Tom's mental game.

By: Belle Hartles |


This year for World Mental Health Day, Goju wants to highlight one of our co-founders, Tom. Tom is both the Managing Director of Goju as well as an athlete. When he’s not at his desk running a start-up business, he travels the world representing New Zealand for beach volleyball.

Tom, you're not only the co-founder and director of Goju but also a beach volleyball representative for New Zealand. How has your experience in sports influenced your approach to entrepreneurship and mental health?

Sport, in particular my beach volleyball career, has played a major role in my approach to Goju. Both sport and business come with setbacks and challenges. In fact lots of them. So being able to cope with these and to keep persevering towards a common goal with your team is something I strive to do. From a mental perspective, I just try to keep pushing no matter the challenge. I try to figure out the solutions and find enjoyment in the process knowing that another challenge is very likely awaiting right around the corner. I love both Goju and playing beach volleyball so I remain very grateful for what I am able to do.

As someone who leads a health-focused company, what self-care routines or practices do you personally follow to maintain your mental well-being, especially considering your busy schedule as an athlete and entrepreneur?

Goju is a self-care routine that I love and that makes me feel really good. I genuinely love our products and take them every day. I also am big on my Yoga which includes a weekly Iyengar session. Focusing on your body and breath in the poses I find really helpful for general wellbeing. I always feel calm and in a good place after a well earned Sharvasana. I also love spending time with my family and my people and especially love being in the sun. I find taking some deep breaths in the sunshine is great for the mental. Even better if you throw a nice view in there too. Finding the time to slow down in the sun is a big hack for me.

Given your dual roles as an athlete and an entrepreneur in the health and wellness industry, how do you see the intersection between physical and mental health, and what steps can individuals take to maintain a holistic wellbeing?

There is a clear correlation between good physical health and good mental health. Physical activity not only benefits our bodies but also has a significant impact on our mental wellbeing. For me I feel like I am in a better mood if I have managed to get outside and do something active. If I am getting up early and going to the gym or getting the body moving I also think this sets you up for a better day mentally too. 

On the mental side, if you focus on improving your mental wellbeing I think this will lead to a better aptitude for physical activity too. Feeding your body good foods, getting outside and spending time slowing down or time with people who fill your cup will allow you to be motivated to do more physical activity in my opinion. If you are all go all the time eventually you will burn out, so taking time to slow down and chill will allow you to keep up consistent physical activity over a long period of time.

World Mental Health Day is a time for reflection and action. What advice would you give to individuals who may be struggling with their mental health or facing challenging times, especially in the current global context?

This current global state is making life difficult for a lot of us and it is so easy to focus on all the negatives within and around us. Sometimes it can feel like a trap always trying to pull us in. So I think being aware that there is so much light and good in the world and in each of us that you can get yourself out of a dark time. It can take some serious perseverance but every lock has a key, so with the support from people around you can figure it out. Do what you can to prioritise your mental and physical health, surround yourself with people who help improve your wellbeing and talk through your issues with these people. Then get to action and just try to take small steps, something is better than nothing so no matter how small the steps are they are something and eventually you will get there.