Dream, Believe, Act, Achieve

Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Last weeks’ blog finished with the proverb “ The teacher appears when the student is ready”. That’s certainly true for me at the moment. Tomorrow I commence two days of ‘Outside the Box Bootcamp’ with Rebel Black

It’s important to remember that the lessons the teacher has to impart may not necessarily be things we want to hear, but rather things we need to learn.

I’ve been talking to Rebel for years and she’s been encouraging me to do certain things. I knew she was right, but I resisted. I just wasn’t ready. Too challenging, too painful and it might not work -and then all that effort would have been wasted.

Which brings me to a desk card thingy on my desk called ‘The Daily Motivator’ which I (very) occasionally use. It has a card with a thought for every day of the year and you’re supposed to turn it each day and get motivated.

Today I flipped it and the proverb was totally apt - “First of all you must believe, but most of all you must ACT as if you believe”

It’s easy to be sceptical. I’ve been sceptical much of my life and know for sure that when we’re sceptical we always have ready-made excuses for NOT acting. On the other hand, I’ve seen so many times that when we decide to believe with all our heart and mind, and ACT like we believe, things just fall into place.

They. Just. Do. It’s a “vibe” thing. And more.

Next week I’m going to tell you about some of the things I’ve witnessed that have - finally - convinced me to stop the scepticism and let things flow.

Meanwhile, I have some homework for tomorrow and have to act on it - so here’s some homework for you.

Think of one thing you really believe in. Just one. I’m not even going to give you any hints. You decide.

Now, what action does that belief require? If you’re already doing it you know that it works.

But I bet you’re like me and have some beliefs you’ve let slip in the follow through department.

So. Now. Dare to try. Believe it. Act on it, - continually - and see it happen.

Remember “continually” is the key, and that Anything Can Happen!

Have a great week.

All the Best,




Who is Our Teacher?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
When we stop learning we start to die.

Most of you probably know I am a teacher by trade and may also know that teachers are occasionally accused of being a bit, shall we say, “know it all”......

I know – ha ha – I’ve been guilty of that, but it really struck home late last year when I was attending a seminar conducted by an ex student, Nigel McReaddie, who trained under me for his first Black Belt many years ago and has since gone on to be a world renowned instructor and official in Koshiki Karatedo.

When we were discussing the seminar afterwards, Nigel remarked at “how much I had forgotten” his message wasn’t about how much I had known - but how much I had stopped learning and as a result was going backwards, fast.

To make the lesson even more obvious I was in the office of another ‘old’ student of mine, Anthony O’Leary the Principle of St Johns’ Primary school, and Subak Martial Arts School -  discussing plans for the coming year, when he challenged me by saying it was time I upgraded my professional qualifications.

The exciting thing is that since hearing - and acting - on those timely lessons, I feel ten years younger. I’m invigorated by being a student again, by the challenge of learning new things - and yes, the know it all in me just has to add -  relearning things I had forgotten.

Among other courses, I’m  taking a class every week run by Anthony’s son Zac O’Leary - kind of a student of student of student - figure it out, and I’m loving that most of all.

Remember the old saying. The teacher appears when the student is ready.

I’m loving being a grasshopper again.

Being physically fit makes it so much easier to learn. And it can be so easy. Go here for a great free 10 minute iKiEnergiser workout.

Or join now for lots more... 



Enhance Our World

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
I love pretty much everything about this time of year - the long hot days, the swimming, the fact I’ve just had a break with my family at the beach and am full of energy and enthusiasm for another year.

For me, this is the time to work ON my life and business, as opposed to IN -  to set clear plans, before the real whirl of the year commences with the beginning of the new school term.

So I’m working on getting my vision and goals clear.

There a lots of things I’ve learned from setting goals in the past and the biggest is to get ‘the vision thing’ right.

I’ve learned that to do things well we first need to believe - and to believe it helps to SEE clearly - at least in our mind. Then, committing our idea or ‘vision’ to paper enhances it by orders of magnitude...

To help clarify my vision thing this year I’m adopting a strategy from Justin Tamsett, that is centred on the word ‘enhance’, which means ‘to raise to a higher level, to intensify, improve, to make more valuable or fulfilling’.

Justin says to us “enhance demonstrates respect and acknowledgement that what you are already doing is working well’  - so to enhance our world we start by focusing on the habits, skills and processes that we already use to help us be happy healthy and strong, then identifying and acting on ways to enhance them.

These are the ways I’m going to do that this year;-

  • By being a student. Learning from others helps us improve and enhance our skills, our effectiveness and wellbeing. I’m excited to be committed to courses run by Shihan Nigel McReaddie, Rebel Black and Anthony and Zac O’Leary.   
  • Setting CLEAR goals. I’m doing a two day Boot camp in early Feb to ensure I really get my goals down clearly and then will evaluate and update regularly. These goals will centre on things that excite me to get out and DO. More on this next week.
  • Acting from love. We can look at everything around us as things, people or opportunities to exploit, or we can see ourselves as part of a fantastic universe to share and enhance.

How are you going to enhance your world this year? 


The Sandpiper by Robert Peterson

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

We see heaps of this kind of story in social media nowadays but this one really resonated with me, I hope it has the same effect on you.....

The Sandpiper

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live.

I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me.

She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.

"Hello," she said.

I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.

"I'm building," she said.

"I see that. What is it?" I asked, not really caring.

"Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand."

That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes.

A sandpiper glided by.

"That's a joy," the child said.
"It's a what?"

"It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy."

The bird went gliding down the beach.

Good-bye joy, I muttered to myself, hello pain, and turned to walk on.  I was depressed, my life seemed completely out of balance.

"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.

"Robert," I answered. "I'm Robert Peterson."

"Mine's Wendy... I'm six."

"Hi, Wendy."

 She giggled. "You're funny," she said.

In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on.
Her musical giggle followed me.

"Come again, Mr. P," she called.. "We'll have another happy day."

 The next few days consisted of a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and an ailing mother.

The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. I need a sandpiper, I said to myself, gathering up my coat.

The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed.

"Hello, Mr. P," she said. "Do you want to play?"

"What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.

"I don't know. You say."

"How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.

The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is."
"Then let's just walk."

Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face.

"Where do you live?" I asked.

"Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages.

Strange, I thought, in winter.

"Where do you go to school?"

"I don't go to school. Mummy says we're on vacation"

She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things.

When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day.

Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.

Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic.

I was in no mood to even greet Wendy.

I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home.

"Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, "I'd rather be alone today."

She seemed unusually pale and out of breath.

"Why?" she asked.

I turned to her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" and thought, My God, why was I saying this to a little child?

"Oh," she said quietly, "then this is a bad day."

"Yes," I said, "and yesterday and the day before and -- oh, go away!"

"Did it hurt?" she inquired.

"Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.

"When she died?"

"Of course it hurt!" I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself.  I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there. Feeling guilty, ashamed, and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door.

A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.

"Hello," I said, "I'm Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was."

"Oh yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much. I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies."

"Not at all --! she's a delightful child." I said, suddenly realising that I meant what I had just said.

"Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson.  She had leukaemia. Maybe she didn't tell you."

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath.

"She loved this beach, so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no.She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly..."

Her voice faltered, "She left something for you, if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?"

I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say to this lovely young woman.

She handed me a smeared envelope with "MR. P" printed in bold childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues -- a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird.

Underneath was carefully printed: A SANDPIPER TO BRING YOU JOY.

Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten to love opened wide.

I took Wendy's mother in my arms.  "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," I uttered over and over, and we wept together.

The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study.

Six words -- one for each year of her life -- that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea blue eyes and hair the colour of sand - who taught me the gift of love.


Life is so complicated, the hustle and bustle of everyday traumas can make us lose focus about what is truly important or what is only a momentary setback or crisis.

This week, be sure to give your loved ones an extra hug, and by all means, take a moment... even if it is only ten seconds, to stop and smell the roses.

Strong Teams Better Futures.

Thursday, May 02, 2013
I've read a couple of articles in recent weeks about very different topics, but which I think share a common thread. 
  • The first being about the Chinese Air Force realising they need to let pilots take risks under pressure and learn from them
  • The second was about Australian schools creating policies to manage “helicopter” parents
Bourke Staff Development
The Chinese Air Force has realised that needs to let pilots take risks under pressure and learn from them, if they are to become a credible defence force in the modern era. Apparently, the pilots rarely actually fly their planes as the paperwork, managed by officials with no military or air force training, is overwhelming.

The article quoted world military experts saying that a crucial measure of military preparedness and efficiency is the number of peacetime accidents. Wait for it….the higher the better! Apparently accidents indicate that training is realistic with the pressure, unpredictability and danger necessary to build real strength.

The second article about Australian schools creating policies to manage “helicopter” parents was built around the idea that schools need to be given the space to do the job of teaching students to be respectful, resilient individuals who take responsibility for their own actions.

I've just returned from Bourke, where I was privileged to present staff development training to the teachers of Bourke Public School. On the one hand, Bourke has been in the news recently for its’ high crime rate. On the other hand I found it brilliant to observe the happy pursuit of learning going on in the school, empowered by a dedicated team of teachers led by a committed, competent Principal. They are excited to teach because they have a common vision and fair, consistent policies in place to manage their diverse clientèle. They all realise that good teams are built on identifying problems and finding positive solutions, as well as recognising, celebrating and building on their strengths. And importantly, giving people the opportunity to develop as responsible members of the team, whoever they are.

They have shared values and expectations that are encouraged and enforced. How inspiring to be in a school with 99% of its students in uniform and with wonderful manners. Well done Bourke Public!! The future will be better.

Great teams, like happy families, healthy businesses and strong countries have the balance right. They have strong guidelines to live by, but with the space to fail and learn and improve. 

Great teams led by great leaders recognise this.

Great teachers inspire for life.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I must admit there are times when I despair for Public education: - the recent announcement of huge funding cuts, witnessing a "lock down" in a local High school and standing in a stunning facility in a private school still under construction by the BER (while Public Schools got often inferior work and facilities) - were highlights - or lowlights of the past few months.

Fortunately, these negatives have been balanced by the brilliant teachers I've come in contact with over the same period. They are young and old, in Private and Public Schools, as well as working in health and fitness; - talented, passionate, hard working role models in places as far afield as Sydney, Bourke and the Central Coast, from Wilcannia to Warren, Baradine to Brewarrina and many other places beyond and in between.

I know we can all think of teachers that we didn't (or don't) like, but when we stop and think about it for a moment, it soon becomes clear just how much impact they have on our lives.

This week's iKiEnergiser Challenge has two parts. First, think of a teacher you didn't like. Not so hard, but here's the catch ;- what lesson do we remember them for? I can think of one particular teacher I thought very little of at the time, but whose wise words in just one class keep coming back to a good way.

Next, think of the teacher that you remember the best for being the best. What did he/she give you? Enthusiasm, love of a subject or sport, the realisation that you can do things or be someone you didn't think you could. So this week give a little thought to your teachers, and consider how important a good education system is.

Have a great week,

All the Best,



Education the key to health and prosperity

Friday, June 01, 2012

My father always said that the best investment anyone can make is in education, because it strengthens our minds, broadens our horizons and opens the door to opportunity.

While there is no doubt there are great opportunities for education in Australia for most of us, our system is not successfully engaging everyone. 

One of my school teachers had s favorite comment that I think about more and more. He said, "You're not at school  to learn, but to learn to learn"

At the time I didn't think he was that great a teacher, but when I became a teacher myself, I began to realize how true his dictum was and to understand his frustration, which stemmed from two distinct issues.

One was a "comprehensive"  system that often required him to teach curricula he - and many of his students - didn't think appropriate.  The other was that the same system sometimes failed to provide a consistently safe, respectful learning environment. Just as many students are disengaged because they can't see the relevance of the class content, others are alienated from the process of education because they are intimidated or confused by the environment.

No doubt this is one of the reasons increasing numbers of parents are choosing alternative, private or religious schools, because they are perceived as providing better opportunities and stronger discipline. I work in both public and private schools and know that the public system is full of dedicated, hardworking teachers trying to give their students the best possible education.

The Department of Education and Communities is doing a lot of great things,  Vocational training and flexible learning paths and content among them. They are also encouraging schools to take on excellent Student Welfare and Discipline systems such as  PBIS. These systems recognise and reinforce the proposition that students, everywhere have a right to learn in a safe respectful environment. 

These are steps in the right direction, but I believe there is one key missing and that is a a common, all encompassing phrase that quickly, clearly and concisely expresses what are acceptable behaviors and what are not. That phrase is Context Appropriate Behavior

 Some other good things in education are coming with initiatives such as Generation Next.