Penny Mallory is an author and leading authority in Mental Toughness.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your current role:
I grew up in a dysfunctional family and became a homeless runaway at 14. My life was pretty bleak but I managed to turn it around, and despite not having any financial support or savings I managed to achieve the impossible – my childhood dream of becoming a rally car champion.
Although my interest began with automotive performance, my passion quickly shifted to human performance and Mental Toughness.
I became a TEDX speaker, delivering keynotes and workshops for organisations – including Google, Sky, Costa, Microsoft and Coca Cola to name but a few – to help people to develop their confidence, commitment, focus and determination.
I’ve now taken on the toughest challenge of my life to date – the World’s Toughest Row. What makes this feat all the more incredible is that I’m scared of water and have had to face my fear to do this.’
My book, 365 Ways to Develop Mental Toughness: A Day-By-Day Guide to Living A Happier And More Successful Life was published on 10th November 2022.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
I always dreamt of becoming a rally driving champion but never imagined it would happen. And the career I have now I didn’t plan in the long term, it evolved from the path that life took me on. So although I didn’t ever really sit down and plan this, I’ve had lots of short and medium-term plans along the way which I’ve most definitely planned for, and then focussed hard to achieve.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
I’ve faced so many challenges along the way, from the more personal challenges of relationship breakdowns and divorces, to the challenges that come with my current career in speaking and mental toughness which involve building a reputation for myself and staying busy. It can be a really lonely business which was a huge challenge at first but I’ve overcome that by creating a strong network of people with similar jobs so that I always feel that I’ve got someone to run ideas past and to discuss the industry.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest achievement to date, aside from becoming a rally champion, is the fact that I’ve got a house and a job and I’m comfortable and happy. I’m incredibly content.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in your achieving success?
Adversity has been a major factor in my success. All three relationship breakdowns that I’ve experienced I’ve really struggled with – and so to bounce back from those has been my greatest achievement.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’sMentee?
I’m not a mentee or a mentor but I think it can be incredibly useful for all involved. I have dabbled in mentoring however because the nature of my job means that my diary is all over the place, I’m not very reliable. I don’t want to be unreliable for people and let them down so I often help people who reach out to me in various ways but I’ve never committed to a formal, regular mentorship programme. I’ve never had anyone mentoring me – my standards are high and so it’s hard to find someone who would be suitable to do this.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?
I would say that it’s important to stay positive and not to let the perception of barriers stand in your way.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Never forget that you have so much courage and strength in you so when you’re on your knees you’ve got more. You can keep picking yourself up and keep putting one foot in front of the other and achieving.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
My next challenge is taking part in ‘The World’s Toughest Row’. For this, I will face my fear of water to row across the Atlantic in a small boat with three other women. It will take 40-50 days and I am doing it to raise money for Changing Lives Charity. It will test me to the limits – physically and mentally.