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This is an IFS 2015 liveblog which means everything was written at-the-moment.

The international rugby star and businessman, Ben Cohen, was a very smart choice for the keynote speaker on the final day of the IFS World Conference 2015 in Boston.

A man who set out his life choices and clear objectives from an early age, and reached a pinnacle of sporting achievement in the 2010s, saw his early world crash to pieces after an attack on his father who subsequently died from his injuries.

Cohen’s personal journey over the past 15 years since that dark day in 2000 formed the core focus of the story he revealed to the conference audience this morning. The journey travelled from success, despair and anger, refocus, reinvention and embracing change to arrive at clarity of purpose and goals.

It covered the transition from one role – sporting hero – to another – businessman, entrepreneur, father, and passionate advocate for combatting bullying.

It might be a personal story, but it illustrated with some clarity what someone can do at a time of not only radical change but also adversity where clarity of mind and purpose are required to combat the anger and confusion that can result instead.

In a way, Cohen’s journey is a mirror on the challenges and decisions facing businesses and those leaders who must make tough choices often (nay, usually) in times of radical change and even adversity.

It was the telling of the story that resonated with a rapt audience at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, and Cohen added to his own credibility with the humility with which he told his story.

No PowerPoints or other corporate props. Just simple story-telling. Powerful stuff.

If you have an iPhone or other iOS mobile device, you can view a short Periscope video recording on your device of the last part of Ben Cohen’s keynote talk:


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