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Charlie Hodgson

As a lifelong rugby fan, my passion for the game runs deep – from the heart-thumping matches of England to the exhilarating journey of my team, Exeter Chiefs. It feels like yesterday that we were in the stands at Twickenham for the Chief's first Premiership final in 2016 against Saracens. The palpable tension, the hope, and yes, the bittersweet tears when they were beaten by a formidable opponent. It was a day etched in memory, not just for the game, but for the sheer spirit of rugby.

Little did I know then, that seven years later, fate would bring me face-to-face with one of the very legends who graced that victorious Saracen's team - Charlie Hodgson, a name that resonates with brilliance in the world of rugby. I've watched him play for England from his earliest days, a time I think of as the golden era of English rugby. His presence on the field and his game-changing plays left fans across the board in awe.

But as I’ve come to learn, Charlie Hodgson is so much more than one of the greatest players of his time. He's a man of profound humility and genuine warmth – qualities that don’t always find their way into the limelight, but ones that define true greatness. In working with him, I’ve met someone I deeply respect and admire.

It’s with a whole lot of pleasure, and personal pride, that I support Charlie as he embarks on the next phase of his extraordinary journey. In Charlie you’ll discover insights into exceptional leadership, stories of resilience, and the humble reflections of a man who has lived a life marked by both challenges and triumphs.

As you delve into this interview, I invite you to join me in celebrating a rugby legend and a remarkable man whose journey transcends the field. Here's to Charlie Hodgson – an inspiration in every sense of the word.

 

Stay inspired. Stay curious. 

 

Tracey

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When it comes to professional rugby, Charlie Hodgson's legacy is not only etched into the history books as the premiership’s highest ever point scorer, but he’s also there in the hearts & minds of fans across the world, for his phenomenal skill, resilience and adaptability. Sitting with him, it’s impossible not to be moved by a man whose life, spent in the public eye, has been shaped by both triumphs and trials alike.

 

Charlie's journey into the heart of English rugby began not with fanfare, but with a fortuitous twist of fate. “To be fair, it all started quite unexpectedly,” he recalls, reflecting on a serendipitous pre-season invitation to train with Sale Sharks in 2000. “I happened to be in the right place, at the right time”. 

 

This unexpected opportunity was the starting whistle for what would become one of the most remarkable careers in modern rugby. By November 2001, at just 21 years of age, he had secured his place in the England squad, a defining moment that heralded the arrival of a rugby powerhouse.

 

His time at Sale Sharks was a blend of relentless pursuit and strategic on-field mastery, which earned him 3 consecutive titles as player of the Season, two European Challenge Cup victories in ’02 & ‘05 and a Premiership trophy in 2006.

 

Charlie’s narrative, however, isn't without its share of challenges. The scrutiny of media and the weight of public expectations were battles fought in the mind as much as on the field. "I took a fair bit of criticism... I’d be lying if I said it didn’t have an impact on me personally," he shares, providing a glimpse into the mental resilience required at the highest levels of sport. “it was the ability to stay focused, to be consistent in my work ethic, day in and day out, that helped me deal with it. It was about staying focused on what I could ultimately control”. It was this mindset and approach, that became his armour and helped him face the challenges that came with a 16 year career lived in the public eye.

 

His 2011 move to Saracens, one of the greatest teams in Premiership history, marked another significant chapter in his career. It was here, that Charlie's approach to rugby and life underwent a transformative shift. 

 

“My first experience at Saracens after a loss was eye-opening. Even if we’d taken a loss, we would walk out of the review meeting on a Monday feeling as if we'd won the league. It was all about the mindset shift. If an outsider had attended our post-game meeting, they could be forgiven if they thought we had won given the positivity and up-liftment in the room. We all left feeling like a million dollars, regardless of the game's outcome. This really changed my approach and perspective; it showed me the profound impact of a positive mindset and the power of belief. It was truly transformative for me.

 

As we move our conversation into life after the rugby, Charlie reflects on his transition into the business world. “It's the drive towards something else,” he muses, speaking to the innate desire to seek new challenges and excel in new arenas. “Everyone needs something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for” is a favourite quote, adapted by an old coach, that he's held onto. “Rugby was a huge part of my life, but I’m now relishing this new period - a move towards something, that’s possibly, even greater”. This relentless pursuit of excellence, a hallmark of his rugby career, now guides him in his corporate endeavours.

 

Charlie’s approach isn’t one to linger on past glories. “In the same way that you can't spend your life riding the wave of what was, neither should you waste time reflecting on what wasn’t. I’m by no means a finished article at all,”  he reflects, hinting at a philosophy that has guided much of his life “there is far more to come, than what was”. It’s a constant strive to push beyond his comfort zones.

 

Charlie Hodgson's story transcends the tale of a sports legend. It's one of constant evolution, resilience, and a pursuit of growth that continues to inspire. From the grassy fields of Sale to the business world, his journey is a masterclass in not just excelling in a sport but in embracing the challenges that come with a life lived in the public eye, with grace and determination.

 

As he charts his course in new territories, one thing is abundantly clear – Charlie Hodgson is still very much in the game, rewriting the rules of what it means to achieve success and inspiring a new generation on and off the field.

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