenarios and I consciously lead my mind into the playground of fantasy. Instead of worrying about what might go wrong, I fantasised about what could go right. I dreamed about riding a motorcycle across the USA. I even bought maps and guidebooks. The distraction from a reality I couldn’t control was so good. I also fantasised about running my own advertising agency. I went on to do that and I lead the agency for 20 years. Fantasy produces hormones which make you feel good and help you sleep. Anxiety does the opposite.
How do you ensure you are always feeling energised and performing at your peak? | I worship at the alter of good sleep. You can do anything after a juicy night’s sleep. I give my best speeches first thing in the morning. I am also a major fan of the arvo nap. Sleep is the most underrated aspect of good health. I boast about how many solid hours sleep I got, not how few!
What is the best advice you have ever received? | A mentor of mine said this to me and I have passed this advice on for years. He said: “Checks and balances, Lucy, checks and balances. The only people who will ever screw you are the people closest to you because they are the only people you will ever allow.” Since he gave me this pearler of advice I have always built checks and balances into my life, even with the people closest to me. Double signatories on bank accounts, no shared logins that kind of thing.
Also, someone said to me right at the beginning of my career as a professional speaker “Lucy, the funnier you are in the business, the more you will earn,” and he was right. Humour is such a draw card. I even work with a comic who has taught me how to milk my stories for humour and therefore be the most memorable speaker of the day. “That really dry, boring speaker was amazing,” said no one, ever.
What’s one deeply honest thing that most people don’t know about you? | I have hectic scars from that motorcycle accident when I was 19. I kept them a very personal secret as a source of shame for 23 years until someone very dear to me told me he thought they welded my character, they were part of my story and I shouldn’t hide them. Then I was invited by a photographer in London to be part of a portrait series of people with cool scars. Next thing I knew I was in Vogue Magazine, sporting my scars and not one thread of clothes. I went from deeply ashamed to completely naked in one step, just with a little encouragement and support. Google Lucy Bloom Vogue Magazine if you dare.
Would you consider yourself a happy person? If so, how do you cultivate your daily happiness? | Yes I am a very happy, positive and optimistic person. I cultivate this by noticing the pleasure and delight in the simplest things like the feel of the sunshine on my back as I walk home from the beach, the satisfying crackle of the vacuum, the smell of fresh parsley from my garden, the sound of my kids giggling together, the satisfying PING my to-do app makes when I check off an item. I get a huge kick and an endorphin rush from my audience, especially when they roar laughing and clap. I am also ruthless about who I spend my life with. People who suck the joy out of my life don’t get invited back.