We all know Jo Brigden-Jones as an Australian Olympic kayaker, but did you know she’s also a paramedic, an accomplished baker and co-founder of Elite Mindset Co? We sat down with Jo after the Olympics to chat about what’s next for her and her business partner, Olympic Gold medalist Murray Stewart.
This interview has been gently edited for length and clarity.
GoDaddy: Do you have any reflections on the 2020 Olympic Games?
Jo Brigden-Jones: It ended up being an awesome experience.
I was a little bit anxious, because if you got COVID you would be called out of the Olympics.
We spent the last five years preparing to race in the Olympic Games, so that’s not what you want to do.
Once we got there and into that environment, it was a bubble and they built a lot of protocols to keep us safe, which eased your mind so we could just focus on the racing. When we got into the [Olympic] Village it still had that really special feeling that we’re at the Olympics.
GD: How would you rate your performance in these Games?
JBJ: The Olympics are about giving your best performance on race day, so the focus was executing our race the best we could. I feel like we achieved that as we made the final in the K4 500 metres, which is a really good achievement for us.
I was pretty happy and proud of our result.
GD: How were these Olympics different from previous Games?
JBJ: Even during this global pandemic, the whole world was able to unite in one place. I think that was really cool when you could reflect on that and say how far everyone has come.
It was nice to catch up with all my international paddling friends again I hadn’t seen for two years.
Getting on that start line for the racing — it was awesome. We hadn’t raced internationally for two years, but we’ve been practising our race process and had done a lot of time trials, so we felt pretty prepared for the race. Even though there weren’t any crowds you always knew there were people back home cheering for you.
On the closing ceremony day, it did seem very, very quiet in the village which is strange, but there were still a good number of athletes who went to the closing ceremony.
I was fortunate that we got to go. It was a really nice way to wrap it off to be at the closing ceremony.
GD: How did Elite Mindset Co. come about?
JBJ: I started Elite Mindset Co. back in 2016 with a fellow Olympian, Murray Stewart. He won a Gold medal in London.
We had this idea and talked about how much we got from sport and how much it taught us in terms of life skills. We thought that it’s kind of selfish for us to hold on to all that knowledge and not pass it on to the next generation of athletes. Or even anyone who wants to take the next step in life or become better at something.
Throughout our careers, the mental aspect of the sport has been huge and played a big role in our performances and the results we got. So, I guess we wanted to channel more into the mindset of an athlete, and how that can be taught to other athletes. But also be taught in any environment: corporate level, school kids or parents or anyone who wanted to really take themselves to the next level.
We did talks to community groups and we got really good feedback. We had 100 different ideas on ways to take the business.
But both of us put it aside because we got so busy with all the things. I became a paramedic. Murray’s an architect with two kids and we both had our paddling journeys still to Tokyo. So we put it on the back burner.
But with our time in quarantine, it was a good opportunity to revisit that. I think it’s a prime time now to really put what we’ve learned into practice and share our knowledge with everyone.
GD: You created a website during hotel quarantine. Was this your first website for Elite Mindset Co?
JBJ: We had a website built back then , but we never finished it so it never got fully published. It’s a different space now. We’re doing a lot of online learning and education and trying to create knowledge [through websites].
GD: How did you build your new website?
JBJ: During hotel quarantine, I started fresh with a new website on GoDaddy.
We basically had the content ready to go so I used the pictures and the text that we’d already created. I think it came together really nicely on the new website platform.
GD: What attracted you to use GoDaddy to build your site?
JBJ: I haven’t fully looked at the range of products, but the ease of use of the Website Builder. I’ll probably be adding a shop function to our website. We want to offer courses and workshops and add that to the website down the track.
There’s an ever-expanding list of options and directions that we could take with the website and the business.
GD: How long did it take you to build your site during quarantine?
JBJ: Because I had the content ready to go, it probably actually took me two hours to do 80% on the website.
It’s particularly easy to insert pictures and add text boxes. [/callout]
I was playing around with a few different templates and different layouts of how we could have things.
GD: What advice do you have for others who want to create a website?
JBJ: I think just giving it a go to start with. I started a cake business and also have my personal website and had a friend who had more knowledge about building websites trying to give me a hand with starting a website, but since then I’ve been able to manage my own websites by myself.
Don’t be afraid to just play around with the layouts, the themes, the pictures. And once you start and get the hang of creating your own website, I think you’ll be surprised at how user-friendly the site builder was to create your own website. You don’t need to have all the computer knowledge or technical knowledge or how to write code. It’s all there for you and easy to plug in all your text.
You can sign up to GoDaddy and start creating a website without outlay any money. You can literally just have a go and there’s no cost yet until you finalise your product or source what you want. You can explore the different options that you can have with your business, or if you wanted to grow things or just try things out. There are certainly different ways you can do that.
GD: What are the next steps for Elite Mindset Co?
JBJ: Part of the business is motivational speaking for corporates and school groups. We’ll also be running online workshops. That’s the next thing to be launched.
It’s definitely exciting to have the time and energy for this project post-Olympics.
It sounds like Australia got a lot out of watching our Australian Olympians. For us to be able to share our knowledge in how we got there and how we accomplished what we have, I think that’s really important.
Image by: Jo Brigden-Jones