John Simpson has had an outstanding couple of years as a professional cricketer – this year he won the Middlesex Player of the Year Award and in 2021 was called up to the England side. Not one to rest on his laurels, John is looking to make 2023 a very special year indeed.
I was privileged to interview John recently, after he announced he has been awarded a testimonial year in 2023 in recognition of his services to Middlesex CCC, with whom he has worked for 15 years. A testimonial year is awarded to professionals who have served their club for at least 10 years. The playing career for professional cricketers usually comes to an end when they get to their mid-thirties, so the award enables them to help fund the next phase of their career.
Don’t be too proud to ask for expert help
In a year that coincides with the 50-Over Cricket World Cup, the Rugby World Cup, the Ashes and the Ryder Cup, I asked John about his plans for 2023. As part of these plans, he will be supporting two great charities, the Lord’s Taverners and Cancer Research UK. He is also planning a series of high-profile events across venues including Lord’s, The Richmond Golf Club, Gunnersbury Park and more.
John told me he has always had a strong desire to be the best athlete he can possibly be and, as a model professional, his years of dedication and hard work are clearly paying off. “But”, he said, “you can’t reach the top of your profession without building productive relationships and not being too proud to ask for expert help”. He said he’s been working with a performance expert and coach, Hassan Khan of Limitless, the Human Potential Company, a company which works with elite performers to help them supercharge their performance and be their best selves.
Trying to do the basics better than anyone else
When John talked about how achieving great things – whether in sport or in life generally – is linked to self-discipline and focusing on the basics – trying to do them better than anyone else, I was curious about how he managed to do this. John emphasized the importance of focusing on mental preparation. He said this includes doing relaxing things like listening to music and shutting your mind to the noise of the dressing room before going in to bat. He also mentioned that he does mental arithmetic to keep his brain focussed, and avoids working on the technical aspects too much, which can happen at times. Another thing he does is to keep a daily journal to track lessons learned and progress made. We both agreed that these are disciplines that can apply to growing a successful business as well as to sport.
John has made some great connections through his sporting contacts over the years. He has also given time to support numerous charity events with auction prizes and memorabilia.
Besides playing cricket, Simpson is a lover of golf – just as I am – and, since we last played a couple of years ago, has managed to get his handicap down from 8 to scratch. Golf is in his blood – he comes from a family of golfers: his father plays off 3 and his mother off 9. He hits the ball a long way and his chipping and putting aren’t too shabby either.
I was really struck by how a world-class cricketer could be as quiet, unassuming and humble as John is, in a world where there are plenty of celebrities with large egos. He has been a great supporter of 2k Tiger over the years, and hopefully we’ll join him at one or two events in 2023. I am sure there are many people out there who’ll join me in wishing John a truly amazing testimonial year.