DAMIAN HUGHES

He's an international speaker, a celebrated academic, a bestselling author and a podcaster.


Professor Damian Hughes is a man of enegy and focus. Blending his background in behaviour and psychology with real-world, pratical techniques - he in helps organisations create a 'high performing culture'.

As co-host of The High Performance Podcast - he interviews elite performers from the worlds of business and sports - unpicking the DNA of successful people. Over the years he's had the nod of approval from the likes of Sir Richard Branson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Tiger Woods and Muhammad Ali. The epitome of an incredibly interesting person. Let's see what he has to say.

What is something that I could learn right now, that will be useful for the rest of my life?

The benefit of kindness.


That starts with being kind to yourself, not beating yourself up for mistakes, missed opportunities or regrets. When we start doing this, we naturally develop the capacity to treat others with kindness, empathy and understanding.


What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

I grew up in a boxing family and my first job was the person who gets into the ring, between rounds, to let spectators know which round is next.


It was quite an experience having a capacity crowd at Manchester’s G Mex Centre stand up and boo in unison as they were expecting an attractive female and instead, 15 year old me clambered in.


What gets you out of bed on a morning?

Excitement. I once did a job where it dawned on me that at least 2-3 times a week, I’d have something in my diary which caused my stomach to drop and a feel of dread to descend.


When I left corporate life to work for myself, I promised that I would have something - however simple - to look forward to every day.


What one tip would you give someone looking to create their best work?

If you want to be good at something, it depends on how long you are prepared to be shit at it for.


We all have to pass through the valley of humility until we reach a hill of knowledge.


If you were guaranteed the correct answer to one question, what would you ask?

How to be healthy, happy and wise.


What do you spend way too much money on?

Books. I haven’t migrated to e-books yet, which would be cheaper and easier to carry but I do love the smell, touch and feeling of holding a new book in my hands.


What is the single best realisation you’ve ever had?

Shit happens to all of us. It’s not the fact but how you react.


What is something that a lot of people like, that you just don’t ‘get’? A joke you don’t seem to be in on…

The use of the term ‘banter’ to excuse what is often unpleasant behaviour.


In my definition, humour is inclusive but ‘banter’ often relies on excluding someone from the joke for something outside their control. The term ‘banter’ often seems like the defence of a dickhead.


What one book would you’d recommend that everyone read?

Man’s Search for Meaning by Dr. Viktor Frankl. Powerful, profound and thought provoking.


What advice would you give to your 10 year old self?

Work out the rules of the game before you try to ignore them. It would have saved me a lot of trouble, especially in my early years.


How do you unwind?

Absorbed in a good book or time spent outside – running, or with my dog, Teddy.


There are 5 empty seats at your table, who are your dream dinner party guests - from any time or place?

Sir Matt Busby

My Dad

Rocky Marciano

Barack Obama

Brian Keenan


How do you define success?

Doing the best you can, with what you have and where you are.


Quick fire

Tea of coffee? Coffee

Early bird or night owl? Night owl

Book or boxset? Book

Call or text? Text

Introvert or Extrovert? Ambivert

Netflix or YouTube? Netflix

Library or museum? Library

Classic or modern? Classic

Talk us through your workspace.

What helps you get through the day and do what you need to do?



The High Performance Podcast brings you an intimate glimpse into the lives of high-achieving, world-class performers who have all excelled in their field with first-hand experiences and lessons to share.


Hosting every conversation is sports broadcaster Jake Humphrey and leading organisational psychologist Damian Hughes.