Patrick Rea has a refreshing take on the definition of passion. He corrects me when I say I thought pursuing a passion was doing exactly what you love... isn't it?
Don't be fooled. This guy is bored AND passionate.
“Not so,” he tells me. “True passion is being prepared to do what you don’t want to do. Rowers get up at 4am and put themselves through physical and emotional hell, not to mention the boredom. The sword has to go through the fire to make it strong. If you’re truly passionate you’ll be able to withstand the boredom, day in day out, if necessary.”
Patrick knows all about endurance. A once champion rower, he broke his back in a cycling accident when he was 29, which put paid to his Olympic dreams.
Despite having broken three vertebrae, and dislocating his sacrum, he made a full recovery. Now Patrick is all about self-development. He has enlisted the services of singer Sam Smith’s vocal coach to help tame his once broad Limerick accent to a gentle Irish lilt. “A few months back you wouldn’t have understood a word I was saying,” he laughs.
Patrick gets up at five every morning to study the philosophy of Vedanta and has made a business out of showing others how to be their best selves. He says: “I’m doing my dream job. All I ever wanted to do was bring out the best in people. But it took years to realise."
This is not Patrick. It's someone who's an ill-judged natarajasana away from an early death.
Co-founder of start-up business Freeman Transformations, Patrick and his business partner Lazo Freeman work mainly with high net worth clients to promote self-sufficiency and self-development in the realm of health and wellbeing. The pair hit it off when Patrick joined a personal development group and Lazo, then a body coach, was giving a speech.
Patrick recalls: “Lazo had just received some funding from [entrepreneur investor] Rita Sharma OBE and he brought me on board to help him with the business.”
He adds: “Unfortunately, we were both pretty naive and things went awry as startups do. It was a tough time, but the silver lining was a top-quality fitness training provider approached us. They loved the behavioural change stuff we were doing and found it refreshing we were less about fitness and more about shifting someone’s consciousness far enough to feel they’re worth the money.”
This resulted in a partnership that would herald the birth of Body Transformation Academy and Patrick and Lazo would go on to train several hundred exercise professionals in their techniques.
Patrick explains: “The body hears everything the mind says. If you’re constantly thinking ‘I’m so fat, I’m so lazy’, it’s going to have a negative effect. Modify your self talk and you can modify your self image.
“This can result in a very powerful shift. We use exercise as a tool to shift the subconscious by visualising a future with success. It’s about wiring your brain in advance.
This guy has been modifying his self talk.
Patrick cites neuroscientist Dr Joe Dispenza as a source of inspiration. Patrick explains his theory: “Your brain can be rewired to feel emotion ahead of the time it comes. We show people how to mentally rehearse for success through visualisation techniques.”
Their techniques won Body Transformation Academy a 2016 award from UK Active but the company is now changing directions, and Patrick and Lazo are reverting to direct to client sessions, carefully expanding their portfolio of “discerning and wealthy clients”. They plan to train and employ trainers in the future.
Patrick says: “We’re completely results based. No client gets the same programme. If I’m needed twice a day I’m there, or I can work long distance. I recently took a client down to Antibes for a four-day detox.”
It's hard to tell, but this woman could be on a detox.
It can’t all be trips to the south of France though, I ask, as I probe for the worst bits of the dream job. Patrick says: “It’s not. I hate incessant social media marketing, yet I owe everything to it.
“Curating my life, showing off, projecting - it doesn’t come naturally. I actually enjoyed cold calling way more, but it wasn’t nearly as effective as social media.”
When I ask Patrick for his advice for those who feel stuck in the wrong job and at a loss, he says: “I believe life is a team sport. I have a network of incredible mentors - a sales coach, a voice coach, a public speaking coach. Surround yourself with those who can advise and inspire you.
“Also, ask yourself what you wanted to do when you were 14 - before everyone told you that you can’t do it. Or, to reframe that, ask yourself what you would do if all jobs paid the same."
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