Matina Jewell: Designing The Life Of Your Dreams

by on 28 October 2015 in Members Blog


During a 15‐year military career, Matina Jewell became one of the most awarded females in Australian military history. She suffered debilitating injuries during a peace‐keeping mission in Lebanon that would end her military service. Since then, she has served on the Prime Ministerial Advisory Council for Veterans Issues, the National Mental Health Forum and the ANZAC Centenary Commission alongside Prime Ministers Bob Hawke and the late Malcolm Fraser. She is a best selling author, an in‐demand international key‐note speaker, a mum and volunteer to many charities.

In time for Fearless, Suzy caught up with Matina to talk life design, career and what we should all reflect on in time for 2016.

What do you believe are the key skills or traits fearless women need to design the life of their dreams?

“There are so many, but I have a few that really stand out for fearless women out there:

  • I believe planning and preparation is key to successful outcomes.
  • Resilience is also key – you need to have the courage and self­ belief to push through tough days because there will always be tough days.
  • You need like­ minded people around you, people who share your vision and are prepared to help you achieve your dreams.
  • Have people around you who energise you and who build you up. Sometimes you need to let go of old friends and welcome new friends and networks.
  • I believe mentors are absolutely critical. Find mentors who have a strategic vision that can direct you in tough times, they hold the vision when you’re struggling to hold it yourself, they have a broad view and can see the missing components, they can help you navigate roadblocks and overcome the obstacles that will hold you back. Ideally you would have a number of different mentors with different skills and experience to help create your ideal business or career.
  • You also need to be willing to pay it forward with a great sense of purpose that you can make a difference.
  • For me respect is also critical and is something you earn. The strongest teams are those built on respect and trust.What goals have you aimed for and missed and how has this impacted your life story?
“Shoot for the moon and even if you miss you’ll land among the stars”

What we often see as failures have the deepest learnings.

Throughout school I played a number of sports at high level and had ambitions to be a physiotherapist but I missed out on the course requirements by 0.8%. It was a huge setback but at 17 years of age I learned you don’t always get what you want.

From that I learned to keep my options open and to have contingency plans in place and those contingency plans may actually have better outcomes.

My contingency plan was military training and ADFA (Australian Defence Force Academy) and although a year later I was invited to study physiotherapy I had already begun my journey in the military and I wasn’t about to let my ‘mates’ down by leaving.

So I think it’s important to be 100% committed to your goal but be flexible and open to other opportunities.

Were you born a Fearless ‘warrior’ or is it an attitude you developed over time?

I think we’re born with certain characteristics, I see fearless determination on the faces of my young children but we’re also shaped by our experiences and the influence of people around us.

It’s 100% natural to feel fear, so to me the definition of being fearless is the ability to identify and acknowledge our fears and sit with the uncomfortableness of that feeling. Our greatest opportunities for growth come from fear during periods of change where we are challenged outside our comfort zone, but it’s an opening to try something new.

First, we have accept we are all guilty of putting limitations on ourselves, then push those feelings aside and give ourselves permission to have a go at something new. Have a crack regardless of success or failure because we’ll be surprised by what we can achieve.

In my line of work I had to continue operating in the face of fear to make decisions to keep myself and others around me alive. I just had to put emotion of fear aside and keep operating.

Lastly it’s worth recognizing the difference between being fearless and being reckless. Reckless is pretending that fear doesn’t exist and therefore omitting to do a proper risk analysis on the activity you are doing. Instead of having some fear around it, its useful purpose is to guide our behaviour and acknowledge risks associated with it.

What would you like guests to consider before they arrive at Fearless?

Spend some time identifying what has blocked their success to date. How they currently deal with change and what their mindset is around challenges and periods of change.

Do you fear, resent, embrace, or love change? Are you a change agent or do you resist change?

What does the best 2016 look like for you and what is your plan in achieving it. You don’t need to have all the answers but start the thought process so you’re able to build on this at Fearless.

You can meet Matina and other fearless business women at the Fearless 2015 event in Sydney, December 2nd. Book your seat now at

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