Ed Fernon has achieved great success through hard work and determination. He will be competing at the Tokyo Olympics Games in the Modern Pentathlon, after making his Olympic debut at the London Olympics. Ed has also won the world’s longest and hardest horse race – the Mongol Derby; and is a successful property investor. 

Aussie kids inspired him in 2012 through their letters of support, so he is returning the favour and sharing advice and his tips for success. Ed wants children and teenagers to be inspired to achieve their own greatness and dream big. 

Ed Fernon Showjumping
Ed Fernon showjumping at London 2012.

Ed wrote before heading to Japan for the Olympics:

One of the wonderful and unexpected surprises from competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games was the number of letters I received from children across Australia. These letters of support gave me a feeling of being part of something bigger than myself and showed that the Olympic Games is an opportunity to inspire people to achieve their best, no matter what their goals may be. Now as I finalise my preparations for my second Olympic Games, I am writing this letter of advice in the hope it inspires my kids and kids all around Australia, to aim high and achieve their dreams.

Here are my top six tips for success:

1. Write out your goal and put it up somewhere so you can look at it every day. 

Don’t be afraid to dream big because your goal needs to be worthy of you and your time and effort. We all overestimate what we can achieve in the short-term and underestimate what we can achieve in the long-term. Your goal may seem completely overwhelming when you start, but every great journey starts with a single step. There will be many people, even those close to you, who may doubt you but if people aren’t laughing at your goals, then they aren’t big enough. This is nothing more than an opinion. Don’t let their opinions become your beliefs. Listen to yourself and find your own path.

2. Find the joy in the doing, rather than the achieving. 

You will see over the next few weeks many Olympians winning medals and achieving personal bests. What you don’t get to see are the failures, setbacks, injuries and thousands of hours of training. If you don’t love what you do and you don’t have the inner drive, then these tough moments will keep you down. If you can find the joy in the process, then every setback is an opportunity to learn and grow.

3. Find a mentor or coach who can help you on your journey. 

There is no such thing as self-made; no one can do anything all on their own. Success is a result of a good people behind the scenes who help along the way. Be thankful to these people and open to new opportunities so you can learn as much as you can.

4. Create your plan starting with the end in mind by building good routines and habits. 

It is important to do something every day, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, that helps bring you closer to your goal. When I was at the Olympic Training Centre in Colorado Springs, I had the opportunity to swim with Michael Phelps. His coach, Bob Bowman, had written a simple message on the board to keep his team focused on the process. This message was W.I.N (What’s Important Now?). A W.I.N mindset will keep you focused on the path to achieve your goal, and helps you identify the small tasks you can do that will help you reach the next level.

5. You cannot achieve success without failure. 

The more failure and setbacks you can take, the more you will learn and the faster you can grow as a person. It is going to be really tough at times – you’ll be scared, tired and in pain. But remember, all things are passing and pressure is a privilege. Once you can learn to find comfort in discomfort through total commitment, then you build the ability to do it again. Then, over time, you can conquer bigger and greater challenges.

6. Never give up, never give in.

Finally, and most importantly, you must be determined. Never give up, never give in. We cannot control whether we win or lose, but we can control the process to swing life in our favour by staying committed through the setbacks. Life is not what happens to you, but rather how you react. Your choices and decisions will shape your life.

Edward Fernon plays with his son Lachlan during an AOC event on 14 April 14, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (C) Hanna Lassen/Getty Images

Olympic Dreams Come True 

When I was 12, I sat in the stadium with my parents watching the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, dreaming of what it would be like to represent my country. As I fly out for my second Olympic Games, I hope that I can give hope and inspiration to my boys and children around Australia so that they can achieve their hopes and dreams. Whatever your goal, if you write it down, create a plan, set up good habits, never give up, and surround yourself with supportive people, you will look back and be truly amazed by what you have achieved and the person you have become.

Ed Fernon
Dual Olympian