Episode 551- Nicholas Sinclair

Nick is a Founder & Snowboarder

Nick Sinclair, Founder of TOA Global, talks about his passion for snowboarding, where he likes to go snowboarding, how it helps in his career, how he is identified by his passion at work and much more!

Episode Highlights
• Getting into snowboarding
• How snowboarding can improve your ability to focus
• Talking about snowboarding at work
• Why it is important to make time to unplug from work
• Being a more interesting person
• How both the organization and the individual play a role in company culture




Please take 2 minutes

to do John’s anonymous survey

about Corporate Culture!

Survey Button

Nicholas’s Pictures

Nicholas’s Links


  • Read Full TranscriptOpen or Close

    Welcome to Episode 551 of What’s Your “And”? This is John Garrett. And each Wednesday, I interview a professional who, just like me, is known for a hobby, or a passion, or an interest outside of work. Like who else are you? And to put it another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “and”, those things above and beyond your technical skills, the things that differentiate you when you’re at work.

    If you like what the show is about, be sure to check out the award-winning book. It’s on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, a few other websites. All the links are at whatsyourand.com. The book goes more in depth with the research behind why these outside of work passions are so crucial to your corporate culture. And I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s reading it and writing such nice reviews on Amazon and, more importantly, changing the cultures where they work because of it.

    And if you want me to read it to you, that’s right, this voice reading the book, look for What’s Your “And”? on Audible or wherever you get your audiobooks. And please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every weekend. And this week is no different with my guest, Nick Sinclair. He’s the founder of TOA Global out of the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. And now, he’s with me here today. Nick, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?

    Nick: Thanks for having me. Excited to be here.

    John: This is gonna be a blast. I’m so excited for this. It’s gonna be so much fun talking snowboarding. But before we get into it, I got 17 questions that get to know Nick out of the gate. Hope you’re buckled in and ready. This is an easy one, I think. A favorite color.

    Nick: Blue. Definitely blue.

    John: Yeah. Mine is the same. How about a least favorite color?

    Nick: Brown.

    John: Brown.

    Nick: I mean, definitely brown. Yeah.

    John: That is the least of the least favorite colors. It’s by far the worst one that I get on this every time. Are you more talk or text?

    Nick: Definitely talk.

    John: Definitely talk. Yeah. It just gets things faster I feel like. I don’t know. Most of the time. How about a favorite actor or an actress?

    Nick: Any of the Australian ones.

    John: Okay.

    Nick: I love the Aussies going overseas out of the ditch and doing well. So yeah, pretty much any Aussie one that’s made it.

    John: That’s fantastic. I love it man. I love it. How about— Ooh, this is a good one. Toilet paper roll, is it over or under?

    Nick: Over.

    John: Over.

    Nick: 100% over.

    John: Yeah. Yeah. I wasn’t sure if in Australia it was like the reverse ’cause it’s the southern hemisphere, but yeah. No, no, no, it’s not. How about a favorite movie? Any movie at all of all time.

    Nick: Oh, there’s so many of them. The #1 for me is the Lion King though.

    John: Oh, really? Okay.

    Nick: Yeah. Hakuna matata.

    John: I love it, man. That’s great. Wow. So good. Okay. How about when it comes to puzzles? Sudoku, Crossword, or a Jigsaw puzzle?

    Nick: None.

    John: None.

    Nick: Neither.

    John: I don’t have time for that. There we go.

    Nick: Not my thing.

    John: Right? I got a job. That’s a puzzle enough. There you go. Just play Lion King again. Let’s do it. All right. How about Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Nick: I’m gonna answer that again. None. Neither.

    John: None. Neither. Okay.

    Nick: I’m not a fan of either.

    John: Yeah, no, fair enough. Fair enough. This one you have to answer. PC or a Mac?

    Nick: Oh, definitely PC. Next question.

    John: Right. I don’t get Macs either. Like I’m not even allowed in the Mac store. I don’t think.

    Nick: I’m not smart enough to run one.

    John: Right? How about more early bird or a night owl?

    Nick: Used to be early bird, but now I’m a night owl.

    John: Oh, really? Interesting. Normally, it’s the other way around. Okay, good for you. How about ice cream, in a cup or in a cone?

    Nick: Cone. Waffle cone all the way.

    John: Waffle cone. You’re even upgrading. Okay. All right. I like that. Fancy. All right. Do you prefer more hot or cold?

    Nick: Definitely the cold. Love it. Love the cold.

    John: Yeah. As a snowboarder, I figured that would be the case. You never know. In the accounting space, a balance sheet or income statement?

    Nick: Balance sheet.

    John: Balance sheet. Oh, okay. All right. You can’t hide anything then.

    Nick: No.

    John: There you go. We’ve got four more. Favorite sports team.

    Nick: Ooh. I mean, I’m in Australia, so most probably wouldn’t know about it, but any rugby league team or any Aussie team that’s gonna battle with any other country.

    John: Oh, okay. All right. All right. There we go. So rugby mostly then. All right. But who’s your team then?

    Nick: Well, in the NRL, it’s called the National Rugby League, it’s the Gold Coast Titan. So it’s the local team. Any team that play in my state, big fan of them.

    John: You’re all four. I love it, man. I love it. How about a favorite number?

    Nick: 4.

    John: Yeah. Is there a reason?

    Nick: No. I can’t remember why. I love it. I just love 4.

    John: Yeah, no, that’s a unique number. I like it. When it comes to books, audio version, e-Book, or the real book?

    Nick: The real book. I’m real book all the way.

    John: Yeah.

    Nick: I read one every 2 weeks.

    John: Oh, really? Impressive man. Good for you. And the last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own?

    Nick: The favorite thing I have is kids.

    John: Kids. Really? Okay. And how old are they?

    Nick: 12, 13, and 14.

    John: Holy moly. Bang, bang, bang. There you go.

    Nick: Yeah.

    John: Nice. That’s fun. Very cool. That’s awesome. They keep you busy, I’m sure. Do they come out to the slopes with you?

    Nick: Yes.

    John: Nice.

    Nick: Well they don’t have a choice.

    John: They don’t have a choice. Right. That’s the thing. Like when I ask people about their “ands” or when I’m speaking at conferences, I’m like when you say family is not an “and”, it’s what do you do with your family that you drag the kids along to.

    Nick: Experiences.

    John: That’s exactly it. It’s the snowboarding that I don’t care if they want to or not. I want to and you’re coming. So here we go. Like that’s the “and.”

    Nick: Oh, I say they don’t have a choice. I mean, they love going there, but they’d rather be on a beach.

    John: Right. Right. You know what? When they’re adults, they can do all the beach they wanna do. And we’ll do the beach on occasion. Don’t worry about it. How’d you get started in snowboarding?

    Nick: I didn’t until I was 19 to be honest. So I went to New Zealand with a bunch of my mates. We were 19. We 3 guys, 3 girlfriends. We all went over there. And we went to Queenstown, probably the coolest town in the world, and went snowboarding for a few days, learned it there and just got hooked.

    John: That’s very cool. And so, like do you have some like favorite places that you’ve snowboarded or— I mean, I’m sure the one in Australia is probably more that you go to regularly.

    Nick: Yeah, Australia’s easier because of winter. But to be honest, Australian snow is no good when you ski overseas.

    John: Oh, okay. Okay.

    Nick: You know, Japan, Colorado, like the powder and the snow there is phenomenal compared to the ice tracks that we have in Australia.

    John: Oh, okay. Got it. Okay. ‘Cause I was gonna say what’s the difference. Yeah.

    Nick: Yeah. So Japan is probably my favorite. It’s just crazy. It’s just so good. But yeah, anywhere outside of Australia that I’ve been has been amazing.

    John: That’s incredible. That’s too bad. But I mean, I guess you get to practice and then you can appreciate it more.

    Nick: You still have fun. It’s just not the level that, you know— We get in Australia, you know, call it 2-3 meters of snow. In Japan, they get that like overnight. They get 20 meters of snow.

    John: Right. Right.

    Nick: It’s hard to compare. Like it’s just so hard to compare.

    John: But like you said, it’s still fun. Yeah. And that’s the thing. Like when I talk to people, it’s like when you’re talking about snowboarding, it’s always awesome whether it’s in Australia on ice tracks or it’s in Japan, or Colorado, or Canada, or whatever. It’s always fun. When you’re talking about work, sometimes it’s fun, but sometimes it’s not. So that’s why it’s cool that the “and” always brings joy. Then that’s awesome to hear and yeah. And you have a trip coming up soon, right?

    Nick: In a week’s time, I’ll be going to Big White in Canada for at least 2 to 3 weeks. I’ve got another couple of weeks. I’ve gotta go to our Fort Worth office, so I’ve got 5 weeks away from home. So three to four of them will be in snow too. Definitely already confirmed at Big White. I’ve got accommodation and everything. So a couple of weeks after that, I’ll do some work in place. Maybe Utah. Maybe Colorado.

    John: Good for you, man.

    Nick: And then find my way back to Fort Worth.

    John: Yeah. Well, if you come to Colorado, let me know. I’ll get my snowboard out.

    Nick: Will definitely.

    John: So that will be great. That’s awesome, man. And I guess do you feel like there’s a skillset from snowboarding, that you are able to bring to work?

    Nick: I think it’s definitely focus because if you take your mind off and you wander, it’s easy to hit an edge and then suddenly you’re tumbling down or running into a tree or— Yeah.

    John: Right. Or a person.

    Nick: Yeah. Taking people out.

    John: Right? And that’s in the office. That’s not even on this. No, no. But you’re right. I mean, the focus is totally—At no point during any of our schooling did anyone say, you know, “Hey, go learn how to snowboard. It will give you better focus to be better at your job.” But it clearly does. That’s an excellent one right there. And I would imagine a little bit of patience ’cause you’re not good for a long time.

    Nick: Yeah. You’re always learning.

    John: Yeah. You’re always learning.

    Nick: What am I doing? 22, 23 years now being snowboarding. And you know, there’s still a lot to learn. Like I’m still amateur in many ways.

    John: Right. It’s like, man, I’m doing great. And all of a sudden, some 8-year-old kid goes down backwards on one leg and you’re like “What? Like no.”

    Nick: Hell. Hell.

    John: Right? It’s amazing. But that’s cool, man. And is snowboarding something that you talk about with coworkers or do people know about?

    Nick: Yes and no. For, me it’s my way away. It’s the only place you can be with other people, but it’s just you in the mountain. There’s no mobile phone. There’s no technology. So for me, it’s sort of my escape. People know that I love it. I do talk about it probably too much in some ways, but it is my place where I go so people know when I’m away and I’m literally not on technology, which is not often. They’re like he must be on the mountain because he’s not annoying us at work.

    John: That’s great. “Hey, Nick, when are you going on that snowboarding trip again? We all collected our money to pay for you to actually go.”

    Nick: They’re happy to get rid of me.

    John: But there’s so many layers to what you just said. I mean, first of all, that it’s just you in the mountain, which is awesome. So you can quiet your mind. You can just unplug. And then that side of it as well where you’re not on the phone, you’re not on email, you’re not able to respond work. So you’re literally just I can’t do work out here.

    And that’s important to have that time to just unplug, like you said.

    Nick: Yeah. I think the other part of it is with the mountain, particularly when you haven’t been to a mountain that often or you haven’t been there for a while, you don’t know what’s coming up.

    John: Yeah.

    Nick: As you know, with a lot of the runs is that suddenly you can turn black, and steep, and heavy. And you know, when I go to the snow fields in summer and I look up and I’m like no way would I go down that.

    John: Right.

    Nick: But you don’t know. And when you’re going down, it’s too late to pull out and you can’t walk. You’re like you committed. So it’s just like you just gotta buckle up, and you gotta lock in and just go.

    John: Yeah. Right? I mean, it’s like we’re going. So we’re either walking down this thing or rolling down this thing or we can go down on the board. So let’s try that one. That’s great, man. And it is cool that you do share that side of you. And I don’t think that there’s too much. I think it only becomes too much if you’re not getting your work done or you’re inhibiting other people’s ability to get their work done, which clearly you’re not as the founder of an organization. You know, that’s not your goal. So, yeah, I think that that matters. It humanizes you, so people appreciate that I would imagine.

    Nick: Yeah. 14 Definitely. I think people want to know about people outside of work. And I think it’s not something that people really talk about. But if you really wanna build that connection, you do need to understand that. I think that knowing your “and” is such a key thing.

    John: It’s just a little bit below surface level, but not like I don’t even know your whole story, but just like what lights you.

    Nick: It’s a good conversation starter. It’s a great way to enter into, I suppose, a more meaningful and deeper connection.

    John: No, that’s a great point. And as the founder, like how important do you think it is that people have an “and”, one, but then, two, if they do, to share it?

    Nick: This is an interesting one ’cause a good friend of mine who ran a really successful business in New Zealand once said to me— He said, “You know, you’re a boring person. You got nothing else outside of work.” He was quite honest with me. He goes “Nick, you know, all you have is work. And when you sell and you don’t have work, what will you have?”

    John: Yeah.

    Nick: Because I didn’t necessarily have an “and.” And you know, his name was Phil Richards. He sold a significant software, payroll software. And it hit me. And I’m like “You know what? I really don’t have anything else outside of work.” He actually said to me “You need to be more interesting.”

    John: Exactly.

    Nick: Which sort of was leading down to you don’t have an “and.” Like I got into triathlons then. But you know, I still do a bit of it, but it’s more— Snowboarding was my thing. I thought about that. I’m like I do need to become a more interesting person and that means different experiences and having a passion that isn’t just work and my family.

    John: Right. Yeah. Something for you individually. Man, God bless that guy. He’s my hero. But it’s true like, you know. And do you feel like life and work is different after having an “and” now?

    Nick: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I go on a lot of experiences with my family. So we’re lucky in Australia we have holidays every 3 months basically for school. So I’m all about creating experiences. We’re always doing those sorts of things. But again, that was not something for me. So the snow trips that I plan now are really my time. You know, it’s creating a more interesting version of me. It’s refreshing and re-energizing. And so, yeah, I definitely do. I 100% think it’s important. It’s made me a better person in many ways.

    John: I love it, man. It’s so cool to hear that it’s not just like some theory that I made up, that it’s legit, real. And it’s not necessarily hard. It’s just not simple I guess or it’s simple, but not easy or whatever. I don’t know. But it’s not rocket science here. It’s just you have to be intentional with making time to do it and having a good friend point it out to you and then being honest with yourself. And how much do you feel like it’s on an organization to create that space for people to share and encourage it or how much is it just on the individual to just jump in and be a part of it?

    Nick: To be honest, I think it’s both. I think the company needs— And as you know, if you wanna drive culture, it needs to be led. It does need to be driven by the company. If the company does that, I think the individuals are more open to expressing who they really are. And I think that that is up to the individual to really do that, but they really need that permission and encouragement from the company. I don’t think an individual can do it unless it’s acceptable and I suppose driven as part of the culture.

    John: Yeah. They’re like build the sandbox and then everybody can go play inside. You know, these are the lanes. Stay in the lanes. Everything’s cool. ‘Cause we’re so permission-based I feel like, especially in like the professional world where it’s “Well, they didn’t say we could do that.” And I’m like “Well, they didn’t say we couldn’t, so like why don’t we just do it? Like it seems fine, you know.”

    And 99.9% of the time, it’s awesome. And you know, leadership’s is like “Ah, we never would have thought of that; cool, let’s do it everywhere; ’cause we’re busy running the company, I’m glad you guys thought of that”, you know, type of thing. You know, it’s never “Oh, I talked about my hobby and then I got fired.” It’s like “What? What are you talking about?” Provided your hobby’s not illegal, you know. It’s like “Okay, well, now we have reason to talk about that.”

    Nick: Yeah.

    John: That’s super cool, man. And so, I guess do you have any words of encouragement for anybody’s listening that maybe has an “and” that they feel like, well, no one cares ’cause it had nothing to do with my job?

    Nick: Yeah. Look, I think, ultimately, just do it. Like I think the more you can get to know people and the culture is one that where people are interested genuinely in people, I think the more winning culture you build. So for me, it’s about just do it. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

    John: Yeah. I love that, man. It’s so true ’cause it is how business happens. It’s human-to-human interaction here. You have to know each other. It just makes things better.

    Nick: Yeah, agree.

    John: Yeah, I love that, man. Well, this has been so much fun. And before we hit the slopes together and hang out for a whole day ’cause those chairlift rides aren’t necessarily short, I feel like it’s only fair that we turn the tables and you get to question me now to make sure that you want to hang out. So we’ll make this The Nick Sinclair Podcast. Thanks for having me on as a guest and yeah. So I’m all yours, man. Whatever you got.

    Nick: Yeah. Look, I think one question I have, which is— I mean, you obviously have done comedy for a long time. How do you bring humor into the workplace?

    John: Oh.

    Nick: With knowing boundaries of where you may or may not offend people because obviously certain humor may offend some people. So how do you bring that humor and fun into the workplace without offending people?

    John: Yeah. No, that’s a great question ’cause at a comedy club or at a theater, people came for comedy. So if you’re gonna get offended, well, you came. I don’t know why you’re here. But at work, everyone has to be there. I guess I would look at it more as personality. Like how would you bring your personality to work? How would you bring some color to work? How would you bring just something that’s unique? It doesn’t have to be hilarious ’cause like comedy is very different than humor. Like comedy is a laugh every 5 to 10 seconds. Like, you know, bang, bang, bang. Like sharp humor is just is not nearly as sharp I guess.

    And a good friend of mine, Andrew Tarvin, he has a great TEDx talk on this and has a book out about it and speaks on it as well. And he and I differ ’cause I don’t think everyone can be funny. And I think that eventually the earth will run into the sun before we’ll be able to teach you how to be funny. You know, there are just some people, you know, the people that you meet where they tell a joke and then they get to the punchline and they forget the punchline. And you’re like “That’s the only part you had to remember. Like why did you— Like the one thing you had to remember and you forgot it.”

    So I think I would say just more personality. Like how do you just let more of you out? And then that comes across in the same way as humor because people will smile, you know. And so, just don’t feel so constrained. And then by letting more of you out, I don’t think you’re gonna cross the line of offending people because you’re not trying to be funny or trying to do comedy. You know, you’re just being more you. And on occasion, sure, there are people that just don’t like you, but you can’t control that at all. So just be more you and I think more people will like you. You’ll be more authentic. But also, it’s like a magnet. Like more people wanna be around that and work with that type of thing. So I don’t know if that answers your question or if I dodged it.

    Nick: Yeah. No, it does. It does. Another one I’ve got is around accounting firms. I mean, the world I live in, there are two we serve every day. They’re quite pro— I call it professional, but very as much now. But there’s more and more what I call modern accountants coming through. But it’s still a profession that people expect professionalism.

    John: Yeah, it’s stodgy.

    Nick: Yeah. I’ve noticed, since I talk about snowboarding, I’ve connected with so many more people that do snowboard and we’ve got common interests. How do you bring your “and” into your client relationship and sales process so that you could build common ground? You know, we’re taught how to sell, but we’re not taught about how to bring out ourself and really attract people that are like us.

    John: Yeah. And I mean, when I work with organizations to help them implement What’s Your “And”?, just because you’re an accounting firm doesn’t mean you have to act like an accounting firm. Just because you’re a law firm doesn’t mean you have to act like a law firm. Engineering company, you don’t have to— You know, like you don’t have to act like it. You can be whatever you want to be and then “Oh, but I might turn some people off.” Great. They weren’t gonna be your client anyway. They were gonna be huge pain in your butt. So you know, you’d rather find out now and let them know. And so, if I were to take a proposal that you submitted and scratch out your firm’s name from it, can I tell that it’s really a proposal from your firm or is it just the same as all the other proposals that are in the stack?

    And you know, if there’s ways that you can maybe in the bio part of it of who’s gonna work on the project, here’s a picture of them on the slopes with their snowboard, and if they don’t pick you because you had a picture of you snowboarding or in your bio you say that you love to snowboard, then they weren’t your client anyway. That’s not the right fit. But I’m gonna tell you that 9 times out of 10, you’re gonna find your fit better that way than have people just reject you because of that. And I feel like more organizations now with the ESG stuff and everything, like they care about how you treat people and that there’s humans here on the other side. That’s a big piece of it, is behind the job titles, a human being. Inside that human is a soul and like what lights that soul up? And it’s not more accounting. That’s not what lights your soul up.

    I mean, you’re the founder of an organization and it’s still not that. It’s snowboarding. And so, it’s just bringing more human to it. So maybe it’s the picture, maybe it’s in the bio, maybe it’s going after clients. Like if you love snowboarding, it’s going after snowboard manufacturers, it’s going after snowboard stores, it’s going after the ski resorts. Like then you’re hanging out with the coolest people you know. And you know way more about that than somebody who loves cats. Because when you get down to it, I mean, accountants like to think that they’re all unique, but it’s a commodity. I mean, it’s just not rocket science here. The work isn’t the hard part, and someone down the street can do the same. So you have to differentiate yourself. You have to. And turn some people off so you can turn a bunch of people on.

    Nick: Yeah. Love it.

    John: And that’s you. I mean, that’s here I am, you know. And I think people gravitate towards that.

    Nick: Yeah, I agree. I’m gonna hijack one more question since this is now my podcast.

    John: Right.

    Nick: This is not your first episode. It’s obviously— It’s 550 something from memory.

    John: Yeah. You were 551. Yeah. Yeah.

    Nick: 551. So what is the strangest “and” you’ve had or you’ve heard, even if it’s not on an episode, that someone’s told you? What is the strangest one that they’ve told you is their “and”?

    John: You know, and all of them are like so cool to me. Even ones that I’ve never heard of, you know, where I’m like “I don’t even know what that is.” Like pickle wall. And I’m like “What?” I had to Google it. I had to be like “What is this?” And it’s like slow tennis with a wiffle ball or something. I don’t know. Like kiteboarding. I was like “All right.” Probably the most unique one that I haven’t had like anyone else that I’ve come across was stained glass. Like a woman in Tennessee who she makes stained glass windows and art pieces.

    Nick: Oh, wow.

    John: Which is awesome, right? Because it’s like somebody’s gotta make ’em. She just loves doing it. And what’s even cooler about her is she does a lot of bookkeeping work. MB Raimondi is who it was. And she got the art studio as her client after she started there. She started learning, taking lessons there, and whatever. And then now she does like the books for some of the artists as well as the studio. So she got business out of doing her “and”, which is even better. But that’s definitely a unique one that it’s not like you come across that every day type of thing. So that’s definitely a cool one. Well, thank you, Nick, for being a part of this. It was so fun having you be on. What’s Your “And”? So, thanks.

    Nick: Thanks for having me. It’s always enjoyable chatting with you.

    John: Everybody listening, if you wanna see some pictures of Nick out on the slopes or maybe connect with him on social media, you can go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there. And while you’re in the page, please don’t forget to hit that big button. Do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture and don’t forget to read the book. So thanks again for subscribing on Apple Podcast or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, that who you are is so much more than what you do.


Related Posts

Episode 321 – Heather Smith

Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedInHeather is an Accountant & World Traveler Heather Smith talks...

Episode 5 – Bob Lung

Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn Bob uses fantasy football to score big points with...