« The Power of Good People | Main | Men’s Health Week »

Defying the Enemy Within

With special guest:

  • Joe Williams
    … in conversation with Bill Kable

When his father presented his South Sydney first grade rugby league jersey to Joe Williams it was a special moment. When Joe went straight into the ranks of professional boxers without any need for an apprenticeship as an amateur it was another special moment. Off the sporting field Joe is an established speaker on the circuit in Australia and the USA. So what could possibly be wrong?

We learn in this fascinating discussion that behind all the achievements Joe was battling serious mental illness from a young age. There were inner voices crowding out his thoughts and trying to drag him down. Joe admits that these voices denied him the satisfaction of reaching his true sporting potential but he is now on a course that he sees as more important.

In his book Defying the Enemy Within: How I silenced the negative voices in my head to survive and thrive Joe sets out a survival course that is relevant for young Aboriginal men from all over Australia, for the Indigenous people of other countries and for all the non-Indigenous people who flock to hear him speak. Joe has an authentic voice which draws on the longest surviving culture in the world, that of the Australian Aborigines.

When Joe first came to Sydney he found a home away from home with a legend, namely the great Australian Rugby League Captain Arthur Beetson. We hear from Joe what he learned from Arthur, as well as from other mentors such as the champion boxing trainer Johnny Lewis. With the benefit of all these experiences and wise counsel Joe is now in a better place with his five children and a permanent relationship.

This is a story that is at the one time both inspiring and educational. We are delighted to help Joe get the word out as we wish him well on the next stage of his packed program of a life.

Joe Williams

Joe Williams is a proud Wiradjuri First Nations Aboriginal man born in Cowra and raised in Wagga Wagga, NSW. Joe played in the National Rugby League (NRL) for many years before switching to professional boxing in 2009 and winning two welterweight championships despite suffering severe mental illness. Joe currently spends his time between Australia and the United States, travelling across both continents delivering workshops and talks to inspire people to think differently about their mental health.

Song selection by our guest: Twistin’ the Night Away by Sam Cooke

Listen Now (mp3)

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend