The five friends you need to succeed

The five friends you need to succeed 

Have you ever heard the old saying “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

In my career as an athlete I have found this to be especially true.

I believe there are five types of people we all need in our social circle to be successful

  1. The role model for inspiration- I always ask myself how would I behave if I was the best in the world and model myself of someone who is in the world. I try to surround myself with someone who is better at what I’m doing that I am now and I can learn by absorbing. Be a sponge soak up their knowledge.
  • The coach or mentor who is always there for support, technical advice…. But mainly just being there.
  • The friend who pushes you out of your comfort zone and isn’t afraid to call you on your $%^ shit. Basically the friend who tells you to get out of your own way and says things as they are.
  1. Someone who is there to lend a hand and pick up the slack- none of us are superwoman/man- we all appreciate someone who feeds the dog when we go away, keep the house clean when we are training etc
  2. the friend with whom you can truly hang out forget about your goals and have fun
  3. and an ally said five people but this 61 is a bonus * your team should have the number of qualified health professionals to ensure that your self-care is up to them to perform at your level (for me that involves physiotherapy, and osteopath, dr specialist doctors, nutritionist, personal trainer and a massage therapist.

So while I’m not suggesting you go out and ‘break up’ with the besties you’ve had high school, when it comes to achieving your unstoppable dreams it’s important to build a team of successful support people around you when you are in that environment.

When you have a great team-celebrate and reward them!

Let me give an example of my support team who made my dream of becoming a Paralympic medallists come true, and hopefully you can integrate some of these tips into your own life.

Last year I was fortunate enough to be inducted into the sporting Hall of Fame and invited to give a speech.

I finally got to illustrate this point beautifully- my speech was simple.

But it caused a bit of a commotion- you see the organisers wanted the winner of the want to come on stage. I insisted upon bringing 8 people with me on to the stage as I gave my except in speech- because as far as I was concerned they are all the winners want to as members of “team marayke”


Here is the reason why.

“ For 20 years I got to travel the world, stand on the victory Dais and take home a medal and lifelong memories. But that medal was not just won by me, none of us achieve success in life alone. So I dedicate this hall of Fame induction- my last time stepping on the picture dies now that I’m retired to all of ‘team Marayke’- this is your chance to have the crowd cheering for you, your moment and this plaque in the Hall of Fame is for all of us.”

So let me ask you to have the five friends filling these roles in your life now? And have you got category number six, a team of specialists looking after your mind and body so that you can function at your optimal level.

If not boldly and seek them. Create team YOU!!!!

To give you some ideas meet Team Marayke

Team marayke celebrate : David Gribble, John Borgh, Paul Jonkers, Jeff Hardy, Wendy Weier, Rob McBroom, Debbie Jones, Frankje Borgh ( Oma ) Lorna Wright , Sue Gribble, Marion Jonkers , Marayke Jonkers

Team marayke celebrate : Coach David Gribble, Grandfather John Borgh, brother Paul Jonkers, former training partner and hero Jeff Hardy, massage therapist Wendy Weier, Coach Rob McBroom, Best friend and swim trainer Debbie Jones, grandmother Frankje Borgh ( Oma ) House keeper Lorna , Coaches wife Sue Gribble, mother Marion Jonkers , Marayke Jonkers

My coaches:

David Gribble, Rob McBroom, Sacha Fulton, Mike Williams and Simone Bartop. Over the years these wonderful individuals all gave up their time to coach me rain hail or shine day in day out for no pay- simply a commitment to my Paralympic dream.

Marayke with her coaches and support staff David Gribble ( 1994- 1998 Swim coach) Rob McBroom ( Swim Coach Sydney 2000- Athens Paralympic Games 2004) Wendy Weier ( Wenells Therapeutics, Marayke’s massage therapist ) Debbie Jones ( training partner since 2000 and then swimming and triathlon 2010) Marayke Jonkers

Marayke with her coaches and support staff David Gribble ( 1994- 1998 Swim coach) Rob McBroom ( Swim Coach Sydney 2000- Athens Paralympic Games 2004) Wendy Weier ( Wenells Therapeutics, Marayke’s massage therapist ) Debbie Jones ( training partner since 2000 and then swimming and triathlon 2010) Marayke Jonkers

 My family:

My mum Marion taught me to swim as a baby, my grandparents John and Frankjie who picked up the batting as I got older and drove me to simmering training before and after school and on weekends took me to competitions. My siblings who so patiently put up with everybody else’s attention being absorbed by my swimming.

My best friend Deb:


Over the years she has done everything from swim councillors lapse of breaststroke acting as my pace rabbit, to carting over 100 kg and 12 wheels worth of hand cycle and racing wheelchair to Europe by herself so that I could compete in the world paratriathlon championships.


house cleaner and solver of all house problems extraordinaire- light globe needs changing and being vertically challenged in a wheelchair I need a helping hand, somebody decided to put the telephone book on top of the bookshelf now I can’t reach it…. You name it I’ve always been able to count on one to fix it. We all need someone like this and a life a friend we can count on to solve all the little issues.

Massage therapist:

Wendy, from Wen’ells Therapeutics  has been treating me for over 17 years and knows my body better than me at times, predicting problems before I had even discovered them. She also seems to have telepathic powers to know which parts of my body I’ve been overusing and are going to be tights so she should poke them with her finger until it hurts (I love you really Wendy and it always feels better afterwards)

My physiotherapist

Jen, from The McKenzie Clinic supported me right the way through my career ending injury meant with amazing treatments.

 My personal trainer

Chris Weier- who came up with all kinds of weird and wonderful ways torture to me into shape from boxing to medicine balls and weights.

The rest of the support team- doctors, bike mechanics, kind strangers who help carry all my triathlon gear through the airport.

Remember no one does it alone

Find your 5 friends….and your number 6 the ‘support team’

Wishing you a wonderful day


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