Rewriting the rule book - Lisa Curry

Commonwealth Games gold medallist, outrigger canoeing pioneer, mum, and entrepreneur, Lisa Curry shares the drive that propelled her from champion swimmer to successful coach and businesswoman.

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Part 1 - Leading the set

Although long retired from professional sport, Lisa Curry, 54, has more energy, passion and focus than many women her age. As a swimmer and outrigger paddler, Curry’s professional sporting career spans an inspiring 23 years, during which she collected over 50 medals at international swimming competitions and four Outrigger World Championships. Along the way Lisa faced criticism and tough challenges head on, always demanding the best of herself and others.

Today Lisa adapts the skills she learned as a successful athlete and coach to drive the success of her businesses, KISS 10 Week Weight-Loss and Fitness Programs and Happy Hormones, a natural hormonal balance supplement for women. She manages these while providing fitness coaching, personal training sessions, adventure retreats and keynote motivational speaking engagements.

Curry has achieved great success in her life, but her proudest achievement is the help she has given to others, educating and inspiring everyday Australians to improve their health, wellness and quality of life.

Intro to the pool

Lisa’s start to swimming was unconventional, to say the least. While fishing with the family at age five in Tangalooma, Queensland, Lisa jumped into the water after her father and sank to the bottom. Her dad dragged her from the water and her parents quickly enrolled her into swimming lessons with teacher Eddie Kitchener.

It wasn’t an easy beginning for Lisa. “I remember thinking how hard it was,” she comments. “I remember crying.” One hot afternoon she asked her mother if she could skip her jazz ballet class and go to the pool. It was there, while playing around in the water, she was spotted by Australian swimming coach Harry Gallagher, who had coached Dawn Fraser. He asked Lisa to swim across the pool several times. Impressed, he invited her to join his squad. She agreed on the spot and so began her swimming career.

The leap into professional swimming was a steep learning curve. In the first session Gallagher asked Lisa to dive in and do ‘one thousand’ and she didn’t know what he meant, so she swam until he told her to stop. Her first lesson in swimming “was simply to do what I was told.”

When Lisa was ten, her coach sat her parents down and told them: “Mr and Mrs Curry, one day Lisa is going to be one of Australia’s fastest free-stylers, so you had better get her teeth straightened because she is going to get her photo taken a lot.”

Curry’s mother was supportive but her father didn’t want her to swim. It was the beginning of the East German dominance of swimming, which extended from the early 1970s to the late 1980s, and her father didn’t want his little girl to become like the muscular German swimmers.

Lisa explains: “Dad didn’t really want me to swim, as it also interrupted family weekends away. We trained 13 times a week, including Sunday mornings and Mum took me to every session. Even though dad didn’t see me race much, I knew he was very proud.”

 

Shane Gould – an inspiration

Lisa was so enthusiastic about swimming her mother never had to wake her. She always set her alarm and even wore her swimsuit to bed. At the time, Lisa idolised female swimmer Shane Gould, MBE, an Australian former competition swimmer who won three gold medals, a silver medal and a bronze at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

“She had blonde hair and I had blonde hair. She held a kangaroo above her when she won, and I wanted to as well.” recalls Lisa. “I wanted to go to the Olympics like her. I didn’t know anything about anything, but I had a coach who planted a seed in my mind about being the fastest swimmer the country has ever seen.”

 

Making her own way

When Gallagher went to Canada to coach after training Lisa for two years, she found a new coach and mentor in Joe King, AM. Joe, an Australian representative swim coach for 27 years from 1966 to 1993, also coached Jill Groeger, Sue Landells, and Hayley Lewis.

‘Mr King’ took Curry to the Olympic Trials at North Sydney Olympic Pool when she was just 13, for experience. She came second in the 200-metre medley and ‘made’ the team. “That was the start of knowing that I can do it, that I was good enough,” she explains. “Disappointingly, they took that event out of the Olympics that year and I didn’t get to go.”

When she made her first overseas swim team at age 14, the selectors decided to take her off the team, as they didn’t expect her to win any medals. With the combined help of the club, they raised the funds for Lisa to go. At the event Lisa won more medals than the other competitors combined on the team.

The experience gave her much-needed confidence. “I learnt very early on that when people say you can’t do something, I’m going to show you that I can,” she comments. “Don’t tell me that I can’t.”

Lisa-Curry-olympic

The Psychology of Winning

Her road to success wasn’t without setbacks. At her first Commonwealth Games in Canada, Lisa achieved fourth place in three races, returning home extremely disappointed and unsure how to improve.

When she heard that a talk was being held by Dr Denis Waitley, author of The Psychology of Winning1, she spent her own money on a ticket and went on her own.

“If you learn one thing and apply it to your life, it can change your life.” Lisa explains. “I learned that day from Waitley that if I wanted to be better, if I wanted to be faster and if I wanted to go to the Olympics and win a medal, I had to depend on myself to do it - no one else was going to do it for me. You can have all the support in the world, but unless you do the work, no one else will do it for you. I had to depend on myself.”

 

Lessons from Mr King

As Lisa spent more and more time at the pool, she would ask her mother to drop her off earlier and collect her later. Lisa would help carry coach “Mr King’s” briefcase full of hand-written programs to the pool, help him open up the gym and lay out the lane ropes. King grew into a father-figure for Lisa, acting as a guiding light throughout her swimming career and her life.

“He taught me so much about living and about being a good person, not just about being a good swimmer,” Lisa explains. “He taught me to appreciate things, to give compliments to people if you think it’s deserving, to visualise the future, to dream big. It wasn’t always about swimming. When I was a teenager, he would say ‘present yourself nicely, don’t wear that, come home early, keep your face out of the sun, look after yourself, wear a hat’.

King was a deep thinker and a detailed analyser, traits which made him one of Australia’s greatest coaches, despite the fact he couldn’t swim. He would also write Curry personal motivational letters prior to competitions, which she cherished.

The relationship wasn’t without occasional conflict. Lisa recalls when during a training session King put Curry against another girl in a last effort. The set was 8 x 200 metres butterfly, a difficult challenge. Her competitor swam behind Curry for the entire set and beat her on the last lap. King commended the girl and Curry was angry, so she threw a kickboard at him in frustration.

“I was angry because he complimented her on something she didn’t really deserve. I was the one who dragged her through. The lesson I learned is that when you lead, you drag others through the water and you’re getting stronger. They are just floating along in your water. From then I always wanted to lead. I tell my son Jett when he trains, not to worry if others don’t lead. When you do the hard work and lead the sets, you’re getting stronger.”

King coached Curry until Lisa’s retirement from swimming. Afterwards their strong friendship and bond continued until Mr King passed away in 1997. 

 

Seeking a challenge

At age 18 Lisa went to the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. In those days swimmers only went to one Olympics and retired, but she wanted to continue swimming.

From the Moscow Games, Curry was offered three scholarships to study in America. She declined all three, which she regretted later on. However, today she acknowledges it was the right decision. “Over there you’re a little fish in a big pond, there are so many people who are so much better than you,” she explains.

At 18, Curry commenced a degree in Sport and Exercise Science at The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), which opened in 1981. She performed well at the Institute, but the weather was cold and she missed her family in Queensland. The tipping point for Curry was when they divided the swim squads into men and women. Lisa was accustomed to training with men back home, where she was in the middle or the back and had to ‘fight’, so she requested to train with the men at the AIS. The head coaches declined, so Lisa left the Institute, returning home to train again with Mr King and the boys.

For Lisa the decision was ultimately about avoiding complacency, ensuring she was constantly challenging herself. “I needed to find people who were better than me. It doesn’t matter if its sport or business - you have to seek out people who are better than you. You have to push yourself and go where the expectations are high. These are all the little lessons I learned along the way.”

The Psychology of Winning

Her road to success wasn’t without setbacks. At her first Commonwealth Games in Canada, Lisa achieved fourth place in three races, returning home extremely disappointed and unsure how to improve.

When she heard that a talk was being held by Dr Denis Waitley, author of The Psychology of Winning1, she spent her own money on a ticket and went on her own.

“If you learn one thing and apply it to your life, it can change your life.” Lisa explains. “I learned that day from Waitley that if I wanted to be better, if I wanted to be faster and if I wanted to go to the Olympics and win a medal, I had to depend on myself to do it - no one else was going to do it for me. You can have all the support in the world, but unless you do the work, no one else will do it for you. I had to depend on myself.”

The Psychology of Winning

Her road to success wasn’t without setbacks. At her first Commonwealth Games in Canada, Lisa achieved fourth place in three races, returning home extremely disappointed and unsure how to improve.

When she heard that a talk was being held by Dr Denis Waitley, author of The Psychology of Winning1, she spent her own money on a ticket and went on her own.

“If you learn one thing and apply it to your life, it can change your life.” Lisa explains. “I learned that day from Waitley that if I wanted to be better, if I wanted to be faster and if I wanted to go to the Olympics and win a medal, I had to depend on myself to do it - no one else was going to do it for me. You can have all the support in the world, but unless you do the work, no one else will do it for you. I had to depend on myself.”

The Psychology of Winning

Her road to success wasn’t without setbacks. At her first Commonwealth Games in Canada, Lisa achieved fourth place in three races, returning home extremely disappointed and unsure how to improve.

When she heard that a talk was being held by Dr Denis Waitley, author of The Psychology of Winning1, she spent her own money on a ticket and went on her own.

“If you learn one thing and apply it to your life, it can change your life.” Lisa explains. “I learned that day from Waitley that if I wanted to be better, if I wanted to be faster and if I wanted to go to the Olympics and win a medal, I had to depend on myself to do it - no one else was going to do it for me. You can have all the support in the world, but unless you do the work, no one else will do it for you. I had to depend on myself.”

The Psychology of Winning

Her road to success wasn’t without setbacks. At her first Commonwealth Games in Canada, Lisa achieved fourth place in three races, returning home extremely disappointed and unsure how to improve.

When she heard that a talk was being held by Dr Denis Waitley, author of The Psychology of Winning1, she spent her own money on a ticket and went on her own.

“If you learn one thing and apply it to your life, it can change your life.” Lisa explains. “I learned that day from Waitley that if I wanted to be better, if I wanted to be faster and if I wanted to go to the Olympics and win a medal, I had to depend on myself to do it - no one else was going to do it for me. You can have all the support in the world, but unless you do the work, no one else will do it for you. I had to depend on myself.”

The Psychology of Winning

Her road to success wasn’t without setbacks. At her first Commonwealth Games in Canada, Lisa achieved fourth place in three races, returning home extremely disappointed and unsure how to improve.

When she heard that a talk was being held by Dr Denis Waitley, author of The Psychology of Winning1, she spent her own money on a ticket and went on her own.

“If you learn one thing and apply it to your life, it can change your life.” Lisa explains. “I learned that day from Waitley that if I wanted to be better, if I wanted to be faster and if I wanted to go to the Olympics and win a medal, I had to depend on myself to do it - no one else was going to do it for me. You can have all the support in the world, but unless you do the work, no one else will do it for you. I had to depend on myself.”

The Psychology of Winning

Her road to success wasn’t without setbacks. At her first Commonwealth Games in Canada, Lisa achieved fourth place in three races, returning home extremely disappointed and unsure how to improve.

When she heard that a talk was being held by Dr Denis Waitley, author of The Psychology of Winning1, she spent her own money on a ticket and went on her own.

“If you learn one thing and apply it to your life, it can change your life.” Lisa explains. “I learned that day from Waitley that if I wanted to be better, if I wanted to be faster and if I wanted to go to the Olympics and win a medal, I had to depend on myself to do it - no one else was going to do it for me. You can have all the support in the world, but unless you do the work, no one else will do it for you. I had to depend on myself.”

The Psychology of Winning

Her road to success wasn’t without setbacks. At her first Commonwealth Games in Canada, Lisa achieved fourth place in three races, returning home extremely disappointed and unsure how to improve.

When she heard that a talk was being held by Dr Denis Waitley, author of The Psychology of Winning1, she spent her own money on a ticket and went on her own.

“If you learn one thing and apply it to your life, it can change your life.” Lisa explains. “I learned that day from Waitley that if I wanted to be better, if I wanted to be faster and if I wanted to go to the Olympics and win a medal, I had to depend on myself to do it - no one else was going to do it for me. You can have all the support in the world, but unless you do the work, no one else will do it for you. I had to depend on myself.”

The Psychology of Winning

Her road to success wasn’t without setbacks. At her first Commonwealth Games in Canada, Lisa achieved fourth place in three races, returning home extremely disappointed and unsure how to improve.

When she heard that a talk was being held by Dr Denis Waitley, author of The Psychology of Winning1, she spent her own money on a ticket and went on her own.

“If you learn one thing and apply it to your life, it can change your life.” Lisa explains. “I learned that day from Waitley that if I wanted to be better, if I wanted to be faster and if I wanted to go to the Olympics and win a medal, I had to depend on myself to do it - no one else was going to do it for me. You can have all the support in the world, but unless you do the work, no one else will do it for you. I had to depend on myself.”

The Psychology of Winning

Her road to success wasn’t without setbacks. At her first Commonwealth Games in Canada, Lisa achieved fourth place in three races, returning home extremely disappointed and unsure how to improve.

When she heard that a talk was being held by Dr Denis Waitley, author of The Psychology of Winning1, she spent her own money on a ticket and went on her own.

“If you learn one thing and apply it to your life, it can change your life.” Lisa explains. “I learned that day from Waitley that if I wanted to be better, if I wanted to be faster and if I wanted to go to the Olympics and win a medal, I had to depend on myself to do it - no one else was going to do it for me. You can have all the support in the world, but unless you do the work, no one else will do it for you. I had to depend on myself.”

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First comeback- Auckland

Lisa met Grant Kenny, Australian Junior and Open Iron Man Champion, before her second Olympic Games in Los Angeles 1984. Together Kenny and Curry trained for the Games, then married in 1986. They have three children, Jaimi (29), Morgan (26) and Jett (22). The couple separated in 2009 after 23 years of marriage.

When their first child Jaimi was born, Curry still drove to Brisbane to train with King in preparation for her first comeback at the Auckland Commonwealth Games in 1990. With the support of Kenny and family, she made it.

The Auckland Commonwealth Games was a great success for Curry, winning four gold Medals - 50 metres freestyle, 100 metres butterfly, 4 x 100 metres freestyle relay and 4 x 100 metres medley relay. After the Auckland Games in 1990, Lisa fell pregnant and her second child Morgan was born later that year.

 

Second comeback - Barcelona

At the 1991 World Swimming Championships in Perth, Curry was watching with Grant from the grand-stands, while feeding one month old baby Morgan. She recalls watching the women’s medley relay final, in which the Australians were leading before being beaten into 2nd place. Curry believed if she was on the team, they would have won, so decided then that she wanted to train for the team and compete in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.

“From the stand I began discussing with Grant how I could train to make the team for Barcelona. I knew I could do it. There was something in me that wanted so badly to be in that relay team,” she explains.

Critics told Curry that at 29 she was too old and wasn’t capable of making the Games. Dawn Fraser publicly claimed that Curry should “hang up her goggles”.

“It’s not about how old you are it’s about how good you are,” defends Lisa. “If I’m not fast enough then I don’t deserve to go, but I was. It was a hard decision because everyone told me the reasons why I couldn’t go. It was a very long, hard, lonely slog; but I knew how much I wanted to be in that team and that kept me going.”

 

A new approach to training

To build the strength she needed for the Games, whilst juggling being a mother to two small girls, Curry knew she had to adapt her training. Due to time constraints with the girls, she swam around a third of the time she once spent training in the pool, and quadrupled her weight training, as the gym had a crèche to help with the girls.

Adding the gym component was a change in the way swimmers trained. Today professional international swimmers all include heavy gym sessions in their training schedules.

To gain a competitive advantage, Lisa also needed to work on her starts. While filming for Uncle Toby’s at Toowong in Brisbane, Curry went to the local gym on her lunchbreak and saw the Brisbane Bullets basketball team conducting Plyometric (jump) training. Curry saw an opportunity to adapt the training to make her starts faster and more powerful, so she approached the coach, Ian King, asking if he could help her train. That very evening they commenced training: squats, deadlifts, running, jumping, reaction training, chin-ups, and dips.

Twice a week Curry would drive to Brisbane, swimming mornings and afternoons with Joe King and training at lunchtimes in the gym with Ian King. In constant communication with Joe King, Lisa completed the rest of her training at home on the Sunshine Coast. Grant was very supportive.

“I was doing chin-ups and dips like a machine. By the time I reached the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 (age 30), I was 59 kilos and a ball of muscle.”

Not long after Barcelona, Curry retired from swimming. Ranked in the top 25 swimmers in the world for the duration of her career since the age of 15, Lisa’s competitive swimming career spans an inspiring 23 years during which she collected 24 gold medals, 21 silver medals, and 8 bronze medals at international competitions. She competed in three Olympic Games (Moscow in 1980, Los Angeles in 1984 and Barcelona in 1992); two World Championships (Berlin in 1978 and Ecuador in 1982); and three Commonwealth Games (Edmonton in 1978, Brisbane in 1982 and Auckland in 1990).

LisaCurry-Coach

Learning to coach

Lisa began outrigger canoeing after retiring from swimming. Her team lost every race for the first two years and Lisa was tired of being beaten, so when the coach moved overseas she volunteered for the role.

She comments: “This was my chance to teach everyone what I’d learnt. I had so much knowledge, experience and training and I wanted to share it.”

Coaching a team as opposed to mastering an individual sport brought new challenges for Curry. Motivating people to bring their best effort was her primary goal. “My expectations were high and I expected people to be like me, but they weren’t. I had to step down the ladder and climb it with them, so we could improve together.”

One day Lisa recalls the teams were a little complacent, so she stopped the boats and asked them to paddle like they hated their husbands. I couldn’t think of anything else on the spot, but funnily enough it worked. They paddled faster than they ever had. She told them if they paddled like that every stroke, no one would come near them. “That was a turning point,” she explains. “The team lifted, with more aggression and intensity. We started winning, and that snowballs within a group.”

Under Curry’s leadership, her team won every race for the next five years and came second in the World Championships in Hawaii as the Australian team, the Riggeroos. Curry bought a couple of drinks for key members of the winning team, taking the opportunity to ask them how they trained, their schedule, their selection criteria and tactics. She took everything back home and applied it to the team.

“Instead of training like girls we trained like athletes. It’s a bigger step up. You think differently. You say the right words. There is no whingeing. You leave your baggage in the car. You recover properly. You eat properly.”

Lisa coached the Riggeroos, many of whom were mothers, to win four World Championships in the 72km Outrigger Canoe race in Hawaii – the first Australian team to do so in the race's history. Curry paddled outriggers for twenty years and was also the first Australian ever to win the Hawaiian Molokai to Oahu 66km solo race.

 

Understanding the individuals within the team

Curry learned to adapt her coaching approach to different personalities within the team. “Having 30 or 40 women in your group, everyone is different. You have to understand their individual needs and what you can ask of them. I knew all my girls well and they were very loyal to me.”

She also believes in giving people a chance to prove themselves, to never underestimate people and avoid judging people too quickly – lessons that she also applies to business. “All people need is someone to believe in them, the right words at the right time, all they need is the work and if they do the work and they follow instructions the results will be there.”

 

Healthy habits  'attitude' and 'aptitude'

Now a successful businesswoman, Lisa applies her many learnings as an athlete to her life after professional sport.

“Getting through life and achieving your goals, is as much about attitude, as aptitude. It’s as much about your mental preparation as your physical ability. Most of all, it’s about having a positive attitude, a passion for living and following your dreams.”

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Part 2 - Passion for business

Having achieved great success in her swimming and outrigging career, Lisa Curry today manages two online health and nutrition businesses KISS and Happy Hormones. She also travels the country as a motivational speaker and is regularly requested for media engagements.

 

 

A natural career evolution

For Lisa, the transition from professional sports into other pursuits has been a natural evolution. From mastering the physical and mental disciplines of individual sports, to learning leadership skills by coaching her outrigging teams, to representing herself as a brand via public speaking, Curry has evolved from a young swimmer into a self-made entrepreneur and an inspiring spokesperson.

Her first role was doing promotional work and events for the Queensland Tourism and Travel Corporation and Queensland Travel for several years, and for 23 years she was the promotional spokesperson for Uncle Toby’s muesli bars, while swimming and outrigging.

While working with Uncle Toby’s, Curry travelled for 20 weeks flying to 126 different locations across Australia within one year, which exposed her to public speaking from a young age. She learned to adapt her talks to widely different audiences and mastered the art of motivational speaking. ‘There are people in every town who were deeply affected by my talks, sometimes to the point of tears,” she says. “It’s great to have that positive impact.”

From there Lisa commentated for the Seoul Olympics, performed guest speaking roles on Sunday Wide World of Sports and wrote several books.

She admits that while she enjoyed the work, it was nothing like the satisfaction she drew from swimming.  “There’s something about being in the water and touching that wall, it’s very special,” she explains.

 

Australia Day Council

Curry was appointed Chairman of the National Australia Day Council by John Howard in 2000 and held the position for 8 years.

It was a tough start, with a lack of alignment in goals and vision amongst the team and Curry felt unable to implement the changes needed and expected by Howard.

“I went to Mr Howard and said: ‘You want me to do this job, but I feel I have one arm tied behind my back. I can’t do this with the people that are here. So he told me to do what I had to do.”

Curry made the tough decision to dismiss the Board and Managing Director, hiring the people she knew they needed to turn the Council around, which they did. “I was looking for spirit, enthusiasm for Australia Day, professionalism, work ethic. People who work hard, have respect and people with the correct skill set to get things done.”

Lisa confesses she had no business training, but approached the challenge with passion and accountability. It was all training for managing her businesses in the years ahead.

 

Losing Mr King

When Mr King, coach, father-figure and mentor throughout Lisa’s entire life passed away in 1997, Lisa says she felt it was the worst day of her life. “I wanted that extra bit of time with him,” she shares. “I didn’t think he was that close.”

At his funeral Lisa wasn’t asked to speak, however when she arrived the minister said she could say something if she wished. Lisa declined as she was feeling emotional and wanted to have things written down. The President of Australian Swimming spoke about his medals and achievements, but Curry felt the man had no idea what King had done for his swimmers or for her personally.

His assistant asked Lisa if there was anything of Mr. King’s she wanted and Lisa requested his box of hand-written training programs, which she had carried to and from their training sessions in his briefcase as a child. Unfortunately the programs had been thrown out along with years of history of one of Australia’s greatest swimming coaches.

Lisa was given Mr King’s briefcase and his Olympic Blazer to keep, along with all that he taught her.

Lisa-John-Howard

Myocarditis

Lisa’s move away from competitive sport was accelerated she was diagnosed with a virus in Hawaii prior to a race. The doctor told her she shouldn’t race but she made the decision to go compete. At six and a half hours into the race, she stopped with, “nothing left in the tank”. Her son Jett (12 at the time) called from the escort boat for her to “hurry up” because he was bored, she pushed through the race and went on to finish in seven hours and four minutes in second place.

Five months later on a walk back home in Sydney with a friend, who also happened to be a paramedic, she explained she felt she had a 20 kilo weight sitting on her chest and was having difficulty breathing. Her friend took her to the hospital where they admitted her into intensive care, and discovered she had 22,000 irregular heart-beats per day. Lisa was diagnosed with myocarditis, then contracted an infection and was in hospital for a month.

While in hospital, the man in the next room, passed away from heart disease, who she had been talking with during her stay. “I thought, what can I do to help prevent this from happening to someone else’s Dad?” She did some work with the heart foundation and learned that 60 people die every day of heart disease. The idea for the “One Life, One Chance Roadtrip” was born.

 

Retiring from professional racing

Lisa’s good friend and outrigging team member Cheryl Scribe (who moved from Canada to the Sunshine Coast to train with Curry) told Lisa that the heart condition was her body telling her to slow down, that it was a sign to listen to her body.

“Cheryl was right, it was a real opportunity to reflect and slow down,” comments Lisa. “You can’t keep going, working training, coaching, wanting to win all the time. I knew that it was time to reset; to change what I didn’t like and to create the life I really wanted.”

Curry made the decision to retire from professional racing, take a positive step forward and share the lessons she’d learned about life, health and wellness with the Australian people.

 

One Life One Chance Roadtrip

The roadtrip was two years in planning and was Lisa’s idea to reach out to the people and do the one-on-one work to inspire people to make proactive change to their lifestyle.

“Fifty percent of people who have a heart attack, die. Their first and only symptom is death. You can’t tell these people enough until something happens that jolts them out of it. This trip was about trying to prevent that.”

From 2013 to 2015, Curry travelled by Motorhome to 100 Australian towns, to educate everyday Australians on how to live a healthy lifestyle. In each town she held community training sessions and a free seminar where she shared with the community tips on how to lose weight, get fit and improve their health, anywhere, anytime and on any budget.

“It was a great success although it was hard, you’re with people from 5am in the morning to 9 pm at night. People are in tears, they are motivated, inspired and overwhelmed. We would spend up to five days in some towns. There was at least one person in every town I remember who was deeply affected and went on to lose 10, 15, or 20 kilos.”

Today Lisa still receives messages from the people she met along the way, sharing their incredible weight-loss journeys from attending her sessions. “It makes me feel amazing,” she says.

 

Mastering another craft

During the last months of the road-trip, a friend taught Curry to crochet, another craft she swiftly learned and mastered, giving her much-needed solace while travelling on the road between towns.

Curry crocheted an Australian flag and an Indigenous flag and presented them to the elders at Ayers Rock on the last day of the road-trip and also made dream catchers for the children at the school where they hang in their classroom today. She also made many beanies for a local children’s hospital and has crocheted blankets for her children.

“They’re made with love,” she says. “I’ve changed a bit since the road-trip. I’ve slowed down, become more crafty, a little more homely.” She met her partner, entertainer Mark Tabone, on a walk for TLC for kids in 2015 and she says he has changed her, bringing a calm positive energy into her life. The couple has planned a long future together and plan to work together on developing a wellness retreat in the next few years.

 

Changing direction means finding a passion

Every career comes to end but when that happens, how do you know what’s next? Lisa says a career change or reinventing yourself is about understanding what you’re happy doing and sometimes what is a natural evolution from where you have been.

“Some people don’t know how to change, they’re not advised well enough. Many swimmers retire and they’re lost, they don’t know what to do. When I retired from swimming and outrigging I always had my kids to look after and they were the most important thing in my life, so I was quite happy. But I was missing something purely for me. You still have to find a passion in something.”

Now back from the roadtrip having spent years reaching out to Australians, Lisa is grateful that clients now come to her. Lisa runs bootcamps, retreats, is planning a special retreat in Fiji in June and also works at Fernwood Fitness on the Sunshine Coast twice a week, enjoying spending time with people. 

LisaCurry-business_and_speaking

Online businesses – KISS and Happy Hormones

Lisa’s successful online business KISS 10 Week Weight-Loss and Fitness Programs offers programs to transform your life, including nutrition programs using real, everyday, simple food rather than shakes, weight loss programs, strength and swimming programs.

“Every week people tell me they’ve lost five, 10 or 15 kilos, some 30-35 kilos. It’s really nice to know I’ve developed something that works because it’s not about a quick fix, it’s positive habit forming. It’s not about having meal replacements or shakes or anything like that its about having real food, it’s educational as well.”

“People don’t get results because they don’t follow a system of any sort. I'm quite analytical and systemized and to get results you have to follow a system. I also wrote a swimming program, including 10 weeks of swimming sessions, for people who like to get results. Otherwise you’re just swimming up and down and you get little fitness benefit at all. It’s also printed on waterproof paper so if it gets wet it doesn’t matter.”

 

Happy Hormones

Lisa’s other online business, Happy Hormones, improves the quality of women’s lives with the provision of a hormone supplement in powdered form that can be added to smoothies, cereals or mixed in with water.

“Women who go to the doctor with symptoms of hormonal imbalance have symptoms typical of depression. So the doctors, who are not hormonal specialists, give scripts for antidepressants. But it’s often not depression, it’s their hormones that are all out of balance for various reasons,” Lisa explains.

“The supplements are for all women - even teenagers. The quality of food, alcohol, lifestyle, even stress at school is impacting children at a younger age. At least now we know it exists, thanks to Naturopath and Hormonal specialist Jeff Butterworth. Women are advised to complete the online assessment, get the report back, and take positive action from there. It’s going extremely well and women have said it has totally changed their lives.”

 

What’s next?

For Lisa, the concept of retirement in the true sense doesn’t exist. She plans to work on a special retreat on the Sunshine Coast, the plans of which are still “a secret”, while still managing her online businesses, speaking and staying connected to people.

Lisa also has advice for fellow entrepreneurs and business owners and managers, from her experience coaching and running her own businesses.

“My life has evolved now to the point where I can choose which way I want to go. I want to go where my passion lies. Everything I do is about lifestyle, wellness, health, weight loss, being passionate, being creative, setting goals and living because life is really short. You don’t want to live your life being unhappy and not doing anything. You don’t live your life by not being passionate. You have the power to create the life you want.”

Ultimately, Curry is living her life the way King would have wanted her to – making every day count.

She explains: “My coach Mr King said to me 2 weeks before he died, ‘Don’t be sad, I’ve had a fantastic life, I’ve travelled the world, I’ve helped so many people. I want to leave you with one thing and it’s this: make every day count Lisa. And I do. I love my life and I love what I do,” she acknowledges.

“I know he’s looking down on me saying ‘good job Lisa’, I know he would be proud of me.”

 

Sources:

1 The Psychology of Winning, Dr Denis Waitley, Mass Market Paperback, October 15, 1986