Rob Lilwall

“The only constant in life is change” so said the philosopher Heraclitus. Today, issues of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity resound across the headlines and through our lives on a daily basis. In every industry, in every role, pressures are mounting, challenges are multiplying, and the stakes are rising. At such times, the default is to focus on surviving till the latest crisis passes. But can we rise above the situation, and even thrive amid the difficulties? It is no longer enough to simply have the right knowledge, competencies and technology; the key is found in cultivating self-leadership with the right perspectives and habits of mind about change.

Rob Lilwall is an ordinary person who, through taking an adventurous attitude to life, has achieved the extraordinary. In the last two decades, he has embarked on expeditions by bicycle and on foot, covering over 80,000 km of the world’s land surface. These have included an unsupported walk across the Gobi Desert in winter; pedalling over the war-torn passes of Afghanistan; and being the first person ever to drag a bicycle across the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea. Through learning from the local people he has met at ground level in over 50 countries, Rob has gained a unique perspective into humanity in all its diversity. National Geographic have made two television series about his exploits and he is the author of two books, Cycling Home From Siberia and Walking Home From Mongolia.

In his energetic and interactive presentations, Rob transports his audiences into the world of adventure, while expertly drawing powerful parallels with the ever-changing challenges of daily life, and providing practical, effective strategies to overcome them. To date, he has given his presentations to over 40,000 people around the world, with recent clients including HSBC, InterContinental, Hewlett Packard, ABB, MDRT, Nike and UBS. He is based in Hong Kong, and available to speak worldwide.

Keynote and Masterclass Topics

  • Set Clear Goals: Whether it’s completing a wild expedition or finishing a work assignment, being clear on our long, medium, and short term objectives greatly increases our chances of achieving them.
  • Build Resilience: Resilience means the ability to bounce back and keep going after a tough day, instead of burning out or giving up. This relates to both our attitude and our practice of self-care.
  • Ask for Help: We all know we should give more, but it is vital also to receive, whether it is through collaborating with colleagues, seeking out good mentors, or asking advice from the boss.
  • Redefine Challenge: Positive psychology research shows that a key component of success is the ability to see stress as a challenge, not a threat. The perspective we choose makes all the difference.
  • Take Good Risks: If we run from fears, we will be running all our lives. But if we face them, we can overcome them. Calculated risk-taking means doing smart research, and then being bold to act.
  • Do the Small Things: Successful people make a habit of doing things that unsuccessful people make a habit of not doing. A key aspect of self-leadership is forming great habits of doing even the small things.
  • Embrace Change: “The only constant in life is change”, said Heraclitus. In our world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, it is vital to embrace change as an opportunity for growth.
  • Find a Way: Sometimes life, like an expedition, feels like a non-stop river of problems to solve. But if we apply ourselves, and all the attitudes of adventure, we will find a way forward.



Asian Private Banker
In previous years, speakers at Asian Private Banker’s Family Office Summit have included Kenneth Taylor (“The real hero of Argo”) and Al Gore (45th Vice-President of the United States). This year we had Rob Lilwall, and he certainly did not let us down. Through a combination of endearing humility and granite determination, Rob delighted and motivated a riveted audience.

Tony Gordon, Former President, Million Dollar Round Table
Rob cleverly takes lessons from his adventures & applies them to business, whether it be management or sales. There are not enough original speakers with positive takeaways for their audiences, Rob Lilwall is surely one.

Rob brings a degree of authenticity that is difficult to find these days. His message is grounded in humble personal experience and connects some very real and essential elements of human nature to the business world. Refreshingly different!

InterContinental Hotels Group, EMEA
We were lucky enough to have Rob Lilwall speak at our Annual Conference for our hotel Sales and Marketing teams, in June of 2015; not only was his speech engaging, funny, and inspirational but Rob also demonstrated to the audience how it was relevant to the key themes of our conference, specifically tailoring his presentation after a detailed briefing session with the leadership team. I cannot thank Rob enough and I look forward to any opportunity in the future to hear him present once more.

I recently leveraged Rob Lilwall as part of a company quarterly business review. He was nothing short of amazing and very good at linking his life experiences with the corporate and professional world. Rob speaks with conviction, passion and eloquently describes the importance of team work, setting goals and powering through adversity.

I was fortunate to have the privilege of enjoying Rob regale my audience with his unique story, pragmatic wisdom, and his sincere empathy for our focus on the “Future of Work” recently in Hong Kong. His style, his content, and his character captivated the room, and the level of engagement was palpable… he made every person feel as if they were having a personal conversation with him, and the result was 100% delivery on the intent of his message… it resonated and left the audience truly moved. I encourage anyone looking to produce these types of experiences and results to connect with Rob and share your needs; I guarantee he will deliver beyond expectation.

Rob just came and spoke to our senior Asia Pacific leadership team at the MEC regional meeting. We have a talent manifesto of “Don’t just live thrive”, and we wanted people to be inspired by someone who has truly thrived in their life. Rob took us on his three year cycling journey in a very inspiring, amusing at times, thought provoking way. He opened up the minds of those in the room to focus on a goal, and be resilient, and often creative in achieving it. He spoke for an hour and it seemed to pass in a minute. Highly recommended.

Manulife, Hong Kong
It is my pleasure to recommend Rob to anyone looking for a professional and engaging speaker. Rob was one of our keynote presenters at an event we held in Bangkok in March 2015, for 2000 of our top performers. His presentation style made the audience comfortable and his story of adventures around the world captured people’s attention. While his topic is not directly related to our line of business, Rob easily found ways to link his stories to the daily challenges associated to our line of work, and was able to complement with real life experiences that made him ever more credible as a speaker. I highly recommend Rob and would not hesitate to work with him again in the future

We were extremely fortunate to have Rob as a motivational speaker at one of our larger customer conferences. The adventures he has experienced and the challenges he overcame during his long journeys are truly inspiring.

In addition to being a truly genuine person and absolute pleasure to work with Rob also did an excellent job of engaging the audience and draw parallels between lessons learned on the road to everyday life, both personal and business.

Rob worked with us to be part of a session for our senior key talents. Rob came across as extremely personable and the authenticity of his experiences made his sharing extremely powerful. Candid, humorous and yet thought provoking, he managed to weave his experiences in line with the principles we were advocating in this sharing. What a great sharing

HSBC Private Bank
I attended an event hosted by my firm recently and found his presentation generated feelings of inspiration, admiration and in some cases consternation as he navigated through dangerous terrain and situations. I think all of us in the room took something special away from his speech, including a great deal of humour, and I look forward to hearing about his new and similarly exciting new travels with his wife. Best wishes for the future Rob. Great stuff!

David Lim

Leading Asian Motivational Speaker

John Amatt

A Lifetime of Adventure

Peter Hillary

Legendary Adventure Speaker