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Sunday, 11 May 2014

GarconJon Test...Liam Chennells

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Name: Liam Chennells
Age: 24
Location: Blackheath, London
Horoscope: Scorpio
Life Motto: You are the sum of the average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with.

As a 24 year old, you've lived quite a few lives. Tell me about your career progression into rugby... I always played Rugby as a child and when I was 13 got a scholarship to attend rugby school, training every day from that age. This led me directly into the professional world which was a dream come true.

What was your favourite thing about the sport? I love the physical aspect but rugby allowed me to travel and meet some truly amazing people along the way. I've played in Dubai, Las Vegas, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Rome, Hong Kong, South Africa and where I was based during that time, New Zealand.

What was life in New Zealand like? It was amazing as I left a naive 19 year old from England and came back a completely different person. On the whole it's a nation of humble, calm and hard working people. It's had a huge influence on me and I will always be grateful for that. It's also gorgeous, I remember driving down a road at less than half of the speed limit. Just crawling along a main road holding up all the traffic because of the scenery.

As a professional althete you must've sustained some injury's along the way, any worth sharing? I've had two seperate plates inserted into my hands, plates in my shoulder, my left eye socket was entirely rebuilt and I've had some quite serious operations on my knee. I've broken my ribs, fingers, wrist, foot, coccyx, collarbone and nose. My neck needs constant physio and I've suffered 4 concussions.

Now you're living in London and working in the City. What's your life like now? When I got back from playing Rugby in New Zealand in 2010 I focused solely on my career. I work in eCommerce helping retailers to build their online offering. I've gone from making 100+ cold calls a day when I started to regularly dealing with C-suite contacts at leading retailers. I'm heading in the right direction but nowhere near where I want to be. My plan is to just work hard and hope for a bit of luck along the way!

Does your time in pro-sport influence the way you approach life today? Only in that it is important to work with the people around you to achieve. Understanding the strengths of others and being aware of what it is you offer is important in so many different situations.

You've recently shaved off a mighty beard, why did you shave it? I had forgotten what I looked like! I think it became the trendy thing to have, which is fine but I don't want to be seen as 'another guy with a beard'. I really enjoyed having it, I met some amazing people that I wouldn't have met otherwise as well which was nice.

Have you noticed a difference in response to people now you're shaven? It has been very positive. The main thing has been that people realise that I smile a lot. The beard hid a lot of my facial expressions. I also don't have people asking to 'touch my beard' which was by far the worst thing about having it.

What motivates you? I am financially motivated. I want to be able to give my kids, when I have them, a comfortable life and if they need it, a hand along the way. I am also motivated by helping others, there is a lot that we can all do to help each other. 

You've recently collaborated on a YouTube video discussing your experience with depression. Now you've come through the other side, what are your main philosophies for living a proactive life? To be self aware. Recognise what it is that both gets you down and makes you happy. Isolate the negatives and work on solving them and do the things that make you happy as often as possible. It's difficult to do that when you are depressed but have it at the front of your mind and do as much as you can.

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Jumper - Garderobe, Jeans - River Island, Belt - Ralph Lauren, Shoes - Aldo