Safety & Health Expo 2019
Who is Jonny Wilkinson, inspirational speaker at Safety & Health Expo 2019?
The 2019 Safety & Health Expo Inspirational Speaker line-up has been announced. The show is held at London’s ExCel from 18-20 June. This year, the talks will cover courage, resilience and breaking the mould.
Arguably one of the best-known rugby players in the world, Jonny Wilkinson CBE famously kicked the drop goal that won England the 2003 World Cup with just seconds left in the final. He then went on to be rated as one of the best players in the world in both internationals and at club level, with Newcastle and Toulon. In a stellar career Jonny also accumulated four Six Nations titles and when he retired in 2011, he was the highest international points scorer of all time.
A promising youth player, Jonny abandoned his university studies to join the Newcastle Falcons, a team he would spend the next 12 years with. He made his international debut at the age of 18, becoming England’s youngest ever player, and within 18 months had scored 100 test points.
In the 2003 World Cup, he played a key role scoring in almost every match he played. His drop goal in the final against Australia secured the trophy for England for the first time in their history. He was the competition’s top points scorer and later that was named the IRB International Player of the Year and BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Much of Jonny’s success on the field, however, took its psychological toll. He has dealt with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. In his honest, unguarded speech, entitled ‘Success on the field and mental health: a personal account of understanding what matters’, Jonny will recount how his focus and dedication to the sport he loves meant overlooking important parts of his life. He will consider what that experience has taught him about mental health and will talk about his personal journey to acceptance.
Jonny on teamwork
“I only get the points because I have team-mates who do the work and put me in the position to get them.”
“Right through to the end of the last World Cup game, I still couldn’t bear the thought of not being perfect or letting people down.”
Jonny on his motivations
“I play with a fear of letting people down. That’s what motivates me.”
“My own position is so far on the obsessive side of preparation and professionalism that I fear my point of view is not going to be shared by anyone.”
“When you’re obsessive, like me, searching for something unattainable can become unhealthy… it’s like falling through the air and grabbing at the clouds.”
“I never ever believed that I would be able to give up on this dream which has driven me to live, breathe, love and embrace the game of rugby from the earliest days that I can remember.”
“We need to ask ourselves what are we here for and what have we worked so hard to be here for.”
Jonny on striving for perfection
“I’m pretty aware that the pursuit of perfection is, inherently, a flawed concept.”
Jonny on his career
“I want to be more than just some guy who played in a World Cup final.”
“What I am proud of is I have searched for the best of me and I have been a team man without fail.”
“The problem with me is I always think I should’ve done better. I felt that after the World Cup final and through my whole career.”
“To say I have played through four World Cups, two Lions tours, 91 international games and a ridiculous number of injuries and other setbacks gives me an incredibly special feeling of fulfilment. I know myself well enough to know that I will never truly be satisfied.”
“I like to think I play rugby as it should be played – there are no yellow or red cards in my collection –
but I cannot say I’m an angel.”
Jonny on karma
“Failing at something is one thing, but Buddhism tells us that it is up to us how we interpret that failure [Buddhism] a philosophy and way of life that resonates with me I identify with it. I agree with so much of the sentiment behind it. I enjoy the liberating effect it’s had on me to get back into the game Buddhism, with its concepts of karma and rebirth, have freed me from the twin fears of death and life without rugby, like life, will also come to an end.”
Johnny will be taking to the Keynote Stage at Safety & Health Expo on Thursday 20 June at 11:30am. He will be joined at the show by fellow Inspirational Speakers, Eddie The Eagle and Steph McGovern.
To book your free place, click the link at the bottom of the page.
Get your free ticket to Alastair Campbell's talk at Safety & Health Expo 2020
ExCeL London, 11:30, Tuesday 8 September
Be inspired by former Downing Street Director of Communications and mental health activist Alastair Campbell as he shares his story of living with—and surviving—depression, and talks about how he went from the high-pressure world of political strategy to becoming a Mind ambassador and advocate. Get your free ticket today and secure your place at the Keynote Arena.