Welcome to my regular column entitled My Light Bulb Moment. This series highlights a "blinding flash of insight" business, cultural and sports leaders have had in their career, and how this changed their lives forever.

After a highly successful New Zealand representative career comprising 25 tests and 93 one-day internationals, Martin Snedden practised as a lawyer and partner of an Auckland law firm. Between 2001 and 2007, Martin headed New Zealand Cricket during a tumultuous period punctuated by issues relating to terrorism, politics and player contract negotiations.

Next, he became CEO for Rugby New Zealand 2011 Ltd (the organisation responsible for staging the successful Rugby World Cup) then CEO of the Tourism Industry Association, providing strategic direction for our country's No2 export. Currently Martin is a director of both New Zealand Cricket and the International Cricket Council. In January 2012 he was also made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

The light bulb moment


"I'd had a fairly charmed life. I was 27, had a fantastic upbringing and a lovely wife. I'd somehow scraped my way to a law degree and had been playing international cricket since I was 22."

Unfortunately it was also cricket that was starting to agitate him. He had a great start when he was first picked for New Zealand, but "after that honeymoon period ended, I found myself being shuttled in and out of the team and it began to really get under my skin".

You = Solution

Thankfully he had a very good mentor -- his father. "Dad was a kind, patient man, and a balanced influence on me." One Sunday afternoon, watching the cricket on TV, his father said, "Son, you know there is a solution to your problems." "What's that?" Martin asked. "You," his father answered candidly.

"One of the people in the world closest to me, who had supported me my whole life, was telling me to take responsibility for my own destiny, and that, if I did, things would at some point start to sort themselves out."

The message got through. "Gradually I learned to shut my mouth, buckle down and do the hard slog necessary to 'get lucky'."

The way forward

Sometimes we find in life that we are the roadblocks to our own success. However, as Martin says, "everyone's lives will always be full of challenges, but if a person accepts responsibility for their own circumstances, others will be much more willing to chip in and help".

Nothing happens easily and Martin has encountered plenty of challenges, both on and off the sports field. However, by accepting accountability and by working with "what fate put in front on me in life, sport and business, some success and lots of peace of mind came my way".

If you have your own "light bulb moment", please contact me.

Tom O'Neil is an award-winning business speaker, international author of The 1 per cent Principle and Selling Yourself to Employers, and CEO of both CV.CO.NZ and AchievementExpert.com. You can contact Tom at tom@cv.co.nz.