Before we start, this episode contains a bit of chat that might be triggering for some listeners, if you feel that might apply to you, you can check the show notes for more details.
Hello. And a massive, big, juicy welcome to a happy place, a space where we can all work through our weird stuff together. God, I love working through weird stuff. I've got so much weird stuff to work through. I'm fine cotton. And today I'm catching up with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Jake Humphrey. You never arrive. It doesn't happen. And actually, you can look at and go, oh, what is that moment where you feel you've achieved everything and you've you've done it?
Doesn't that never comes up depressing? It is not is the absolute opposite of depressing.
It will come as no surprise that as a TV presenter, Jake is particularly brilliant at communicating. And I learned during this chat just how far that extends into his own family life.
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Jake, this is all a bit strange, this is so cool, we've been wanting to do this for a long time, so I'm so glad that we managed to make it happen. A bit nervous, actually.
Oh, I know. Like, you know why it's the total opposite of why you'd think. Because you're one of my oldest and best friends.
It makes me want to not do a crap interview because so you normally chat to people.
I'm like, listen, you get what you get if you like. Yeah. But because it's you, I'm not I really want her to say, oh, I'm glad, Jake.
I know. But I will anyway. But I know what you mean because I think whenever I've interviewed people that I know unhappy place before, it is a slightly different dynamic. And what I don't want to do is being too relaxed, because when I get to relax, I think that's when I'm not focused enough. And I miss really cool, juicy bits. So I'm going to try and also tread that balance of being very comfy and relaxed. So we have a genuine conversation.
Yes. Staying alert.
Right. I'll look out for where I'm at, which means it won't be at all like. So before we all met at CBC, you were doing local TV. I've seen the video footage because you showed me on VHS at your house when I had a strong Norfolk accent.
I don't know where that went, by the way. We've got to take it out. I'm Jake. So what was the dream at that point?
What was your your goal?
Yes, it's a show. It's a really interesting question, because I know that I was a late developer and you know, the story that I have of failing my A-levels, getting at an end and a new school and then kind of falling into working for a local TV company. But when I now talk to friends I went to school with, they say, oh, yeah, know, you always said you want to work in telly. We always thought you were going to be on the telly.
But I don't see I don't see any of that because I was the most normal bloke at the school. I didn't I wasn't the only one I was in. I played one game for the school football team and my dad was so proud. He went out, especially on his lunch break, and bought me a pair of black shorts, which I had to wear. And I wore them once. And I think I played for about five minutes.
I mean, you know, like I'm basically rubbish at most stuff. So I didn't play football for the school team. I did no amateur dramatics. I did no art. I didn't excel. I was like the grey man. I just existed and moved around. And it wasn't a particularly fulfilling experience. It wasn't horrendous. There was a lot of kids bullying issues here and there, but there was the kind of person I am now in the mindset I have now.
We just I know it wasn't there and I don't really know where it came from. I just floated through and got lucky, basically.
I think I mean, I feel similar in a sense. I got, you know, I wanted to be an actor or something, and I ended up.
But I think you would dream of doing something I like. I was I was to some extent, but I don't know what direction. And I think, you know, we've been on a similar path in the sense that we've been open to change, I think. And we've and we've incrementally chosen to follow our gut, like definitely taught me a very long time to get to that place.
But we're both now doing things we really, really love doing and things that that make our heart sing. And it's nice that we've kind of we've walked down that path together. It's really lovely. I want to get onto your podcast in a minute, but I want to just say something, because you you little thought sprung into my head when you mentioned your dad.
And I remember at your wedding the day after your wedding, actually, we all congregated at your parents house and we all sat on the lawn in the garden having a barbecue.
Really lovely day. And your dad did this beautiful sort of post wedding speech and he mentioned this family motto that has always stuck in my head. And I'd never heard it before that moment. And it's so it might I might be saying it wrong, but in my memory, it's roots and wings.
Is that right? You've yeah. You've got it absolutely right in some ways. And then he went along he went on to describe that. What has that family motto meant to you? And because to me, you've absolutely done what it says on the ten and you've really followed that.
So to talk to me about that family motto and what it's meant to you.
So Roots and Wings is absolute. And it's so interesting that you go there straight away because Roots and Wings is at the absolute centre of everything that's happened for me. And when you say you like, how did this all come about and what were you like when you were younger? I think I've only literally having this conversation with you. I think I might have found the answer right. You know, when people say, oh, we always thought this would happen for you and we always thought you were going to do well.
I didn't write because I hadn't found the thing that I was passionate about. And I didn't even realize when I landed a job in television that I'd found the thing I'm passionate about. I just thought I was doing what I'd always done, but for some reason I couldn't quite work it out. Like, why am I trying harder? Why am I working harder? Why am I grafting? Why am I desperate to improve every single day of this? And only now at forty two, talking to you on this podcast, I'm thinking, oh, on course it's obvious what happened without knowing it.
I found my passion and my passion was was broadcasting. That's what it was. But at the center of that passion and it was quite a big life change for me. And you know, you've been to my mum and dad's house. It's a tiny house in a little village in a sleepy county of Norfolk. And suddenly there I was working on television, and that was when the roots and wings became absolutely vital. So for people have never heard the phrase before, it's really something that you pass down to your kids.
And my parents passed to me and we now pass on to Sebastien and Florence. And it is the two things you need most in this life. It's the roots. So I have a similar and I say to my kids, it makes me tear when I say every night before we go to bed, I kiss them and say, hey, there'll always be a light on.
And it means no matter where you are or what you're doing, how bad stuff is when there's always a light on and we have a light at the front of our house and it's on permanently. And I always point out and say, listen, don't forget that light is always on, then always find their way home, basically.
And roots and wings is where that really comes from. So it's the roots to know that whatever is going on and we've all had this conversation with our kids, it's like this is nonjudgmental. All this house, this is like you're my kids, I literally can't not love you, so whatever it is, it does not matter. You've got the roots. This is the place for you to come back to. And I hope they always understand, no matter how difficult things get, this is the place for them.
But at the same time, I guess what kids here are your wings, like me and your mum. We want to see you fly. And I've seen enough parenting and I know enough people who've been given the roots without the wings. And I think it can be really, really debilitating where people they feel so connected to where they are that they don't have the ability to realize that getting those wings out and flying off doesn't mean you're leaving the place where you've always been and where you're really safe is the total opposite.
It means you can fly higher and faster and further because you can always come back there. And Roots and Wings is a family motto, which I have passed on to my kids. And I really hope that they pass on to theirs because I just feel that it is everything it honestly is.
And it's something that I have thought about a lot since I heard your your dad say that. And I wonder if there were ever moments in your perhaps teen years or early twenties where you wanted to rebel against that, because often that is the inclination is to go right. My parents are saying this. I'm going to do the absolutely opposite. Like I know for a fact, perhaps in my 20s, more so than my teens, I had this real urge to really, like, spread my wings, fly, try and run away from everything that I knew because I was just experimenting and searching and curious about life.
And I kind of would forget about the route sometimes. Did you ever have have that desire to just do a bit of a runner or ignore that advice?
Not once. Wow. Not once. And I actually like I credit the fact I was a late developer. Fun with that. I don't think you are a late developer. I look at you doing TV like, how do you like 14 or something, 15, 15.
And you're on the television like I wasn't even snogging girls. It was about 17. I was such a late developer. I just existed right in this happy place of living in a village, doing a paper round, going to school, muddling through, going home, watching a bit of telly, eating dinner with my family and going up to my bedroom. It was provincial. It was quiet. It was safe. It was fine. Right. But I wasn't, like, pushing the boundaries in any respect.
And I think it was only really when sometimes I say you have to get to the bottom to rise back up. I just thought life was going to always be like that. It was always going to be a nice, simple, flowthrough, happy, happy. And then I had that really difficult period where my I lost my grandma, my dad's mum. Suddenly she committed suicide just as I was doing my eye-level exams. And I think at the time, again, being a bit of a late developer and being a bit naive, I kind of think it didn't affect me.
But then I think maybe I actually did have a really fundamental impact on me and it wasn't long way.
How did you process that and apply that to how you then viewed your life?
Obviously, it had a huge impact on my dad, like for a long time, for like not weeks or months, but probably years. He was a quieter he was more of a shell of a man than the guy that left for work that morning before he got the call. And and I think that we sort of put all of our energy and focus into him and things just, I don't know, really focus. I, I have an absolute flashbulb memory of us sitting around the dinner table.
And my mum had made cheese and potato pie, which is like a classic out in the countryside. Loads of mashed potatoes stick some cheese on the top, put it in the grill easy. And this is in the days before mobile phones. And my dad was a charity worker and we were just waiting for him to come home from his job at age. Concern Norfork. And we waited and waited and we delayed dinner and we delayed it a bit more.
And then we sat around the table. I remember we were eating and my mum was just like, Where is your dad? I have no idea. And it transpired that he'd had the call from his brother who lived near his mum. She left a note, she'd gone missing, and he had sadly arrived as they as they were finding her body.
And that was about probably about an hour, hour and a half away from where we lived. So then he had to drive home and he comes in the kitchen and sort of says, I've got some really bad news about Mum. And I think my mum's had similar issues in hospital. And my dad said, no, she's just dead. And the hard thing to process is a young person is that, like, grannies don't kill themselves. Did not I mean, like you've got your grandkids and your son and everything.
But she was the carer mainly for my granddad, who was disabled. So I think when he died, that took that basically took her purpose away. And that was it. That was that was enough for her. But it's a very difficult thing to deal with when it's. Someone that you really, really love and they choose to no longer be around, and that's my only experience of suicide and sometimes it feels harsh to talk about it like that, doesn't it?
Because you it's about them. And they were she was obviously incredibly sad to do that. But you are left with this feeling of what will we not enough like? She have five grandkids and my dad and his brother. It's like you can't you can't compare a happy mind to an unhappy one.
I think sometimes. And I think the reality is she was so unhappy that that that dominated everything else. And and it wasn't long after that that I did fail my A-levels. And that was then the end of a really difficult time for me. And I think I was I was I was not by little things in those days, I got fired right from McDonald's. You might know this already for they they what they said was a lack of communication skills.
Oh, this is really a serious matter. Serious. And and again, I didn't notice it having this effect on me.
Then my boss. I then got a job as a waiter and a few years later I saw my boss and he said, Are you still worrying all the time about being fired? I said, Sorry, what do you mean? He goes, Oh, my goodness. You were in my office like every week saying, I just need to check. I'm not going to get fired. Are you definitely not going to fire me?
But I don't remember I don't remember that that feeling. It's almost like it just kind of I was so blasé about life. I had these little anxieties, these highs and lows and stuff. But they kind of came and went and I just moved on to the next thing.
But it's interesting how when you experience any level of trauma and something so close to home like that, and she got shock in the mix there.
And also this, you know, unexplained element of of that shock, you not be able to really comprehend why somebody might do that.
Yeah. You know, that it manifests in in so many different ways because fundamentally you're left sort of feeling unstable or unsafe because something's rocked you like that. And it will, of course, manifest in all different ways. Do you think that, you know, on a subconscious level for you, your dad, your family? I think, you know, back in that era, nobody really talked about mental health. It wasn't really a thing. You know, you'd be the anomaly to sort of have that kind of open conversation.
Do you think because of what happened to your nan that that kind of opened your mind or your dad's to to sort of look into that more so and look into that kind of mental health side of what was going on with with you?
All, I think is interesting, because I think my dad and me are very similar. So I had a few issues when I was when I was being bullied at school, which is not unbelievable. It happens to lots of people. But interestingly, the teachers used to say, I think it's because your son is quite sensitive, like he's not a lady lad. And we can talk a bit later about how I've ended up in this quite laddish world of football and before that Formula One and live sport and stuff.
But I was never the the lads that I was always the sort of one that wanted to look after the unhappy person or just keeping my eyes peeled for any issues that other people might have. And my dad, I think is quite similar. So I think we were always quite plugged into that side of things. And then that in itself leaves you with that element of frustration, though, because you think where we plugged enough into each other's emotions as a family, I still question now whether I should ring my brother and sister more often.
I've got four or five nieces and nephews. I should. Why am I not ringing them more often? Because we've seen as a family that even someone who knows they are loved can still do that. We like is such an important thing. I think it was only a couple of days ago I was thinking, I want to be the uncle who my nieces and nephews come to you for a conversation when times are tough. But I can't just expect them to do that when they're eighteen years old.
I've got Joseph, who's 11, 12, Tilly who's nine or 10, and I've got my daughter. Florence is the same age as her two cousins, Edward and Frances. They're both at the same time. Then little Gabriel is three. I can't expect to eighteen in a decade or so. They will just automatically pick up the phone to Uncle Jake and say, Oh, you're quite cool, I'll have a chat with you. I feel I need to sow those seeds of communication with them now so that right from a young age they go.
He's always the guy that is there with a with an open ear. And I think that's probably a good lesson for all of us is like, don't just don't expect this stuff to work and people get to their kids are eighteen to go. Why don't they talk to me. Well did you talk to them when they were five about how they're feeling emotionally? And Florence has your fantastic mood journal and it's, you know, a real lesson for us.
Fun because I feel I've a great relationship with my daughter. Your mood journal has got us talking about things that we have never conversed about bedtime. In fact, I've recorded a video to send you the other day. She was talking. I wonder if I can find it. And she was chatting away, like about her.
Feelings and what was going on, she drew a little picture. Oh, I'm so happy to hear that because I know it's you know, that sort of parenting is really not easy. And I even find it hard with Rex, who's the same age as Florence. You know, he'll dip in and out of using that mood journal. But I do have to kind of, you know, put it in front of him and say, look, let's have a look through it.
He's he's my my son is a real like character. He can be a bit of a rebel. And he often wants to do the opposite of what I'm saying. But I'm so glad the door that's opened up some conversations.
She sent me such a cute thank you letter, which you don't want to be adorable. You don't want to be the expert. That doesn't do it. You know what I mean by that?
Yeah. Yeah. The one that actually I mean, let me.
But this is this is Lisbon and this one right down. And when it said it was when it last, when you when was the last time you felt really happy? I was at any Tea Party with the head teacher and I got chocolate cake in the kitchen, the cake. I ate a batch of it and it made me happy. And I think she probably did a cop show that she was full of happiness. Like, I mean, who doesn't love a calling?
The caterpillar cake has enough to make anyone happy.
But you know what we have we're so, like, connected. I didn't know about that and how what a great little opportunity.
They're just to have that conversation. At the end of the day, I think it's brilliant. So.
Well, I'm so I'm so glad and thank you so much for saying that. That's so, so doable of you.
I'd love to to talk more about where you've ended up now and with your childhood in mind and the experiences that you've been through, because I think you're doing something rather extraordinary. So, you know, you followed your gut and you've ended up working in the sports world and impeccably so, you know you know, I'm no football fan, but I will it was always on in our house because of Jesse and Rex and offer. Great.
And you're just so slick and you're so good at what you do. But I know that behind the scenes there's a whole underbelly of of what you're doing and how you're approaching this role. And I spoke to ourselves a little about this subject in the last series, that football, of course, can be this beautifully unifying experience for everybody, whether that's with your team or when it's or when England are playing on a national level. And that brings such a lot of spirit and joy to a lot of people.
But there's this other flipside to it, which is, you know, can be really nasty, whether that's coming from the press or the fans, you know, either at home watching on the TV or or at the actual pitch itself, pre covid.
And and I know that that's not well with you. And I'd love you to talk more about that and how because you've almost taken on you seem you've always seemed to me someone that takes on that big responsibility, like you say, that you want to be the uncle that's there and available for people. You want to be the parent that's accessible and can and you want to really be there for your kids on that level. And now you've taken on this huge responsibility of trying to cultivate a more fair and balanced approach to to watching sport.
I mean, it's a huge undertaking. How do you plan to do that? And what is that that real, like fire in your belly that's making you want to do this?
So football is a really difficult one because people are really emotionally connected to what they're watching. Right. And you have to sort of accept that at the very beginning.
It was a real eye opener to me when I moved from Formula One, where if you like Formula One, you kind of like it and you're glad it's on the telly to football where if you were playing Arsenal, everyone, pretty much everyone watching that is really emotionally invested, either as an Arsenal fan or as a man United fan.
And so any question you ask, any opinion you have, any throwaway comment, they are not looking at it through the lens of normal life. They're looking at it through the lens of football. Are you biased against my team? Do you not like my manager? Are you are you being unfair to to the team that I support? Are you being biased against us or biased in favor of the opposition? That is the lens at which people look at football through.
And so I I'm really keen to sort of explore while I'm hosting football, a totally different way of looking at it. And I sometimes see just hundreds and hundreds of people howling at the moon. They're like werewolves. They're so out of date in their opinion, that you have to sort of bash heads with people to to have an impact in this world. And you don't. And that's where really where the high performance podcast was born from, in that I really want football fans to understand that all of the people out there are doing their best.
All the people out there have issues and concerns pretty much. You know, we had a conversation that will be on our podcast soon with Tyra Mings, the England player Tyra, and talks on our part about speaking to a psychologist before every single game. Wow. And I think that's a really brave admission from a current England international, because I think a few years ago and in some areas of the game, maybe even today, that would be seen as a weakness that he needs to speak to a psychologist before playing a game of football.
I guarantee you there'll be people that will look at that and go because he says you got what it takes to be a professional footballer. The fact he does that shows he absolutely has got what it takes to be a professional footballer because he is coming at it from a from this growth mindset perspective. And that's really what the high performance podcast is all about. It is saying everyone, no matter who they are and what they've achieved, they have issues and foibles and anxieties and insecurities.
But what's different between them and the people that are not where they are is that nine times out of ten they found a way to push past them. And that is if you were to break down the podcast to being one fundamental.
It's a difficult one to grasp necessarily, but it is 100 percent responsibility. So on the part we talk about taking 100 percent responsibility for every single thing in your life, and that is like 100 percent responsibility for the things that you are in control of and are your fault, but also 100 percent responsibility for the stuff that isn't your fault. Just because it's not your fault doesn't mean it isn't your responsibility. Breaking up with a partner, a difficult relationship with your parents, an illness that's come your way.
None of those things are your fault. I'm afraid to say they're still your responsibility to find a path through, because if you spend your life going, oh, well, I lost my job, our difficult relationship with my dad, I don't really see my kids very much. I've got this bad back. I can't do anything. If you spend your life with that mindset, then you're giving up the responsibility, you're looking for blame, you're looking for fault, and that is just giving up control.
Do you think that responsibility means that you always have to fix that situation? Because if I'm thinking about my own life, I know that sometimes, you know, I often will take on too much responsibility and I'll think that everything's my fault because I can be quite tough on yourself.
But I think more recently, I found a way of taking on responsibility for things that have felt tricky or things that have gone awry. But rather than try and fix them, the sort of responsibility part has actually led to acceptance and a peace within that without doing much at all.
Yeah, look, when we first started the podcast, I will be totally honest. The conversations I was looking forward to having were the ones where people were like, I get up at four o'clock in the morning and I push myself to the limit and I never see my kids get put to bed and I'm struggling and I fail often and I fail again and fail again. And I fail forwards and I'm striving and I'm clawing for the injured. I'm desperate for success.
And it hurts when it doesn't come my way. I thought that was the conversation we needed to have. Right. The eye opener for me was the interview with Jonny Wilkinson, where he loved that one. He said, didn't he, that when he wrote a book about the struggles he went through at the Rugby World Cup when he was put on a pedestal as the hero of our nation, his words were, I I would expect that book to have created a spike in mental health cases from the readers, bearing in mind the readers were probably impressionable young, 16, 17 year old male wannabe Johnny Wilkinsons.
Right. Explain more. We asked him and he said he thought that struggling and striving and failing would lead to greatness, but struggling and failing. And the pain and the anguish lead to more pain, more anguish, more struggling, more failing. So when I first started the pot, I believed people had to be relentless, were absolutely relentless in their work ethic. Right then when I started speaking to people, consistency became a really common conversation and a really common trait in the high performance individuals that we speak to.
So then my brain went to right. If I'm going to achieve all the things I want Comfrey to achieve by the time he's done and dusted and he's a husk of a man sitting in a chair somewhere, he needs to be consistently relentless, not relentless on a Monday to Friday and Sunday afternoon, but relentless Monday to Sunday. But then, of course, that then leads to the mental health care now of being relentless, consistently relentless, who can be consistently relentless.
So now, one, it doesn't work. I have to. It definitely doesn't. So now it is consistently, happily relentless. And what's not so good on what that means is I am now consistently relentless, but I'm consistently relentless with things that make me happy. So it doesn't mean I have to be consistently, relentlessly. In the office till 11 o'clock at night, because it makes me happier to go and sit and watch the Crown with Harriet. Well, I will consistently, relentlessly make sure I go and sit with her.
If going out in the garden with Sebastian after school makes me happier than being at work in London. Well, I will consistently and relentlessly focus on being with him where he needs to be. Now, I'm not saying that you you solely do the stuff that makes you happy a way. So you don't then achieve anything in terms of having to pay your mortgage and feed your kids and things. So I imagine people going, well, you can't just hang out with your kids all day.
What are you going to do? Right. So then it comes down to you have got you absolutely like if there's one thing I want the people listening to this to take away from this conversation, you've got to find your passion. You've got to discover what it is. And it is not easy. Right, because passion without any hard work is just passion. You know, I'm really passionate about something that I put no effort into. Great. Well done.
Hard work without passion. It's just hard work. Yeah. Doesn't mean to enjoy your happiness to finding the passion. Is the key basically found that unlocked all of this stuff. So guess what, I'm really passionate about being a dad so I see my kids as often as possible. So my one of my non non-negotiable is we talk about those on the pod. One of my non-negotiable is it does not matter what time I finish work or what part of the country I'm in, I'm home.
So if I get up at 3:00 in the morning, I'm up for the school run and then go back to bed, fine. But that is one of my non-negotiable because the kids are at the absolute centre of things. So that's one of the ones that I live by. It's really important to find other areas of passion. I'm passionate about broadcasting, passionate about the podcast, passionate about making TV, passionate about the kids, passionate about old buildings, passionate about being in the garden.
And I relentlessly pursue those passions.
So it's getting it is getting a lovely balance. And that equilibrium and it's. Yeah, and that helps you find that sweet spot. And like you say, there's got to be that balance of hard work and the passion there, because there's something that I this is a really new curiosity for me within the last few weeks.
And that is and it relates heavily to high performance, because I think that within the last I don't know how many years, certainly since I've been an adult, but maybe the last ten years, the expectations that teenagers specifically have put upon them on a societal level, what they're just imbibing daily that's coming at them, whether they like it or not, whether that be via their phones, social media, their friends, and a lot to do with schooling as well.
It just seems really off balance. I've been talking to a lot of my friends recently whose teenagers are having such a tough time because they feel this omnipresent pressure that they've got to excel at everything. So they're getting 98 percent in tests and they're worrying about the two percent. And, you know, when I was a kid, I don't think that sort of culture existed. They were always the kids in our group of six friends who was still my best mates.
One of us, Hayley, was always straight A's. Getting a star was good at everything. Ah, math, science, English and the rest of us kind of work. But we were like, oh, well, none of us fell in competition with each other. All that bothered about it. We kind of thought, we'll find our way, will, we'll work our way.
But there seems so many outlets of information and so much pressure. But I think teens at the moment are suffering more than ever. And I just want to cultivate more conversation around I don't know whether it's celebrating the average and just finding happiness in that. You know what? How much do you value? High performance, I guess.
Do you think it is the be all end or do you think you can be happy without excelling at something all the time?
Yeah, I do. And Eddie Jones, England rugby coach, came on and, you know, give you an idea of his day phone. He goes to work at five o'clock in the morning. He then works in his office till six o'clock in the morning. Then he goes into the gym from six to seven. And that's when he has all of his big, bright ideas for the day. And then he has his breakfast between seven and eight.
And he says to us that that's his day's work done by eight o'clock, his day's work is done. Then he goes and works with the players, the England rugby players. And that is that is all extra stuff, really. But he's done his main focus at that time in the day. And I said to him that he he had a had a stroke and he says he's eased off and this is how he now works. And I said that feels to me so full on Eddie.
And he said, look, it's not for everyone. And I think we have to accept that that relentless pursuit of success is not for everyone. And we have to try and create a society where we're judged on different things. I mean, I have a real concern that we could talk a lot about parenting because we're both parents and you can do everything that you want to as a parent, everything that you can do. But as soon as your kid picks up social media, you're effectively out of control of what goes on.
And I think that now we talk a lot about little. Out to the gym, let's all eat healthy food, let's all eat less meat. Well, guess what? Every time you look on social media and you follow accounts that are not good for you, that's effectively junk food for the brain. And I don't think enough thought goes into what is the diet that I'm giving my brain. And I think that that is a route for a lot of these issues.
And effectively, for me, it comes down to comparison. You know, there's that famous quote, isn't there comparison is the thief of joy? Yes. Compare and despair is horrendous.
And I think that we have to try and get away from this, looking at other people and seeing where they're at and working out whether that's a good thing or a bad thing for us.
Well, it's rarely true anyway. When we see a marker of success elsewhere, we don't really know what's going on. I think that's the distinction that always needs to be made, that, you know, you can have someone like Jonny Wilkinson or someone who is absolutely perfect in that moment, because a lot of the time, specifically in the sports world, perfection is integral to get on the podium to get the gold medal to win the race. I've talked to Jessica Hoeness about this on a previous podcast.
You have to have perfection to win. And that is an equation that we know works. But the equation that we model that with a conflated with is that that perfection and that win equals happiness. So fulfillment and contentment, self-esteem, we know that that doesn't work, but we just get it all in a muddle. And outside of the sports world, it's the same will see people reaching these huge goals or finding, you know, massive success and acclaim with people screaming their names.
But inside, we don't know what's going on. And I just think that's the conversation that we need to be having more is that, yes, you can be perfect and you can exceed and excel and you can succeed and have all this wonderful adulation or whatever.
But but what does that is that what you really want is what's going to make you feel happy. And and I even get confused with that one sometimes and pushed myself way too hard and burn out. And I'm not happy. So I think it is you know, it's maybe a little easier for us to say at this age, whereas for teens, I just think the expectations are so high, the information is so confusing and a lot of things are ending up feeling quite flat.
I don't know what the answer is. It's so detailed, isn't it? Because me, I because I want people to excel. I want people to be brilliant. I want them to fly and to have that great life. And I guess maybe again, it comes back to instead of helping people to be brilliant. Right. Help them to find the thing they love and they will then naturally take themselves.
They will be brilliant where they're brilliant because they found a thing that they're passionate about. And I think all too often people are going down a road where they feel like mum and dad might want me to do this or my friends at school are doing this. You know, that's when it gets really sort of dangerous. I think it's opening people's eyes to what is what is for them, what's their thing.
If you can find an answer to that, I honestly feel that the root of everything comes from that, because if it makes you happy, doesn't matter how you compare to other people, and that's that's relevant to any age group, because I don't know how you feel about this personally, but I've only really fallen into what really fires me up on a daily basis. I'm excited to get out of bed and I know that I'm very lucky to have that feeling about the work that I do.
I turn I've only had that in the last four years. You know, I don't want to say I'm grateful for the stuff I did previously, but this is another level of light. I feel so lucky that I am doing this work. And I didn't know what my passion was and I didn't know it.
It sat in this sort of arena of talking about mental health or however you want to label it, just talking about life. You know, that makes me excited every day. So I think this conversation is an exclusive to teenagers. This is for anybody, honestly, and it's maybe just about having some mental clarity or space. However, you might find that to work out what that is rather than what everybody else is doing. And should I tell you for people that listening to this thinking this sounds great and you've done really well, really successful, happy places, great TV career and you as well, Jake, you've got your podcast.
You've found your thing in sport. Yeah. Well done, you. Congratulations, great life. You must be really proud of yourselves. Well, guess what? I don't know what my passion is. I don't even know how to find my passion. The answer, I think, to people listening to this, thinking, how do I even find it right. When you had Rex, you literally the minute he was born, I don't know whether you feel like me, but I felt that the moment that Florence was born, that's actually the first time I experienced genuine true love.
Yeah, every single part of me, every sinew, my body. That's what it's about. And immediately your brain looks back to all the times that you were crap to your own parents and thinking they loved me that much and I acted like that. Wow. So that was the moment when I was like.
That's what love really feels like, right then you find you having another child the night before Sebastian was born, I remember saying to Harry, I'm a bit of gutshot, like I'm worried.
I'm I've got no love for him. She said, How do you mean? I said, Well, I literally can't love Florence anymore. All the love in my body and I can't control this. It's all for her like it is. How am I going to love. What was his love? So Seb was then born and I don't know where it came from, but the minute I laid eyes on him, the amount of love I have for Florence did not diminish one iota.
The amount of love I had for Sebastian was all of my love. He and she have all of my love right. And I guess if I had five more kids, it would happen. It would happen five more times.
Now, that is passion. That is how life has to make you feel. So every day I'm like, you've I get knackered, I get paid off the kids. Why me up? I have a hard day. No one doesn't have that. But every single day when I wake up, it's topped up again. I'm ready to go. I think this is going to be an amazing day. I know I'm going to achieve great things and it's because I've been lucky enough to find my passion.
That's what it's about. The cup just fills up every single morning. And of course, I think good days and bad days. But every morning when I wake up, I am ready for it.
That is when you know you've found your passion in your life.
I think it's also worth mentioning that we often think that perhaps one moment of success, this is certainly apparent in the sports world. But in any sense that one moment of success or when we get that right job or we find that passion, that that's the end, that that's the end goal, and then we're going to feel amazing. And I think the thing that I've learned over the years is that as soon as I worked out, oh, this might be a new thing that I might enjoy, I feel like now probably four years into this new world I'm living in, I'm on the first rung of the ladder.
I don't know where I'm headed, but it's so exciting. I don't feel like I've made it or I'm like this huge success.
It's just about the excitement. And I think, again, social media tells us, do this where this look like this go on holiday here and you will feel like you've landed somewhere you've made it and that that doesn't exist. And I think, again, that's all even for sure with that one, I think, oh, my God, you know, would I feel when I feel complete, when I just have this done and I've had this amount of people listening to the podcast or whatever it is?
No, I know when I feel exactly the same as I do now, and I'll still be hungry for more and to do more. And I think, you know, that that's that's what, again, links back to that that passion.
Three words for you, for three words for you. You never arrive. You never arrive. It doesn't happen. And actually, you can look at and go, oh, what?
That that moment where you feel you've achieved everything and you've you've done it doesn't that never comes up depressing. It is not. It's the absolute opposite of depressing, let's say. Right for you. A million people listening to Happy Place and presenting Top of the Pops were the two moments for you what you've done. You're in your 30s and you're done. You're finished. It's all over. There's those things you wanted to achieve. You never going to get there again.
What's so what's the rest of your life going to be being less of a person because you're no longer doing the things that you always set out to do from the very beginning. By default, people who achieve great things are always looking for the next thing. You never arrive, it never happens. But embrace that feeling. Embrace the fact that there's always a new challenge around the corner.
It's a good thing there's a flip side to this that I'd like to talk about with you as well, which again relates back to high performance and what we're talking about.
And that is I often purr, if I'm really honest, nearly all of my self esteem into what I'm achieving workwise, what I believe are my my benchmarks of success of the future, whatever.
And when I'm taking them off, I put way too much emphasis on. So now that must mean I'm an OK human being because I want to push aside all the bits of myself that I don't like as much. I call them my gross bits. I want to push aside the fact that I lied on this occasion. I want to push this idea that I gossiped about someone. I want to suppress this thing that I a twelve o'clock at night and I wasn't even hungry, but I couldn't stop myself.
I want to push all that down here and I want to put all of my work achievements on top of it to go. There you go. See, I'm an okay person and I forget to find the value and the acceptance in me.
Just sat here after this. My headphones on the table wearing a grubby pair of jeans with a messy house downstairs that I can't even look at, I forget to find the self-worth in that. So I'd love to know how you feel about yourself outside of success, outside of high performance, and also, I guess, how you found your guests to sit with. How have they found confidence and happiness outside of all of that success and passion and stuff?
It's really difficult, isn't it, to not let yourself be defined by the success of your career, right? I mean, I remember when I left the BBC Formula One to go and work for BT Sport, I went from, you know, being watched by 11 million people or whatever, watching the Formula One coverage on the BBC, because it was like on a Sunday afternoon at three o'clock and the racing was great. Jenson Button was winning the world title to going to beat a sport where the audiences were a lot lower at the time.
And I really struggled with that because it felt like when I was on the BBC, like everything that I touched was a success. Every time I wore Eddie, Jordan wore a match shirt. It was trending on Twitter. The first time I used an iPad, everyone was talking about it and it felt like every vti we created loads of people. And I love that. What amazing coverage. It's brilliant, is brilliant. And I was definitely getting external validation from other people telling me that things are great.
And that is a very, very sweet trap to fall into because it feels amazing when it's good.
I had to learn not to take that good stuff because then when I started to work in football and it wasn't quite such a friendly place and there was a lot of criticism and aggression coming my way on social media for the work that I'm doing and people questioning. Does he know anything about football? And yeah. You see it. Yes, it impacts you. Yes, it is a horrible feeling. Horrible. And then that that then really, really knocked me.
And I was thinking, man, what have I done? This is a disaster. No one likes me on here because I'm getting all this negativity. Now, what I've done, I'd get I got myself into a place where I was validating the good stuff and saying, yep, you're totally right. I'm great because everyone's telling me I am. Well, if you do that and you listen to that, then you also have to listen to the stuff which is like you're struggling, you're useless, you're rubbish.
So now I've got myself into a place where external validation means absolutely nothing. Yeah, I have a small group of people and I speak to that small group of people. And if they tell me that I'm good or bad, then then I will believe them. I remember one time I was alive on the telly and I was trending on Twitter and I looked to the other. It's never a good thing. Right? So I looked at it and it was literally hundreds of people saying Jake Humphries crap at his job.
Wow. And then I got a text message and it said, I've still got it here. We've watched many beat games, but tonight we're watching the Liverpool game and the round up. You were so, so good. I could sense that you were getting over a cold, but you were brilliant. Lance and I both said, you're actually the best football presenter on TV. Very enjoyable. You ask the questions the punters want to hear and you bring out the best in them.
That was from Sue Barker.
Oh, so far. So she's walked in our shoes. She sat in the studio. She's hosted the biggest Olympic Games sports personality of the year, Wimbledon. She's been there and done it. And at that moment, I looked down, I thought those hundreds and hundreds of messages telling me I'm useless, no carry, no validation that one message from one person does because that person's been there. That person's done it. That person knows what I'm going through, knows the challenges, knows how hard it is.
And I think that is the key is to make sure that you surround yourself with people that you really, really can trust and will tell you the good and will tell you the bad and tell you actually out that your house actually needs cleaning now because it's getting to the point where it's a bit bad. Those people great. And you can't do it on your own, because naturally, I think as human beings, we always go back to the bad stuff.
I don't know about you, but if I have ten good things in nature, it's the one bad thing. So it's really important to surround yourself with the right kind of people. And I call them fountains or drains. And if you're not if you're a drain, not a fountain, we are done. And I think that's something that's only come to me maybe in the last few years. I'd be interested to know your take on this, but for a long time, whether a job or a person or an environment or a thing that was involved in made me not feel great.
I kind of looked at it. I thought, well, it's my job to deal with that and to work it out now. I will obviously try my very best. But if it's not for me or they're not for me, it is self care to say, you know what, this isn't for me. I can't be doing this. I can't be in this place. And I think it takes a long time to be brave enough, strong enough to do that.
And I'm 42 and I only now feel like I'm at the point where I can where I can make those kinds of calls and. Money is so healthy, I think I'm starting to do the same thing again because I've spent a lot of time recently really thinking about teenagers, I think it's such an important lesson to learn as early as we can that we don't have to try and impress the people that we think don't like us. We don't have to try and get them on board, defend ourselves, explain ourselves.
And I think linking that to, again, something we've talked about earlier, that's perhaps where I'm now finding my self-worth outside of work is to go, yeah, I, I can handle this.
I'm all right. I know that my side of the street is clean, like I heard you talking to Matthew McConaughey. And I love the fact that he said don't leave any crumbs. Brilliant. Like very, very cool way of putting that. You know, I know that I try my best and you know, I, I love the people in my life that I love and I'll do whatever I can for them.
And that, I think, also links to high performance. You know, I want to have relationships that function well. I want to have relationships that bring me joy. I want to feel happiness doing the very, very simple things like popping to a neighbor's house for a cup of tea.
Yeah, I deserve those things.
You deserve things in your life that make you happy is really important. And I think sometimes I've been guilty of this in the past. I, I remember when we did our first ever Formula One show. Right. And we had a meeting afterwards. And you know what it's like in telly. It's all very friendly television. It's like you were great. You were great. This was great. That was only when you well when you're not well. Yeah, yeah you're right.
Only when you with them. And we had one of those meetings after my first ever Formula One program, the producer was like, this was great. And David Coulthard who was our pundit is Ahmadinejad. Sorry, can I just interest. And the producer said, yep. Yep. Well who do you want to praise. What do you want to say? And he said, what's the point of this meeting? And the producer Mark said, well, we're just going through the programme and we're just discussing the show we did yesterday.
David said, I never want to have another meeting like this because there is no point sitting here and telling us all how great we were. I want to have a meeting about how bad we were and the bad things and the awful stuff, because that is where we can improve. And for years that was my mindset. I was like, right, what was bad, what was bad, what was bad, what was bad? And I've actually come around to a new way of thinking.
And this was reinforced actually in the conversation with Matthew McConaughey, where I've felt for too long the I have focused too much on being obsessed with my own failings and other people's failures because I thought that's where the learning is. Why and Matthew really brought this home to me. Why did I not think that there was loads of learning from the good stuff? Of course.
And he said it was one of the reasons why he wrote his diary. He said then when things are bad, he thinks right when nothing's good. I know when things were good, when I was 21 years old and I felt great, I was barreling around and I was winning work and I had great relationships and was making people happy and I felt I was flying. Then he goes through his diary and he goes to that point and it goes right.
Who was I with, what decisions was making, what time was I get up in the morning? What was I drinking? What was my mindset that was such an eye opener to me? I was like, oh my goodness, I've spent like twenty years a genuinely focused on failure. That was where I thought all of my growth and all of my learning and all of my improvement was absolutely wrong. And I've now started to think right when when was I last genuinely, really happy.
Oh, last Wednesday. I felt really bloody good. Right. Who was I with that person? You know what I'm saying? That person every week because they make me feel good. That's just that is and that person I think I'm really great with actually. How do I really feel about hanging out with them?
Not that great. So it's over.
I think that I've only very recently started to see that way of thinking and and I'm just starting to believe that I deserve to to look more at the positives, because I have been very hard on myself, probably because you and I both had a much more extreme experience of lots of outside people we don't know, saying you're a piece of shit, you're this, you're that, and you start to actually oversee your flaws rather than see a balanced version of who you are good, bad, ugly, etc.
. And I think, you know, I'm doing the same in a simple way, looking at my actual everyday life going, yeah, like, you know, why was I happy last week? Oh, yeah, because I had a good night's sleep and my kids did some art together, blah, blah, blah.
And it is a lovely way of of just marking those moments and trying to get back on track to to that mindset and to know that you deserve it.
I think somebody out there like I have so many, you know, so many years that I didn't deserve to just feel, OK, you're happy and I'll write you something for me now.
You have you have to without delay. Tell me the. And that comes into your head. OK. Right, you are brilliant at everything you do. And now I have to say something. Yeah, well, I mean, you have like an overwhelming embarrassment. Oh, my. Do you believe it? I'll be honest. You don't go on. Do you believe that I'm good at the stuff that I'm doing now, which is a question.
Listen to the question again. Listen to the question again and answer it honestly. You are brilliant at everything you do.
No, I don't believe that's true. Actually, it is after eight years because I would look at things that go, oh, I didn't deal with wrecks.
Well, last night or today, you're looking for perfection. No worries. All right. We'll leave that there. Well, there we go. This is it. This is in your best.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. When do you ever approach it?
They approach it instead. Approach a moment, approach a problem and think, I'm not going to I'm not going to give this. I'm just going to you. I'm going to be useless at this. You never do your job. Yeah. We're all me, you the people listening to this man who's producing it. We are all just doing our best and we have to be a bit nicer to each other. It's really, really important. There is no benefit.
And I promise you, zero zero benefit to having a mindset where you think I'm not very good at this or great things are not going to happen. OK, you might not be very good. OK, great things might not happen. But you know what? Give yourself the best possible chance of great things happening. Give yourself the best possible chance of being good at something, but just believe in it, just believing it. And when you bring all this stuff back together, we've talked about on this podcast believing that you're going to be good, finding your passion, finding your passion means that you do it again and again and you always have the energy to do it.
So you believe you're going to be good. You find something you're passionate about, you can find the energy is always there to do it, and you take total and utter responsibility for it. You don't blame anyone else. You don't look for outside factors. Suddenly you find that you're living in this world where your chest rises up first and you just like I have my Chinhoyi and I'm going to walk headlong through all of this stuff because I'm passionate about it.
I've got the energy to do it and I believe it's going to be great. You try to derail me now. You just fucking tried to rile me. You can't exit. You can't.
Yeah, it's and it's not real fun. That's the great thing about it. Yeah.
I have to go and get this from somewhere. It's in your head. You just must believe it. Yeah.
Just changing the narrative is that it's changing the narrative and and having that self kindness.
And who do you talk to more than anyone else in your day. Well who's that? Who's the one person you speak to the most?
You think, wow, probably my husband would say, no, no. Actually, I would say no myself.
Yeah. There you go. That is the answer to that. Yeah. So many people got wrong.
You talk to yourself and you do all day, every day. So if you're not saying good stuff to yourself, then that doesn't benefit anyone. And 90 percent of the conversations that you have with yourself, you're having quietly in your own head to yourself. No one else is listening to them. Be nice to yourself. It's so true, Jaquet.
There's so many wonderful takeaways from this conversation. And the one that will always stick with me still is from your dad's roots and wings. I love that for whatever age you are. I think it's such a beautiful way of thinking about life. I love what you're doing.
I love that you're following your gut and your you're just like you say you're walking with your head held high, making shit happen on your terms regardless of what anyone thinks. And I'm so glad that we got to do this. And I've loved it.
And I. You're happy place. Thanks.
I know that what I'm going to get from this without doubt, is some hardcore football fans. Right. Certainly never sending me more memes of Ricky Gervais is because I've shed some sort of weird life wisdom thoughts in my own head.
But the thing is, like everything I've said to you, I absolutely believe absolutely. And and that has been the greatest part of the last few years for me is just rather than just floating through like old Jake used to do. Now you're doing it a way that I genuinely believe in.
And it's not for everyone, but let's just let everyone speak their truth. Hey. Yes.
Oh, roots and wings, I bet that will stay with you now as much as it has for me over the years. Isn't it beautiful?
Thank you, Jake. I love you, Jake. Bloody lovely guy you are. And just so generous with that kind heart of yours. Thanks, Jake. Next week's episode is absolutely jam packed with little practical ways you can protect your mental and physical health. So make sure you subscribe to Happy Place so that it drops straight into your phone when it's available.
Thanks again, Jake. Thanks, Jake. To the sponsors of this series, we do natural hair care to the producers of this episode, Matthew, on a new at Rethink Audio and a huge thank you to you for listening, honestly.
Thanks, guys. I love you. I'll see you next week.