Take optimism with a pinch of paper

Thursday, May 08, 2014

How to insure your optimism.

Those of you who have missed my musings over the past few weeks, please accept my apologies. For the foreseeable future I’ll be writing fortnightly, which will be more manageable for us all : )

This fortnights’ blog is inspired –in fact largely written by - Sam Leader, who co edits the great website Flying Solo. She says; - “Most of us will chose hope and positivity over its’ opposite any day of the week. But at times optimism can bear it’s teeth and bite us on the butt".

Optimism is generally agreed to be a Good Thing and is even associated with greatness. The oft-quoted poster sourced from a 1997 Apple advertisement states “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do”.

But being optimistic can cloud our judgement and lead us to underestimate what’s needed to reach a goal. As a result, we can be underprepared and overexposed.

Part of the popularity of the UK house renovation project show ‘Grand Designs’ is to watch such falls from grace. “ Well Kevin” says the typical couple “We’ve budgeted £100,000 and want to move in by Christmas.” Then as sure as eggs are eggs, you see a shot of the incomplete project and a despondent-looking pair owning up to more than doubling their project time and budget’. That’s life. It’s mostly much harder to achieve a goal than our fond dreams and Hollywood lead us to believe. We jump through one hoop just to be confronted by another obstacle. On the other hand, satisfaction and lasting value only ever come from hard work and challenges confronted and overcome.

But before we undertake any goal, and at regular intervals on the journey, we should take some time to properly examine where we are and what is needed to successfully continue. That way we can better decide to put our heads down and tough it out, or to shift our focus to somewhere else. The trick is to know when.
Over 90% of people never achieve financial independence. It’s no coincidence that same % don’t ever write their thoughts, plans or goals. It can be literally the work of minutes. The process of WRITING our goals –or our deep life questions - helps clarify what we want to do in the first place, the difficulties we will encounter and the steps we need to take to overcome those difficulties and ultimately achieve the outcome we want. Sometimes, you’ll want to go for it sometimes not.

At the end of this SMART Goal sheet you’ll be asked if it is worth the time, effort and money.  If you still think you can do it, you probably can. It may be a lot harder than you think. It may not change the world, - but it sure can change you. And think of the satisfaction you’ll feel and skills you’ll learn from overcoming those hurdles, hoops and challenges.

All the Best, 


Play your Part....or Fake it till you make it

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
What’s one thing sociologists, marketers, Hollywood producers, politicians, teachers and the ‘person on the street’ all agree on?

That we humans love stories – and use them, consciously or unconsciously as roadmaps for our lives.

It’s probably been that way since the dawn of man. Our ancestors would sit around with the rest of the tribe, clapping with joy at the pictures drawn in the dirt of how the hunters managed to bag the woolly mammoth they were all now gnawing contentedly on. Then they would gasp with horror to learn how uncle Ugg was impaled on a tusk when his spear proved too blunt and his feet too slow.

Then, as now, stories provide important information about the world we live in. They warn or thrill, inspire and advise, motivate and help us imagine and set goals.

These narratives help us decide how we should look and behave, what to avoid, when to speak or when to run, the rewards we can hope for or consequences we will suffer, dependent on our choices or actions.

To bring this analogy right up to the minute, we choose our favourite book or film, be it Neighbours, The Simpsons, or Fifty Shades of Colour!  We then take on some of the characteristics of our favourite character and mock or shun the ones we don’t like.

The Logies season is here again and we are told that the best actors practise some form of method acting, “immersing themselves in their characters, to the extent that they stay in character offstage or off-camera for the duration of a project”.

They live the part. And there is the theme for this week. Have a good think about our character and make sure we are playing the role. Sometimes it’s about acting. Fake it till we make it, sometimes it’s about looking at our role model and asking, “What would X do?”

On one level it’s just that simple. We’re all playing a part. If we’re genuine about becoming a great footballer we practise and model ourselves on a footballer we admire – who has achieved their goals. We copy their training patterns, eating patterns, thought patterns, to help build our own character.

This week think about how you want the story of your life to go. Are you writing the script or are you being swept along like an extra?

I’m thinking about how I want my story to end, and thinking about what I need to do to make that happen.

I’m  writing a happy ending and WORKING towards it.

And I’m remembering to be careful what I wish for.

Enjoy the rest of your week. 



What Excites You?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014
It’s normal to be afraid of new undertakings. It’s very human to feel panic at the idea of doing something different. Getting out of our ‘comfort zone’ can be hard, even though it may be an unbearable place to be.

In 2000 when the Olympics were playing in Sydney, a friend had extra tickets and offered some to me - "enough for several days" spectating for myself and a family member.

I asked my youngest son, who was 14 at the time, to come with me, but he was reluctant and ended up missing out.

However, on seeing my excitement at the experience, Nick vowed to think twice about missing opportunities in the future. Since then he’s spent years journeying, studying and working overseas as well as in iconic Aussie locations, meanwhile ticking off an impressive bucket list. This year it’s South America for three months. Some of that time is scheduled with friends, some left open to whim.

His credo is to do what excites him, with the understanding that excitement comes from the exhilaration of overcoming fear, and doing what makes your heart sing, not sink.

He understands the necessity to plan and prepare properly. He keeps healthy, fit and strong, eats well and takes care to plan his actions rigorously before the event. But he also leaves room to respond to chance opportunities.

It’s his birthday today and I’m proud of him..and admiring his example as well.

This year let’s learn from youth and do what excites us.

iKiFit can help you enhance your excitement. Get fit and learn new skills with Learn Online. Join for free  and download here to set your goals.



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 first day of the rest of our lives

Monday, July 22, 2013
Today is the first day of the rest of our lives.... a phrase that resonates as I enter my 58th year.

Like anybody, I can look back and tick off things that I’ve achieved and things that I haven’t. Happy times and not so good. And like anybody else there are things I would like to do better with the rest of my life, things I can do without and others that are working fine, thank you very much!

One thing I’ve learned is that it’s up to each of us as individuals to create our own future.  Our attitudes, our actions and our beliefs make us who we are and create our opportunities.

Another certainty is that the only place we can create a future is in the present. Putting it off till tomorrow, waiting till our ship comes in won’t result in the change we want

Today is the first day of a new series of Energisers. Each week on Monday I’ll send a simple theme, activity or attitude to work on for a few minutes, a day, week or lifetime.

And, yes, I’ll be suggesting, hassling and hopefully motivating you to do an iKi Energiser or SOME physical energiser. At 58 I really do know that works.

So, let’s get back to creating a better future right here and now. How?  Visualise. Take one minute and dream about the rest of our lives. OK, mind off the lotto win. Could happen. But lets’ think of what matters. Happy family.  Healthy activities. Laughs and love. Satisfying work with some security. Being able to do the things we enjoy, with people we like. That’s what I want anyway. I can see it and feel it now. And seeing and feeling is believing.

Kickstart the rest of your life today. Do an iKiEnergiser or  get up, breath and feel the way you want to feel. Like you have a great life ahead.


A Question of Balance

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Years ago, I read a great comment about our constant struggle for work/ life balance, leisure/work balance, junk/food/healthy food balance, you name it. It went something like this;- "Oh yes, I remember when everything was just right; - it was one day in June about 10 years ago. Felt great"

I think most of us can lay claim to getting it right a bit more regularly than that, but there can be so much conflicting, confusing advice, that even when we are doing well, we can still feel like we aren't. A great illustration of this is the contradictions in nutritional (dietary) advice over the past 20 years. Lots of people have made fortunes coming out with "breakthrough" diets, some good, others crazy, that claim to have the keys to weight management, long life, and more. But for many people they create more problems as they just get confused and give up.

To illustrate what I mean, here's a great quote from ABC radio personality Richard Glover;-

"Be Healthy. Of course it's good to be healthy, but this advice is normally so thoroughly bundled up with shame that it often does more harm than good. Yes, people enjoy happier and longer lives if they are not carrying extra weight. They also live longer and happier lives if they are not laid low by anxiety, depression and self contempt that comes from feeling they aren't living the "perfect life".

"Is our central problem that we ask too little of ourselves or demand to much? We hate ourselves for our every imperfection and then we over-consume in various ways to suppress the shame of that previous over-consumption. There are two epidemics underway in the West-obesity and depression. How interesting that both started just as people began obsessing over their body mass index."

Richard cites more examples of attitudes and behaviors that we are advised to follow, that can just cause more anxiety because we feel we can't getting them right. The reality is that life is challenging and always will be. No matter how good, - or bad, we get it, it is certain to change, and someone will always be there to say we should do it another way.

When it comes down to it we're all doing the best we can with what we have. This week; - just a simple activity people. Think about three things we would like to be better. Writing them down would be good. I'm going to be brutally honest here and tell you what I've written;- Some things in my home life, a couple of elements at work and a an issue related to health. AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now here's the thing. They could be so much worse, and I'm working on all of them and making progress. That's life.

Now let's write down the things that are going well. Whew! Again, they cover home life, work and personal health, hobbies and so on. Wow, it's not so bad at all. This week lets just suck it up and move on.

Have a great day








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,



Look for the silver lining

Friday, June 29, 2012

People of a certain age will remember the famous quote: “Life wasn’t meant to be easy”.

If you’re like me you’ll sometimes sit and wish it wasn’t so. Yet when we ponder it a little more deeply we realise that it has to be this way. Without black and  white, the other colours would have no meaning. Without hard times, the good times can’t even, by definition, exist.

I find a great way to manage day to day is, whenever something goes wrong, to stop and ask myself “Where is the positive in this?”

Every situation has  a positive and negative; every cloud a silver lining. The glass is both half full and half empty; every coin has two sides. Virtues like compassion and courage can’t even exist without danger, pain and fear. That’s how the world works.

The challenge is  to find the 'good' and focus on it.

Even the very worst-seeming things have positive potential. The trick is to develop a mindset where, whenever we are met with a challenge, we take the time and effort to look for the opportunity, the opening door, the silver lining.  

I’ll give an example. Quite recently I crashed and wrote off my Dads’ car. Apart from the good fortune that no one was hurt, I was absolutely mortified (not to mention all sorts of other things) at what I had done. It was a good car that he loved and was going to last him the rest of his driving days. And, understandably, he WAS upset.  But within 24 hours both Dad and I were both really happy with how things were turning out.

Doing all the things you have to do after an accident—organising the towing, doing the paperwork, looking for a replacement vehicle—became quality time we hadn't had for years. Among other things we ran into a number of old friends neither of us had seen in ages.

Starting this week, I want to challenge us all to look at every 'seeming negative' differently for the next week. Every time something registers in your conscious as a pain or a hassle look for the silver lining.    

A few examples can be if you're stuck in a queue, take the opportunity to smile at the people around you, or use the time to think of something nice, like what's for dinner (one of my favourite daydreams). If something breaks at home than you get to practise your handy man skills or get that replacement you've just been waiting for an excuse for..

I know it can sound corny or simplistic, but it really does work. Try it for a week and see, it can take real effort at first, but... go on, just one week.

 All the Best,


For Harmony in life be consistent, fair and firm.

Friday, June 22, 2012

There have been many times during my life that I've noticed how we use planning tools and strategies in our careers but often neglect to apply the same principals to our personal and family lives.

 We have been struggling to achieve harmony at home. My wife Carol and I are one of the many modern families with a daughter living at home with children. Because the adults are all busy with careers and life choice issues, we are often stressed and easily distracted. As a result we can be short with one another, which has led to some uncomfortable moments and inconsistent behaviour management with the kids.

I imagine some of you will have noted the irony here, - I claim to be an expert on Behaviour Management strategies and yet have some unresolved issues at home. Sort of like the mechanic whose car is a wreck, or the plumber with a leaky roof. As a family we have struggled with being able to sit down and discuss strategy, so I have finally writtten out some goals, discussed them with my wife and then together with our daughter and the kids. The whole point is that we needed a plan as to where we want to go, and to agree, as a family unit, what we can do together to achieve it.

One of the tools we are using is SMART goals.

Along the way we've had some discussions with Centacare who run excellent Government subsidised family help services. They are professional, discreet and affordable.

We are now working towards guidelines we all feel are fair, and discussing ways to apply them consistently and firmly. Also, we recognise that a sense of humour really helps when dealing out discipline. After all, we're all in it together and a bit of shared laughter can help solve most problems.

  Ahh! the beautiful QUIET sound of  harmony.