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.

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Reflecting on Life

How often have you found yourself metaphorically lighting the lamp in the dark and hoping it’s a candle and not a stick of dynamite?

As a year nine drop out with Tourette’s syndrome, I was forced into a position of choosing life as a victim or a victor. I thank God every day because those circumstances have formed me and made me take risks that have enabled me to push beyond the potential I thought I had.

I have tried some really, really dumb things. But I have also succeeded beyond what people thought I could.

I have neurological disorders handed down from both sides of the family line; however, I have learned to avoid the destructive actions and indulgence in those things that would lead to the continuance of those symptoms in my own life.

As a person with Tourette’s syndrome, I can be ‘grasshopper minded’ as my Father used to describe me, flittering from one obsessive idea to the next.

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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”

Where is your Focus?

Focus is an important skill. Focus and persistence can get you through the darkest days until you can find the light again.

Through the persistence of my parents who never gave up, a few lifelong friends who saw past my Tourette’s and a large church youth group who fed my soul with a great social life, I came to life.

I was able to respond to challenges in my thinking that allowed me to reach towards my potential.

I love the story that Dan Miller writes in his blog about himself and a 10-year-old friend, Bob. They were out in the neighbouring farms and his friend got bitten by a snake.

As his friend was incapacitated Dan’s first instinct was to go after the snake and give it the retribution it deserved for biting his friend. Bob, however, did not pursue the snake but settled down to dealing with the wound by lancing the bite and sucking and spitting out the poison.

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Transition and Meaning

I am at a point of transition.

It is me, who has lost my taste for what I am doing for a living and is now considering a move into something I am passionate about.

Does that resonate with you? Do you feel it?

I think most of us do not mind working hard. It is part of our commitment to earning a living and keeping ourselves and our families financially abundant.

It is whether we feel that our work is of consequence and significance that makes the work seem hard or easy sometimes.

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Rest and Awareness

We know how important persistence is in our successful career lives.

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

We must take time, however, to put the brakes on and examine our awareness regularly.

In his book ‘High Trust Selling’, Todd Duncan talks about the inner world of a person being exceptionally important when it comes to establishing trust in a client’s mind.

He talks about his ‘Law of the Iceberg’ where he says that like an iceberg that conceals 90% of its mass below the water line, we need to practice integrity, trustworthiness and good healthy relationships in our secret lives.

He infers that all too often the lack of maintenance of the hidden non-public life ends up boiling over into our public lives and destroying credibility and authenticity that we need to display as a person selling a product or service.

Have you ever been approached by someone who uses all the right words but something in your gut just screams ‘yuck’!

Continue reading “Rest and Awareness”

Chasing Wisdom

Michener was someone who found what he was made to do and did it. For him, work was not toiling but completion of himself in many ways. He was in what Max Lucado calls ‘his sweet spot’ where he was in his natural flow and things came naturally.

This state does not exclude a lot of hard work and the tediousness of the backstory of our labour but is driven on by the sense of being in the purpose that fits for each one of us.

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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.

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Wrong Conclusions

 

Is it possible that we sometimes add 2 + 2 and get a not quite right 5?

How many times have I jumped to conclusions about someone or something and made a fool of myself? Too many times to count!

It happens to all of us. It appears to be an innately human fault that crosses all geographical, socio-economic, age and gender boundaries.

I would like to share a story with you about a group of scientists who were conducting experiments on flies and other insects.
Continue reading “Wrong Conclusions”

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”

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