‘So many men in Ireland are affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer or mental health issues’
Life Lessons: Jack O’Connor, country director of Movember in Ireland
Jack O’Connor is the country director of Movember in Ireland.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your life?
Staying true to myself and my values. In a world where we’re inundated with the social media highlight reel, it can be easy to develop a skewed perception of your self-worth and fall into the trap of valuing things that don’t really matter. It can be difficult to stay authentic. I think it’s a constant challenge we all face.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Trust your gut. I used to hesitate and second guess my decisions. It stressed me out a lot. The advice came from a few different people at different times, but it’s easier said than done. Finally making the decision to trust my instinct has helped me to make calls on some difficult decisions. At the end of the day, if it was the wrong decision I’ve learned from it, more often than not though it’s the right call.
And the worst?
I try to forget bad advice! At various times I’ve been advised to present myself in an inauthentic way. You can’t pretend to be someone you’re not, you’ve got to be yourself.
Who do you admire most?
My cousin Conor. He is the strongest, most hard working person I’ve ever met. He’s overcome major adversity and inspires me every day.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My parents. When I was younger they gave me the opportunity to try different things and always allowed me the freedom to choose my own path, even if it wasn’t always clear. I think a lot of parents try to steer their children too much and never let them discover who they really are. I’ve always appreciated my parents giving me the space to become my own person.
What do you do to help your personal development?
Meditation. Not only a having a daily practice but implementing mindfulness into every aspect of my day. If I’m brushing my teeth, I try to do it mindfully. If I’m answering email, I try to do it mindfully. This gives me the calmness of mind I need to go about my day.
Is there a place you go for calm or time out?
The sea. I love to surf, swim and dive. Being in the water chills me out and I get this moment of complete presence. Some of my favourite little coves are in Dingle, or out near the BigStyle Lodge in Mayo. The Idahna A Nova lake in Portugal is great too.
What is your biggest flaw?
Attributing excessive importance to things that don’t warrant that much thought or consideration. I once read that “if it f**ks with your inner peace it’s too expensive”. I try to remember that when I get stressed about something that in reality isn’t a big deal. I do my best to keep perspective on what really matters, for most things it’s “easy come - easy go”.
What is your worst habit?
Not getting enough sleep. I’m know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep but I can be a bit of a night owl and often get this wave of productivity late at night which throws me out of balance.
Do you have an unfulfilled life goal?
When I’m not growing moustaches, I’m a DJ and producer. I’d love to play at Burning Man Festival someday.
What are you most proud of?
The work we do at Movember, encouraging men to grow moustaches during November to raise awareness of men’s health issues. I’m humbled by the incredible support shown by the Movember community every year, and this allows us to do some really important work. There are so many men in Ireland affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health issues. I’m really proud to play a small part in the solution, helping men live happier healthier and longer lives.
What is your motto for life?
Go with the flow.
Jack O’Connor is the country director of Movember in Ireland. Find out more atie.movember.com