Stop Seeking Approval: A 20 Year Old Prepares For World Domination

Have you ever imagined yourself achieving something that doesn’t require the permission or approval of other people for you to achieve?

All of us here in the community are at varying stages of our journey, but I am sure that at some point in time, we have all dreamed of doing something completely new.

Many of us who are clear about the goals we have set, and those of us who are still setting our goals, have rejected the mindset of people telling us that we aren’t playing by the “rules.”

When Academy member Tori West posted her video introduction to the community, I was quickly drawn to her profile on the Academy. Tori’s profile made me think about a few things, including her age, mindset, and her struggle to commit to a university degree, which was an expectation that has been put on her. Here is Tori’s video again in case you missed it.You’ll see from her video introduction that one of the main reasons Tori joined the Academy was to match the level of ambition and drive she has with more focus, direction and guidance that is needed for her reach her goals and long-term vision.

In my Tribe Talk this week, I spoke to Tori about how her ambition and drive has come about at such an early age. As Tori shows, when you think outside of the schooled mindset and think big, you will naturally invite bigger ideas, bigger plans and bigger success into your life. I hope that this interview will remind you to think big, freely and also spontaneously.

Member Interview with Tori West

Tell us about yourself

“Well my name is Tori, I am 20 years old and from Townsville Queensland Australia. I am the oldest of 6 children. I’m a Christian, heptathlete (that’s 7 track & field events over 2 days – 100mH, High Jump, Shot Put, 200m, Javelin, Long Jump, 800m), Barista, Graphic & Web Designe, entrepreneur, bookkeeper and spray paint artist.”

“That’s a long list! Writing it, I realised I label myself based on what I do. Who I am though, is something I don’t think I can express in words. At the moment I work in a café 2-3 days a week (cracking out some nice latte art) and one day bookkeeping for a not-for-profit organisation. I also do freelance graphic and web design work, but I haven’t set the right goals to make this a sole source of income. I am self-taught and struggled with the confidence to say “yep, I can do this for a living”. 2016 will be a year this will change. I am also working towards setting up an international luxury tea brand. In my overseas travels I stumbled upon a tea harvested from 800-1000 year old WILD tea trees and processed as Puerh Tea. As well as this, the tea leaves contain collagen as Hydroxyproline a key anti-ageing product, which is un heard of in plants.”

This is a compressed Puerh tea cake.

“To give you an idea how amazing this tea is, the tea master is 80 years old, his hands look like a young man’s hands and his hair is jet black. One of the women from the village is 40 years old, when I met her I thought we were the same age. I will share pictures when I get a chance.”

This is one of the villagers that harvests the tea trees.

“The potential value of this tea is immense. The challenge is I have no such experience in this field and hit points where I have no idea what the next step is. At the moment I am working on developing the brand, so that consumers will associate it as a desirable, high value, luxury item. Using my design experience I am working on – packaging, logo, business cards, marketing material and the website. Only 5,000 people are able to have yearly access to the tea, so I am also putting in a great deal of research to pin point the right markets that will pay the right price for access to the tea. I started a metallic tattoo business, but quickly lost momentum after I got the product into Australia. I created it initially as a way to generate a secondary income, but didn’t sell out the supply due to self-doubt and lack of commitment. Just in the past week I have got someone else involved, and I am painting the vision of the business to them so that they might take on the role I was going to. I just don’t have the time or energy to commit fully to make this venture successful at the moment. I am waiting to see how all this goes.”

What purpose or vision have you defined for yourself?
“To be loved and to love. There is a book that writes, ‘what good is a man that gain great wealth, walks in glory yet has not loved?’ I have many goals and dreams but there is no point in it all really if I don’t walk in love. So the goals come secondary to this.”
How do you set your goals?
“To be honest this is something I have failed in, the Academy is helping me improve in this. I dream but don’t set attainable goals to reach that dream. I think that is due to the way I was brought up around a religious “never good enough” dogma that was instilled in me as a youngling. I could go on for ages with excuses as to why I haven’t been planning and setting goals effectively. But that doesn’t matter, I have learnt now how to make SMART goals through the ‘How to set, track and achieve goals’ video, so I have no excuse.”
What would be your ultimate achievement?
“I don’t think I can define that right now. Everything that I have achieved to this point, the feeling it evoked, was only temporary. In my heart I know there is always more to do, achieve and gain. For instance becoming national champion for javelin when I was 17. I was stoked to win but I knew there was much more to do. In my head I thought, this is just a piece of cheap medal, a single moment, there are many people achieved this exact thing. Maybe the ultimate future achievement would be to do something no one has ever done before. Not for my own glory, but to push the boundaries that we accept as humans. I want people to believe that absolutely anything is possible. I think planting seeds that lead to people changing their minds is that greatest thing ever. I find myself on a journey believing that and it has changed my life wholly.”

Can you describe how going to university was expected of you?

“I dropped out of university 3 times out of 3 different degrees – Bachelor Business, Bachelor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Bachelor of Science. I hated the system and the way it worked. I did really well in high school, graduated in the top 7.5% of my state, and wanted to study Medicine initially. I didn’t get in, I flunked out in the interview because I didn’t prepare and didn’t know why I wanted to study medicine. I believed getting good grades was a good enough reason to apply. Eventually I enrolled in Science majoring in Physics, but I quickly lost interest. I didn’t like studying subjects that didn’t connect with passion and I certainly didn’t know what I was passionate about at that time. It got to the point where I was really annoyed with the processes and pathways universities develop that will lead to your “ideal” career. It seemed like it was the only answer to realise and achieve my ideal self… So I thought. When I realised universities also operate like a business I veered from it completely. I saw university as a security blanket for a lot of people my age, it’s something you can start small talk with “oh I study this so I am doing something with my life” or “I don’t know what to do with my life, university is an answer.” Its not an answer, its just a doorway to something. It’s never the answer. I don’t think you should do it until you understand what it is you want to do, and is university going to be a pathway to get you there.”
Being just 20 years old, do you feel your mindset is different to the people around you?
“Yes, and I have struggled with this. I have felt the need to conform to what people around me are focused on. It’s human nature to feel accepted, like you belong in the pack. I think differently and I do actually get recognition for it, heck I got offered a place in my city’s business Emerging Leaders Program (which I was shocked at I wouldn’t say I would bring in the $$ at this point to be considered). I have been asked to speak in front of youth church meetings, people ask me for advice in business (again faking it till I make it) and I get a lot of favour in circles of people I exist within. Despite all this, I do think everyone feels like they have a different mindset than the people around them. That’s why we get insecure. But if we can get secure in our differentiation between those around us, we will find a strength we never knew. I am at that point.”
What got you started as an athlete?
“My Dad, he has and always will be my greatest supporter. Athletics was the first sport I was ever exposed to. At 3 years old I lived on the same street as the track, one day Dad and I went down for a walk and I saw some girls running without a uniform, and I said “Dad I can run too, those girls don’t have a uniform like me”. So the next week Dad signed me up and I have been doing it ever since. I was a natural at most events and was always winning. I cried my eyes out the first time I lost a race at 8 years old, I said I hurt my foot. It was a lie. Eventually when I was old enough to make representative teams I excelled in high jump. Dad taught me how to jump on the backyard trampoline over brooms and tent poles. At 12 I was jumping 1.63m. When I turned 15 I was scouted out by my current coach Gary. He has trained Olympic athletes and saw potential straight in me straight away. Within a year of training with Gary I became national champion in javelin. I went from being naturally just good, to a champion. 2012 was the high point in my athletics journey to this point. After graduating high school, I went through a bad phase, I didn’t know what I wanted in life, I missed out on opportunities such as representing my country at World Junior Championships because I ran away from home. I didn’t grow up in the greatest of circumstances and was desperate for an escape. Throughout high school, I could escape through over achieving, once high school finished, I didn’t know where to focus my energy and became consumed with self-pity because of my situation. The desperation led to bad decisions and trusting the wrong people. In the lows though, I grew and I wouldn’t be where I am now if not for it.”
What personal achievement do you want to fulfil next?
“I want to be the Australian national champion for the heptathlon and qualify for the World Championships 2017. Due to a foot injury (partial rupture of the plantar fascia) I am unable to compete this year. Despite this occurring, I don’t see it as a setback, its actually a good thing. Considering I want to compete at the World Championships, Olympics and commonwealth games, the next 4-7 years will be really busy. It might be the only 3 month break I have for a long time.”
What was the best advice you were ever given?
“Work from a place of rest.”
Do you have any questions for the community?
“If I ever visit London, can you hook me up with a place to stay? I heard Germany is the biggest importer and exporter of Tea in the world. So I might be heading Europe way this year.”
The next steps for Tori are to learn how to bring her product to the market, to learn to pitch successfully and to understand the concepts of how to manage her money more effectively. If you can help, support, advise or guide Tori, please leave a comment below this post or message her here.

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Until next week’s Tribe Talk, have a great week, and if you’d like to get in touch with me, message me @noorahnaker – I’d love to hear from you!

Speak soon,


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6 Comments on "Stop Seeking Approval: A 20 Year Old Prepares For World Domination"

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Jamie Curtis
Awesome interview! @tori-west you’ve got such an exciting few years ahead! I suspect that training for commonwealth / olympic games is going to take up a big proportion of your time (for 1 discipline, let alone 7!) so you might want to consider that when deciding how to take the tea business forward. i.e. rather than having two separate endeavours competing for your focus and attention, can you find a way to make them work together? Perhaps get a business partner to run the day-to-day element of the tea business (similar to your Metallic Tattoo business), so that you can… Read more »
Tori West

Your 100% right, athletics takes up the majority of my energy and focus. Perhaps a business partner is the most suitable choice.

Lucky Jide Salu

@tori-west your Attitude and Mindset, at your age is absolutely AWESOME!
I am truly impressed, and guess what, you are on to even bigger and better things because, you may not find a lot of your age mates on this platform, what you will get though will be immense. I am rooting for you all the way…I shall be supporting you in all competitions as I did for Cathy Freeman those many years ago….Congratulations on all your achievements thus far and I know, you know, the best is yet to come. I wish you well. Regards – Lucky Salu

Tori West

Thanks a bunch Lucky!


Great interview. I’d be interested to learn more about this tea.

Tori West

I will be sure to share more with you in due time 🙂