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● Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder ● Get off the merry-go-round of dieting ● Handling finances in your relationship ● Learn the bank’s credit scoring secret www.empoweronline.com.au


12 COVER STORY Desire, drive and determination

Having just returned from winning gold at the ISA World Masters Surfing Championships and after her induction into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, Layne Beachley catches up with Helen Rosing to chat about what she’s learned through life, love and of course, surfing.

26 BUSINESS SUCCESS PROFILE For the love of stationery

12

Kristina Karlsson shares the kikki.K success story, from borrowing money to fund her first product range to having over 70 boutiques and a lot of personal growth in between.

BUSINESS

LIFE

Yolanda Vega reports back from San Francisco on fostering entrepreneurship in women.

After years of abuse Kim Noble’s mind shattered into multiple pieces and personalities. Share her remarkable and shocking story.

18 The Women’s Economic Summit

20 Boost your profit – get published

Find out why a book is the best business card you’ll ever have.

24

22 Top 5 Twitter tools

Using twitter to generate buzz for your promotions. 24 Sealing the deal

Are ‘daily deals’ promotions good for your business or a waste of money?

CAREER

28 Master salary negotiations

How to ensure you get the raise that you deserve. 30 Will they leave you?

28

Find out why staff leave and how to make them stay. 32 Your ideal workplace

Take the quiz to find out how you impact the culture at work. 34 Responding to conflict

44 The intimacy equation

Has your relationship lost intimacy? Find out how to get it back. 46 Self-imposed barriers

What beliefs do you have preventing your perfect relationship?

WELLBEING

48 What is Vedic Meditation?

If you’ve not yet mastered meditation, learn the easiest one of all. 50 Get off the merry-go-round

It’s time to stop the vicious dieting cycle and start getting results. 52 Progress, not perfection

Stop chasing perfection and celebrate how far you’ve come.

FINANCE

54 Bust the myths

Conflict is inevitable but you do have choices in responding to it.

Forget your broke uncle Ed’s ideas when it comes to property and learn from an expert.

YOU

56 The secret of borrowing

36 Do or do not

38

42 A shattered mind

We’re inspired by Master Yoda to stop trying and start doing. 38 The shadow effect

Use the power of your ‘Shadow’ to turn negative experiences into opportunities.

We share how banks use ‘credit scoring’ and provide tips to get approved. 58 For love and money

Find out how to love, honour and care for each other… and not kill each other over money.

40 Under the moon

The moon has a noticeable effect on your daily life, use it to your advantage.

Regulars 46

4 From the desk… 6 Your Say 8 Meet the Experts 10 Acts of Kindness

41 Check it out 47 Great Reads 61 Coaching Toolkit 66 15 Minutes


From the desk... “emPOWER is the vehicle for women to achieve more in their professional and personal lives.” Meet Kristina Karlsson, founder of kikki.K on page 26.

Su b

Be inspired by Kim’s remarkable and shocking story of a life with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Turn to page 42

ribe sc

to

By the end of the year I have to say I am normally feeling fairly flat and unmotivated, waiting for the new year to begin. This year however, I feel quite happy, inspired and excited by all we have achieved and what lay ahead. It’s been a great year! Perhaps our biggest achievement this year was to see emPOWER back in print and once again building a strong following. Thank you to our readers who have shared emPOWER with others. We have also built some strong partnerships this year with new suppliers and strategic partners. We look forward to what 2012 brings. And, in the background we’ve been developing the emPOWER websites. I say plural here because we are excited to announce that in the new year we will be launching two ‘sister’ sites of emPOWER. Stay tuned… In addition, you’ll see some new and exciting features being added to the emPOWERonline site. Onto the issue… Layne Beachley, WOW! It’s so wonderful to share Layne’s story with you just in time for Summer. Be inspired not only by her success in surfing but also her approach to life and the challenges she’s overcome. Layne is a perfect example of the phrase, ‘It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you respond to it’. Also in this issue we show you how to master your next salary negotiation to get the raise you deserve (page 28), discuss how you can change the culture of your workplace and challenge you to respond to conflict more effectively. For our business readers, we look at the top five business tools for Twitter (page 22), how getting published will improve your profits (page 20) and whether ‘daily deal’ sites are actually good for your business (page 24). We have a wonderful inspiration profile this issue on page 42. A Shattered Mind is an excerpt from the book All of Me; a manuscript that had me in tears more than once. If that’s not enough we’ve got some great Wellbeing, Life and You articles to get you empowered and motivated for the new year. Check out Do or do Not on page 36 and Get off the Merry-go-round on page 50. We hope that 2011 has been as fulfilling for you as it has been for us. Wishing you every happiness over the holiday season and an empowered New Year!

R

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Subscribe for you or a friend this issue and receive a gift pack from Natralia valued at over $80.

Turn to page 53 to check out this month’s subscription offer. Helen Rosing, Publisher

Join the emPOWER Community Become an emPOWER Facebook fan and get the latest news, find out about new articles, take advantage of emPOWER specials and enter the latest greatest competitions. Visit Facebook.com/emPOWERMag and click the button.

Publisher & Editor Helen Rosing helen@empoweronline.com.au Sub Editor Joy Love

Graphic Design Design Box www.designboxweb.com

Production & Subscriptions admin@empoweronline.com.au P: (02) 9686 4398

Contributors Chris Acret, Amanda Allen, Natalie Ashdown, Zoe deLuca, Iris Detenhoff, Maureen Frank, Kirsty Greenshields, Susan Jackson, AndrewJobling,FionaJones,KevinLee, Anita Pavlovic, Julie Pidgon, Jonni Pollard, Noel Posus, Amanda Preece, Carren Smith, Tanielle Thomas, Yolanda Vega, Chloe Wedgwood.

Advertising gidon@empoweronline.com.au P: 0402 822 722 Published by Indigo Productions Pty Limited ABN: 90 135 381 118 PO Box 1397 Baulkham Hills, NSW, 1755 P: (02) 9686 4398 E: admin@empoweronline.com.au www.empoweronline.com.au

Advertisers and contributors to emPOWER Magazine acknowledge they are aware of the provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 and the Trade Practices Act 1974 in relation to false and misleading advertising or statements under other unfair practices and the penalties for breach of provisions of those Acts. The publisher accepts no responsibility for such breaches. Opinions expressed by contributors are their own and not necessarily endorsed by emPOWER

Magazine or the publishers. All material in emPOWER magazine is copyright and may not be produced in whole or in part without express permission of the publishers. ISSN 1835-8705


SPRING 2011

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you | Feature

tug-of-war The internal

I really liked the article ‘Tug-of-war’ in the last issue (Spring 2011) and the writer’s question “Would I prefer comfort or results?” I have found that question very useful over the last couple of months and it has challenged me to no end. Every time I find myself thinking or doing something that I know is not moving me in the right direction I have simply asked “would I prefer comfort or results?” My initial answer is always ‘bugger!’ because I know what the answer should be and then I am accountable to it. Thanks for the powerful addition to my personal development toolkit. - Dana, via email

We are all familiar with the goes on everyday betweeninternal battle that good and evil, the question is, “who will win”. Andrew Jobling shows how to ensure that good always prevails over evil.

I

t’s Saturday morning and the alarm goes off at 7:30am. You lay in bed thinking how nice it would be to just lay there but you know you should exercise. You get up and look out the window to see that it is overcast but fine. You get into your exercise gear, grab the dog and jump into the car. Arriving at the local park, you are just about to get out of the car when it starts to rain. You decide to wait a few minutes to see what happens. After about 15 minutes and with no signs that it will stop raining you start debating with yourself whether to get out in the wind and rain and stick with the plan or to go home, get warm and exercise another day. The internal tug-of war begins… This was me, with my dog Joia, a couple of weekends ago. What I realised at that moment is that every decision we make is a battle with ourselves. The vital question is which side will win?

Do you want comfort or results? As I looked through the window of the warm car at the rain pelting down, flooding the gutters, the park and the deserted streets, the mental “tug-of-war” began.

One side, the “dark side”, started pulling. “It really looks cold and horrible. What if I catch a cold? I can’t afford to get sick. No one else is out there so who will know if I give in this morning? I have already exercised a few times this week; do I really need to exercise today? Joia is only a little dog; it won’t matter if she doesn’t go for a walk today. She probably won’t enjoy the rain anyway! I really don’t want to get my wife’s car wet inside!” Once the dark side had finished, the other side, the “wise side”, started pulling in the other direction. “We are both waterproof! It is great that no one else is there because we have the park all to ourselves. We’ll warm up as soon as we start exercising. My clothes need a good wash! I will feel amazing and proud of myself when it’s done and I am dry and warm. Joia will love running in the rain. Don’t be a whinger!” This battle went for about ten minutes and the tug-of-war was a tight and tense struggle – it was almost an even fight but naturally the dark side had a slight advantage and was winning. Then, all of a sudden, another question came to mind, “would I prefer comfort or

Feature | you

results?” There it was, right in my face, a question that really only has one answer. With that I grabbed the dog, got out of the car and did what I went to do!

It is never as bad as

it seems!

Joia was happy to get out of the car – she didn’t care about the weather, all she wanted to do was run. She loved it, as deep down I knew she would, chasing balls, rolling in the wet grass and just doing what playful and energetic dogs do. As for me, well I wouldn’t go as far to say I loved it, but it certainly wasn’t as bad as I had expected it to be while sitting in the warmth of the car. In fact, it was actually quite exhilarating and empowering knowing that I had total control over my choices and had won the internal tug-of-war. And, just as I had anticipated, when I was standing in a warm shower after we got home, I felt satisfied and proud that I chose “results” over “comfort”. In my experience as hard as the decision can be and as hard as you are pulled in the direction of “comfort”, when you choose “results”, it is never as bad as you expect. The most important consideration in this tug-of-war is the way you feel about yourself as a consequence. Choosing results not only helps you to feel great about yourself, it also develops the belief that if you can do one uncomfortable thing then you can do other uncomfortable things in any circumstance. What an amazing and empowering feeling to have and own!

Start small and build there.

Spring 2011 20

PhotoXpress

business | Etiquette

The etiquette

from

and years It is because of human nature automatic of conditioning that your the direction “tug-of-war” pulls you in “results”. This of “comfort” rather than zone”. As is why it’s called “the comfort developed a consequence you may have you can’t do a belief about yourself that This is a pretty or achieve certain things. people. The common self-belief for many changed with great news is that it can be one small step at a time.

long enough maintain the required actions goal. to achieve success with their extreme When you go to the opposite you eventually and set unrealistic goals that to develop the give up one you also start enough. Over belief that you are not good power to the time this belief adds fuel and mental tug-of“dark side” and when the war begins it is almost unstoppable! – jump off So, the secret is to start small build up to a small rock and then gradually just one exercising Start there. the cliff from build up to four day per week and gradually or five days from there. success If you get into the habit of small or and winning, no matter how seem, you insignificant it may initially and more will soon achieve much bigger this is simple ... exciting goals. The key to

something small everyday of our comfort zone.

that takes us out

Your challenge

test yourself and The challenge for you is to are good enough prove to yourself that you things in this and worthy enough of great that will life. What can you do everyday a success? Does prove to you that you are you want to the thought of exercise make up tomorrow bite your foot off? If so, get you hate and go for a short walk? Do to making 5 making sales calls? Commit of asking for a calls today? Are you afraid Is there pay raise? Go on, do it anyway! out but fear someone you want to ask – it could be the Would I prefer rejection? Take a chance done and lead best thing you have every comfort or results? And if you to blissful love and happiness. to do courage this not, know that you had the It’s actually important to make steps. The zone it anyway. to do that change through small deliberates Step outside your comfort There are things we all need people make is many that mistake biggest aren’t currently are uncomfortable and we by going to the daily of most trying to change their beliefs have what you When you listen to the stories doing. But if you want to someone point and in one what opposite extreme. For example, successful people, at some don’t have, you need to do years, and that everything currently who hasn’t exercised for many Think about way or another they will say you currently aren’t doing. all of a sudden outside of do today what is extremely out of shape, they have achieved was initially this motivating quote: “I will everyday. exercise will bummer: a they that that deciding their comfort zone. Isn’t so that I can live tomorrow last only a week our comfort others won’t, motto to live Generally, this person will everything we want lies outside like others can’t”. It’s a great it a habit to or so before giving up. zone. by and it’s simple – just make has worked pretend it isn’t Or, I’m sure every coach challenges you. We can complain about it, do something everyday that expectations hope our life will deliberately with someone who has high true, cross our fingers and This small habit, developed themselves accept for can goals we set or and and wants to turn out the way we want time, will build your confidence They start out it a habit of doing over they know are unrealistic. you the strength that this is true and make belief in yourself and give find they cannot excited and motivated but to win every “tug-of-war”. experience minute to FC. He has over 20 years As a final exercise, take a AFL football for St Kilda Andrew Jobling played how amazing best selling author of Eat Chocolate, close your eyes and imagine is a successful speaker and Rains. Visit in motivation and wellbeing, if make at least newest book Dance Until it life could be in the future Healthy, Simply Strength and everyday. Drink Alcohol and be Lean & one “uncomfortable” decision ling.com.au Andrew at www.andrewjob

www.empoweronline.com 21

of dining

Taking clients to breakfast, lunch or dinner has long been an effective way to build relationships, make the sale or seal Lydia Ramsay shows, the deal. As with great manners soon have them you’ll eating out of your hand. usiness meals are business

disasters with grace. With all your attention to detail, things can still go wrong. The food may not be up to your standards, the waiter might be rude or the next table out of control. people at the Excuse yourself to discuss any problems with the staff. – the ones with the Don’t make your guests meetings. Knowledge view. As the host, take uncomfortable by of your the least desirable spot complaining in front product or service is – the one facing the of them. crucial wall, the kitchen or Limit the amount of the success of the occasion, to the restrooms. alcohol you drink. but so are your manners. If your guests are drinking Beyond being polite, Too many people where liberally and you you seat jeopardize an opportunity your guests is strategic. sense trouble, excuse When you are yourself and discreetly because they fail to observe the rules entertaining one client, ask the server to hold of etiquette. Business sit next to each at back on refilling the dining is not about a right angle rather wine glasses or offering the food, the wine or than across the table. another cocktail. the atmosphere. The With two clients, put Your conduct over focus is on dining for one across from the profit. you and the other to determine your professionalmeal will your side. If you sit success. If between them, you Know your duties as you pay attention to will look as if you are the details and make the host. It is up to you to see that things watching a match at every effort to see that go well and that your Wimbledon as you try pleasant experience, your clients have a guests are comfortable. to follow the conversation. You need to attend they will assume that to every detail from you will handle their Allow your guests to extending the invitation business the same order first. Order to paying the bill. as many courses as way. Before long you your guests, no more could and no less, to facilitate Plan ahead when you eating out of your hand. have them the flow of the issue the invitation. Allow a week meal. It is awkward if one of you orders for a business an dinner and three days appetizer or dessert Lydia Ramsey is a business etiquette and others do not. for lunch. Be certain that the date works expert, professional As the host, you are for you. That might speaker, corporate the one who sound obvious, but decides when to start trainer and author if you have to cancel of discussing business. Manners That or postpone, you can look At breakfast, time is Sell - Adding The short so get down to Polish That Builds disorganised and disrespectful of your business quickly. At Profits. She has been client’s time. lunch, wait until you quoted or featured have ordered so you in The New York Times, Select a restaurant that won’t you know, Investors’ preferably one where Dinner, the more social be interrupted. Business Daily, Entrepreneur, you are known. This occasion, is a time Inc., Real is no time to try out for rapport building. Simple and Woman’s the latest hot spot. Limit business talk Day. For more Being confident of the until after the main information visit course. quality of the food and service leaves you www.mannersthatsell.com Keep an eye on the free to focus on business. time, but don’t let your guests see you checking Consider the atmosphere. Does it lend itself to conversation your watch. Breakfast and discussion? If you and your clients can’t should typically last hear each other over an the roar of the diners hour; lunch an hour and dishes, you will and a have wasted your time half. Wrap up your business and money. dinner in two to three Confirm the meal appointment with your clients the day hours, no more. before if you are meeting for breakfast Handle or that day if you are having lunch or dinner. any Things do happen and mix-ups occur. Arrive early so you can attend to last minute details. This is the perfect time to give your credit card to the maitre’d and avoid the awkwardness that seems to accompany the arrival of the bill. Take charge of the seating. Your guests should have the prime seats

B

Thank you for your article on ‘The etiquette of dining’ (Spring 2011), I hope that everyone read it. I am a Senior Business Development Manager for a large corporate company and as such spend a lot of time wining and dining clients. I am always surprised (and appalled) at the lack of table manners I see in ‘successful’ professionals. It really should be something taught to all staff in every organisation. I’m going to be subtly sharing this article with those who need it. - Stacy, via email

Spring 2011

48

I recently received a copy of emPOWER at a networking event I attended and I love it! For sometime now I have tired of women’s gossip magazines filled with rubbish. emPOWER is like a breath of fresh air providing me with so many positive ideas and heaps of great information. Thank you emPOWER Team, it truly is emPOWERing! - Alecia, via email Feature | business

Angels

business | Feature

are investors

While many start-up busines seem to know ses need funding about Angel , few new busines concept and investing. Yolanda speaks to experts Vega discusse s owners in the know. s the

T

he first time I heard the term “Angel Investor” Angels are a rare breed; female Angel was Investors are totally back in the early “I look for things 90s. atypical. Regardless that turn me on,” sex however, Angels interviewing Heidi I was of says Aysegul. “I Middleton are mostly informal and Sarah-Jane need and unidentified; Clarke about their and that I can learn projects that I like many demand new fashion label, sass from. I now prefer to remain anonymous. and bide. They explained area because the this the brand began reality is that once One female investor “out of need” – I buy a share that’s it. they needed hipster With be identified is Aysegul. that is happy to jeans. The two get to have a closer Angel Investments I best friends “I am still a bit bought old jeans, interest; I can follow tadpole when it of a cut the waistline, company more the comes to Angel lowered them and innovated carefully, I can Investing,” laughs Aysegul, work and a new look. Their evaluate the entity “I’ve only been friends all wanted and in this area for a few years.” them and so they risks with the group thereby reduce the started selling them at the of investors involved.” Although only new Portobello Market Aysegul admits to the world of London. in that she prefers Angel investing, with a Aysegul group of Angels, as opposed to invest has been in the A few years later, financial world to going solo. “Investing for several decades. to Australia, Heidi when they returned with a She began her career and Sarah-Jane good way to learn,” group of Angels is a as a scientist (physic wanted to expand she says. “My first math) and started and their fashion idea I was deal told her to be the ‘Deal Lead’. and were fortunate enough vendor in the financialworking life as a This meant I was in charge Investor. The initial to find an Angel of doing the due Australia and Hong market, working in diligence, injection allowed reporting back on Kong. them to register investment options “I’m not your typical the name of the The etc. great company thing about being Angel,” explains and formalise their Aysegul. “Most the Deal Lead idea into a start-up is that you also Angels are entrepreneurs company. When end up that have sold their they approached the entity you invest on the board of business for millions the Angel Investor in and help out and then invest they had done their if company is in a in start-ups. “My research was and had confirmed difficult situation.” the entry different. I was there was, in fact, looking for investment market. a opportunities after the Today sass and Angels need managed super-funds GFC, as many of my bide is one of Australia’s most something to assist suffered. I wanted to understand prominent women’s with clothing labels; the requirements. When my long-term and the investment possibilities not I was enquiring for that particular Angle different types of about paid off. yet investments, I explained Unfortunately not proven what I wanted and everyone starting was told that I wanted a business knows to be an ‘Angle what Investor’.” is, nor do they know an Angel Investor Angels come in how to find one, The benefits to all sizes and shapes to approach them how Angel Investors and there is not or what the Angel are many, apart from one that is the same expect. may the potential earnings, as another. Some Angels also get want total control to hear the pitch According to Ruth of the project and invest from different start-ups solo, whilst others CEO of the Australian Drinkwater, the and prefer to invest in groups interesting innovations learn and see Association of and share the profits. Angel Investors and inventions. like to be hands-on “I (AAAI), Angel Investors Another investor, and want to understand are individuals who the background invest personal anonymous so we’ll who wants to remain of the organisation,” funds in Aysegul. start-ups in order call him Mr A, to support new “I want to put something says said that he enjoyed businesses. want “As well as being the learning process in, I to make money a source of funding, of understanding company “ explains Ruth, concepts he was I have to take risks.” and I also understand previously “Angel Investors oblivious to also mentor and invest The Brisbane based their time to benefit to different markets. and the exposure Angel will only companies they the “I’ve been investing invest in projects invest in.” for many years; that have all the but in the past I elements she needs. have only invested in a particular type of startup – IT. Now that Spring 2011 I am learning more

exist. While a plethora programs no longer commercialisation of size or of innovation and Investors, regardless by State and Federal on the new change depending well as programs established earlier in the past markets, there are to preference about the different of the time, as up and now I tend Governments existed been abolished, economic climate since opportunities opening not the product. If and personal preferences; decade these have reduced or had funding invest in the personality, is passionate, has their social determines the state of sold, downgraded post the pitch which in turn start-ups in the the person doing through and the investment significantly so that ability to take it wider the Angel ‘market’ the drive and the I will are falling into a Investors are GFC economy of development, community. “Angel admits only previously existed.” the different stages sophisticated,” funding gap than is right. I do however becoming very bad news for invest if the deal is unfortunately collaborating and a confirmed exit This are from with “They Ruth. economy as research invest in companies seven of funding that start-ups and the for within five to creating new models the confirms that start-up strategy planned opportunities for around the world of future present significant years of start-up.” create the vast majority are six companies “There community.” business Aysegul agrees: and create the greatest there are too few that economic activity “Unfortunately important points: – it is in fact start-ups policy programs numbers of jobs and to want to sell the Australian government development of 1. Start-ups need the most innovative years, and the seven traditionally to support are five and to foster business within demands of a continuous that says Ruth, “particularly adaptable to the an exit strategy Angel Investors,” they must have times when the fast changing world. in difficult economic is re-evaluating the first Internet makes sense. attending ‘honestly’ recall I pitched community be investment in the early 90s. 2. The idea must so honesty is conference in Adelaide up their position. - trust is a big issue, Mr Yahoo, showed had valuable David Filo, a.k.a Historically, Australia which His messed up hair, imperative. learn, and programs, be prepared to to do a presentation. ripped up jeans innovation policies 3. The owner must the industry, their and These were successful untied shoe-laces supported start-ups. at the time. know the product, into earlier stage the value proposition. provoked no confidencedidn’t grasp the in stimulating investment of those competitors and have majority to the attendance in suits prepared be The could not companies. However, 4. The owner must web”, which they on many levels concept of “the wasn’t a the business changed touch; to them it materialise nor take long for David moving forward. understand Angels product. But it didn’t prove their point and to 5. The owner must when it comes Filo and Jerry Yang a global brand that have high expectations to like the into need turn a crazy idea , find and to returns and they we communicate way team. the his/her changed entrepreneur and the global village. in buy today within want to operate us that Angles 6. Angel investors ’. Google also reminds not yet ‘ethical environments listening the possibilities before need to understand years Mr A admits that did not exist twelve proven. Google worth asks the hard questions.their their shares are to the pitch, he in ago and yet today founder invested who “Has the start-up $500 each. And in the vicinity of you sold your house?’ up jeans that the ripped own project: ‘Have family for money?’, would’ve thought your girls at the London ‘Have you asked in the of those two Aussie on Sex and City and friends invested the up and ‘Have your end these, market would answer is ‘no’ to and Madonna? project?’. “If the be worn by Beyonce back and thank the investing is also probability of me Today we can sit “If the founder, believed in and vision ‘no’,” he admits. the Angels that had family don’t start-ups. his mates and his that tells the ideas of those believe in him enough, either.” shouldn’t I that me agrees: Ruth Drinkwater is CEO of the Australian Yolanda Vega from private of Commerce and “Raising capital Women’s Chamber family CEO of the Spanish investors, including tied Industry. She was in Australia and and friends, is directly to Chamber of Commerceexperience in years in with the potential has more than 20 also she and business. She raise other funds,” communications at the International says. “Angel Investors represented Australia Conference in the first World usually provide Women’s Forum order .org.au external funds in 2009. www.awcci a to get the idea to PhotoXpress

Thank you for your article on angel investing (Angels are Investors) in the Spring issue of emPOWER. I have been in business for two years now and am currently considering how to expand further. Although I had heard of the term ‘angel investment’, I didn’t really know much about what is involved with having an ‘angel’. Yolanda’s article was just enough to give me some detail and the resources to find out more. - Tamara, via email

start-up position.”

www.empoweronli

ne.com.au

55

54

Gender diversity | career

alia Advance Austr Fair… for women

career | Gender

diversity

Isn’t it amazing that in this day and age women are still hitting their heads on the ‘glass ceiling’ even though, as Maureen T Frank pointed out, organisations with more senior female executives typically outperform other organisations by around 30 to 40%. (Advance Australia Fair… for women (Spring 2011)). It’s time that organisations wake up, let go of the ‘boys club’ and allocate more senior positions to deserving women who are dedicated to producing results. Fiona, via email

Women’s Day. International es made centenary of honoured the tion to highlight the advanc still needs to This year we what a day of celebraalso shone a spotlight on While it was ’s equality it in (previously at 33.4% the towards women n Frank explains… genders by 2015 strongly recommend the gap between 2008-09) and they be done. Maureein the They argued closing Several state rates would sector follows suit.

of products Telstra grew their women management roles in from 29% to 41% women in executive and positions from 6% 31%. At Qantas and the Commonwea to Bank they exceeded lth their the number of promotionsgoals to increase of women into more senior roles.

How will you

benefit

PhotoXpress

How will women benefit from the concerted move to promote more women into senior positions in organisations ? Aside from the obvious – more financial remuneration – there benefits for all women will be flow-on that employment corporate he good news is and flow-on benefits male and female by 11% similar policies. has been to organisations Australian GDP set for governments have of all sizes. last little while there of boost the level of quotas have been on the back was only two thirds its Gradually over At this stage no with notable progress of time there will be and that Australia many are responding the hidden value a shift in corporate carrots and companies but of some very big the way to unlocking cultures away from It will work more lth Bank, Woolworths, is male-dominance closely with other to the Commonwea blindingly obvious government female labour pool. to one more supportive publicly pledging a sticks, because the departments Mercer ANZ and made and and Consulting of evidence working made to identify Westpac to to be Report released parents – that’s It was this remainder representation progress needed April: Women’s of Australian businesses the both men in that prompted the and women. More increase their female 2015. should Leadership Development who recommendations women by be complying with quite urgently. Survey conducted Exchange to issue our larger organisations will return to and gender diversity between 35 – 40% the Act but are by Mercer in December Kate Ellis on Australian Stock For years feminists Honorable currently companies for the after escaping 2010 case childbirth, March the in Australian In their conjunction with rather than opting arguing in guidelines to all Talent will only do business obligations. And out. 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I wanted to buy a gift for a friend and was stuck for ideas. Then I came across the emPOWER shop on your website and found the perfect things for her! I bought her a journal and mug (Quotables), each with a different inspiring quote, and she loved them. - Maraya, via email

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Spring 2011

Submit ‘Your Say’ through the website at www.empoweronline.com.au or email admin@empoweronline.com.au.

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meet the experts

to all our expert contributors

Summer 2012

Chris Acret Chris Acret, Managing Director of Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers, is a pioneer of the Australian mortgage broking industry and has been involved with mortgage broking for almost 20 years. Chris established Smartline in 1999 with a view to building a quality mortgage company that provided quality, meaningful advice and service that made a difference.

Amanda Allen Amanda Allen is a State and National champion triathlete, cyclist and canoeist, and recently qualified for the Reebok Crossfit World Games – at the age of 41. She has been a firefighter, CEO and model, and now runs a unique Personal Training and Lifestyle Coaching business focussing on women’s wellbeing, corporate health and triathlon training. She is a compassionate, aware and effective coach.

Natalie Ashdown Natalie Ashdown is a workplace-coaching expert with over 15 years of corporate management experience and 8 years coaching senior managers and their teams. She is an author, speaker, facilitator on workplace coaching including relationships, communication and conflict. Natalie is CEO of Open Door Coaching, one of Australia’s leading executive coaching, coach training organisations and a registered training organisation.

Zoe deLuca Zoe is a Social Media Marketing Specialist, Speaker, Trainer, Manager and Internet Entrepreneur, operating multiple businesses from her laptop while travelling the World. Zoe and her partner Mark are based on the Sunshine Coast and operate a full service Social Media Marketing Consultancy with clients around the Globe.

Iris Detenhoff Iris Detenhoff, author and publisher of the Moontime Diary, studied general nursing in Munich and migrated to Australia in 1987. Her passion for nature, health, astrology and anthroposophy has inspired Iris to observe and experiment with how the moon and planetary cycles affect our daily lives. Iris promotes a healthy and sustainable life style in tune with nature.

Maureen Frank Maureen Frank is Founder and CEO of emberin and www.womensvillage.com, and is considered Australia’s leading gender diversity expert. She is a former Telstra Business Woman of the Year and creator of the “my mentor” series of women’s advancement and gender diversity education programs undertaken by over 7500 women and 1200 men. She works with global clients, ASX 100 corporations and Australian government agencies.

Kirsty Greenshields Naturopath, entrepreneur and mum, Kirsty Greenshields, knows the challenges of creating harmony in your life. She founded Create Perfect Health to teach women how easy it is to be passionate about your own wellbeing, so you can directly impact the health of your business and career. Kirsty has helped women across the world develop and improve sustainability in business by focusing on your health.

Susan Jackson Susan Jackson is a licensed financial planner and Founder of the Women’s Financial Network (WFN). She is also a regular speaker, media guest and facilitator of money education programs. Susan is the author of The Investment Club Start Up Guide; The Women’s Guide to Property; Why Saving is Like Dieting and Budgets Don’t Work and Ms Moneys Guide to the Global Financial Crisis.

Andrew Jobling Andrew Jobling played AFL football for St Kilda FC. He has over 20 years experience helping people create positive long-term change with their wellbeing and lives as an educator, personal trainer, presenter and writer. He is an in-demand speaker and the best selling author of Eat Chocolate, Drink Alcohol and be Lean & Healthy, Simply Strength and his newest book Dance Until it Rains.

Fiona Jones Fiona Jones is the bestselling author of The Millionaire Book series and CEO of her own publishing company Source Publishing and Production Group. Her love of reading and her passion for empowering people led her to develop the Millionaire Book Series. Her mission is to inspire millions by sharing extraordinary success stories through the books she writes and also publishes.

Kevin Lee Kevin Lee is a Property & Finance Adviser and Director of Smart Property Adviser. Kevin’s approach is simple; he empowers his clients, encourages an inquiring mind and works closely with them to build long-term wealth. Smart Property Advisers is the culmination of Kevin’s more than 35 years’ experience in the business, banking and finance sectors that includes 12 years as one of Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers’ most awarded franchisees.

Anita Pavlovic Anita Pavlovic is the creator and CEO of dare2courses.com.au, an online platform where people and course providers connect. Prior to this Anita ran an Accounting and Business Consulting Company specialising in trouble shooting, corporate advisory and restructure, small business development & training. She has a passion for business, learning and creating and a ‘Vision’ for a Centre for all Learning.

Julie Pidgon Julie Pigdon has a Bachelor of Psychology degree and MBA, both from the University of Queensland. Presently, Julie is the Business Development Manager for Team Management Systems Australia, offering advice on learning and development challenges and issues to professionals across the Asia Pacific region.

Amanda Preece Amanda Preece is an experienced personal trainer, yoga teacher, weight loss consultant and founder of AP Health and Fitness. She maintains a growing popularity in the fitness industry and a rapidly expanding client base. Amanda has dedicated her life to exploring and promoting pathways to women’s wellbeing and empowerment.

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meet the experts

Jonni Pollard Following many years of training and study, Jonni Pollard is a devoted full time teacher of the Vedic Meditation Technique. Jonni’s journey began at the age of 18 when he sought to increase the quality of his inner life experience and began his journey exploring and experimenting with meditation. Prior to becoming a teacher of Vedic Meditation he had a highly successful and dynamic professional career.

Noel Posus Noel Posus is a highly recognised and credentialed leader in the coaching industry. He has served on numerous coaching industry boards and working groups and has spoken at conferences around the world. He also develops programmes for the UN, universities, major corporations and individual coaches to use with their clients. Noel has written over 20 books and runs about 10 websites.

Carren Smith Carren Smith, CEO of Quantum Leadership Group and founder of the seminar series The Art of Public Speaking, Speaker Secrets Exposed, Mindset Mastery and Magnetise Your Message. Having delivered over 540 presentations in five years with a background in human potential, neuro science and the psychology of creating success deliberately, Carren has literally transformed the lives of thousands of individuals’ worldwide.

Tanielle Thomas Tanielle Thomas is an inspirational Singles Coach and Dating Mentor who is passionate about helping singles find their inner beauty, love being themselves and have the confidence to step onto the dating scene to attract their soul mate. She is the founder of Full of Life Coaching, is a Life Coach and NLP Practitioner with a Bachelor of Behavioural Science.

Yolanda Vega Yolanda Vega is CEO of the AWCCI. She was the first editor of Wealth Creator Magazine and has more than 20 years experience in communications and business. A former CEO of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Australia, Yolanda has liaised with government bodies, small business and international corporations. She also represented Australia at the International Women’s Forum World Conference in 2009.

Chloe Wedgwood Chloë Wedgwood, Founder of the Canvas group Canvas Marketing, Canvas Creative and Canvas Mentors, is passionately committed to supporting businesses generate profit from no cost and low cost marketing techniques. With a background in Media, PR and Marketing, she has been an instrumental force in marketing businesses in a variety of different industries from fashion to property, sports, hospitality and more.


We can change the world, one act at a time – a little kindness is all it takes.

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t’s quite possible you have changed someone’s day without even knowing it. Perhaps you gave a welcoming smile when they were feeling left out, delivered a compliment, opened a door, offered up your seat on the bus or were generally helpful and pleasant when it was most needed. You can probably also think of moments when someone changed your day in a similar way. What happened in each of those moments is called an Act of Kindness – a small action that can make a big difference. Here’s how some of our readers are getting in on the act.

This submission is half confession, half a testament to my admiration of someone. There is an elderly woman who lives across the street from me, who has been suffering from a gradually worsening case of dementia for a few years now. Although she still knows faces and remembers people, her short-term recall is pretty bad. When autumn commenced this year and leaves began to fall, I began seeing a teenage boy around her home every few days with a rake. To my embarrassment I have to admit I automatically assumed he was taking advantage of her; he was cleaning her yard much more than it needed and I assumed he was getting her to pay him. With that thought in mind, one day I went to her home and had him call his mother so I could be sure there was no foul play. I was both embarrassed and heart-warmed to find out that she had been sending him to the lady’s place to do this, free of charge. Sometimes, it is good to be wrong and it also made me remember to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Sarah – via website

On my day off from work, I do most of the housework so I don’t have to do it on the weekend. I had the washing out on the line and decided to take a nap. I woke up half an hour later and found that it was pouring. I ran outside to get my washing, but it was gone; all that was left was a small note from my neighbour. When it started to rain and they saw my washing on the line they had knocked on the door to check if I was home. With no response removed down my washing and took it to their place for me to collect later. What special neighbours I have! Angela – via email

When I have time, I volunteer for Meals on Wheels. I have a very busy lifestyle, but I always juggle my commitments around to make sure I fit some time in. If everyone makes some time to volunteer for a charity, we would have a lot of happy people. A lot of people just don’t realise the benefits you get from volunteering and how good it feels to help out. Asher – via email

To challenge the stereotype of bums as drunks and drug-addicts, today when a homeless gentleman asked me for money, I offered to accompany him on a walk to a nearby restaraunt to purchase some food. He was very appreciative, humble (he simply refused to choose anything - I had to read things off until his facial cues told me he liked something), and although he certainly smelled homeless, he didn’t smell like booze. Surprisingly, we had a great conversation as well. All in all, a good day. Unknown – via website

served by a At the checkout of a supermarket, I was her to with e ther else eone trainee. She needed som d tell coul I ly. slow very ing mov help her out and was but I , tient impa ng getti were me nd some people behi re I Befo ! ehow didn’t mind at all. She has to learn som did u “Yo said, left with my things, I turned to her and good a her gave it tell really well, thank you.” I could ego boost. Meaghan – via email


for my at the store buying a few items needed to complete dinner plans I promise this has never happened to me before - but I was by a bit cash on short was I important being my card and the fact that family. In my rush, I completely overlooked a few details, most kind a purse, my of bottom the at t in loose change among the lint over $3. As I shuffled in my purse, hoping to make up this amoun the by ted motiva was she if know don’t I the money that I was short on. woman behind me says ‘been there’ and hands the cashier iated apprec much was it but help, to wanted ely this, or if she genuin time it would have taken to clear me out if she HADN’T done r. shoppe local either way. Thank you, fellow Unknown – via website

Submit your Act of Kindness & Win The a reader to send in our favourite and most inspiring act of kindness before 31 January will win a fantastic book pack from Hay House. The book pack, valued at over $90, contains copies of Authentic Success by Robert Holden, Shift Happens by Robert Holden, You Can Create an Exceptional Life by Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson, You Can Heal Your Life 25th Anniversary Edition by Louise Hay and I Can Do It 2012 Calendar. (www.hayhouse.com.au). Submit your Act of Kindness at empoweronline.com.au or email admin@empoweronline.com.au.

What’s Your New Year Resolution for 2012? Do you want to... Lose weight Lower your stress levels Wake up every day with energy and vitality Look into the mirror and genuinely love who you see Feel younger

Then I invite you to download your free Creating Health in Abundance Pack. In the pack you’ll learn: Your Own Unique body type, and the best ways to create balance for YOU How to Create a Healthier YOU Yummy recipes for your body type, with the ‘Food For Your Soul’ mini-cookbook The Six Secret Ingredients to CREATE Perfect Health For YOU

www.createperfecthealthnow.com


cover story

Desire, drive and

determination Having just returned from winning gold at the ISA World Masters Surfing Championships and after her induction into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, Layne Beachley catches up with Helen Rosing to chat about what she’s learned through life, love and of course, surfing.

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he wonderful thing about Layne Beachley is that she is so unassuming. She is seven-times world surfing champion and one of the only women even to be given a wildcard entry to compete in a men’s surfing event and yet talking to her about her success is like asking what she had for breakfast. And, it’s not like she’s had success handed to her on a plate. On the contrary, she’s fought for it all the way. Layne was born Tania Gardner on 24 May 1972, and was adopted at birth. She lost her adoptive mother when she was still a child and later found out she was adopted. Falling in love with surfing also put her, professionally, in a male-dominated world competing for success.

Summer 2012

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But, as Layne says, the turbulence of her early life is what gave her the burning desire to ’be the best’. Be inspired and enjoy the ride…

Q. Most people would agree that

you had a dramatic start to life. Please share your story and tell us a bit about your upbringing. A. I had an unusual start to life but it has shaped who I am today. A 17, my unwed Scottish mother gave birth to me and put me up for adoption at Crown Street women’s hospital in Surrey Hills, Sydney. Being a premature baby I was placed in a humidicrib for six weeks until I was strong enough to go home with my adoptive parents. My new mum, Valarie, picked me up and took me to our home in Manly. Sadly, only six years later Valarie died following a brain hemorrhage from complications during a cosmetic surgery procedure. It was only two years later my dad told me I was adopted. Of course, this turned my world upside down but in hindsight it is was also the event that ignited my passion to become the best in the world at something; in order to prove my worth to the world. I honestly believe being adopted into a beach loving family with the last name Beachley and becoming a Professional Surfer was a very fortunate twist of fate.

PhotoXpress

Q. In what way do you feel your

start in life has shaped who you are? A. Fighting for my life in a humidicrib instilled me with a fighting spirit, which was very useful when it came time to mixing it with the boys in the surfing line-up at Manly. Growing up in a very male dominated environment contributed to my ‘Tomboy’ attitude and ability to give as good as I got. Being told I was adopted instantly made me feel abandoned and it was then that I decided I had to become a world champion; if I wasn’t worthy of my own mothers love then whose love was I worthy of? At the time I convinced myself that if I became a world champion I would be worthy of love and respect. It was an auspicious goal to have as an eight year old.

Over time I learned that unconditional love and respect of myself must come first before I could accept it unconditionally from others.

Q. We understand that you were

reunited with your biological mother some years ago. What do you remember of this experience? A. I remember when I first heard her voice. It had an American twang to it and to be honest that put me off slightly. When I first laid eyes on her I knew she was my mother. I was 27 years old and remember thinking, “this is what I am going to look like in 17 years time”; there was no denying the resemblance. Since then it’s been a tumultuous journey but we are gradually working through it.

Q. What did you learn about

yourself through this experience?

A. Meeting mum for the first time gave

me insight into why I am the way I am. My personality, quick sarcastic wit (I acquired this from my Scottish grandmother), athletic figure and tomboy nature all made sense once we started talking. I believe we are definitely products of our environment but I couldn’t deny where I came from and gathering a deeper understanding of this allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of who I am and what drives me.

Q. When did you discover a love for surfing? What was it that first appealed to you? A. My dad introduced me to surfing when I was four years old. It was love at first paddle. At the age of five I was paddling out the back and catching waves on my own. In surfing I found a place of solace, comfort, a source of self-expression and freedom to escape from life’s challenges. It continues to provide this for me and more. The ocean cleanses my mind, body and soul and most importantly, it has taught me to relinquish control.

Q. You have had amazing success is surfing. Tell us about your rise to fame in professional surfing. A. I wasn’t born a world champion, nor was I born with the ability to become one but I wanted it more than

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anything in the world which inspired me to work harder than any of my competitors. I completed high school and joined the ASP women’s world tour in 1990. Three years later, two weeks before my 21st birthday, I won my first championship tour event. This win instilled in me an enormous amount of confidence in my ability to win and be the best in the world. I won several events over the next few years (29 in total) before finding the consistency and belief to achieve my ultimate goal of becoming a world champion. In 1998 I won the first of my six consecutive world titles. This win also coincided with falling in love with my ex partner Ken Bradshaw and narrowing my focus to give myself the best possible opportunity to win. Ken decided I was the best surfer he had ever seen and reassured me that I could become the best of the best by winning more world titles than any other surfer before me. With his belief in me, I set out to win five consecutive world titles; an intense challenge. I didn’t stop at five, I went on to win my sixth and to this day I still can’t believe I achieved what I did. Six consecutive world titles is something that no other professional surfer, male or female, has been able to achieve. This is incredibly satisfying and fills me with immense pride. By this time though I was completely exhausted and suffered several debilitating injuries putting me out of action during 2004 and 2005. But, in 2006 I came back with a newfound attitude, appreciation and love of surfing and won my seventh world title. I would have to say that my first and seventh world titles were the most satisfying and special wins of my 19 year career.

Q. What have been the lows in your surfing career?

A. I have learned more about myself in

moments of despair, disappointment and heartache than from my victories and celebrations. Injuries, losses and challenges with my health such as chronic fatigue have been some of the lowest, darkest times in my life. Anything that prevents you from being able to do something you love is tough

www.empoweronline.com.au


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to accept but I did learn that these moments are necessary as they present you with the opportunity to learn, grow, reassess and prioritise the most important things in your life. What you resist persists so it is important to accept that everything happens for a reason.

Q. You’ve often been regarded

as history’s best female surfer. What does that mean to you? A. I don’t consider myself to be the best female surfer in history. I accept the accolade of being the most successful as the record books state but the best surfer doesn’t always win, that is the beauty of competing with Mother Nature. My mental aptitude is what allowed me to set myself apart from my competition. I wanted it more, worked harder and never gave up; even when the odds were stacked up against me. I was accused of having the compassion of a tiger shark and was prepared to win at all costs. The greatest reflection of success is the legacy you create. I have left a lasting legacy that I am very proud of by following my heart, achieving my dreams and remaining connected to the people who supported the journey.

Q. I read in an interview that you

spent two decades breaking down barriers in surfing. What challenges did you face and how did you deal with them? A. Being a woman in a male dominated world can be quite challenging at the best of times. Growing up in Manly and being the only female in the line up taught me to stand up for myself and fight for what I believed in. There is an abundance of sexist and chauvinistic attitudes out there but for every man who is full of intimidation and threats, there is another full of encouragement and support. I was drawn to the latter and built strong lasting friendships with people who were positive influences. I am

Summer 2012

complimented by the fact that some consider me a threat but I have respect for those who treat me with mutual respect. When I encountered the negative types I learned not to take it personally. In the boardroom I learned to be patient, negotiate, compromise and assert myself in a confident manner, armed with logical reasoning.

Q. Congratulations on your recent

induction into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. How do you feel about this recognition? A. It was overwhelming to be standing center stage with Glenn McGrath, Greg Welch, Kosta Tszyu, Belinda Clarke, Lorraine Landon and Judy Joy Davies, in a room filled with 1000 of the greatest and most iconic athletes and legends in the world of sport. It was such an honor and a privilege to be recognised by my hero’s and mentors. While I was on stage I remember looking around the room soaking it all in and admiring the names and photos of legends hanging high and proud around above me. I reflected on my career and was in disbelief of the fact that a little surfie girl from Manly who pursued her passion was now being formally acknowledged on the grandest stage in Australian Sport. Incredible!

Q. What qualities do you feel you

possess that have helped you to be successful in professional surfing? A. The three pillars to my success are desire, drive and determination. From a young age I had the desire to become the best in the world at something and by the time I was 15 I knew it as going to be surfing. Then, I had to build a strategy around achieving that goal. My desire to win and become the best of the best drove me to surround myself with a supportive team of experts, mentors, professionals and friends that were willing to share their knowledge, enhance my journey and contribute to the success I craved

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and worked so hard to achieve. My determination to overcome the challenges and set backs along the way allowed me to realise my potential, fulfill my dreams and conquer the world seven times over.

Q. We understand you’ve also

just competed in the ISA World Masters Surfing Championships and won the Women’s Master Division. What was the experience like and how did it feel to be back in competition? A. The Masters was a very different experience for me because I have never competed as part of an official team before. It was such a thrill to have a support network on the beach, cheering me on, guiding me through the lineup and 100% behind me every time I was in the water. I was then able to repay the support every time another teammate was competing. We were a very vocal team. The masters reignited my competitive spirit and inspired me to start working with a personal trainer and my old surf coach. My ability to improve and learn significantly contributed to my ability to dominate my sport for as long as I did so to be able to tap back into that knowledge was very rewarding. My intention was to win another world title and a gold medal for Australia so it was very satisfying to achieve the goal I set myself. The most satisfying moment was standing on the podium with the gold medal around my neck, proudly waving the Australian flag singing the national anthem. My one and only opportunity to do so!

Q. Tell us about the Layne Beachley Aim for the Stars Foundation. What made you begin the foundation and what is the goal? A. The Aim For The Stars Foundation was launched in 2003 to prevent girls from enduring similar financial hardship that I experienced in the


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early stages of my surfing career, which almost forced me to quit. The goal of the foundation is to provide financial and moral support to girls and women across Australia to help them achieve their dreams in sporting, academia, community or cultural pursuits. In addition to financial grants, the recipients are also provided with personal coaching, media training and mentoring. The foundation is passionate about helping shape the lives of aspirational women who deserve recognition and financial assistance to achieve their dreams. The motto is Dare To Dream, Pursue Your Passion and Aspire to Achieve.

Q. Please share a success story of

the foundation. A. There have been several amazing success stories over the last seven years. One of my favourites is of a young recipient from 2007, Emma Henshall. Emma is a swinging trapeze artist who wanted to compete in Paris at the elite World Championships for circus called Cirque de Demain which showcases the best new circus numbers from around the world. With the help of her $3,000 grant and many late nights of training, Emma went to Paris, competed and won. Subsequently, she signed a contract to perform in Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Alegria’ and is in negotiation to join a new Cirque du Soleil show in 2012 in Hollywood. It’s amazing what $3,000 can do. To read Emma’s full story visit www.aimforthestars.com.au.

Q. We understand that you are

also an ambassador for National Breast Cancer Foundation, Planet Ark and the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation. What made you choose these charities and why do you feel it’s important to get behind such organisations?

Summer 2012

A. All relationships succeed with A. I support initiatives that I am

passionate about. Obviously I am very passionate about the environment and have been a spokesperson for Planet Ark for about six years. My stepmother Christina (my dad’s second wife) died from Breast Cancer several years ago so that’s definitely a cause close to my heart. The Laureus Sport For Good Foundation celebrates the universal power of sport to bring people together as a force for good and uses the passion that sport inspires to affect social change across the globe. In 2012 I will also be an ambassador for the 75th anniversary of the PCYC and Sunnyfield.

Q. What else would you like to

achieve in your business/career? A. There is so much I would like to achieve. Having experienced the success of personal achievement in the sporting world, I now enjoy giving back through my foundation as well as staging the richest surfing event in the world. I also give motivational speaking presentations and I am an athlete liaison officer for the Australian Olympic Team in London, mentoring the athletes of 12 different sports. I am also currently developing a new program for schools to empower and inspire girls to gain control of their lives and fulfill their potential.

Q. We understand that you married Kirk Pengilly (of INXS fame) last October. What have you learnt about relationships from your own marriage?

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consistent communication, compromise, trust and honesty. Kirk and I are two very different individuals that have a mutual respect and understanding of each other and our successful careers. Our schedules are forever changing so we take the time to have diary meetings every week.

Q. What do you feel is the secret to a happy marriage?

A. Allowing each other to live their own

life while contributing to the growth and happiness of each other. Also knowing what makes you both happy and ensuring we both make the time to pursue those moments, both independently and together.

Q. Who has been the biggest

influence in your life and why?

A. My dad has been the greatest influence and I will always refer to him as my Rock. He has endured so much pain and yet has raised three successful children and maintained a positive outlook on life. He allowed me to live a life of independence, freedom of expression and encouraged me to travel the world and follow my dreams.

Q. What is the best piece of advice

you have that might help other women realise they can reach their full potential? A. The only limitations are the ones we place on ourselves. Women can achieve anything, all we have to do is set a goal, believe in ourselves, surround ourselves with people who share that belief and have the patience, passion and perseverance to achieve what we truly desire.


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business | Women’s business

The

Women’s

Economic

Summit

Following her attendance at the first Women’s Economic Summit in San Francisco, Yolanda Vega reports on APEC’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship in women.

T

he best line I have ever plagiarised is ‘some women are born leaders’. How true! And continue to lead women will; it’s simply part of their makeup, to innovate, challenge and make positive change. From September 16, 2011 women have the APEC Declaration committed to giving women access to capital and to further participate in the economy. “The goals in this declaration are very specific,” announced Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to her applauding crowd. “We commit to giving women access to capital so women entrepreneurs can turn their ideas into the small and medium enterprises that are the source of so much growth and job creation.” “To achieve the economic expansion we all seek, we need to unlock a vital source that can power our economies in the decades to come, and that vital source of growth is women.” Clinton advised more than 500 people from the world’s most powerful economies attending the first Women’s Economic Summit (WES) at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2011 annual meeting, that “there is a direct correlation between the gender gap and economic productivity – the lower the former, the higher the latter.” San Francisco hosted the biggest gathering of distinguished foreign diplomats since the founding of the United Nations in 1945. On this occasion, the twenty-one countries that form APEC came together to sign a declaration, one which Clinton believed would make it into the history books. Ministers, high-ranking government officials, and both private and public

Summer 2012

sector leaders (including yours truly) met to share and discuss what needs to be done in order to grow our economy in these increasing global competitive markets. The Declaration seeks to close the gender gap by making it possible for more women to unleash their potential as entrepreneurs and business leaders. The message throughout the five days was clear: as economies we need to recognise the full potential of women and facilitate their contribution to the economy. The Declaration states that we need to improve women’s access to finance, and promote entrepreneurship for women in business. Clinton advised that the San Francisco Declaration, would for the first time in APEC’s history, include the commitment from each economy to, “improving women’s access to capital and markets.” “The big challenge we face in the early years of the 21st Century,” said Clinton, “is how to grow our economies and ensure shared prosperity for all nations and all people.” Ministers, Mayors, heads of protocol and delegates applauded when the women, dressed in black for this momentous occasion, advised that we must begin the ‘Age of Participation’ with sound economic policies that explicitly address the unique challenges that limit women. “Removing barriers means that the talents and skills of women can be deployed more efficiently and in our globalised world today, this is a competitive edge that is more important that ever,” explained Clinton. “If we liberate the united potential of women, we elevate the economic performance of communities, nations and the world.”

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The four main topics of discussion throughout the summit were:

1. Access to markets 2. Access to capital 3. Capacity building 4. Leadership It was agreed that the focus over the next years would be to pursue these priority areas, while collaborating with and supporting the work of other international organisations -because women’s economic power still remains untapped. Attendees expressed their intention to improve women’s access to finance, education, training, employment, technology, and health systems by promoting entrepreneurship and greater leadership for women in business and government. At many of the summit forums, much evidence was highlighted to confirm that increased participation of women has generated faster, more equitable income growth and enhanced competition for both private and public firms within various economies. The Declaration states that greater inclusion of women will expand prosperity in the region, and is in fact, ‘a real investment for the future’. The twenty-one member economies that form APEC (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Peru, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States) are determined to take concrete actions, implement policies and programs, and improve laws and


Women’s business | business

regulations to broaden economic opportunities for women, cultivate growth and wealth through economic cooperation, and expand trade and investments within the region. These actions will benefit all people in every economy, and will invite other world economies to follow our example. Women’s participation in the economy is globally significant, yet this has only recently been recognised. When the declaration is fully integrated into solid policies and programs, real change will become apparent and a female-led economy will prevail. As it stands, and according to World Bank estimates, women entrepreneurs own between 20 – 40 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises worldwide. However, women have access to only

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Access to capital is a problem [for women] in developing and developed countries around 2 – 10 percent of available commercial bank finance. These disparities must change in order to fully integrate women into the economy and lead the way to a more productive environment, which will help communities around the globe. As Cherrie Blair, the Founder of the Foundation for Women said, “Our male entitlement culture needs to change.” “Access to capital is a problem [for women] in developing and developed countries,” said the woman professionally known as Cherie Booth QC, wife of U.K.’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair. “Our business models will not succeed unless women succeed.” Successful models by several APEC economies were highlighted. The four most notable economies were from Canada, China, Malaysia and the USA. We, at the AWCCI, will examine possible implementation of these models in Australia to aid female entrepreneurs. Multiple speakers pointed out that enabling women’s access to the formal financial system contributes directly to greater opportunity. Sadly however, women in rural areas are frequently excluded from accessing capital. We

need to further empower entrepreneurs with technologies that break down barriers, and expand access to financial education. A sustainable future economy will likely rely on science and technology. In addition, it is unacceptable that rural women have less access to land and resources compared to men, despite the fact that “women produce up to 80 percent of the food in some developing countries”, said Clinton. “Economists predict that woman-owned businesses which make up 16 percent of all US jobs will create almost a third of the new jobs anticipated over the next seven years,” said Clinton with a smile. Another session revealed how training women in technological and green jobs builds skills and capacities that are in rapidly growing demand. The positive contributions that women play in creating a sustainable economy were of much interest to several representatives in both developed and developing nations, who acknowledge that the renewable energy is the way of the future. In order to advance as individuals and as an economy, we must take a holistic approach. This includes reviewing our legal, tax and banking practices; these have been identified as the hurdles that prevent women from accessing capital. We need policy to build the united voice, and support for women’s initiatives – for women are the biggest consumers. Women also frequently have careers and are homemakers, hence why women tend to operate smaller and less profitable businesses compared to men. Women generally have greater difficulty in accessing capital because they lack the networks, information and knowledge about lending requirements and practices. Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook said that in developed countries women lacked ambition. “The consequences are at times too great for women,” she said. “There is a price to pay for success and some women believe that there is too much to lose.” Perhaps this is why since 1993, the world political stage has seen only a 10 percent increase in leaders around the world. Nevertheless, the APEC economies are committed to conducting surveys and workshops to identify and share best practices that support entrepreneurial counselling and training opportunities, for entrepreneurs and business owners as well as rural and indigenous women. They are also working to improve the collection of

19

sexdisaggregated data on small and medium enterprises, and SME finance. APEC’s determination to face issues limiting opportunities for women head on was loud and clear. It seems only logical for the sake of the economy and our communities that women are fully entrenched in economic development. Women are great at creating cooperative environments, and that is what we now seek and need of the GFC. In 2012, Russia will host the WES, followed by Indonesia in 2013. Tatiana Valovaya, Head of the Department of International Cooperation of the Government of Russia, said that, “In 2012 WES will be the main focus of APEC.” We at the AWCCI will take the results from the Women in Business Poll to the next Women’s Economic Summit in to further illustrate Australia’s commitment to the Declaration, while learning more about regional trade and commerce.

Wanted: women in business

Australia’s first women in businessfocused national research project has been launched by the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI) This quick and easy poll will help us learn how and why women start businesses, their issues with accessing capital, and more. Ita Buttrose, the Chamber’s advisory board member, says: “The survey will give women running a businesses a unique opportunity to make their voices heard.” If you own a business, log onto www.awcci.org.au and have your say today.

Yolanda Vega is CEO of the Australian Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She was CEO of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Australia and has more than 20 years experience in communications and business. She also represented Australia at the International Women’s Forum World Conference in 2009. www.awcci.org.au

www.empoweronline.com.au


business | Feature

Boost your profile – get

published

A book is the best business card you will ever have. Fiona Jones explains how you can turn your ideas into credibility… and profit.

I

t was once explained to me that, ‘a book is a business card on steroids’. Think about it; most of the time when you get a business card you’ll toss it in a drawer (or wastebasket), never to be seen again. In contrast, a book sits on a shelf, desk or next to your bed and is often given to others to read. Books have an average life span of five years, while business cards may last only a day. It is the ultimate lead generator and business tool, and at the same time provides people with a valuable resource that has been derived from your valuable experience; that is, your profitable experience. As an author, doors will open for you that you’d previously have great difficulty finding. Great credibility is achieved when you become a published author. It ranks in the top 10 percent of professions in terms of prestige, which means that most people see a published author as a trusted resource in his or her field. Once published, you are positioned as an expert or authority on the topic that you’ve chosen to publish about which can very quickly make you the ‘go to’ person for media. This will offer you some muchneeded exposure and a way to build your profile faster than any other means, all without the huge marketing costs that you would’ve incurred when trying to promote yourself or your products without this credibility. New opportunities will come your way, such as speaking engagements,

Summer 2012

pitches from experts and other gurus who want to work with you, guest writing offers and more. You may also be invited to magazine, television and radio interviews when others need an expert voice on a subject. In addition to being paid, all of these benefits will essentially attract free advertising for you and your business. In today’s economy you need to separate yourself from the competition. Handing your book to prospective clients could be the single thing that gives you the edge over your competitors. Once the book is in their hands, readers have around 200-250 pages to learn about you and your services, making it the ultimate marketing tool and an integral part of business. A book also represents another income stream for your business and depending on what type of business you are in, is a great offline marketing strategy, particularly if your business is online. Once you’ve created the book, you can also break down and repurpose the content for articles, blog posts, newsletters, podcasts and audio programs.

Getting started

There are great courses available to help you through the process of writing and it doesn’t have to take years to complete. In fact you can produce a quality book in months by working smart and utilising available technology.

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Begin by selecting a working title for your book, which should be short and sharp (generally between one and five words in length). Utilise a key word for your topic to ensure the title is memorable and will capture the reader’s attention. Remember, you have only a few seconds to do this. You’ll also want the title to fit comfortably on the spine of the book, as books are almost always placed with the spine facing outward on the shelf. The subtitle can be longer and should describe in more detail what the book is about. Brainstorm lots of ideas and test both the title and subtitle by asking trusted colleagues to vote. Once you have decided the title it’s a good idea to register the domain name for the book. Print the domain name on the book cover or utilise it within the book as a call for action if you are building a community or list around your book. This allows you to obtain interested readers’ contact details enabling you to contact them in the future.

Choosing the cover

Despite the old saying, people will judge your book by the cover so be sure to hire a professional designer to help you create it. If you’re a professional speaker, it may be good to use a photo of yourself on the cover. Think of your target audience and what may draw them in. If you know you don’t have the largest


Feature | business

following yet, your photo may work best on the flap. Start by doing a mock cover of your book and put it on your vision board (a place to display any images or other items that will aid you in visualising and ultimately deciding upon your ultimate outcome) along with your business goals. I find it helps if you can see the working title and cover design. This will keep you motivated to see it through to completion.

A book is a business card on steroids To do this model from a book you have at home, (or one that has been successful in your genre) in terms of the size, look and feel of the graphics on the cover design. Try checking out online bookstores that allow you to see the front and back covers of the books they carry, or take photos of book covers in bookstores that catch your eye. Also ensure the colours you use represent your topic, for example the colour purple is associated with wealth and yellow with happiness. Pick a colour appropriate to your topic or you may want to use your own corporate colours to keep your branding consistent. You can then provide all of this information to your graphic designer so they have a clear understanding of the look and feel you wish to create.

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Planning your book

Once you have the title and the cover design, you now need an outline that will shape the chapters of your book. Think of about eight to 15 main topics you wish to discuss and these will become your chapters. Start with the main questions you are asked in your business and answer them. This is the creative part where you just let it all flow, this is not the time to worry about grammar and punctuation, just keep writing knowing that the manuscript will get cleaned up later in the editing process.

Creating content

There are many ways that you can create your content. You can sit at the keyboard and start typing it out yourself, or use a ghostwriter. A ghostwriter is a professional writer who does it all for you in your voice (personality). This can be expensive anywhere from $5,000-$50,000 depending on the amount of research required. You could also record yourself or have someone interview you (and record it) using an mP3 recorder and have it transcribed and edited into the chapters. This is a faster option. There are also services available where you can simply speak into the telephone and the recording is transcribed and returned to you via email and software that converts your voice into the written word. Another great way is to host a webinar series and have it turned into a book and other products. You could run it over a 10 week period and bingo, you have the chapters. These methods allow you to write in conversational English that makes the book easy to read.

The final touches

Once you have the content you would normally employ a copy editor and proof-reader to ensure it reads well and is understood. You will then need to have your designer do a professional typeset of your book, to shape the words into a professionally laid out book. Remember this is your brand and reputation so you want it to be professional.

Getting published

There are various routes to publishing your book, including traditional publishing, self-publishing and entrepreneurial publishing, each with its own brand of pros and cons. Traditional Publishing is where you write the manuscript and a publishing house designs, prints and distributes the book, often with no input from the author. You are generally paid in advance. Using the self-publishing model, you write the book and simply use a

21

company to print it. There is normally no distribution into stores. Entrepreneurial printing is a combination of traditional and selfpublishing. It is normally done via a publisher who can have the book distributed into stores while the author is involved with the design concepts.

Let go of perfection

Most manuscripts never see the light of day as the author waits for it to be perfect. Your message is important to the world and although you want your book to be great, it does not have to be perfect, just get it out there. Imagine if Microsoft waited for their software to be perfect? That’s why they are always releasing new versions. You can do the same with a book. Online ‘print on demand’ companies allow you to print five to 10 copies at a time and also make changes between versions of your book so this can be a great way to add to or update your content. Don’t let perfectionism stop you.

Distribution

The book is not the end, it is just the beginning and now you can build your business by marketing and distributing your book. Start with friends and family, email your community and use speaking opportunities to promote the book. The more marketing you do the more chance you will have of being in stores and having a distributor take on your book. Above all writing a book is a wonderful legacy to leave. You may not be appearing on Oprah’s book list anytime soon, but you just may change someone’s world including your own. Be Extraordinary. Fiona Jones is the bestselling author of The Millionaire Book series and CEO of her own publishing company Source Publishing and Production Group. Her mission is to inspire millions by sharing extraordinary success stories through her books she writes and also publishes. www.themillionairebooks.com www.sourcepublishinggroup.com

www.empoweronline.com.au


business | Social Media

5Twitter Top

tools

I

n contrast to many other social media platforms, self-promotion is not only tolerated, but encouraged by the fast pace of Twitter. But, while self promotion is deemed acceptable amongst your fellow Tweeters, you can have too much of a good thing! In determining how you will use Twitter to promote your business you need to balance the amount self-promotion you do with the amount of good quality information you provide. If you want to get results on Twitter it’s important to add value to your followers and not just try to sell to them all the time. Like any social media platform, Twitter can consume a lot of time. Given this, it’s also important to maximise the time you spend on Twitter by being structured and intentional in your marketing. First and foremost, you need to approach Twitter marketing with a definite goal and a schedule of planned activities. Combine this with the use of some smart tools and you really can ‘tweet’ your way to success instead of getting lost in the ‘tweet stream’. While there are many useful tools, these are the top five I recommend for business use and why I feel they are important:

1. Social Oomph

URL: www.budurl.com/ SocialOomph This is a ‘connection tool’ for Twitter. It allows you to automatically follow people

that follow you (if you chose this strategy) and to issue an automated, or semiautomated message to new followers. Used professionally this can work very effectively to engage new followers very quickly.

2. Tweet Adder

URL: www.budurl.com/ TweetAdderLink Twitter works best when you have an audience of “followers” reading your posts. Tweet Adder allows you to define user demographics and find appropriate people to follow and also automatically build your followers list. In implementing this tool, I recommend building your follower list manually and intentionally to begin with. Only add this tool as your numbers increase and you know your target market well. Tweet Adder also allows you to post tweets automatically but I prefer to use Hootsuite (refer to tool five below) for this purpose.

3.Formulists

URL: www.goo.gl/7J0sW As the number of your followers grow It is a good idea to group them into lists. This allows you to be more targeted in your posting. Formulists helps make this process super simple by generating your lists based on user location and or interest areas. You can also make these auto-updating. Using Formulists you get three lists for free before there is a charge. You can also increase the number you receive free by recommending the service to others.

4. MarketMeSuite

URL: www.budurl.com/ MarketMeTool The MarketMeSuite tool is a complete Twitter management and marketing tool.

Summer 2012

22

As a business owner you can generate incredible ‘buzz’ for your promotions via Twitter and yet most businesses aren’t using it effectively. Zoe DeLuca shares her top five tips for using Twitter to your advantage.

The best thing about this tool is that you can ‘brand’ all of your tweets according to your company branding effectively turning every tweet you write into a marketing piece, even when you are recommending others’ content or having general conversation. This provides you with a live link to your website at the bottom of every tweet you post and keeps your company name in front of your twitter audience. (The application has an excellent Facebook Groups management function too).

5. Hootsuite

URL: www.budurl.com/ GetHootsuite Hootsuite is, I believe, the absolute best social media management, posting and time saving tool. This is where I do my entire day-to-day posting on Twitter, my Facebook business page, LinkedIn and more. Hootsuite has a built-in link shortener tool, great stats tracking capability and new analytics charts to show you how effective your Social Media marketing is. From a business perspective this is crucial! Although these are the top five Twitter tools I recommend there are many more that will assist you to get the most out of Twitter. Talk to business colleagues and friends to find out what they are using and recommend. Zoe is a Social Media Marketing Specialist, Speaker, Trainer, Manager and Internet Entrepreneur. Together with partner Mark, Zoe operates a full service Social Media Marketing Consultancy with clients around the Globe. Find free Social Media Marketing training, tips and tactics at their blog: www.SocialMediShortCut.com and find Zoe on Twitter at: www.Twitter.com/zdeluca


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business | Marketing

Sealing

DEAL

the

Daily deals sites have millions of Aussies hooked in what has become the fastest growing sector in the Australian online retail space. Chloë Wedgwood discusses the phenomena and explains how to leverage part of the action for your business.

W

ith a huge increase in the number of coupons sold, new subscribers and vendors looking to sell a deal, daily deals have become a regular part of our everyday life and shopping experience. You can now shop anywhere for bargains – through email, deal aggregators online, smart phone apps and social utilities such as Facebook. In the article: Keeping Up With Group Buying Sites as Competition Grows, Mark Baldwin reports that in the Australian market, there are now over 40 group buying sites and according to Telsyte, a telecoms, media and ICT analyst firm, these sites are growing rapidly, with turnover expected to increase from $63 million (2010) to $242 million this year. The top four sites – Spreets, Scoopon, Jump On It, and Cudo – claim 79% of the industry’s revenues last year. With what seems to be a win-winwin situation for customers, vendors and merchants, it’s no wonder businesses flock to daily deal sites. If you have watched on as your competitors rake in sales by offering an unbeatable deal on one of the many daily deal sites, you’re probably wondering how Summer 2012

you could benefit from running a deal of your own. It’s true, daily deals offer many benefits to your business: • They can attract new customers – Deals give your business the opportunity to capture new customers, converting them into loyal clientele. • There’s no up-front cost - Vendors charge nothing to run a deal on their website. • There’s a fixed expense - You are usually given the option to put a cap on the number of coupons sold, the price and how many deals should be made available. • You pay on successful deals only – Generally you are only required to pay once customers have purchased your product or service. The website’s fee is then deducted from the amount your customer pays, and the remainder is sent to your business. • Deal sites provide brand exposure and free publicity – Regardless of whether customers buy your deal, your business is exposed to a huge audience. People will see your company’s name and logo in both the daily deal website and their inboxes. 24

However, these perks don’t always lead to a win-win-win situation. In fact, there are a number of potential pitfalls to be wary of and factors to consider in order to maximise the outcome of your daily deal.

1. Understand the dollars

When you initially consider trying a daily deal for your business it is easy to get blindsided by the dollars. If you take an average deal selling at $69 that sells approximately 250 coupons, you’re looking at revenue of $20,700. After (for example) a 40 percent commission charge, this results in a $12,420 payment directly into your bank account. Not bad for a day’s work right? Wrong. Many vendors don’t realise that these daily deals sites are not true investments, and can actually cause quite a monetary loss if the deal is not managed correctly. The incredibly low prices are appealing to customers, who consume a high percentage of the value of a product or service and with the deal sites taking as much as 50% of the earnings, there is little left for your profit.

2. Think through the logistics

As a business, look at the whole picture and think about the impact the daily deals will have on your business from a logistical perspective. If you sell 250 coupons, that is potentially 250 new customers to service. Can your business handle this? Do you have enough staff and resources? How will this affect your cash flow? Your reputation will be affected if you are unable to service the demand associated with a large influx of new customers.


Marketing | business

It’s also important to monitor customer numbers to see if a daily deal promotion leads to a long-term revenue increase and if a similar deal is worth repeating.

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3. Apply a marketing strategy

Daily deals are, quite simply, a marketing opportunity used to get people through the door. To reach sustainable success, you must learn to secure repeat customers though a strategic marketing plan. The largest deal sites are far more concerned with selling vouchers than providing the necessary tools to aid your business in servicing new customers. Many businesses struggle to manage the impact of their daily deal offer return by failing to integrate a solid marketing strategy to support it. This has lead to the downfall of many businesses, both in Australia and overseas. When planning your marketing strategy, there are a number of things to consider, such as: • Building a database – It is extremely important to compile all customer details into a database of all your new contacts, in order to market your products and services moving forward. • Asking for feedback – The best way to learn what your customers think is to ask them! Provide them with feedback forms, this way you can ensure you’re providing a good service. You can also use this as an opportunity to ask for a testimonial, which you can display on other forms of marketing. • Marketing your social media platforms – At your point of sale, let customers know you have a Facebook fanpage (for example), and offer something for ‘checking in’ or ‘liking’ you. • Promoting your other services – Make sure you let customers know what your business offers; even try a gentle up sell. For example if you’re a hairdresser, let them know they can purchase hair product as well. • Offering a ‘refer a friend’ incentive – Allow them to leverage their own networks, and get your customers marketing for you!

• Packaging it up – Imagine how great a customer would feel if they came to you via a daily deals offer, and not only received fantastic service, but also received a gift bag containing a small gift, voucher to come back, a ‘refer a friend’ incentive, business card and your menu of services. By making new offers to your newly established customers, you can bypass the deal sites moving forward. By establishing a second and third visit, you have a great opportunity to build rapport with your customers, advancing them into loyal clientele that will not only pay full prices, but also refer your services to their networks.

4. Deliver to your customers

It’s important to treat daily deal customers as though they are paying full price. Melanie Bowman, a daily deals customer provided the following feedback: “In one experience, I was unable to use the voucher in the end. I’m still waiting on the goods for the latest voucher to arrive and it’s been over four weeks now. A response to the email I sent chasing the goods was an automated reply advising they have been inundated with orders, are trying to fulfil them and it may take four to six weeks. I think the success of the group deal sites and the businesses that use them depend largely on how prepared the business is for the avalanche of sales that come in.”

5. Keep in contact

The marketing elements you put in place will allow you to keep in contact with your new customers via Facebook, direct marketing, SMS blasts, e-newsletters, drip email campaigns, and many other ways. Make sure you get permission before adding customers to an email list, but once you do you can keep them updated on

future deals or news about your business moving forward. Daily deals can be a great way to increase the awareness of your business and has the potential to bring new customers through your door. What you do with this window of opportunity comes down to how you strategically approach, manage and market your products and services so that you take full advantage of the deal. If nothing is done to entice the customer to come back to your business, whether simply through a great service or added incentives, your daily deal will fail to produce profits and may damage not only your business from a financial perspective, but also its reputation. Traps to avoid The three most common complaints we discovered through our questionnaire on daily deals: • Lack of vital product information – Ensure you receive a proof from the deal website to ensure the details are correct before they are listed. Make sure any add-on prices or miscellaneous charges are clear by checking the terms and conditions. Direct questions to your website, email or contact number to avoid customer disappointment. • Delays in ability to redeem products/ services – Limit the number of coupons available, and hire temporary workers for the days following the deal. Test your ability to take on a deal by doing a smaller one first, once you have had some experience with the process, move on to a bigger deal. • Deal was not as expected and substandard service – Customers often feel they have received poor service or products after buying a deal. Treat deal customers the same as your full-paying customers to ensure they return.

Chloë Wedgwood is the founder of the Canvas group – Canvas Marketing, Canvas Creative and Canvas Mentors – and is passionately committed to supporting businesses generate profit from no cost and low cost marketing techniques. She has marketed businesses in a variety of different industries from fashion to property, sports, hospitality and more. www.canvasmarketing.com.au

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business | Success Profile

lovestationery

For the

of

feeling personally unfulfilled, knowing that I wanted to be doing something exciting and fulfilling. Q. How did the decision to start kikki.K come about? A. I started kikki.K when I went about setting up my own home office. I had recently moved to Australia, and was used to gorgeous home/office products at home in Sweden. I quickly discovered that they weren’t available here. I really wanted my office to be an extension of my personality, just as the rest of my home was. So I designed my first range. And it started from there.

Kristina Karlsson shares the kikki.K success story, from borrowing money to fund her first product range to having over 70 boutiques and a lot of personal growth in between. Q. Tell us a bit about yourself. A. I’m Kristina ‘kikki’ Karlsson, founder

of kikki.K and stationery lover. I was originally born in Sweden, and came to Australia with my partner, Paul, where I began fulfilling my dream of providing gorgeous stationery and stylish home/office products to people just like me.

Q. What were you doing before you commenced kikki.K?

A. I’d come to Australia in 1996 and

decided to settle for a bit. I took a job waiting tables at a Swedish restaurant to earn a little cash but it wasn’t long before I became very restless and needed more. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life and was

Summer 2012

Q. What type and how much research did you undertake before starting the business? A. I started off doing some market research into product design, price and store locations. One day I stood on Chapel Street in Melbourne and stopped people to show them sketches of what a kikki.K store might look like. The ones who didn’t think I was mad gave me very positive feedback. Soon after that I borrowed a few thousand dollars to create a sample range, and ran about 40 focus groups of ten or more people. The response was overwhelmingly positive and I got loads of orders. I also went on a buying trip around the world, all in the name of research. I then developed a business plan to make the execution as solid as possible – and minimise risk where possible.

Q. How would you describe the kikki.K product?

A. In three words – delicious Swedish

stationery. kikki.K products are very much aligned with fashion. We move with the seasons and constantly have new products arriving in store that provide a balance between form and function – key Swedish design principles. They are always beautiful in design, colour and texture – however 26

they’re also functional. They not only look good, but they make life a little easier – with style.

Q. Tell us about the growth of

kikki.K from opening your first boutique in 2001 to today. A. It all starts with one, so they say – and now, ten years down the track we have over 70 boutiques across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore and an online boutique that services the world. Our first store opened in Melbourne CBD in 2001, and much to excitement we met many likeminded fans who were looking for stylish stationery products just like me. Expansion around Australia followed and before we knew it we had opened our first international boutique in New Zealand. Singapore soon followed where we were very excited to have our store amongst the likes of Gucci and Prada.

Q. What were the early days like in

the business? We understand you held a job while putting in full days in kikki.K. A. I worked very long hours in the beginning and worked very hard to make it work. Running your own business is extremely difficult. Quiet moments are few and far between. However in the beginning we had a very small team and we did everything. From working in the store, to managing accounts and payroll. Not forgetting actually designing the products too! These days things are a little more controlled. As we’ve grown, so has our team and there is now more time to focus on product design which is what I love the most.

Q. How did you feel in the early days?

A. I was so excited when I finally

discovered what I wanted to do with my life, and once I started, there was no stopping me. I had a crystal clear


Success Profile | business

vision and I was very determined. Understandably there were people who thought I was crazy, but I wanted to make it happen because I was so passionate about it. What was even more exciting was seeing people just like me fall in love with our products when we opened our first store in Melbourne.

Q. Did everyone support you right

from the start or were friends/ family cautious? How did you overcome the doubters? A. From day one, I’ve always had lots of support from the people around me. My partner Paul has been a total inspiration and a very supportive mentor. He guided me to one of my most important learnings – to find something I was passionate about and make it a career. I was also very fortunate to gain media support very quickly – in fact Vogue was one of the very first publications to publish an article on kikki.K – which was very exciting. Of course, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the support of so many stationery and style lovers who flock to our stores every day. As a country, Australia has given me so much opportunity.

Q. What was your biggest challenge when starting the business?

A. Everything was a challenge. I had

no business experience, let alone any idea how to go about manufacturing. I literally looked up ‘stationery’ in the Yellow Pages and started making calls. Some people thought I was crazy. But I had a vision that nothing could stop. It was difficult, tiring and stressful – but so rewarding. And still today I get uncontrollably excited with the delivery of gorgeous new products.

Q. How did you fund your business initially?

PhotoXpress

A. Having limited financial resources

to start and grow my business was probably the hardest challenge I faced in getting kikki.K off the ground. I borrowed $3000 from my partner Paul to finance my first product range. The banks certainly weren’t too supportive in our early years, they needed high levels of security that we couldn’t give, so we sold our home to fund the first store opening at Melbourne Central in 2001.

Q. As the business has grown,

how have you needed to grow personally? A. Considering English was my second language and I didn’t have any formal business training, I definitely had to grow on a personal level. I learnt by throwing myself in the deep end and think I’ve come a long way. Learning from other successful business people has been a huge influence in my life too.

Q. What has been the biggest risk

have you taken in the business?

A. There was definitely a lot of risk –

obviously, convincing Paul to sell his house to finance the opening of our first store was one of the biggest! However I was passionate about my concept and failure was never an option. Certainly in the beginning having limited financial resources was probably the hardest challenge I faced. However I overcame that by being creative, working hard and with ‘do it yourself’ as my mantra in the early days.

Q. How important has networking

been for you in business? A. Networking in business is essential, because knowledge is gained from experiences of others, just as much as your own. One thing you learn along the way in starting your own business is that you can’t do everything yourself. I’ve found great value in connecting with other people.

Q. What has been your PR and marketing approach?

A. In the early days, like any other small

business we needed to communicate our brand and our message, but we had no budget for advertising or marketing. This meant we needed to get out there – wear out some shoe leather - and tell our story. Fortunately it’s been a story many people have found interesting and unique, which has led to quite a lot of interest from the media. We’ve also found that we have many customers as passionate about our products as we are creating lots of ‘word-of-mouth’, which has been and continues to be our most effective marketing tool. These days we have all these elements working together.

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Q. What are you most proud of in your achievement to date?

A. Being named Melbourne’s Most

Innovative Store just six months after opening was personally very satisfying. We knew we had something unique, and something that people responded to – and I’d convinced Paul to sell his house to finance it so we had lots on the line. But to receive the award from the Lord Mayor really cemented the fact that we had something special and it really was just the beginning.

Q. What else would you like to achieve in business?

A. More beautiful kikki.K stationery

boutiques around the world. Our vision is still to open in New York, Copenhagen, Paris, London... so we’ll see you there one day soon.

Q. What advice do you have for

other women starting out in business? A. The most important thing is to find something you love and you’re really passionate about. If you’ve found this and have a simple, clear and compelling vision, a great team of people and you don’t take no for an answer, you’re well on your way.

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career | Gender diversity

salary negotiations Master

comfortable asking for and expecting better remuneration. Linda Babcock of Carnegie Mellon University, US, claims that if women fail to negotiate a higher starting salary when entering their career, subsequent raises are then calculated from a lower starting point. This early oversight forces women to surrender one to two million dollars over the course of their working lives. Ouch! At the core of remuneration negotiation is your own sense of self worth, and selfbelief. If you don’t think you’re worth a certain figure, why should anyone else? Also consider that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Now that you know the stakes, we will take a closer look at negotiation with the intention of either securing your ideal salary package at the start of employment, or asking for a raise or promotion with your current employer.

Commencing employment

It is no secret that worldwide, men are typically paid more than women for similar jobs. Maureen Frank discusses the causes and offers advice to ensure you get the raise you deserve.

A

lthough many organisations are starting the address the issue of equal pay for equal work, salary surveys also clearly show that in salary negotiations, women don’t value themselves as high as they could, and from their very first position they need to ask for more. In March 2010, Employer Branding released the findings of a Universum survey of over 220,000 male and female university students across 16 European countries, which showed that women expect to earn 11 percent less than men in their first job. In Austria and Italy their expectations were 20 percent less where as in the UK and Sweden the difference was around five percent. According to the International Women’s Day website, women from all

Summer 2012

over the world who are one year out of college earn 20 percent less than men, and 31 percent less 10 years later. Even women who have been in the workforce and completed their MBA do not secure a pay packet as high as men. A recent Catalyst study of over 4,000 MBA students from Asia, Canada, Europe and the US found men were more likely than women to take a higher ranking job assignment with a greater level of responsibility, and are more likely to secure these upper level positions through mentoring or sponsorship connections. What this data shows, is that men earn significantly more than women over the course of their working lives – before you even add motherhood into the equation – simply because men typically feel more

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There are two important considerations to bear in mind with any new job. Firstly, the employer is expecting this to be a negotiation situation. Don’t be put off by this; it is par for the course. Secondly, most employers (both men and women) expect women to negotiate less than men based on their experience so don’t bend easy. 1. Adopt a negotiating mindset Asking for extra money, benefits or flexibility is not greedy. It demonstrates your belief that you are a worthwhile investment. You owe it to yourself to earn as much for your time and effort as you possibly can. Remember, because you will ultimately work for the hiring company, they’d prefer to welcome a confident negotiator rather than a pushover to their team. Another common mindset to avoid is “I will get there, prove myself, then ask for a raise a few months into the job.” Ask for a salary review at six months by all means but not in lieu of not getting the salary you wanted to begin with. 2. Prepare and research Understand the salary range and current market conditions for your desired position. Make sure you benchmark what men in your industry in such positions are earning. That’s your figure. There are no reasons


Gender diversity | career

why any organisation should be paying two highly qualified people of different genders different figures. Be sure to consider super, medical, holiday pay/leave, flexibility, childcare, parental benefits, and so on as well. Also know your side of the equation: your experience, the industry, your location, who else in the market could do the job as well as you. Arming yourself with this information will keep you feeling confident; knowing what you’re asking for isn’t unreasonable. 3. Let them talk money first Job advertisements generally say, “a competitive package will be negotiated for the right candidate”, implying elasticity in their salary offer. So, let them raise the topic first. Once they are convinced they need you, they’ll be ready to make an offer. It may not happen in the first interview, where focus is capability and fit. When your prospective employers do start talking money, be sure to start negotiating when the offer is in the ballpark. In simple terms, if it’s not a great starting offer, say so – but don’t come in with your ideal figure if their figure is well below what you think is an acceptable starting point. Otherwise, you risk the meeting point being far below what you are after. Once you counter offer, you are in negotiation. Companies don’t generally withdraw offers if you ask for more money, so test the water. Don’t worry about those waiting in line behind you if you don’t take the job or ask for too much money. No one wants to hire second best. If they’ve offered you the job and are talking money, you are their preference.

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4. Don’t accept the first offer Even if the first offer is better than you had expected, don’t accept it straight away. Ask for something more. The time to ask for more money, benefits or allowances is before you accept the job. Aside from asking for more money, think about other things that might be of value to you. Create a list, work through it and be prepared to give up some

things. This shows you are prepared to compromise on some points but not all. 5. Have the right approach Approach negotiations with the belief that everyone can get what they want. Be mindful of your body language; be confident, relaxed and pleasant. Don’t forget to smile. Remember at all times to look after yourself – the recruiter and the organisation’s hiring manager will certainly put their own interests first. Make sure you stay assertive – not aggressive. Think cooperative and diplomatic, but also don’t to be afraid to say no. 6. Use both questions and silence to your advantage Open-ended questions can be extremely powerful; use them to gather your thoughts and restate your research or facts. For example, “Can you explain how you arrived at that salary figure?” or, “How can we move forward?”

You owe it to yourself to earn as much for your time and effort as you possibly can. Using silence you put the communication onus on the other party. 7. Thank them When negotiations are done, thank them for the job and for their efforts in striking a win-win deal.

Existing employment

Most organisations have annual reviews – yet some have none at all. The downside of this is no one knows you are looking for a promotion or a raise unless you bring it up. 1. Stick to the facts Research what others in the organisation or industry are being paid for comparable positions, or where others in your organisation may be paid similar money as you for a lesser position. You are presenting a business case. It needs to be factual, not

emotional. Change “I feel” language to “I believe”. Create bullet points that show why you believe you should earn more money; include your achievements and where you’ve exceeded expectations. Reference your commitment, where you have worked above and beyond to meet company objectives and that you are a trusted and reliable employee. 2. Timing is key When is the right time to ask for a raise? When you’ve completed a great piece of work? When other key staff have left and your organisation would be exposed if they were to lose you as well? When you have been carrying more than one role for a period of time? When you have been in an acting position? Never play in ultimatums and threats but pick the right time to talk to your boss. 3. Make your boss part of your solution Talk to your manager about your aspirations and enroll them in helping you attain them. For example, “Here’s where I want to be. Can we figure out a way I can get there?” Note the subtle use of the word “we” – it shares the responsibility and shows you are asking for their help and guidance. You’re engaging your manager in solving the problem with you. 4. Articulate your needs, but don’t forget theirs Often women want more opportunity and experience; they want to be challenged and prove themselves, and they know this can lead to increased remuneration. When you engage in these types of negotiations and your manager comes back and offers you something, don’t make the mistake of thinking that is a fixed offer. For example, they might offer you a relieving assignment to manage something in Western Australia. If you’d prefer Queensland, ask. Think of options that would work better for you, while still meeting everyone’s objectives. Negotiation takes practise, so practise every day, at home and at work.

Maureen Frank is a specialist in gender diversity and works with organisations to help men, women and their businesses become more successful by embracing the value of having a diverse workforce. At an individual level Maureen helps women and men transform their lives through practical guidance, skill development and motivation. Visit www.womensvillage.com.

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career | Feature

Will they you?

leave Horrible Bosses may be the title of the latest Hollywood comedy, but for the millions of people dealing with a truly awful boss – it is no laughing matter. Julie Pidgon explains.

A

Gallup poll of over 1,000,000 employed U.S. workers concluded that the number one reason people decide to quit their jobs is stress, caused by a bad boss or immediate supervisor. Australian surveys yield similar results. Busy managers can easily ignore their top performers. They love these employees for their self-reliant, low maintenance qualities. However, performance level is irrelevant; all employees want and need both feedback and coaching from their bosses. In fact, top performers often hunger for this more than others as they are deeply motivated to improve and excel and they thrive in an environment where they can learn and grow. Unfortunately, managers frequently neglect training in favour of perceived short-term gain, at their peril. Whatever the cost of a leadership or management development program, the cost of forgoing it is much higher in the long term.

Summer 2012

Unwanted turnover is a management issue. It is no accident that the Fortune top 10 companies are happy to invest in the development of their people. According to Leigh Branham, prolific author and well-respected expert in the Human Resource profession, the companies listed in Fortune’s “Great Places to Work” grew an average of 133 percent, while the rest averaged 25 percent over the same time period. It pays to invest in your people. Branham goes on to say that nearly 90 percent of bosses think their employees quit to make more money elsewhere. This means nearly 90 percent of bosses are wrong; only 12 percent of employees report leaving for more money. The real reasons are factors such as: • Job not as expected • Little or no feedback/coaching • No hope for career growth • Feeling devalued and unrecognized • Lack of trust or confidence in leaders Many of these reasons are under management’s control. Top organisations are now gathering hard data on what it takes to be a good manager. Consider Google, a consistent champion in the Fortune’s “Great Places to Work” list. In 2009, it launched Project Oxygen, whose mission was to build better bosses. Google, where performance reviews are done quarterly rather than annually, saw huge swings in the ratings that employees gave their bosses. They found that managers had a much greater impact on employee performance and job

30

satisfaction than any other factor. Google knew that many top performers, armed with a lot of invaluable IP, were walking out the door, often straight into the arms of the competition. They needed to stem this tide to stay on the crest of the wave, so the team analysed performance reviews, feedback surveys, nominations for top-manager awards and other data to find precisely what it takes to be a good manager. To their surprise, technical expertise did not top the list. Topping the list was, “being a good coach; providing regular, specific and constructive feedback”. In general, what employees reported valuing most was even-keeled bosses who make time for one-on-one meetings, help people through problems by asking questions (vs. dictating answers) and who take an interest in employees’ lives and careers. Essentially, they want connection, and accessibility. It’s that simple. Or is it? How do you truly become a better boss? Being a good manager requires a realistic awareness of self, which is why 360-degree feedback tools are employed in good leadership programs. Self-perception can be fundamentally flawed; it’s like looking at yourself in a mirror and only seeing the front view. There are many different angles to you, all just as real, yet you may be physically unable to see more than one at a time. Others can, and in management, your impact on others is paramount. Once you have gained a holistic perception of yourself, you are armed with the knowledge and insight required to adapt your behaviour according the situation. This is a skill that all excellent leaders and managers have. Always remember to trust yourself, and learn through your mistakes. There is no one ‘right way’ to be a manager and no one expects you to be perfect – so don’t expect this of yourself. Julie Pigdon has a Bachelor of Psychology degree and MBA, both from the University of Queensland. Presently, Julie is the Business Development Manager for Team Management Systems Australia (www.tmsoz.com), offering advice on learning and development challenges to HR professionals across the Asia Pacific region. Feel free to contact Julie on access@tms.com.au.


career | Feature

Creating your

workplace

What don’t you like about your job? Like most people, you likely have no problem calling something to mind. Don’t worry; Natalie Ashdown is here to explain how you can create your ideal workplace.

“S

hould we tell them up front how bad it is around here? Or, should we let them just find out?” This was asked of me recently as I delivered an in-house coaching program. I was taken off-guard, so out of my mouth tumbled the following nonsense: “Do you really mean that, or are you having… joking?” This participant had a habit of saying things out of the blue to be provocative or funny, to test me, entertain the group and to just to spice things up a little. This time he was serious and his comment initiated an in-depth conversation about the type of workplace they really wanted to create, and how, as individuals, they could take responsibility and action toward creating that ideal workplace. It all starts with self-awareness and self-responsibility; terms that are bandied around in the workplace so often that they’ve lost a degree of meaning. Let me elaborate. Self-awareness is about directing the tough questions inward, and most importantly, giving an honest examination of your answers. Here’s a quick self-awareness building quiz for you to try, then share with others in your team or workplace. Keep in mind; these statements may not be 100 percent accurate for you. Simply consider whether option A or B is more common. If neither question seems to define you, don’t just take the easy answer or blow it off; genuinely consider it and choose either A or B.

Summer 2012

How am I acting in the workplace? A: Pretty upbeat and positive B: A bit negative and grumpy How am I behaving? A: Respectful and open to ideas B: I keep things to myself because I can’t be bothered to speak up What impact is my behaviour having on others? A: People thank me and ask me further questions B: Some people roll their eyes at me when I answer a question and that’s the last I see of them This is a particularly important point. A lot of people in the workplace go through the motions; completely oblivious to the impact they have on others. If you spent just one hour in a team meeting watching peoples’ responses, you would learn a lot of detailed information about yourself and your team dynamic. For example, pay attention to nonverbal cues. When someone talks, do others shift in their seats? Is anyone holding his or her breath? Did someone start to speak and shut their lips tightly after being interrupted? What words and comments generally come out of my mouth? A: I say things like “well done” and “good on you” B: I am known for my sarcasm, or being the devils advocate How am I feeling on a day-to-day basis? A: Inspired and motivated B: Miserable

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How do I show up to work? A: I’m keen to start the day and say “hi” to everyone B: I just go into my workplace and don’t say anything before my tenth coffee. How does your body feel on a day-today basis? A: I feel strong and energised B: I feel stiff, achy and even get a regular headache or some other type of pain. If you scored mostly A’s, you are doing really well. You show up in the workplace as a generally happy and positive person. You listen in team meetings, you are encouraging and you’re a good person to be around. I highly encourage you to be your positive self and continue to spread this around the workplace. I know it’s not always easy - particularly if you’re in a bit of a negative culture and there are people around you who can drag you down. However, I can assure you that your attitude and behaviour is what most people want in their workplace. In fact, I’m often asked to come in and help people change to adopt those very same behaviours and attitudes that you have! If you scored about half and half (this is a totally scientific approach, isn’t it!), you are often positive, but you might let your environment, your personal life and/or other external things get you down. You blow a bit hot and cold – some days are great, some not so great. In case this up and down is “normal” for you, it doesn’t have to be that way. Start small, working on having more ‘up days’ than ‘down’. If you are more aware of your attitudes, how you are behaving and the way others are reacting to you, you are empowered to do something about it. You can create the culture and the workplace that you really want. It can actually start with you!


Feature | career

If you scored mostly B’s then I want to acknowledge your honesty… and say “come on, you are more than that!” It’s time for you to have a look at what you really want, and how you can start taking steps to create that. Some people will not want to be around you because you drag them down. You think it’s ok playing the devil’s advocate and using sarcasm as a form of humour; but I must to tell you, more often than not you are not helping – or even making things worse for your team. You have so much more to contribute; you are so much more than you are being right now. You can use your wit and humour for good, not evil. Rather than using deflective behaviour, work toward tiny changes in your attitude and behaviour at work. It will make the biggest difference, and I can guarantee that whatever is going on right now that is causing you to be this way will start to dissipate - or simply disappear. Now that we’ve considered selfawareness, let’s look at self-responsibility. Self-responsibility is about asking the following questions: • How do I contribute to the current workplace dynamics? • What role am I playing, and how helpful is it? • What role do I have to play in creating the workplace that I want? • What contribution can I make toward creating the workplace? • Where can I start? • How can I experiment in terms of new attitudes or behaviours?

Self-responsibility is about accepting and acknowledging the role that you have in creating the workplace that you really want. It is not about blaming others for the work environment. It’s not saying “management this....” and “management that...”. It’s about using the pronoun “I”. It’s never about saying, “it will never work” or, “they will never let us do that” - it’s about saying “what can I do?” When we as individuals gain greater self-awareness and take more responsibility for our own actions, attitudes and behaviours, then we can as a collective team, group or organisation, start to create a workplace of which we are truly proud. The culture in our workplace is simply the majority set of values, attitudes, behaviours and actions. Culture is “the way we do things around here”. So, if the majority of people are blaming others, not really speaking up, they are negative, grumpy or saying things like our opening line, the prevailing culture will be poisonous. It doesn’t have to be that way! One little change from one individual can make a huge difference in the workplace culture. It was Mahatma Ghandi who reminded us to “be the change we wish to see in the world”. How this translates into a modern workplace is: if you want work to be a happy and enjoyable place – then bring the happy in with you! For the people who think I’m just talking about the impossible and skipping through the daisies, another favourite quote of mine comes from Anita Roddick, Founder of the Body Shop: “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.” We can all make a difference by starting with ourselves. Just as a bad

culture can spread like a wildfire in an organisation, a good culture can do the same. I have noticed, however that it doesn’t spread like wildfire! A change in culture needs to be adopted by individuals over time and in order to do that, they have to give up or change their current state; truly examine their contribution to the environment. This is certainly not easy, but it is worth it. For example, I coached a group of 30 leaders recently who had a total of 300 people reporting to them. They were the most negative bunch of people that I had seen in a long, long, time. I had to remember one of our strongest mottos in change, “It’s not how you start out, it’s where you finish”. I thought to myself, if only ten of those leaders began making changes, they could potentially impact 100 to 150 people. All I really asked them was “how did they want to be?” and “what sort of workplace did they really want?” After that discussion, it was all about “what can you do as an individual to start working towards that?”. When these leaders returned for the second day of coaching, I must admit I was not particularly looking forward to seeing them, but when I walked into the room I could instantly feel a change in the mood and atmosphere. Nearly all of them had taken steps to make their job a better place. We had a good time laughing at their stories, and “failed attempts” at coaching. Think about that, “a good time laughing at stories and ‘failed attempts’ at coaching”. Now that’s the start of a workplace culture that anyone can enjoy. Natalie Ashdown is CEO of the Open Door Coaching Group and author of the latest book on best practice corporate coaching Bring Out Their Best – Inspiring a Coaching Culture in Your Workplace. Natalie has coached senior executives and their teams over the past eight years. www.opendoorcoaching.com.au


career | Features

conflict

C

onflict: any situation in which people have apparently incompatible goals, interests, principles or feelings. Notice the phrase ‘apparently incompatible’. This is the key part of the definition, because it represents how people have differing perceptions about whether a situation is a conflict or not,and how the way they choose to respond to that perception is, in many cases, what actually creates the conflict. In this situation, choice becomes the most important factor. Do you choose to see the situation as a conflict-creating event? Do you choose to respond to the situation in a constructive, or destructive manner? Do you want, (whether consciously or subconsciously), for there to be a conflict? Were you so desperate to avoid a conflict that you brought on an originally avoidable conflict by ignoring a situation for far too long? These are all important questions; all stemming from the moment you suspect a conflict is being born; and make no mistake, the triggers that start a conflict are very personal. In fact, there are nine “hot buttons”, and when you believe one or more of them are being pushed, you begin to believe that you have a conflict situation on your hands. Whether the other person is consciously pushing that button or not is irrelevant; it’s about your perception of it being pushed. In this moment, you’re likely to feel this way because strong negative emotions rise to the surface, often causing feelings of personal provocation. The tension in the relationship has now increased, and you may demonstrate some impulsive and/or reactive behaviours. • Unreliable • Overly Analytical • Unappreciative • Aloof • Micro-managing • Self-centred • Abrasive • Untrustworthy • Hostile Summer 2012

The nine conflict hot buttons:

Of these, it’s important to know that 55 percent or more of all workplace related conflict is a result of believing that another person has in one way or another violated your values regarding trust; that they’ve caused you to question whether or not you can trust them. Again, this person may not have actually done what you suspect they’ve done, but the very fact that you’re now considering if they’re capable of violating your trust is enough for this potential conflict to become real. However, this transition will largely occur based on the choices you make, and when you are aware of your choices, the choice can actually be pretty simple:

Precipitating Event and/or Hot Buttons Initiate Conflict Constructive Responses Behaviours which keep conflict to a minimum

Destructive Responses Behaviours which escalate or prolong conflict

Task-Focused Conflict (Cognitive) • Focus on task and problem solving • Positive effect • Tension decreases • Group functioning improves

Person-Focused Conflict (Affective) • Focus on personal • Negative emotions (anger, frustration) • Tension increases • Group functioning decreases

CONFLICT DE-ESCALATES

CONFLICT ESCALATES

Constructive behaviour response = minimum conflict

Doing so means that you would be focused on the task of problem solving, on trying to get a positive effect from the situation. You would be actively trying to decrease the tension, while improving the relationship.

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Destructive behaviour response = escalated and/or prolonged conflict

Doing so means that you would be more focused on (or lost in) negative emotions such as anger and frustration. In going this route, you’re likely to increase the tension, and relationships can begin to fall apart. Research has shown that constructive conflict behavioural responses involve the exchange of creative ideas to address the situation, expression of positive emotions, optimism and choosing not to provoke the other person.

Potential constructive conflict outcomes:

• Win-win solutions • Open and honest communication of feelings • Needs met for both parties • Non-judgemental actions • Not sticking adamantly to one position • Actively resolving conflict (not allowing conflict to continue) • Thoughtful responses (not impulsive) • Team performance improves • Relationships improve For the destructive conflict behaviour path, there is often a need to “win” no matter what, a lack of respect for the other person, or possibly avoiding the conflict altogether rather than working through it.

Potential destructive conflict outcomes: • • • • • • • • • •

Feelings of anger or frustration Judgemental actions Getting even and keeping score Other party does not have needs met Closed channels of communication Refusing to deal with issues Decreased self-confidence Tasks not completed Team performance decreases Relationships damaged Research has further demonstrated the usefulness of classifying conflict-related responses into two additional categories that peer into a deeper level than just constructive and destructive: Active – Behaviours that involve overt responses, taking action or making an

CON

ACTIVE

Conflict is inevitable but as Noel Posus shows you do have choices in how you respond to it.

Perspec Creating Express Reachin

PASSIVE

Responding to

Reflecti Delay R Adaptin


Features | career

effort. Outcomes can be either constructive or destructive. Passive – Behaviours that involve withholding a response, not taking action, or not making an effort. Outcomes can be either constructive or destructive. With this in mind, here’s a simple matrix of the active and passive, constructive and destructive behaviour choices you can make when you believe you’re in a conflict situation:

ACTIVE

DESTRUCTIVE

Perspective Taking Creating Solutions Expressing Emotions Reaching Out

Winning at All Costs Displaying Anger Demeaning Others Retaliating

PASSIVE

CONSTRUCTIVE

Reflective Thinking Delay Responding Adapting

Avoiding Yielding Hiding Emotions Self-Criticising

These meta-behaviour choices are defined as:

Active constructive reponses/ behaviours

Perspective Taking: Putting yourself in the other person’s position and trying to understand that person’s point of view. Creating Solutions: Brainstorming with the other person, asking questions, and trying to create solutions to the problem. Expressing Emotions: Talking honestly with the other person, and expressing your thoughts and feelings. Reaching Out: Reaching out to the other person, making the first move, and trying to make amends.

Passive constructive responses/behaviours

Reflective Thinking: Analysing the situation, weighing the pros and cons, and thinking about the best response. Delay Responding: Waiting things out, letting matters settle down, or taking a “time out” when emotions are running high. Adapting: Staying flexible, and trying to make the best of the situation.

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Active destructive responses/ behaviours

Winning at All Costs: Arguing vigorously for your own position, and trying to win at all costs.

Displaying Anger: Expressing anger, raising your voice, and using harsh, nasty words. Demeaning Others: Laughing at the other person, ridiculing his or her ideas, and using sarcasm. Retaliating: Obstructing the other person, retaliating against the other, and trying to get revenge.

Passive destructive responses/ behaviours

Avoiding: Avoiding or ignoring the other person, and acting distant and aloof. Yielding: Giving in to the other person, in order to avoid further conflict. Hiding Emotions: Concealing your true emotions even though you’re feeling upset. Self-Criticising: Replaying the incident over in your mind, and criticising yourself for not handling it better. To understand how best to respond to conflict, it’s also useful to look at your opportunities from a before, during and after the conflict standpoint.

Before

As you now know that conflict is inevitable, it makes sense to prepare yourself. • Know your hot buttons, and determine the strategies you’ll use to avoid your automatic impulse when you feel your buttons are being pushed. • Negotiate relationships and behaviour choices in advance. Consider the key personal and professional relationships you have, and what the potential risks could be if you feel your buttons are being pressed. Have a crucial conversation with these key relationships about your values and hot buttons, and ask about theirs as well. Discuss and negotiate how each of you will respond (as opposed to react) if you think there’s even the most remote chance that you’re moving toward a conflict situation (see active constructive conflict behaviours as a guide). • Develop active and passive constructive behaviours – make these skills into strengths. • Get feedback from others on how you respond in conflict situations

as others see you. Accept that their feedback is true in their perception, even if you don’t personally agree. Use their feedback with the positive intention you had when you asked for it.

During

Despite your best efforts to minimise the possibility of conflict, it is now in motion. • Consider your choices. Do you want the conflict? If so, why? Could you and the other person reap greater benefits if you actively worked to diffuse the conflict? • Make your behaviour choices: constructive or destructive, active or passive.Put these choices into action. • If you find that you’ve started off in the conflict situation using destructive behaviour choices, consider how you can turn the situation around by now using constructive behaviour choices. Put these choices into action. • Share this information about conflict dynamics with the other person, and invite them to work with through this model to achieve a better outcome than the current situation.

After

Now the conflict is resolved in one-way or another; hopefully in a positive manner but sometimes the other party just doesn’t want resolution (which can actually be a good outcome). • Reflect on what you’ve learned from the conflict experience; things you’ve learned about yourself, the other person(s), your methods of improving and moving away from destructive patterns, and what constructive strengths you have. • Determine what constructive skills to further improve, and make a plan to achieve your goals. • If necessary, seek additional support to recover or heal from the situation.

To learn more about your conflict style, visit www.conflictdynamics.org to work within a Conflict Dynamics Profile.

Noel Posus is a master coach with 20+ years experience as a professional educator, coach and author. He is a highly recognised and credentialed leader in the coaching industry and has spoken at conferences around the world. He is a certified practitioner of the Conflict Dynamics Profile™ assessment tool. www.askacoach.com

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you | Feature

Do or Do

not!

Quoting the master of personal development… Yoda… Andrew Jobling challenges you to stop trying and start doing. Summer 2012

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he movie was a classic; Star Wars, Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. In this particular scene Luke Skywalker finds himself with R2D2 and Master Yoda lost in the spooky woods, their spaceship having landed on the surface of a swamp. Master Yoda is teaching Luke to use “the force” to levitate and lift and move rocks. At that moment R2D2 alerts their attention to the spaceship and they all turn to watch it slowly sink into the swamp. Luke runs to the swamps edge and with a helpless look on his face, turns back to Yoda and says, “We will never get it out now”. Yoda sighs and replies, “So certain are you … always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?” Luke turns to Yoda and replies, “moving stones around is one thing, this is totally different.” Yoda yells, “No! No different. Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.” Luke looks at Yoda, then at the bubbles in the swamp, the only remnants of the spaceship, and with resignation says, “Alright, I will try.” Yoda quickly snaps back, “No! Try not! Do or not do, there is no try.” Luke stands, turns to the swamp, raises his hand and begins to use his power. The spaceship starts to move, it even begins to rise. Luke strains as he starts to lift the spaceship out of the swamp. But he cannot hold it and it starts to sink again. He strains a bit more and then gives up as he slumps on the ground next to Yoda and says, “I can’t. It is too big.” Yoda replies, “Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm? And well you should not. For my ally is ‘the Force’, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel ‘the Force’ around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes, even between the land and the ship.” Luke stands up and says to Yoda, “You want the impossible” as he walks off to find a place to sit and sulk. Yoda faces the ship, lowers his head, raises his arm and uses ‘the Force’ to raise the ship out of the

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swamp. Luke turns around, watches with amazement as Yoda places the ship back on solid ground next to him. Luke looks at the ship and then at Yoda and says with amazement, “I, I don’t believe it”. Yoda looks up at Luke and says, “And that is why you failed.”

Is seeing really believing?

I love that scene as there are so many parallels to our lives. I think about how many times in my life I have “tried” things and given up only to go and sulk in the corner and complain that it’s not fair. I would always wait before I could see any evidence of success before I made the committed decision to finish what I started. The problem with this attitude is that there may be no evidence of success until the final target is achieved. I would have given up way before that because my flawed thinking determined that I had ‘to see it to believe it’. What about you? Have you ever “tried” and not achieved something because you gave up the minute you believed you couldn’t do it? Was it with your health and wellbeing, in your business, your relationships or any other pursuits? Did you, like me, say to yourself, “I will believe it when I see it”? The problem with this thinking is that unless you can actually believe in what want you want to accomplish then you will never do what you need to do for long enough to actually see it. So what you need to say is “I will see it when I believe it.” Walt Disney died before the completion and opening of Disneyland. At the grand opening his wife Lillian was standing with the architect. As they were standing there together looking on with awe, the architect said to Lillian, “Isn’t it a shame that Walt wasn’t alive to see this?” To this Lillian responded, “He did see it, for many years – that is why you are here.” Walt Disney believed so much in his vision and dream that it was created even after he died because he shared his belief and vision with others who also bought into and believed it. He never thought, “I will try” he only ever thought “I will do” and no matter what, he did.


Feature | you

What does “I’ll try” really mean?

I have said “I’ll try” too many things and when I look back I didn’t achieve any of them. Why is that? It’s because “I’ll try” is an escape clause. It actually means we don’t believe we can or don’t want to do something but we will go through the motions to avoid saying “I can’t” or “I won’t”. By doing this we save face and it gives us a way out because, when we don’t achieve what we were never going to achieve anyway we can always say, “I tried my best”. Actually, we didn’t try our best at all. The fact that we didn’t try is because we had already decided before we even said “I’ll try” that we can’t or won’t do it – just like Luke Skywalker. “I’ll try” means “I won’t” – make no mistake about it. Think about the last time you said “I’ll try” to or about something – “I’ll try to get to your party”, “I’ll try to finish that project by the deadline”, “I’ll try to run all the way”, “I’ll try to change that habit” – did you? I’m guessing you probably didn’t make the project or the deadline , you didn’t run all the way and you probably still have that habit to change. Have you ever tried to pick up a pen? Have you ever tried to sit down? Have you ever tried to make a phone call? Do any of these sound like stupid questions? They all are. Why? Because you cannot try to do

any of those things, you either pick up the pen or you don’t, you either sit down or make a phone call or you don’t. Yoda had it spot on (that’s why he is the master) when he said, “Do or not do, there is no try.”

Getting rid of “I’ll try”

When we understand the psychology behind “I’ll try” and why we use it, we can then eliminate it from our thinking and our vocabulary. In my experience we use the phrase because we often don’t want people to think we are not going to (or don’t want to) do or achieve something. It is often so true in life that many of the things we do and the decisions we make are more influenced by what others think and say than what we really want. If this is true for you then it’s time you stop worrying about what others think. Do you know in most cases the people you are worried about are not even thinking about you anyway? They are thinking about themselves and worrying about what you might be thinking of them. Isn’t that interesting? The few people who are thinking about you are quite possibly intimidated, embarrassed or confronted by things that you are doing to achieve more in your life. This is because if you move forward in life then relatively, they are moving backwards and no one wants to do that. So they have two options; either

lift themselves up to join you or bring you down. Which do you think most people unfortunately choose? It is far easier to bring someone else down than to lift ourselves up to a higher level – this is why there are so few truly successful people. There are only a small percentage of people who will make the decision not to be influenced by others, even people very close to them. These people know what they want and will find people who will encourage them, help them and work with them to achieve their dream. Work out what it is you want to do, be and have in your life and why it is important to you. Then, start to really believe in the incredible power you already have to achieve anything you want. If that is a problem for you then stop and think about everything you have previously done in your life to this point. You have already done so much that is amazing. As Yoda says, you must “unlearn what you have learned.” You must have faith in your power or “the force” and make the decision to get the results you want. When you do this, a path opens up and you will clearly see the way to go. With this clarity you will simply and automatically remove the words “I’ll try” from your vocabulary and replace them with “I will” and then you will just “do” and keep “doing” until you have succeeded.

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Andrew Jobling played AFL football for St Kilda FC. He has over 20 years experience in motivation and wellbeing, is a successful speaker and best selling author of Eat Chocolate, Drink Alcohol and be Lean & Healthy, Simply Strength and newest book Dance Until it Rains. Visit Andrew at www.andrewjobling.com.au

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www.empoweronline.com.au


you | Feature

The

SHADOW Effect

Carren Smith shows how to harness the power of your ‘Shadow’ side to turn negative experiences into extraordinary opportunities.

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ith so much change in the landscape of life, including our financial security, relationships, business and the uncertainty of our global future, it may be time to look at your world ‘inside’ as the world ‘outside’ fails to provide answers. The truth is, it never has, but it’s not until we are met with conditions so far out of our control that we find ourselves desperately searching for some level of predictability. It’s at this point the Universe jumps up and down cheering because finally, we are turning to the one true power that drives everything. Let’s face it, life has its ‘ups’ and its ‘downs’ its ‘light’ and its ‘dark’, its ‘positives’ and its ‘negatives’ and of course its ‘good’ and its ‘bad’. It doesn’t matter which way you role the dice there is always a contrast of experience and choice. Sometimes we make our choices consciously and sometimes we make our choices unconsciously but the outcome will always go one of two ways. Over the next couple of pages, I’m going to give you a recipe for creating extraordinary experiences and the tools to turn even the ‘dark’, ‘negative’ experiences into an opportunity to propel you forward to greatness. Though you’re not necessarily friends, you and your ‘Shadow’ side know one another very well. You know the voice, the one always telling you you’re not good enough, that you can’t make your life the way you want it, that you must struggle to survive because money is hard to come by; and that you must put off doing things that will advance your life until you can do them perfectly. This voice always introduces

Summer 2012

thoughts that stamp out the fire in your belly and quell your enthusiasm. Sound familiar? Well, believe it or not, this ‘Shadow’ effect has a much greater purpose than we are inclined to believe. It’s through this ‘Shadow’ effect that we have access to our greatest achievements, and other extraordinary experiences. I believe it’s fair to say that I have endured some of life’s most challenging experiences. I lost my de facto to suicide, and then the following year – almost to the date – I was right in the middle of the Sari Club with two very dear girlfriends on the night of the 2002 Bali Bombing. Tragically, my two girlfriends never made it home. I subsequently carried intense guilt and depression, as their decision to accompany me to Bali had cost them their lives! For almost six years, this ‘darkness’ was my closest ally. I felt powerless to escape it – and a large part of me didn’t want to. I felt that I deserved to suffer. Getting so close to the ‘Shadow’ side of myself has allowed me to instantly recognise it’s gut-wrenching feeling, know it’s voice and delve deep into complete darkness and depravation of happiness, joy, enthusiasm, growth and expansion. Intimately, I have come to know what life looks and feels like when there is no light to be found. Now, I have learned that I’m not alone. Nearly everyone has a story or a set of experiences in their lives that have been momentous or impactful in a way that has ultimately exposed us to the dark aspects of life. Most of us however, are oblivious to the truth – that the dark (Shadow) aspects of our life experiences are not empty and meaningless. In fact,

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they are part of the very substance that encourages us to expand and evolve; yet we are conditioned to dismiss these Shadow experiences, thoughts or feelings and focus on more positive aspects of life. This conditioning has us resist or push against the lessons which the Shadow side is trying desperately to show us, and will continue to show us, until we get it. Have you heard the expression, “History repeats itself”, or perhaps, “Doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity”? These expressions are born out of the Shadow Effect and it’s persistence in our lives, because there is a meaning and a purpose in the message it brings us, but it is only accessible to the extent that we pay attention. When you miss the message, the experience will continue to repeat itself until you wake up and listen, pay attention and change our course of action. Consider the rose, the clouds, the grass, the air you breathe, the intelligence that beats your heart, keeps you breathing, grows your hair and creates a baby. Consider the perfection of this intelligence for a moment and the power in the life force, which creates the very cycle of life and evolution. Notice that there are no mistakes in nature and if this is true, consider that there are no mistakes when it comes to the creation of you. With this in mind, the Shadow side of our personality is just as necessary as it’s parallel, our optimistic or ‘light’ side. It is not an accidental aspect within you to be ignored, pushed against or resisted. It is the very substance that facilitates your evolution. Allow me to explain. When difficult or unfortunate circumstances find their way into our lives, you will often find yourself in an all-consuming battle to avoid, eliminate, replace, change, fight or push them away


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Feature | you

because you are in constant search of a more comfortable situation. This is largely part of our human instinct for survival; particularly when the situation is life threatening. This very basic, natural inclination to seek out a better-feeling experience means that you miss the message in the Shadow Effect; you miss the evolution that the Shadow Effect is trying to demonstrate through your experiences so that you can evolve, expand and re-create ourselves. Your greatest growth comes as a result of recognising the platform that your Shadow side provides you with, experiencing the darkness of this shadow effect, being grateful for the learning opportunity and then getting the ‘gift’ from the shadow experience. It is only in recognition of the gift that you are truly able to explore the light side and grow from the shadow experience. It is from here that you’ll recreate and become a more evolved version of you, which brings you a fulfilling experience and an understanding of the limitless possibilities that are open to you. The more instant-gratification seeking mode of operation would have had you ignore, resist, fight or struggle against the situation, guaranteeing that the experience would re-present itself again and again until you finally absorb the learning which was always intended for your evolution. Humans constantly evolve. We are not

stagnant beings, we are designed to grow and expand. It is through the Shadow Effect that we are exposed to the aspects of ourselves that require our attention at the time, so that we evolve when we are

presented with a challenging experience, as opposed to the powerless debilitation, in which we could lose ourselves without it. Remember, there are no mistakes in life – and more importantly, there are no mistakes in you. You who has come to this life experience fully equipped with all the tools to accomplish, overcome, create, re-create and embrace everything that has the potential to facilitate your evolution and

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your greatest experiences. The Shadow Effect has as much a part in creating the magic in your life as any great success may have. As hard as it may seem, learn to appreciate every negative, bad, sad or painful experience for the persistent demand that it places on you and your life, to step up, search for and turn on the light so that you may evolve into a more expanded version of yourself. As a result you will enjoy the journey of life in a way which eludes us when we are trapped in a mode of operating that has us believe we are incapable of being in control, having a say, and a life of substance which matters and contributes to the greatness of ourselves and others. Your life is purposeful, meaningful, magical and magnificent even when the outside appearances speak to the contrary. The difference that makes the difference comes down to whether you decide to consider yourself powerless, or powerful in the matter of expansion. Don’t let your desire to hop up, dust yourself off and walk away unharmed fool you. You always have a choice. Carren Smith is the CEO of Quantum Leadership Group and founder of the Speaker Secrets Exposed Seminar Series. In just 5 years, Carren has delivered over 540 professional presentations and helps people transform their lives through selfexpression, leadership, responsibility and expansion. www.speakersecretsexposed.com

www.empoweronline.com.au


you | Spirituality

moon Using the

The moon has a noticeable effect on your daily life, and when understood it can be used to your advantage. Iris Detenhoff explains…

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any gardeners and farmers today are able to grow abundant, healthy and nutritious food without the use of chemicals by tending to plants in tune with the moon phases. What if you tended to yourself in the same way? By timing daily activities to the cycles of the moon, you can live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, use fewer resources and produce less waste.

Why tune to natures seasons and cycles?

Instead of trying to conquer your natural environment, you can work with it, like fishermen going with the tide instead of struggling against it. By ‘Tuning in’ you will put forth less effort, less wasted resources, and leave a smaller ecological footprint, all while still getting wherever you need to go.

How does it work?

Water, one of the most important building blocks of life, is intimately connected to the moon. It covers about 75 percent of the Earth, rising and falling with the gravitational pull of the moon as it moves around Earth. Sap levels in plants rise and fall in accordance with the moon, while blood and lymph in humans and animals also respond to the moon’s gravitational pull.

This rising and falling of liquids can be likened to breathing in and out. This rhythmic expansion/contraction distributes fluid throughout the earth’s systems like a hydraulic pump.

Waxing moon

After the ‘new’ phase the moon waxes, becoming fuller over a period of two weeks. During this time, cells absorb moisture, nutrients and energy to enhance growth and repair; so taking measures to nourish and strengthen your hair, skin and other organs is beneficial. Correspondingly, any hair removed at this time will subsequently strengthen; a great thing to keep in mind when you schedule your haircut and/or body hair removal appointments. Nutrients in food and supplements are also absorbed more effectively, so aligning with this phase will help you balance deficiencies, manage weight, fluid retention and avoid excessive absorption of toxins and stimulants. All of the above applies to humans, animals and plants. Cakes and bread baked in the waxing phase turn out better and stay fresh for longer. Try and avoid removing unwanted body hair at this time. Rather, opt for a hair cut to strengthen re-growth!

Full Moon

By the time the moon is full, cells have absorbed and retained fluid for two weeks and the internal pressure has peaked. Herbs, fruits and flowers harvested during full moon are juicy and potent with nutrients. Police, nurses and other emergency responders state an increase of accidents during this time, so plan accordingly. Fasting on the days leading up to full moon is a preventative way to minimize your absorption of harmful stimulants and toxins.

Waning Moon

As the moon changes from waxing to waning, animal and plant cells release energy, water, toxins and for people emotions. Your body metabolizes both nutrients and toxins less effectively and retains less water. During the two weeks of the moon’s waning period, ‘letting go’ is in harmony with the moons cycle, making treatments such as lymphatic drainage, detoxifying mud wraps and cleansing facials very efficient. The waning moon phase is also a favorable time for operations, particularly the removal of sunspots, moles and warts because there are generally fewer complications and less scar formations. Many maintenance, housekeeping, and home repair tasks are best done in the waning phase. You’ll find that stains in fabrics are removed more easily, paint is stripped away with less hassle and most importantly your lungs will absorb fewer fumes while you work.

New Moon

The new moon is an opportunity to rest, reflect and regenerate. It’s an easier time to let go of old habits, imagine new directions and embark on new beginnings. The new moon is also favorable time to give your digestive organs a break. A short fast will do much good.

The 2012 Moontime Diary provides the daily scoop on the moon’s location while offering helpful health, home and garden advice.

Iris Detenhoff, author and publisher of the Moontime Diary, studied general nursing in Munich and migrated to Australia in 1987. Her strong interest in nature, health, astrology and anthroposophy has guided her to publishing a yearly almanac as this moon diary turns out to be. www.moontimediary.com.au

Summer 2012

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inspiration | Profile

A mind After years of abuse, in an attempt to stop the physical pain, Kim Noble’s mind shattered into multiple pieces and personalities. We share this excerpt from the new book All of Me by Patricia, the dominant personality.

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n 1995 I was diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder – now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder or DID – although it was many years until I accepted it. DID has been described as a creative way for a young child’s mind to cope with unbearable pain, where the child’s personality splinters into many parts, each as unique and independent as the original, and each capable of taking full control of the body they share. Usually there is a dominant personality – although which personality this is can change over time – and the various alter egos come and go. Some appear daily, some less regularly and some when provoked by certain physical or emotional ‘triggers’. And usually, thanks to dissociative or amnesiac barriers that prevent them learning the source of the pain which caused the DID, they all have no idea that the other personalities exist. This, I was told, is what had happened to Kim Noble. Unable to cope any longer with the trauma of being abused at such a young age, Kim had vacated her body, leaving numerous alter egos to take over. I am one of those alters. To most of the outside world I am ‘Kim Noble’. I’ll answer to that name

Summer 2012

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because I’m aware of the DID – and also because it’s easier than explaining who I really am. Most of the other personalities are still in denial, as I was for the majority of my life. They don’t believe they share a body and absolutely refuse to accept they are only ‘out’ for a fraction of the day, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I know how they feel, because for forty years that was me. I am currently the dominant personality. Simply put, I spend the longest time in control of the body. (On an average day two or three other personalities usually come out and do whatever they do, and in between I return.) I run the household and take primary care of our daughter, Aimee. I pay the bills (even though they’re all in Kim Noble’s name) and make sure we live a normal family life. The different personalities come and go from the body like hotel guests through a revolving door. There are no signals, no signs, no warnings. I’m here one minute and then somewhere else. Coming back after a personality switch is like waking up from a nap. It takes a few seconds of blinking and looking around to get your bearings, to work out who you’re with, where you are and what you’re in the middle of doing. The only difference is with a normal nap you soon realise you’re in exactly the same place you went to sleep whereas I could disappear from my sofa and wake up again at a pub or a supermarket or even driving a car and not have a clue where I’m heading.


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Profile | inspiration

It’s not only me who has to come to terms with it, of course. The other personalities find themselves in exactly the same positions and respond as best they can. You can imagine how confusing life must have been – and how it must still be for the personalities who refuse to accept the truth. Yet somehow I coped. These days it’s the innocent parties who have to deal with us that I feel sorry for. For example, a few years ago I called the police about something and a couple of officers arrived at the house. I went into the kitchen to make them a coffee but by the time I’d returned, they’d vanished. Then I realised the time. It was an hour later. There must have been a switch. Only when I spoke to the policeman later did I learn the truth: another personality had arrived and literally screamed at them to get out of her house! That took some explaining. I have a thousand stories like this. All the personalities must have. Life is a constant struggle, even when you know about the DID. Many people with DID whose fractures aren’t as extreme as Kim Noble’s, have multiple personalities that can hear what the others are saying, see what they’re doing and sometimes even talk to each other. Life must be so much simpler for them – but thank God I’m not like that! My thoughts are my own. When I’m in control of the body, that’s it – there’s no one else. It would drive you crazy having all those voices in your head. Imagine being able to see what other people are doing when they’re in charge of your body? It makes me feel sick even thinking about it. It must seem like having a gun to your head and being forced to do things against your will. No matter what you see or what you hear or what you remember, there would be absolutely nothing you could do. So, who are the other personalities who influenced my life without me ever realising they existed? Thanks to Dr Laine, the therapist who has treated me and all the other alters of Kim Noble, as well as observations from our daughter who tells me what the others are like, I’ve learnt quite a lot. Bonny was the dominant personality before me. She was ‘out’ and in control of the body for the majority of the time, just as I am now. When she was in charge, I was just another one of the other personalities

coming and going. It’s impossible to imagine now and it certainly didn’t feel like it at the time. Even when, years later, I was told again and again that I only ‘existed’ for an hour or two a day, I rejected the very idea. How would you react if someone told you that? Were they saying I was a role that this Kim Noble woman likes to play? Or that she’d made me up like a character in a film? Or that she changed into me? Were they suggesting I was Frankenstein’s monster? That wasn’t what they were saying at all, I know that now. But I wouldn’t listen. I didn’t want to understand. I was just like all the other personalities who are still refusing to listen today. One day, perhaps, they’ll accept the truth as I did and then their lives will make a bit more sense. As much as I hated discovering I was just another personality, the relief of not being so confused all the time was incredible. Whether I liked it or not, at least everything began to make sense. Bonny took charge shortly after our daughter Aimee was born. She is the one who fought for access after Aimee was snatched at birth by social services. Unfortunately the stress of that struggle took its toll. If it hadn’t she would still be the dominant personality and I would still be in denial about DID. When Bonny retreated to the background, Aimee was devastated. Bonny is the one she called ‘Mum’. It took a while for me to earn that honour. Before Bonny there was Hayley. I only discovered her when I found lots of old bills lying around addressed to her in Richmond, Surrey. That’s where Hayley lived during the 1980s – while Bonny lived in Croydon and I had my own flat in Fulham. Three addresses for three different personalities – I don’t know how we afforded it. Just one example of how complicated our lives have been. Hayley was a force of nature – she had to be, considering some of the things she endured. During her six or seven years as the dominant personality we got our first – and only – long-term job. Unfortunately that was around the time that she was exposed to the activities of a paedophile ring. When Hayley reported the ring to the police, she received anonymous warnings to be quiet. Threats of physical retaliation

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escalated until one day a man threw acid in her face and someone tried to set light to her bed with her in it. Fire is the most harrowing experience for any human and it has continued to affect us all. The good news is Hayley was a strong person – at least for a while – and she continued her fight against the attackers. The bad news is the effort caused her to burn up. Like Bonny, after years of fighting for our rights she faded into the background, cowed and exhausted. And then there are the others, the ones who come out sometimes every day or every week or every month. They all have their own patterns, their own triggers. They all have their issues. In hindsight, being diagnosed with DID and knowing about the other personalities earlier would have explained to me why I got into so much trouble at school, why my parents and teachers were always calling me a liar, and why I was kidnapped, as I saw it, by one asylum or therapy centre after another. Perhaps then I wouldn’t have thought I was being experimented on by doctors who accused me of having anorexia, bulimia and schizophrenia. And maybe I would have believed them when they said they were doing it all for my own good – to stop me trying to kill myself again. If I’d known the body really was doing these things, then forty years of my life would have made so much more sense. But, even after years of subjugation and experimentation at the hands of the medical profession I never stopped smiling. I’m not exactly a tub-thumper like Hayley but I’m no quitter. Knock me down and I will get up – stronger and still smiling. If I can get this far in life, if I can keep so many plates spinning without the whole crockery set smashing down, then anyone can. DID shouldn’t have to be the end of one life. It should be the beginning of many.

ALL OF ME: My Extraordinary Story of the 20 Personalities Sharing My Body by Kim Noble is available at all good bookstores ($32.99)

www.empoweronline.com.au


life | Feature

Intimacy

The

Equation

Kirsty Greenshields explains why relationships lose intimacy and shows how to get yours back on track.

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ecently I had a confronting discussion with my husband basically stating, “I don’t want us to hide things from each other anymore”. That sounds serious and it was but our relationship has always been incredibly transparent. From the time we met over 12 years ago, we have shared our heart and soul with each other, and we have been married for almost eight years. In my experience, intimacy is a topic that is still not easily discussed in our culture. It has been labeled a little bit “taboo” and is definitely not something discussed at your Friday night dinner party. Intimacy has become closely associated with sex, which is right up there with money and politics in the “issues most likely to be discussed with friends” stakes. As a result, you may look at others and think their relationship is amazing. Yet, if you scratch the surface you will most likely find unhappiness and miscommunication. When you are on the outside, looking in, you never have the full story. Just a few weeks ago friends of ours who seemed to have the perfect marriage split up after 37 years together. This came as a complete shock because they seemed so happy. In reality the perfection lay in the portrayal of perfection to those around them. In working so hard to maintain the appearance of a flawless couple, they were destroying their intimacy. Because they

Summer 2012

weren’t being honest with themselves as individuals, they had no honesty in their relationship.

My story

A few years ago our relationship was on the rocks. My husband, James, was working crazy hours and we had a new baby. He would go for days without seeing our daughter because he left for work before she woke in the morning, and returned home after she’d already gone to bed.

How comfortable are you allowing someone to see inside you, behind the act? As the sole provider in our home, he felt his work was extremely important and so did I. At the time, we had moved to a new city where my support network was minimal and I was coming to terms with being a new mum. I didn’t have any emotional release and felt that everyone else was more important than me. I was tired, I was feeling sorry for myself and I didn’t know what to do about it. As the months went on I became more and more depressed until one night I lashed out and hit my husband. Later I described it as a volcano erupting. It was like this ‘stuff’ had been bubbling up inside me, like hot lava, and suddenly it was spewing out, both physically and verbally, and I could not control it. I knew that I could never let it get to this point again. Neither of us had been true to ourselves, much less to one another. I was hiding my anger and frustration about James’s work schedule, all the while

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becoming increasingly resentful that I felt more and more like his housekeeper rather than his wife and lover. James also hid his frustration; he trudged dutifully each day to his job as he experienced a huge internal struggle about the hours he was working, knowing he was unable to spend time with the two most important people in his life.

Intimacy starts with you

When we stopped and took a really good look at our relationship we realised that we both had a part to play in allowing things to get that bad; there was no one person to blame. We also realised that to change it and make it stronger we would both have to work at it. In the busyness of day-to-day life you may wake up one day and discover that you feel in conflict with your values and priorities and are lacking intimacy with yourself. When you haven’t been communicating clearly with yourself, that lack of communication will flow over to your relationship with your partner as well. After all, if you are not communicating clearly with yourself and in touch with what you really want, how can you possibly communicate what you want clearly to others? When my husband and I experienced this situation a few years ago, neither of us were being honest with ourselves about the level of resentment we were feeling, so how would this message ever get through to one another?

Compromise and resentment

Another common contributor to the level of underlying resentment in a relationship is competition, or our tendency to “keep score”. When you keep score with your partner, you create an imaginary


Feature | life

competition between you – it could be around your finances, household duties or intimacy issues – without actually discussing it with your partner. As you continue to earn points and keep score, the imaginary competition leads to a build up of resentment, both with yourself and your partner. You both potentially feel you are compromising too often (and losing points) and not happy with the choices you make.

Getting vulnerable

In this perpetual cycle of poor communication you are not able to fully accept yourself, let alone your partner. This leads to “shutting down” and a fear of becoming too vulnerable with the other person (because they may let you down). Naturally, when you are afraid of being vulnerable, intimacy suffers. Wikipedia defines intimacy as, “close familiarity or friendship; closeness; a private cozy atmosphere”. If you don’t want to be vulnerable, you can’t be cozy, can you?

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Intimacy ( Into + Me + See)

How comfortable are you allowing someone to see inside you, behind the act? Are you able to remove the protective mask completely? In our most recent ‘intimacy’ conversation (the one I mentioned in my story), vulnerability ran deep. There were issues of sexuality and self-loathing that we had been hiding from ourselves and each other, blocking us from being open and vulnerable. If one of us was afraid of being ‘caught out’ by the other, it simply reflected

the shame we felt about our own behavior. This conversation was finally the open, honest and frank discussion that came as a result of us both taking responsibility for our intimacy problems. The eventual healing of intimacy in our relationship would not have occurred had we not been prepared to see into ourselves and ask real questions about what we were hiding – from ourselves and from each other. Think back to a time you were truly ashamed of something you had done. How long did you hold on to that shame? Chances are you didn’t want to share it with anyone, worried that they would judge you as harshly as you judged yourself. You tried to lock it away in your internal safe, where no one else would know about it. How did that affect your life? Were you truly comfortable in your own presence, knowing you could not forgive yourself for that shameful act? In your mind the, others (even those closest to you) would also not forgive you. As a really common example, have you ever bought something and either not told your partner about it, or lied about how much it cost? If you haven’t done it yourself, I bet you know someone who has done it. I’ve certainly done it. It’s a simple example, but a great one to use to demonstrate trust in a relationship. Think back to that time and consider whether you felt you were able to be completely transparent with your partner. If not, why? Was it because you felt you didn’t deserve the item? Did it cross your mind that you may be judged for how much you paid, therefore questioning your worth? What was it that stopped you from telling the truth?

Balancing the equation

Once you recognise this aspect of yourself and take responsibility for your part in the underlying frustration or lack of intimacy in

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your relationship, you can begin to change things for the better. Be aware that it takes an equal commitment from both of you. After all, both sides of the equation must equal one another. Try these tips for balancing the equation: 1. Be honest with yourself about how you are feeling in the relationship and with your partner. Spend regular time in communion with yourself – daily is best. 2. Promote open, honest communication with one another, so that you feel free to express your feelings. 3. Become vulnerable; stop hiding. Remember that you chose one another for a reason. Your partner is the mirror that reflects your level of personal intimacy, so love each other with your whole heart and you will be able to forgive and heal. 4. “Make love” regularly. Don’t just go through the motions. Go deeper than the physical. Look at each other. Really look into your partner’s eyes. Breathe your partner deep down into you. Feel the joy of communion with another person. When you decide to do these things regularly your relationship will grow. You will no longer complain about your partner because you will take equal responsibility for the state of your relationship and maintain a strong commitment to honesty with yourself and one another. Kirsty Greenshields is a passionate partner, mum and business owner. She is the founder of Create Perfect Health, dedicated to empowering you to let go of unhealthy habits and create balance and harmony in your life. She is also author of the upcoming book, “Women, Money and Intimacy”. www.kirstygreenshields.com

www.empoweronline.com.au


feature | Life

Self-

imposed

barriers

Negative beliefs aren’t just a sign of pessimism; as Tanielle Thomas explains they are barriers to finding a sensational relationship.

“M

en only want one thing”, “I’m just hopeless when it comes to dating”, “It just wasn’t meant to happen for me”, and, “I guess I’ll just have to enjoy the single life”. These are common declarations I often hear from clients who are struggling with love in their lives. Personal development gurus have long presented the general idea that beliefs can impact your life. More specifically, how do beliefs influence your dating results, and how can you recognise these self-imposed barriers in order to break through them? A belief is merely a convenient assumption of reality. It’s a decision you’ve made, and because you’ve based this decision on information from your environment you feel it is true and valid. At about age seven you begin forming beliefs about yourself and your world in order to make sense of your surroundings. This is when ego is born. Once you adopt a belief, it acts like a camera lens. You start to see the world as though you’re on the outside, looking in. From then on, your thoughts, behaviours, actions and/or lack of actions are all filtered through your lens. Most beliefs help keep things simple, because once formed you’ll tend to stick with them, let them define you. For example, people who believe

Summer 2012

killing animals is wrong are inclined to remain firm in this belief, sometimes even going so far as to avoiding or ignore evidence to the contrary. Once a belief limits you, once it clouds your judgement of yourself, others, situations, or when it prevents you from attaining outcomes that you desire, it becomes a barrier. So, if the lens through which you’ve chosen to view relationships is negative; for example if you think that all men are scared of commitment, you’re going to have a very different dating experience than someone who believes there are all different types of men, and great ones are out there. In other words, if you have an open and positive lens, opportunities exist that may be shut off if you have limiting and negative beliefs. Furthermore, you tend to attract the physical representation of the ideas on which you focus. Choosing to believe all men are ‘players’ will likely attract this very type, as your unconscious mind seeks evidence that supports your beliefs. Behaviour is also affected by beliefs, so if you accept that all men want ‘one thing’, your perception of reality may limit your ability to see there are other options; thus influencing your decisions and eventual outcomes. This is also true for beliefs you have about yourself. If you feel confident and exude self-respect, your dating life will be much more positive

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than if you choose not to see through this particular lens. Our experiences always stem back to the beliefs we have, which is why it is so important to acknowledge, understand and address them. When it comes to getting the relationship you desire, it’s important to be aware of three main types of beliefs; those about yourself, those about men, and those about relationships. What you believe to be true about yourself is the most important factor in having a sensational relationship. Seeing yourself through a positive lens means you’ll be comfortable with yourself when dating – which is the most attractive quality of all to men who are worth your time. So, how do you know when these barriers may be subconsciously lurking? You can start by creating a list of the thoughts and beliefs you have about yourself, men and relationships. Be sure to include those pesky thoughts you might have in the heat of the moment; it is often in these moments when underlying beliefs really surface; they may unknowingly be your default position. If you’re struggling, try completing sentences like these: ‘All men are...’, ‘Men treat me like...’, ‘I am...’, ‘I’m not...’, ‘I look...’, ‘I deserve...’, ‘Relationships are...’ Now circle each belief that is not serving and supporting you in getting the relationship you want. Pick three that you’d like to change, write ten reasons why each belief is not true, and then decide on three new beliefs to replace them that are more empowering and positive. Tackle those limiting beliefs head-on. It’s time to knock down those barriers so you can enjoy dating! Tanielle Thomas is an inspirational Singles Coach and Dating Mentor who is passionate about helping singles find the confidence to be themselves, and attract their soul mate. Visit www.fulloflifecoaching.com.au or email tanielle@fulloflifecoaching.com.au to find out about her tailored coaching programs.


Enjoy some time out for yourself with these new inspiring and motivational books. Business

The Big Book of Small Business By Andrew Griffiths, Allen and Unwin, $35.00

“Andrew Griffiths knows his stuff” – Ross Gittins Packed with inspirational and practical advice, The Big Book of Small Business will help every business owner build the business of their dreams. In his down to earth, street smart style, Andrew Griffiths identifies new opportunities for smaller business operators to grow their business fast. He also shows how an entrepreneurial attitude can improve every aspect of a business, from customer relations to promotion to backroom accounts. If you only buy one business book this year, make it this one.

Career

Make yourself unforgettable

Inspiration

How to climb Mt Everest in Sandals By Rhiannon Rees, $38.95

‘How to Climb Mount Everest in Sandals’ highlights the raw, courageous and heart wrenching story of Rhiannon’s life that will set sparks flying inside readers and inspire many to live the life of dreams. Rees commented; “I lost my innocence through child sexual abuse, lost contact with my mother for most of my childhood, lost my brother to suicide, lost five babies to miscarriage, lost all my money, lost my husband to his other identity as a woman, and even lost the roof over my head and became homeless. Each of these losses carved into my soul, and I thought I would never survive. But I did.”

Happiness

When Happiness is Not Enough Chris Skellett, Exisle Publishing, $29.99

Did you know that universally there are two types of happiness? The first type is pleasure. Pleasure is based on short-term gratification. It’s fun, it’s indulgent, it’s the basis of humour and enjoyment, and gives us a sense of contentment. The second type of happiness is different, it’s the feeling of satisfaction. Satisfaction is based on the achievement of personal goals. We set goals, we achieve them, and we feel satisfied with the result. When Happiness Is Not Enough will teach you that the secret to happiness is by balancing pleasure and satisfaction in our lives. It will show you how to do this through applying the Pleasure/ Achievement Principle to the three areas of life – at play, at work and at home.

Dale Carnegie, Simon & Schuster, $18.99

What does it really mean to have class? How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd and become a successful leader? When should intuition guide your decisions? Learn the secrets to making a positive, lasting impression, including the six steps to managing communication problems, the four unexpected stumbling blocks to ethical behaviour and how to avoid them, a new way to understand and exude confidence, techniques for building resiliency and preventing fear, and the five key social skills that identify someone as a class act . Once you discover how you can naturally and effortlessly distinguish yourself, you’ll quickly find people in all areas of life responding to you more positively and generously than ever before.

Inspiration

Breast Support By Gwendoline Smith, Exisle Publishing, $29.99

If you or someone you love has breast cancer, you need this book! When Gwendoline Smith chanced to have a breast examination at a mobile unit in 2009, little did she know where it might lead. Sure, she lived with the knowledge of her mother’s breast cancer years before, but could it really happen to her too? The realisation dawned only when the medical evidence could not be questioned, and so began one of the most testing years of her life. In Breast Support, Gwendoline describes not just the physical and medical experience of breast cancer, through diagnosis, surgery, recovery and rehabilitation, but the emotional and psychological experience too.


wellbeing | Spotlight On

Vedic Meditation?

What is

The word meditation is used in the west to describe many different practices and techniques that elicit a wide variety of change responses in the mind and body. Jonni Pollard discusses the easiest one of all.

S

ome meditation techniques require that you focus on a particular object, idea or sound. Some require concentration on breath or body sensations while others, one attempts to think nothing at all. Some techniques are very difficult or near impossible, whilst others take months if not years to gain any benefit. Some simply don’t seem to have much of an effect no matter how long you practice. Generally though, the desired outcome of a meditation practice is the same. The desire for a quieter, stiller, more stable and centred experience of your self. I teach a wonderful technique known as Vedic Meditation. It is derived from the ancient Vedic tradition, which finds its origins in ancient India dating back more than 5000 years. The word ‘Vedic’ means ‘to know or have knowledge of’. The Vedic tradition is dedicated to the science of consciousness or more simply put, the science of being aware, of as much as possible, in every moment. Being such an ancient tradition, it has had plenty of time to streamline its approach for getting the job done as quickly as possible. From the Vedic perspective, in order for meditation to be effective it must be effortless, natural and simple and most importantly provide a significant increase in the quality of our eyes open daily experience. The purpose of meditation is to have a regular experience of an awareness state beyond the surface level of thinking that you experience day to day. The idea is to cause the mind to fall quiet and rest in its least excited state. For anyone who has attempted to meditate, despairingly thrown it in the

Summer 2012

‘too hard basket’ and listed yourself in the ‘I cant sit still for more than 30 seconds to save my life’ category, there is some great news for you. The only thing failing you is technique. Getting into a state that referred to as transcendence is a completely natural and effortless process with the right technique designed to cause the mind to do such a thing. Vedic Meditation is such a technique. The practice of it is entirely natural, effortless and absolutely anyone can master it. Vedic Meditation causes the mind to transcend the often busy surface level of thinking (which consumes the your awareness day-to-day) and take a dive deep into subtler states of awareness until eventually it transcends thinking all together. What is left is an experience referred to as ‘being’. Being is quite simply the experience of your Self minus the thoughts. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? And, it gets better. When you practice Vedic Meditation, the effect of the thinking mind collapsing into the vast quiet ocean of Being causes a profound effect in the body. Research has revealed that a 20 minute sitting of Vedic Meditation can provide up to three to five times deeper rest than what you would experience in a good nights sleep. Science recognises that the only effective and lasting antidote to stress and fatigue is deep rest. Nothing else can do it. Unfortunately for most people, sleeping isn’t cutting it as far as providing the kind of rest needed to repair the body and mind from the onslaught of challenges and demands experienced during the day. If we aren’t recovering from stress, we are accumulating it; it doesn’t go away, it just builds up. We can convince ourselves

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that a few glasses of wine may be doing the trick but the reality is, we are simply numbing ourselves from something that is still very much in our system, undermining every single aspect of our experience. Perhaps the biggest discovery though is how Vedic Meditation affects the brain. Studies revealed through an EEG (a devise that monitors brain waves, otherwise known as an electroencephalogram), that whilst practicing the technique the brain experiences EEG coherence. Coherence refers to a higher and more orderly functioning brain capacity. Orderly brain functioning correlates with rising IQ, increased creativity, improved memory and learning ability, higher moral reasoning, emotional stability, maturity, alertness and increased reaction times, just to name a few. Consistent practicing of Vedic Meditation also has an impact on aging. Our biological aging is compounded and accelerated by stress. Researchers have found that people who practiced Vedic Meditation for more than five years had a biological age up to twelve years younger than their chronological age. From the perspective of the mind, when we are able to repeatedly, effortlessly and systematically have an experience of ourselves beyond our frantically thinking minds, the mind simply begins to identify with that unbounded vast stillness of the Self. It becomes increasingly more difficult for the ego to define itself as simply a body inhabited by a very busy mind. We begin to be able to observe the thinking mind from the perspective of Being. This is one of the greatest abilities any human being can have. Here in lies the very secret to transforming your life


Spotlight On | wellbeing

experience. The recognition that you are not your thinking mind. You are in fact an unbounded ocean of pure awareness that has the capacity to creatively respond to any challenge or demand you are faced with and transform it into a wonderful opportunity to grow and know yourself even more than you did in the previous moment. With greater knowledge of the self comes greater knowledge of how to navigate through life with frictionless ease and grace. This is the most common report from those practicing the technique. If you are sick of feeling tired, stressed, anxious, scattered, emotionally unstable or all of the above and you want a simple solution to these problems but only have limited time in the day, then Vedic Meditation is for you. After short time of practicing, you will experience some wonderful benefits. You will have more energy, feel less stressed and anxious, have greater adaptability in the face of challenges and demands and become less reactive to things that generally drive you crazy. Plus, you will be more present and generous with your attention when relating to others, more productive and more creative.

Learning the technique

effortlessly think about things that promise greater fulfilment and so too does the mantra. The mantra’s natural tendency, once you have begun effortlessly thinking it, is to refine itself into subtler and fainter variations of itself until ultimately it gets so faint, that it disappears. The techniques effectiveness lies in combining the natural tendency of the mind to effortlessly follow a charming sound as it refines itself into imperceptibility. There is no effort, no concentration, no focus required for this to occur. It all happens automatically, dropping the mind into a field of no thought and no mantra, just simple innocent pure awareness. It’s really as simple as that. This is why Vedic meditation is referred to as a natural technique; it doesn’t utilise an unnatural force to cause the mind to do anything that it isn’t naturally doing. We elegantly coerce the mind into being rather than force and strain it. The first thing that happens when we experience this thoughtless state is the thought “oh wow I’m having no thoughts” but of course at this stage you are. After noticing this, the mantra is activated again and you continue effortlessly. The benefits of the technique are experienced immediately. This is not a technique that requires years, months or even weeks to master. At the end of the short course you will have mastered it. You are then ready to continue on your own as a twice-daily practice wherever you like. Vedic Meditation can be practiced anywhere, in the car, on a bus, in the office, in a park or even whilst breast-feeding. Jonni is a full time teacher of Vedic Meditation and a personal consultant. He is based between Los Angeles and Sydney and teaches extensively all around the world (www.jpvm.com.au). Jonni is also the executive director of a US based non profit research and education initiative called 1 Giant Mind (www.1giant mind.org).

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Learning Vedic Meditation is simple; it takes only four sessions of about one and a half hours duration. The technique involves effortlessly thinking a sound, which we call a mantra. Mantra is a Sanskrit word which means, Man= Mind and tra= vehicle. While there are literally 1000’s of mantras, the Vedic Meditation technique uses a very specific set of

mantras known as ‘beej’ mantras. Beej means seed. The beej mantras have no meaning as such, however like a seed of a tree, inherent within it, is the potentiality of all the elements that make up a tree like the trunk branches, leaves, bark etc, but it isn’t the tree yet, it is just the potential of a tree. The beej mantras are the seeds of a broad spectrum of creation potentialities, which the mind finds irresistibly charming. So how does this meaningless sound cause the mind to fall quiet you may be thinking? The reason is as simple as it is elegant. The mind is a thinking machine; it’s what it does best and most naturally and it has a very specific preference of what it likes to think about. This is generally anything that promises a greater experience of happiness and fulfilment; the mind is actually a happiness junkie. There is nothing that the mind seeks that isn’t in the name of happiness. It is our essential nature to desire greater happiness; even if you find yourself perpetually grinding over bleak or violent thoughts, there is some sort of gratification being experienced as a result of thinking it. It’s a fascinating exercise to take time out and observe this underlying theme playing out in everything you do. So, the mind has a natural tendency which is to

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www.empoweronline.com.au


wellbeing | Fitness

off Get the

merry-go-round If you are like most women, you’ve wasted years of your life on diets – starting, stopping, starting, stopping – and yet it’s likely you’ve still not seen any great improvement weight-wise. Amanda Preece shows how to stop the dieting cycle and start to get results.

D

o these excuses sound familiar to you – “I’ll start Monday”, “I’ll start again tomorrow”, “Well I have blown my diet now so I might as well not bother for the rest of the day/week”, “Why bother, I have tried to lose weight and get fit before and it never works”? Or maybe you are the type who has spent hundreds of dollars on the latest pills, shakes or exercise machines that promise the world but you never seem to be able to stick it out long enough to see. If this sounds like you welcome to the Merry-Go-Round of dieting. The problem is, this merry-go-round cycle of dieting is not doing you any good, physically, mentally or emotionally. It’s time to eliminate the merry-go-round cycle from your life.

There is no quick fix

The first thing you need to come to terms with is probably the hardest thing of all, and that is there is no quick fix, miracle pill or diet that is going to give you the long term and permanent results that you desire. It’s all about your daily health and fitness that will bring you the results you want. It really is simple, you have to eat well and exercise daily to lose weight and maintain it. So many people start out with high motivation and then after a week or two go back to old habits. If you are one of those people who have tried diet after diet then maybe it’s time that you quit the dieting and decide to live a healthy lifestyle, and do so for the rest of your life.

Summer 2012

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Fitness | wellbeing

In my experience people spend years developing their way of thinking, and that can be a dangerous thing if you don’t wake up and start to take responsibility for what you have created. Every time a diet is started and left unfinished, it triggers a signal in the brain that will eventually become a very negative mantra: ‘I can’t do this’. It is up to you to change this mantra. If you want to get off the merry-goround of dieting it’s time to get real with yourself and be honest about what is really going on in your life to bring on overeating. Why is it that you are eating? Take a step back and ask yourself what is going on in your life to bring on overeating? From my experience and through working with clients the answer generally comes down to one thing: HABIT. Like any habit, the more you do something the more of a habit it becomes and the harder it is to change.

Pain v pleasure

While getting off the merry go round of dieting is a very individual thing, most people give into cravings because they feel the emotion of pain and would much rather feel the emotion of pleasure – pain being the experience of the craving and pleasure being the experience of giving into and satisfying the craving. For the purpose of this article we’ll use the example of craving chocolate but of course it relates to any type of food or drink or merry-go-round situation that you may be dealing with. There are two paths you can take when cravings arise and at the time both seem painful, but both have completely different outcomes. The reference to a craving being painful is a reference to the feeling of absolute anxiety and weakness you experience when your strong desire for chocolate (in this case) that isn’t being met. It’s the feeling that you can’t go another second without it; the inner battle of should I or shouldn’t I that goes on until your head is about to explode.

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1. Give in to the craving

A craving is just that...a craving. It is not life threatening, nothing bad is going to happen if you don’t eat the chocolate. You are craving it because for years you have fed your body and mind with bad and addictive foods that you don’t actually need and your body (and mind) is accustomed to it.

Each time you give in to your cravings you strengthen the signal in your brain that remembers that every time you are craving chocolate you eat chocolate. Subsequently, you become weaker and less disciplined and your whole life becomes about eating and satisfying your cravings. The important point to note about satisfying a craving is that you never actually satisfy it; you only make the need for it and reliance on it stronger. And at the end of it all you are still on the merry go round, probably still unhappy and still wondering if you will ever reach your weight goals.

2. Push through the craving

Option two is to push through the craving knowing once again that a craving is just that...a craving. Cravings always pass and no doubt you have experienced this at some stage when you realise a couple of hours after the craving that you forgot, or didn’t have time, to fulfil it. By pushing through and ignoring the craving, not only will you come through it stronger, happier and healthier, you will also have started to change the signal in your brain. The most important point here is to remember that the craving will always pass. The more that you push through the cravings and start to change your habits, the easier it becomes. As time goes by you will find you have less and less cravings than before. In a moment of weakness, a great technique is to just stop what you are doing, take 10 deep breaths and focus on the positive changes you want to make to yourself. Focus on how you want to be looking and feeling rather than how you feel in the moment of the craving. Focus on how you are in control of your decisions and cravings and not the other way around.

Changing bad habits

Over your life you develop a series of bad habits in every area and whether you like it or not, your habits determine who you are. Becoming aware of your bad habits is the first and biggest step to changing your life, and generally this starts with bad food habits. As an exercise, sit and write down what you feel has been causing your bad eating habits. This could be emotional eating, afternoon sugar fixes, eating a tub of ice cream in front of the television, eating when

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you are tired, happy, sad, bored, or all of the above. You need to become aware if you are eating out of hunger or emotional feelings. Then determine and write down what is preventing you from making the change to a permanent non-dieting, healthy lifestyle. Make a list of all your excuses and start t delve into why you’ve been holding onto them. Simple awareness here could assist you to let them go. Once you’ve completed these exercises, focus on staying aware and noticing when you are falling into these habits throughout your day. For example, let’s say you determine that you are eating due to anxiety. The next time you are feeling anxious and start eating, notice what you are doing and put down what you are eating. Then, step back from the situation and take a deep breath (this is good to get oxygen back into your brain). Once you are aware that you are not hungry and are eating only because you feel anxious, you can gain control over your craving. Replace the food in your hand with an herbal tea, clean your teeth or have a drink of water. Getting fresh air is also a great way to clear your mind and regain your focus. Learning how to drop the merry-goround cycle of dieting doesn’t happen overnight, but it does get easier the more you practice it. To ensure you don’t get overwhelmed in changing bad habits, start with small changes; it really is the small changes that end up making a huge difference to your life. It can be as simple as swapping a chocolate bar with an apple or a cup of tea. The main goal is to get off the constant starting and stopping diet cycle and develop everyday healthy eating habits. And when you think about it; it may be hard to fight those cravings and change your habits but isn’t it just as hard to stay on the merry-go-round and never reach your weight goals? Amanda Preece is an experienced personal trainer, yoga teacher, weight loss consultant and founder of AP Health and Fitness. She maintains a growing popularity in the fitness industry and a rapidly expanding client base. Amanda has dedicated her life to exploring and promoting pathways to women’s wellbeing and empowerment. www.aphealthandfitness.com

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wellbeing | Fitness

Love

progress, forget perfection

Progress isn’t always apparent. It’s seldom immediate and rarely linear, but if you persevere long enough, progress becomes unavoidable. Amanda Allen reveals how to recognise this process, so you can reap the awaiting rewards.

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wasn’t always aware that I was progressing to a better place. In fact, it was only recently that I realised that what I once saw as my life of considerable “failures”, punctuated by a few high achievements and endured by expanses of routine day-to-day living, has actually been my precious life of progress. Looking back twenty, ten, even five years ago I would have given anything to live my idea of perfection. I wanted Elle’s body, Venus’s strength, an attentive and affluent partner, a book on the bestseller list, a six-figure income, and a supportive and happy family; a completely spotless and ‘perfect’ life. I indulged in the alluring belief that once I arrived at this perfection, everything would be suspended in that state – period. Spoiler alert: despite having tried many routes, alleyways, scenic routes, shortcuts and secret tunnels to get there, I have never arrived at that destination. Now when I look Perfection in the eye I see a wolf in sheep’s clothing filled with empty promises, a static being with no tolerance for the vagaries of what it means to be an evolving human being. It sneers in disgust every time I succumb to sugar cravings. When my bathroom scales fluctuate with my natural monthly cycle, Perfection screams, “Failure!” When I turn to retail therapy, Perfection brands me as, “Weak!” Perfection is never satisfied. It leaves me physically and mentally exhausted. I’ve had enough of this conditional love. It’s a no-win situation, life as a battlefield.

Summer 2012

I have given up on Perfection for a more loving relationship, with Progress. Progress is flexible, aware, forgiving, gentle and wise. My journey with Progress helps me discover what I am and what I am not, without judgement. For years I struggled with sugar addiction. There weren’t many days that I went without a block of chocolate – or two. It was the best I could do, but over this weakness I suffered immense guilt, shame and remorse. I was an athlete, a trainer, and a role model for my clients and wanted to stop eating sugar, but I couldn’t. I felt like a fraud. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I didn’t shake the habit until I became very ill with a uterine fibroid tumour, which halted everything. Although terrifying at the time, this situation gave me an extraordinary opportunity to take immediate, drastic action to change my habits and heal my body. It wasn’t easy, but it was time to grow. Looking back on that time, I simply see a woman struggling toward personal health and healing. I see a woman who could not change until the conditions were right for her to change. I feel for that woman, because for her the only way to grow was through immense pain and suffering. Now I see me, a woman who is able to pull together the teachings of that pain and her time of suffering in order to help others struggling with similar personal challenges. I truly believe that we don’t always get what we want, but we do always get what we need.

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If you are beating yourself up for not following some plan; not living on salad, not hitting the gym nine days per week, please consider this story. I am all for discipline, motivation and hard work. However, berating yourself at the slightest slip or indiscretion is cruel and unnecessary treatment of the person you must love and cherish most – you. I’ve only recently come to lovingly embrace the fact that I’m human. With this acceptance has come an overwhelming gratitude for the opportunity to learn, grow and progress. It’s all about adopting an attitude of progress, not perfection. Dr Seuss summed all this up perfectly when he said, “there is no-one in the world who is you-er than you!” So, go forth and be you, with all the enthusiasm and acceptance that you can muster. Amanda Allen is a State and National champion triathlete, cyclist and canoeist, recently qualifying for the Reebok Crossfit World Games. She has been a firefighter, CEO and model. Amanda runs Realise Personal Training and Lifestyle Coaching, focussing on women’s health and wellbeing. www.realisept.com.au amanda@realisept.com.au.


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finances | Property

myths

Bust the

Numerous theories on property investing abound and many people stick with strategies that are either mythical or useless in this economy. Forget your broke uncle Ed’s ideas, Kevin Lee is here to change your mindset and debunk the most common property investment myths.

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any of the common theories and strategies involving investment are nothing more than myths. When accepted blindly, they will prove to be a disservice in your pursuit of longterm wealth creation through property investment. It is unfortunate that so many people have developed their understanding of property investment and wealth creation based entirely on these popular myths. Little do they know that countless Australians have been ‘suckered in’ for far too long. Some strategies in particular are a double-edged sword: they promote a mindset of short-term gain; but this

Summer 2012

misleading mindset keeps many from maintaining a sustainable, successful property investment career. There’s a very good reason why the vast majority of property investors never own more than one investment property. Many would-be investors, after speaking with their accountants and financial planners, are convinced that the only way to become a property investor is to lose money on a weekly basis. Often they do this for years on end, through a form of financial leverage called “negative gearing”, hoping that whatever equity they achieve in their property will materialise purely through capital growth once they’ve sold the asset they’ve been paying into. Investing for capital growth is much like gambling, and like any form of

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gambling, it’s hardly a long-term strategy for success. A true “mind change” is needed to recognise that it is actually possible to build wealth from the outset through investing in property that is neutrally, if not positively, geared. Once this change in thinking is made, it can literally change your life as well. It all starts with taking responsibility for your financial education, and challenging your pre-existing thoughts and beliefs about money. If you are considering property investing, you must understand that it is your beliefs, actions and decisions that will shape your financial future; that your financial situation is a direct consequence of the choices you make. In order to continually make good choices in this business, you need a financial education, and you must be equipped with a level of knowledge and understanding about this subject that many people unfortunately jump into this without. The baby boomers’ dream of having an income to live off of in retirement lies at the heart of the incorrect mindset that is so pervasive today. Let’s be honest, living off of pension alone is not something to which anyone really aspires. It is certainly not an exciting proposition. I believe a good way to create an income you can live comfortably on is to buy several of the “right” properties – that is, those that can be neutrally or positivelygeared – and hold them for a long period of time. We are not talking about becoming an overnight success. It takes patience. If you follow this model, you have the option to one day sell some of your property to pay toward the debt of the others, which you will be able to do as a result of the equity you have built up in them.


Property | finances

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Alternatively, the rental income will have grown to the point that you don’t have to pay them off – you can simply live on the difference between the rental income and the outgoings. These hypothetical properties will not individually make you a millionaire, but having a number of them will absolutely give you the ability to change your life. If you are interested in learning more about property investment as a way to earn income, these five most common property investing myths are important to understand; they will help you develop the right mindset.

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Acquire negatively geared investment properties because they save tax Quite simply, it will send the average family broke. The vast majority of us can’t afford to continually throw money at things, hoping for an eventual payoff. In addition to this potential stress factor, having a negatively geared property necessarily means you are funding your tenant’s lifestyle, because they are not paying the true cost of living in that property. Investors shouldn’t be funding their tenant’s lifestyle, it should be the other way around – and if your family is living on an average income, this can be an awkward and frustrating situation.

Looking for a quick fix in property is dangerous, as the person buying the quick fix is going to get ripped off almost as a rule. High-income earners may elect to do this to save on tax. However, this is not a smart property strategy and it is rarely a good way for you to build wealth. This strategy is particularly outdated in light of the fact that tax rates have actually decreased over the past 10 years, and due to the financial mess in which the world now finds itself, there is no guarantee of capital growth. In summary, rather than focusing on getting the taxman to help pay for your property, investors should be buying property where the tenant is helping to pay for it. That makes a lot more sense.

The long-term capital growth on your investment property will compensate for the fact it is negatively geared and requires ongoing additional funds

It is getting harder and harder to justify the ‘dream’ of strong capital growth, particularly with properties in the higher price brackets. My view is that in the coming years, property investors could be disappointed by the capital growth of their properties. Consider this: if you buy a property that is neutrally geared from day one, it doesn’t matter whether or not there’s any capital growth. Why? Because rents will continue to rise in the fullness of time, so you can then turn those rents into paying down the principal on your loan, and eventually you’ll own all of it or a large percentage of it outright. There will still be some capital growth, so you will remain miles ahead of the investor who is betting solely on great capital growth.

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3

It is virtually impossible to buy neutrally or positively geared properties in Australia today

At the heart of my property investment strategy lies a focus on buying neutrally or positively geared properties with cash deposits; the income (in the form of rent) equalling or even exceeding the associated costs. When I explain this, many people tell me that it can’t be done in Australia today. Or, they say it can only be done in remote regional areas, where they aren’t interested in investing. That is just not the case. I can go to any city in Australia and find properties where it can be done. The key is to invest in affordable properties within lower socio-economic areas, where at least 80 percent of the surrounding population can afford to rent. In this case, the capital growth might not be spectacular, but it will certainly increase in time, and this type of property can be neutrally geared from the outset.

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and that is also the case to a degree in the beginning stages of owning a neutral or positively geared property. However, after a couple of years of ownership when the rent you are receiving increases, the aim should be to start paying off the principal so you increase the amount of equity you have in the property.

The only loans you should ever have on your investment properties are interest-only

While interest only loans have their place in property investing as a tool to manage cash flow, they are only part of the strategy. Interest-only goes hand-in-hand with negative gearing because you need to reduce your outgoings as much as possible,

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Building wealth through property can be done quickly if I follow the advice of this off-the-plan apartment salesperson/developer/real estate agent/property spruiker

Looking for a quick fix in property is dangerous, as the person buying the quick fix is going to get ripped off almost as a rule. Generally, only the person selling the dream makes money. While it might be uncomfortable to hear, our desire for a quick fix is driven by greed. We get greedy because we want more or better, but we don’t want to work for it. We need to have a mindset where we are prepared to do the hard yards and be willing to educate ourselves about investing in property. If you’re prepared to go out and learn, you will mitigate your chance of being ripped off because you will be in control. You must accept that achieving what you want to won’t happen overnight – it’s more likely going to take something like 10 years. However, it will be worth it and it will give you the result you were looking for. Also remember, the right mindset requires taking the emotion out of your property investment decisions. When you get up in the morning to go shopping for investment properties, add tucking your heart under the pillow to your routine before you start looking at properties. You buy your investment property with a calculator, pad, pen, possibly a laptop and your brain, so you won’t need to bring it with you. This is a business decision, not an emotional one. Kevin Lee is a passionate and experienced property investor and one of the finance industry’s most experienced and outspoken members. To help people steer their own wealth creation through education and realistic goal setting, Smart Property Adviser offers would-be property investors a simple but effective approach to property investment www.smartpropertyadviser.com.au

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finances | Feature

borrowing The secret of

Anyone in business knows that obtaining finance can be a challenging exercise. Chris Acret explains credit scoring and suggests the best way to ensure your loan is approved.

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ow is a good time for selfemployed people who are intending to borrow in the near future to start talking to their accountant and mortgage adviser so they can put strategies in place to maximise the amount they can borrow. However, ensuring your finances are well organised is just the beginning.

Lenders’ secret formula

Banks have developed increasingly complex secret formulas to assess borrowers in the current environment, leaving the selfemployed particularly vulnerable. You may have a “squeaky clean” record, but there is a secret formula – called credit scoring and known only by a handful of bank employees – that has increased lenders’ dependence on every piece of customer data in order to avoid risky lending. The collection of data from a lender’s loan book as well as each customer’s application is compiled and recorded to provide them with a statistical profile that could make or break a customer’s application. Credit scoring could best be described as a statistical judgement and is one of the many policy changes we have seen in the lending environment in recent times. Over many years of collecting data from file records, lenders are able to clearly see the type of loans that go into default. Every field on your loan or credit application is recorded, collated and scrutinised, so borrowers need to ensure they

Summer 2012

complete the loan application thoroughly and understand what they are doing and, if not, seek advice. Of great interest to self-employed borrowers is the fact that lenders’ customer credit files also include the number of applications that have been made for credit and this can also adversely affect the credit score. As an example, one of our clients – a self-employed plumber with no defaults and a good income who was comfortably able to service the debt – received a decline on his loan application based on his credit score. As a plumber and sole director, he had accounts with various suppliers and retailers. Every new account he had opened had resulted in a credit check – a total of 15 credit checks over a period of time. This made the lender nervous and was the reason he received a bad credit score and the loan was declined. Very few staff within a bank’s credit department know what goes into

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determining how that bank determines borrowers’ credit scores; even the people that assess the loan often don’t know the exact criteria. Literally, it’s a case of “computer says no” and it’s often the little things that can make all the difference. For example, your application will be viewed favourable if you include more phone numbers. If you have all of your savings tied to your home loan and, therefore don’t have a separate savings account, consider setting one up. This will make a difference to your Asset and Liabilities Statement. Including items such as home contents, superannuation and vehicles can also bolster your application. Not all lenders credit score. Of those that do, some are flexible and others are very “black and white” in their assessments. With every field of an application now under such heavy scrutiny by the lenders’ systems, it’s important to seek the advice of an expert who is familiar with lenders’ requirements to ensure you have the best chance of securing finance. Regardless of the lender, working with an experienced mortgage adviser – particularly one who has access to a credit check facility – means issues can be


Feature | finances

identified early and strategies put in place to support your loan application.

Tax considerations

Self-employed business owners taking advantage of every claim at tax time could also be severely limiting their borrowing capacity. Independent business owners, contractors, freelancers and consultants in the market to buy a home or investment property need to be mindful of the tax deductions they make or intend to make. Many self-employed people do a fantastic job in legally minimising their taxable income however, the issue for business owners is that when it comes time to demonstrate their ability to service a loan, they can’t produce the evidence because their tax returns show low net earnings – usually year on year. This can mean reduced access to funds for investors and the self-employed. With closer scrutiny of a borrower’s ability to service a loan consistent business earnings are now more important than ever. Lenders will allow certain deductions to be added back into your earnings – things like depreciation, director’s salary, one-off capital expenses and extra superannuation payments. Self-employed people who are considering borrowing to invest in property should plan ahead and weigh up what is best for them financially. Business owners should work with their accountant and personal mortgage adviser to ensure they’re taking into account their borrowing capacity when preparing their tax returns, particularly if they plan to access finance to buy a home, or for investment or business purposes over the next year.

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Seeking advice

Finding the best lender and loan arrangements is not always straightforward. Today’s mortgage market offers borrowers far more choice but can be confusing and requires substantial time and effort to review the options. – this is of particular importance for self-employed borrowers. In the past 12 months licensing requirements for mortgage brokers have become more stringent and new credit protection laws have been enacted. This means you can feel increasingly confident

you are dealing with someone reputable to handle one of the most significant purchases of your life. Mortgage brokers now need to be licensed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Linked to this, new legislation has been introduced by the Federal Government to protect consumers when obtaining credit and there is a much greater emphasis on responsible lending. There are many advantages of using the services of a mortgage adviser versus going direct to a lender: • Convenience – someone else does all the investigation and legwork on your behalf; you widen your choice of lenders and receive credit advice from industry insiders. • Product choice – mortgage brokers have access to a vast array of products and services across a panel of lenders so, unlike lenders, they’re not trying to sell their own products. Rather, they’re trying to tailor a solution to suit your unique personal requirements. No two clients are alike and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. • Paid for success - mortgage brokers are remunerated for ‘getting a result’. • Knowledge and experience - because they deal with a broad range of lenders every day, a mortgage broker has an extensive knowledge base and range of experience. Even with plenty of research, the doit-yourself approach may not cover all the bases needed to find the right deal for your circumstances. Contrary to popular belief, not all lenders and products are the same. Many people simply go back to the lender they’ve used before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it offers the best loan solutions for your needs. Often, just going to another bank for a better product offering may give you the leverage needed to negotiate with your preferred lender; a mortgage adviser will do all of the negotiation on your behalf at no cost to you.

In the past couple of years banks have been increasing the time taken to approve finance – so the more organised you are, the quicker it can all happen. It can also mean securing your “dream property” by being able to offer attractive timelines for formal finance approval and settlement, reinforcing the importance of having “all your ducks in a row”. A quality mortgage advisor can ensure that all the required information is presented in the best possible light from the outset, taking much of the pressure and stress off you, and ensuring your loan will be approved as quickly as possible. Top tips for self-employed borrowers • Talk to your accountant and mortgage adviser to put strategies in place to maximise the amount you can borrow. • Complete every part of the loan application and ensure your paperwork is up-to-date, collated and easily accessible. • If your savings are tied to your home loan, consider setting up a savings account so that you can demonstrate to the lender your commitment to a savings plan – this will make a difference to your Asset and Liabilities Statement. • Further bolster your application by including items such as home contents, superannuation and vehicles. • Be mindful of the tax deductions you make or intend to make at the end of the financial year as you could severely limit your borrowing capacity. • Limit your applications for credit. • Seek advice from quality professionals who you trust and who are willing to work alongside your panel of trusted advisors.

*Smartline Home Loans Pty Ltd and their representative have made every effort to ensure that the information is free from error, neither Smartline nor its representative makes any representation or warranty as to the completeness or accuracy. Readers must decide if this information is suitable for their personal situation or seek advice.

Chris Acret is Managing Director of Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers, a multi award winning franchised mortgage broking group with a reputation for quality advice and outstanding client care. Smartline’s 200-plus mortgage advisers have assisted more than 130,000 Australians to arrange a home loan, with 85% of Smartline’s business coming from personal referral. Visit www.smartline.com.au

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finances |Feature

For love and

money

If you think managing the finances by yourself is difficult, the world of ‘coupledom’ is a whole other league. Susan Jackson provides some tips to handle finances in your relationship.

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hilst we might have promised to love, honor and care for each other, nowhere did it say anything about becoming responsible for each other’s credit cards or changing our spending habits. We excitedly embark on a life together with minimal discussion about how the finances will be shared or money decisions made. Added to this, it’s amazing how opposites attract when it comes to money; invariably a spender will end up with saver – however, the level of angst created will depend on the degree of the behaviour. A moderate spender and a moderate saver typically learn to accommodate each other’s idiosyncrasies, but for an impulsive shopaholic, life with a penny-pinching saver will prove fairly difficult. Most often, problems aren’t apparent until well into the relationship, after which the fur starts to fly every time money is mentioned. Little wonder then why money differences are a primary contributor in relationship stress and breakdown. It gets even more tricky in situations where we have blended families, any form of addictive behaviour, financial fallout from a failed business venture or an investment opportunity that doesn’t quite turn out as intended. These situations threaten not only to place stress on the relationship, but also to leave permanent financial scars – particularly if one member of the couple is left with the end responsibilities. Try these tips to develop and suitable money agreement:

Understand one another’s behaviour

Past experiences have made you the money person you are. You and your partner may have compatible money habits, or habits that drive each other crazy. In the latter

case it’s easy to be critical and judgmental of each other’s money skills. Try stepping back from this financial ‘score-taking’ to take an objective look at what really drives your partner’s day-to-day money habits. This will provide you with better insight into how you can modify your financial interactions. Let’s look at a couple of examples: If your partner spends because they are trying to compensate for things they’ve missed out on as a child or because they have low self esteem, berating them for spending will probably just make them feel worse, thus increasing their spending. Instead, look at ways to help them build self-esteem and confidence. Another potential money-matter problem for your partner may be avoidance due to the anxiety they saw around money growing up. Telling them to stop worrying is unlikely to have much effect. Instead, try to look at ways of alleviating the anxiety, such as helping build their money knowledge.

Find the right system

There is no wrong or right way when it comes to the joint finances. You and your partner can combine everything, keep everything separate – or have a combination of both. Find what works for you. In terms of expenses, many couples automatically assume everything is split 50/50. However, if there is a significant salary difference this can create stress for the lower earner, who will struggle to keep pace with the higher income earner. A more effective and sustainable approach in this

Susan Jackson is the Founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Financial Network (WFN). A licensed financial planner, she is also a regular speaker, media guest, facilitator of money education programs and magazine article contributor. She is also the author of several books including Why Saving is Like Dieting and Budgets Don’t Work. www.msmoney.com.au

Summer 2012

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case is for each to pay the same percentage of their respective salaries. Together you must determine who will be physically responsible for paying the bills, as often it falls to one partner without his or her conscious agreement. This can create resentment if one partner feels they do it all. Discuss how you’ll share financial responsibilities up front. Be sure that each of you has access to some discretionary spending monies (think pocket money for adults) that is yours to do with as you wish.

Sticking to the plan

Whether you have been together five months or five years, money behaviour can be ingrained and bad habits are hard to break. Even after gaining insight into one another’s financial style and agreeing on new strategies, there will be times when old behavior patterns reappear, feathers get ruffled and money disagreements occur. It’s easy to place blame, or lose faith in what you are trying to achieve. Having a written plan of attack will help you stay focused. Like most things in a relationship it’s all about communication, negotiation and working together to achieve outcomes that work for you both. Once you’ve survived the basics you’ll know one another’s financial personalities, and whether or not it is prudent to take the next step of joint debt, investing etc.


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A little motivation

Don’t Quit When things go wrong as they sometimes will, When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill, When funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile, but you have to sigh. When care is pressing you down a bit. Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit. Life is queer with its twists and turns As every one of us sometimes learns. And many a failure turns about When he might have won had he stuck it out: Don’t give up though the pace seems slow – You may succeed with another blow. Success is failure turned inside out – The silver tint of the clouds of doubt. And you never can tell how close you are. It may be near when it seems so far: So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Unknown Author

Summer 2012

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coaching toolkit

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Coach yourself to success

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live your Best life week 1

Set Your Goals

Areas of Your Life

Date:

Welcome to your first coaching session and congratulations for taking the first step to improving your life. In this first session you will be setting two inspiring goals for different areas of your life. Using the coaching models provided, complete the following exercises.

Where are you now?

On the chart, rate yourself on a scale of 0 - 10 in relation to where you feel you are at in each area of your life right now. Then, draw a line around the chart, joining the dots where you have marked your rating in each area. partner 10

family

eg.

6

7

2

3 4 wellbeing

finances

A ‘10’ means you consider that area is perfect and a ‘0’ means major improvement is needed.

social

0

PARTNER Think about this area in the context of whether you’re single or in a relationship. If you’re in a relationship, it refers to how you feel about your life with your partner. Is your relationship what you want it to be? If you’re single, think about your level of satisfaction with being single. Some people would love a committed relationship and others are content as they are. How do 6 you feel?

7

family This area refers to how you 5 feel about your relationships with family members. The rating you give this area should be an average for all family 2 relationships. While some will be strong, others may not be so good.

5

wellbeing

business/career

Where do you want to be?

spirituality

Next, give yourself a rating in relation to where you want to be in each area of your life in the next 1 - 2 months. Again, use a scale of 0 - 10 and draw a line around the chart, joining the dots where you have marked your rating in each area. Don’t be afraid to dream a little but consider what you can realistically achieve in that time. There’s no need to aim for a perfect 10 in any or every area. partner 10

family

self

Imagine your life with these results

social Similarly, this area refers to how you feel about your relationships 4 with friends and your satisfaction with your level of social/fun activity. Again, provide an average rating of your relationships and social activity. WELLBEING This is your overall sense of wellbeing and how you feel about your health & fitness. SPIRITUALITY If you’re a spiritual or religious person, this area refers to your level of connectedness with your beliefs. If you’re not spiritual or religious, think about your level of contentment with life in general.

6

eg.

BUSINESS/CAREER This area considers 7 the level of success and/or fulfilment5 you feel in relation to your business, career or current employment.

5

finances

8

2

3

10

social

0

5

2

FINANCES This final area refers to how you feel about your level of financial freedom and/or your progression2 3 towards your desired level of financial freedom.

4

wellbeing

business/career 10

spirituality Summer 2012

SELF This is your relationship with yourself. Consider how much love, appreciation, acceptance and respect you have for yourself.

eg.

5

8

2

social

family

self

5

Use this goal-setting tool over the next three months to achieve your goals and improve your life. Set the dates for your coaching sessions and let’s get started.

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8


Creating your goal Now it’s time to create your goals. To begin with, choose one area of your life that you would like to improve. Say it’s ‘Partner’ and you want to go from a rating of 4 to 8. Using the goal template over the page, create a written goal outlining what that new rating means to you - perhaps it’s about finding a soulmate or re-connecting with your husband.

Every goal that you write should be an empower goal. Think about the empower principles as you go through the process

Wellbein

It is the 31 g and I feel s st M a rc h 2012 of what I h o happy and proud have reachedave achieved. I of 60kgs an my goal weight I am fit, he d I look fantastic. much more althy and have so fit into that energy. Now I can and I feel fasexy black dress bulous.

Write your goal in the present tense, as if you’ve already achieved it. Make it meaningful, including some strong emotions, and make sure your goal is inspiring to you. Use only positive words and be specific – focus on what you do want instead of what you don’t want. Be a little realistic (but not too much) about what you can achieve in the timeframe chosen. Remember, too, your goal needs to be your own, not a goal to change someone else. You can only take responsibility for improving yourself and your life.

Goal 1

Write your goal

Fill in the spaces below to create your first goal. Remember, you’re writing in the present tense and be positive - with the right attitude you’ll get where you want to be much faster. What you want [Date] [Emotion1] [Emotion 2] to achieve It is .............................. and I feel so ................................................... and ....................................................... I/We................................................................................................................................................................................... I/We................................................................................................................................................................................... I/We................................................................................................................................................................................... Now I/We........................................................................................................................................................................... and I feel............................................................................................................................................................................. [Emotion3] Why you want to achieve it

Goal 2

Write your goal

Fill in the spaces below to create your first goal. Remember, you’re writing in the present tense and be positive – with the right attitude you’ll get where you want to be much faster. It is .............................. and I feel so ............................................................. and .............................................................. I/We................................................................................................................................................................................... I/We................................................................................................................................................................................... I/We................................................................................................................................................................................... Now I/We...........................................................................................................................................................................

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and I feel.............................................................................................................................................................................

Required action: Your only action for the next week is to read your goals every day. Read them out loud and, as you read each one, experience how you will feel when you have achieved what you want. This is called visualisation and is an important step in the goalsetting process – visualise your goals as if you have already achieved them.

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week 2

Making it Happen

Date:

Now that you’ve been reading your goals for a week, consider whether you need to change or add anything to your goals to make them even more meaningful and inspiring. In this session, it’s time to start setting (and doing) the actions necessary to achieve each goal.

Required action: 1. If necessary, add to or change your goals. 2. On the action sheet provided, make a list of the actions you need to take in the next two weeks to get closer to your goals. Remember, these are your goals and you’re responsible for the actions, so be as detailed as you can. 3. Choose a motivational book to read or course to attend to expand your learning. 4. Continue to read and visualise your goals everyday.

Goal 1 Action

Completed

................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................................................

Goal 2 Action

Completed

................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................................................

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week 4

Date:

Reflect on your goals and actions. Are you achieving what you’d planned to by this time? If you feel that you’ve lost some motivation for achieving your goals, or that you aren’t getting any closer to achieving them, it’s quite normal for people to experience this at some stage during the coaching process. To give you a reminder, and a shot of motivation, do the first action suggested below. Consider your results from the last two weeks. Have you completed all of your actions? If not, what got in your way? What can you do differently to prevent the same outcome in the next two weeks? If you’ve completed all of your actions, perhaps you can now push yourself a little harder.

Required action: 1. Meet with a friend or partner and share your goals with them. Explain to them all the reasons why you want to achieve each goal and how it inspires you. Ask them to hold you accountable. 2. On a new piece of paper, set some new specific actions for each goal over the next two weeks. Remember to challenge yourself. Anything worth achieving may be a little uncomfortable. 3. Continue to read and visualise your goals every day.

week 6

Date:

Hopefully you are well on your way to achieving your goals. If not, you may need to consider adjusting your goal date a little. This is normal and can happen for numerous reasons. You may have underestimated the time it would take, you may have gotten off track, or perhaps you may need to be more strict with yourself in taking actions. Remember, if nothing changes, nothing changes. It is up to you to achieve your goals.

Required action: 1. Adjust your date if necessary. 2. For each goal, make a list of 20 reasons why you want to achieve the goal. Remind yourself of how good you will feel and how life will be different. 3. On a new piece of paper, make a list of the actions you need to take in the next two weeks to get you closer to your goal. Remember to challenge yourself. 4. Decide on one nice thing you are going to buy or do to celebrate achieving your goal. 5. Continue to read and visualise your goal every day.

week 8

Date:

Well done for making it to Week 8 and congratulations if you have achieved any of your goals. If not, don’t lose hope, things sometimes just take longer than initially expected. Either way, it’s important to celebrate how far you have come.

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Required action: 1. Celebrate your success to date. Do something nice or buy yourself your chosen gift. 2. If you have adjusted your goal date, continue to set actions every two weeks and read your goal every day. 3. If you’ve achieved your goal, get ready to set some more goals and start again at Week 1.

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change your life in 15 minutes

sptoice Add

life

As humans we can come up with 10 excuses in two seconds flat why we shouldn’t, wouldn’t or can’t do something. Then we spend 15 minutes finding justifications to back up the first two seconds. As Anita Pavlovic shows, life can be so much more enjoyable.

R

ather than come up with all the reasons you shouldn’t, wouldn’t or can’t do something, spend 15 minutes letting your imagination run wild on all those things you’ve always wanted to know, learn or understand. It’s ok to say, “I want to learn how to decorate cupcakes” for no other reason than you just want to. It’s ok to be an Accountant who loves to Tango, is interested in Native Plants and has finally learnt how to ice skate backwards. Life is full of options. What could you do? Check out these 15 suggestions to help you add some sparkling new substance to your path:

1. Develop a skill

Whether you start from scratch or decide to further develop a natural talent, 10 minutes spent toward your goal each day and you’ll have a shiny new skill in your arsenal in no time!

2. Purse an interest

No matter if it’s philosophy, cooking, ancient Chinese history, bug behaviour or art that floats your boat, seeking ways to pursue an interest will reveal exiting new opportunities in both your personal and professional life!

3. Get a qualification

Ever wanted to learn fitness instruction, massage therapy or comedy writing? The door is open – go explore.

4. Try something new

Anything! If you need ideas, “randomize” an online search until you land on something intriguing – then try it.

Summer 2012

5. Achieve a goal

11. Go free-range

6. Get technical

12. Play

Whether your goals are big or small, personal or work-related, few or many, conquering just one of them will earn you a winning momentum – and a good reason for celebration. If ‘IT’ or the idea of ‘IT’ puts a smile on your face, go for it! These skills will never go to waste.

7. Be who you are

You don’t need to create a new you. Get to know yourself and learn to express exactly who that is.

8. Become what you want to be

You can do anything. You can be anything. Volunteer to help someone who does something you admire and blaze that new trail!

9. Face a fear

Do something courageous and then give yourself a pat on the back. You may or may not do it again but it doesn’t matter – you faced your fear!

10. Buddy - up

Structured activities are a great way to catch up with friends. Go dancing with a dancer or let a rock-climbing buddy teach you to climb. If you have an interest in something that no one you know enjoys doing, go it alone and make new friends; people love sharing their passions.

Pick a random place to do something different. My friend and I (both from Sydney) decided to go to the movies… in Terrigal. We went exploring, ate great food, went to the beach and watched a movie. It is life’s natural “reset” button – play dodge ball, hide and seek, a board game… you’ll wonder why you were ever in such a hurry to grow up.

13. Strike

Drop everything to do nothing – guilt-free – for an entire day. Let your thoughts and worries subside and the rays of inspiration shine in.

14. Dream, imagine, have a go

Visualise the ideal situation that would light your fire, rock your socks off and meditate on that dream. The work needed to get there may be arduous, but the dream itself can be invigorating!

15. Create a dare2 list

And keep it visible. Add to it, adjust it and familiarise yourself with it. On some uneventful day, jump into something daring before you talk yourself out of it. Check out dare2 courses for hundreds of course ideas to spice up your life: www.dare2courses.com.au

Anita Pavlovic is the creator and CEO of dare2courses.com.au, an online platform where anyone can find whatever type of course they are looking for.Dare2Courses aims to inspire people to develop skills, pursue interests, get qualifications and receive the wonderful benefits and opportunities that learning provides. www.dare2courses.com.au

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emPOWER Magazine - Summer 2012