Collette Hemmings talks about how she uses eastern wellness and mindfulness practises to help others create a happy, healthy and peaceful life.
Collette Hemmings grew up in Scotland and left to travel the world with her young family in her late twenties with Levi Strauss and Nike. From Belgium, the Netherlands, China and Indonesia to the US where she is now CEO and host of Brain Sports.
With a lifelong passion of how the mind works, Collette studied many Eastern wellness practices and realized through studying her own mind, she could truly begin teaching others. Her vision is to connect 100 million change agents through the original essence of sports and bring voice to what is truly needed to create a healthy, happy future.
Brain Sports Links:
Website – https://www.brainsports.team/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/brainsports.team/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13966379/
Email for guest speaker requests: [email protected]
Follow Patti Dobrowolski – Instagram
Up Your Creative Genius
[2:20] Colette’s origin story
[3:28] The start of the rest of Colette’s life
[5:12] The real art of conversation
[5:39] The value of a world perspective
[7:40] Colette’s current focus
[8:48] “Chemmings”, and how it evolved
[10:47] The prevalence of anxiety
[11:10] Colette’s big vision
[13:52] The significance of personal agency
[15:01] The physical context of brain health
[15:39] The magic of qigong
[16:30] The study of energy
[17:16] An empath’s ultimate toolkit for dealing with energy vampires
[19:40] Brain Sports Coaching
[20:59] Colette’s breakthrough moment
[22:07] The surface success vs. the deeper truth
[24:17] Creating space for vision
[25:09] Colette’s favourite books
Patti Dobrowolski 0:03
Hello superstars, welcome to the Up Your Creative Genius podcast where you will gain insight and tips to stomp on the accelerator and blast off to transform your business and your life. I’m your host, Patti Dobrowolski. And if this is your first time tuning in, then strap in because this is serious rocket fuel. Each week, I interview fellow creative geniuses to help you learn how easy it is to up your creative genius in any part of your life. Hey, everybody, it’s Patti Dobrowolski with up your creative genius, and today, oh my gosh, okay, like this woman that we’re talking with today is one of the most amazing, I don’t know, leaders in the universe. So we’re gonna be interviewing Colette Hemmings, who I met way back in the day at Nike when she worked there. And then she was there for a while, a long time, I mean, years and years and years. And then boom, she just pivoted out of there. And so since we’re all about change, we’re going to talk to her about how she was able to pivot like that, what she’s up to now, and I just can’t thank you enough for taking the time to speak to us. Our listeners are going to go crazy for you. Chemmings you know, Chemmings. Now we know huge, c h e m, m, i n g, follow her on Instagram. It’s fantastic. Welcome. How’s it going?
Collette Hemmings 1:39
So happy to be here! I cannot be that kind of introduction. But really, happy to be here.
Patti Dobrowolski 1:46
Yes, well, now you have to tell us a little bit about yourself. So I’d love for you to tell the story of you. And you can start anywhere that you want about your life or you know what you did in your work life, what you’re doing now, that’s what I want to get us caught up to there. But I want people to have a window into your world.
Collette Hemmings 2:06
Well, the, the obvious part is probably where I grew up.
Patti Dobrowolski 2:13
We’ll have subtitles. So we’re gonna understand what your saying.
Collette Hemmings 2:18
Portland, Oregon right now but obviously grew up in Scotland. So that was kind of the start of my journey in life, left there for about 27 years, had a wonderful young family, we subsequently lived in seven different countries, the four of those with family, and then 20 years of that, as you said, was with Nike. And we lived in China, Indonesia, all over the world. So ended up in the US in 2006. And, actually, that was a start of what I would call my new journey of my self discovery, finding out who I was as a leader, as a human. And I studied Eastern wellness principles, I studied the brain, I’ve always been fascinated by my personal, my own mind, and also the mind of the athletes that we worked with. So that’s kind of what I do now. And then I pivoted, as you said, after 20 years, I realized this is really what I want to do for the rest of my life. So I did.
Patti Dobrowolski 3:23
Yeah, well, and you’re fantastic. And what I would say is this, you know, when we met, you had just started doing like Tai Chi out in the break area, and I was out there drawing for something, and you were bringing all those practices that you were using in your personal life, into the work world. And you know, it was a perfect launchpad for you there. And I hope that for the people that remained there that they took and put some of those practices in place, because they really had such a deep impact. What drew you to do that there? How did you get the nudge to do that? Because that was kind of going against the grain there. In some ways.
Collette Hemmings 4:10
Yes. Well, other than, I think part of me used to be very conformist, the way I was brought up, but actually deep down, I’m a massive rebel, and, you know, kind of love to create new things. And when you start studying yourself, actually, at least in my case, I realized I have to share this with other people because it is life changing. It was as simple as that. An answer to the question about what gave you the nudge? I really didn’t share with many people for about 10 years of my practice, my personal practice, you know, teach quietly, I, look, but as you know, was at Nike and I thought I could see there was, you know, a lot of space and my team basically said, Would you start something one lunchtime. And that was it. And then it just kind of evolved from there.
Patti Dobrowolski 5:05
Yeah, fantastic. And what I also remember about you, just as a leader is that you’re so deep anyway, you’re always looking for the conversation behind the conversation. You know, what are we really talking about here and trying to get people in the room to speak to that. And so I would say thank you for that, because I was in many a room with you where they weren’t talking about the real conversation. And we needed to get to that. So it was helpful. So you know, that’s who you were, and you grew up in Scotland, and then you moved around all over the place, you lived in all these different countries. So I know that that had an influence on how you see the world. How did that worldly experience shape the perspective of you now?
Collette Hemmings 5:56
Very simply, it was almost like a validation that we’re all the same. Yeah, it was pretty much it took me quite a while to realize. I was like, how much validation does one need? Because I am a truth seeker, truth teller. You know, I think that’s really part of how I was brought up. And, you know, the social justice side of things was always important for me. So I realized that everybody just wants to live a kind of, happy, peaceful life. Yeah, and we’re all in definitely kind of swim lanes, trying to do the best that we can. And obviously, that’s what it taught me. But my main reason for going in the first place was actually my children. Because I found it very hard to get diverse education in those days in Scotland, to get even like a French program or something like that, something a little bit different. And I think that was always in the back of my mind, how can I bring my kids up in an environment that, you know, that is not normal? Yeah, that was kind of it.
Patti Dobrowolski 7:02
Yeah, I like that. So just expanding them and thinking about how they can get the most exposure and become the most well rounded people. Well, and they are. I mean, they’re, they’re amazing. So congratulations on that. Because, you know, so tell people what you’re doing now, because to me, it’s very fascinating. I like to watch what you’re up to. I’ve been, you know, just, yeah, I’m a stalker of yours. I like to see everything that’s going on. And you’ve been all around the world doing these magnificent things, right. But you also have been doing some leadership stuff. So tell me, what are you doing now?
Collette Hemmings 7:42
Well, I would see on a daily basis, I’m always trying to think of things as we are infinitely creative. So I’m always trying to be a role model for young people. And I imagine my young self who was a bit nervous and anxious, and I’m sure and what would they want to see in a role model. So I practice that pretty much every day. Big picture, I’m part of a, I would see a bigger collective vision to really waken up a lot of society, you know, thats 100 million people, there’s this kind of critical mass number. And the way that I do that is working on myself always. And so now I’m gonna enter the social media space, which I really didn’t want to do, I guess.
Patti Dobrowolski 8:31
You were quite resistant when, you know, you were in charge of the building, and could they get in for snow days, and then it took off. Like Chemmings was like everywhere, people sent you all those messages. Crazy was crazy. I remember when,
Collette Hemmings 8:48
Maybe Chemmings was the first kind of signal that that was a new kind of space to play. And I’ve realized that once you get over yourself and realize that you’re a vehicle, right, for what you want to share with the world, and that was my work to do. How do I become so confident in who I am? Yeah, that just translates to social media and not be bothered by you know, what works, what doesn’t, and I’ve really grown to enjoy it. So I do YouTube now. We have I manage and host Brain Sports TV. Now and as a community of athletes and creators, sharing we’ve got a list of like stand up questions, but it’s really the power of love. It’s kind of what I did at work, is we are always drawing out the wealth of wisdom from people having that voice here and really connecting those stories. So Brain Sports does that and we’re doing national recovery series so you can download those and you know, manage your own health and wellness because my goal is to empower people to manage their own health and wellness and that belief.
Patti Dobrowolski 9:55
Yeah, and right now it’s so essential that people take care of themselves because who knew? No, I mean, we looked at the stats of people who were more optimistic than in June, after COVID, you know, June, then everybody got really excited. It’s going to be summer, we’re going to be out. And then now we got a new wave, right? And so the variant has locked everything down again. And, you know, we’re back. We’re all messed up again. And I think that for some people, this is really I don’t know about you. I’m really an extroverted introvert. So I prefer to be by myself, but I can be very extroverted. But I miss being in a room full of people. And having conversation. Yeah.
Collette Hemmings 10:40
And actually, yesterday, I was doing salsa, do some teaching Tai Chi. And yesterday, I was at an outdoors convention, and I was doing some like shoulder massages, and some different conversations, and pretty much 100% of people coming through were extremely anxious. Yeah, stressed to their limit. And I just wanted that human connection. So you know, I love connecting with people like that.
Patti Dobrowolski 11:07
Yeah. So when you think about your big picture vision of this, you’re just glanced at it for a second 100 million people, the tipping point, what really is this big picture for you in this big vision, so we can grab hold of it, and really, you know, help to empower it? What is it?
Collette Hemmings 11:29
Well take it to the smallest level, someone like me, who had really terrible anxiety, some depression, different things that a lot of people are actually experiencing right now. I didn’t have language for that. So first of all, is, it’s okay, we’ve all got many of us have these things that know have names, some anxiety, and they’re all on a continuum. So start with self. So 100 million people basically, growing their creativity, that power, and you really can’t grow your parity overcome your obstacles, your own emotional barriers, thoughts, that’s what I’ve studied in myself is what all those preconceptions are things that have built up over the years, through our families, through generations that hold us back. And once you become aware of those who can manage them really well. And so in answer to the 100 million, it’s the critical mass of people being self aware, conscious leadership, so people understand that who they are, and connecting in healthy ways, and that we don’t do stupid stuff.
Patti Dobrowolski 12:43
Yeah, pretty much what we’ve been experiencing here. You know, being down here in Texas, we see a lot of that stupid stuff here. But you know, whatever, we’re here for a reason, right? And so I would say to you, and this is my question for you, like, what’s the reason for you to do this? Like, what really gets you up and drives you to do it? What do you feel like? What are you called to do here with your part of it?
Collette Hemmings 13:13
I mean, at the highest level, it’s about healing society, creating a peaceful society. In the base, we I know how, you know, and how do we educate and equip people to do that for themselves? Especially young people? Actually, yeah, they’re looking out at this landscape. And they’re like, where do I go? No. And I feel awful. I can’t get you know. So how do we equip young people in particular to manage themselves well?
Patti Dobrowolski 13:46
Yeah. So they grow up into adults that can manage themselves? Totally.
Collette Hemmings 13:50
Personal agency. Really? Yeah. Yeah, that’s what it is. for me. I think I have a highly unusual level of passion for this. And I don’t truly know where that came from. You know, I have my own thoughts about that. But I see myself in relation to like, I don’t understand why people don’t want to go out and make a difference in the world.
Patti Dobrowolski 14:16
Yeah, it’s something about I think service once you know, this is just my perspective on it that you know, I exist, because I’m loved in some way by the universe. And then from that place, I have to outflow into something you know, to serve. And if I can serve at the highest level, that means that I’m going to get agency over myself and my emotions and you know, everything, all this sort of stuff. You know, everybody thinks you are your brain. And really, we’re like, No, no, your brain is an operating machine. Let’s get this going antenna. Yeah, exactly. And so watch out what it’s magnetizing to right? And so what have you been learning about the brain that you want to share with us, what’s something that’s been fascinating you?
Collette Hemmings 15:09
Oh, just its capacity, and how connected the gut is to the brain. So I think through managing my gut health actually managed my brain health. And you know, the vagus nerve, I could go into all of that. It activates the circulation in your body, right? So the energy in your body is far greater than any of us realized. So things like, you know, you saw me practicing Qigong. And I was like, What is that? You know, I saw it when I left in China, people doing all the moves. And when I started to study it, you know, the brain image, the magnetic and electric energy, and we can, when you stay in your body, so being present, and all those things, you can actually feel that energy. And if you had said that to me, 15 years ago, I would have said, you know, well, that’s great for you. But…
Patti Dobrowolski 16:10
Bye, bye. Yeah, yeah,
Collette Hemmings 16:13
The truth is, it’s very healing for the body. So the brain naturally wants to heal the body, at least in my experience, I have come through many different modern day symptoms, things like stress, anxiety, through managing my energy well.
Patti Dobrowolski 16:29
Well, and this is what you said to me in those meetings was, you were studying energy. That’s what you said, I was studying energy. And so this is part of what we know is that the universe is energy. Right? And that I’m fascinated by the energy that people are unaware of that they bring with them into every moment. So you know, you had a bad experience in your car, and then you bring that energy into the restaurant. And then, you know, like, if you think that it’s contained. This is a misconception, right? That our energy merges in such a way that we influence and impact each other. Every moment.
Collette Hemmings 17:14
It’s really true. And I think I would describe myself as having been on biometric a really deep empath. Yeah, as well. What I didn’t have the tools to do was to manage my energy. Well, you know, you have things like energy vampires, and there’s a couple of fundamental principles applied in every day that might help people.
Patti Dobrowolski 17:36
Well, I’d love to hear them. Yes.
Collette Hemmings 17:38
Yeah. So one of them is and you just look at nature, water up, fire down, even a rational minds tell us that. So keep the brain cool, keep a cool head, fire in the belly. That’s literally true in the body. So in Tai Chi, when you study energy, actually, you want to create heat, you want the belly and the abdomen area to be about one degree to be hot, burning hot. And that activates our circulation and that’s what keeps the gut healthy. And it cools down the brain. So if you meet someone who’s angry, even though they’re not you, you can you feel that they’re angry because they are hot headed literally. And so all the practice that I do actually, is to bring that heat down the body and keep, and it’s our circulatory thing. It’s our nervous system. We just don’t learn that.
Patti Dobrowolski 18:32
Yeah, nobody teaches us that if we did just a few moves, or any kind of breathing, and you know what I love when I watch you on Instagram is that there are a whole bunch of very simple brain exercises that you show people that help their brain optimize itself. And so this I think, you know, if you’re interested in learning some of these techniques that you can apply right away to keep yourself calm to, you know, put the fire in the belly instead of keeping it up in your head. This is just fantastic. Absolutely.
Collette Hemmings 19:08
Change your life. It can really make a big difference, small steps every day.
Patti Dobrowolski 19:13
Yes, you seem so much calmer than you did when I saw you at Nike. I just want you to know that you’re like, you’re totally like levelled out here. It’s fantastic. I don’t know how many meetings you’ve had today with people and what they said to you and how you were able to keep fire in the belly and not in the head. But I’m sure you are ready. Are you doing some coaching too? Are you doing some coaching?
Collette Hemmings 19:37
Yes. I mean, we do. Brain started brain sports coaching. We do some free events as well if people are interested, like workshops we do our workshops and things with some of the master trainers. So yeah, we do all this.
Patti Dobrowolski 19:51
Yeah, that’s fantastic. Well, we’ll put in the show notes how to get a hold of you there with that, but I wonder what you tell people what’s a big moment that you had a breakthrough, that you had in some of the changes that you’ve made, where you just went. Wow, like that just happened? Is there anything when I asked that, that comes to mind? Oh, there’s so many I’m sure.
Collette Hemmings 20:20
There’s many. But I would see one on the, I mean, certainly getting jobs that I couldn’t have dreamed of or possessions. I didn’t look at them as jobs, of course, but running the office in China, Shanghai, in the year 2003. My husband had never been on an aeroplane and my daughter, Oh, my gosh. So I really when you talk about against the grain, every family member was screaming like, no! It’s different these days now, but still, I had this pull to go there. And that was an absolute, incredible experience, you know, working with, I would be sitting around the table with government officials up in Beijing, you know, and I was a young leader. And so all kinds of there were like the wild moments, a big breakthrough moment, actually was I was really desperate to bring mindfulness into Nike. And I had this vision, it was probably for a bit longer than seven years. And in 2018, I believe it was October 11, I’ll never forget, I stood on the stage. And it had happened. So it was one of those in the zone moments where I was like, I want to do this for the rest of my life.
Patti Dobrowolski 21:36
Yeah, that’s fantastic. And you are where you are now! When you think about what we’re in right now, you know, and people who want to make a change in some way or want to pivot from what they’re doing. What kind of advice would you give them? Cause you went through all that change with your family, right? And you just gave us an example of everybody was like, No! No way and you’re like, gotta go, right?
Collette Hemmings 22:06
Yes, but I got very sick, because I didn’t take care of myself, so what I would say. So it all looks very fantastic on the surface. Yes. And I certainly don’t want to give that impression, because that’s not the truth. There was a lot behind the scenes, and I was very good at masking that as a leader. And what I would say to people is, when I was at my worst, I couldn’t even imagine having 10 minutes for myself in a day. And so that’s how bad I got. And my breathing was really up, it’s up here. And now my breath is down where it belongs. And so what I would say is be gentle on yourself. Number one. You know the voice that’s like, go faster, go harder. Competition mind is not good for anything, actually. So first, be gentle with yourself. And second is just find, even if it’s just like going to the bathroom, if you’ve got young kids, find like five minutes, and start practicing breathing. I would say, once you can find your breath and stay with your breath it is like a muscle. So imagine you have to go to the gym to practice your breathing. And just find that time to bring your, you know, hands on chest, just bring your breath back into the body. Over time it develops and becomes really strong, and you will feel calmer, you know, your breath, you’ll be healthier overall. So that’s what I would recommend.
Patti Dobrowolski 23:38
Wow. And I know that that pace that people get on, that treadmill. And what I love is what we’re seeing now with some of the athletes just putting the stop on it. I’m so happy about that. You know, I think this is the culture we’ve been in where we’ve got to be more, I just did like a little short live. And I was like, it’s more, it’s Texas, it’s bigger, we got to have more things and you know, be the loudest and I think wow, you know, we really miss out on stopping and actually experiencing what is happening in the body.
Collette Hemmings 24:16
That is right. And it creates space for your vision. You do a lot of the visual, you know, bringing things to life visually. And when you are constantly in your thoughts and emotions you really can’t see clearly.
Patti Dobrowolski 24:30
Yes, and I remember we were in a session, you know, drawing someone’s future and you know, the person used it as a debrief process, really, you know, process through what was happening and I thought wow, you know, it tells us how much stress and anxiety that we carry. It’s just an example of how much we carry and so to become more in your body and more present. I love that. Yes. Hey, It’s a present, it is. Now what are you reading? Or what have you been reading? And are you fascinated with right now?
Collette Hemmings 25:08
Oh, well one of my favorite books is Loving Cal, it is kind of heavy though. It’s like not light reading. I love the really deep stuff. So I’m maybe not the best.
Patti Dobrowolski 25:19
No, that’s good. somebody out there, there are a lot of deep people?
Collette Hemmings 25:23
Yeah, yeah, I’ve got more like that but I am someone who reads a lot of autobiographies about people’s stories. And I think I had one recently I read Patti Smiths.
Patti Dobrowolski 25:38
Oh, yeah. Patti Smith. That was a fantastic biography. Love this one really amazing. Yeah,
Collette Hemmings 25:44
Certain people’s especially like the artists, the singers. I’ll read stuff like that. So that’s kind of the lighter, love that stuff. And then, generally speaking on an audiobook, kind of Yeah. Sure. How does the mind work? How do we?
Patti Dobrowolski 25:59
Yes, and so you know, on Audible recently, Julia and I were in Portland, and we drove back from Portland to Texas. And you know, that’s three days, three long days, right. But we had Brandy Carlisle’s story. Oh,
Collette Hemmings 26:14
I read that at some amazing.
Patti Dobrowolski 26:17
Oh my gosh, it was so good. And then she’s singing. So we’re like, wow, this is like a concert in the car. That’s all we needed. And so it got us through, you know, what can I say? Yeah, she’s really, really been, I think her heart is really in the right place.
Collette Hemmings 26:35
And, you know, its mindfulness. Yeah, exactly. That sends the brainwave down as well.
Patti Dobrowolski 26:41
Yeah, it’s fantastic. Well, is there anything else you want to share with us before I let you go? Because thank you so much for being here. I mean, you shared so many big pieces of wisdom. So where are you going? Now? What’s happening next?
Collette Hemmings 26:56
Well, I just started YouTubing, which is…
Patti Dobrowolski 27:00
That’s a brand new thing.
Collette Hemmings 27:02
Some of the scenes are shot funny at home, but once it’s done.
Patti Dobrowolski 27:08
It’s a work in progress. So it’s the next thing.
Collette Hemmings 27:12
It’s been a lot of fun, actually. And really, the goal of that is to be able to have people access meditation and movements. So yeah, no words of wisdom. You know, I would just say, keep studying yourself every day, find something new about yourself, enjoy yourself. And you know, cliche, but human life is so short. So yeah,
Patti Dobrowolski 27:35
yeah, go out and have some fun with Chemming. Right?I love it. It’s very Scottish of you to say that grabbing that grab it by the throat. That’s good. I love you so much. And I thank you so much for spending time with us. So we’ll put in the show notes where you can follow Chemmings at Chemmings. You probably have another thing on Instagram too. What is it? Is that what you’re going by Chemmings there?
Collette Hemmings 28:06
Well, the Brain Sports is the big one Brain Sports TV is our big one. That’s kind of the new platform.
Patti Dobrowolski 28:13
All right, Brain Sports TV. And we’ll put more about you in the show notes. And so I thank you so much for spending time with us. I knew you’d be amazing. I love you. I hope you have a fantastic day,. Okay, everybody you know, if you like what you heard forward it to your friends, come back, you know, send us who you think we should interview on this podcast because I’m just interviewing the people that I think are amazing. And I know everybody listening you have amazing people in your world too. And so they don’t have to be big celebrities. They can be big, like leaders like Colette Hemmings or they can be just everyday people. I want to hear their stories and their stories of change and pivot. So thanks for sharing yours with us.
Collette Hemmings 28:56
Thank you so much Patti. Hope to be seeing you again soon.
Patti Dobrowolski 28:59
Yeah, see you soon. Thanks so much for listening today. Be sure to DM me on instagram your feedback or takeaways from today’s episode on up your creative genius. Then join me next week for more rocket fuel. Remember, you are the superstar of your universe and the world needs what you have to bring. So get busy. Get out and up your creative genius. And no matter where you are in the universe, here’s some big love from yours truly Patti Dobrowolski and the up your creative genius podcast. That’s a wrap.