David Niethe, renowned mental performance coach, known for his work with New Zealand’s top athletes and business people, says the mind is our greatest tool.
Do you believe in mind control? It’s what sets the elite apart from the ordinary. It’s a silent determination, an ability to replace the self-doubt with unwavering confidence to enable peak personal performance.
Regardless of how successful a person may be, the mind continues to put up barriers to overcome and there’s one man who has made it his life to help hundreds, maybe even thousands, break through those barriers.
Mental performance coach, David (Dave) Niethe is your typical, straight-talking Kiwi bloke. Standing at 6.2 ft tall and weighing in at around 140kg, if it wasn’t for his bubbly persona you’d be forgiven for being slightly intimidated.
Mental performance and “getting that mental edge” is Dave’s specialty. His approach is wildly unique, and his results speak for themselves. His reputation is highly regarded by many business owners, CEOs and NZ’s high-performance managers, coaches and athletes.
Dave works closely with individuals and teams to perfect their mental aptitude to achieve results. “It’s a collaboration,” he says.
With over 20 years in the industry, trained overseas by the very best in the business, he talks the talk and walks the walk – an example of what can be achieved with the right mind set.
Literacy and studying were never things that came easily to Dave, yet he is a master neuro-linguistic programming practitioner (ABNLP), a master time line therapist (ABTL), and a master hypnotherapist (ABH). These certifications are all recognised with the American Board of Neuro Linguistics.
Certifications aside, it’s his straight-talking, Kiwi way that has earned him his reputation as New Zealand’s leading mental performance coach – that and the fact he has worked alongside many New Zealand sporting greats including world golfing great Lydia Ko, the NZ Breakers, NZ Mystics and our very own Olympic and Commonwealth games medallists.
Dave has a unique way of pushing people past their mental limits because he’s been there, he’s battled the set-backs, the injuries and come out the other side to break records.
“That’s what makes me the best mental performance coach in the country,” he says.
Some may see that statement as arrogance but if he didn’t believe he was the best, he wouldn’t be a very good mental performance coach, would he?
From school failure to record breaker
At the tender age of 12, Dave, a proud South Auckland boy, was sent to Wesley College as a boarder.
His first couple of years of schooling he does not look back on with fond memories, and confesses with a few expletives that he learned to “harden up real quick”.
“I had my fair share of hidings, it was a tough time,” he says. He never completed school cert, but it wasn’t from lack of trying.
It wasn’t until Dave left school that he was diagnosed with dyslexia.
Without that diagnosis, Dave’s self-esteem was low, he was fearful, and he wanted to change. Gifted a book by the school’s priest titled Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the seed for Dave’s curiosity of the mind was planted, and his journey began.
His change began physically. His saving grace was always sport. The struggles he faced with education gave him a fierce sense of independence and determination.
From his passion for sports and personally competing at an elite level in rowing, rugby, Highland Games and NZ Strongman (where he set new records), Dave knows the mental challenges that lay ahead and what it takes, not only physically but, mentally to stay at the top of your game time and time again.
Dave’s pursuits haven’t hindered, he is the current GPC master’s power lifting champion and national record holder and has been for the last five years.
During the 90s, Dave’s sporting career was amicable, but his working life as a web offset printer, printing the face of Princess Diana on the cover of Woman’s Day magazines, didn’t quite match up.
“I absolutely hated every minute of it,” he confesses. “I just wanted complete freedom in my life.”
Strongman was the clencher. He knew from competing that the mind was a powerful tool, but mental performance coaching didn’t exist.
“Mental performance coaching wasn’t a thing, it’s a relatively new concept… I did a whole lot of research [on his competitors] and stumbled across what the Russians were doing, and they were doing a lot of hypnosis.”
From hypnosis Dave found neuro-linguistic programming and become completely fascinated.
Already a natural-born motivator, he knew this was his break from Princess Diana.
“I knew I needed to start this business and I needed a plan, so I went from printing and got a sales job in the same industry.”
This job led to his first success story. “I was working with this guy and we pitched for a job together and he said to me ‘man you’re amazing the way you sell,’ I said ‘I could teach you if you want’. I didn’t teach him any sales it was just building his confidence and self-esteem.”
That man was Brenden Rolston, now managing director of ActionHQ. His testament to Dave sums it all up. “Dave takes you to a whole new level and helps you to take a real honest look at yourself and helps you crystallise your direction and will empower you with the tools needed to achieve personal and professional goals.”
Dave’s gift of the gab and his natural ability to inspire is undeniable and he knew Brenden wasn’t a one-off – he could help many others.
As is often assumed, seeking mental performance coaching doesn’t make one dysfunctional. It’s a means to keep pushing forward and bettering oneself.
“The people that come to see me are high-performance, whether business or sports people, they’re always wanting to learn, looking for little gems of wisdom wherever they go.
“We are not talking about therapy. These people don’t have issues, they are simply looking for the mental edge.”
His seminars are “thought-provoking and empowering” as resonated through the feedback and it’s clear that his large stature matches his enthusiasm.
Dave’s engagements have taken him throughout New Zealand and Cantabrians can look forward to a new Mental Edge tour hitting the south in the future.
Dave has achieved complete freedom, he works his own hours in a role that he is truly passionate about.
“I always say that people are exactly where they should be in life. If you want something, be prepared to work your ass off to get there and you will.”
The truth is we are only limited by our imagination and Dave is testament to that. A believer in dreaming big, a true master of the mind and a typical Kiwi bloke with a relentless passion for delivering results and winning.
By Natalia Rietveld