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Vulnerability, Purpose & the Power of Adversity – Phil Holdcroft
Episode 7718th April 2024 • Beyond The Water Cooler • Lisa LLoyd
00:00:00 00:59:12

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From dodging bullets to becoming an executive senior leader of Defence, Phil Holdcroft knows a thing or two about leadership and teamwork. 

Phil is a decorated combat pilot with a 20-year military career that culminated in designing and delivering the senior leadership programme at the UK Defence Academy. Drawing on life-lessons and experience, he created the ultimate playbook for leadership, resilience and high performance. And that’s what we discuss on the podcast today.

Now officially a veteran (and he's younger than me!), Phil is continuing to pursue his life’s purpose, having founded High Performance Journey, helping others to conquer their Big Hairy Audacious Goals.

Join us to find out...

  • what resilience is really about 
  • how to reverse being unprepared in leadership roles
  • the power of purpose (and how to find it)
  • how the 'grandad test' can measure shared vision
  • how adversity allows us to grow
  • how increasing diversity reduces blind spots

Phil shares his very moving story that proved pivotal in how he engages with others. 

What has been your 'a-ha' experience that caused you to question your practice? 

Or are you still sitting comfortably? 

More about Phil:

A twenty year first career in the Royal Air Force spanned from leading missions on the battlefield as a helicopter pilot, through to senior leadership roles, designing and delivering strategy for Defence.

Phil's journey took an unexpected turn in 2014 when his youngest daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia. Helplessly sitting on the side-lines led to an epiphany. Phil realised his passion for endurance sports could be channeled towards raising critical funds for the miracle workers who saved her life. A near-impossible series of extreme challenges followed, culminating in a 3,000-mile unsupported row across the Atlantic Ocean.

Now a military veteran, Phil has set up 'The High Performance Journey' to pursue his passion for equipping others with the knowledge, skills and mindset for high performance.

Links to contact Phil:

LinkedIn: Phil Holdcroft


Resources & References

Watch this episode on YouTube

Leadership & Manager Labs (

13 Skills to Build Resilience (

Future Ready by Experimentation – with Gemma Ellison - It's Time for Change (

Transcending Leadership - It's Time for Change (

'Peak Performance' by Brad Stulberg & Steve Magness (

'The Obstacle is the Way' by Ryan Holiday (

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