The RESET conference yesterday in Sydney was filled to the brim with thought-provoking sessions, which the AANA curated so marketers can “disrupt their thinking for the year ahead”.
John Maclean’s story is one of determination, resilience and hard work – and he certainly asked some thought-provoking questions.
He’s been praised around the world for his inspirational speeches, so despite not working in the marketing or advertising industries, he still had some invaluable advice for the RESET attendees – firstly, that “things don’t always unfold the way we want them to”.
Maclean can attest to this, after being involved in a monster accident while riding his bike at 22 years of age.
Maclean was an upcoming rugby star with an emerging interest in triathlons, and overall had a great life – until he was hit by a truck.
“What would you do if this was you?” Maclean asked, showing pictures taken of him severely injured on the side of the road.
He broke 15 bones and was in a coma for four days before waking up in the spinal ward a paraplegic.
Nevertheless, Maclean was told, “John, you will be bigger and you will be stronger and you will be faster”. And that was the seed of hope he needed to keep going.
Maclean struggled at first with being disabled.
“One minute you’re signing autographs for boys and girls, and the next minute your categorised as being less than everybody else,” he told RESET attendees.
But Maclean ended up competing in numerous sports events like the Paralympics and Hawaii Ironman, and has also swam the English Channel.
“Nothing great is easy,” he continued. “And guess what? Life isn’t easy. If you want to do something, it needs to be something worth doing.”
Maclean finished his presentation with a “60 minutes” clip of him learning to walk after 25 years, followed by a recount of his first able-bodied triathlon – earning a standing ovation from the crowd.
“I stand before you as the world slowest triathlete. But I stand before you,” he said.