Second Chance in Life



How would you respond if you had a second chance in life?


The odds of being attacked by a shark are one in 3.6 million and today’s guest is one of those 3.6 million. Brett Connellan was sitting quietly on his surfboard one minute, and the next found himself thrown off and before he even had time to look around to see what that was, there was a shark biting his leg.


Doctor’s told Brett that he would never surf again - but this was not to be the end of Brett’s story.


In March 2023 Stan released Brett’s documentary that he directed and produced, called Attacking Life. It’s not a fear piece about sharks, because Brett has a lot of respect for sharks, but rather a documentary that brings you to the present day. It is not just a feature on this one event that happened to Brett but rather what he has learned and how he uses these tools in other areas of life. 


The story is a proactive approach to the challenges that we face in life and using the experience of yourself in the experience of others to try and overcome that.


Brendan’s key takeaways from the Living Life with a Second Chance podcast are:


1. Leaders set lofty goals.

Not only for themselves but also for their team. They foster a belief in their own and their team’s greater potential. This leads them to setting lofty goals.

There was one message in particular that shifted Brett’s perspective and it was from his [now] physiotherapist. It read – ‘people don't fail from aiming too high and missing, they fail from aiming too low and hitting’.

It took Brett five months from the attack to get in the water again which eventually led to him surfing. He has also gone on to paddle between Molokai Island and Oahu in Hawaii, walk 100 kilometres and run a marathon, amongst other things.


Have you read: One Mind, Many Matters (Strength and Resilience) – Barnaby Howarth


2. Leaders concentrate on the little things.

They seek out daily, small improvements. They know this adds up to big improvements over time, which is why leaders always stay focused and concentrate on the little things.

The process of getting back on the board was almost just like another step along the way. It was starting on a longboard and making sure he was in the water as much as possible. He progressed to a mini mal, next on to a fish and eventually a smaller board with a little bit more performance.

Brett hasn’t counted the number of surfs since. He just focuses on those little steps of improvement, every single day.


Have you read: Growing the Greatness Within – Danyal Diallo


3. Leaders know circumstances don’t define them.

It’s how you respond to the situation that determines the outcome. Leaders who understand this build resilience and can adapt quickly. This leads to personal and professional success. That’s why leaders don’t allow circumstances to define them.

Brett recognises there is a point where you have to actually step back and ask yourself what you are going to do moving forward. Are you going to be defined by these expectations or try the most with the opportunity you do have, in order to make the most out of your situation?

He doesn’t wake up every morning thinking ‘this could be the last day, I better make the most of it.’ His big shift is more just having the perspective on what he has been through and connecting with his purpose.


The complete interview, a Second Chance in Life can be listened to here, on audio platforms, or watched here, on The Culture of Leadership (TCoL) YouTube channel.

"This post includes affiliate links for which I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase. You can check out our full Affiliate Disclosure here."