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World Champion Athlete & Oscar-Nominated Writer Lesley Paterson On Mindset, Performance & Persistence

By August 21, 2023No Comments
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Episode #775



It is said that you can either be an elite athlete or an award-winning artist, but never both.

Here to break this paradigm is 5x World Champion professional triathlete and the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of last year’s smash hit, All Quiet on the Western Front, Lesley Paterson.

With over 400 triathlons to her name, Lesley is a 3x XTERRA Triathlon World Champion and 2x World Triathlon Cross Champion. But if you asked about her greatest test of endurance, it wouldn’t be a race. It would be chasing an Oscar.

For 16 years during her professional triathlon career, Lesley fought to secure and maintain the film rights to All Quiet on the Western Front out of her own pocket from race winnings. She wrote and rewrote the script, and despite the odds stacked heavily against her, never gave up on her dream of getting the movie made.

“It’s not about the outcome, but about the process and the love for your craft.”


After many years of starts and stops the film was finally made, and became an absolute awards season darling. All Quiet On The Western Front took home four Oscars and seven BAFTAs—including one for best-adapted screenplay (this was Lesley’s first screenplay might I add). All of which is a testament to her patience, discipline, and hard work.

Lesley’s relentless persistence is the focus of today’s conversation. In addition to discussing her film, we also talk about self-belief, playing the long game, setting audacious goals, and the ‘never quit’ drive required to do amazing things.

The visually inclined can watch it all go down on YouTube. As always, the audio version streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Delightful, engaging, and strong, I adore Lesley. There’s a lot to learn from this fiery Scottish lassie.

Note: If you like this exchange, be sure to check out her book The Brave Athlete, which is packed with actionable practices to build an endurance mindset.


Peace + Plants,

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