Tips From The Top: One On One With Justin Coghlan

I spoke to Justin Coghlan, Co-Founder of Movember and the Movember Foundation, about his best advice

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Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to share your advice. First things first, though, I am sure readers would love to learn more about you. What is something about you that would surprise people?
JC: Attention to detail. I have a laid-back approach to everything, always keeping things simple, clean and fun. But people are always surprised about the level of detail that I focus on and expect when I work. Most people would be surprised at the order of my inbox and color coded wardrobe.
Adam: How did you get here? What failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth?
JC: What I said no to has defined me. I’ve had losses and large setbacks in my life – both in business and personal. From running big commercial businesses to running the world’s largest men’s health organization to the loss of amazing humans who helped made me who I am today. All have faced setbacks. But it’s these challenges that have pushed me. Moments that were really uncomfortable, that seemed to have no way through, when your back’s against the wall, that’s when you learn.

Adam: In your experience, what are the defining qualities of an effective leader? How can leaders and aspiring leaders take their leadership skills to the next level?

JC: Listen to your people. Nothing is more important than human capital. Understanding and listening. Never be the smartest person in the room, always try to surround yourself with people smarter than you. Every problem, no matter how big. There is always a solution. You don’t always have to be the one talking.

Adam: What are your three best tips applicable to entrepreneurs, executives and civic leaders?


1. Be honest and humble
2. Make sure you’re always having fun – once that ends, it’s time to get out
3. Surround yourself with the smartest and most creative people – always set a three-year journey for them to basically make them better humans so they can move onto their next challenge. That is your job as a leader. Always be a gentleman.

Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received?

JC: Super fine line between failure and success. You should never be afraid of failure but learn and grow from it. Try again.
Adam: What is one thing everyone should be doing to pay it forward?
JC: Making sure every day that we leave the planet in a better shape than when we came into it. Be better humans. Good manners and a smile will get you everywhere. Be kind, even in the smallest ways, you just don’t know what other people are dealing with.
Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?
JC: As an Australian who had the privilege of growing up on the north shore of Sydney , I was brought up on the ocean. I love any sport that takes me onto water, liquid or frozen – surfing, sailing, kite boarding or snowboarding. I also love old school motorcycles, hence why we got involved with The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR), which is an incredible global motorcycle ride in over 650 cities that raises important funds for men’s health issues in partnership with The Movember Foundation. The ride was inspired by a photo of Mad Men’s Don Draper astride a classic bike and wearing his finest suit. DGR founder Mark Hawwa decided a themed ride would be a great way to combat the often-negative stereotype of men on motorcycles, whilst connecting niche motorcycle communities together. The DGR is such an incredible partner for Movember as much like the ethos of the ride, Movember is working to eliminate stigmas, socially connect and strengthen communities. We want to reshape the conversation around talking about men’s mental health, checking in on your friends and understanding your family history, and this event allows us to show up and further spread this message around the world. With over 120,000 of your friends in over 101 countries, you get to ride great looking bikes and do some good, what could be better?
Adam: Is there anything else you would like to share?
JC: If I could give any advice, social connectivity is the key to life. Spend time with people who make you feel good. For a happy, healthier and longer existence in life, friends are invaluable and knowledge is truly power. So, if everyone can check their historical numbers – from cancer to health, know your family medical history, go to the doctor, get tested for anything you are at risk for, check in with your friends to make sure they are ok. That and making sure we are all actively helping to leave our planet in a better place, for the generations to come.
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