Getting back to where you came from

Posted by Blair Cashin

What if Steve Hansen had to take the field in the Rugby World Cup?

The Rugby World Cup is nearly upon us.  It’s got me thinking, what if Steve Hansen decided to get back on the playing field?  

This is highly unlikely of course, but I realised I’ve been doing something similar over the last 12 months.  I also realised many entrepreneurs may feel like this too. Let me explain, but first, some context...  


Rewind 12 months

12 months ago in my previous job I was in a role that I would describe as ‘Coach’.  In fact, I have been leading, managing and coaching people for over eight years. For the last period of time, I was taking a dual role as ‘player-coach’.


Lacing up the boots again 

I realised that to get back out on the field again myself -- essentially helping deliver, rather than just focussing on management -- I had to get fit again.  

Side note - I promise I’m not trying to drown you in sporting analogies here, but we refer to this as ‘recruitment fit’.  

I then found myself having to self-coach.  Essentially all those years of advice and support I have given others, I was now giving myself.  

It was really humbling.  

To do anything well, be it play rugby for the All Blacks or be a successful entrepreneur, you need to put in the effort and work hard.  There are no shortcuts.  


So could Steve Hansen really turn from a coach into a player?  

Your instant reaction, of course, is no way.  But if he remained focused on the right kind of training and diet, and had the focus to get back on the field, then why couldn’t he?  


The difference between Steve Hansen and an entrepreneur's success 

Okay, I admit it’s very unlikely Steve could become an All Black now.  But for me and like many entrepreneurs we are looking to not only get back on the field but to play at the highest level, even at a later point in one’s career.

In my experience founding Sprout in Wellington, I have learnt a heck of a lot. Some significant challenges for me have been:

  1. Finding a rhythm - When do you work, how many hours you put in, what are the key things that will help me be successful not only today but in the future. 

  2. Best ways of working - I am new to the co-working environment and working longer hours from the home office or the nearest cafe.  Getting used to working wherever my laptop lands versus a fixed desk has been an adjustment. 

  3. No mates!  - Perhaps the biggest challenge is the lack of a local team around me -- it’s amazing how important social connectivity is and I now know it’s a key reason many business owners go back to being employees. 

This has all taught me that I am responsible for my own success.  It reminds me of a success formula I used to share as coach: 

Success = Activity + Focus.  


I’m sure as the All Blacks head to Japan they will be very focused on their systems and continue to put in the right activity to bring the trophy back to New Zealand.  

Hats off to those who read this blog post and have made the decision to step out of a leadership role in the corporate world, back into a playing role.  We wish you every success in achieving ‘best in the world’ status in your chosen domain.  

#gotheallblacks #threepeat 


Blair Cashin - Blair is our Wellington Director for Sprout NZ.  As you may have guessed he is a big rugby fan, whether supporting our national team or his son’s on the weekend.  He loves a bit of rugby chat, so if you are interested in discussing your business over the Rugby World Cup you can drop Blair a line on 


Our door is always open


0800 4 SPROUT (0800 4 777 688)

Find your Hub >