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”

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”

Variables v Fundamentals

There is a saying that ‘laws are guidelines for wise people and statutes for fools’.

In other words, if you are of good character and love people in general then the rules are below your standards of operation anyway. You will choose to do ‘the right thing’ by default. For example, if you are an honest person then the laws about stealing do not really apply because you are applying a higher law of integrity.

Most of us do not break the law because we believe in a mutually civil society. We behave in a way that assists our society’s functioning by following the golden rule of treating others as you would want them to treat you.

So in every society, there are fundamentals that should not change and not stealing is seen as a fundamental.

What about the variables though? Continue reading “Variables v Fundamentals”

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”

Small Steps

Many years ago in a business studies class, the teacher told all of the students to begin everything with the end in mind.

The teacher even gave us the seemingly morbid assignment of writing our own eulogy and vividly imagining what people would be saying at our funerals. He said that we should really visualise and imagine the detailed conversation about us and all the good things we would like people to say.

The next step was to work backwards to the present day to make it happen. He asked, “Now how are you going to make those things come true?” Continue reading “Small Steps”

Equality of Opportunity

The Brebner’s were never known for our desire to just sit and talk about the weather and each of us has a voice capable of talking to a crowd to action – without a microphone.

Yes, our family is a lively bunch and many times over the Christmas lunch table, Mum would make failed attempts to settle down the high levels of debate. The voices rose louder between in-laws and out-laws furiously talking over each other with a passion more expected at a football match than a family gathering.

One of the many battles that ensued over the years has been the question of equality for people and what that means in a practical outworking. Continue reading “Equality of Opportunity”

Reading the Waves

I was talking to a minister friend of mine a while ago.

He shared with me that the seminary he was located at was set by the ocean and he often would wander along the sand and contemplate his life in his time off.

He told me that he would see the surfers out the back of the swell sitting up on their boards, watching for the wave they would choose to ride. It fascinated him so much at how they made their choices, that he would watch them for quite a while.

In his curiosity, he noticed they would sit up on their boards and observe carefully for a time. Then they would relax back down again, choosing to pass on waves which my friend had thought looked like impressive surf waves to ride in on. Continue reading “Reading the Waves”

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”

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