Martial Arts Teacher and Motivational Speaker, Nadine Champion (yes, Champion really is her last name) certainly knows what it means to fight – both in business, and in life.

Securing a spot on the TedX Stage at the Sydney Opera House earlier this year, Nadine has truly embraced the battles she’s faced over the years by letting them fuel her to share her story with hundreds, inspiring others to fight harder and feel stronger as a result.

A true fighter, in many senses of the word, we uncovered a few of Nadine’s hints and tips for standing up, staying strong and winning at, well, life.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Nadine Champion, I’m a martial arts teacher and motivational speaker specialising in helping people use their courage from the everyday to the truly inspiring.

Delivering a TedX talk at the Sydney opera House is huge! What was the experience like?

The TEDx experience was amazing and I felt very honoured to be asked to speak, let alone be the closing speaker. It was a humbling and thrilling opportunity to share something that means the world to me. I wrote from the heart and knew that for me it wasn’t enough to talk about the concept of courage – I had to live it on stage in front of thousands.

When I received a standing ovation it brought back feelings from my title fighting days of risking it all and succeeding. After my battle with cancer (Hodgkin’s Lymphoma & yes I’m in full remission) I thought I would never get to feel those things again so that was an unexpected benefit that literally brought me to tears.

How did you secure your slot on the TedX stage?

One of my students put me forward to speak as she had previously done some work with TEDx. I was placed into a pool of about 100 potential candidates and interviewed at length. We discussed not only what I might speak about but also lots of other general topics. They wanted a sense of who I was and the way I saw things. They told me later they were looking for a story, like mine apparently, that hadn’t been told before. That old KPI adage is true – nobody else has our unique set of experiences and perspectives.

How did you prepare for your talk?

I prepared the same way I would for a title fight. I started with my mind. I made decisions about how I would approach writing my speech, about what I wanted to be known for and before I even started I locked on to a feeling of confidence and certainty.

Now I’m not saying I didn’t psych myself out a few times along the way with questioning who would want to listen to my little old story. That was especially the case when I found out Dr Charlie Teo & Julian Burnside were also speaking on the day. That’s why I knew from the start I had to prepare with confidence and courage.

Once I was done writing I started practicing. A lot. I knew from my fighting days that the antidote to nerves is being well prepared. So I printed my slideshow and stuck it to my living room wall so it would solidify in my mind. I practiced until it was fun, then I practiced some more. A few days before TEDx I took a couple of days away in Queensland by myself. I worked my ass off practicing and then I would recharge by walking on the beach. I knew I needed to peak at the exact right time and with a good energy so I could sprint across the finish line.

What are your 3 essential tips for others on delivering a Tedx talk?

#1: just be your authentic self. At first I was concerned my story was too personal for TEDx, but the more I got down to what really mattered to me to say, the more I was told it was valuable because it was truthful.

#2: people connect more when you show instead of tell. My first draft was all about me trying hard to convey a certain message which in retrospect might have sounded like trying to tell people what I thought they should do. In the end I just shared my story and showed what I had learnt along the way. People want to know the message but they want the story more.

#3: make a choice to enjoy the experience even though it’s stressful. As I stood backstage minutes before I went on and peered nervously around the curtain at the red TEDx carpet, I made up my mind how it would feel to stand out there. I turned up the volume on feelings like excitement and fun instead of listening to the unhelpful thought that I might panic, go blank and spontaneously combust. I had a great time on stage and found a new calling.

What’s next for you? 

What’s next for me is frantically GSDing!! I am happy to say there are lots of opportunities for practicing the 5 P’s coming my way. Literally the next step for me is publishing my book and growing my business into the big dream I have for it. I have lots of learning ahead of me but I look forward through the lens of a KPI now which is exciting.

If you could offer some key advice on being an entrepreneur, what would it be? 

I’d say don’t be afraid of some blood, sweat and the tears that come with it. Prepare yourself well for challenges and never say no because you’re afraid and want to stay in your comfort zone. Be humble enough to ask for help and admit what you don’t know. When you push yourself to really make things happen, I’ve found others get inspired to help you. Most of all just accept that you’re going to take some hits along the way and all you can do is be responsible for how you respond to them in a positive way. You must back yourself.

What have been the most important P’s for you (Pitch, Profile, Publish, Product or Partnerships), and why? 

The most important P’s for me were Product and Profile. I was stuck in selling my time for money without any products and KPI made me see that in a whole new light. The main P I have been working this year is Profile. I see the value now in putting myself out there more and engaging. People stop me in the street (or the bathroom which is awkward) because they know me from my TEDx talk which when boiled down was a profile opportunity. I use KPI concepts daily in numerous ways and I can see how incredibly valuable they are, and I have the support of an enthusiastic KPI community behind me.

How would you describe your KPI journey?

KPI really opened up my eyes to a bigger picture in business. It made so many more things seem possible and I learnt so much from bottom to top. KPI started out for me as a huge learning curve and I felt a bit like a mini-entrepreneur in a room full of serious business people. I got stuck so many times at different levels, but I persevered and came back to things later when the time was right and they made more sense. Sometimes the path forward hasn’t yet presented itself, but my KPI journey meant that when I saw a new path opening up I went full steam ahead towards it.

You can watch Nadine’s powerful talk on the TedX stage, here.

And connect with Nadine, here:



Twitter & Instagram: @girlsachamp