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Olivia Newton-John “You are stronger than you think”

● Learn to win your internal tug-of-war ● Re-create the passion in your relationship ● Find out what’s really in your bathroom? ● Understanding property valuations

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12 Olivia

For someone who’s had her fair share of ups and downs, Olivia Newton-John is quietly content and has an amazing attitude of positivity. She chats with Helen Rosing about her early influences, love of music and the projects she’s involved in to make a difference.

24 Reaching turning point

It’s hard to build a dream life and a successful business for yourself following a dysfunctional childhood and an abusive relationship, but Stacey Currie did and here, she shares her story.

18 What is neuroplasticity? Know how your brain works to improve your life. 20 The internal tug-of-war Ensure that good prevails over evil.


22 Ask better questions Challenge yourself to generate new thoughts. 23 The Great Mother Re-connect with your mother archetype. 27 Re-create the passion Bring your relationship back to life. 28 Maximising intimacy Understanding masculine and feminine energy. 30 The miracle of Pranic Healing new way to happiness and longevity. 33 The oral impact Learn how oral health affects your overall wellness. 34 What’s in your bathroom? The truth about products you use everyday. 36 Gym-free weight loss Learn the five keys to lose weight anywhere.


38 Advance Australia fair Find out the current state of equality for women. 40 Bouncing back Know your level of resilience. 42 Raise your profile Promote yourself at work without treading on toes. 44 Unlock your inner leader Develop yourself before leading others. 46 A little bit De jour What makes the “tampon queen” Katrina Allen tick? 48 The etiquette of dining Ensure you make, not break relationships at lunch. 50 Become the guerrilla of marketing Prepare your marketing arsenal 52 Captivate the press Create a powerful press release for your business. 54 Angels are investors Learn how to get funding for your business. 56 Get proactive and save Get a better deal on your mortgage. 58 Understanding valuations Learn the three values of property 60 The value of money Appreciate money and have more of it.

4 6 8 10

From the desk… Your Say Meet the Experts Acts of Kindness

26 41 62 63

Check it out Great Reads Change Your Life in 15 Minutes Coaching Toolkit

52 60

From the desk... “emPOWER is the vehicle for women to achieve more in their professional and personal lives.”

Are we equals yet? Find out on page 38

Can you use an angel in your business?

Su b

Turn to page 54

ribe sc


As much as I love snuggling into a nice warm bed in winter, I always look forward to the onset of fresh crisp mornings signifying spring. They remind me that it’s time to renew and refocus, to get motivated and inspired for the remainder of the year. And speaking of which, it is such a privilege this spring to feature Olivia Newton-John on the emPOWER cover; a true inspiration! I can’t help but to be in awe of this amazing woman who has not only achieved so much in her career and business endeavours but has also faced and conquered so many personal and health challenges. I want to soak up even a little of her positive and compassionate attitude and approach to life. For those of you in the corporate world, you’ll learn how to Raise your profile (page 42) in the workplace without treading on toes. Get out of the shadows and learn five ideas to promote yourself authentically. In business, you’ll learn some unconventional methods to market your business in Become the guerrilla of marketing on page 50 and then how to write your own press release in Captivate the press on page 52. And, to get you working on yourself, check out What is neuroplasticity? (page 18). Martina Sheehan explains more about the brain and how you can change it to improve your life. Plus, improve your wellbeing by finding out what’s really in those products you slather on everyday. Emma Sutherland highlights the main (and toxic) ingredients and their impact on your body (page 34). For your finances, learn about the different types of property valuations in Understanding valuations on page 58. There’s plenty to get you inspired and motivated this issue. Happy reading!



Subscribe to emPOWER Magazine, for you or a friend, in this issue and you will also receive a gorgeous gift pack from Affirmations, valued at $52

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Cover Photography Photography courtesy of Michelle Day

Sub Editors Crystal Ading

Contributors Chris Acret, Kirsti Boothroyd, Swarnie Condon, Dr John Demartini, Bruce Doyle, Dr Ron Ehrlich, Maureen Frank, Kirsty Greenshields, Michelle Hext, Andrew Jobling, Elina Marshall, Noel Posus, Lydia Ramsay, Martina Sheehan, Emma Sutherland, Lindsay Tighe, Tanielle Thomas, Yolanda Vega, Chloe Wedgwood, Rebecca Wells.

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sitive PPosy chology HOW TO GET



Letting go of

impossible AND MAKING IT

Chambers “Find the thin g that




makes you dif

ferent ”


● What is Aco ustic Wave Technology ● How to ? ● Designing go home guilt-free a website that works ● D.I.Y. Sup erannuation www.empower

favourite letter

career | Feature


I found your article on The Bully at Work (Winter 2011) extremely helpful. My work life has been incredibly difficult for the past few months. I have been really unhappy at work due to one person who continuously puts my work down in front of others, purposely excludes me for meetings I should attend and whom I know has sent a number of rather nasty emails about me to others I work with. Thank you for shedding light on the topic of workplace bullying and helping me to have the confidence to do something about it. - Jacinta, via email

Feature | career

at work Wyatt in Australia. Dr Anne real and serious issue Bullying at work is a impact in the workplace what isn’t bullying, the discusses what is, and about it. and what you can do

legitimate and • A manager carrying out or reasonable management decisions work to actions including allocating goals and employees, setting reasonable about standards and advising employees unsatisfactory performance; about • Feedback given to a manager respectfully; their style where it is given disagreeing • An employee courteously and/or with a manager’s assessment their providing evidence to support

and • Deteriorating relationships life; reduction in quality of home suicide. • Depression and risk of

How employers can affected?


to go Allowing workplace bullying can be a unchecked in an organisation to businesses costly proposition. The costs bullying could of not managing workplace losses, costs broadly include production absenteeism, related to staff turnover and legal and increased insurance premiums, and loss litigation other costs associated with example as a of employer reputation, for employer. preferred

RESOURCES opportunity Discrimination and equal resources Rights Federal: Australian Human

Commission . html

Antidiscrimination New South Wales: NSW Board

www.lawlink.nsw.g and • Spreading malicious rumours that 21% of the Queensland: Antidiscrimination responses) both indicated gossiping; he issue of workplace bullying been targeted Commission of Queensland workforce claimed to have • Undue public criticism; behaviours” in Australia has received access to by “harassment or bullying due • Withholding or denying actions. The increased attention lately or and Human in the previous twelve months. such necessary information, consultation Victoria: Equal Opportunity People Matter to the public reporting of and 2010 Victorian public sector Rights Commission other resources; year old waitress . Occupational health had “personally tragic cases as that of a 19 Survey indicated that 21% www.equalopportunitycommission.vic • Yelling and shouting; result of being intimidation; safety who took her own life as a experienced bullying at work”. • Name calling, insults or perpetrated Workplace bullying is an occupationala or offensive targeted by bullying behaviour Antidiscrimination • Using abusive, insulting was given referred to as Tasmania: Office of the can a target do? by her work colleagues. Evidence is workplace bullying? What may be delivered face hazard. It is sometimes What which to, language negative the Commissioner subjected doesn’t always texting; psychological hazard although in court that the waitress was Although there is still no internationally Theoretically, although it to face or via email or message verbal insults, bullying of pranks health outcomes for targets and/or amongst other things, direct definition of workplace happen in practice, once workplace • Making someone the target degrading agreed upon physical Territory: ACT Human teasing, include Capital behaviour may for name-calling, reported Australian others and criteria and formally taunts witnesses bullying, the main has been alleged and or practical jokes. having are that: Rights Commission list of as well as psychological signs and symptoms. investigation and offensive sexual comments, to be called workplace bullying The development of a definitive in a workplace, an impartial into her bag, take place in a workplace; is something that has fish sauce poured on her and In order for a bullying constitute bullying hazard A behaviours could the that ge/Australian_ conducted. be her, should behaviours about nadig/nadig.nsf/Pa over time; in the the potential to cause harm. As such, malicious gossip being made verifiable the behaviours are repeated has been abandoned by researchers criticism allegation to be proven, the Capital_Territory and be managed of examples. exclusion, unwarranted personal include: dates, the behaviours are unreasonable; the workplace bullying should field due to the huge variety information required may Opportunity or have health South Australia: Equal and the damaging of her possessions. the occurrences, the behaviours cause harm, in accordance with occupational It should be noted that workplace of places and times of alleged and be Commission for example The employer and the perpetrators and was said and potential to cause harm. and safety management principles bullying can be “top-down”, who was present and what management bullying behaviour were prosecuted such on staff, “downSome examples of unreasonable perpetrated by managers part of an organisation’s risk done. Hard copies of communications Opportunity or consequently fined. the risk of Western Australia: Equal behaviours include: in some cases up”, for example via insubordination are no program. That means that as emails, post-it notes and tasks to For various reasons, there between Commission be anticipated • Assigning meaningless an allegation. ex. of “horizontal”, where it happens workplace bullying should photographs may support definitive statistics on the prevalence an organisation. in place by employees; easy to capture peers on the same level in reliable policies and procedures put it is due; These types of data are not html workplace bullying. Obtaining used to refer to and • Failure to give credit where is covert, for to prevent it and/or manage In a “Mobbing” is a term often used by the employer where the bullying behaviour data on prevalence is complicated. Anti discrimination be NT overload; behaviours Work should Territory: • a unreasonable Northern when repeated, occur. Interventions Australian without cause; example where it only happens or another it if it does CareerOne (2007) national • Removing responsibility as early and Commission and their by Core a group towards an individual designed to control the hazard assignment perpetrator of bullying behaviour survey of 1518 people undertaken • Repeated unreasonable group. of respondents of the features as thoroughly as possible. Data during July 2007, 74% target are alone. This is one of duties which are obviously in the can make it individual; said that they had been bullied of workplace bullying that unfavourable to a particular be What is not workplace addition, 22% Workplace bullying can How employees can and manage. up to fail e.g. by assess to workplace at some time. In people difficult Setting • bullying? “just quit” their kept make life unbearable not workplace affected? of survey respondents had Diary notes (which are best assigning impossible tasks; Examples of actions that are about it. end up as sadly should respect to for employees in Of course, not all cases will job rather than doing anything • Unfair treatment with away from the workplace) bullying include: (2009) of Each individual or training; Also what any industry, and A Drake International survey of opinion; as the case of the waitress. entitlements such as leave document what happened. • Expressing differences that and in context ultimately undermine 850 Australian workers indicated will react differently to bullying • Harmful or offensive initiation is happening in the workplace • A manager providing constructive, previous six circumstances. or was an organisation’s 25% had been bullied in the response to the particular practices; should be noted such as what courteous feedback, counselling said they had combination of personal work bottom line. Preventing at the time. months while more than 50% Reactions may include any • Interfering with a person’s advice to an employee about going on in the organisation a such as Workplace Bullying is witnessed bullying. effects or work equipment; the following: related behaviour and performance; People For example was restructuring attacks and/or The Victorian public sector practical guide to how there staff • Social or physical isolation; • Distress, anxiety, panic downsizing occurring or were 13,000 Matter Surveys of 2006 (over to identify, deal with, or seasonal sleep disturbance; 16,000 shortages and/or changes ability to or prevent what is a far responses) and 2007 (just under ideally concentration but • Impaired adjustments being made? occurrence. the target of make decisions; too common and costly If you consider you may be confidence, a 44 work, beware at • Loss of self esteem and behaviours unacceptable from on the Winter 2011 sense of isolation or withdrawal 30 years of storing information or emails Dr Anne Wyatt has over the workplace; expert computer system and no matter academic, an as employer’s experience of digestive send an • Physical illness, including speaker and how tempting it may be, never advisor, consultant, trainer, headaches in problems, skin conditions, email or other written communication published author in the occupationaladult held against and and musculoskeletal disorders; anger. Obviously, it may be health and safety, management of injury, • Injury or increased risk with Dr Carlo you. education fields. Together injury; with life and particularly psychological she founded Work should be balanced Caponecchia from UNSW • Reduced work performance; working environment it can Bullying. in workers’ in a respectful this is the ‘win- Beyond • Incapacity for work resulting enrich and fulfil it. Of course, all parties. compensation claims; win’ situation that is best for • Loss of employment;



cover story 45

I loved your cover story in the last issue on Kasey Chambers. I’ve always been a fan and your article presented her exactly as I had expected. to It’s great to see a celebrity who is so grounded and real and who knows that the world doesn’t revolve around them. I was particularly inspired by the way she has managed to maintain her relationship with her children’s father and his new partner. I’m sure I’m not the only one who can learn from that. - Estelle, via email


Rosing Little Bird, Helen new album, ongwriter Kasey release of her winning country singer/s on life, Following the -earth outlook with multi award gly down-to catches up her music career shares her refreshin and lows of Chambers who childhood to the highs from her uniquesense of individuality. and her strong


Winter 2011

Thank you for explaining more about Positive Psychology in your article on The Psychology of Positive (Winter 2011). I’m a new coach and have often heard the term bandied around but didn’t know what it was all about. I thought this article was a great introduction to the topic. - Gemma, via email

you | Feature

of The psychology


by surviving but thriving; becomes not just mean living which positive psychologists and in which real health a great life, one individuals to flourishing as wellbeing leads of a broader community and as members or society. therefore, positive Along these lines, on primarily focused psychologists have and applying researching, developingwe can now be that practical strategies But before we meaningful actually real, to and what we’re confident will lead istorically, clinical s in health ourselves, let’s define psychology doesn’t has and enduring improvement mental, counselling psychology on talking about. Positive physical, but it certainly builds exclusively and wellbeing (that’s focused almost . Before necessarily replace, psychological psychology emotional and interpersonal)point out and extends traditionalnot just to fixing problems; I should sickness upon one, it aims going on, however, positive psychology all of its efforts to approaches; for the as devoted almost out of the negatives that no one within relatively little effort will be help people move and and pathology with them well into the believes that anyone to real mental health but focuses on moving the metaphor started community and healthy all the time! This or time devoted has been based said, 100% happy positives. To continue that and wellness. This approach goal. But, that being psychology argues is an unrealistic by addressing faults above, positive to zero is a to expect to experience their on the belief that from minus 10 and it’s totally realistic help people improve although going start. most of the time weaknesses we’ll only be that...a health and happiness to bounce back from good start, it should lives. we shouldn’t have the skills true because achieved to and that’s also, partially Once only on focus But this is adversity effectively rather, we should and work through people overcome finish there but that happiness isn’t and although helping to positive 10! Instead quickly, which means good times but it’s as anxiety and stress of moving from zero difficulties (such at best, enjoying the being an absence might, it about simply just through target of the of depression) is important, minus 10 to zero. also about working as the ultimate goal from distress, therefore, a the tough times help them improve is to experience we call “okayness”) best one can. positive psychology wonderful But is zero (or what and is better than Okay What really meaningful really good enough? can do better. In emotions we this means range of positive just not okay but surely much better than is that (including, of course, and fact most of us want psychology positive happiness). are okay which is why more generally, The goal the wellness movement proving so popular.

where what, when, you discusses the logy and how Dr Tim Sharp positive psycho psychology to and how of to use positive can “choose” more meaningful and fulfilled r, lead a happie life. of get too far ahead



Winter 2011

A friend gave me her copy of emPOWER and I wanted to write in about your article on Unlimited Motivation (Autumn 2011). I found this article, well, motivating. I’ve not heard motivation explained in such a way before and could really relate to the concept of ‘away from’ and ‘towards’ motivations. Reading the article, I realised I have always been more motivated by moving ‘away from’ what I don’t want, which probably caused me to attract more of it. Thank you for the practical exercise in this article that is helping me to create a new “unlimited motivation pattern”. I am actually putting this into practice everyday. - Heidi, via email

you | In Focus



Joseph Scott introduces you of having unlimite to the five principl d motivation es in your life.

In Focus | you move away from the cause of such. We can represent this with a diagram known axis of motivation: as the

When asked, I will go out and socialise with Part A. You are others because moving away from • I like to meet and the pain or consequences be with other people (toward) , but you can put • It is rude not too up with it for a and I don’t want to while. First, notice upset anyone (away from) how real the discomfort is. Consider what I keep my home would be even more painful clean because if you don’t take • I like it like that action on this. Then, to (toward) add • I get moaned at motivation determine more energy to your if I don’t, or someone unexpected may come is good or pleasurable what you will get that around (away from) I go to the gym the action or started once you have taken or exercise because the activity. Come • I want to get the up health benefits from it (toward) with something that is big and important. • If I don’t my health Notice how good may get worse (away it feels and how I generally do from) it will feel good things because when you have completed • I can (toward) activity. As you this experience all of • I have to (away this about that activity, notice from) just how much How many ‘towards’ energy you have for taking or ‘away the step from’ did you identify? to be doing it. Go and do it! Most people will find themselves using Part B. You are motivation at just moving toward one end of the axis, either activity, but it doesn’t the mainly toward or mainly away from. to take any action. pull on you enough First, notice just Now that you have what attracts or pulls this understanding you toward it in on how you are the first place. Now as you typically motivated, think about that, ask we can move to the yourself, what is final important to me all the other principlesprinciple that brings about this? What does together and will the importance show you how to of this mean to you, how get unlimited amounts do motivation for the of knowing this? Imagineyou feel about it now, rest of your life. what it would mean if you never did Positive this. You would Combine both never realise this meaning away from and its importance. and toward It could be the start energies at the of procrastinatin same time g on other important and meaningful By doing this you things in life, you wouldn’t will create a personal want that to be motivation system true, would you? Sit that with this Whether we move action. By becoming propels you into notice the heightened awareness and more aware of the pain and consequences away from the pleasure and possible other energy available pain or toward if you don’t to the you, at the other good feelings or act on this as soon end of the motivation outcomes in our as you can. Notice life, both create energy that how much energy up your emotional axis, you can ramp we put into motion and motivation you motivation to get something. This now have for this. to do take action, you to is motivation. Go and do it! to feel motivated and finally in What this gives control of you. us As a final note, developing unlimited is a strategy for congratulate yourself Spend the next motivation for on doing or starting five minutes to take anything we want this activity and yourself through to do or have in notice how well the unlimited motivation you can motivate life. Typically, human pattern below. These yourself to take the actions that five simple questions preference to which beings have a are important to you. Feel end of the motivational can be applied to anything a sense of independence axis they become that you need and pride as you more motivation or get motivated read this and start for, any time, anywhere. by. We can ask ourselves to take the first After you have some questions steps to becoming an expert used this pattern to identify times, our own preference at developing your a few it will become very for getting motivated. own motivation. Consider each of Imagine the possibilities be motivating yourself natural you will the following and you now have for like an expert. notice if you are motivated your life. Practice toward what you makes perfect. or away from what want The Unlimited you don’t want: Motivation I get out of bed Pattern in the morning because Identify something Joseph Scott of in your life you • I have to (away The Coaching Room want to have or be more from) an internationally motivated about. • I want to start experienced coach is Once you have identified the day (toward) trainer, and delivering corporate something, write I eat well and down so you have it and public regularly because coaching and training a record to remind • I want to be well throughout Australia yourself of what and live life as fully and Asia for some you are working as I can of Australia’s largest (toward) on Notice your current corporations and motivation style • If I don’t I will government institutions. associated become unhealthy or He has dedicated possibly ill motivated with this activity. Are you the (away from) developing himself past 11 years to away from or toward and his service offerings what you want? If you are to deliver significant ‘away from’, read coach development, and ask yourself Part A transformation below. and performance. read and ask yourself If you are ‘toward’, www.thecoachingroom. Part B below.




a process

not a thing; it’s

The word motivation You will never trip is not a real noun. over a hunk of motivation that someone has left in the bathroom, nor will you find a chunk the fridge. Has anyone ever bought of it in a kilo of motivation lately? I think not.

• In the context of that experience of empowerment, also notice your two public or outer powers by which you can influence yourself and the world: • Speaking: using language, using symbols, asserting, etc. • Behaving: acting, responding, relating, etc. How does it feel as enjoy these powers? you just notice and How fully do you feel

Autumn 2011


People can motivate themselves using these three different types of energy

The affect of positive emotion often gives us the energy to move toward what we want or need, we somehow feel pulled drawn (motivated). or When we experience neutral emotions we can it”. And, in experiencing “take it or leave we experience discomfort,negative emotions a form of pain that pushes us (or motivates us) to try to





Away From


n life we need energy to live, to exist and to do things Motivation is a (with our life and set of thinking strategies with others). Yet or processes that them now? Access sometimes we can we run for ourselves. them so that you miss life by simply begin to feel these powers. talking ourselves out of it. Just like What do you need We are responsib this: do to amplify them? to • I just can’t be bothered… Do you appreciate amount of motivation le for the • It’s just too much we have these powers? Notice what you effort and I’m tired… What else is it that just read above • It’s not worth it, – “a set drives us to feel of thinking strategies who cares? motivated? What or processes that • Sure, one of these drives motivation? run for ourselves”. we days… Further, how does What does this • Yes, I know that motivation drive mean? It means that we I should, but… us toward what we are responsible want, need or believe? Sound familiar? for how motivated or not If this sounds like What is this fuel? we are in every you are lacking you, moment of every day! It one of the key ingredients means there is no the recipe of life in looking to point – motivation. someone outside Emotions are of ourselves the fuel of to provide motivation motivation impossible for another for us. In fact, it is Our emotions are person to motivate ultimately what us; only we can drive us. Let us take a look decide what is or at how emotions MOTIVATION; is not motivational. drive or move us to action. a psychological The best place to process You are responsible start may be with the that arouses the for yourself – what word “emotion”. you say and do, individual Emotion or e-motion, could what into action, toward be the way you structure you think and feel, a “energy in motion”. looked upon as desired outcome and frame what Our emotions are want. or goal; you energy. Typically our the reason for we can put emotions’ the action. Have you ever three distinctive into felt empowered? categories: Have you ever felt on • Positive top of was this and where? your game? When • Neutral In what context We can define motivation How empowered was it? • Negative did you feel? but does that help? Usually Put yourself back not enough. What If we can define in that time and this thing called is our emotions into you remember as ‘motivation’? Where three simple types these that state, allow you find it? How do and yourself we become believe to can we take responsibility that our aware of your two emotions are our for our own motivation? private inner energy in motion, powers of: we can make the same distinctions for our are five key principles We believe there • Thinking: representing, types of energy – positive, to attaining and believing, valuing, maintaining motivation: neutral and negative understanding, reasoning, energy. etc. • Emoting: feeling, somatising, emoting, Motivation is valuing, etc.


23 www.empoweonlin

inspiration | Profile

I have a child with autism and I know of Valery Folie so I wanted to thank you for including the last inspirational profile Making Quiet Progress (Winter O 2011). In my experience, ignorance about autism is one of the factors that make having a child with the condition so challenging. We lost a lot of friends initially, who didn’t agree with our choices and decisions when it came to our son. Like Valerie’s experience, friends assumed we simply weren’t disciplining him correctly and didn’t understand when missed social functions. It was a very painful period that also showed us who we could count on. I ask that everyone practice a little acceptance when it comes to children you don’t understand. - Christy, via email

Feature | career

Making quiet

proverb in that old Chinese ation, y is “interesting” ion, desper parts inspirat with a disabilit Having a child a life that can bring equal experience… her It is Foley shares kind of way. tears. Valerie laughter and

information is deeply For regulating sensory –a genuinely confusing. ur son, Billy, is seven the challenging and is like a punch in joy and bundle of love, him, a child’s laugh is like being stabbed. has also enthusiasm. He back. The dog barking sounds that he with Autism surprise been diagnosed Noises, especially In a are the bogeyman. (ASD). Autism is doesn’t control, Spectrum Disorder pmental disability. he lives in a constant the outside world, complex neuro-develo costumes. In some that someone or subtle state of flight, concerned a noise that of It shows itself in in endless wearing but something is going to make to loud kids, it shows itself exposure non-subtle costumes, where hurts him. Extended point the very colourful and to energy story. noise depletes his that’s a whole other first signs we had him in an ambulance The doctors have put the autism a coma. that Billy was on thinking he’s in Billy has Sensory things we Along with autism, spectrum were the with a (many people on had never associated When Processing Disorder SPD, though you have condition like autism. autism spectrum At the distance not be autistic). he stared off into can have SPD and he also developed an blowing in the old, fixated on leaves almost four years called Transverse songs to our folk condition sang we wind, auto-immune TM, with knew where He survived the little genius who Myelitis (“TM”). and nerve related When he ‘the answer’ was. some residual immune transfixed at our a craned his head challenges. charming son is theme tune, In a sentence, my local news channel currently boy wants and body are not we thought, “clever kid whose brain with the the world in the on going equipped to withstand of his peers. to know what’s avoided other as most same resilience world.” When he and made the decision we hugged him So, as a family we his pace, kids in playgrounds, don’t like take the world at OK, buddy, we to allow Billy to him a whispered, “It’s volume. We gave much either.” and at a suitable other people’s kids house became a was shy in a crowd, zone – home. Our visitors, We could see he with us all safe Minimal surprise us and laughed quiet, calm place. surprise but our son loved happy sounds, minimal connected and minimal surprise We day. To us, he was gorgeous. y were anything. boy and deeply, inspirationall family and friends share our wonderful Needless to say, got a lot basis. couldn’t wait to behaviour. We friends on a regular us. confused by our with family and who?” thrown at know it in the first of, “who is parenting Though we didn’t things it wasn’t for everyone, it was “the way Though we knew some year of Billy’s life, define – isolated, as it was would come to it worked for us seemed to us” that our family. on the autism Billy’s little niche and where receiving spectrum is a place 26

Winter 2011


So true! I could totally relate to Natalie’s article on Go home guilt free in the last issue of emPOWER (Winter 2011). I’m guilty, guilty, guilty! Although I loved the way that Natalie explained it all and totally agree with her, in a world where perception is everything, I’m not so sure I can convince myself to leave when the rest of my team is still working. - Amanda, via email

what – I never took for question me. Guess hours per week from how you I worked 50-60 Promotions come your time off! took any extra you years and never inspire and develop I the morning, then Sure nearly five manage, motivate, ridiculous rule that are energised in the off. But I had this the results you achieve. at that time on team and from no-one time needed to”. should be focussed may count, but clung to “if I ever is built work. The last thing working extra hours they over this rule. It most important get promoted because You have to get do in this time is they I know ever got and you are fooling in that you should hours; it was what on guilt, it is useless like email and personal to book worked extra long very least be sure distracted by things to the promotion. yourself. At the produced that lead and conversations. who work really your time off. you are focussing of us know people All passed us in our workplaces are Tell your team an hour extra hours and Guilt is all around to get on to come back in doing hard, put in the that we started encourage them job). By Worse still, I was and it’s high time tonight, plan to finish the up for promotions. and I was made not just call it quits (or when the you you can top of it. So why a great one company important tasks, for after a most this for leave your and doing rather those extra hours just this one night, sense of satisfaction, redundant. All of go home guilt free! go home with a days work. And, go four week payout! of than guilt. in fewer hours and fall into the trap If you can do it of people Too many of us work home. your leadership and then taking home, do it! It’s is CEO of the Open it’s “leaving early” count. the purpose and Natalie Ashdown and author of and results that Group It’s actually defeating many households Door Coaching best practice corporate no one will playing out in many, “logging a the latest book on – Mum or Dad 5. If I work extra, I want to Their Best – Inspiring around Australia I’m when coaching Bring Out have gone to bed. Natalie has question me off on” once the kids in Your Workplace. myself. Coaching Culture of this in the past have some time most ridiculous and their teams certainly guilty terms with senior executives biggest, guys.What you have to come to Finally, this is the to staying coached past eight years. bike ride with the had when it came over the or home doesn’t actually the gym or do a rule that I ever extra, I so that 4:00pm, is that taking work it. 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My team is and more to do. culprit is are our number one always find more that you following workload argues Closely your is and than decreasing trigger. of hours at work. this massive guilt on time atexpanding the number more the clock. 3:00pm in the day, I finished a workshop noticed that the ever gotten to say, Have you ever I had another meeting you have – it’s and thought, “that’s 4:00pm, you’ve 4:00pm last week. the more work things. I it’s finished your work icture this… It’s so I packed my work you do, is attracted you’ve now”, only to realise to go by 4:30pm attraction – work coaching leave, it, I can go home had a fantastic day, the group I was like the law of look around you think, “I can’t They then noticed that 3:00pm? 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Turn on of workplaces thing was, I felt you’ve also worked that you arrived at breath said, “Good saying NO, or change played out in hundreds guilty that you your work are So I took a deep the Feeling and left and start controlling or extra? Chances beat tables week” (to the next around the world. “early” you. you morning see home in the it to control or going you guys, work at 6.30am while instead of allowing are leaving the team, a further two hours a car park). Yet, building. you for the traffic and get is your team and keeps you at work too early, leaving I look good Now, what if it 6.30am is not considered 4. If I work extra they are still working? or so. usewill get promoted have you not had want to leave but at 3.00pm is. the guilty, you can and How many times theme to go our fixation off Rather than feeling be an underlining a break, forgotten We have to get to demonstrate time to say, There seems to leave lunch, not taken leave at into reality. 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So you end up working your team and this guilt, get our or real team player. is still working. else any manager of real It’s time to stop a at the expense and in-built rules www.empoweronli all that I 12 to 14 hour days fixation off the clock work/life balance. and not 3. I haven’t finished resemblance of today about what is acceptable doing that. It’s as go 47 needed to do is too early and just have to stop trip that You guilt what a or is list our acceptable Number three on sake! simple as that! to end. If you haven’t home for goodness do not book or let’s look at the is just never going by the As a starting point, To make this change, guilty about important work in your diary after finished your most take a why we feel accept appointments to be assertive then you have to five top reasons have end of the day, some clues to overcome 3.00pm. You may time management. going home and your reasons and good look at your with this, explaining on the most wishes. this guilt: will respect your The key is to focus you have gradually other at the time that one or two days, to leave important work Then, starting with example, This means if you 1. It’s too “early” the number one must leave. For is are most energised. a time where you I think this statement in the workplace pick up or get to school do to guilt arrange culprit in causing you going home. Have when it comes to

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guilt free

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Winter 2011

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meet the experts

to all our expert contributors Chris Acret is Managing Director of Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers and a pioneer of the Australian mortgage broking industry, having 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.

Rev. Sheri Heller, LCSW is a New York Psychotherapist (NYC), addiction specialist, Ericksonian hypnotist, and interfaith minister in private practice. She is also the founder of the Philanthropic Theater group Sistah Tribe, and has co-authored the play “Let the Phoenix Rise” which has been performed for mainstream audiences and disenfranchised traumatized women and girls in the public sector.

Swarnie Condon is passionate about property investment with a total of 9 properties in her portfolio. She is co-author of the book Journeys Along the Property Path and founding Partner of Inspirational People in Property. Swarnie works with people who wish to make their first foray into property investment or those that have already started and wish to fine-tune their investing skills.

Becoming a Business owner for the first time in 1977, Bruce Doyle has owned and operated an amazing 30+ businesses, 18 of which were developed from conception. Bruce became a Senior Business Coach, with ActionCOACH in 1995 and proudly owns the largest and most successful ActionCOACH team in the world. Bruce is an in-demand keynote speaker around the world. Kirsti Boothroyd is the CEO and founder of First Class Leaders Worldwide. She is a leadership expert, keynote speaker and performance coach with a proven track record. Kirsti has worked with individuals and organisations all around Australia for the past 5 years and has personally coached CEO’s, directors and managers to improve the leadership capabilities and performance of teams and organisations to meet strategic objectives.

Dr John Demartini is a human behavioral expert and the author of over forty books including ‘The Heart of Love’ and ‘Count Your Blessings’. He has been a welcomed guest on Larry King Live, a contributor to Oprah Magazine and featured in numerous national and international documentaries. As the founder of The Demartini Institute, Dr Demartini travels 360 days a year and speaks in over 56 countries globally.

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

Maureen Frank is Founder and CEO of emberin and, 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.


Martina Sheehan of Mind Gardener knows that thinking differently is the key to success and happiness. The Mind Gardener team has been making sense of the emerging science of the brain and turning it into something that changes people lives for the last 10 years. The Mind Gardener approach empowers people to take active steps to cultivate a happy, clear and focused mind.

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.

Dr Ron Ehrlich is one of Australia’s leading holistic health practitioners and educators. He is also a holistic dentist whose primary focus is the person attached to the teeth, rather than teeth attached to a person. Dr Ron lectures in the UK and Australia, appears in media, conducts research and runs workshops on empowering health.

Certified Life Coach and Pranic Healer, Elina Marshall helps people to become happy and healthy. She is the author of self-help books One Million Things You Don’t Need In Your Life and Home Delivery For Happiness; author of feature articles in newspapers and magazines in several countries including Australia; translator of a book on Reiki Healing Doctor Usui’s Notes.

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.

Michelle Hext is CEO and founder of Glow Women’s Fitness Online. Michelle’s has 20 years experience in the fitness industry and is now leading the way in Online Personal Training. Through her online training and full time centre Michelle helps women to change their lives through fitness and healthy living. Michelle was recently featured as one of Australia’s Trainers to watch in Ultrafit Magazine.

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.

Emma Sutherland is a successful naturopath who’s mission is to inspire women to get their mojo back. She is the expert nutritionist in a premier show on LifeStyle You called “Eat Yourself Sexy” and was resident Naturopath on the TV show “The Daily” with Bianca Dye and Susie Elelman. Emma is a regular media commentator and she has been extensively featured in radio and print media.

Lindsay Tighe is the founder of Inspirational Coaching and is a successful and highly regarded speaker, business woman, author and coach who is passionate about inspiring others to improve their own lives and the lives of others by asking better questions. She is the author of The Answer: Improve Your Life by Asking Better Questions.

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.

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. Spring 2011

Rebecca Wells, Director of Clear Horizon Coaching, is a Certified Coach and qualified NLP Master Practitioner with a wealth of corporate experience. Rebecca has specialisms in Career Realignment; The Power of Your Personal Brand; Raising Your Profile in the Workplace; and Building Authentic Leaders. She is also the author of “Professional Women Getting Ahead; Secrets of Successful Career Women. 8

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


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.

I volunteer in the canteen at my son’s high school. There is a woman who also volunteers that I am greatly inspired by. She has been helping in the canteen for over 15 years even though her own children left the school 7 years ago. The canteen doesn’t get many volunteers and knowing they desperately needed help she just kept turning up. She has become such a respected fixture of the school and is loved by the kids. I really think that women like her should be recognised. She gives of herself without expecting anything in return. Sadie – via website

I was at the supermarket after work one night and saw a man hit a display of cereal with his shopping trolley. The display toppled over and the boxes fell onto the floor. The man just looked at it and kept walking. I put my shopping basket down and started to rebuild the display. A couple of the other people who noticed what had happened came to help. I was really disappointed to see the man ignore what he did and walk away but we had a bit of a chuckle and it felt good to do something nice that wasn’t expected of us. Lisa – by email

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On my way to work, I was about to walk past a woman with a pram and go down some stairs. At the last minute I realised that she would be going down the same stairs and would probably have difficulty with the pram by herself. I smiled at her and picked up the front end of the pram. Together we got her down the stairs, all children in tact. It only took a minute out of my morning and then I continued on to work.. Monica – via email

mum a new whizz-bang blender. Given my Some time ago I saw a competition for the ring ente of ad inste nt, ing equipme loves to cook and is very savvy with cook ght Recently when I visited home, mum brou her. r ente to ded deci I elf, competition mys use Beca stating she had won a competition. out a box that had arrived with a letter to didn’t open the box and was planning she mum hadn’t entered any competitions and ion petit com the mum that I had entered return it. It gave me great pleasure to tell ier happ was us of h whic sure blender. I’m not to see her face when she opened her new ed. excit so mum g seein for she won or me –mum that I had done that for her and Lesley – via email

s ly got any visitors, so we would keep pop’ ed a ward with another old man. He hard shar he look and and ths up mon perk few ld a wou for he ital room hosp My pop was in time we would walk into the be included in the conversation. Every pop on my own curtain open so he could talk to us and h was really nice. One day, I was visiting whic e, ther were they time the in ds frien me r man and I know I made brighter, just like pop did. They beca ter. I bought a second bunch for the othe brigh little a look room the e mak to ers and decided to buy him some flow it put a smile on my face.. Mel – via email his day. He thanked me several times and

Submit your Act of Kindness & Win The reader to send in our favourite and most inspiring act of kindness before 31 October will win a book pack from Exisle Publishing. The book pack, valued at $115, contains The Mum who Roared: A complete A-Z Guide to Loving Your Mind, Body and Attitude after Baby, The 1000 Most Important Questions You will Ever Ask Yourself, The Reality Slap and Challenging Change. ( Submit your Act of Kindness at or email

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cover story For someone who’s had her fair share of ups and downs, Olivia Newton-John is quietly content and has an amazing attitude of positivity. She chats with Helen Rosing about her early influences, love of music and the projects she’s involved in to make a difference.

Olivi Olivia Spring 2011


cover story


fter much research, I realised that it would be impossible to capture everything about Olivia Newton-John in one interview. Catapulting to international stardom following her starring role in the movie musical Grease, she’s had a career spanning five decades. For her contribution, she has been awarded Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Personally, she’s endured her own personal pain and that of her child – something no mother would wish upon another. She’s been in love, lost love and found it again. And somehow through it all, she’s managed to maintain a positive outlook. In the 1990’s, she faced breast cancer and won, using the experience to gain greater self-awareness and become a positive inspiration to millions of others. She’s a passionate health advocate and savvy businesswoman, supporting numerous humanitarian causes. And then there’s her music… She is a four-time Grammy award winner and has won numerous Country Music, American Music and Peoples Choice Awards. She’s had ten number one hits including “Physical”, “Let it shine” and “I honestly love you”, and over 15 top 10 singles. She has released a staggering 37 albums and featured on six soundtracks. It’s estimated that she has sold over 100 million albums worldwide. In 2002, she was inducted into the Australian Music Hall Of Fame and in 2006 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Adored by people across the world, Olivia’s appeal truly is timeless.

Michelle Day PhotoXpress

Q. Not much has been written

about your upbringing. Tell us about your childhood. A. I was very fortunate to grow up in a loving house in Cambridge, England, with my brother and sister and my parents before moving to Australia as a young girl. My parents were very educated and inspiring but somehow my upbringing was very down to earth and my memories of growing up in Australia were full of interesting experiences and lots of music. My parents were very passionate and caring people. My father was a professor so there were a lot of

academics around the house. It’s ironic as not only did my sister become an actress but I also followed the path of music and the arts. I am sure at the time there was some hesitation by my parents but we were always supported in whatever we wanted to do in life.

Q. Who was most influential in your life?

A. There were so many people who

influenced me but my mum was probably the most influential. She was a very special woman. She taught me to find beauty in everything – from a sunset to a cloud, to the leaves on a tree. She had a way of making me see things differently. She was also very supportive of my music career. When I won a talent competition on an Aussie TV show as a teenager, the prize was a trip to England to learn about music. I missed my family and friends and kept trying to book my ticket home to Australia, she kept canceling the booking through the travel agent forcing me to stay. It was that trip that started my wonderful professional journey of my life. You can take the girl from Australia but you can’t take the Aussie from the girl!

made some wonderful friends that remain important in my life today. When the movie was released, we had no idea it was going to be the success that it was and has remained. I was blessed to have had hit records before that but the movie really took me to another level.

Q. Music is obviously a huge part

of your life. What does it mean to you and how do you feel when you sing? A. Music is my therapy. I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t singing; even as a child my mother said I was always singing! I am very fortunate to have had hits that were not only popular but were also good songs. I’ve had great songwriters and producers. Today my latest music has been about healing – something that I think we all need at some point. When I sing songs such as “Grace and Gratitude” from one of my recent CDs, it is a way for me to express how I feel and how grateful I am for everything I have been blessed with in life.

Q. Tell us about your latest album

things you learnt growing up and how are these reflected in your approach to life today? A. There were so many things but I think being positive about situations is probably the most universal. We all have challenges in life, whether it’s illness, loss, finances or whatever. It is how you choose to look at the situation and how you then handle it that can determine your future. I believe we do have the power to create our future!

Portraits: A Tribute to Great Women of Song. Why did you want to do this album? A. The CD is very special to me because it features songs by many of the women whom I have admired and, the songs and singers that I have loved during my life who have touched me in some way. From my dear friend Karen Carpenter, to Doris Day, Joan Baez, Simone and the amazing Dionne Warwick, I wanted to honor these fantastic ladies who helped pave the way.

Q. Co-starring role with John

Q. You have had an amazing

Q. What do you think were the key

Travolta in Grease is said to have catapulted you to super stardom. What do you remember of this time? A. Grease was an incredible experience and it really did change my life. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of that film because it has continued to bring pleasure to so many generations! I remember that summer of filming as a really fun time when I


career. What would you say have been the highs and lows of your journey? A. Wow, I have had so many amazing things happen in my career but I guess I have to say Grease, of course – that film changed my life and would be one of the highs. Singing at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics another. It was an incredible night

cover story

and such an incredible event on my country’s soil! As for the lows, I really don’t choose to hold on to those but without them I certainly wouldn’t appreciate the highs!

Q. Tell us about your new book

LivWise? Was this inspired through your own health challenges? A. I never would have dreamed my first book would have been a cookbook! But, people always ask me what the secret is about staying slim and healthy. I’ve always eaten well and I have my mum to thank for that. When I was a young girl she taught me the importance of eating well and it just became natural for me. When all of the other kids in school had cakes and candies, my mum gave us natural snacks like fruits and nuts. I was annoyed at the time but I am so grateful to her now. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, I became even more aware of what food I put into my body. LivWise is about healthy eating and includes my own recipes, recipes that I gathered from the cooks at my Gaia Retreat and Spa near Byron Bay (, recipes from one of my friends who is a nutritionist in Melbourne, and some from a lovely lady who had cancer and healed herself through healing foods. The book turned out to be beautiful and all the money goes to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre.

Q. How do you feel that breast

cancer has changed your life?

A. I say cancer changed my life in a

good way because it has given me the opportunity to help raise awareness and money to help find a cure – which I know we will! And, had I not had this experience, I would have never become involved with building the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre, which is a year from completion in Melbourne, Australia. (

Spring 2011

Q. Tell us about the Liv Aid

product. A. The Liv Aid is a wonderful medical device for women to help them with their regular breast self-examination. It makes common sense that you know your breast better than anybody else. A doctor giving you an exam every six months doesn’t know every little lump and bump; you do. If there are any changes in your breasts, it makes sense that you would notice them first doing regular selfexaminations. The Liv enhances your touch when you do your exam so makes it easier to find any changes. It’s really lovely; it’s shaped like a heart. And, for women who are a little shy, it gives them a little bit of privacy between their hand and their breast. It really is a wonderful self-examination tool. (

Q. Tell us about the Olivia

Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre (“ONJCWC”) in Melbourne? How has your involvement come about? A. When I was originally approached to become involved it was my mum who said to me “if it will help others you should do it” and I am really proud that the ONJCWC will deliver a comprehensive range of cancer services, under one roof. The cancer centre will include facilities for cancer treatment, education and training and deliver international research programs for all types of cancers. I am really excited about the Wellness Centre which will provide complimentary therapies that work alongside the latest medical treatment to help heal the whole person – body, mind and spirit. When I was diagnosed in 1992, I was lucky to have not only the best medical treatment but access to everything from acupuncture to massage to meditation and many other therapies. When I was approached I knew I wanted to build the Wellness Centre because I found these alternative therapies plus a healthy diet, yoga, visualisation, prayer and chanting, homeopathy and herbs alongside my surgery and


chemotherapy treatments were very important. I had to seek these things out, when I was going through cancer. With the ONJCWC we will have all of these things available to the patients and their families all under one roof! Of interest, the wellness philosophy has been embraced in the design for the entire centre. Environmentally Sustainable Design has been used with the following elements: Rain water catchments to water the Centre’s gardens and for water features; Energy efficient fittings with the level of light fixed to a comfortable zone for patients and visitors; • Maximum use of natural light throughout; • Bamboo flooring in many areas, with limited use of PVC flooring; • Materials, fittings and paint will be lowemitting products;º • 100 per cent, non-recirculated, fresh air will be delivered throughout the Centre; • Individual balconies in the Palliative Care Ward for private access to the outdoors.

Q. What does it mean to you to see this come to fruition?

A. Every time I get back to Melbourne there is more progress with the construction and it is so exciting. I am the public face for the thousands of people working really hard behind the scenes to make this

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cover story

happen. We still need to raise $10 million privately so that we can open the doors in 2013. It has been eight years sine we started fundraising so when we open the doors to the ONJCWC it is going to be a very happy day for everyone!

Q. We understand that you work

with your husband in a business he set up called the Amazon Herb Company, tell us about this? A. John and I met eighteen years ago, actually right before I had breast cancer. When he heard I had cancer he sent me some herbs to take – Illumination. It’s a mixture of all the different herbs put together so I started taking them then. Three years ago, he took me to the rainforest, we fell and love and got married. So it’s an amazing story and now we go back to Peru every year for our anniversary. I also joke with

John that I married him for his Amazon Rain skincare range – the Camu C Serum in particular. I can’t go a day without it (or him for that matter).

Q. We also understand you are

doing some work with the people of the Amazon. Tell us about that. What are you doing and what is your goal? A. John and I are involved in and on the board of a wonderful organisation – the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (www. They help teach the children of the Amazon the importance of the living rainforest and distribute them with school supplies. These children are growing up in the Amazon basin and that’s all they know. They don’t know the impact the living rainforest has on the rest of the planet. The idea is to educate them so when they grow up, they will be aware of the importance of this living treasure. It’s a very important project for us. John’s company donates a portion of every product to ACEER and he also helps the indigenous people rights and title to the land and provides them with boats, radios and other tools; it’s something he’s been doing for years.

Q. Relationships are

important in everyone’s lives. What have you learnt through your own experiences?

Spring 2011


A. I guess the most important thing in relationships is communication and to learn to laugh with others (and at yourself) often. There is so much going on in the world that with just a little understanding, respect and communication we really do have the power to change things and live happy, healthy lives. Q. If you don’t mind sharing,

how would you describe your spirituality and how do you practice? A. This is a very personal thing but, I think gratitude is my mantra and as my loving husband always says, “it’s all about love and forgiveness”.

Q. What are you currently focusing

on and else would you like to achieve? A. Of course my main focus right now is on health and wellness and that is also a part of all of my projects, from my music, to Gaia Retreat and Spa, to the Cancer and Wellness Centre and the Amazon Rainforest. We are all connected on the planet. I am so fortunate to have been in this world and have achieved so much in my own journey but a big milestone for me will be seeing the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness open.

Q. What is the best piece of advice

you have that might inspire other women go after their dreams? A. I think to visualise your goals and see them as happening. See the good in everyone and always believe in a positive outcome. Say “yes” to life! We all have adversity on our path but you are stronger than you think and you can get through anything.


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you | Feature

What is Neuroplasticity? Have you ever considered that your life may be a reflection of how you have used your brain? Martina Sheehan discusses the science of neuroplasticity and explains what you need to know to thrive in your life.


our thoughts, beliefs, ideas, doubts, fears, preferences and decisions define your future. What happens in your mind will be directly translated through your behaviours and actions into outcomes in your life. So understanding yourself and how your brain works is a smart strategy! You can hold a brain in the palm of your hands and it only weighs about 1 kg. But it is the most complex organ in your body and it steers every single thing that you do. The last frontier of human exploration sits inside you. Science and technology has enabled the study of this complex organ and findings have emerged which explain how it works and can offer insights into how you can improve your life. The science of neuroplasticity explains that everything you think, learn, see and do changes the structure and function of your brain. You will literally finish each day with a brain that is different than it was in the morning. Consider that next time you decide what to feed your brain! Your brain is made up of 100 billion neurons or nerve cells. These neurons are like trees with branches reaching out in many directions. Learning happens when neurons connect with each other and form a pathway through which electrical signals and chemical transmitters can flow. Consider this simple example of teaching a child not to touch a hot cup of tea. As the child reaches out and you raise your voice to say “no, that’s hot!”, electrical signals flow through the set of neurons that associate touching the cup with danger. These signals form a connection between

Spring 2011

the neurons that is strengthened through repetition; the more times signals flow between these sets of neurons, the more “hard-wired” that learning becomes, until the growing child no longer needs the reinforcement to avoid this danger. This is how your view of the world is formed. We associate things with each other, and form increasingly complex sets of neural connections to describe the world as we believe it to be. This process is not restricted to the early phases of your growth. Your brain remains “plastic” throughout life and is able to learn new things in this same way at any stage. However the process becomes harder as we age, not simply because we are getting older, but because the pathways you have already laid down become default pathways or ruts along which the electrical signals prefer to flow. Just as water trickling down a mountain flows more easily along worn grooves, your brain is designed to choose the pathway that requires the least energy. So when you are challenged to learn something new or change your view about something, this requires more energy in the form of increased levels of attention and effort. Hence learning becomes more difficult as we age. So every day you do one or more of the following three things with your brain: 1. You reinforce what you have already learnt by sticking with your view of the world, strengthening existing neural connections, for example, cleaning your teeth the same way every day. 2. You learn something new and form new connections between different neurons, for example, someone takes you to a new coffee shop you had


only driven past and you find you like it. The experience forms additional neural connections to the ones you had from just driving past, and now you have a more complete view of the place because of the more complex set of connections. You have learnt something. 3. You find that something you believed is no longer the case, and the connections between neurons that created the previous learning are weakened, for example, seeing someone you thought was not very nice do a good deed challenges your view of this person and you have to “unlearn” part of your previous view of them to accommodate this new perspective. Signals run down different neural pathways, and because the existing ones do not receive their normal reinforcement, the connections are weakened. This is unlearning.

Creating your future We all have pathways in our brain that have become “ruts”. They are often unconscious mindsets or habits of mind that we have developed for various reasons. Some of these pathways are helpful shortcuts that make life easier, but some of them create limiting mindsets that cloud your outlook, your actions, and therefore your results. It’s important to realise that all change starts first in the mind. If you want to change any action or an outcome, the most powerful place to start is by understanding the thoughts that started you down the track towards that action. Your brain’s process goes through a number of steps shown below. A thought can trigger wiring between neurons that can become a mindset (a habit of mind). The brain releases certain chemicals in response to this mindset (eg. adrenaline) that you can experience as an emotional reaction. This spurs your cells into action (eg. run away!).

Feature | you

and cleaning up my desk, before getting to that work. When I ask myself “Why did I do it that way?” I recognise a belief (mistaken) that if I get rid of the small things I will have a lot of clear time to get this work done properly. So this bad habit of mind leads to me rushing the important work at the end of the day and not finishing it in time.

Build a new habit of training your mind that will continuously improve your life The further down this path that you intervene to change your direction, the less effective your intervention will be. It is only by examining and consciously choosing your thoughts, that you genuinely can control your feelings and your actions. It is important to get to know your brain, monitor your thoughts, and see which of your mindsets are helping or hindering your happiness and success. If everything you think, learn, see and do changes your brain, what are you training your brain for in every moment of every day? Neuroplasticity means that even though you have created ruts or mindsets in your life so far, your brain remains plastic and therefore you can “change your mind” and start creating the life you want. “Mind Gardening” is a concept we use to describe just that. It’s about planting the seeds that you want to see grow and pruning back the limiting mindsets. Here are some tips to get you started on your own mind gardening:


Deepen your awareness of what is happening in your mind A few times every day pause and reflect on decisions you have made or actions you have taken and ask yourself “Why did I do it that way?” See if you can identify any habits of mind that are unconsciously driving you. You may identify preferences that reveal something about your personality, habits that you didn’t realise you had, or assumptions you haven’t examined lately. Consider this example: I plan to finish some important work today, but find myself doing other tasks like emails, changing holiday bookings

Our Mind Fitness chart shows the three types of exercises and also the recommended amounts to incorporate into your day.

1. Mind Full Exercises The average person has more than 50,000 thoughts and 10,000 internal conversations with themselves every day! And you are probably not aware of most of them. The first and most important of the three types of exercises is the Mind Full exercise. Practicing Mind Full exercises puts you back in control of this potentially busy mind by training your attention to be stable, focused, and in control. Research links mindfulness (defined as “paying attention on purpose and without judgment”) to new neuron growth, overall brain health, positive emotions,

improvements in physical health and immunity, and improvements in decision-making, memory, creativity, and relationships. Mindfulness can also be referred to as “being present” or “being in the moment” because it is about directing your attention to the one thing that is important at the time. 2. Mind Set Exercises With 100 billion neurons, there are more possible connections within your brain than there are stars in the night sky! From before you were born, your brain has been working hard to connect these neurons into complex networks that help you make sense of the world. When you learn something, new connections create a new pathway for information to flow through your brain. When you repeat something, you strengthen these pathways. And when you break a habit, you weaken these connections and form new ones. Mind Set exercises train your brain to weaken, strengthen or build pathways in your brain. We all need to change the way we think, or our mindset, at different times in our lives. New information makes you realise there is another way to look at something, or a bit of a crisis forces you to take stock. You need to “unlearn” or break the pathways in your brain and form new ones. 3. Mind Skill Exercises Mind Skill exercises are useful when you want to improve a particular capability or skill. They work on the principle that “practice makes perfect” by building or strengthening the pathways in your brain that make you able to understand and do a particular thing. For example the regular practice of an instrument by a musician is a Mind Skill exercise. Through adopting a proactive mind gardening habit you can take advantage of all that the science of neuroplasticity has to offer and start taking steps to training your mind and creating the life you want.

Martina Sheehan and co-founder Susan Pearse released the Mind Gardener® range in 2009 to empower people to cultivate a healthy mind. They have been making sense of the emerging science of the brain and showing people what it means in action for the last 10 years.


you | Feature

tug-of-war The internal

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


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.

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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


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!

Feature | you

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

Would I prefer comfort or results?


It’s actually important to make this change through small deliberates steps. The biggest mistake that many people make is trying to change their beliefs by going to the opposite extreme. For example, someone who hasn’t exercised for many years, and is extremely out of shape, all of a sudden deciding that they will exercise everyday. Generally, this person will last only a week or so before giving up. Or, I’m sure every coach has worked with someone who has high expectations and wants to set goals for themselves they know are unrealistic. They start out excited and motivated but find they cannot

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

Step outside your comfort zone daily When you listen to the stories of most successful people, at some point and in one way or another they will say that everything they have achieved was initially outside of their comfort zone. Isn’t that a bummer: everything we want lies outside our comfort zone. We can complain about it, pretend it isn’t true, cross our fingers and hope our life will turn out the way we want or we can accept that this is true and make it a habit of doing

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


something small everyday that takes us out of our comfort zone.

Your challenge The challenge for you is to test yourself and prove to yourself that you are good enough and worthy enough of great things in this life. What can you do everyday that will prove to you that you are a success? Does the thought of exercise make you want to bite your foot off? If so, get up tomorrow and go for a short walk? Do you hate making sales calls? Commit to making 5 calls today? Are you afraid of asking for a pay raise? Go on, do it anyway! Is there someone you want to ask out but fear rejection? Take a chance – it could be the best thing you have every done and lead you to blissful love and happiness. And if not, know that you had the courage to do it anyway. There are things we all need to do that are uncomfortable and we aren’t currently doing. But if you want to have what you currently don’t have, you need to do what you currently aren’t doing. Think about this motivating quote: “I will do today what others won’t, so that I can live tomorrow like others can’t”. It’s a great motto to live by and it’s simple – just make it a habit to do something everyday that challenges you. This small habit, developed deliberately over time, will build your confidence and belief in yourself and give you the strength to win every “tug-of-war”. As a final exercise, take a minute to close your eyes and imagine how amazing life could be in the future if make at least one “uncomfortable” decision everyday.

you | Feature


better questions

Apparently you have about 60,000 thoughts every day and every day you are likely to have 95% of the same thoughts again. Lindsay Tighe explains how to make your thoughts count.


f your thinking directly drives the results you achieve in life, this routine thinking can be problematic and restricting. As a professional coach I have learnt over the years that one of the most powerful ways to generate new thoughts is to ask strong thought-provoking questions – indeed better questions are the way to drive better results. Whenever I run seminars I remind participates that they are far more amazing than any of them realise; they have so much more potential they could fulfil. In fact, according to Sir John Whitmore in Coaching for Performance, in most workplaces up to 60% of staffs’ potential doesn’t get used. I find this not only shocking, but also very sad. It was Plato who said, “we all have innate wisdom, we just need to be asked the right questions”. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself to tap into your wisdom and potential is to ask better questions. In my experience very few people take enough time out to do some structured and thoughtful reflection. Often, even if they do take time out, it is to dwell on the negatives, rather than generate new thoughts. When you self reflect there is the opportunity to gain insights, ideas, clarity and awareness that you would not have

unless you had taken the time to stop and think. Better questions will be one of the best tools to enable this reflection. So what makes a question a better question? The starting point is to have an intention and purpose for your question. When you ask a question with intention, it directs your thoughts to specific areas that will be far more purposeful than random and repetitive thoughts. Consider the following areas: • Questions that help you to get clear about what outcome you really want such as, ‘what is my ideal outcome?’ or ‘what is it that I really want to change?’ • Questions that empower you to think about ideas and possibilities such as ‘what ideas do I have to move forward with this?’ or ‘what is a first step that I can take to move me forward?’ • Questions that help you to make a decision such as, ‘what will be the best thing for me to do here?’ or ‘what will I commit to doing differently?’ • Questions that help you to get motivated, take action and be responsible such as, ‘what can I do to ensure that I stay motivated and carry out these actions?’ or ‘what timeframes will I commit to for these actions?’

In general the best advice is to focus on positive areas and solutions rather than problems and issues. In addition try to structure your questions so you keep flowing towards an outcome or at least to a point of real purpose to the thinking. When you ask yourself questions it is imperative that you bring a willingness to be honest with yourself and a preparedness to challenge some of your limited thinking and assumptions. In doing so the quality of your thoughts will dramatically improve and undoubtedly provide new insights. One of the greatest challenges with self-reflection is actually finding the time to do it. It doesn’t have to be time consuming. Use a time you would otherwise use for something mindless, like having a shower or driving your car. Bring conscious awareness to this time and turn it into productive time to generate new thoughts. Journaling can also be a very effective and powerful tool to enable self-reflection. It can give the thought more credibility and leverage than if it simply stays in your head. If journaling isn’t something you have tried before give it a go and see what happens. So what are some better questions you could be ask yourself to generate new thoughts and find better answers?

Lindsay Tighe is the founder of Inspirational Coaching and is a successful and highly regarded speaker, business woman, author and coach who is passionate about inspiring others to improve their own lives and the lives of others by asking better questions. Spring 2011


Spirituality | you

The Great


We come into this world yearning to connect with the mother. This inherent need exists in both the individual and collective unconscious. Reverend Sheri Heller explains.


sychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung felt that the innate need for mothering is archetypal, meaning it reflects a universal symbolic pattern. Pre-Indo-European neo-lithic matriarchal societies collectively expressed this need. They worshipped and revered the sacred feminine as the creative force of nature, responsible for the renewal of life. The Great Mother represented the birth of humanity and the fertility of the earth, the source of all life. She was, as Jung wrote in his hymn to the Mother Archetype, “that inborn image of the mater natura and mater spiritualis, of the totality of life of which we are a small and helpless part.”

The Great Mother Goddess


The image of Great Mother Goddess offers a promise of power and vision to contemporary women. The image embodies (pro)creation, nurturance, support, mercy, compassion, encouragement, and patience – attributes which connect women to the instinctual energy, inner joy and strength of one’s feminine nature. It assuages the psychological and spiritual wounds caused by oppression, sexism, and disillusionment, wounds that relegate women to an inferior place. The image also reminds us of the urgency of the global ecological crisis. Our consciousness must radically change to facilitate the inner and outer transformation that will save our planet. The repression of the Great Mother Goddess suggests a strongly negative

mother-complex worldwide. At the core of any mother complex is the Mother Archetype. Behind the emotional associations with the personal mother, there is a global image of the positive mother and the negative mother. The positive mother offers nourishment and security, while the negative mother shows a devouring possessiveness, darkness, and deprivation. How one internalises the personal mother affects how one perceives the archetypal mother and the feminine.

Perceiving the Mother Viewing the Mother as purely benign and tender negates her full being. The Great Mother also represents death, terror, horror, agony, and natural disaster. She is both the Creator and the Destroyer. Everything in life is qualified by its opposite. The confrontation of these polarized opposites generates a tension charged with energy. As the tension increases, opposites unite, leading to a higher transcendent possibility. For this process to occur the ego needs to let go of its infantile need to identify only with those parts deemed innocuous and uplifting. An adult being must accept all that is, with all its ambiguity. Only then can humility replace fear and power plays, so that the Great Mother can be honored for the many truths she contains. Patriarchy believes that nature is a force to be intellectually comprehended and controlled, so the Great Mother’s dark energies and cosmic power are excluded

from consciousness. What is perceived as threatening is denied. Only the “Good Mother” is permitted, creating a shadow projection of the “Terrible Mother” and an unrealistic idealization of the Mother archetype. It demonizes the sinister, feared, and forbidden parts of the mother, resulting in an impulse to violently destroy it. This scape-goating leads to a vehement thirst to conquer and punish. Our fear and dependency on the Mother’s greatness makes us perceive her as a threat and feel a need to control and dominate her.

Violating the Mother The seeds of sexism and the violation of the earth emanate from our unresolved psychological issues with the personal mother and the mother archetype. Until the split can be united, and projections owned, we will continue to witness a global rejection of the Great Mother’s wisdom. Relating to the archetypal Great Mother, in her positive and negative dimensions, allows for an in-depth exploration of self. Discovering the archetypal character we imagine of the Great Mother makes possible a different relation to our personal mother. We can forgive her for not being the omniscient all-giving source. We understand her unresolved wounds as a daughter. When we are able to see her in relation to, but distinct from the archetype, we may at last be able to forgive what she could not give, and have gratitude for what she could. Perhaps then, we can resurrect the splendor of the Great Mother in all her dimensions.

Rev. Sheri Heller, LCSW is a Psychotherapist, addiction specialist, Ericksonian hypnotist, and interfaith minister in private practice. She co-authored the play “Let the Phoenix Rise” which has been performed for mainstream audiences and disenfranchised traumatized women and girls in the public sector. 23

inspiration | Profile


turning point It’s hard to build a dream life and a successful business for yourself following a dysfunctional childhood and an abusive relationship, but Stacey Currie did and here, she shares her story.


remember the day I discovered my passion as if it were yesterday. At the age of eight, I knew I wanted to be a funeral director and eventually own my own funeral business. Looking back now, I am so thankful that I discovered my passion at such a young age. I don’t believe I would be alive today had I not had that focus and to succeed in life. I am also grateful that my childhood was not violent. Chaotic? Yes, but not violent. I do remember wishing I had a Mum though. I don’t have any memories of living with my mum; I was only 2 months old when dad was given custody of me. We grew up in a housing commission area. We were one of the poorer families in our neighbourhood and we had absolutely no discipline, which had its down side but could also be a lot of fun. Growing up in a poor family taught me to work hard; if I wanted something, I had to make it happen myself. At fourteen, my boyfriend and I were living in a shed in the back yard of Dad’s house in Melbourne. He was the same age as me, and would become the father of my first two children. If we were cold, we would get all the rubbish out of our bin and start a fire inside the shed to warm up. My lifestyle was not the best, but I was happy having no rules or boundaries; I was free to be me and live the life I wanted. Growing up without my Mum was difficult in many ways. I missed out on all

Spring 2011

those mother-daughter chats; no one ever told me about the birds and the bees. I wasn’t aware of the consequences of having sex and I didn’t know the symptoms of pregnancy. I had no idea I was pregnant for quite a while. I went to school up until three weeks before I gave birth to Joshua, and returned to school once he was born.

When Josh was two, I fell pregnant with my daughter Tahlia. I was nineteen, and once again worked up until a week before she was born. My boyfriend also started working full time, and began an apprenticeship. We were both so young, with two little children to care for, and we were both working and studying. This took its toll on our relationship and we decided to go our separate ways. He moved back with his beautiful family to their beautiful home. Only a week later, my landlord announced she wanted to move back into her unit; I had to move out.


With nowhere else to go I asked a friend if I could stay at her house and promised it wouldn’t be for long. There was no mattress on her lounge room floor, just a blanket and pillow. I would cradle my four-month-old baby in one arm and my three-year-old son in the other. After months without any social life, one night, I arranged for Josh and Tahlia to be looked after and out I went. In the back of my mind, I knew I was really looking for someone to love my children and me. I met a man that night, one who I was with for many years and who fathered my third child; I was just 21. Unbeknownst to me though, I had bought a ticket to a roller coaster ride of violent and controlling behaviour that affected everyone it touched. I was beaten in front of the children and it became a regular occurrence for Dad to be on call to pick the kids up after another violent episode. Every day I was told I was a slut, that I was dragged up like an animal not a human, I was ugly, I was fat, I was psycho, I was a horrible Mum; you name it I was called it. You can only imagine what my self-esteem was like. At 21, living in this violent relationship, lonely and with no friends, I dreamt of a better life but didn’t know how to get it. My self-esteem was gone and I was at rock-bottom and I also had three children to care for. One night after yet another violent argument with my partner, I found myself


Profile | inspiration

at the Royal Children’s Hospital. My son had been admitted after being physically hurt. It was 2 a.m. and there I was, crammed into a little room with my three children, officers from the Department of Human Services, some Federal Police and a few staff from the hospital. They questioned me for a very long time about the relationship I was living in, and how my son was hurt. I was grilled about why I was staying in this abusive relationship and why I was putting my children at risk. After a couple of hours of this I was asked to leave the room. I sat in the waiting room until eventually they called me back in. I was told that I had to get my children and myself out of the situation. The authorities represented in that room had discussed my situation and as of today, I had two choices. My first choice was that I could stay in the relationship and have my three children placed into foster care. At this point, I remember dropping to my knees begging them not to take my children from me. Then they offered the second choice. If I took the second choice, I could keep my children, but I would have to change my life. Beginning immediately, I would be court ordered to not have anything to do with my violent partner for twelve weeks and in that time, I would have to visit a domestic violence counsellor. I wanted desperately to keep my children, but I couldn’t see how I could possibly change my life. That night, I was

forced to make the best choice of my whole life. That night was my turning point and the night my dream began to take shape. I read about a woman on the internet who was only thirty years old and had built a very successful business. I read about how she began her business and the obstacles and hurdles she had overcame. After reading this woman’s story, I remembered my dream of owning a funeral business and for the first time I knew I could make my dream a reality. I wanted to know more about successful women. Why were they so confident and successful when I wasn’t? What was their secret? How could I network with them without feeling intimidated or thinking they were better than me? I became obsessed with learning everything I could about successful women and with time, I realised that I was just as good as they were. I could become just as successful as they were if I wanted to. I had no more excuses. It was up to me. I realised my dream of working as a Funeral Director and I have done many other amazing things. Today, I am 32 years old, engaged to the most supportive and beautiful man, have five children, and run my own business, Signs’n’Banners Pty Ltd. I am an author, a speaker, the ambassador for the Lighthouse Foundation, and best of all a great role model for my children. Two years ago I purchased my first dream home and my dream car. Through all the dramas that were happening in my life, I continued to visualise my dream life and took action to make sure I was still on that path. While I was living in a situation so far removed from my dream, I still worked towards my goal. I remember now that even when I was sleeping with my children on my friend’s floor, I would visualise that I had a beautiful home and was a successful businesswoman. And I guess, along the way, I set about achieving the small goals which would ultimately get me my dream life.


Once I finally achieved my dream life, I began to realise that I could help transform the lives of so many more men and women by empowering them to take action. I decided it was time that other people had someone who cared about them; someone who could teach them what I had learned. I hoped that they too could then experience a happy, colourful, successful life. My incredible new life is full of laughter, happiness, noise, and peace. I am making my dreams happen and most importantly, my children and I are happy. I share my life lessons in the hope that others will find some ideas to help them take action and transform their lives, just like I did.

The Rich Get Richer, The Poor Can Too provides easy, practical techniques to shift your thinking from “It’s too hard” to ”How can I make it happen?” It gives suggestions on how to transform your life, uncover your passion, create a clear vision of your dream life, move through excuses and fears, and achieve your goals.

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The latest products, tools and resources to help you lead a more empowered life.





The Women’s Adventure Club provides unique travel, adventure and social experiences for women (throughout Australia and overseas), in a safe, supportive environment. It’s a thriving community that provides plenty of opportunity for members to meet and mingle at various events and activities. Meet like-minded women, make life long friends and try your hand at something new, exciting, adventurous or challenging in a supportive environment. Apart from the offered adventures, there are no formal meetings. Members arrange their own catch-ups, events and activities and invite others from their local area to attend. It’s up to you how much you would like to be involved!

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In 2009 Barb Blashki founded the I Give A Buck Foundation of Australia, with a vision to unite thousands of individuals to ensure that all children in Australia live with dignity, good health and happiness, confident that they have every opportunity ahead of them. The I Give A Buck Foundation helps: • Terminally ill children from families experiencing financial hardship sitting on government waiting lists for products and services that would make their lives more comfortable. • Children who are ill or disabled from families experiencing financial hardship who also go on the same lists waiting for years for equipment as simple as a wheelchair. It’s just $1 so Give A Buck today at

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R U OK? DAY – THURSDAY 15 SEPTEMBER 2011 R U OK? Day is a national day of action that aims to prevent suicide by encouraging Australians to connect with family, friends and colleagues and help stop little problems turning into big ones. Simply ask: “Are you OK?” In the time it takes to have a coffee, you can start a conversation that could change a life. Staying connected with others is crucial to our general health and wellbeing. Feelings of isolation and being alone are major contributing factors to depression and social issues that can ultimately result in suicide. Regular, meaningful conversations can protect those we know and love.


Feature | life


Relationships begin with excitement, desire, and intense passion, but with time, it fades. Kirsty Greenshields gives us tips on how to rekindle and sustain the passion in your relationship.


o you remember the early stages of your relationship? When you couldn’t keep your hands off each other? When the smell of him on your clothes was enough to make your heart skip a beat? You just couldn’t get enough of each other, right? With time, spontaneity is replaced with familiarity, which sometimes results in taking each other for granted. Sex becomes less frequent, conversation starts to wane, and you wonder what happened to the passion. You start to question whether you have done the right thing: “Why can’t it be like it used to be? Why aren’t I feeling the excitement from the early days?”


The good old days The passion that we experience at the start of a relationship comes from new love and vulnerability. Once we get into a bit of a routine, things become less exciting. We still feel the love, but we’ve lost those steamy sensations which we associate with passion. When we feel like this, a good question to ask is “How am I expressing my love?” When a fire begins to burn, the orange flames are raging. They are big and bright, but they are not the hottest flames. The hottest flames are the blue ones – the ones at the centre of the fire. They keep the fire alive for ages, sustaining its energy, and they can re-ignite the big flames with minimal prompting. Do you feel like you haven’t had any orange flames for a while? Perhaps the blue

flames are barely alight. You know there is love, but it’s been so long that you just don’t know how to re-ignite it!

Re-creating passion Usually when people think about recreating passion, they think they have to re-create that sexiness that consumed them early on in their relationship. It can be difficult to re-create that level of desire regularly. Amid the ‘busyness’ of life, relationships are usually one of the first things to go. Anything worth holding on to needs focused intention, so to re-create passion and keep it alive in a relationship, it’s important to remember the basics every day. This is a key element in activating and maintaining your desire for one another. I remember the day I realized I was placing more priority on my role as a mother than that of a loving partner. I’ve been with my partner for 12 years, and we have two little kids, so it’s important for us to keep our blue flame burning hot. We do this by showing each other at least one act of appreciation each day. This can work wonders, especially if we are caught up in the ‘busyness’ of work and family.

Open communication Before bed, spend five minutes expressing what you were thankful for during the day. Place a specific focus on what you were grateful for about your partner. This achieves two aims – it makes you both feel loved, and it also makes you feel good,


because the more good things you find in your partner, the better you start to feel about yourself and your relationship. In life’s ‘busyness’, effective communication can start to fade. You can start to re-create the vulnerability of the early days by expressing your boundaries and feelings, and encouraging your partner to do the same. Next time you are in an argument or disagreement, instead of reacting, stop, take a deep breath and start your next sentence with ‘I feel …’. When we say how we are feeling, we are acknowledging that it’s okay to feel that way. We are taking responsibility for our part in the relationship without assigning blame to our partner. These things seem small, but they are perfect exercises for nurturing the blue, enduring flame, which is where the real heat in any relationship is. Your union is an expression of your passionate self, so for your relationship to be successful, it’s important that you work on it a little bit each day. Kirsty Greenfields is an ex-army intelligence officer, naturopath, NLP trainer, mother and loving partner. She has spent years trying to balance important relationships with her work, and helping other women do the same. Kirsty founded Create Perfect Health after attending a retreat at the Chopra Center in Carlsbad California.

life | Feature

Maximising Attraction and intimacy is maximised between two people when they have opposite sexual energy. Tanielle Thomas gives us a few tips on how to get along with your man.

Intimacy T

he chemistry in a relationship is intensified when one person offers a strong masculine energy while the other brings the feminine equivalent to the table. But what is masculine and feminine energy and how can understanding it either improve your dating results? To understand the impact of these two natural forces, we must first understand what they are. David Deida and Anthony Robbins.are motivational speakers and authors who have written a lot on this subject. Their work forms the basis of this article.

Masculine and feminine energy Masculine and feminine energies are not gender specific. Men and women can be either primarily masculine or primarily feminine, but we all have elements of both. It doesn’t matter which energy is dominant in you. What is important is to identify, understand, and embody your natural energy. Somebody with well-developed masculine energy has a strong physical presence. They are grounded, have clear direction, are solution-focused and respond well to challenges. Somebody with a strong masculine energy wants to feel appreciated and communicates literally. Somebody with a feminine energy wants to experience love and emotion. They are stimulated by praise, embrace vulnerability, are nurturing, and can be wild, and freespirited. Somebody with feminine energy wants

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to feel understood and generally communicates from the heart. Times have certainly changed, and the door has opened for women in every industry. Prominent women - including leaders like Hillary Clinton, Julia Gillard or even performers like Lady GaGa – are living proof that there are more opportunities for women than ever before. With high-power careers and equality, women have embraced prominent masculine qualities like determination and focus But if their work environment requires them to be heavily tipped in the opposite energy, then they must take time to re-balance after they’ve left the office, especially if they don’t want their masculine energy to impact on their relationships. While successful women are just as capable of achieving their professional dreams as men, it’s important that women are mindful of what their natural core energy is.

How energy works Sarah, 33, is single, with a strong feminine energy that makes her fun loving and easy going. She has a weakness for unique jewellery, which she treats herself to after any disastrous dates. She has learned to embrace her masculine energy to run her own business, where she employs staff and works long hours. At work, she needs to be in focus, draw on her personal strength, and be able to make quick decisions. Sarah has had a couple of not-so-good relationships and has begun to think there are no decent men around. Despite her disillusioned state, she agreed to go on another date. She met Tom at a bar straight after work and they began chatting. But there was a problem. Sarah met her date while unconsciously decked out in her masculinity, just as she had done many times before. Tom was a masculine male

Inti Feature | life

and Sarah felt attracted to him straight away. However, while the date went off without a hitch, he never called her.

Making adjustments

After learning about the importance of her masculine and feminine energy balance, Sarah realised how her approach to dating hadn’t been producing the best results. She realised that she had to leave her masculine energy on the coat hook at the office, and walk out wrapped in femininity. Sarah decided to call Tom back and they agreed to catch up. She wanted to try something different this time. Before meeting him, she took some time to reconnect with her femininity, which also meant she was re-connecting with herself. During the date, she greeted him with a part of herself that was more authentic, relaxed and even slightly vulnerable. The result surprised her. They were able to draw on each other and ignite a spark. Tom asked her out for another date. What’s the message here? It’s important to recognise what your dominant energy is and tap into this before you go on a date. That way, you will attract a partner that right for you in the long term. Also, it’s important to realise how to flow from one energy type to the other. It could be as simple as taking a walk, or meditating for a few minutes.


The three-month hurdle Dating and new relationships are intense and exciting. A simple phone call from a new partner can send your heart rate skyrocketing. Unfortunately, plenty of relationships don’t clear the three-month hurdle. The three-month-hurdle is the crucial period after you’ve gotten to know each other and you have to decide whether or not the relationship is right for you. Jessica was in a new relationship and had started to test her partner to see if she could really trust him. She wanted to know if he really cared. Like most women, Jessica wasn’t even aware she was testing him because it was all very subtle. When her partner asked “What’s wrong?” she snapped back, “Nothing!” When she said that, on some level she was saying: “Do you really care enough to find out what is wrong?”

When Jessica’s man responded with a simple “ok” – he had failed his first test. In his mind, “nothing” meant just that ... nothing. But from her perspective, if he didn’t insist on finding out what was wrong, then he just didn’t care. His masculine energy was communicating literally, but her feminine energy was left feeling slighted.


While this might sound surprising, testing is common to every relationship. It’s different from person to person, and can include tantrums, sulking, or giving the cold shoulder. Regardless of the type of test, the partner needs to know how to pass it. Once the woman feels she can trust him, the urge to test eventually subsides. When I met Jessica she was considering ending her relationship because she was scared of getting hurt. She didn’t feel that he truly cared for her, so she couldn’t. Like many women in this situation, she couldn’t fully embrace her femininity and vulnerability. She felt insecure in the relationship and sought more reassurance. If such a situation is not resolved, there will be uncertainty between the couple and the tests are likely to continue, and perhaps get more dramatic. So how does a man pass a test? As a woman, make sure you either explain this to your partner or get him to read about it himself. Since this is a lesson for the men out there, let me explain it literally.

Passing tests When your partner is yelling “Leave me alone!” or when she’s telling you all the things you’ve done wrong in the past year, you need to remain completely present and in the moment. You need to politely insist that she tell you what’s wrong because you care and want to understand her. You need to listen, and listen carefully to what’s on her mind. Be sure to keep asking “What else?” Allow her to empty out her thoughts and worries without judgement. When you sense that she’s no longer being aggressive and defensive, and that she can

be vulnerable with you, that’s a clue that you’re finally reaching her. The test is not likely to stop there. Things may escalate before they get better. Because women need to really make sure! The sulking might turn to crying, the crying might escalate to shouting, followed by storming out of the room. Stay calm, stay strong, and follow her. This is not the time to defend yourself or get aggressive. It’s a time for reassurance that you love her, you want to understand her, and that you’re there for her. It’s in this space that a relationship is truly able to grow.

No winners

This is not about the man giving in, nor is it about the woman getting her way. It’s about understanding and respecting each other’s masculine and feminine energies and strengthening the relationship. Once Jessica explained this to her partner, he learned how to reassure her and Jessica felt confident in the relationship. Once they were past this testing phase Jessica felt she could trust him with her heart, they were able to feel a deeper connection, and the urge for Jessica to test him reduced significantly. Testing behaviour is different in all relationships. In the early stages there is an obvious hurdle to jump, but once you’re over it, there is more trust between you and the need for testing can become minimal. It’s important to communicate openly about the testing dynamic with your partner and educate each other. Be honest with yourself. When did you feel the need to test your partner, and how did he respond? In order to take your relationship to the next level, explain to him what he needs to do to win your trust in those moments. Whether you’re single, in a new relationship or have been in a relationship for a number of years, understanding the role of the masculine and feminine energy is critical. It’s constantly having an impact on the connections you make with potential partners, and on the quality of your relationships.

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 or to find out about her tailored coaching programs email


wellbeing | Spotlight on

The miracle of

Pranic Healing

Without health there can’t be happiness, and without happiness, there can’t be longevity. Elina Marshall guides us on how to use Pranic Healing to achieve health, happiness and longevity.


nergy healing can leave the practitioner exhausted, deprived of energy, and sometimes it can even make them sick. In traditional energy healing, the healer practically gives his health energy away, and it can take a long time to restore it. For this reason, some healers restrict their work to very close friends and family. Pranic healing is slightly different, because a Pranic Healer acts like antennae for the Prana that comes from the environment. The healer simply refines natural energy and channels it to where it’s needed most, so he doesn’t get tired after the sessions and he can help a lot more people.

receive it every day. The flows of energy come through our aura and chakras, and are evenly spread all over our body. If you look at any icon or portrait of Saints, Gods or Deities, you will see that there is a light surrounding their heads and sometimes bodies. This is the Energy Body which we all have. It is sometimes called aura. Our ancestors were very well aware of its existence and power, and they tried to depict it in a simple but effective way. It is difficult to say how old Pranic Healing is, but it is definitely older than ancient Chinese Taoists and Tibetan Monks, who have been using Prana in healing. It is both an art and a science, and it uses a no-touch and no-drugs approach.

What is Pranic Healing?

How Pranic Healing works

The word ‘Prana’ comes from Sanskrit and means the ‘vital energy’, or ‘life force’. Prana is what keeps the body alive and healthy. Prana comes from nature: the sun, the ground, the trees, the grass, the oceans, the rivers and the air. We are entitled to

In ancient Egypt, India, and China, Pranic Healing was the most popular form of managing sickness and ailments. It brought deliverance from various physical and mental infections and other diseases. However, Pranic techniques were kept top

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secret and only selected healers were taught how to use this system. Not many people were allowed to practice it. The reason for such secrecy was not only the fear of misuse, but also a fear of losing control over the general public. The ancient healers were very well aware that the physical body has the ability to repair itself at a certain rate. This principle is the basic rule in Pranic Healing. If you have a wound, your body will heal itself and recover within a few days, even if you do not apply any medicine. The body fights the disease physically and energetically. If you use Prana, the body is released from overwork, which speeds up the healing process.

Energy vs physical body There is an intimate relationship between our Energy and Physical Bodies. If your physical body is wounded, then so is your Energy Body, and vice versa. What affects one affects the other. Hence, if the Energy Body is healthy, then the Physical Body is healthy as well. Negative or diseased energy is sometimes called processed energy. As soon as this negative energy is removed from the patient’s energy body and fresh Prana transferred to the affected areas, the body starts to heal itself rather quickly.

Spotlight on | wellbeing

Pranic Healing is like the light which can affect a chemical reaction, the kind of reaction that is the basis of photography. In Pranic Healing, Prana or Life Energy serves as the catalyst. It accelerates the rate of the biochemical reactions involved in the natural healing process of the human body. When Pranic Healing is applied to the affected part of the body, the rate of recovery and healing increases tremendously.

Harmony and balance Pranic Healing provides techniques that use Prana or Life Energy to rebalance, harmonize and strengthen energy fields. The causes of most physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual imbalances lie in our aura. All living beings have energy fields and most human activities are surrounded by vortices of energy that control them. This means that Pranic healing techniques can successfully alleviate practically any disease in people, plants, and animals. It can even heal our relationships, finances, workplaces and home environment. Pranic Healing is a powerful tool which helps dramatically improve your health and living. Utilizing Prana or Life Energy heals the whole physical body. It cleanses and rejuvenates the Energy Body and its chakras, allowing them to function at their optimum. This in turn improves the way life force circulates and nourishes the physical body, bringing about an accelerated rate of healing. The founder and originator of modern Pranic Healing, Grand Master Choa Kok Sui, has researched this systematized knowledge and validated it to produce repeatable results in most cases. He devoted over 20 years of his life to this unique research, and, as a result, created the system described in the Miracles Through Pranic Healing manuals published in various countries and translated into twenty seven languages.


The role of chakras Chakras are centres in our Energy Body which control physical, mental, psychoemotional and spiritual states. They are located within the energy field, and are constantly spinning. Chakras are the energy centres of the human body, and are similar to power stations, providing fuel for the different systems to function effectively.

According to various teachings, our bodies have six or seven major chakras. However, there are many more than that. Pranic Healing states that there are eleven major chakras located along the spine. These are: the basic and sex chakras; the navel and solar plexus chakras; the spleen, heart and throat chakras; the third eye or ajna; and finally, the forehead and crown chakras. Besides those, we have heart, back, head, and Meng Mein chakras, as well as a set of mini-chakras located at every joint and every organ

The ancient healers were very well aware that the physical body has the ability to repair itself The chakras look like delicate funnels rotating clockwise and anticlockwise. They supplying our energy and physical bodies with fresh life energy or Prana, and remove the processed dirty energy. They are like little noses inhaling and exhaling Prana. Each chakra has its own colour, so you can imagine how beautiful we all are!

Uses of chakras Imagine for a moment that you have forgotten how to breathe. What will happen if you don’t remember how to do it? You will die. The reason that you breathe automatically, without thinking, is because your subconscious has a special program written for breathing, and it’s running without your supervision. The same process is going on in the chakras. If they stop breathing, you feel deprived of vital energy. You feel tired and weak, depressed, sick and even angry sometimes. Chakras control our personal power, the quality of our physical, psychoemotional and mental health, our spiritual development, and even our success in the material world and in relationships. It all depends on the quality of our energy body - the size, strength, health, brightness and cleanliness of our chakras. Pranic treatments can reduce or completely remove pain from shoulders, arms, legs, heads and backs in just a few minutes. However, some conditions will require a number of treatments which are sometimes on-going. Pranic Healing 31

can help with headaches and migraines; nearsightedness, farsightedness and glaucoma; infections; asthma; fever; stomach pain; infertility; diabetes; muscle and back pain; frozen shoulder, stiff neck and bursitis; inflammation of muscles and tendons; arthritis; allergies; skin ailments; insomnia; heart ailments; weight loss; stress, irritability, anxiety and grief; phobias, traumas and depression; smoking and drug addictions; and many others. Pranic Healing can also assist you to increase your energy levels, become stronger and healthier, remove aches and pains, and enhance your life and relationship.

Using Prana at home When you feel that you are tired or deprived of energy, take off your shoes and socks, and stand with your bare feet on the grass. Ask the land and the grass for the permission to borrow some of its energy. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Concentrate on your soles and imagine the energy coming through your feet and into your body. If you feel there isn’t enough Prana coming through your feet, you can touch the grass with the palms of your hands, or you can even lie down on the grass. Breathe slowly and deeply with your diaphragm. Do this exercise for 3-5 minutes and you will feel refreshed and energised. Another exercise to acquire the vital energy is simple deep breathing. Close your eyes, inhale for five counts, hold your breath for three counts, exhale for five counts and hold your breath for three counts. Do it ten times. This exercise helps you not only to get much needed energy, but also to calm down if you are irritated, angry or frustrated. Pranic Healing is an effective and simple method of maintaining your health and extending your longevity. It has been passed down from ancient cultures, has no side effects and can be used anywhere, anytime. It retains the energy levels of both the healer and the patient, leaving them both free, fulfilled, happy, and satisfied. Elina Marshall has been practicing energy healing for twenty years. She spends most of her time helping people maintain their health, restore their energy levels, and live happy, fulfilling, balanced lives.

wellbeing | Feature

The oral impact Oral health is often overlooked when treating health issues but as Dr Ron Ehrlich shows, when thinking of wellness its worth starting at the top.


ral health is linked to your general health in many ways and can easily impact your breathing, sleeping and eating. After all, the mouth is the first stage of the respiratory tract and digestive system. Did you know that the two most common infections in humans are tooth decay and gum disease? Both of these can cause chronic inflammation in the body. In addition, clenching and grinding your teeth, particularly at night, can cause tension headaches and neck aches, yet it is often overlooked as a cause. Let’s briefly explore how your oral health will impact your overall general health.

Breathing and sleeping well The size and shape of your jaws impacts the size and shape of your upper airway. This can impact your breathing and subsequently your quality of sleep. The upper jaw is the floor of the nose and sinuses. If it is narrow not only will the upper or lower teeth be crowded, the nasal cavity could also be restricted. Over 90% of the population suffer from overcrowding, so while ideally you should breathe through your nose (the nose warms, humidifies and filters the air), if the nasal cavity is restricted you will mouth breathe. This in turn affects your body chemistry. The lower jaw can also impact the amount and quality of sleep. When sleeping the lower jaw can drop back causing the tongue to block the airway. This often manifests as snoring and sometimes as obstructive sleep apnoea. Poor sleep can

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cause a range of issues from cardiovascular problems, headaches, obesity, and diabetes to poor concentration, lethargy, anxiety and depression. A well-designed plate can be worn at night to keep the airway open and stop snoring.

Eating well Eating well is not just about the food you eat, it’s also about how you eat. The mouth is the first part of the digestive tract and is a crucial part of breaking food down so the body can absorb nutrients. If your teeth are misaligned or broken, if your jaw joints click and are out of balance or if you breathe through your mouth, then you may not be chewing food efficiently. If you don’t chew your food thoroughly you’re bypassing the important first step. For healthy teeth ensure your diet includes lots of vegetables, a moderate amount of protein, healthy natural fats, lots of water and trace minerals from good quality salt. Avoid sugars, starchy carbohydrates and processed foods.

Given the structure of the human body, it is logical to think that oral infections affect our health. Inflammatory chemical and bacteria circulate throughout the whole body, not just the mouth.

Toxicity of dental materials A “silver dental amalgam” filling actually contains 50% mercury, which slowly escapes over the life of the filling. Mercury is toxic and adversely affects many biochemical processes in the body as well as the nervous system and the immune system.

Headaches and neck aches

Oral infections

Your jaw and neck muscles are connected so if there has been some trauma, strain or injury to those neck muscles then clenching or grinding teeth at night may exacerbate those problems. The jaw is often over looked in tension headaches and neck aches and people can go for years being told there is “no problem” or just “take painkillers”. Careful assessment and the use of a well-designed plate to relax the jaw muscles and maintain a good airway at night will reduce the incidence and severity of chronic pain in the head and neck.

Gum disease is common and often undetected. It results in chronic lowgrade inflammation that is linked to cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, some cancers and many other chronic health conditions. Tooth decay is another common problem that can go undetected for years. If allowed to progress it can spread into the nerve of a tooth and even into the jawbone.

Dr Ron Ehrlich is one of Australia’s leading health practitioners and educators. He is a holistic dentist who focuses on the person attached to the teeth, rather than teeth attached to a person. Dr Ron lectures in the UK and Australia and runs workshops on empowering health.



Delivering health to your door

wellbeing | Feature

What’s really in your


Most people have no idea what ingredients are in their personal care and cleaning products and yet, as Emma Sutherland explains, a lot of products contain harmful chemicals that can hurt consumers and damage their health.


ou have probably been slathering your body with chemicals for years without really thinking about it. These chemicals include Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Propylene Gycol (PG). SLS is used in industrial floor cleaners and car engine degreasers, while at home, it’s used in personal care products like shampoos, body gels, baby wipes, baby shampoos, bubble baths, toothpaste, and facial cleansers. A study undertaken nearly 20 years ago in the Journal of the American College of Toxicology demonstrated that SLS can damage the immune system, cause separation of skin layers, and lead to inflammation of skin. SLS penetrates the skin and the eyes, and it is also held in the brain, heart, and liver. A single drop of SLS can stay in the brain and body for at least a few days. It is a mutagen and is capable of changing information in the genetic material found in cells. Because of this mutagen property, SLS has been used in studies to induce mutation in bacteria, according to researchers at the School of Medicine in Sendai, Japan. Propylene Gycol, the second chemical you unknowingly use, can be found in antifreeze, brake fluid, hydraulic fluid, paint, and floor wax. In personal care products, PG is found in shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, hand and body lotions, skin creams, and beauty creams. The American Academy of Dermatologists stated in 1991 that Propylene Glycol causes a significant number of reactions and is a primary irritant to the skin.

Hazard ratings Bio Oil is a specialist topical product that is said to help improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks, and uneven skin tone. It is a Number One selling product in Australia, and pharmacists consider Spring 2011

it the most recommended product for scars and stretch marks. However, the Environmental Working Groups’ Skin Deep Database ( scores Bio Oil a 7, representing a “High Hazard” because of the following ingredients: • Isopropyl myristate • Triisononanon • Paraffinum liquidum(mineral oil) • Cetearyl ethyl hexanoate Isopropyl myristate can cause irritation to the skin, lungs, and eyes, while Triisononanon helps the skin to absorb products better. Mineral oil is associated with allergies and may cause organ system toxicity. Bio Oil also contains fragrances that are associated with allergies. If phthalates are involved, these fragrances could cause dermatitis, and they might affect the reproductive system. Finally, Butylated hydroxytoluene is used as a preservative ingredient in Bio Oil, and it can lead to developmental effects when used in high doses. The average Australian woman puts 13 products on her body before leaving the house each day, creating the potential for the build-up of harmful chemicals and an increase in body burden. As the body absorbs all of these chemicals, it bioaccumulates them in fat cells and bones. In addition, when a woman is pregnant, what she puts on her body has a profound effect on her health and her child’s health. The unborn child becomes a natural detoxifier for her by “downloading” chemicals and heavy metals. Researchers from the College of Public Health at the National Taiwan University published a paper earlier this year which concluded that babies are born with a chemical load derived from their mothers. ( pubmed/21349779)


Protecting unborn babies Parents are continually protecting their children from all kinds of dangers in life. Protecting children against harmful substances such as toxins can begin even before the child is born. Pregnant women are exposed to numerous substances that cross the placental barrier and affect their unborn baby. The latest study just announced by the Washington Toxics Coalition (WTC), shows that unborn babies are exposed to chemicals in everyday consumer products. ( publications/earliest-exposures) WTC tested blood and urine from pregnant women in California, Washington, and Oregon during their second trimester of pregnancy. The following results show chemicals that are found in a wide variety of consumer products: • Bisphenol A (BPA) was found in 100% of participants. BPA is found in polycarbonate water bottles and food and beverage cans. It has been linked to cancer, early puberty, diabetes, obesity, and reproductive problems. • Mercury, a known neurotoxin, was found in 100% of participants. • Phthalates were found in most women in the study. Phthalates are plasticisers and fragrance carriers found in consumer products ranging from shower curtains to shampoo. They may have an impact on masculinity in boys, and are linked to reproductive problems and asthma. • Each woman had at two to four “Teflon chemicals,” or perfluorinated compounds in her blood. These are chemicals used to create stainprotection products and non-stick cookware. They are linked to low birth weight, obesity, and cancer. The study didn’t make any associations between a woman’s lifestyle and the levels

Feature | wellbeing

of chemicals found in her body. Erika Schreder, staff scientist for the WTC and author of the report, says “Pregnant women can’t avoid every exposure to these chemicals because they are in so many products. They can’t shop their way out of this problem. We need policies that keep toxic chemicals away from pregnant women and the vulnerable developing foetus.”

Safely using sunscreen Links between chemicals in sunscreen and harmful effects on the body have been well researched and documented in various medical journals. However, only small amounts of this information have leaked out into the mainstream media. There is also increasing evidence that while sunscreens may stop you burning, very few provide protection against the radiation linked to skin cancer. Sunscreens currently available in Australia have been proven to stop ultraviolet B radiation burning your skin. More are now also protecting against ultraviolet A radiation. However, this is still an optional test for sunscreens with only about 25 to 50% per cent of sunscreens tested. Some sunscreens do not appear to stop the longer-wavelength ultraviolet A rays causing potentially dangerous changes within the body. Dr Peter Dingle, a West Australian environmental toxicologist, has raised concerns about chemicals used in personal care products and sunscreens. He has stated that most chemicals used in sunscreens are non-toxic when first applied to the skin, but once exposed to heat, reactions occur between your skin and the sunscreen. Most chemicals in sunscreens act to absorb UV rays, which are then increased to a higher energy level. When particles drop back to their former lower energy level, energy is remitted. It is thought that this process causes skin damage as the released energy enters the epidermis.


Avoiding toxins The first thing you can you do to prevent skin damage is to take antioxidants. Natural alternatives to synthetic sunscreens are also worth considering. Apart from using natural options, you could eliminate chemicals, plastics, and unsafe cookware from your home. Make your own inexpensive

homemade cleaning and beauty products from vinegar, baking soda, (and elbow grease) just like your Grandma did. In addition, choosing to eat organic food not only eliminates pesticide residues and harmful chemicals from your body, it also supports sustainable farming practices. It provides more nutrients and flavour and creates an eating culture that teaches us and our children to appreciate food and the natural cycles. We can’t avoid absolutely every contact with toxic substances in our lives, but we can keep our health and vitality in mind and make conscious choices to reduce our risk of overexposure. Keep in mind that better products are truthful in their marketing claims and free of potentially toxic ingredients. Some products might make claims like “gentle” or “natural,” but since the Australian government does not require safety testing, personal care product manufacturers can use almost any chemical they want, regardless of risks. That’s why it’s important to know the ingredients in all your products. When reading product labels, start at the end, focusing on preservatives. Avoid words ending in “Parabens”. You should also be on the lookout for DMDM hydantoil, Imidazolidinyl urea, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Triclosan, Triclocarban, and Triethanolamine (or “TEA”). Items made with these products should be avoided whenever possible. Next, check the beginning of the ingredients lists, where soaps, surfactants, and lubricants show up. Try to avoid ingredients that start with “PEG” or have an “-eth” in the middle. These include sodium laureth sulphate. Finally, read the ingredients in the middle. Look for 35

“fragrance”, “FD&C,” or “D&C.” These are all potential toxins.

Tips for kids Although many parents pay more attention to their kids’ environmental health than their own, adult bodies can be affected by toxic chemicals, too. So start buying fragrance-free items, skip the nail polish, and use fewer beauty products. Extra caution is in order for kids. They are exposed to more contaminants in everyday products than adults because of their surface area to volume ratio. Their immature metabolism and organ systems are typically less capable of fending off chemical assaults, so even subtle damage to young bodies can lead to disease later in life. Here are some tips to protect your kids: 1. Use fewer products and use them less often. 2. Don’t trust advertising hype. Always check ingredients. 3. Buy fragrance-free products. 4. Avoid the use of baby powder. 5. Always avoid EWG’s top six chemicals of concern for kids: • 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3 Diol • BHA • Boric acid and sodium borate • DMDM Hydantoin • Oxybenzone • Triclosan Emma Sutherland is a successful naturopath and TV presenter. She is the expert nutritionist on the premier show Eat Yourself Sexy. Her mission in life is to inspire women to get their mojo back, and she has worked extensively in radio, TV, and print media. For more information:

wellbeing | Fitness

GYM-free weight loss Most women want to lose weight but many hate the thought of joining a gym. Now you don’t have to. Michelle Hext explains you can have this particular cake and eat it too.


here are many reasons why women prefer not to head to the gym. The three main ones are cost, feeling intimidated by the environment, or simply not enjoying the type of exercise that gyms offer. Whatever your reason, the good news is you don’t need a gym membership, expensive supplements, or meal replacements to transform your body. You can start today, right where you stand, and using what you have right now. Excessive advertising can paralyse us from taking action. Losing weight can be a difficult and daunting prospect for some, and we really don’t need more excuses or fear about getting started. The more we hear about this subject, the more confusing it gets, and the more paralysed we become. We are now convinced that losing weight must involve a gym, must cost a lot of money, and that we must drink this and buy that to make it happen! You can now eliminate all of the confusion because no matter who you are or how heavy you are, you can start working on your weight today, and you won’t need to stet foot in a gym or spend a cent. It takes five things to lose weight.

Belief and discipline Firstly, you have to believe that you can do it and be disciplined enough to do what it takes. You need to begin with a compelling goal and the belief that you can achieve it. It’s easy to gather evidence to support the notion that you are hopeless and that you will fail. It’s harder to search for evidence that proves you can achieve the goal you have set.

If you go searching, I am sure you will find many examples of things you succeeded at. Create a list of these things to remind you that you can do anything you set your mind to. Once you have a clear goal, create your plan of action and be disciplined about following through.

Exercise You simply cannot achieve weight loss by diet alone and nor should you want to. Exercise gives us energy and keeps us fit and healthy. Be sure to include both cardio (running, walking, swimming, cycling etc) and resistance (weight training) sessions to your weekly workouts.

Healthy eating I recently came across a comment that I loved – “you cannot out train a bad diet”. Never a truer word has been spoken! You can train all day but if your nutrition is not as it should be you will be spinning your wheels getting nowhere. It is important to eat a clean diet of lean proteins, complex carbs, good fats and plenty of fruit and veggies. A clean and healthy diet is not necessarily expensive, nor is it difficult to cook. An example of a clean dinner would be a steamed chicken breast, steamed broccoli, and brown rice.

A structured plan Know exactly what you will be eating each day, and what exercise you will be doing. Sit down on a Sunday morning and plan your week so you can shop and pre-cook meals. Write your exercise sessions in your diary so you won’t skip

Michelle Hext is CEO and founder of Glow Women’s Fitness Online. Michelle’s has 20 years’ experience in the fitness industry and is now leading the way in Online Personal Training. Michelle helps women to change their lives through fitness and healthy living.

Spring 2011


them. Keep your plan on the fridge so you can see quite clearly what is expected each day.

Support and encouragement Everyone needs support and encouragement to help make the weight loss journey a smoother ride. There will be ups and downs, and being able to turn to others for help is extremely valuable. Nobody likes to feel as though they are alone in their struggles. There are a whole bunch of weight loss forums you can sign up for online. They can provide the added support you need. Losing weight does not need to be difficult or complicated. When you complicate things, you begin to feel overwhelmed and start getting ready to throw in the towel. Anytime you start to go off track, pull out your goals and your plan of action. Tweak things so that you can move forward once again without feeling overwhelmed.

career | Gender diversity

Advance Australia Fair… for women

This year we honoured the centenary of International Women’s Day. While it was a day of celebration to highlight the advances made towards women’s equality it also shone a spotlight on what still needs to be done. Maureen Frank explains…


he good news is that in the last little while there has been notable progress on the back of some very big carrots and sticks, because the blindingly obvious is progress needed to be made and made quite urgently. For years feminists and gender diversity experts have been arguing the case for greater gender diversity and equality for women. This argument has never been led by fairness – certainly it has been an element, particular with pay parity – but it’s been led by the business case for gender diversity – which is overwhelming. There are more than 20 substantial reports over the past decade that attest to the significant business benefits of greater gender diversity. The respected consultancy McKinsey & Co has released successive reports, as has the peak global body for the advancement of women, called Catalyst, and Diversity Inc, the leading global organisation for all diversity groups, along with local reports from Goldman Sachs JB Were and Reibey Institute. In short, organisations with more female senior executives typically outperform other organisations by around 30 to 40%. I am not saying more women then men, but what the research points to is for an organisation to reap the benefits of diversity they need to have at least 30% representation of both genders. Aside from financial gains, other benefits include improvements in employee motivation (58%), customer satisfaction (57%), and brand image (69%) plus greater innovation, productivity and returns to shareholders. So, women are very good for profits, morale and the economy. But the Goldman Sachs JB Were’s November 2009 Research Report on Australia’s Hidden Resource: The Economic Case for Increasing Female Participation concluded that women are under-utilised in the Australian workforce.

Spring 2011

They argued closing the gap between male and female employment rates would boost the level of Australian GDP by 11% and that Australia was only two thirds of the way to unlocking the hidden value of its female labour pool. It was this evidence and recommendations that prompted the Australian Stock Exchange to issue guidelines to all Australian companies on gender diversity. Provided for review in the middle of 2010 and effective from 1 January this year, they require ASX listed companies to report in their annual reports from July 2012 the programs and policies they have in place for gender diversity and the percentage of women at each level of their organisation. When EOWA issued their guidelines, this was the state of affairs in Australia:


% men %women

Chairmen of Boards




92 *





Senior Executive Managers



Line Managers**



Middle Managers



* This board figure did climb to 90% men and 10% women in September 2010 after the ASX announcements. In the preceding eight months, one-quarter of the appointments to the ASX 200 were female board members, compared to between 5 and 10% in preceding years. See what I mean by stick. ** Line managers are significant as they are paths to Senior Executive and CEO appointments.

After the Labor government was returned to power in 2010 it mandated that all federal government boards will comprise a minimum of 40% of both 38

genders by 2015 (previously at 33.4% in 2008-09) and they strongly recommend the corporate sector follows suit. Several state governments have similar policies. At this stage no quotas have been set for companies but many are responding with the Commonwealth Bank, Woolworths, Westpac and ANZ publicly pledging to increase their female representation to between 35 – 40% by 2015. In March the Honorable Kate Ellis MP, Minister for the Status of Women, announced that not enough is being achieved – in terms of advancement of women in the Australian workforce. Note, the key word is ‘achieved’. Not results. She introduced a series of reforms to the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 (EOWW Act) and Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) will take effect in 2013. Her message is clear: “No more good intentions – we want good outcomes. Where previously businesses were required to establish and report their workplace equity plans, programs and processes we are now asking them to tell us about tangible outcomes – how women and men are actually faring in the workplace.” Since the year 2000 businesses with more than 100 employees have been required to report to EOWA on the status of women within their companies. Approximately 2500 organisations comply and of these nearly 100 have been recognised as “employers of choice” for women. As you can see plenty of room for improvement and with more than 6,349 businesses in Australia employing more than 200 employees – let alone 100 – there are plenty of organisations not selfidentifying to this key government agency. The government is doubling its funding. Companies will be required to report on more indicators and the agency will be doing regular spot checks to ensure that the information supplied holds up.

Gender diversity | career

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


How will you benefit

It will work more closely with other government departments to identify the remainder of Australian businesses who should be complying with the Act but are currently escaping their obligations. And it will only do business with organisations that comply with the Act – yes its annual $42 billion annual spend will only go to companies that can demonstrate they have gender equitable workplaces. These regulatory motions have had a positive impact on many organisations shining a brighter spotlight on the broader issue of diversity – ethnicity, age, disability and Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBS) diversity. Many organisations are realising the whole area of diversity has either been neglected or under-served for too long. Many are setting up diversity policies and forming diversity councils. What this has resulted in is a lot of planning around values and directions but it’s now time to move forward on activity geared towards results. Now is the time for the rubber to hit the road; it’s time to implement the programs that will make the needle rise in terms of advancement and development of women in their ranks. As they really only have 12 months to make the most profound initial impact to demonstrate their intentions and their results. Implementation and progress is at the heart of the matter, a point highlighted in

a Mercer Consulting Report released in April: Women’s Leadership Development Survey conducted by Mercer in December 2010 in conjunction with Talent Management and Diversity Management magazines. Principal of Mercer, Fiona Reed, said, “We have companies (in Australia) that have policies (to encourage women in the workplace) but we aren’t implementing them as well as we should.” The top programs offered by Australian and New Zealand organisations that target the needs of women leaders were; flexible work arrangements, mentoring, coaching, and diversity sourcing and recruiting. Notably, the same four programs were also identified as the most effective in developing women leaders. Based on my own experience and that of my clients, a comprehensive gender diversity strategy has a number of core elements essential to making it a success. Yes mentoring programs for women, but equally critical is having the CEO on the Diversity Council, having the full support of the senior executive team and having diversity and gender leadership training for their male managers and staff. This is the course that Telstra undertook and in 2010 they became the only Australian company to be recognised by the Catalyst organisation – the peak global body for the advancement of women in Business. Using the “my mentor” suite 39

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 will be flow-on benefits for all women and flow-on benefits to organisations of all sizes. Gradually over time there will be a shift in corporate cultures away from male-dominance to one more supportive of working parents – that’s both men and women. More women will return to our larger organisations after childbirth, rather than opting out. There will be more female role models and mentors to develop stronger female talent pools and pipelines. There will be more flexible workplaces, stronger parental leave strategies and stronger employee brands aligned with female employee values and stronger appreciation of the female consumer. And hopefully as a society we will reap the benefits of diversity – greater innovation, more stable companies and greater economic prosperity. The challenge is of course is that globally, everybody is finally waking up to the benefits of gender diversity and how that could improve the economic performance of organisations and economies. In Australia our utilisation of women, their seniority in business, and the way they are valued, actually lags behind most advanced nations. We have our work cut out for us – not just to catch up but to get ahead. 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

career | Feature



In reality everyone experiences challenging times but few people are prepared for it or know how to “bounce back” quickly. Using the Resilience Quotient™ Noel Posus shows how to find out your level of resilience.


ow well are you prepared for the inevitability of a challenging experience or live event? How well do you bounce back from a challenging experience or life event after it has happened? The extent to which you can plan ahead or cope with challenging experiences or life events, is a measurement of your level of resilience. Modern thought leaders on resilience view it is a proactive set of capabilities, meaning that individuals have the ability both physically and psychologically to prepare for any life event as well as having the ability to respond positively when certain events occur.

How resilient are you? You can do a simple self-assessment to determine how resilient you are. Firstly, read through the following eight capabilities of resilience and rate yourself on a scale of one to ten where ten is the strongest measure of capability. • Self assurance – Display a sense of security and self-assurance acknowledging that life is complex and challenging but filled with opportunity. Develop a positive outlook about yourself, your work unit or team, the organisation, and life in general. • Personal vision – Develop a clear vision of what you want to achieve or accomplish and where you want to go in your job, career and life. Identify what you believe, what you value, and what you need to do to translate your personal and professional goals into reality. This dimension can include your values, faith, spirituality, ambition and legacy. Spring 2011

• Flexible approach – Be sensitive to the forces of change. Demonstrate adaptability and flexibility in the face of uncertainty and stress. Accept the need to shift and redefine (if necessary) your direction, focus and vision as you learn new information from the environment, peers, customers, family and other sources. • Organised – Develop personalised methods, structures and systems for organising and managing the confusion, chaos and ambiguity. Develop stable structures to ride out a turbulent storm. If necessary, focus on one day, one week or one project at a time. • Problem solver – Develop the capacity to effectively think through and resolve personal and professional problems. See problems as challenges and opportunities. Fine-tune your skills of collaboration with others and such fundamental skills as critical, systemic and creative “out of the box” thinking. • Interpersonal competence – Demonstrate responsiveness, empathy and caring for others. This quality also involves communicating effectively with others, displaying a sense of humour – an ability to laugh at yourself – and valuing diverse perspectives. • Socially Connected – Build bridges and form partnerships with the people around you. Work with others to discover ways to make sense of the changing environment. Share ideas, solutions, problems, frustrations, opportunities and accomplishments. Focus on discovering areas of common ground and answers to common problems. • Proactive – Engage change directly rather than denying, fighting, or 40

working against it. Accept that change is inevitable but growth is optional, and find a way to make it work for you. Focus on what you can do, not on what others are doing to you. Actively work to improve or positively influence an unwelcome change. If you’re not completely satisfied with the scores in any of the eight capabilities, you have a good idea of what to work on. Re-read each of the definitions and determine what your goal would look like and what steps would be necessary to achieve that goal. You may find it helpful in some situations to look at breaking that goal into smaller and more manageable milestone goals. For example, if you gave yourself a rating in a particular capability as a four out of ten, consider a goal to get you to five or six, and another after that to get you to an eight or nine, and then a further goal to get you to ten. One of the key factors of resilience, either in planning before a challenging event or in response to an event, is asking for help. No one said that resilience is something you have to achieve on your own. If you feel that you would like some assistance in working through this resilience checklist and your resulting goals, please consider reaching out to a partner, family member, friend, coach or a counsellor as appropriate. 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 Resilience Quotient™ assessment tool developed by Russel Consulting Inc.

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

Am I Being Kind? By Michael J Chase, Hay House, $18.95

Awakening the reader like caffeine for the heart, am I being kind revives the spirit and blazes a direct path to a more peaceful and kindhearted world. In this captivating guide to personal transformation, author and inspirational speaker Michael J. Chase reveals how one simple question has the power to change your life and the lives of those around you. As you ask, “am I being kind” in seven vital areas of your life, you discover the secret to creating unlimited joy, inner peace, and the life you’ve always dreamed of.

1000 Most Important Questions By Alyss Thomas, Exisle Publishing, $24.99

Oh My Goodness By Peter Rodger, Hay House, $24.95

In 2006, frustrated with religious turmoil, fanaticism and fundamentalism, filmake Peter Rodgers set out on a quest across 23 countries to shoot the epic nonfiction motion picture Oh My God in an attempt to understand what the concept of God meant to people in all walks of life.This book chronicles Peter’s extraordinary adventure as he circled the globe, asking an amazing array of characters the simple (but not so simple) question: “What is God?” Philosophical, searching, funny and very personal, this work will make you laugh out loud, and at other times make you cry.

Asking ourselves questions is one of the most powerful ways to drive our lives forward. After all, overcoming yourself is more than half the battle with any problem. 1000 Questions holds the essence of all self-help programs and gives you your own complete workout in such key areas of life such as: personal values, anxiety, stress, time, confidence, self-esteem, relaxation, dealing with the past, and happiness.

Ms. Millionaire Fiona Jones & Rachel Griffin, Source Publishing and Production Group, $34.95

Created by sisters Fiona Jones and Rebecca Griffin, Ms Millionaire aims to inspire millions to make millions by telling the stories of 16 inspiring Aussie women who turned their life around from poverty to abundance. It proves that life isn’t just the hand you’ve been dealt. You can change your life and become a millionaire. “Most people at least want enough money to escape the so-called ‘rat race’ and enjoy life more with the opportunities that money brings,” Fiona said. “The problem is, most people don’t know how to make more money, or don’t believe that they could ever be a millionaire.”

The Reality Slap Dr Russ Harris, Exisle Publishing, $29.99

EEach and everyone one of us have received a reality slap - it’s that one thing that hits you and changes your life instantly. Sometimes it is so violent it’s more like a punch - the death of a loved one or a serious illness. Sometimes it’s a little gentler - envy, loneliness, resentment or rejection. Whatever form it takes, one thing’s for sure: it hurts! And most of us don’t deal with the pain very well. The Reality Slap will teach you how to cope effectively when life hurts using the proven principles of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy).

Want to share your passion for books? Great Reads is proudly sponsored by The Reading Room, a global community for readers. Join now for free and enjoy book recommendations, a variety of online reading groups, and great discussions on books of all genres. JOIN NOW FOR FREE

career | Feature

Raise your


To get ahead in your career you need to have a positive profile at work. Rebecca Wells discusses strategies to your raise you profile, without treading on any toes.


hat is it about the topic of “raising your profile” that makes so many people visibly squirm? In my experience it’s fear; fear of being “different”, fear of what “other people might think”, fear of being isolated by those around you. This fear can be so overwhelming it can cripple many people from even dipping their toe into the abundance of opportunity out there. And let’s face it, maintaining anonymity and hiding in the shadows feels safe, warm and familiar; there are no surprises. The downside to this however is stagnation. Playing it safe means you don’t move forwards, sideways or, well, anywhere really. You stay where you are, possibly in the vain hope that someone somewhere will eventually recognise your value and contribution and reward it handsomely. In reality, that day never comes. To get anywhere in your career you need to stick your neck out, be brave and bold. The irony of taking this kind of action is the more you stand up for what you believe in – your values, your mission and your personal and professional objectives – and push for the outcomes you want, the more you’ll engage and draw people towards you. Self-promotion done well makes the people around you sit up and take notice. Your confidence draws and holds their interest and their positive perception of you, as a leader, blossoms. There is an important distinction to discuss upfront. A common concern for professional women is that if they act with confidence and promote themselves they will be perceived as arrogant for “blowing their own trumpet”. In turn they feel they will then upset a lot of people and alienate themselves. This is quite understandable; few of us want to be thought of as arrogant. Arrogant people are not usually enjoyable

Spring 2011

to be around. They tend to hold the view that they know best and seem quite unaware as to how their actions might impact others or, much worse, simply don’t care. There is a big different between arrogance and assertiveness and it’s the latter you need here. When we assert ourselves, we behave boldly. We take responsibility for ourselves and our actions and are driven to find solutions wherever possible. Assertive behaviour, at its best, is also inclusive because people in this camp are much more aware of the people around them and actively assess how their own actions could potentially impact others. The crucial point is this: assertive people have awareness and that makes them altogether far more likeable and effective leaders. Use the following ideas to raise your profile in the workplace authentically by adopting an assertive standpoint:

1. Be yourself Everyone has values that they hold to be extremely important. Excellent examples of values are freedom, expertise, achievement, commitment, caring for others, success, recognition, open-mindedness, love, high standards, acting diligently and dressing to impress. When deciding how you want to stand out or raise your profile at work base your strategy on your own values. If you feel strongly about having high standards, your behaviour and actions must be reflective of that value, and consistently so. If you build your personal brand on values that are not your own, or try to be someone you are not, people notice that something doesn’t feel right and you come across as inauthentic, arrogant and even untrustworthy. Masquerading as someone you are not is also exhausting so just be yourself.


2. Decide how you want to be known How do you want the people in your office to think of you? Do they have a view of you already that you are proud of? If not, what could you start doing differently to begin to change that perspective? Just like any product, trying to differentiate itself from the myriad of competitive product on the shelves at Woolworths, so must you decide on a suitable and agreeable positioning strategy that will distinguish you from your peers. This is similar to having a tagline or slogan – what could yours be?

3. Acknowledge your value One of the easiest ways to sabotage your own ‘profile raising strategy’ is to undermine your value and contribution. Although not sole feminine traits, it is much more common for women to personally doubt and publicly belittle what they can (and do) offer the world. Common statements include: “I haven’t got the skills or the experience to lead that project” or “leadership isn’t for me; that’s what other people do really well” or following a positive feedback “it was nothing”. Chanel would never sell a $150 bottle of perfume if it’s advertising read something like, “We think it’s an alright scent but we’re not sure…” Apologies and indecisiveness do not sell product and likewise, they will not sell you. What does sell a product is promoting its benefits. In the case of perfume advertising the strategy is to encourage you to believe that the very second a special scent settles on your neck, your life will improve beyond all possible doubt. For example, “Become a more sexy, powerful and desirable woman with this new sophisticated scent from Chanel”. Now that bottle of perfume, I’d buy.

Feature | career

You are no different from a product. Mouse-like, apologetic behaviour where you openly belittle yourself will get you absolutely nowhere. It’s time to sell the benefits you offer your team, your manager and your organisation. The first step is to acknowledge your value to yourself. A great way to do this is to keep a journal of all your wins; the compliments you have received for jobs well done, the private and public praise that has come your way, the projects you’ve successfully completed, your learnings and the problems you have helped solve. A journal provides evidence and you won’t ever reach the end of a month again feeling as though you’ve accomplished nothing if you have a journal in front of you brimming with facts to the contrary. Once you believe yourself that you have an abundance of value to offer, you’ll feel much more comfortable promoting that to the external world.

4. Talk about yourself


I can hear you already – “OMG! Really? Please… no… anything but that!” Women typically hate talking about themselves to other people, particularly if it relates to saying something positive about themselves. Why? Usually, the concern is that they’ll be perceived as being big-headed or that others may not agree with their statement. Far too many people – and again this particularly relates to women – assume the people around them know what they are up to and what value they contribute. Some even go further to presuppose they’ll be recognised or even rewarded as a result. No, no and no. When coaching clients, I often hear things like: • “I worked until 10pm for 14 nights in a row. They’re bound to have noticed that.” • “I have managed that team effectively for over 12 months. I am bound to be offered a promotion this year.” • “I have all the skills and expertise to lead that project – I can’t wait; I am bound to be asked if I want the role.” My response is usually, “really?”

It is professional suicide to assume that the “people who matter” – and by that I mean the decision makers – are aware of what you are up to and what you want. They are not, after all, mind readers. Get into the positive habit of talking to people about how you can add value, where you want to add value and asking for what you want for your career. It takes some guts but you’ll be amazed by the positive response this will elicit. And remember – you don’t have to do this in an arrogant way. You can do this very well by being bold and by acting in accordance with your values.

5. Have career objectives There is a saying that if you don’t take charge of your own destiny, someone else will decide it for you. This saying is never truer than when it comes to your career. When looking to raise your profile in the workplace, do so within the frame of where you want to take your career. There has to be some bigger picture thinking in there somewhere. What do you want from your career in the next six to 12 months? How about three years? How does what you are doing now fit in with that vision? Be honest: if it doesn’t match up, ask what you need to change.

Fulfilled people (and some successful ones) are those who have clarity of what they want, know how that fits with their values and then actively take steps to get there. Your profile-raising checklist: 1. Know your personal and professional values: what matters most to you? 2. Understand how your career fits with those values. 3. Live by your values and be yourself, always. 4. Ask yourself how you’d like to raise your profile and how you want to be known around the office, with clients and other stakeholders. 5. Determine any changes you might need to make to your behaviour to support the above. 6. Back yourself and openly talk about your value. 7. Decide your own path, or someone else will absolutely choose it for you.

Rebecca Wells is a Career Strategist and Coach and Director of Clear Horizon Coaching. Rebecca enables senior managers to become strong, authentic and engaging leaders by establishing strategies in Self Promotion; Personal Branding; and Career Management Planning. Visit


career | Feature

Unlock your

inner leader If you want a rewarding career, a successful team, inspired culture or to help people reach their full potential, you must first reach your own potential as a leader. Kirsti Boothroyd explains...


e are in a new era of business that’s all about people, relationships and connections. While previously it was acceptable for organisations to treat people like capital, with the mindset of “we can just replace you”, organisations are now aware that losing one great person costs the organisation a lot more than dollars and cents and this has lead to a new mindset – “talent matters, we care about our people”. To be a great leader in this era, you first must lead yourself. In my experience, so many “leaders” in organisations attempt to lead others without leading themselves first and this results in an unhappy organisation and mediocre results. Lead yourself and others will follow. Unlock your inner leader with the following tips:

Explore and live your purpose When you know and live your passion and purpose you’ll experience more energy than you can imagine. In turn, others cannot help but to be inspired to do the same and you’ve got an automatic following.

Invest in your development To be a great leader, you must continually develop your leadership muscle. Educate yourself through self–study, attending relevant training and mentorship. Consider hiring a coach.

Get connected Know that people and relationships come first and have the intention to be genuinely interested in others. Spend five minutes everyday to connect with someone, getting to know them on a deeper level. Understand their issues, struggles, passions, challenges, goals and dreams.

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Be authentic. Just as you can sense if someone is being genuine and authentic in his or her dealings with you, others know whether you are being authentic in your interest or whether it’s just a show.

Get talking As a leader, it’s your role to deal with challenges as they arise. Never shy away from uncomfortable conversations that are essential to the growth of any organisation. Deal with any issues professionally, with respect and in a timely manner. Feeling fear of carrying out the performance review of an underperforming staff member is a symptom of poor leadership skills. A good leader intrinsically knows these uncomfortable

the new era of business is about people, relationships and connections moments lead to incredible growth opportunities for the person involved.

Be a great listener Most people think they listen but in actual fact, during the apparent listening time, they are merely downloading what they want to say next. You have most likely had the experience of being cut off in the middle of your sentence or bombarded with all the reasons why something won’t work before you’ve even finished explaining why it will. To be a great leader, listen with the intent to understand not to respond.

Be positive As a leader it’s up to you to inspire a positive, influential, and powerful environment for those around you. If you lead by example – speaking kindly


of others, offering encouragement and fostering team spirit – others will follow. Poor leaders are those who constantly complain and perhaps vent their frustration about “the way things are done around here”. Take ownership and make every interaction a positive one.

Proactively help others If you have experienced people not wanting to help or participate in your growth, ask yourself the question: were you helping people around you to grow? If you answered no to that question, it’s no surprise that you received little or no help either. Most people are too wrapped up in themselves to think about helping someone else excel but ironically, once others see that you are willing to help them, they will reciprocate. The law of reciprocity is the most powerful of the laws in human relationships.

Facilitate creativity Encourage team members to share their ideas, even if they seem far-fetched. Treat your team to a casual day each month where no formal work is done. Rather, the focus is being creative and innovative with a “No idea is a bad idea” approach.

Encourage fun Everyone wants to enjoy the organisation and people they work with. By encouraging laughter and fun you’ll not only improve morale, you’ll increase productivity as well. Kirsti Boothroyd is the CEO and founder of First Class Leaders Worldwide. She assists and empowers organisations to implement a leadership system that tackles issues and breeds success. Kirsti is also a motivational speaker, helping teams around the country to unlock their leadership talents.

business | Success profile

A little bit


Like many big breaks in business Katrina Allen recognised a gap in the market for a sanitary product that spoke directly to the female audience. She launched De jour Sanitary Products in 1998 and now, more than 12 years on, we find out about her success. Tell us a bit about yourself. I have a degree in graphic design. I worked as an Art Director in the Advertising industry for 10 years and then in 1998 I quit being an Art Director and started my own business, De jour Sanitary Products where I have been selling a range of De jour tampons to the market. I have now just started producing a new range called Miss De jour, also in zip lock bags, but in pastel pink and egg blue (box colours) and the tampons have very cute little illustrations on them.

What were the early days like in business? The early days of building De jour were quite lonely for me because I came from working in a very large advertising agency to working on my own out of the spare bedroom in my father’s house. I befriended 3AW radio and spent many hours with the station on in the background. It was tough in the beginning to launch De jour, working against multi-nationals organisations, and I have to say it’s still tough – it’s always tough.

What were you doing before you commenced De jour in 1998?

In the early days did everyone support you or were your friends & family cautious?

I was working as an Art Director at M&C Saatchi, Sydney - I had been working in the advertising industry for that last 10 years.

No, everybody supported me. Anybody who knows me knows that I’m pretty “gung-ho” and if I say I’m going to do something, I do it. I had already published two books at that stage, whilst I was an Art Director, so family and friends knew I was serious!

What made you decide to start your own business? I have a very entrepreneurial father who always encouraged me to have my own business and subsequently, because I was a creative, I was always working on lots of different ideas. In the most part I always wanted to be my own boss. I also knew that one day when I had children I would want the flexibility to deal with all the pressures and changing time schedules of children but also have my own income.

We understand initially that you had other business ideas as well. I had a couple of other ideas, one of them was a door hanging concept for department stores and the second idea was putting scratchies in Christmas bon bons. I pitched both ideas and they didn’t go anywhere. De jour was the one that took off.

Spring 2011

What were your first steps in starting the business? I suppose my first steps in starting De jour was to actually research my product and find out if there was a market for it. My instinct was that there was a market and the research also showed that. I then had to develop my product and work out how I was going to package it. Once all that was finalised I put together a presentation and went out to present De jour to the supermarkets.

What is the secret to winning over the supermarket giants to stock your products? It’s about having a product that has a point of difference and offers what the consumer will want. The supermarket buyer needs


to see that. If they can see that and say, “yes, that’s something that would appeal to the consumer”, you’re on a winner. Remember, the buyer is also a consumer. This was interesting when meeting with male buyers…

What risks have you taken in business? I guess I’ve have taken lots of risks, particularly in developing new products. Initially, a lot of time and money goes into researching whether a product will be of interest to consumers. Then, more time and money go into further research to take the new product to the next level – numerous meetings, money for designers, packaging, materials. And then, what if it doesn’t work? Sometimes, you can research and investigate, and then research and investigate some more and a new product won’t work even though retailers have accepted it. Many brands come and go. I have been lucky so far and I count my blessings. At the moment I’m in the process of developing a new brand called “Budons” which is a Back to School stationery product range for children and that is a big risk. A lot of time and energy has gone into developing the new product range, not to mention the money spent on developing the actual products and registering it worldwide. There is often the little thought in the back of my mind that it may not work and if not, all that investment could go down the tube. I suppose another risk I have taken is to steer away from traditional marketing methods. I don’t always think that advertising is the best path to take for a brand, so I might invest my marketing budget in PR or in sampling rather than more traditional means. Marketing can be very risky; you can research what you think your target market will respond to, and sometimes they just don’t respond in the way you think.

Success profile | business

What was it like, for the first time you were in a supermarket and saw someone buy your product? I have actually never seen anyone physically buy De jour or Miss De jour tampons in a supermarket. Clearly I know they have been purchased because we constantly get re-ordered, I’ve never seen it; I suppose it’s a discreet purchase. I have had many experiences where I have met someone, told them what I do and they say something like, “oh, I use your product and I love it”. It makes me feel good knowing that I’ve designed something that people actually love.

What’s the biggest mistake you have made in your business? Fortunately, I don’t think I’ve ever made a really big mistake. I do however make mistakes in the business all the time. For example I have ordered too much of one stock and had to hold it because it’s taken longer to sell. That’s perhaps the biggest

challenge in the business – stock control. I try to be very careful not to buy too much stock and I’m learning to be much more lean with inventory levels overall.

What is your proudest achievement to date? There are lots of things I am proud of. To begin with I took the idea of De jour Sanitary Products and got it off the ground. I am proud of De jour tampons and I am really proud of Miss De jour. I’m also very proud of my new business – Budons. Outside of the business my proudest achievement is my children. Work pales into insignificance when somebody tells me what beautiful children I have and how well behaved they are.

How have you grown personally with the growth of De jour? I suppose I’ve become a lot savvier in business. I had no business knowledge when I started De jour. I have also learned not to react to anything on the spot – I give it the “24 hour test” before I respond and inevitably the solution comes to me. That has helped me a lot.


Who have been your mentors? My father is definitely my greatest mentor. Other than that I find mentors in books I read about people who have started their own business. I take my hat off to people who have had a hard start or have had to go up against a big multinational or have simply kept trying and trying with their business until they succeeded. I really admire anybody like that – anybody who has the guts to put themselves out there and on the line.


If you were to start a business all over again, what would you do differently? I am not sure I would do anything differently. I am starting new businesses all the time and it’s just a matter of starting from the beginning and methodically working through it. You work out what you want to do with your business and then you present it.

What else would you like to achieve in business? I have a couple more business ideas in my head at the moment and I would like to get them up and running. I just like creating new ideas.

What do you feel is the secret of success? You never, ever, ever give up. If you are really passionate about an idea, you feel that other people will agree and you really think you can make it happen, just go for it. Along the way you’ll prove to any doubters that they were wrong.

What advice do you have for other women starting out in business? If you are going to start your own business, make sure it is a business that is going to provide you with a good income. Some people seem to think that having your own business makes life easy. Having your own business is the hardest and toughest thing you will ever do. You will go to bed every night dreaming about it and wake up every morning, thinking about it. It is much easier to be a PAYG employee, going home every night and knowing that you are getting paid for your day’s work. If you think that is what it is going to be like having your own business, then having your own business is not for you.

business | Etiquette

The etiquette

of dining

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


usiness meals are business meetings. Knowledge of your product or service is crucial to the success of the occasion, but so are your manners. Too many people jeopardize an opportunity because they fail to observe the rules of etiquette. Business dining is not about the food, the wine or the atmosphere. The focus is on dining for profit. Know your duties as the host. It is up to you to see that things go well and that your guests are comfortable. You need to attend to every detail from extending the invitation to paying the bill. Plan ahead when you issue the invitation. Allow a week for a business dinner and three days for lunch. Be certain that the date works for you. That might sound obvious, but if you have to cancel or postpone, you can look disorganised and disrespectful of your client’s time. Select a restaurant that you know, preferably one where you are known. This is no time to try out the latest hot spot. Being confident of the quality of the food and service leaves you free to focus on business. Consider the atmosphere. Does it lend itself to conversation and discussion? If you and your clients can’t hear each other over the roar of the diners and dishes, you will have wasted your time and money. Confirm the meal appointment with your clients the day before if you are meeting for breakfast or that day if you are having lunch or dinner. 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

Spring 2011

– the ones with the view. As the host, take the least desirable spot – the one facing the wall, the kitchen or the restrooms. Beyond being polite, where you seat your guests is strategic. When you are entertaining one client, sit next to each at a right angle rather than across the table. With two clients, put one across from you and the other to your side. If you sit between them, you will look as if you are watching a match at Wimbledon as you try to follow the conversation. Allow your guests to order first. Order as many courses as your guests, no more and no less, to facilitate the flow of the meal. It is awkward if one of you orders an appetizer or dessert and others do not. As the host, you are the one who decides when to start discussing business. At breakfast, time is short so get down to business quickly. At lunch, wait until you have ordered so you won’t be interrupted. Dinner, the more social occasion, is a time for rapport building. Limit business talk until after the main course. Keep an eye on the time, but don’t let your guests see you checking your watch. Breakfast should typically last an hour; lunch an hour and a half. Wrap up your business dinner in two to three hours, no more. Handle any


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 people at the next table out of control. Excuse yourself to discuss any problems with the staff. Don’t make your guests uncomfortable by complaining in front of them. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. If your guests are drinking liberally and you sense trouble, excuse yourself and discreetly ask the server to hold back on refilling the wine glasses or offering another cocktail. Your conduct over the meal will determine your professional success. If you pay attention to the details and make every effort to see that your clients have a pleasant experience, they will assume that you will handle their business the same way. Before long you could have them eating out of your hand. Lydia Ramsey is a business etiquette expert, professional speaker, corporate trainer and author of Manners That Sell - Adding The Polish That Builds Profits. She has been quoted or featured in The New York Times, Investors’ Business Daily, Entrepreneur, Inc., Real Simple and Woman’s Day. For more information visit

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business | Marketing

Become a guerrilla of marketing

In business, your competition is smarter, more sophisticated and aggressive than ever before. But, as Bruce Doyle explains, with some guerrilla training you can conquer the market.


arketing is the art of getting people to change their minds – or to maintain their mindsets if they’re already incline to do business with you. Guerrilla marketing is about achieving conventional marketing goals, such as profits and joy, with unconventional methods, such as investing energy instead of money. Many of today’s products and services are so similar that the only difference is in their marketing. Traditional marketers try to woo new customers with jingles, special effects, gimmicks, freebies, sales and fancy production. These marketing devices are the final refuge of people with limited imagination. Although there is little question that they can help, a serious guerrilla knows there are other marketing weapons with far more potency. One of the most important weapons in business is your competitive advantage. If your product or service doubles a company’s profits, grows hair on baldheads, or attracts life-long partners, you don’t have to stoop to the use of gimmicks. Jingles will just get in the way of clarity. Simply stating the truth will do very nicely. Although some businesses will have a plethora of competitive advantage, the only ones that will translate into instant profits are the marketable ones. A new kind of fabricating material, unless it is a dramatic advancement with dazzling benefits, will probably only bore your prospects. A great example of this is the “your place or mine?” campaign. An automotive dealer opened for business in the country where he lived, specialising in car detailing. He distributed marketing cards asking “your place or mine?” At the time there were so many detailers in competition with him that he and his partner decided to give customers a choice; bring their cars to the garage for detailing or arrange to have the detailers attend their home or office. It was a competitive advantage that worked exceptionally well. The most interesting and noteworthy thing is that he didn’t go into business with that competitive

Spring 2011

advantage. Rather, he had to invent it in order to compete effectively.

Finding your competitive advantage First, make a list of the benefits you offer. Of those benefits, identify those being offered by your competition and those that you offer but competitors do not. The latter are your “edges”. Next, decide which of those benefits are most important to your prospects? Once you have identified those competitive advantages, you’ve got a ticket to ride – all the way to the bank.

Integrate your marketing In this day and age your marketing activities must be “integrated’”. This relates to the coordination and combination of all marketing communications tools, avenues and functions within your company into a seamless program. For example, a direct mail campaign can go just so far. But if during that campaign, your prospects read articles about you in the newspaper or they are invited to a special event you’re sponsoring or they hear you interviewed on a radio talk show or they see your ads or find out you’ll be giving a talk somewhere – that’s when your direct mail campaign gets power. A campaign like this becomes infused with the physics of the boomerang and flies much further than it would ordinarily. An integrated solution to a marketing problem begins with close inspection of yourself, your target audience and your marketing environment. Your prospect’s state of mind, lifestyle and media usage are the best clues you have to which combination of tactics and marketing weaponry will bring about maximum results. Divergent approaches baffle the prospect and put a drag on the thrust of your campaign. Without integration, you’ve got a shapeless stick doing battle for you. With it, you’ve got a sleek, aerodynamic flying machine. 50

Marketing | business


Rising with publicity Another growing and highly effective marketing weapon is that of publicity. If used correctly this can have extreme benefits to your brand and organisation. Online and offline publicity helps your business rise above the noise level on the Net, but it takes planning and preparation to get it. Publicity is an ongoing part of your marketing program, not a one-shot effort you make when you launch your business. With a good plan, you’ll generate important coverage of your business at exactly the right time and in exactly the right place. Here are the key elements of a good publicity plan. • A competitive analysis. The art of publicity is creating published articles or TV and radio coverage that casts your company in a favorable light. To begin, you’ll want to know how your company and its competition are perceived by and presented in the media now. Study newspapers, magazines, and online publications related to your business for news of your competition and your own company to find out how each of you are being presented in the press. • Key messages. List some of the main qualities or advantages you want reflected in media stories about your company. Think in terms of competing with other firms. Your goal is to have these key messages reported or implied in any news story that’s done about your company. • Press materials. Make a list of materials you’ll distribute to members of the press, and then prepare them. You will probably send out a press kit, which includes some background about your company, products, and key personnel, one or more press releases about the specific events you’re publicising, and perhaps some product photos or slides. • Publicity targets. List all the magazines, newsletters, newspapers, and TV or radio stations you want to target as outlets for publicity about your company. Don’t limit yourself to the obvious targets or major national publications. Go to a large library and research all the magazines that might cover your area of business. • Story ideas. For each one of your publicity targets, create a specific

story idea, or pitch. Your publicity plan should list story ideas that fit the editorial focus of each publication or department you target. • A media calendar. This is your timetable for preparing publicity pitches and directing them at specific targets. You’ll use the media calendar to make sure you have prepared press materials and story ideas for any particular media target and have sent them off in time to have an article actually written before the publication’s deadline.

Marketing is the art of getting people to change their minds A proper publicity plan lets you map out a strategy for your publicity efforts several months or even a year in advance. Once you’ve identified your goals and targets, you can use the plan as a set of marching orders for carrying out your attack.

Using social media Another weapon in our guerrilla marketing arsenal is a slightly newer one; social media. This refers to a set of tools and websites that are free or nearly free and allow marketers and the community to create content and meaningful conversations online. The conversations and content created by communities and those marketers that engage them are having a huge impact on brands, communities and the consumer. What most executives, marketing professionals, and ad agencies fail to realise is that marketing now belongs to everyone and everyone must be equipped and engaged in the social media space. Your customer with two Tweets, a video blog, and a Facebook status update can do more good or harm to your brand than one of your well-planned marketing campaigns. Once you have your key networks set up; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube you must follow a set of key rules of engagement to be effective on this medium. These are: • Be transparent. Your honesty or dishonesty will be picked up almost

straight away through the use of social media. Don’t make up things or lie to people! If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, be the first to point it out. • Give more than you receive. To receive attention you must be prepared to give it to others first. • Add value. You must add value to the community to earn great connections. Don’t submit content that nobody cares about. Don’t constantly try to promote and sell your brand or people will remove you from their network. Try to “un-market” and become a resource to your communities. • Build quality relationships. People are more willing to do business with people they know. Remember relationships require the participation of both parties; so always be a good participant in your social media relationship. • Be curious. Discover all relevant communities of interest and observe the choice, challenges, impressions and wants of people within your network. Constant research and analysis of people’s behavior and traits is a key to understanding the space. • Develop a code of conduct. Develop a code for the way you want your brand to be presented online and through social networks. Determine the identity, character and personality of the brand. Embody the attributes you wish to convey to the public. • Seek fusion-marketing partners. Earn connections through collaboration and empower advocacy. Ask people to refer you. • Be profit driven. Guerrilla’s measure success by profits, not clicks, visitors or cool factor. Don’t mistake popularity for profitability. To have success in anything you must have a plan! Make sure you dedicate some time to planning your marketing purpose, the weapons you are going to use, the budget you are going to allocate and the image and personality of the brand you are going to portray.

Becoming a Business owner for the first time in 1977, Bruce Doyle has owned and operated an amazing 30+ businesses, 18 of which were developed from conception. He is the Guerrilla Marketing Master Trainer for Australia, hand selected by Jay Conrad Levinson, the inventor of Guerrilla Marketing.


business | PR

Captivate the


It is no secret that small businesses often allocate little if any budget to marketing. But, as Chloe Wedgwood shows, implementing a PR strategy costs nothing but your time and can reap huge rewards.


epending on your objectives, there are a number of marketing initiatives you can incorporate into your strategy that can build brand awareness and ultimately influence business growth, without breaking the bank. A great no cost marketing initiative to incorporate into your plan is a Press and Media Strategy that aims to acquire free publicity and create awareness of your business. PR agencies are a great option if you have budget available, however if not, the great thing about a press and media strategy is that it’s something you or one of your staff can manage. It can be straightforward to start, simply by writing press releases, distributing them to key media contacts and building relationships with key publications. With this in mind, the key to generating free publicity is therefore in knowing how to write an effective press release or ‘news story’, (the most common method of contacting the press) which attracts media attention. When writing an effective press release, there are four main areas to understand: the content of your press release; structure and layout; creating a list for distribution; and the successful distribution to that list.

Content Regardless of the importance or seriousness of the topic, a press release should include a fair amount of newsworthiness. For example, you may make an announcement in relation to a new event or product and why it is important, or a formal statement about something of interest happening in your company. The best idea is to put yourself in the editor’s shoes and provide them with information they’d want to publish and Spring 2011

share with their readers. Each publication is also different so the cookie-cutter approach will not work here. Be specific for the readers of each publication you wish to pitch to. If possible, the press release can include a exciting news hook but most importantly it must be relevant and of interest to the readers of the publication. Once you’ve determined your topic, use the five “Ws” as a guide for what to include within your text; who, what, where, when and why. The press release should be written in the third person and the style of writing should keep to the newsworthiness of the topic whilst maintaining a positive tone. Avoid sensationalising and hype. You don’t need to put too much of a spin on a story; its your job to present information and capture the interest of the editor, it’s the journalist’s job to write it up. When writing a press release for your own business, it’s tempting to want to ‘market it’ and slip into a more sales style of writing. Stick to the issue or else journalists simply won’t read it. Remember to edit it. Be hard on yourself, only keep the information that’s adds value and delete the rest.

Structure and Layout The structure of the press release is important. There is no definitive way to do this, but the more you adhere to elements editors like to see, the higher your chance of getting some free editorial. You want to make it as easy as possible for the editor to determine what your press release is about and generate their interest. Keep in mind that publishers can receive hundreds of press releases a day, so yours must stand out; it must attract attention and provide succinct, relevant information. Certain structures and techniques will be more familiar to editors and journalists. 52

As a general rule, the font recommended is Arial or Courier; usually 10pt in size and the press release should be around 300-500 words, in length. Ensure to keep it to one page. At the top of the page, include your company logo, the words “For immediate release” and the date. Follow this with a catchy headline and subtitle. For the body text, use the concept of a pyramid to provide structure and weight. The first paragraph should summaries the key message of your press release. The second can go into a little more detail and then the subsequent paragraphs can contain information that is less critical to your key message. You can also include a paragraph on details of the company or individual making the announcement. This is sometimes called the “boilerplate”. Your contact details should go towards the bottom of your press release. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to contact you. Include everything from you name, email address and landline number to your mobile number and website address. End your press release with ‘###’ this signifies the end of a press release; it’s a little “old school” but is still useful to indicate there isn’t a page two that perhaps wasn’t received. In relation to formatting, you can highlight or bold some of your keywords or phrases if they summarise a key point in your press release and it’s often a good idea to support your press release with statistics or quotes and an image relevant to your content.

Creating your list When you decide on the topic of your press release, you should also develop a list of the publications and media contacts to target. It is important to target the right media contacts with the right topics and that your press release speaks to the publication’s target audience. If you’re launching a new travel related product, there’s no point sending your press release to fashion editors. As previously mentioned, editors receive large numbers of press releases each day and the last thing you want to do

PR | business

is annoy them with unrelated emails; it’s a sure way to annoy them to the point they won’t ever open your emails again. Targeting print media editors is a great way to get started. Often there will be a list of contact details in the front of magazines or newspapers. They may list a press contact by name and include an email address or provide a number for you to ring. An alternative is to look into purchasing a subscription to the Margaret Gees Media Guide. Priced at around $600 for an annual online subscription, you can access contact details and information on a vast number of media contacts and their publications. With the rise of the digital world, another great way to generate publicity is online. There are a large number of online magazines, blogs, and company newsletters emerging that are all looking for content. This is also a great way for you to link the editorial straight to your social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Another tip is to subscribe to call out lists or email newsletters such as SourceBottle (


Successful distribution When you’re distributing your press release via email, it’s advised to send them individually and personalise it with the editors name and an individual message. Although not advisable, if you are going to send them in bulk, remember to ‘bcc’ the recipients. It’s considered very

unprofessional to display your whole mailing list. A good tip is to remove as much work for the editor as possible; make your press release easy to view and eye catchy so the editor will want to read on. A good way to do this is to save your press release as a jpeg and add the release as an image (below your personal message) so they don’t need to open it as an attachment. If you do this, also include your press release as an attachment. Keep the document size low (below one megabyte) so you don’t block the editors inbox. After you’ve sent your press release off, don’t expect confirmation from the editor that they have received it. You can follow up and get confirmation but avoid bombarding editors and journalists with phone calls and emails. Try to maintain a nice balance of letting them know you’re there to provide content should they require it but not becoming an annoyance. Public relations is all about building and maintaining good mutual relationships with your press contacts and being a source of good quality relevant information. Should the editor wish to include editorial from your press release, they will contact you. In preparation for this, it’s helpful to have a set of “word blurbs” or summaries on your company ranging from 25 words, 50 words, and 100 words and a range of high resolution images on hand should they request. If you are sending high resolution images, send via 53 This is a free web based platform for sending large files and wont block the recipient’s inbox. When you do receive published editorial, remember to be polite, convey your appreciation and say thank you; particularly to those editors and publications who have been most supportive. Although this is not necessary, it’s nice to acknowledge when someone has made an impact on you or your business and will help support you in future editorial opportunities with the editor. An editor will want to work with people they like, who are easy to work with, meet deadlines and are appreciative of the opportunity. Remember, there are many variables that affect whether or not the media decides to pick up your story. This can be relevance of your topic or timing, for example. Pay attention to lead time, and print deadlines and plan the distribution of your press release accordingly. And, don’t give up. 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.


business | Feature

are investors

While many start-up businesses need funding, few new business owners seem to know about Angel investing. Yolanda Vega discusses the concept and speaks to experts in the know.


he first time I heard the term “Angel Investor” was back in the early 90s. I was interviewing Heidi Middleton and Sarah-Jane Clarke about their new fashion label, sass and bide. They explained the brand began “out of need” – they needed hipster jeans. The two best friends bought old jeans, cut the waistline, lowered them and innovated a new look. Their friends all wanted them and so they started selling them at the Portobello Market in London. A few years later, when they returned to Australia, Heidi and Sarah-Jane wanted to expand their fashion idea and were fortunate enough to find an Angel Investor. The initial injection allowed them to register the name of the company and formalise their idea into a start-up company. When they approached the Angel Investor they had done their research and had confirmed there was, in fact, a market. Today sass and bide is one of Australia’s most prominent women’s clothing labels; and the investment for that particular Angle paid off. Unfortunately not everyone starting a business knows what an Angel Investor is, nor do they know how to find one, how to approach them or what the Angel may expect. According to Ruth Drinkwater, the CEO of the Australian Association of Angel Investors (AAAI), Angel Investors are individuals who invest personal funds in start-ups in order to support new businesses. “As well as being a source of funding, “ explains Ruth, “Angel Investors also mentor and invest their time to benefit the companies they invest in.”

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Angels are a rare breed; female Angel Investors are totally atypical. Regardless of sex however, Angels are mostly informal and unidentified; many demand to remain anonymous. One female investor that is happy to be identified is Aysegul. “I am still a bit of a tadpole when it comes to Angel Investing,” laughs Aysegul, “I’ve only been in this area for a few years.” Although only new to the world of Angel investing, Aysegul has been in the financial world for several decades. She began her career as a scientist (physic and math) and started her working life as a vendor in the financial market, working in Australia and Hong Kong. “I’m not your typical Angel,” explains Aysegul. “Most Angels are entrepreneurs that have sold their business for millions and then invest in start-ups. “My entry was different. I was looking for investment opportunities after the GFC, as many of my managed super-funds suffered. I wanted something to assist with my long-term requirements. When I was enquiring about different types of investments, I explained what I wanted and was told that I wanted to be an ‘Angle Investor’.” Angels come in all sizes and shapes and there is not one that is the same as another. Some want total control of the project and invest solo, whilst others prefer to invest in groups and share the profits. “I like to be hands-on and want to understand the background of the organisation,” says Aysegul. “I want to put something in, I want to make money and I also understand I have to take risks.” The Brisbane based Angel will only invest in projects that have all the elements she needs.


“I look for things that turn me on,” says Aysegul. “I need projects that I like and that I can learn from. I now prefer this area because the reality is that once I buy a share that’s it. With Angel Investments I get to have a closer interest; I can follow the company more carefully, I can work and evaluate the entity and thereby reduce the risks with the group of investors involved.” Aysegul admits that she prefers to invest with a group of Angels, as opposed to going solo. “Investing with a group of Angels is a good way to learn,” she says. “My first deal I was told to be the ‘Deal Lead’. This meant I was in charge of doing the due diligence, reporting back on investment options etc. The great thing about being the Deal Lead is that you also end up on the board of the entity you invest in and help out if the company is in a difficult situation.”

Angels need to understand the possibilities not yet proven The benefits to Angel Investors are many, apart from the potential earnings, Angels also get to hear the pitch from different start-ups and learn and see interesting innovations and inventions. Another investor, who wants to remain anonymous so we’ll call him Mr A, said that he enjoyed the learning process of understanding company concepts he was previously oblivious to and the exposure to different markets. “I’ve been investing for many years; but in the past I have only invested in a particular type of startup – IT. Now that I am learning more


Feature | business

about the different markets, there are new opportunities opening up and now I tend to invest in the personality, not the product. If the person doing the pitch is passionate, has the drive and the ability to take it through the different stages of development, I will invest if the deal is right. I do however only invest in companies with a confirmed exit strategy planned for within five to seven years of start-up.” Aysegul agrees: “There are six important points: 1. Start-ups need to want to sell the business within five to seven years, and they must have an exit strategy that makes sense. 2. The idea must be pitched ‘honestly’ - trust is a big issue, so honesty is imperative. 3. The owner must be prepared to learn, know the product, the industry, their competitors and the value proposition. 4. The owner must be prepared to have the business changed on many levels moving forward. 5. The owner must understand Angels have high expectations when it comes to returns and they need to like the entrepreneur and his/her team. 6. Angel investors want to operate in ‘ethical environments’. Mr A admits that before listening to the pitch, he asks the hard questions. “Has the start-up founder invested in their own project: ‘Have you sold your house?’ ‘Have you asked your family for money?’, and ‘Have your friends invested in the project?’. “If the answer is ‘no’ to these, the probability of me investing is also ‘no’,” he admits. “If the founder, his mates and his family don’t believe in him enough, that tells me that I shouldn’t either.” Ruth Drinkwater agrees: “Raising capital from private investors, including family and friends, is directly tied in with the potential to raise other funds,” she says. “Angel Investors usually provide the first external funds in order to get the idea to a start-up position.”

Investors, regardless of size or preference change depending on the economic climate of the time, as well as their social and personal preferences; which in turn determines the state of the Angel ‘market’ and the investment community. “Angel Investors are becoming very sophisticated,” admits Ruth. “They are collaborating and creating new models of funding that present significant opportunities for the business community.” “Unfortunately there are too few Australian government policy programs to foster and support the development of Angel Investors,” says Ruth, “particularly in difficult economic times when the investment community is re-evaluating their position. Historically, Australia had valuable innovation policies and programs, which supported start-ups. These were successful in stimulating investment into earlier stage companies. However, the majority of those

programs no longer exist. While a plethora of innovation and commercialisation programs established by State and Federal Governments existed earlier in the past decade these have since been abolished, sold, downgraded or had funding reduced significantly so that start-ups in the post GFC economy are falling into a wider funding gap than previously existed.” This is unfortunately bad news for start-ups and the economy as research from around the world confirms that start-up companies create the vast majority of future economic activity and create the greatest numbers of jobs – it is in fact start-ups that are traditionally the most innovative and adaptable to the demands of a continuous fast changing world. I recall attending the first Internet conference in Adelaide in the early 90s. David Filo, a.k.a Mr Yahoo, showed up to do a presentation. His messed up hair, untied shoe-laces and ripped up jeans provoked no confidence at the time. The suits in attendance didn’t grasp the concept of “the web”, which they could not materialise nor touch; to them it wasn’t a product. But it didn’t take long for David Filo and Jerry Yang to prove their point and turn a crazy idea into a global brand that changed the way we communicate, find and buy today within the global village. Google also reminds us that Angles need to understand the possibilities not yet proven. Google did not exist twelve years ago and yet today their shares are worth in the vicinity of $500 each. And who would’ve thought that the ripped up jeans of those two Aussie girls at the London market would end up on Sex and City and be worn by Beyonce and Madonna? Today we can sit back and thank the Angels that had the vision and believed in the ideas of those start-ups. 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.


finances | Feature

Get proactive

and save All lenders are not the same and as Chris Acret shows, if you want to save money on your mortgage you need to get proactive.


he best suggestion that I give borrowers who are keen to cut the cost of their loan repayments is to be a proactive mortgage holder. This means asking for what you want and only then will you start to save. This advice comes as a surprise to many, who often mistakenly believe that all lenders are the same and that there is no scope to reduce loan costs unless you threaten to leave your. In my experience this is far from the truth. Contrary to popular belief lenders don’t all offer the same products with the exact same requirements. There can be a great deal of difference between lenders on interest rates, fees and credit policies. This is particularly the case in the current environment where competition in the banking sector has heated up; slick marketing campaigns have made front page news as “the Big Four” have been intent on growing their home loan numbers through the waiving of fees, reduced interest rates, new products and other enticements. These offers come as a result of the banks having easier access to money on the international wholesale markets, which means they’re all cashed up and ready to lend. In the past couple of months we have also seen some normalisation of lending criteria that more closely reflects pre-GFC requirements, coupled with the release of several new home loan products. As a result, borrowers can potentially save thousands of dollars by doing a bit of homework and contacting their lender to, for example, request a reduction in their interest rate. If you’ve shopped around and found better deals, you’ve got nothing to lose by

Spring 2011

contacting your current lender and asking: “what can you do for me?” Or, better still get your mortgage adviser to do the running around for you. It makes sense for banks and other lenders to try to keep a home loan customer with them for as long as possible. This is because a home loan doesn’t make much profit for a bank for the first two years; the first couple of years is just “break even”. With the average loan term now only about three-and-a-half years, banks only have a window of about one-and-a-half years to make a profit from that loan. The longer they can keep you as a customer, the more profit they can make. What is critical to either negotiating a better deal with your current lender, or seeking finance from a new lender is to ensure that you have your “financial house in order”. There is no point in asking the banks for a better deal or trying to secure a new loan if you’re always late making loan or credit card repayments for instance. Borrowers have the best chance of success if they have a savings record, are up-to-date with all of their bill payments, and have resisted signing up for any additional debt. This is increasingly important as more and more of your repayment history is being recorded on your personal credit file, which is carefully scrutinised by lenders. If your credit file looks “busy”, that in itself can cause declines as lenders’ automated credit scoring systems can class you as a “credit junkie”. When most lenders assess your ability to repay a mortgage they assume any credit cards will be drawn to their full limit. Lenders look at the credit limit on your credit cards as a liability you may have in the future, even if you don’t currently owe


a cent. Therefore, cancel any credit cards that you have and don’t use, and reduce the limit on the ones you wish to keep – every $1000 in credit card limit adds $30 to your monthly expenses and reduces your ability to borrow. As a recent example, a client earning $66,000 per annum was approved to borrow up to $312,000 with a major lender. When we cancelled the credit cards with a $20,000 limit, the bank was happy to lend $373,000 – an improved borrowing capacity of $61,000. Being completely organised with your finances ensures you can maximise the amount you can borrow, which can be critical to securing your ideal property. In the current lending environment, it’s almost impossible to provide the lenders with too much information and it’s not unusual for lenders to request additional information while they are assessing a loan application, even if all of the documentation initially requested has been supplied. If you want to give yourself the best chance of being approved for a home loan, you want it to happen sooner rather than later, and you want to be able to maximise the amount you can borrow, so take the time to get your affairs in order first. Simply completing your tax returns on time can help your mortgage adviser secure the loan you’re after. In many cases, providing your last two payslips – as required by a lender – may not give a clear picture of your true income. Providing detailed information about your full year’s income, rather than just the most recent payslips, will help the lender to see the bigger picture. One of the most common reasons home-buyers find themselves short of their anticipated borrowing levels is that they don’t have up-to-date financial information to prove their income levels to their lender. In the past couple of years banks have been increasing the time taken to approve

Feature | finances

finance – so the more organised you are, the quicker it can all happen. Once you have secured your home loan, the focus should then be on making inroads into the mortgage as quickly as possible, keeping in mind the financial benefits of paying it off, or at least creating a large amount of equity. There are several ways to do this:

Regularly review your home loan Don’t look at your home loan as a 30 year proposition or simply forget about it and just make the regular, minimum repayments. While your home loan might be the right one for you when you take it out, you should review the loan regularly, as there might be a more suitable option that will help you pay it off sooner as your circumstances change, or as new products are launched.


Increase your repayments No, it’s not rocket science; the best way to reduce your mortgage is to simply increase your regular repayments, as the smallest amounts can make a big difference over time. Pay fortnightly instead of monthly. There are 26 fortnights in a year but only 12 months, so by dividing your set monthly repayments in tow and paying it fortnightly, you will make an extra month’s repayment each year. Use any lump sums (such as tax refunds or windfalls) to pay off your loan and if interest rates drop, keep your repayments the same.

Look for ways to save $$$ Many households would be familiar with the concept of “financial leakage” – the feeling that there are holes in the household budget through which money is somehow escaping. The truth is, there are hundreds of ways to trim even the smallest amount from your weekly expenses. If you could shave just $50 off your weekly expenses by being mindful of where you spend your money, this extra amount off your mortgage would quickly add up.

not trying to sell their own products, rather they’re trying to tailor a solution that suits your unique personal requirements. Often, just going to another bank for a better product offering may give you the leverage needed to negotiate with your preferred lender – and a mortgage adviser will do all of the negotiation on your behalf at no cost to you. Top Tips • Don’t be afraid to ask your existing lender if they can offer you a better

Consolidate your debts If you have numerous loans, including personal, car and credit cards, consider consolidating these under your home loan. The interest rate on your home loan is usually at a much lower rate than the interest rate on these other types of debt. However, remember that putting shortterm consumables under long-term finance can prove expensive in the long run. With so many issues to consider in the search for a home loan, an increasing number of people are using the services of a mortgage adviser – about 40% of home loans in Australia are now organised by mortgage brokers. Mortgage brokers have access to a vast array of products and services across a panel of lenders so, unlike lenders, they’re

deal. • Don’t assume all lenders are the same. • Ensure your financial house is in order. • Be aware that credit cards, even those with nothing owing on them, can severely impact on your borrowing ability. • Consider ways to make inroads into your home loan as quickly as possible. • Seek the assistance of a good mortgage adviser. 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 mortgage advisers have assisted more than 130,000 Australians to arrange a home loan, with 85% of Smartline’s business coming from personal referral.


finances | Property



Understanding how the value of property is calculated for different purposes is an important aspect of becoming a successful property investor. Swarnie Condon explains the three different types of valuations and what they mean for you.


n individual property can be viewed from different perspectives such as homeowner, investment or development and the value of that property will be determined accordingly. Knowing who values your property and how they determine the value will assist you in making an informed decision about the buying, selling and holding process. There are three main types of valuers: 1. Valuer General (for Council valuations) 2. Certified Practising Valuers (eg. bank valuations 3. Real Estate Agents (indication of market value appraisals)

Valuer General Depending on the state or territory you live in, it is the role of the Valuer General to oversee and provide updated land valuations and to maintain complete and accurate valuation rolls. Valuations are conducted annually in South Australia, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, every two years for Victoria, every three years for New South Wales, Western Australia and Northern Territory and generally every six years in Tasmania. The results of these valuations are provided to: 1. The Office of State Revenue (OSR) who manages and determines a landowner’s land tax liability. Your principal place of residence is generally exempt from land tax. 2. Local councils and other authorities such as Water Boards and Emergency Services as a basis for the levying of rates and taxes. 3. Various departments to determine State Land Lease Rent; 4. Landowners via their Notice of Valuation, which is issued when the local government area is revalued.

Spring 2011

Local Councils use these land values to assist in the calculation of rates for local residents in one of three ways. 1. A combination of the land value of the property and a fixed amount per property. 2. Entirely on the land value of the property. 3. Entirely on the land value but subject to a minimum amount. Fluctuations in land values don’t necessarily lead to similar changes in rates. Rates depend on each council’s rating structure and the limits to increases set by the various State and Territory governments. The land value does not generally reflect the full sale price that could be obtained for the property. If you want to find out how your rates are calculated, contact your local Council. Land valuation process Whilst each State or Territory differs in its approach and methodology, the general basis is that values are calculated using either the “unimproved land value” or the more common “site value” method. By way of example, in NSW, values refer to land value only, which does not include the value of your home or other improvements. Most land in NSW is valued using mass valuation, where properties are placed together and valued in groups called components. The properties in each component are similar or are likely to change in value in a similar way. Within each component, at least one representative property is valued individually each year to measure how much the value has changed from the previous year. The change in value is then applied to all properties within the component to determine their new value. Where mass valuation is not appropriate, valuers will individually value the property. Strata site land values The Valuer General is responsible for determining the land value for the whole


site of a strata scheme. The valuation will take into consideration the most valuable possible use for the whole site. This may exceed the current level of development on the site. The land value for individual strata units, for council rating and land tax purposes, is calculated using the land value for the whole site of the strata scheme and apportioned based on the unit entitlement listed in the strata plan.

true market value is only achieved when both parties agree on the price Knowing your land value helps to determine your property portfolio’s risk to land tax. If your combined portfolio in a particular state exceeds the threshold for that state, you will be liable for land tax. In this case you may wish to purchase your next investment in another State.

Certified Practising Valuers A property valuation is ordered when a definitive value is required, such as for finance approval, settling a dispute, or establishing the value of a deceased estate. A Certified Practising Valuer will conduct a full inspection of the nominated property, carry out research and analysis into the local market with comparisons to recent sales and submit a detailed report providing information and commentary on issues affecting the current market value of the property. There are three ways a valuer may value the subject property: 1. Full value – the valuer undertakes a full inspection of the property, including an internal inspection. 2. Kerbside – the valuer looks only from outside. 3. Desktop – the valuer collects comparable sales data based on the

Property | finances

description of the property with no physical site inspection.

Real estate agents

definitive price that may be achieved for that property. Appoint an agent that is acutely familiar with the suburb and who works in the area. An agent who does not work in the area may provide an appraisal that is too high (and not achievable) or too low, essentially listing a property below market value. Be wary of agents who quote an extremely high price, giving you an unrealistic expectation of the final sale value. They may be doing this to get your business, and you’ll end up with few, if any viewings. Vendors are soon conditioned to lower their asking price to meet the market feedback. Conduct your own due diligence on pricing in your local area. On the other hand, agents that value too low, not only hurt the vendor with the end result, but can ultimately bring down values of an area if the sale is then used as comparable data with professional valuation firms and professional property databases, such as RP Data. As a buyer, using the services of professional database firms and independent valuers as a tool for your negotiation with the vendor and agent, plus finding out the true motivation for that sale (e.g. bought elsewhere, divorce, financial stress) and using it to your advantage, may assist you in saving thousands of dollars and purchasing that property under market value. If your offer has been accepted at a particular price and the valuation comes in very low after the initial offer period, ask for strong evidence as to why you should

A real estate agent has the obligation to get the best price for the vendor. They will use property databases and their knowledge of the local market and recent sales to provide a “market appraisal” of the property. These appraisals are a guide only and not the

Swarnie Condon is passionate about property investment with 9 properties in her portfolio. She is co-author of the book Journeys Along the Property Path and founding Partner of Inspirational People in Property ( Swarnie provides free mentoring services for those new to property investment and assists other investors wishing to fine-tune their skills.


Depending upon who has ordered the valuation determines how they will use it. For buyers, a pre-purchase valuation gives reassurance about the offer price and many other aspects of the property before an offer is made. As a buyer, the valuation can be used as a bargaining tool if the valuation comes in lower than the price being asked. When selling, present the valuer with information including recent comparable sales and points that presents the property in the best light. Ensure the presentation reflects the desired sales price, e.g. manicured gardens, clean fixtures and fittings throughout the property, decluttered and accessorised. A valuation may also be beneficial on an existing property to allow you to draw upon the equity to further build your property. Naturally, you will want the highest valuation possible. For developers and vendors, the valuation gives them an idea of how to market their property and at what price point. Too high a price and they won’t get the buyers they require, too low a price and they won’t make the profit margin they projected. Lending institutions will always order a valuation when assessing loan applications, either for a new purchase or to draw equity from an existing portfolio. The banks need to know that the money they are lending is financially secured by the property and this will form the basis of their LVR (loan to value ratio). The valuation also provides them with a realistic sale price in the case of default when they need to sell the property quickly (normally referred to as a fire sale). Find out which valuers sit on particular banks’ panels by either asking the bank, broker or the valuer. A bank won’t accept a valuation if the valuation firm is not on their panel.


continue with the purchase at original agreed price based on the valuation received. At the end of the day, true market value is only achieved when both parties agree on the final sale price and a settlement occurs. Whilst investing can be fun, exhilarating, scary and heart stopping, it’s still a business and should be treated as such. Just because you like the tiles in the bathroom, the swimming pool or the colour of the walls, doesn’t make it a great investment and may cost you dearly. * Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of this article, please refer to your State or Territory’s Valuer General’s Office or Office of State Revenue for more detailed information and seek independent advice pertaining to a particular purchase.


finances | Feature

The value of

Dr John Demartini shows how to raise the value you place on money in order to accumulate more wealth.


nless you appreciate the money that comes to you – which is another way of saying that you value it and are grateful for it – it’s not going to be part of your life for long. Whatever you don’t appreciate will

depreciate! Money automatically flows to those who appreciate it the most. It automatically finds its way to those who study and practice the principles of wise money management. People who devalue money tend to spend their lives working for it. Those who value money – who save it and use it to enhance the world around them – end up with money working for them.

Your hierarchy of values One of the first steps in accumulating more money is to know where money sits on your hierarchy of values. Make a list of your values and rank them from most important to least important. The more important a value is – the higher it will be on your hierarchy of values and the more discipline and order you will have associated with it. The less important a value is – the lower it will be on your hierarchy of values and the less discipline and more disorder your have associated with it. Where does money sit on your list of values? Is it there at all? If you find that money is low of your hierarchy of values or not there at all, it’s possible that a lack of appreciation for money may be holding you back from having the cash flow you’d love. If this is the case, there’s good news: you don’t have to perpetuate this illusion of scarcity. You can alter your perceptions and even change your values. As you already know, you have your own unique, ordered set of values. If building wealth didn’t even show up on your list or it appeared somewhere long after the top ten, then you probably need to boost its rankings. There is a simple exercise you can do to improve where money sits in your hierarchy.

down one or two benefits. List more than 100 (and if you’re ready to go for it, list 200 or even 300 or more) reasons why saving money and building wealth will serve you and those you love. Get family members involved if you think it would be wise and help reinforce the new ideas and feelings you’re generating about wealth. Likewise, while you’re making this giant list, be sure to fully engage. Get inspired, be thoughtful, and entertain yourself with the possibilities. Next, focus on what you ranked as your highest value. How will saving money and building wealth help you experience richness in this area to an even greater degree? Once a gain, come up with at least 100 ways in which money supports your highest value. Now take a look at your second highest value and so on, continuing down the list. By the time you’re done, you’ll have hundreds of reasons why saving money and building wealth can make a significant contribution to your life-and the lives of people you love. If you link saving money to whatever is already most important to you, you won’t subtract from your wealth, you’ll naturally add to it! Remember how you automatically convert your cash into your values? When saving is tightly connected with your highest values – whether children, philanthropy, social action, business, or whatever those values are – your cash will be converted to savings in support of those values if you’ve realised enough reasons for it. In this exercise, you’re priming yourself for a new cash-management strategy, one that includes appreciation for what saving and building wealth can bring to the rest of your life. When you’ve completed this exercise, you’re ready to implement some of the key strategies for accumulating the material riches you’d love to have. Dr John Demartini is a human behavioral expert and the author of over forty books including his bestselling titles such as “Count Your Blessings” and “The Gratitude Effect”. As the founder of The Demartini Institute, Dr Demartini travels 360 days a year and speaks in over 56 countries globally.

Link money to what you love. Make a list of reasons why saving money and building wealth could change your life and how it could contribute to the people you care about and love. Don’t just write

Spring 2011



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change your life in 15 minutes

w e n e h t e t a Cre


to be friendlier , e c n e fid n o c r nce o minutes is all it ant more patie 5 w 1 s u o w y o r sh e g th n e si h W n Ro chable, as Hele a ro p p a re o m r o the new you. te a re c to s ke ta

lowing and Write down the fol nt to wa ly ab ob pr “I am so happy I u ce yo e ten hil complete the sen d an e or m , “I am so happy I have more, do am…” For example e, ur fut e d kind.” be more in th am patient caring an ne the things go y all tu wi have you ac en, continue th all Th when it comes to of determining what u would like more of yo through the process e, and attitudes about In our experienc your beliefs, values , that would look like? d an d self, partner, family e first two sorte every area of life – / er most people have th re ca d ty, an ali ve tu iri ha ey want to social, wellbeing, sp clearly know what th member this is termine de few t bu e ur fut business, finances. Re e be doing in th t the HAVE-ing or in that picture. Yet about the BE-ing, no who they want to BE these examples for t important part of DO-ing. Consider the BE-ing the mos . g and HAVE-ing each area: achieving the DO-in to nt wa u yo r ve oe You can BE wh ally”, “I care u: “I love myself tot o change your beliefs Y worthy of BE; it is possible to am I ow ly takes 15 minutes about myself and kn and values and it on everything in life” to start the process. Bob Proctor is an absolute guru when it comes to personal development and he teaches a wonderful process around creating the new you. Grab your pen and paper and let’s get started. In this exercise you will write the ‘New You’. One of the most important principles is to write the New You in present tense. You will be writing as if you are already this person, not as something you hope to achieve sometime in the distant future.


You... Partner... Family... Social... Wellbeing... Spirituality... Career Businnes... Finances...

Spring 2011


lf”, “I give freely of myse lnerable” “I am open and vu patient and loving”, Family: “I am all” “I am accepting of open to trying new Social: “I am l active and fun socia things”, “I have an life” : “I respect my body”, Wellbeingloo k” “I love the way I calm and at Spirituality:ive“Irseam”, “I trust the peace with the un what I desire” universe to deliver professional and Career: “Ianamd be yond”, “I believe always go above in my ability” ays seek to help Businnes: su“Iccalw ess” others”, “I am a y “Money comes easil Finances:s ha an th e or m ve to me”, “I alway ” ey on m gh ou en


ercise you should At the end of the ex ibing the person have a full page descr ally who you tu ac s you want to BE. It’ n’t relies it yet! do t jus u already are, yo paper, focus With the new you on tes. During inu m 15 on it everyday for t loud and imagine this time, read it ou n. Refine it every yourself as that perso make it better and time you read it to better. will be acting as In no time at all you – the real you. be to the person you want

coaching toolkit


Coach yourself to success



live your Best life week 1

Set Your Goals

Areas of Your Life


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






3 4 wellbeing


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



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?


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.




Where do you want to be?


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



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.



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











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.



business/career 10

spirituality Spring 2011

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









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.



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


It is the 31 g and I feel s st December 2011 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...........................................................................................................................................................................


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.


week 2

Making it Happen


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


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

Goal 2 Action


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

Spring 2011


week 4


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


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


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.


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.


emPOWER Magazine - Spring 2011  

emPOWER is the leading personal and professional development magazine in the Australian online space for professional and business women. We...