Ellis Watson on the search for his Mum, success from crisis and how to spot a bad billionaire
January 28, 2022. Series 5. Episode 39
For our first outdoor episode media business leader and one of a kind motivational speaker Ellis Watson joins me for a walk in the Scottish Highlands.
Ellis has worked at the sharp end of corporate crisis – heading a national newspaper business, turning around The Greyhound bus operation in the US and as Global CEO of Simon Cowell’s Syco Corporation, before taking charge of UK media group DC Thomson.
But behind his professional success is a personal story of resilience and hope. Ellis was given up for adoption as a baby and his teenage search for his birth parents ended with a truly astonishing revelation.
This is a story told with humour and passion but without a scintilla of self-pity. He speaks with incredible candour about the extreme ups and downs of a career spent in the company of billionaires, one of whom was Rupert Murdoch – the boss he walked out on in a scene worthy of Succession. Ellis also reflects on the mountain top drama that almost cost him his life.
Known as one of the most inspiring and entertaining keynote speakers in the country, Ellis is one of the few people to have been invited back to deliver a second TEDx talk. In this conversation he provides brilliant insights for anyone interested in how crisis can fuel and drive growth and deliver life-changing perspective.
Ellis’ Crisis Cures:
1. Exercise – I hate the thought of doing it but afterwards it gives a sense of calm and perspective. In crisis it makes you feel like you’ve achieved something, no matter how modest. It makes you feel like you can take control and overcome adversity and difficulty.
2. Sleep – Crisis causes you to have interrupted or poor sleep and of course when you have poor sleep you’re much, much worse at handling crisis. As vicious circles go, it’s about as destructive a thing as you can get.
3. Dogs – I get excellent counsel and feedback from a chat with my dogs. Mine think I’m pretty clever and agree with me – especially just before they’re about to get fed.
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