Is our school system in Australia killing off resilience?

There has been a lot of talks and evidence presented lately concerning our young people’s ability to survive and recover from a personal crisis. With youth suicide reaching high levels in some countries during, and since, the Covid 19 crisis there has been an outcry as to why this young generation doesn’t seem to be coping.

My view is that the lazy production line mentality of governments towards education is depriving many young people of basic societal survival skills, leaving many to languish on the parameters of economic stability and a sound future.

Continue reading “Is our school system in Australia killing off resilience?”

Who Are You Right Now?

Yes, it certainly has been a different kind of year! We have learned how much we need each other and those little unusual things about ourselves that we never knew we liked or thought we could do.

While this has been a year of testing tragedy for many, it has also been a year when many of us have dared to try things. Along the way, we have discovered that our boundaries were not really our boundaries at all, as we quickly rose above and beyond them.

Continue reading “Who Are You Right Now?”

Nurture Your Mind Today

I think we all know that it is important in times like these to ‘guard our hearts and our minds’. Today I watched the news and let’s say it did me no good.

I questioned, do we need to stay ‘informed to the minute’ about that for which we have no real control?

Today I want to encourage you to stay focused on the good things. Many of the people we all regard as heroes did not rise in times of ease or great prosperity; in fact, we wouldn’t probably call them heroes if they had!

Continue reading “Nurture Your Mind Today”

Find the Hero in You

With the present situation in the world, we must decide, more than usual, how we will strengthen our own foundations.

Who are you right now? Who do you want to be? What strengths can you share to help your family, community and country right now?

The time is right to pause now. Reflect and choose a path to do your best each day. Also, we can cut everyone some slack, including ourselves.

Continue reading “Find the Hero in You”

Why Struggle Matters

I attended an Elton John concert a few days ago in Sydney. It was amazing and, being a songwriter myself, I have always thought of him as one of the great songwriters of our time.

One specific observation shined out to me about this concert.

It was not only the genius of his music and piano ability that I was seeing. It wasn’t even how brilliant his band played. They were superb!

Continue reading “Why Struggle Matters”

Leaving the Oasis

Back in 1984, my cousin Richard and I backpacked to California and ended up somehow in the deserts of Morocco, a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

One day we saw out of the van window in which we were travelling, a bright green dot on the horizon. It sat surprisingly alone amongst the dry barren brown desert and didn’t seem to fit the view.

As we approached, the scene opened up to what I can only describe as a large depression in the landscape of about three to four hundred yards.

Continue reading “Leaving the Oasis”

Thank you and see you in 2020!

In a mood of review, I am writing to thank you for reading my posts this year. I hope that you are finishing up 2019 well and can look back with happy affection to the year that has almost passed.

In reflection, I am reminded of the good things, especially those things that I take for granted as if they will always be there. It easy to fall into a sense of comfort that these joys will always be there. Don’t we all do that a little? Yet at this time, I am reminded of how much I do not truly show gratitude for them.

I want to thank my family for being there and particularly my beautiful wife Rhonda. She quietly works behind the scenes without fuss and is a model of consistency and hard work. She is truly what I call a ‘saint of the mundane’ whose work and cleverness makes the household function and whose kind, honest and unassuming nature makes its members shine brightly in the world.

At this time, I am reminded of how much we need to cherish ones such as her, our children and the many friends we have who, in many small ways, make life as sweet as it is.

Continue reading “Thank you and see you in 2020!”

Digging Deeper

In careers counselling, we often have to dig deeper than just helping someone find a job.

In fact, the more people insist that they will do ‘anything’, the more inclined they are to fail when they gain the position they have applied for.

The realities are that our deepest career desires are actually the children of far deeper emotions than the surface concerns like remuneration and position.

Neurologically and psychologically we need to fulfil a destiny and ‘inner calling’ to be people of consequence and to live a life of meaning.

We ultimately want to do something that matters.

Continue reading “Digging Deeper”

Slow Growth v Immediate Results

One of the best bits of advice I ever received was about farming a career. This valuable quote was:                                

Be a farmer not a hunter!

Anonymous

It was explained to me that a hunter kills their prey and once consumed, the animal never reproduces again. However, a farmer will not eat all of his produce but use some of his crops to sew for future crops.

In summary, the hunter is always looking for new targets and a quick return. The farmer, however, sees the long game and will in time have harvest after harvest coming in continually as long as the climate is favourable.

Often we hear of opportunists who come into an industry, looking for a quick profit, abuse the business, people and community for every drop of cash that can be squeezed without integrity or regard for others, and then callously move on.

They leave those people, their businesses and the community with a bad name and can ruin the good reputation of an industry as a whole. What many fail to realise is that it is the little things in life that make a life. Little things matter. Little things make lives and destroy lives.

However, a farmer waits patiently.

Continue reading “Slow Growth v Immediate Results”

Winning by Volume

Have you heard of the phrase ‘winning by volume’ in your worldly travels? It works like this. Study consistently and continuously to gain your knowledge so that when you need an answer, it is not the first time you have heard of this subject or concept.

The only common denominator in the many success stories I have read about is summed up in one word: Persistence. Alter your dreams and know when something is not the right path and let it go.

However, it is still important that you make sure you do find another path to the top of the mountain!

Continue reading “Winning by Volume”

Sparking Words of Joy

For many years I have feared to say what I really wanted to say.

I had always softened my message with humour, kindness and respect but often, I may have weakened it so as to not cause offence.

During the 2018 Christmas break, I listened to Brene Brown on YouTube; first in her talk to creative people in a conference called ’99u’ and then her TED Talk that went viral.

You can see the 99u here and her TEDx here. (Thanks again to Angela at Whipbird Creative for another excellent tip-off.)

It was all very healing for me and awakened in me a drive for what I feel needs to be said and renewed my passion to set a few things right in the world.

Continue reading “Sparking Words of Joy”

Limitless Skies

There is an ancient biblical story concerning the patriarch, Abraham, who was described as a friend of God.

Having no children and therefore no descendants, God is said to have promised Abraham that he would be the Father of many nations.

In the story, God tells Abraham that his wife Sarah will conceive a child, despite being the ripe old age of 99 years old. This was met with some obvious doubt and questions. He then tells Abraham to step outside his tent and observe the night sky. Continue reading “Limitless Skies”

Small Acts of Generosity

Speaking in my presentation about the power of small deeds every day in our lives, I heard this powerful story from an audience member on a quiet afternoon.

It is an example of how a small courageous deed from a suffering person can have an immense effect on the lives of people they will probably never meet.

At a date long ago in 1943, the air war over Europe was being fought in which a quarter of a million young people would die. Allied bombers were strategically hitting German targets to weaken their industries, before the coming invasion the following year. Continue reading “Small Acts of Generosity”

Collaborating for Success

Often people who are in service industries or speaking positions are advised to keep their best materials and secrets for their special clients and avoid sharing with others in their industry.

I am very fortunate that I am in an organisation here in Australia called the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA). Their intent is to be “a vibrant and diverse national community who share a collective interest in career development; and a desire to promote its ability to effect positive change and growth in the lives of all Australians”. They are very generous with their expertise and have the viewpoint that not only is there enough of the pie to go around but that in sharing the pie actually gets bigger which benefits everyone.  Continue reading “Collaborating for Success”

Labelling our Youth

The youth of this generation often get some really bad raps from the baby boomer generation.

They are labelled as ‘entitled’ or ‘lazy’ and their use of technology gets them labelled as ‘distracted and un-present for their tasks’.

I teach young people every day and I want to also put other labels on them.

This generation is ‘caring’ for the environment and for those who struggle with their ‘differences’ this generation is profound. Perhaps this awareness is due to the massive amount of media we receive every day. Continue reading “Labelling our Youth”

Survive, Belong and Become

In the many diagrams of human needs, it appears that the different points are all condensed down to three basic important things.

These include our basic physical needs for food, shelter and sleep.

We all need these to survive.

Then, we have the need to belong. This involves our desire for recognition, acknowledgement and support within a group or community. We get our self-image from how we grow as people when we interact with those of our group. Continue reading “Survive, Belong and Become”

The Importance of Everyday Contributions

I recently heard a story of an elderly African American woman, Oseola McCarty, who washed and ironed clothes all of her life in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

She had quit school at age 12 to care for a sick aunt. Oseola never married or had her own children but she loved her nieces and nephews and her extended family wholeheartedly.

Every week for almost eighty years, she would put the dimes and quarters that she earned in the local First Mississippi National Bank in her town, saving for the big day when she could no longer work.

As the story goes, the bank manager spotting her in the bank one day asked her if she knew how much she had saved. Unable to read or write, Oseola said she had no idea and when told the vast amount she had little realisation of how much that sum was. Continue reading “The Importance of Everyday Contributions”

Security v Risk

One of the big needs of humanity is security. We see and hear people selling us security in so many ways.

They do this all while we sit on a thin veneer of 30-mile thick soil on the surface of a rock which is actually a giant super-heated nuclear reactor. We literally are flying through space at a ridiculous speed, trying to avoid every other rock going faster and in different directions. Where is our security here?

My point is that security is never a sure thing and playing for safe is in the end, just an illusion. Continue reading “Security v Risk”

My Story

A person with Tourette’s Syndrome and its related behaviours was not going to fit the mould of standard high school education without difficulty. That difficulty has turned out to be a gift as I achieved far more by not fitting into the standard plan.

I am Dave Brebner. I am a successful teacher, career coach, husband, father of six, son, brother and friend. This is my story and I want to share it with you.

Continue reading “My Story”

People of Influence

A short time ago, I ran into an old friend who was very angry. He ranted about other cultures and was even happy to cut me off from his circle of relationships because I would not join him in his worldview of certain situations.

It is not the first time I have encountered this lately and am concerned at what I know is the mis-information out there and the fact that people are riled up over things they have no control over with often no first hand evidence of any of it. Continue reading “People of Influence”

Your Ideal Employee

People with Tourette’s syndrome often have a challenge in finding work, particularly in the public eye.

While many of us have very subtle symptoms, commonly known as ‘tics’, there is a perception among the general public that all sufferers use foul language, scream or yell spontaneously, have profound body movements, and that the condition is completely outside of our control. Continue reading “Your Ideal Employee”

Your Biggest Asset

I recently read a letter Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Empire, wrote to his 16-year-old self.

It really touched me as he, like many of us, struggled in school. He had Dyslexia, which made him fall behind in class and find school rather irrelevant.

As a teen with Tourette’s, I had my fair share of unwanted attention from schoolmates and was occasionally an embarrassment to others who did not understand. Continue reading “Your Biggest Asset”

Supportive Culture

“The future is coming!” I heard someone claim in a talk to an amused audience several years ago. At a glance, it appeared to be a very strange thing to say, and a rather obvious statement.

However, since then it astounds me how many people I run into, both socially and professionally, who would claim that it is a stupid comment, yet behave as if the statement is not true at all. Continue reading “Supportive Culture”

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