Pat Divilly is the host of the hugely popular Pat Divilly Podcast, as well as an author, speaker, and health and wellness coach who has fast become one of Ireland's leading authorities in that area.
Pat talks to us about his life and career while giving advice to those who might be considering a change.
1. It’s evident that you have an amazing passion as a Sports Fitness Coach - what ignited this passion for you?
"I found weight training and martial arts in my early teens and was immediately hooked. I’d played some team sports up until that point, but moving toward weight training taught me that with a sense of direction and a commitment to small improvements daily. I could create changes to how I looked, felt, and moved. Over time I found many of the lessons around discipline, vision, and consistency that I learned in my gym endeavours supported me across all areas of my life."
2. For those considering a career in the fitness sector what is one piece of advice you would give them?
"I think starting out in the fitness industry or any industry, it’s useful to be open to different types of projects, clients, and ways of working. You may have a picture in your head of the type of person you want to work with but I see the first few years in any industry as a chance to experiment, learn and grow. In my first few years in fitness, I worked with everyone from professional athletes to cardiac rehabilitation patients. I ran lots of different types of classes, programs, and sessions and eventually found a formula that was unique to me and worked well for clients. Though I’d entered the industry thinking I’d work with a certain type of client in a certain way, through experience and trial and error, I ended up with a very different type of client in a very different way. "
3. Transitioning into the Corporate Speaker path and later becoming an Author was a career change for you - what was the most challenging part of this transition?
"For me, the most challenging part of transitioning careers was the fear of change or the sense of starting again. I had spent a number of years working tirelessly to establish myself as the ‘go to’ guy for training and nutrition advice, and though my fitness career felt like it was coming toward a peak in terms of popularity and ‘success’, I knew I wasn’t enjoying it anymore and needed a change. Moving into the corporate speaking space meant leaving behind an old identity, starting again, and dealing with plenty of self-doubts and ‘imposter syndrome’. Oftentimes when we experience fear, we revert back to safety and to what feels familiar, but I’m glad I’ve stayed with the uncertainty and continued to lean into my passions when it comes to my career."
4. Over your career, what would you consider to be your best memory or achievement?
"Sharing my story on the Late Late Show back in 2016 was definitely a highlight for me. In 2012 I’d been broke, depressed, and back living with my parents, and I decided in my head that someday I’d crawl back from the hole I’d found myself in and achieve something my parents would be proud of. Between 2012 and 2016, I built a fitness business that started with five local clients on Silverstrand Beach and grew to 20,000 global online clients. To share my journey with my parents sitting in the audience was a proud moment and in a sense, it felt like an end to the fitness chapter as not long after I began to shift my focus to more around mental and emotional health."
Jumping before I felt ready has been the decision that served me well time and time again.
5. What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?
"Jumping before I felt ready has been the decision that served me well time and time again. Teaching my first fitness class, I was terrified, but I backed myself into a corner and did it. The same with public speaking, coaching, running retreats and workshops, or working in the corporate space. I’ve never felt ready, but I’ve never let that stop me. I feel every time we stop ourselves from doing something that will help us grow, our confidence shrinks, whilst every time we act, even when we’re fearful, our confidence expands. Decision-making is a skill that requires practice and getting our reps in!"
6. If you were entering the workforce again, would you do anything differently?
"I would seek more support and mentorship. I’ve hired and worked with coaches and mentors of different kinds throughout my thirteen years of being self-employed, but if I could start again, I think I would make this even more of a priority, getting really clear on sticking points or areas of weakness where I needed support and then finding someone to support and keep me accountable to developing those areas. A challenge of working for myself has been maintaining discipline and motivation year-round, and I feel support and mentorship are key in helping with this."
Thank you for speaking with us, Pat, and sharing your insights.