Trevor Torrance on the Hero's Kindness
Updated: Mar 22, 2020
Director at BMore
Consumption: Soy Latte
We’ve never met before but based on my friend’s description, the tall, athletic guy entering the café, dressed in a colourful fitting shirt must be Trevor Torrance. He elegantly stops in mid-move and flashes a big smile. Trevor is one of those people that have the whiff of fresh air and smart ideas about them.
The beauty of 50 grounds interviews is, that I can stroll into an interview unbiased. I know very little about Trevor and I know nothing about his sporting history.
‘I started as a professional athlete by playing basketball for the Perth Wildcats’, Trevor explains.
‘I was one of their founding team members, part of the first-ever team winning the championships and I was thrown at the media at the age of 19. It was a phenomenal training ground for many areas particularly around discipline, self-motivation and understanding complexities of teamwork and society. ‘
Sporting philistine that I am, I later googled that Trevor has 253 games to his name and that he is nowadays discussed on the Wildcat’s website as a contender for ‘Best Aussie Wildcat of All-Time’. Twice he won with the 1990 and 1991 championship teams.
‘About 3 years before my retirement, I was very undecided about what I wanted to do afterwards. ‘
While he goes on explaining how he became interested in Naturopathy, I can’t help to think of the Hero’s journey concept.
In comparative mythology, the monomyth, or the hero's journey, is storytelling that involves a hero who goes from his known world into the unknown. Through mastering the challenges, he or she succeeds in being transformed and changed. For a nerd like me, the journey is well illustrated by the story of The Hobbit.
Trevor’s move into the unknown begins by taking a car ride to a local sightseeing place aptly called Crystal Cave. Spontaneously he visits a nearby residing Astrologer who gives him a book about Natural medicine.
Well, by now I picture Trevor on this part of the hero’s journey:
‘I read it but it felt like I learned something I already knew. From there on I commenced studies, but I fell in with the corporate world before I finished the natural healing course.’
‘I worked my way into leading large teams in organisations and kept progressing because of the discipline I learnt during my basketball career. I was always looking ahead for the next step on how I could become better. I eventually became the Global Head of Learning and Talent for HSBC, a large bank.
‘I continued to work in the HR and talent arena, moved to the Middle East and North Africa. Around that time, I realised the one element missing in my life was love.
I met my partner Stuart who became my husband. I’m now a father of two kids.'
'It’s pretty humbling to be a Dad and hence my desire to make a difference to humanity.'
'I decided to return to Australia focusing on my personal development and family.
‘My career has always been about building teams and people strategies. I struggle with organisations which say one thing and do another to their people.
‘I recognise now that I did this, too, when I was playing basketball. I was a lost soul. I said different things to different people; all in the service of myself - because I was a sportsman; I was full of ego.
‘It took me a lot of time and pain to unpick that and rebuild.’
After a brief period in the Education sector and Management Consulting with many lessons learnt, Trevor leaves his traditional corporate career behind to focus on his new path.
Inspired by Gary Holz’s book, Trevor decided to finally take the leap and make the career change. He founded his coaching business BMore in 2019.
Trevor’s hero journey arrives there:
‘I want to be living by my standards, bring back healing to the world, make the impact I need to make. I have further developed my coaching techniques to include Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT)’, Trevor explains.
‘It is a rapid form of healing through hypnotherapy with incredible results on a multitude of levels. It’s deep work with individuals to release what’s holding them back from being their best self.’
In the longer term, Trevor plans to tailor RTT to organisations. ‘There is a desire in business to include more well-being and mindfulness at work.’
For now, he offers it as an optional part of individual coaching packages.
‘It takes discipline to set yourself in a frame of mind every morning asking yourself ‘what's your intent?’
I wonder how we will go about approaching the corporate world in future. The perception of ‘hard versus soft skills’ and the cynicism often dominant in corporations will certainly be challenging him.
He pauses and smiles calmly, ‘you can only meet people where they’re at.’
‘I often spend a significant amount of time working with people’s rational side of the brain to give them logical facts about how the human brain works. When Scientists need science as a medium, I’ll meet them at that point to build on the development.
‘For example, if you imagine you hold a juicy ripe lemon in your hand. And you imagine you take a bite… exactly, your mouth starts to water. Your brain is about suggestibility and it’s there to protect you as it has done all your life with the dialogue in your head. You can reframe that dialogue.‘
‘Naturally, there will always be people who aren’t ready to let go of what’s holding them in their space. To progress to a higher level of adulthood development, I think you need to let go of some things you’ve outgrown even though they got you to where you are now.
‘It was hard for me to let go of my past identities as an athlete and senior manager and move on to BMore. My self-perception was all about social acceptance.’
Trevor’s openness is disarming. ‘Being a perfectionist meant also that I held a lot of impostor syndrome,’ he chuckles about his former demeanour.
‘My identity perception has shifted. Now ‘being successful’ means I made a genuine difference to people, not because I need to feed my ego.’
‘Being your true self every day in any scenario takes a huge amount of courage.'
'We are so many things to different people; I’m a father, a husband, a best friend. Potentially you could build many versions of your self and easily lose who you truly are’, Trevor reflects.
It reminds me of brand-building. I describe ‘authenticity’ of the brand persona as necessary so you can build a successful brand around people and their culture.
Trevor agrees with my analogy.
‘The concept of a brand is bringing a lot of value to a business if it's done well because it brings in the external view of the organisation. Without a strong awareness of what is influencing the internal, you get a great disconnect between the working culture and market expectations.'
It looks to me as if Trevor is about to take his talent and learnings into a new cycle of the journey.
He sees himself balancing individual coaching and therapy work on a global scale. He loves to be exposed to different cultures.
‘Last week I was in Thailand coaching during a corporate retreat. I was so grateful for the cultural experience. Every morning at 5 am a Buddhist monk came paddling up the river, collecting gifts and giving prayers. It deeply touched me meeting him and experiencing giving without expectation.
‘Kindness and trust are fundamental to human beings and certainly, we could use more of that in the corporate world.’
‘I believe the 3 key values supporting trust are showing compassion, kindness and gratitude towards self and the team.’
Trevor’s message is to remember the word ‘kind’, as in ‘humankind'’.
I think he’s one of those hero guys who doesn’t need to wear a cape with a number.
The Common Ground:
The hero’s journey concept seems to be more like a ‘slinky’ than a ‘perfect circle’. One spiral circle leads to the next, but they are intrinsically connected and move each other along.
Listening to Trevor I was reminded of the debate to balance the left-right brain skills in organisations. The dismissal of emotional mastery and psychological safety as ‘soft skills’ is, in my opinion, the key limiting factor to a resilient healthy culture.
Kindness is not a soft skill. It takes courage and self-awareness to act on it
Gratitude is not a soft skill. It requires discipline to be consistently who you are on your journey
Compassion is not a soft skill. It requires ongoing mastery of gratitude and kindness.