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Seven Tips For a Happier & Healthier Workplace Mark Bunn

The official magazine of 1 Life Do It Now

Edition 2 – 2012

Making Changes The Easy Way Marie Farrugia

Are You Raising A Praise-Junkie? Are Parents Going Too Far?

Michael Grose


By Reducing Customer Expectations

Steve Simpson


? e f i l f o e s o d y l Had your dai



EDITION 2 – 2012







Moving on when there is nothing left to give Bruce Sullivan

Mark Bunn




Letter from the editor Book review Switch – How To Change Things When Change Is Hard By Chip Heath and Dan Heath



Success story



Recommended reading for life

Is an inexperienced leadership epidemic killing your peoples’ productivity?


Ian Hutchinson


Profit by reducing customer expectations


Facing scary situations at work?






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Eight words Marty Doyle

The practical ‘Money for Life’ budget


Engage your senses Paul Massingham

Connecting is a choice...


Making changes the easy way Marie Farrugia


Matt Hern


How to live well Leo Babauta

Kirsty Spraggon


Where do ideas really come from? Amanda Gore

Anne Riches


Are you raising a praise-junkie? Michael Grose

Steve Simpson

1 Life bookshelf

Attention is the currency of relationships Justin Coulson

Eva Jouvencon

Claire Massingham



Seven tips for a happier & healthier workplace

Creative thinking, energy & community Cindy Beumer





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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Success for everyone is different, but there is a common thread. What is it that you need, to be successful in your 1 life? Is it to be financially secure, is it to be a great parent, is it to be able to travel once a year to a new destination, is it to be fit and healthy or is it simply to be happy. Success for everyone is different, but there is a common thread. To be successful you have to know what success means to you. You have to be able to imagine it and picture yourself already there and you have to know how to take action and make it real. Success to me is ensuring that every day I am operating at my very best. That I am conscious about what I am doing, why I am doing it and how it is going to make me a better person so that I can live a better life and make the world a better place. As I write this letter my mind keeps pondering over an invitation that I have to respond to. It’s a networking function being held on a school night, it is over the other side of town to where I live and I am really struggling to make the commitment to attend. That little voice in my head is saying, “don’t go, it will take so long to get there, there will be no parking and you won’t know anyone else there.” The thought of my comfortable lounge in the sanctuary of my own home is much more appealing than mingling with strangers after a long day at work. Another part of me is reminding me of what I need to do to be successful in my 1 Life. Being comfortable doesn’t always equate to being successful and if you are not prepared to put in the time and effort to broaden your world then how can you possibly grow and improve yourself to become the best person that you can be. Who knows who I will meet at this function, who I could impact to become the best person that they could be and what I could learn from just being in a different environment and meeting different people.

Founder Bruce Sullivan

Editor Claire Massingham 07 3326 1813,

Graphic Design Snapmedia 1300 244 465,

Regular Contributors Steve Simpson

Anne Riches

Ian Hutchinson

Dr. Justin Coulson

Michael Grose

Matt Hern

You have been given the gift of life and you only have one chance of making it count. How successful are you going to be? If you are reading this magazine then you are heading in the right direction.

Amanda Gore

This edition is overflowing with information on how you can be successful in all areas of your life. Bruce Sullivan’s feature article will provide you with some great practical tools on how to move on when life doesn’t go according to your plan, Mark Bunn will advise you on how you can be happier at work and Matt Hern will help you devise a practical and meaningful budget that will provide you with money for life. These are just a few of the valuable articles featured throughout this magazine that will help you to become a better person.

Paul Massingham

Embrace life and enjoy the journey.

Contact 1 Life Do It Now! Phone 1300 0 1 LIFE or 07 3326 1813 Email Web

Claire Massingham – Editor

Address ‘The Hub’ 16/14 Ashtan Place Banyo Qld 4014

1 Life Do It Now 4

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MEET THE TEAM Bruce Sullivan Founder

Calling All Experienced Personal Trainers: It’s a bit daggy but I really am an Abba tragic! I Love it!

Want to increase your income, and at the same time decrease your personal training hours? Looking for a passive income that you don’t have to get out of bed at 4.30am in the morning for?

Melissa Moffatt Personal Assistant

It’s a bit daggy but I watch the Bold and the Beautiful and think that perhaps in my next life…

Ready to take your business to the next level, however need support and coaching from the best? Want to increase your leads and clients because you are a 1 Life Do It Now trainer? If you’ve said yes to the above and meet the following criteria we would love to hear from you.

Karine Stanley CEO It’s a bit daggy but I have seen Rock of Ages (the movie) four times already, and I have the original and revised soundtracks of music on my iPhone. Cause, “I wanna Rock.”

Claire Massingham General Manager

It’s a bit daggy but I am a true Gleekster. I just LOVE watching Glee!

Registered with a recognised fitness industry body or you are a qualified personal trainer Have a minimum of one year working in the industry Can demonstrate the ability to grow a personal training business Can demonstrate an ability to be an adult learning specialist and show capacity to help people make permanent changes in their lives Have an acknowledged and complete awareness of all aspects of well being Be keen for a long term relationship with 1 Life Do It Now

Please contact Karine Stanley or phone

Trent Collett Studio Manager – Banyo

07 3326 1817 and ask for Karine.

It’s a bit daggy but before any event / race I do, I like to lay all my race kit out on the floor the night before and take a photo of it.

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hat do you do when someone lets you down? When you have given so much and you honestly feel like there is literally nothing left to give? When the thought of rocking slowly in the corner whilst medicating on a quiet drink and whatever you can find to eat (potato chips work for me) is the only thought that gives you any sort of comfort! Like you, I’ve been there. The circumstances for each of us will no doubt be different and yet in so many ways also the same. In a recent business relationship I had given so much. In fact I’d given so much away — for free: money, time, energy, intellectual property, resources and emotion. I’ve always been happy to give. This is who I am. As you know, there are of course always two sides to the story. We are, however, only in control of our side of the story and most importantly how we can respond positively and proactively in order to move on. The alternative is to remain an emotional prisoner to the circumstances, but this has the potential to sabotage our lives in so many ways. My offering to you, is about moving forward for the benefit of you, your families and friends, and your business. Recently, whilst working in the USA, I


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was the passenger in a car that my client was driving, which made it easier to avoid any regular direct eye contact. Our conversation had started with her curiosity in better understanding the detail behind a comment I’d made about the unsatisfactory business relationship I’d experienced. It was a very weird conversation. You know the type where the questions asked of you were as if the person was asking it of themselves at the same time? “How did you move on past that experience?” “How could you make meaning of such a terrible set of circumstances?” It forced me once more to think about how I really did move on whilst many others would have remained bitter indefinitely. As in most things that sound simple, the application is usually the challenge. Forgiveness is an easy word to say but much harder to enact for real and forever. In fact many choose instead to harness the bitterness and resentment for a lifetime. For me, though, the solution to moving forward came in understanding why some people never forgive. They believe that by not forgiving the other person they are somehow punishing

them. They believe that the longer they harbour the anger, resentment and bitterness towards them, the more damage they can inflict on them. The more they can pay them back for what they did. Please don’t think that anger, resentment and bitterness were not mine to endure. There is a time for these feelings and they are a necessary part of the journey. However, anger, resentment and bitterness are not meant to be the destination. They take their toll and diminish you. What most people don’t realise is that by not forgiving the other person for what happened, they themselves are the ones who are punished, not the other person! Their minds and bodies are forced to endure the damage that the long term harbouring of these feelings can bring. (There is also a good chance that those closest to them have to endure it too!) Therefore, one could argue that forgiveness is almost a selfish act motivated purely on the real benefits available to the one who forgives. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself! So what’s the good news? I suspect you will have been let down by someone at some stage, which simply means that you have been given a chance to practise forgiveness.

feature article

Anger is a useful emotion, it provides the energy we need for change

Once you truly understand the benefits available to you as the one who forgives, you can continue to grow far beyond who you were. A few thoughts for you on how to get started:

It’s not the end of your life When life doesn’t go as planned and you feel that there’s nothing left to give, please remember that it’s usually not the ending of your life! It’s quite simply the ending of your life one way and the beginning of your life a different way. Even when someone you know dies it’s still not the ending of your life ... it’s the ending of your life one way and the beginning of your life a different way. This simple principle can help you keep what has happened in perspective. It doesn’t mean that you won’t grieve or be angry or upset. It’s simply a way to frame up your experience of what has occurred. In the business example I mentioned earlier it was the ending of my life with $90,000 and the beginning of my life without it! As incredibly frustrating, disappointing and maddening as that was … it was still not the ending of my life.

Do the anger Some people let you down because

their intentions were ignoble — perhaps good for them but not for you! Anger is a natural response. And anger is a useful emotion — it provides the energy we need for change. Naturally, it depends on your own personal history, but the paradox for most of us is that we were taught that anger is bad. Regardless of that history it’s important to remember (or learn) that finding a useful and constructive way to ‘do the anger’ is much healthier than bottling it all up inside. Find a person who you can talk to without fear of judgement and a safe place to chat. Make a time for the express purpose of venting your anger over the situation. Once it is out in a constructive way the possibility of forgiveness is closer.

For me, I told those who knew and understood my circumstances that I wanted one month to grieve the situation. I put them on notice to expect little moments of anger, grief, frustration and sadness whilst I worked through to a conclusion. Over the last 25 years of helping people by sharing this principle the constant feedback goes something like this: “I couldn’t believe how empowering it was to be so open about my genuine need to grieve and to put an arbitrary timeframe on my grieving. When I shared it with close friends and family it helped them to help me, all the while knowing that for them and for me this would be a season that would end and we could all move on together”.

Judge the intention

Set a time for grieving Putting a timeframe on just how long you intend to grieve over this situation may seem a little clinical; however, without one, just how long will you allow your life to be consumed with grief?

Some people let you down unintentionally. They simply made a mistake. Assume that every person has a positive intention for their behaviour, regardless of how bad you perceive the behaviour to be.

Your world needs all the energy you can muster to move forward. Without an arbitrary timeframe there can be a tendency to dwell forever on your hurt. Instead, give yourself permission to grieve for a time and, even more importantly, therefore allow yourself to move on.

Remember that people take it in turns to do dumb things. It’s a requirement for being a human being. Your best friends, the people with whom you enjoy the most intellectual and emotional intimacy and already forgive easily are the ones who accept that both you and they will take it in turns

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Be grateful for the lessons. This splinter happened for you, not to you!


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feature article

to do dumb things! When it’s their turn, it helps to judge their positive intention — not their behaviour!

Ask for help

No matter how badly you were let down by others, if you are still waking up without a white chalk line around your body then that’s a pretty good start! Being grateful for the chance to have another day to live, to learn and to experience everything life has to offer is one certain way to bring a healthy perspective back into your view of the current realities.

‘We know all the answers’ are delusional. Embrace instead the fact that we don’t! That it’s ok to say, “I'm struggling at the moment and I need some help to learn, grieve, forgive and move on”. If we demonstrate that kind of openness to learning and to asking for help, you might just be surprised how many people that you already know will respond positively to your request for support. Suffering in silence for fear of ‘looking dumb’ will extend the anger and pain far beyond their useful use-by dates.

Look for lessons

Say goodbye

If you have experienced the pains of a failure, don’t lose the lesson it offers you, because if you do you will continue to suffer the pains until the learning takes place. Sit with it, reflect on it and, most importantly, learn from it. Always look for what you can take from something negative: Like the young man who was left in a room up to his knees in horse manure and who, when asked why he was thrashing about in the manure, responded, “With all this horse manure in here there has to be a pony hiding somewhere!”

Once you have done the anger and grief it might just be time to say goodbye. Forgiveness doesn’t always lead to a healed relationship. Some people hurt others because they are genuinely not capable of a decent relationship at this stage of their life. They sabotage their own lives by doing damage to others. You cannot have everyone in your life, so say goodbye to the person along with your anger.

Waking up is still a great start

Be grateful for the lessons I’ve been asked many times: “I had the pain, I’ve found the lesson but I still can’t seem to forget what happened to me … how do I forgive and forget?” My first encouragement is to, first be truly grateful for the lesson that you have learnt from this set of circumstances. The focus is on the lesson, not the circumstances. Secondly it’s useful to remember that things happen for you… not to you! When things happen to you, you are the victim. When things happen for you, you are the wiser for them. You give permission for learning to occur. For me, I’ll keep on assuming and looking for the best in others. I’ll also make sure that I talk to a lawyer at the beginning of a business partnership … not at the end of one! This is advice I’d received for years; however, out of blind trust I’d conveniently ignored it. That’s why this happened for me!

Remember that forgiveness is a gift that you give yourself too!

remember that being grateful for everything life has to offer can bring a healthy perspective into view once again. Look for lessons. Make the most of your time on the stairs and begin the search for lessons — there has to be a pony in there somewhere! Be grateful for the lessons. This splinter happened for you, not to you! Once you are truly grateful that this happened for you, not to you, the lessons will become obvious to you more quickly and more easily than if you stay in victim mode. Ask for help. You may need assistance with the removal of the splinter. In fact others will most likely have a slightly different perspective of the splinter than you. How can they help? Remove the splinter. Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself. You pay a big price for splinters that have not been removed. They fester and cause even more damage. The handrail awaits. Life is waiting for you to once again get on board and get moving again. Your health, your family and your business all need your undivided attention.

Bringing it all together one last time When you’re sliding down the handrail of life you’ll inevitably get a splinter in your bottom ... ouch! Very few people will welcome this; in fact, it’s likely to stop you in your tracks and you’ll have to stop sliding down the handrail of life and sit for a while on the stairs! So remember: It’s not the ending of your life; it’s just the ending of your life without a splinter and the beginning of your life with a splinter! Do the anger. The pain is real. You’ve been let down by someone ... again. Find a constructive way to do the anger. Set a time for grieving. How long do you want to be sitting on the stairs while the handrail of life awaits you? Judge the intention. Maybe the person who made the handrail had good intentions — is it possible they simply made a mistake? Waking up is a good start. Even while you sit and grieve your situation

Bruce is a relationship specialist and a proven performer in achieving results through people for over 26 years. Bruce says, “The goal in life is not perfection but a genuine desire to improve your own effectiveness and how you interact with your family, your business and your community.” Learn more about Bruce at

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Loving Life Conference Come along and pamper your mind with us at Peppers Salt Kingsciff NSW on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 February 2013.

Hi, I’m Bruce Sullivan and I invite you to join me and the 1 Life team on a weekend of discovery where you can take the time out to explore, dream, laugh and concentrate on what matters most to you in your one precious life. A better you, a better world, a better life!

You Will Experience: How to dream big How to be healthier and happier How to build red hot relationships How to boost your energy How to be the best possible version of you 10

1Life Do It Now!

An experience – not an event! This is your chance to take action on becoming the best version of you that you can possibly be.

The Venue

Peppers Salt at Kingscliff NSW is the perfect place to combine learning with relaxation and the chance to not only pamper your body but your mind as well. We will give you ample time to enjoy the beautiful surrounds of the resort whilst dreaming big and setting your plans in action for 2013. Situated right by the beach with plenty of green space to empty your mind, the resort is located 20 minutes south of the Gold Coast airport and a 30 minute drive from Byron Bay.

Investment Person One

Standard rate is $679 or if you are a member of our Lifetime Success Club the rate is $529 Person Two

Bring along your partner or a friend and they only pay $279 or if you are a member of our Lifetime Success Club they only pay $229.


We have secured a conference rate for accommodation at the hotel which can be extended for two days prior or two days after the conference. Hotel Room including breakfast for two is $167.00 One bedroom suite including breakfast for two is $201

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Tip 1 Brighten things up make a ‘cheerier’ workplace In the pursuit of looking sleek, modern and professional, many workplaces have opted for darker interiors, cold furnishings and a generally ‘smart’ yet not so healthy work environment. This darkness has the capacity to dull the mind, contribute to lack of vitality and even depression. With people spending eight hours or more each day at work, one of the most profound ways to increase morale, positivity and general health is to brighten up the workplace environment. This could involve increasing lightness, colour and beauty such as hanging colourful pictures, having bright furniture or furnishings, putting vibrant flowers around the office and having a few green plants – even if they are fake ones. A study by Professor Margaret Burchett, of the University of Technology Sydney, found that pot plants can reduce air toxins by as much as 20%. Similar studies in Europe have shown pot plants in the office can reduce ‘sick leave’ by 60%. So if you are a green thumb see if you can buy some greenery to keep you healthy.


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Tip 2 Make sure you have a proper lunch break If you want to be productive and have energy throughout the whole day then make sure you have a decent lunch break. Try eating your main meal at this time rather than in the evening. Why? Because this is how humans are designed to function for peak health and performance. From the popular ‘natural health system’ known as Maharishi Ayurveda, digestion (which is responsible for converting food into energy) is at its peak in the middle of the day. This is when you are active and therefore need the most energy. Not only does getting out of the office at lunchtime provide a ‘mental refresher’, but eating a settled lunch (as opposed to sitting at your desk or eating ‘on the run’), is critical to keeping you alert for the rest of the afternoon. It also helps to prevent ‘binge eating’ later in the day. After sunset, your digestive fire becomes almost non-existent as your body prepares to wind down in preparation for the ‘resting/rejuvenating’ phase of sleep. Eating a large, heavy meal at dinner (which most of our population does!) is not only poorly digested but totally compromises your nightly rejuvenation cycle (during sleep), making you wake-up heavy, sluggish and de-motivated the next morning.

health & fitness

Tip 3 Water…water…everywhere! One of the primary causes of low energy, lack of concentration and impaired decision making is poor hydration. The combination of air-conditioned offices, coffee drinking and being too busy/lazy to go to the staff kitchen and get a drink, means a high percentage of workers are working at significantly reduced productivity levels. The benefits in terms of improved energy, focus and morale of being properly hydrated make doing the following things, worth their weight in gold. Put a sign on your desk or computer telling yourself how much better you will feel if you drink water regularly Always have a water bottle and glass on your desk so it is convenient for you to drink at all times Ask if your office can have a water dispenser in your department/area so you can easily keep your water bottle filled Drinking filtered water is best, but drinking cold water is absolutely disastrous for health. It’s a long story, but always favour room temperature or warm water over refrigerated water.

Tip 4 Fruit for afternoon tea Eat some fruit for afternoon tea. Why? Because the best time for fruit is around 4pm each day. This is when ‘sweet cravings’ are at their peak or when people who have skipped lunch, get the ‘binge munchies’. An orange and a banana at this time, is not only a great healthy energy boosting, pick me up – but as a bonus, you might also minimise the damage to the Tim Tam stocks!

Tip 5 Laugh more Make sure your workplace isn’t too ‘serious’. Think back over the last couple of days at work and ask yourself when was the last time you laughed out loud. Can you remember having a good chuckle over something or have you been so caught up with being rushed, busy and tired that laughter hasn’t featured in your day. Don’t get so caught up with the

pressures of work that you lose your ability to laugh. Life is way too important to be taken seriously! Studies show that people who laugh often are healthier, more creative, live longer and are happier overall. So if you take your life seriously, then you need to laugh more. Laughter is always best done with someone else and it usually comes from a spontaneous conversation, sharing a story or even telling a joke. So make sure you take some time in the day to get out of your chair and go and share a laugh with someone.

Tip 6 Have a quiet room Business these days is all about activity – constant go go go. Arguably the single greatest antidote to all the hustle and bustle is quiet time to oneself. Ask your employer if they can set aside a special room or area where staff can go for some quiet time. Employees spend on average, 50-70% of their ‘non-sleeping’ time at work. Providing a space where you can have some ‘downtime/personal rejuvenation time’ will be one of the critical areas of the next decade.

What sort of activities do I love doing the most? Are there some tasks that I really look forward to doing? What do my friends say I am good at? What activities do I do that makes the time fly by? When do I feel most energised? If you can answer these questions honestly, you will start to get a picture of what you are good at. What you are good at usually, then relates to what your key strengths are. If after doing this exercise you find out that you are not using any of your strengths in your current job it may be time to make some decisions to move toward doing what makes you happy. If you can implement just a few of the above tips into your working day then you will be well on your way to becoming healthier and happier at work. Ultimately this will make you a much better person to hang around with and you will reap the benefits long into your life.

The quiet room is where people can meditate, do some yoga or simply have some quiet space to gather their thoughts. If there is no space in your work environment then take yourself outside and see if you can find a grassy area when you can sit in the sunshine and just ‘be’ for a while.

Tip 7 Enjoy what you do Okay, you’ve heard it a hundred times before, but it’s always good to hear it again. The absolute number one key to good health and a happy workplace is ‘happy employees’. And the number one key to happy employees is doing work that they both enjoy and are good at. When this happens motivation and morale skyrocket and workplace stress and balance issues are greatly reduced. The big question therefore is: Are you doing a job that you enjoy? The best way to answer this is to ensure that you are working to your strengths. If you are unsure of what your strengths are ask yourself these questions:

Mark Bunn is one of Australia’s most soughtafter health & work-life balance presenters. A former AFL footballer and author of Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health, he combines the best of Eastern & Western health with a good laugh and loads of tips & tools for enjoying work success without the stress. Learn more about Mark Bunn at

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STORY Name Age Before


Eva Jouvencon 35 I was terribly unfit, unhealthy and unhappy I am fitter, healthier, happier and love my life

va starting training at the 1 Life Do It Now Studio in August 2011. One year on and she has participated in two 10km fun runs, is hooked on the natural high that exercise gives her and loves being fit and healthy. This is her story. What enticed you to train at the 1 Life Do It Now studio? At first it was because I hated the way I felt, I didn’t like looking at myself in the mirror. However, the real reason is my family. I want to be fit for them and be a good role model for my children. My husband and my children are the most important things to me. I want to be around if my children have kids and I want my children to know how to live a healthy and happy life.


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success story

You have been doing personal training for a year now. That is a big commitment. I know there are days when your work is extremely busy or when you just don’t feel like training at all, yet you still show up here at 11am twice a week to basically get your bum kicked. What keeps you coming back? Once again it is my family. I seriously want to be the best role model for my children that I can possibly be. I want them to know that no matter what there is always time in your day to exercise and that eating good wholesome food is vital to keep your body healthy. I want to be able to run around with them and have the energy to keep up with everything that they do. Also, I want to grow really old with my husband. To have the best chance at doing this I need to keep my body fit and healthy. There is not much that you can control in life but looking after your body is at least one thing you can take control of and I intend to do just that. Does your husband have the same outlook as you? Let’s say that he is a work in progress – we both are. I am trying to lead by example and I am starting to see small changes take place which is really exciting. He is walking with a mate whenever he gets the chance and we have just started a new meal plan that Trent my personal trainer has put in place for us. It’s small steps at a time but it doesn’t matter how fast you are going, as long as it is in the right direction. Every step in the right direction is positive and little changes make a big difference. Tell me about your last two achievements. I hear that you competed in two 10km fun runs. Did you ever think this was possible? Never. If someone had said to me last year that I would be running 10km I would have told them they were dreaming! Now I am so pumped that I am constantly looking for the next challenge. However, I think 5km distances will suit me better as my knees start to hurt around the 7km mark and I really need to listen to what my body is telling me. That’s okay though, I just have to change my focus and run faster not longer. What obstacles did you have to overcome in your training to get to the stage where you were ready to take on a 10km fun run? Essentially it all comes down to your mind – your mental capacity. You need to keep focused on your goal at all times and just getting the job done. There will always be days when you don’t want to train. I remember one training session when I came into the studio with my mind set on doing a running session on the treadmill only to find that Trent had something completely different planned. I was devastated; every ounce of my being did not want to do that session. However, I focussed on the real reason why I was there and what the bigger goal was. I did that session and was absolutely shattered at the end of it. It wasn’t easy and I fought it the whole time but once it was done I felt amazing – off with the fairies. The mind is such a powerful weapon, it can motivate you or it can demotivate you. You just have to push yourself to achieve your goals when it is trying to outsmart you. What is the next challenge for you? There are no more events on the horizon at this stage that are close to home . So my next challenge is to get my diet right. I need to focus on my food intake. I have mastered the training

Eva and her family

and now it is time to master the food and try to shed the few extra kilos that I am carrying around with me. You have come into the studio looking excited today. Can you share with us what it is? Oh yes, I just weighed myself and I am below 80kg and I have been below 80kg for a whole week! I haven’t been below 80kg for about 6 years so that is a major achievement for me. Is there anything that you dislike about training? Burpees – I absolutely loathe them and Trent always makes me do them. He says that they are a great all round exercise to get your heart racing and muscles pumping. I could think of lots of other exercise that achieve the same result. I am sure he includes them just to make sure I know who is boss! What do you like most about training? The fact that the studio is just across the road from where I work, so it is really convenient and I have no excuse not to go. It is constantly beckoning to me. How do you feel after a training session? On top of the world – I get the most amazing high after training; it literally feels like I am drunk on life. I sometimes feel like I’m in lala land – off with the fairies and floating on a cloud with not a care in the world. I love it! How could you not want to train when you know you can feel like that afterwards? To finish off, what advice would you give to anyone thinking about making a lifestyle change? Make sure that the reason why you want to do it is precious to you. This is what will ultimately drive you to succeed. Then always keep that reason firmly planted in your mind so when you don’t feel like playing, your precious reason will keep driving you forward. Keeping yourself fit and healthy is – I think – the most valuable gift that you can give to yourself and your family.

1Life Do It Now!



Question: What keeps your top talent engaged and motivated in these times of change?

eing a leader is only going to get more challenging in the next few years. With downward pressure to do more with less, leaders are currently struggling with questions such as: How do we engage and motivate our people in times of change?

Average organisations are created and maintained by average leaders. Great change organisations are created and maintained by great leaders.

responsibility for preventing the key causes of low motivation and employee disengagement. If this is you, you are not alone because most leaders lack awareness about what engages their people; they don’t have the skills or, understandably, are too busy to invest time into either.

How do we effectively lead our people to be able to do more with less?

Question: What keeps your top talent engaged and motivated in these times of change?

The seven key reasons employees become unmotivated, disengaged and potentially leave are:

What are the best low-cost ways of motivating our talent right now?

Answer: Great leadership.

1. Poor leadership

According to research undertaken by the Saratoga Institute, almost 90 per cent of managers believe that employees leave for more money, whereas in reality 90 per cent of employees say they leave for other reasons, fundamentally all stemming from poor leadership.

“I don’t feel appreciated, respected and informed about where the company is heading.”

This remarkable disconnect between awareness and reality shows that most leaders of people are out of touch with what motivates their staff. This can stop leaders from taking full

3. Lack of opportunity

It’s useful to understand that virtually everyone is a leader and has more influence over their area of control and people management than they might give themselves credit for. Right now we could all benefit from keeping our people engaged and motivated because that keeps us successful; especially in these under-resourced turbulent times when we’re all being asked to do more with less.


People Don’t Leave Organisations. People Leave Leaders

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2. Lack of purpose “I don’t know what the company’s main purpose and meaning is beyond just making money.” “I feel there are very limited opportunities for me to develop my career within the company.”

4. Unfulfilling work “My day-to-day work is boring and I don’t use my key skills and strengths in a challenging and positive way.” 5. Ineffective relationships “I don’t feel part of a community where we work openly and collaboratively.” 6. Inadequate rewards “I don’t feel fairly rewarded, and I can’t see how remuneration is linked to my performance and achievements.” 7. Lack of balance “I don’t feel the company supports the fact that I am a human being with a life outside of work.” Leaders can tackle each of these seven issues and, in most situations, reverse them. And almost all of them can be controlled to a large degree by the individual employee – a new innovative approach now being used by many Best Employers called Employee-Activated Engagement (EAE). Over the past 15 years I have found that psychologically, most employees know what they don’t want, fewer know what they really do want. This creates a serious problem, because if employees don’t know what truly motivates them, how have leaders got any chance? Employee-Activated Engagement (EAE) is the self-responsibility approach to motivation and engagement. EAE uniquely utilises self-leadership, which helps people get clarity and become more resilient in times of change, with techniques to focus positively on what they can control rather than negatively on what they can’t control. It is eye-opening to know that 70-90% of staff engagement and motivation can be self-driven by the individual employee once they get clarity on what motivates them.

Immature Leadership Experience With many seasoned baby boomer leaders now retiring, less ‘downturn-experienced’ leaders are being pushed through the ranks. As such, Generation X & Y managers who are filling the leadership void are, in many instances, ill equipped to deal with crisis management and in some

cases the humanistic leadership skills required to cope with retaining and engaging their remaining time poor key talent. Some companies are misguided in reducing leadership development at exactly the time when the most acute leadership skills are required. To counter this proactively, leaders should be looking for positive leadership strategies and cost-effective engagement solutions that maximise performance and productivity in these times of constant change. Ian Hutchinson (G.Dip.Psy, B.Bus, CSP) is Founder and Chief Engagement Officer of, maximisers of productivity & performance by fast tracking engagement & motivation. His Employee-Activated Engagement process is the self-responsibility approach to employee engagement, which is the missing link to simply and easily unlocking peoples’ motivation and engagement potential in work and life. For more information on Ian visit

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Profit by Reducing Customer Expectations by Steve Simpson

n a study of customer service leaders, 89% reported that their main strategy is to exceed customer expectations. Yet despite these worthy intentions, 84% of customers reported that their expectations had not been exceeded during their most recent service interaction. These findings are in keeping with the experiences that most of us have as customers. We hear proclamations from many organisations about their ‘commitment to delivering outstanding service’, yet too often we receive far less when we interact with those companies. This context of organisations consistently failing to deliver what they promise, raises a wonderful opportunity for any company to stand out, based on a reputation of delivering outstanding service.

Managing expectations In a health insurance company I was working with, I learnt about the range of systems that were in place to manage and monitor service. One of these imposed a strict rule on the marketing department. Any piece of marketing that was to go to the marketplace first, needed to be signed-off by the leaders of the contact centre.


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This was a terrific example of an organisation seeking to keep communications transparent across departments. It is also an example of a company working at managing expectations. A fundamental aspect of service that is often overlooked is the notion of managing customer expectations. Ponder for one moment, two customer scenarios…

Scenario 1: The customer’s expectations are less than their perception of the service experience. This might be as simple as the customer being treated with genuine care and respect.

Scenario 2: The customer’s expectations are more than their perception of the service experience. An example of this is the customer’s complaint not being treated with any real consideration. In Scenario 1, the customer gets more than what they expected. While they might not verbalise it, this is a ‘wow’ experience for them – they didn’t expect to get what they got. Interestingly, even when they do not verbalise this ‘wow’ experience, it’s highly likely they will tell others about it. In Scenario 2, we have a ‘look-out’

scenario. The customer expected more than they received, so we have an unhappy customer. Again, the customer might not verbalise their views, but there is a very good chance they will not return to do further business with that organisation. And they’ll certainly tell others about the bad experience.

Strategically positioning customer service In Western Australia there used to be an organisation called ‘WA Salvage’. In essence these were outlets for ‘seconds’ – slightly damaged goods from Bunnings Stores. The marketing slogan for WA Salvage was ‘We’re not fancy, but we’re cheap’. This was a marketing masterstroke. The WA Salvage Stores were, to put it mildly, messy. Products were laid out in their packaging boxes and the stores were unappealing and untidy. Yet customers would enter the store and not be disappointed. This is a great example of an organisation managing their customers’ expectations. What’s missing in most organisations is careful consideration of what they really want to stand for when it comes

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to service. Too many companies fall into the trap of promising brilliant service because that’s what their competitors promise. Yet in making these shallow promises, customer expectations are set unrealistically high.

So what should we do? I have created a taxonomy of service attributes that maps where any organisation sits when it comes to customer service. At the bottom of the taxonomy is ‘Causing Grief’. Clearly, these organisations won’t stay in business for any length of time. These are the companies that have no real regard for customers and are simply trying to make a quick profit. Next is ‘Hit and Miss’. These organisations are sometimes good at customer service, other times not. They can stay in business if they have an outstanding product or service, but certainly their growth prospects are not as good. Eventually, competitors will overtake them as product or service differentiation can’t last. Next is ‘Comply’. These organisations do what they are supposed to do – many government organisations fall into this category, where they have delivery standards that they feel compelled to deliver. Next on the taxonomy is ‘Meet Needs’. These organisations move above compliance with their service delivery promises and identify customer needs. This involves them acquiring feedback from their customers and identifying their core needs. In acquiring this

feedback, the organisation might learn that what it thought was important to customers does not rank as a priority. Service is then designed around meeting those needs. Finally, there is the ‘Surprise+’ organisation. These organisations pride themselves on going beyond customer expectations, continually striving to improve. A wonderful example of an organisation in this space is Zappos – an online shoe and apparel shop that prides itself on two things – customer service and workplace culture. They have an extraordinary commitment to service where, among other things, there is no time limit on calls their representatives in their call centre have with customers. They have achieved so much recognition for their service commitment, they have established a Zappos University, where people from across the world pay money to learn about the Zappo approach to service and workplace culture. The mistake that many companies make is positioning themselves in the ‘Surprise+’ space. If this isn’t able to be fulfilled, then by definition, customers will be disappointed. The brilliance of the WA Salvage approach is that they positioned themselves in the ‘Hit and Miss’ space. Customers didn’t expect good service, but coincidentally were really pleased when they received it!

on the service taxonomy. If you aren’t able, or don’t have the people or skills to sit at the ‘Surprise+’ end of the taxonomy, then that ought to be recognised and agreed. Then you need to identify where on the taxonomy you wish to be. Once you have agreed on where you wish sit on the taxonomy, you need to get good at it. For example, if you wish to position yourself at the ‘Meet Needs’ level of the taxonomy, you need to get good at finding out what your customers’ needs are. And you need to get good at delivering on those needs. If you wish to position yourself at the ‘Comply’ level of the taxonomy, you need to get good at communicating what customers can expect when they do business with you. Equally, you need to be clear about what customers should not expect when they deal with you. In a world where trust is on the decline, organisations can benefit in every sense by fulfilling the promises they make with their customers. Treated with respect and dignity, the vast majority of customers are reasonable people who understand the pressures faced by companies. Organisational promises don’t need to be earth-shattering – they just need to be kept!

So what should you do? If your organisation hasn’t already done it, you need to make a strategic decision about where you want to sit

Steve is an international speaker, author and consultant on organisation culture and customer service. He has been described as ‘Australia’s leading corporate culture authority. To find out more about Steve visit

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8.15pm – alone on a long empty platform waiting for the 8.30pm train from London Paddington to Heathrow. Another person appeared. He had the entire platform to choose a spot to wait but he came and stood next to me. My heart started to race. “Stop it” I said to my amygdala. “Calm down” I said to my hypothalamus but it continued to flood my body with adrenaline. All my amygdalae could see was a young man of middle eastern appearance with a backpack. My pre-frontal cortex was appalled and embarrassed at my limbic system response. My cortex had no idea whether the young man was from the Middle East or not – and even if he was, so what? I took deep breaths. I kept telling myself that my reaction was irrational and that my body should calm down. Stop, Think, Act. Eventually the 8.30pm train arrived. I stepped on, sat down and my heart rate slowed. I started to rewire.


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Deep in the ocean Two months later, off the Neptune Islands in South Australia I was in a cage heading towards the ocean floor hoping to get up close and personal with some Great White Sharks. One came soon enough – ‘Cheeky Girl’ – 4.2 metres and 1000 kg. She was BIG! And I saw her many teeth as she passed several times within a metre of me while she attempted to snatch the bait hanging off the back of the boat! The 30 minutes in the cage passed in a flash.

But did my life flash before my eyes? Back on board I realised that my heart rate had not increased at all when I came face to face with this enormous predator. All I felt was awe and wonder as I watched one of the most amazing animals I have ever seen. So what was the difference? Why did I experience the fight/flight response so fully on a London train platform but not at all when within touching distance of a Great White Shark (GWS)?

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Rewiring and preparing for sharks – the type we find at work The answer lies in preparation and learning (rewiring) from experience. I had searched for GWS once before. But even with three days of turning the ocean red with burly including tuna heads, blood and guts – no shark appeared on that trip. So much for the idea that ‘blood in the water attracts sharks’! However what we did do on that ‘no show’ trip was to talk a lot about GWS with experts; we practiced descents in the cage, watched videos, looked at GWS photos and listened to research, all of which prepared us for the recent trip and took away the fear. In contrast, the man on the platform was a complete surprise. It was the end of a fabulous trip to the UK; I had just been shopping in Oxford Street and was looking forward to returning to Sydney. I simply wasn’t focussed on what was happening on the platform or that any risks or dangers could be lurking there. So I was unprepared for the possibility that a man could appear on the platform and trigger an automatic negative thought (ANT) that cracked my almonds (amygdalae) with a sledgehammer! And I had no previous experience from which to train my amygdala not to react to a racist stereotype automatically stored in my brain’s ‘database of nasty things’ after September 11, 2001.

Face the fear and defuse the almonds At work, ‘the man on the platform’ might turn up as a surprise outburst from the boss; an urgent deadline abruptly imposed; a retrenchment to be made; a dramatic fall in share price or an unanticipated cut in funding.

She was BIG! And I saw her many teeth

But ‘Cheeky Girl’ could show up when you anticipate the performance appraisal next week, a future presentation to the Board, an interview for a promotion, the switch over to a new system. In other words, there will be some sudden and unexpected events that will catch us off guard. At those times, it is likely that we’ll experience The Almond Effect® – the fight/flight response – even though our lives are not at risk. When that happens, use the Stop – Think – Act – Rewire (STAR) technique and focus especially on rewiring afterwards – what can you learn from the experience? The more times you experience something confronting, the less confronting it becomes. Your amygdala learns that it is nothing to be overly concerned about. But do not beat yourself up for reacting even though your pre-frontal cortex knows you should not have. We are hard wired for survival and our amygdalae do not know the difference between physical and psychological threats. However, when you know that a ‘scary’ situation is coming up (Cheeky Girl) – do everything you can to minimise the impact of The Almond Effect® by preparing as much as possible. Show your amygdala that there are no potentially fatal consequences to what you are about to do. Then perhaps you’ll even enjoy coming face to face with your Great White Shark!

Anne presents and mentors leaders on life-changing ways to bring out the full potential of their people. Her special blend of extensive corporate experience, open, fun and heartfelt style and her deep research means audiences easily and quickly gain strategies and tools for themselves and to use at work. Visit for more information, free resources and CLUES.

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ho is fascinated by people? I love to watch people and having spent most of the past few weeks in and out of airports, I have had plenty of time to watch people. It fascinates me how much effort people will go to, to not connect. Putting the iPod on, typing on their laptops, watching television and giving you the ‘wall’ and one word responses so as to not have to engage in conversation. Perhaps you're thinking, "oops that sounds like me…" It really reminded me that connecting is a choice and it can be very easy to choose not to connect. Instead we get in the frame of mind that ‘it is annoying and an interruption’, when connecting is actually the fabric of society and so important to whom we are as human beings. In fact research shows that those who are disconnected from themselves and others die sooner. Harvard studies show we have gone from having ten close people we can open up to and share our problems with to less than two people. Scary, so what can be done about it? It’s simple, you have to make the choice to ‘choose to connect’. Choose to say YES to events that you may normally say no to. Choose to be more open and connect with people at the hairdressers, or on the train or at the airport. It is amazing who you can meet and may have never known had you not said a simple hello. Also when it comes to connecting with those we already know such as existing clients, it is all too easy to forget about putting the effort into catching up with them or prioritizing it on our to do list.


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The magic of getting out of the boardroom Some amazing things happen when we get face to face with clients and colleagues. It strengthens our relationships and they become deeper and more meaningful, which is what builds trust and leads to lifetime relationships. When we get face to face and get out of the boardroom or office environment; 1. People take off their ‘subconscious work uniform’, they relax and share more of themselves when they are in a different environment that is not anchored so strongly to work. 2. We connect much quicker and therefore build trust more easily. 3. We ourselves lighten up and are more at ease and engaging rather than in ‘sales mode’ which is such a turn off. What I love to do is organise quarterly lunches, dinners and fabulous girls nights out with a mixture of clients, colleagues and friends who would all love to meet each other. It is a great way to help them with growing their networks and you save time by not having to always meet everyone one on one, though that is always great too. I also love to do lunches with colleagues, kind of like a master mind group. Sometimes we brain storm and other times we just share stories and simply catch up. So start saying yes and choose to connect. Get face to face with your clients and see how much of a positive difference this makes to your relationships.

Kirsty Spraggon – speaker, coach and author, is known for her expertise in building relationships that assists you to increase your sales, networks and connections for life & business success. For more info go to



TO BE HONEST WITH YOU? BY BRUCE SULLIVAN Why do parents, partners, politicians, salesmen, children, tradespeople often find it difficult to simply tell us the truth? For example:

Please if it helps…

The tradesperson tells you your new bathroom will be finished in two weeks when they know in reality it will take closer to four. They have learnt to not tell the truth in case they lose the job or if they already have the job know that you want it done ASAP and if they told you the truth there could be immediate conflict.

1. Learn to control your ‘startle response.’ When confronted with something that would normally draw a negative from you, practice the ‘poker face’ or “that’s interesting” response. Breathing or counting silently helps or try repeating what they said to ensure you heard it right and give yourself time to respond positively!

The work colleague who tells you the report will be ready on Friday when they know in reality it will be Tuesday next week. They have learnt not to tell you the truth because if they did your potential hostile reaction would be too much to risk. It’s our response to the truth that can fuel this dishonesty. We may have inadvertently taught others (by our response to honesty) to tell us what they “think” we want to hear as opposed to the truth. They obviously want us to respond favourably so they’ll ‘play it safe’ because based on past history it seems like we don’t really want to hear the truth. It seems like a no-win situation. Tell the truth and appear harsh or cruel and risk conflict. Tell the truth and lose the job or the sale. Tell the truth and suffer the repercussions. The paradox is that almost always the truth will emerge… the bathroom takes twice as long as we were told… the report lands two days late the following Tuesday… the truth is out and the conflict you were avoiding now arises. One of the most common examples that has hit home to most of us in one form or another is the question “Does this outfit make me look fat?” The honest answer may be yes. You say no. The video of the party comes out and you’re berated for weeks for not telling the truth! We certainly learn at an early age that people want good news! Our parents want to see the good report, to know that we behaved well, that we cleaned our room and got our homework done on time. If we start to tell the truth, the response is usually not one that we want. We learn to become good at hiding or manipulating the truth and only telling people what we ‘think’ they want to hear.

2. Then ask another question. And I’m not meaning the one yelling at the top of your voice that goes something like, “Why didn’t you tell me?...How could you do such a thing!” Ask a question in a safe welcoming way that will help you better understand the truth as it is being presented to you. For example with the tradesperson you could ask, “You said two weeks however given on your current work commitments and allowing for any delays how long would a realistic timeframe be based on your experience? When you ask your child if they have their room cleaned up yet, instead of jumping straight into criticism, ask another question, be curious. Try asking “What is stopping you from getting it done?”... or “If you started now, how long will it take for you to do it?” When the person delivering their version of the truth to you feels it’s safe, they’re more likely to open up and tell you the truth. If I’m ever uncertain how a person may respond to the truth I will offer the following options: “Just checking if you want me to tell you the truth or just something that will make us both feel good for now? Ninety nine times out of 100 they will say they want the truth. Then I will say something like, “That’s great because in some weird way I’d rather you not like me now at the beginning for telling you the truth BUT also trust and respect me in two weeks’ time because I did tell you the truth!” Hope this helps and please remember that if you get this right at home it’s a piece of cake at work!

What if we taught our colleagues, partners, children etc., that we’d rather respond positively to the ‘reality’ of things and that we’re going to start welcoming their honest opinion and their truth?

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n the first issue of 1 Life I promised you ‘Money for Life’ if you take purposeful action to save for the significant things in life whilst minimising the insignificant. To achieve this you’ll need a valuable technique called budgeting. Yes, I did just see you roll your eyes. Tried a budget and it didn’t work? Success in sticking to budgets seems to be about the same as successfully sticking to diets. The main reasons appear to be similar. Most unsuccessful budgets lack an inspiring purpose. Secondly, most budgets are impractical and not structured to support sustainable behaviour change. Sadly, this is since many budgeting tools are just a table of loosely categorised lists of expense types. This type of budget is fine if you just want a once-off snapshot of where your money goes. But if that is all you wanted you probably wouldn’t invest the time doing a budget. You’re creating a budget to help you make smarter spending choices so that you’ll have money for what you really want.


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A practical, meaningful budget therefore needs to be constructed firstly around what matters most and then secondly around your spending choices. I created the Pay Yourself First (in practice) budgeting technique, described below, around these two criteria.

YOUR POTS OF MONEY 1. Financial independence The first pot into which you allocate is how much you need to regularly invest so you accumulate enough net wealth to ‘retire’ – or make work optional – when and how you want it. With the common pay yourself first approach, this is where people start, and stop. To achieve money for life you must push on. In addition you need to include the extra regular loan repayments required to ensure you are free of personal (non-investment) debt by your financial independence target date. Use the free calculators at to work out how much you need to regularly set aside for each goal.


2. Pre-retirement essentials The second allocation is to all the big things that will make life worthwhile between now and the point you achieve financial independence. This pot has two sub-categories, the first of which is for major lifestyle goals like big holidays, education, parental leave and home moves. The second sub-category is for maintaining your lifestyle, including car upgrades, major home maintenance and replacing major household items. To estimate how much you need to regularly set aside for each goal use a basic calculation of the lump-sum you’ll need, divided by the amount of months until you’ll need it.

3. Infrequent expenses In this pot include all expenses you pay at least once per year but less frequently than monthly. For example: clothing, utilities, insurance, gifts, parties, subscriptions and medical costs. It is often the infrequent expenses that end up blowing the savings of otherwise consistent savers. So having a dedicated pot of money set aside helps you stay on track. The expenses may be out of sight but they should not be out of budget.

4. Existing regular repayments When you embrace a Pay Yourself First planning approach you first allocate pots 1 through to 3 before you take a new loan. This illuminates the reality of how much you can actually afford to borrow. Since many people already have loans then this pot doubles as the allocation for repaying all of your existing debts as per the current minimum required repayment. Extra repayments are captured in your financial independence fund.

5. Monthly essentials and comforts This pot is for all the regular items you spend at least once per month. Essentials include items like groceries, fuel, child care, telephone and internet. Comforts are expenses like dining out, entertainment, recreation and domestic help.

As before, when you take the Pay Yourself First planning approach you get to this point and discover the reality of what you can afford to spend on comforts. And some things you thought were essentials get re-categorised. Note that ‘credit card’ is not an expense – it is simply a payment mechanism.

6. Impulses and indulgences When balancing your budget it’s important to leave a small allocation to this final pot for spontaneity. For couples I recommended you each have a small allocation which you can spend without needing to justify it to your partner. You can blow it on a muffin with your daily coffee or save it to upgrade to the latest indulgent gadget.

AUTOMATIC WEALTH CREATION To make this super-easy to manage establish separate high interest bank accounts for each of the above pots. You may even have separate pots for each of the big pre-retirement essentials. Then establish regular automatic transfers from your everyday bank account into each pot. Match the timing with your pay cycle.

IT’S EASY TO STAY ON TRACK For planned, variable expenses like groceries, clothes and grooming, check the balance of the infrequent expenses pot before heading to the shop. For impulse purchases, if there is no pocket money left in your wallet or purse, back away from the checkout. Most other expenses don’t need to be paid on the spot and are predictable, so initiate a weekly cash flow meeting to review and pay the bills that have arrived. At that meeting use online banking to transfer money between pots. Just like a good diet, a good budget is a way of life not an intermittent fad. Stick at this technique for just three months to form new habits and be well on your way to having money for life.

Matt Hern guides you on he right financial choices to have money for life. He is a Certified Financial Planner professional and author of The Money Guide. For more information on Matt visit This article is general information only, not personal advice. Matt Hern is an authorised representative of Sentry Financial Services Pty Ltd.

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ther people matter that is one of the central findings from the positive psychology movement over the past decade. If happiness is a goal in your life, the number one place you’ll find it is through your positive relationships with other people. For the majority of us, the most central (and important) relationships in our lives are the relationships we share with our spouse and children, or, if we are unattached it might come from our relationships with our parents and siblings. So much of our happiness in life comes from getting our family relationships right. And so many of us need a nudge in the right direction to improve those relationships. Here are four ways to make our family relationships better:

1. We can tell the people we love how important they are to us Saying “I love you”, or “thank you”, or writing a letter of gratitude strengthens relationships and builds happiness in families. A note in a child’s lunchbox can boost their day and make them feel loved. One man planned a special gift for his father’s 60th birthday. He and his siblings wrote a list of their favourite memories and experiences with their father. Each was just a sentence or two. They printed them up and cut them out so that each memory was on its own colourful piece of paper. Then they rolled them up into a few dozen small individual scrolls and placed them into a jar. When the man’s father unwrapped his gift he was perplexed. A jar of paper scrolls? He unscrewed the top of the jar and pulled out one of the slips of paper, unrolled it,


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and read. He smiled at the memory. Then he looked at the jar, realising it was full of memories. For the next thirty minutes he read stories and silently wept tears of joy as he read of the love and appreciation his children had for him and the times they had shared over the years.

2. We can show the people we love how much we love them by doing things for them Taking the time to do a chore for someone, buy them a treat they love, or giving them something is how we show our love. Doing things for family members through kind services can build happiness in families. Parents are forever doing things for their children, but one of the best ways we can show our children we love them is by doing things with them. As we teach them to cook chocolate-caramel slice or stir-fry, or how to paint the fence or hammer a nail, we not only give them the gift of time, but we teach them skills that will be important in their lives. In other words, by doing these activities with our children, we’re actually doing things for them and showing our love to them.

3. We can touch them to show that we acknowledge them Hugs bond us. A touch on the arm or shoulder as we pass our child, or a caress at the back of the neck or on the bum as we pass our spouse shows we are paying attention and not taking the other person for granted. (Just don’t confuse the issue and caress the wrong person’s bum – it could land you in gaol.)

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One couple I knew shared the secret to their 30 years of being happily married. They said that they made it a rule that they would never walk past one another without reaching out and touching each other. Doing so, they claimed, kept them connected and consistently aware of one another and the tenderness they felt towards each other.

These ideas are important. They are helpful. They can make a positive difference. But the single most effective, ubiquitous, scientifically proven way to strengthen a relationship is to spend time with someone and take the time to understand them by listening and asking questions about their lives. Whether it’s your spouse, your children, your boss, heck even your mother-in-law, relationships flourish when we put time into them. Just as dollars are the currency of our economy, attention is the currency of relationships. A father told me he was having daily battles with his teenage daughter. I suggested he go for regular walks with her each morning or evening. The first

few walks were awkward, but within a week they were looking forward to their time together and talking more freely and pleasantly than they had for months. He complained that on their walks she now wouldn’t stop talking to him and sharing things with him! A mother told me her family felt disconnected. After some discussion they agreed to have a family meal every night with no tv, internet, or phones, and incorporate a discussion about her husband and children’s ‘best bits’ of each day. The first few times felt forced and uncomfortable but they persisted. This time together rebuilt unity that had been missing and became their favourite part of the day. If your relationships are not fulfilling, schedule a date with the person you are struggling with. Go out, turn off your phone, and simply be together and listen. Your children will love being in your space and feeling special. Your spouse may wonder what you’re up to. It may take more than one date. But if you put your attention into your relationships, they’ll become terrific sources of happiness and meaning for you.

“If your relationships are not fulfilling, schedule a date with the person you are struggling with”

Dr. Justin Coulson offers training to parents, school, and organisations. Follow @Happy_Families on twitter, or you can find out more at

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n the last few decades parents in many parts of the world have enthusiastically followed the positive parenting path constantly showering children with praise. But for some, giving praise for a job well done has become like a nervous tic. “You finished your meal. What a guy!” “That’s the best work I’ve ever seen!” “You are such a clever little swimming girl.” “You used the toilet. Let’s ring grandma and tell her what a clever girl you are!” Most parents are well aware of the notion of praise but are we going too far? Parents and teachers can praise children so much that it becomes a little like water off a duck’s back and so lack any real meaning. Children gain their self-esteem from the messages that they receive and through their interactions with the world. The main developmental tasks for under tens are to work out what they can do and how they fit into the world. Am I a chump or champ? is a question that concerns many children. Praise has been promoted as the predominant parental tool to boost children’s self esteem. But like any tool it can be overused so that it becomes ineffective. Too much praise can be demotivating. If a child is told everything he does is FANTASTIC then how will he ever really know when he has done something that really is fantastic. Sometimes mediocrity needs to be recognised for what it is – mediocre – rather than boosted to another level. Alternatively, the more we praise some kids the more they expect it. And they soon become addicted to praise. If they don’t get a regular fix of praise they wonder what’s wrong.

ENCOURAGE MORE THAN YOU PRAISE Encouragement is a far more powerful esteem-building tool than praise and it doesn’t have the adverse side effects.


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The differences are slim but important. Encouragement focuses on the process of what a child does, whereas praise focuses on the end result. Encouraging comments focus on effort, improvement, involvement, enjoyment, contribution or displays of confidence, whereas praise concerns itself with good results. An encouraging parent gives children feedback about their performance but they ensure the feedback is realistic and they work from positives rather than negatives. An encouraging parent will note a child’s efforts in toilet-training and recognise that mistakes are part of the learning process so they are not too fussed about the results. Praise however is saved for a clean nappy and a full potty. Encouragement recognises that a child is participating and enjoying a game, while praise focuses on winning or a fine performance. Okay, the differences are academic and it may seem like splitting hairs but the results on the potty, in a game or even at the kitchen table should concern children more than they do adults. As soon as we become more concerned about results than children we move into areas of children’s concern and out of areas of our concern. In short, praise is about control and encouragement is about influence.

WAYS TO ENCOURAGE KIDS Praising and encouraging kids can be difficult for many people. It just doesn’t come naturally. They are hard-wired for criticism rather than praise. Encouragement is a skill that can be learned. For it to be effective it needs to be applied consistently. Encouragement and positive expectations go hand-in-hand. Encouraging parents expect kids to succeed, not necessarily straight-away, and not necessarily with ease. Encouraging parents recognise that kids will be anxious at times but they have faith in their ability to cope. They also value kids as they are, not for who they are going to be.

family & parenting

HERE ARE FOUR WAYS TO ENCOURAGE KIDS: SHOW FAITH IN THEM: Parents need to recognise kids’ genuine anxieties and fears but also demonstrate faith in their ability to cope. When parents give kids real responsibilities ranging from handing in a note at school to being home on time as a teenager, they are indicating they have in their ability to handle responsibility, self-regulate and be independent. If parents discover their faith is not warranted then they need to renegotiate the guidelines with their kids.

RECOGNISE KIDS’ EFFORT AND IMPROVEMENT: It’s easy to recognition jobs well done or completed tasks such as winning a contest, earning a badge at school or making a bed really well. What do you do with kids who struggle in those areas important to them and you? Focus your comments on effort and improvement. Help them set realistic goals in line with their capabilities and interests. Learning five new spelling words a week maybe more realistic than 20 words that his school may require.

FOCUS ON KIDS’ STRENGTHS: Fault-finding can become an obsession for parents, particularly when they have teenagers. Sometimes kids have strong traits,

which at first seem like liabilities. Kids who are determined to have their own way may seem rebellious and stubborn, and are labelled as difficult kids. But these qualities have a positive side. Dogged determination to succeed is a valuable asset in any field of endeavour and is usually applauded. Rather than criticize, step back and recognise the value of such characteristics. Similarly, focus on the interests and abilities that children possess rather than what they can’t do. If music is their forte rather than academic success, don’t focus on where they come in maths. Celebrate their beautiful piano playing instead. Often when we focus on kids strengths, assets and abilities in certain areas they improve in other areas as well. Confidence has a snowball effect.

suggesting we don’t praise or recognise fine performances in any area of life. We just need to practise some restraint. Just as a child who gorges himself on lollies will soon lose interest in something that was once a treat, a child who is praised for every little deed will eventually need a veritable phrase book of positives to motivate him or her.

Michael is one of


Australia’s most popular parenting and educational

We live in a society that celebrates success and achievement. Perfect marks, immediate results and getting things right are highly valued. We forget at times that mistakes are part of learning. We tolerate errors in adults, but often we don’t in children. View errors as valuable learning experiences, rather than something to be avoided. Low risk-takers and perfectionists will often do anything to avoid making mistakes. Your ability to accept their well-meaning efforts in any area of endeavour, irrespective of the results, will go a long way towards determining their attitude to mistakes.

partners. He’s the director of Parenting Ideas, Australia’s leading provider of parenting resources for schools and is passionate about promoting positive & effective parenting. He has been a trailblazer in the Australian parenting scene since he wrote his first book and made his first appearance on Ray Martin’s Midday Show in 1992. For more information on Michael visit

Don’t get me wrong. I am not

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ave you ever noticed that solutions to your problems often come when you are having a shower? Or first thing in the morning when you are just waking up? That’s because you are relaxed, open and stress free! Your subconscious has a chance to sort through all the information, connect to your higher self and let the ideas flow freely. If you want better business or life ideas, then spend some time with your higher self every day! Or if you believe in angels or guides or wise spiritual beings assisting you, then tune into them for inspiration every day – preferably at the same time. In-spiration makes us inspired! We in-spire – we breath IN those ideas but we have to be actively listening! The reason the ideas flow in the shower or at other times we are relaxed is because that is often the only time we take to let go of all the mind chatter and allow our


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higher selves to give us the information, ideas and answers we need! Before you write me off as a space cadet, try it first! It’s what meditation is all about. Or mindfulness. Or maybe you just call it ‘taking time out each day to breathe’! For ideas to flow, we have to get into our hearts, settle our minds, breathe and listen. Try this. Next time you have a problem to resolve, tap into your higher wisdom and helpers. Before you sleep, write down the issues you would like answers to; then write about three things for which you were grateful for that day and then go to sleep.

A communications and performance expert. Amanda Gore uses the

Not only will you sleep much better having focused on gratitude just before you sleep but you will most likely wake up with several answers or solutions to your issues or questions!

latest research in neuroscience,

Be smart – tap into the inspiration of your higher self for the BEST ideas you can have!

For more information on Amanda

positive psychology, epigenetics and emotional intelligence, to help business leaders achieve the results. visit

mind & body


Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life Seneca egin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” - Seneca Post written by Leo Babauta I’m not a rich man, nor do I fly around the world and drink champagne with famous people in exotic locations, nor do I own a sports car or SUV or a yacht. And yet, I’m very happy. Much happier than seven years ago when I ate fried foods and sweets all the time and felt unhealthy and overweight; when I watched television and was out of shape; when I shopped a lot and was in debt; when I worked a job that paid fairly well and had no time for myself or my loved ones. How have I accomplished this – with small tricks? The truth is, you don’t need a lot to live well — you just need the right mindset. Here’s what I’ve learned about living well on little: You need very little to be happy: some simple plant food, modest shelter, a couple of changes of clothes, a good book, a notebook, some meaningful work and some loved ones. Want little and you are not poor. You can have a lot of money and possessions, but if you always want more, you are poorer than the guy who has little and wants nothing. Focus on the present – stop worrying about the future and holding onto the past. How much of your day is spent thinking about things other than where

you are and what you’re doing, physically, at this moment? How often are we living as opposed to stuck thinking about other things? Live now and you live fully. Be happy with what you have and where you are. Too often we want to be somewhere else, doing something else, with other people than whomever we’re with right now, getting things other than what we already have. But where we are is great! Who we’re with (including just ourselves) is already perfect. What we have is enough. What we’re doing already is amazing. Be grateful for the small pleasures in life. Berries, a square of dark chocolate, tea — simple pleasures that are so much better than rich desserts, sugary drinks, fried foods if you learn to enjoy them fully.

Practice compassion. Compassion for others creates loving, rewarding relationships. Compassion for yourself means forgiving yourself for past mistakes, treating yourself well (including eating well and exercising), loving yourself as you are. Forget about productivity and numbers. They matter not at all. If you are driven to do things to reach certain numbers (goals), you have probably lost sight of what’s important. If you are striving to be productive, you are filling your days with things just to be productive, which is a waste of a day. This day is a gift, and shouldn’t be crammed with every possible thing — spend time enjoying it and what you’re doing.

A good book borrowed from the library, a walk with a loved one in the park, the fine exertion of a short hard work out, the crazy things your child says, the smile of a stranger, walking barefoot on grass, a moment of quiet as the morning wakens and the world still rests. These little pleasures are living well, without needing much. Be driven by joy and not fear. People are driven by the fear of missing out, or the fear of change, or the fear of losing something. These are not good reasons to do things. Instead, do things because they give you or others joy. Let your work be driven not because you need to support a lifestyle and are afraid of changing it, but by the joy of doing something creative, meaningful, valuable.

Leo Babauta, is married with six kids, lives in San Francisco (previously on Guam), is a writer, a runner and a vegan. For more information on Leo Babauta visit

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imply learn to be in the moment, Marie” said the mediation instructor. Oh sure, easier said than done, right? Simple for her, I figured, she’d been doing this ‘quietening of the mind’ stuff for years, what hope did I have: a mere novice at this caper. You see I was very much a six-steps ahead of myself kinda gal, can you relate? You know, the type that’s already thinking of item number three of the to-do list even before item number one was completed. Why was I even attempting to learn how to meditate anyway? This was a big change to make to my lifestyle and one that I had unsuccessfully attempted in the past. I was in that room for two reasons: firstly, a dear friend gifted me the workshop as an experience we could share and secondly, I was in recovery mode after a mastectomy two months earlier. Is it just me or are we all similar in that it needs to take a major life challenge to shake us out of our normal way of being?` I love the book title: ‘What got you here, won’t get you there’, a great descriptor for anything in life we need to shift. So with that in mind, I wholeheartedly agreed to attend the


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mediation workshop and decided to make the necessary change.

The two minds I absolutely got the theory behind why becoming still and aiming for a ‘quiet mind’ was beneficial on many levels – physical, mental and even emotional. But what I’ve learned from many years of coaching others and my own attempts and starting something new is this: understanding something intellectually and ‘getting it’ with every fibre of your being are two very different things. The intellectual mind will take on all the benefits of adopting a new practice and nod in agreement that, yes, this is absolutely a great action to carry out. But often, even that agreement does not mean we take the necessary steps to make this become a habit that enhances our lives. It’s not until we truly ‘get’ that an activity needs to become part of our lives that we will do it, and often with seemingly little resistance – funny how that happens.

Firstly, write out the action step so that it is very precise, here are some examples: Rather than ‘get fit’ you could choose ‘walk for 30 minutes three times weekly’ Instead of ‘eat well’ you could say ‘eat a salad for lunch every day this week’ ‘Consume less sugary drinks’ could become ‘replace three sodas with water every day this week’ (this could also apply to caffeine intake). By getting very specific we are more likely to take action because we can set up a plan that will help us to be successful.

Make that ‘why’ a big one

First steps

Next step is to write up why you would want to make this change. When we have a strong compelling reason to make a shift we are more likely to follow through. Even if we slip up one day, we can get back on track by remembering why we chose to make the change in the first place.

So, how do you take an initial ‘hard to do’ action, something that is not currently a normal part of your day-to-day life, and make it important?

So grab a pen and paper and start by writing down all the areas of your life that would be impacted by you making this shift. For example: health; work;

mind & body

family; significant other; wealth and any others you wish to add. Then answer this question: How will making this change (insert yours) benefit this life-area? Write at least five for each life-area and before you know it you will have twenty or more compelling reasons why you wish to undertake this change. Reading this list on a daily basis will assist you to stay focussed and motivated to take action, particularly if you are trying something very different to what you are currently doing.

Phone a friend Another great way to stay on track is enlist the help of a buddy. Someone who is enthusiastically going to support you while you make these changes. Sometimes they may even need to be an ‘unreasonable friend’ that is, they’ll give you a little nudge when you are feeling unmotivated to take action that day or have missed a few days of the new behaviour.

Celebrate success Along the way, remember to take stock of all the times you have taken the right action steps. It’s all too easy to observe where we have let

ourselves down by not being consistent. However, it’s far more useful and motivating to keep a list of all the times you have achieved what you set out to do.

Keep a journal to record your daily successes

The best way to do this is to keep a journal to record your daily successes. This not only keeps you on track, but also assists in helping you to see how far you have come. Change happens so slowly and often the shifts go unnoticed until we have them pointed out to us. This process of daily recording helps to reinforce the positive actions we are taking and enables them to become firm habits. So there you have it, a method for implementing change in a way that is simple and manageable. The interesting thing that you may find is that you’re not even aware that something has become a new way of life (habit) until sometime after it has become so. Have fun making those shifts, every small step in the right direction will lead to a healthier, happier life. My wish for you is that you succeed at all that you put your mind to – easily and happily! As for me, I’m off to meditate

Marie Farrugia is a highly regarded and very popular professional speaker, trainer and Master NLP Coach. Passion, a powerful message and practical strategies are the hallmarks of the truly unique Marie Farrugia experience. For more information on Marie visit

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SENSES By Paul Massingham

he essence of travel is discovery, that unnerving ache that is only dampened when we open the mind to new vistas and unexplored cultures. Originally the domain of explorers, seaman, cartographers and botanists, spurred on by the desire for riches, spices and precious metals to be traded across the globe. Contemporary travellers still search for new horizons, the path less travelled on an ever shrinking stage yearning for that experiential masterpiece that will be the focus of social media and dinner parties for years to come. Reluctant as I am to share this storyline it is one that in reality only a few will follow and as such I am secure in the knowledge that it is the story rather than the experience that will grow in stature. Driven by the popularity of Vietnam and validated by the return of my son from a recent holiday I cast my eye across the old hard cover atlas that has been the centrepiece of my travels for more than 25 years. Whilst the obvious and now almost popular place names jumped off the page at me, a spec in the South China Sea seemed almost lonely and isolated. Intrigued, the search began to uncover and devour every available piece of information about this as yet unheard of spec. It goes without saying that learning and researching are vital components of the travellers tool kit. The Con Dao Islands are an archipelago of 15 islands approximately 230 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in the middle of the South China Sea. Whether you decide to travel by sea or air you will most certainly know that your adventure has begun when you depart Ho Chi Minh. As we strolled across the tarmac the 68 seat Vietnam Airlines ATR72 stood proud, nose in the air looking like a throwback to an Indiana Jones sequel. At least that was the story-board beginning to my Vietnamese adventure, the reality was a little more sophisticated but none the less just as exhilarating. The 45 minute flight to Con Son, the largest of the islands was a roller coaster thrill ride of high seasonal winds and spectacular oceanic vistas. Safely on the ground, stirred and shaken, I was immediately taken by the warm air to a far more comfortable state of mind.


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For the true traveller, as opposed to the tourist, it is essential to submerge yourself in a sensory pool of smells, sounds, tastes and tactile experiences, for that reason we headed to the Six Senses Resort Con Dao. Almost hidden from the road this stunning environmentally friendly resort will captivate and entrance you in every imaginable way. Set against an azure sea and a beautiful white sandy beach, Six Senses accommodation is a unique combination of luxurious simplicity. Built in traditional Vietnamese style with local materials and craftsmanship the resort provides privacy and access to the idyllic beachfront setting. Add to this the truly international staff and the diversity of the guests’ nationality and you are completely removed from the everyday Australian lifestyle. A confession of sorts is in order, if on reading the introduction you were expecting a rustic exploration of local home grown culture, in some ways you may feel aggrieved at the notion of a luxurious resort being labelled a traveller’s delight. However although some may argue that travelling is everything but five star resorts I urge you to open your mind and your future plans to this amazing opportunity. The accommodation is exquisite; it truly delivers the comfort you expect, not in a modern contemporary Versace way but in a design that is truly unpretentious. Equally the private pool to our Beachside Villa somehow only added to the relaxed ambiance. To really test your boundaries on the entire experiential notion of travelling, each Villa also comes with its own Butler. Yes I know, how can that not be pretentious? Well it’s important to acknowledge that the Vietnamese are a gentle exceptionally gracious and humble lot. In the Six Senses offering they provide the service, again not as you imagine at the Palazzo, but in a local gracious way to ensure you feel at ease and find your way without fuss. There is no bell or bowtie, just the most amazing person, who soon becomes one of your best friends. If you want to dive deeper into the local culture there is a cooking school where you will learn from a local, using local


produce and material to create your own Vietnamese degustation. If you’re not of the Master Chef ilk then there is an array of international cuisine readily available at the signature ‘By the Beach’ restaurant. Whilst this is a destination that attracts people from around the globe and the menu caters to their needs, you can effortlessly dine on local authentic cuisine 24/7 365 days of the year. Unquestionably some of life’s greatest pleasures are to be still, to stem the tirade of ceaseless digital communication or to simply stroll. Despite the myriad of activities and equipment at Six Senses Resort and Spa the greatest contribution to your state of mind will be, to just’ be’. Is it expensive? Honestly, yes you could put it in that category. Is it good value? Absolutely! Is it worth it? Without doubt! So if you’re still looking for that elusive frontier, that unique topic for the dinner party, that quintessential travel experience then add Six Senses Resort & Spa Con Dao to your ‘Bucket List’.

Paul has worked in the travel industry for over 25 years, visiting and exploring many countries along the way. He currently works at Travelscene American Express.

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EIGHT WORDS By Marty Doyle

etastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma with an Occult Primary. Eight words that changed my life forever. These words gave me the opportunity to see the beauty and love of members of my family, feel the genuine concern of my friends and the friendship of people I had never met before. I was admired by my colleagues at work for the way I conducted myself during treatment and I was given the opportunity to reconsider my life so far and how I wanted to live it in the future. I was able to work on the relationship between ‘do-ing’ and ‘be-ing’ and between ‘ego’ and ‘spirit’. I was able to appreciate that you can’t worry about the ‘what ifs’, the most important time is the present and it takes a lot of courage to ‘let go’ and know that everything is going to be okay. Those eight words helped me realise that ‘I am the master of my fate’ and what you think about is what you get. So change the way you think and what you think about will change. I realised, you only get a certain amount of energy a day, how you use it is up to you. By the end of the treatment I had lost 26 kg in six weeks, lost my muscle mass and I was extremely tired every day. My throat was sore and I couldn’t swallow solid food. My skin was peeling from the radiation and the chemo had drained all my energy. At times I could hardly walk from the bed to the front door. It was very sick and it was very frustrating.


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I couldn’t just sit around and feel sorry for myself. I had to do something. I decided each morning to go for a walk. At first it was just from the bedroom to the kitchen, then the front of the house to the back ...and twice around the lounge room. Then the front of the house to the street,...then down the road.....then around the block. After a couple of weeks I was walking for 15 minutes a day at a very easy pace. I was getting stronger every day. Then one day I discovered the hill at the end of Kays Rd. It was a monster of a hill and after walking on fairly flat roads I thought I would test myself and see how far up the hill I could get. I had only walked ten metres before my legs were burning; I was out of breath and felt very sick. I was exhausted. After I recovered I had to walk five kilometres home. When I got

there I decided that was such a dumb idea. I was still very sick and what was I thinking walking up a hill like that. I shouldn’t be walking. So I stopped. I wanted to remain well and sitting around feeling sorry for myself wasn’t doing me any good. So, I started walking again. I walked past the hill; I looked up it and continued on...“you must have had rocks in your head to even think about walking up that hill.” Next day I walked to the bottom of the hill and thought I am not going to let this beat me. I will get to the top of this hill. The cancer has gone I am healthy, it’s just that the body needs to know that. When I get to the top of the hill my body, my mind and my spirit will all know I’m ok. Each day for the next couple of weeks I walked up the hill. Some days I only got 10 metres before having to stop.


Some days I got 50 metres only to get 20 metres the next time. My lungs burnt, my legs turned to jelly but I was determined to get to the top. Two months later I reached the top of the hill at the end of Kays Rd without stopping. That was the day I realised, it really does get better. I was able to look back down the hill and see all the places where I had stopped because I couldn’t go any further. I realised you just need to take one step at a time and not get too far ahead of the game. The hill at the end of Kays Rd is something that we have all got through at some stage in our lives.

Marty Doyle until the beginning of 2012 had worked in the media for over 36 years. In 2004 Marty received a cosmic 4 x 2 that started him on a journey of self discovery. Marty’s key learning has been,

Some of us never take the first step because it looks too hard or we are worried what will happen. Some only go so far and then they give up. It’s those that make it to the top that get the benefit of the view and the lessons learnt on the journey.

“You can’t control everything around you, but you can

“Our biggest fear is not that we are inadequate, our biggest fear is that we are powerful beyond all measure.” – Marianne Williamson

Dynamics For more information on Marty visit

control how you respond to it. It takes a lot of courage to let go and know everything is ok.’ Marty currently works as an Executive Coach with Telstra and specialises in Team

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Creative Thinking, Energy And Community By Cindy Beumer

ablo Picasso (1881-1973), the inspirational Spanish painter once said, “An idea is a point of departure and no more. As soon as you elaborate it, it becomes transformed by thought.” And this Picasso quote is probably as good a starting point as any to begin this article about the birth and development of an idea I had back in 2010. Until recently, I didn’t realise the potential I could unfold by combining the ingredients I call creative thinking (uncovering the potential that already exists), energy (action) and community (the like minds that surround me). I have learnt that each of us has power to make great things happen. My idea was like a mustard seed. I became passionate about its possibilities and it was ‘transformed by thought’. This idea, Creative Conversations, is now a group of eighteen artists with a refugee background. Creative Conversations main purpose is to give these artists the chance to pursue their creative goals by helping them build networks within the Queensland art scene and provide them with opportunities to exhibit their art. Through this process we hope to both enrich the Australian art landscape through the injection of a greater artistic diversity and fertilise the public debate on asylum seekers and refugees with the artist’s contribution of their personal stories.


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Creative Conversations was born out of my partner simply saying to me, “For how many years are you going to complain about your work? Do something about it.” So I did. Over some months I had a friend guide me through a process, which included asking lots of questions aimed at helping me to work out where I could see my talents best used. From this process I discovered that what would satisfy me the most needed to be a project that combined multiculturalism, my love of the arts and an innate, strong desire for social justice. And just like a child wanting to be a teacher or fireman when they grew up, I decided I wanted to support artists with a refugee background in such a way that they would be put on a path that would materialise their individual, creative goals. Included in this support was the thought that their art would in some very practical medium, facilitate public education concerning diversity and refugee issues. One of my aims through Creative Conversations is to stimulate excitement, rather than fear, when observing the differences between people that make up our communities. To the outside world I probably appear as a suburban looking mum of two young children. I remember sitting at my dining room table a little over two years ago thinking I don’t know any refugees and have no network in the Brisbane arts community, wondering how and where


I should start. I defined my vision, wrote it on paper and kept redefining it as I started talking to lots of people. On my journey I met Towfiq Alqudy, a generous and creative Iraqi artist, actor and community arts worker. I also met Kimberley McCosker, a young, emerging journalist and photographer. The combination of our talents working and blending together has been the building blocks for Creative Conversations. From this point the mustard seed began to rapidly grow into a beautiful and amazing tree. I believe this can be attributed to the three of us establishing a clear vision that could only be fuelled by passion. Maintaining a focus on this greater vision has also helped me overcome any challenges and setbacks encountered. I just keep finding new and rewarding methods to continue on. Once I loathed the boredom of my daily housework, but now I cherish the thinking time it provides me with to further develop my ideas. And here is the most exciting part – the building of community around what has become a shared vision. It is the excitement of this collective potential that keeps me awake at night. The group is made up of very talented people, who experience many barriers in pursuing their creative goals. Their art is presented in the context of their personal stories and diverse cultural backgrounds. The Creative Conversations artists are from countries such as Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Guatemala. One member of our collective is Amar, a film director with over 20 years of experience making drama series for mainstream TV and feature films that are shown in many Arabic countries. Another, Odeh, was a lecturer of fine arts at the University of Baghdad for over 20 years and his artwork is exceptional, as are the creations of Ibtissam. These experienced visual artists offer support to Hussain, one of our newest members, who picked up a paintbrush for the first time in his life on Christmas Island just months ago. And since joining Creative Conversations, Ziva has been motivated to purchase art materials to get back into painting again after a long absence from pursuing the joy that she discovered many years ago as an artist.

It is still early days for Creative Conversations, but I am already excited by our humble achievements. We have supplied artists with materials; we have provided artists with purpose and are daily establishing networks and a sense of community, which is particularly valuable for those new to Brisbane artists. The main reason I am writing this story is to share the learning from my experience – for a year I had these ideas that excited me swirling around in my head. With energy, these ideas gained momentum. One contact has led to another, and opportunities have been created. I am astounded at what can result from combining just one idea, energy and community.

Cindy is the founder of Creative Conversations. For more information on this inspiring group of people visit or email

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Hi, I’m Bruce Sullivan and I invite you to join me and our 1 Life Do It Now community on an exciting journey of ongoing education, discovery and happiness! Sustaining our energy and focus on the things that really matter in this one precious life is a challenge for all of us. Meeting the demands of our busy modern lifestyles, whilst genuinely paying attention to our health, relationships, money, goals and true happiness requires support, education and encouragement. That’s where we come together in the Lifetime Success Club. We will usually invest 10 minutes writing a list before we go to the supermarket to ensure that we don’t waste the trip. So why not invest a little time in your own relationships, finances, health and happiness to make sure you don’t waste ‘the trip!’

Are you ready to go on this journey? Do you want to: † Make the most of waking up each day † Live your life with focus and purpose † Continue to grow and learn in all areas of your life † Invest time in designing and creating your life † Add value to the people around you – for yourself and those you love


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You never know who or what is going to be presented in your life to teach you exactly what you need to learn in that very moment.

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Book Review Switch – How to change things when change is hard By Chip Heath and Dan Heath The human brain constantly fascinates me on every level but none more so when it comes to making change. Ultimately we are creatures of habit who love pleasure and will do anything to move away from pain. How then do we make long lasting changes in our lives when sometimes that change is hard to do?

Every process is backed up with real life examples of how companies, communities and individuals have effected transformational change. It provides the reader with some practical and easy to use tools that can have an immediate impact on helping to implement change when it is hard. The model is simple, realistic and effective.

In their book Switch, Dan and Chip Heath explain why it is hard to make lasting changes at work, in our communities and at home. Most of it has to do with a conflict that is built into our brains. Our minds are ruled by two different systems – the rational mind and the emotional mind. Both these systems constantly battle for control. The rational mind wants the perfect beach body whereas the emotional mind wants the hot chips and apple pie. The rational mind knows that you need to exercise to stay healthy, the emotional mind likes the feeling of curling up on the lounge watching TV. This constant tension will never allow for change. The Heath brothers however, have come up with a three step process that gets your emotional side and your rational side working together, so that change can happen.

If you want to make long lasting changes in your life or at your work or in your community I would get a copy of Switch and start reading it today.

The three step process is all set around a metaphor describing your emotional side as an elephant and your rational side as the driver. The driver thinks he is in control holding the reins however when the two ton elephant decides it wants something, there is no way that the rider will be able to stop it. The elephant provides the motivation and energy, but it can be irrational at times, moody and lazy and the rider provides the planning and direction, but sometimes he can be so caught up in planning that nothing actually gets done. If we want things to change we need to appeal to both. We need to direct the rider, motivate the elephant and shape the path. The book is based on this three step process. It is a compelling, story driven narrative, which brings together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology and other fields, to shed light on how we can successfully implement lasting change.


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Book Review by Claire Massingham

Reading books can make you rich in insight and information as well as keep your brain active, help you sleep better and increase your concentration. Have a browse through our book shelf on the next page for a list of books that we can recommend as a great read. All of these books can be found in the major book stores and some of them can be purchased from Bruce Sullivan’s website

Health & Fitness

Business & Career

Family & Parenting




Mind & Body


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A Better You, A Better World, A Better Life

Contact 1 Life Do It Now! 1300 0 1 LIFE or 07 3326 1813 ‘The Hub’ 16/14 Ashtan Place, Banyo Qld 4014

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