Chester Williams was about as close a person to me as anyone in my life. It was a honor to be a pall bearer and to say a few words at his funeral at Newlands Rugby ground

Rest in peace dear friend.

Chester wrote the foreword to my book Surviving to Thriving


By Chester Williams

I met Steve Harris more than 20 years ago when I was playing for the Springbok rugby team. He provided motivational, teamwork and mental toughness sessions for the team. Thereafter, he represented the Springbok management on several tours in various roles.

Since that first meeting, we have developed a close relationship. I value his career development expertise, his willingness to act as a sounding board for many of my life and coaching decisions and his commitment to social justice. I have a special regard for his approach to developing mental and emotional skills – commonly known as mental toughness.

I am greatly appreciative of Steve’s role in helping me develop my mental toughness.  I have had the good fortune of being a Black South African rugby role model. However, I developed a concern that my involvement as a Springbok rugby player so early in the genesis of our democracy, and thereafter my marriage to someone who is outside what is generally accepted as my community, was ironically prejudicing me in some influential circles and exacting a price on my ability to access national coaching jobs in South African Rugby. This resulted in my accepting many, expedient, short-term appointments, overseas, away from my family. With Steve’s counsel, I have transcended blaming thoughts and currently have an absorbing and exciting appointment at the University of the Western Cape.

With his assistance, I am continuing to develop my skills and abilities to position myself favourably for national coaching opportunities that arise. If these do not, I am consoled by the mind-altering experience my learning journey is providing. Since retiring from playing rugby, I have achieved a diploma in coaching science and a masters’ degree in sport management. I am currently contemplating enrolling in a PhD.

This book highlights Steve’s knowledge and skills in mental toughness. It gives practical examples of how to manage and maximise this important aspect that drives performance. I encourage anyone who is interested in self-improvement and sport performance to read this book – I loved it. In addition, his mental toughness input has contributed to my successes and, possibly more importantly, helped me manage the disappointments I have had thus far.

In Steve’s presentations and workshops, he draws on insight gained through learning, reading and ongoing research. I like the way he builds the content around the concepts of surviving to thriving and the ‘inches’ that lead us to success and significance. In this way he helps people make their lives a bit better than they were.

Finally, at the risk of sounding like Steve’s sales department, I highly recommend his novel Impimpi – Black Anger, White Fear. It’s a real page-turner. Once I started reading, I could not put it down. As a bonus, I learnt so much about South Africa’s past from more perspectives.

(RIP 6/9/2019)

Chester Williams’s Funeral

View this short Youtube Video in which public speaker & friend Dr Steve Harris pays tribute to the late Chester Williams at his funeral at Newlands Stadium, Cape Town