Talking courage with a Motivational Speaker

(3 minute read.)

Adam Drake

An advocate for young people and a long-term Territorian, Adam Drake, founded Balanced Choice in 2014 to improve outcomes for young people in the justice system.

Adam has designed unique programs that tie together fitness, team building and psychology to help troubled children make positive choices.  Using Hope Theory with the detainees at the Don Dale Detention Centre, Adam gives the children an avenue to share their goals and discuss ways to achieve them.

Adam also works with organisations such as the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency and the Legal Aid Commission. He has a passion for people at the margins of our community and never gives up on a client, no matter what they are going through.

Join us as Adam shares stories of vulnerability and trust, that require courage.

How would you describe workplace courage?

Workplace courage is stepping into discomfort for the greater good of you and your work, and the people around you.

What does courage look like in your workplace?

Courage in my workplace involves putting myself in situations which others might view as risky; but I weigh up all the outcomes and make a decision with connection in mind.

Courage in my work also involves moving off a structured program or course to make sure the engagement has depth.

Vulnerability is also a version of courage, opening myself up to groups and trusting them takes courage; building trust in places where trust is not the norm is a necessity to the work.

Please describe 1-2 examples in which you have been courageous.  What did you do?  Who/what enabled you to be courageous?  What was the outcome?  

The first story is when I was working with the adult prison.  It was my first day and there  were 14 prisoners all looking at me at the start of my session and my anxiety was through the roof, so I said, “Fellas, I am going to stand up and go around in circles ten times with my eyes closed and you’re going to lead me from one end of the jail to the other without the guards, using just your voices.” The lads lead me safely, minus one moment when one fella said, “Let’s beat the crap out of him now, haha.” Obviously, that didn’t happen and they kept me safe.

I reflected with the fellas afterwards that I had to be vulnerable in that moment to gain trust.

Another example was when I was working with a large pharmaceutical group.  I felt I was losing the group a little, so I stated that I was going to put a person on my shoulders to represent trust and teamwork.  In this moment, one young man said he would go up; the team got around him and supported him to represent strong communication, courage, teamwork and so many other things.

A third story was when I was working with the fellas in the jail and we were role playing job interviews. One of the fellas, who hadn’t spoken in two years, was encouraged by one of the guards to have a go. I knew that he liked the North Melbourne footy club and so I pretended to be the coach and told him I needed an assistant; I asked if he could help me with the team.  He lent forward towards me and began to talk – it was a beautiful moment.

The above three moments represent courage because each time I was in situations that were challenging but I broke the mould of a typical workshop and got creative. Being creative requires courage and it can take the work into incredible places.

From your point of view, to what extent are Australia’s leaders leading with courage?

The world leaders who are leading with courage are leaders like Jacinda Ardern, who is leading boldly by challenging mainstream views.  Her leadership is honest and transparent, and this translates to the public trusting her and supporting her.

I am of the firm belief that the best leaders are the ones who behave like adults. So many leaders get caught up fighting within their parties or with media and other countries.

For me the leaders that remain calm and do not get caught up in childlike behaviour are the ones that are leading with courage.

You can connect with Adam and inquire into his role as a motivational speaker in the following ways:


Adam D

I met Adam when we were working at a conference with the same pharmaceutical company.  I quickly appreciated his transparency and honesty, and his utmost dedication to, and commitment for, the children in his care. I am thrilled that Adam’s work is being recognised; he was recently nominated for 2019 NT Australian of the Year for his work with community in the Northern Territory, including with the NT Royal Commission.  


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