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t h e m a g a z i n e t o i n s p i r e , m o t i vat e & c h a l l e n g e y o u t o i m p r o v e y o u r l i f e

FEB / MAR 2009

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Beauty in Contrast

Tara Moss proves appearances can be deceiving as the former model shares her varied life as a successful crime writer and TV personality. Committed to living life to its fullest, Tara’s diverse personalities are revealed as we find out what makes her creative mind tick.

20 A Woman’s World Celebrating the 98th International Women’s Day on March 8, we acknowledge all women have achieved to date, and hear from some high profile women on issues still facing our gender, and what’s being done to address them.


44 Courage Under Fire Julie Cini opens our eyes to what is enduring spirit and strength as she shares her remarkable story of loss, grief and survival. Overcoming the deaths of her children and husband, Julie shares how she’s turning her own challenges into rewards for others.

36 44

8 Editor’s Note 10 Your Say 12 Meet the Experts 14 Acts of Kindness 32 You Beauty 42 Check it Out 54 In the Know 55 What’s On 64 Great Reads 82 Change Your Life in 15 Minutes...

With our FREE Coaching Toolkit, you can become your own life coach and start creating the life you really want. Make the most of the toolkit with our six-page guide to setting your goals and achieving them.

3 ‘The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but rising every time we fall’


4 Good Question?

How changing the questions we ask can really change our life.

6 Ask a Coach 9 Coach Yourself Goal-Setting Tool

Start your best life today with our hands-on guide to effective goal setting.

16 Winning Pairs: Creating Change How a client committed to creating real change in her life, while the coach was inspired to learn a few lessons of her own.

December/January 2009


28 A Matter of Time

Break away from negative thoughts and emotions using time line therapy

34 Autumn Chic

Image expert Chris Rewell reveals the latest style trends for the coming season

36 Love Thy Self

Learn to love ‘you’ – take our quiz on self-esteem and confidence

38 And... Detach Practise ‘non-attachment’ to balance the material world with inner peace

40 Home is Where the Heart is How one Chinese woman experiences the best of two worlds

28 46

46 Family Envy Acceptance is key to realising, there’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ family

48 Environmentally Friendly? Could your social circle be holding you back from achieving your goals?

50 Am I Bisexual?

Get to the heart of your sexual preference

52 Money Talks Quit fighting over money and create harmony in your relationship


56 Spotlight On: Colonic Therapy

Maintaining a healthy colon with colonics – one woman’s experience

58 What’s on the Box? Dietitian Susie Burrell takes the guesswork out of reading nutritional labels

60 Sweet Sweat Why perspiration is so important for a fit and healthy body

62 Energy Boost We answer that crucial question, ‘Why am I so tired?’ and give 10 tips to boost your energy


66 Should I Stay or Should I go?

Assess your career contentment and take steps for positive change

68 Daydream Believers

Taking the leap from employee to entrepreneur – 3 gutsy women share their story

72 Positive Property

Using positive cash flow property to create wealth


74 The ABC of Share Trading Learn the basics to get started in the stock market

76 A Rare Gem

One woman’s journey from humble beginnings to financial success


editor’s note

Managing Director Helen Rosing

Managing Editor

Following what I hope was an enjoyable and indulgent festive season for everyone, now is the perfect time to kick-start 2009 with a new and improved you! To help get you organised for the year, we reveal the latest colour and style trends for your wardrobe this Autumn, and we bring your career into question, offering some key tips on assessing your job satisfaction. Three amazing women also share their stories on making the move from employee to entrepreneur and how this has changed their lives. Could this be an option for you? Renowned author and coach Marilee Adams has provided an insightful article in our Coaching Toolkit, suggesting we think about how the questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis are shaping our lives. Could we change these questions to have a more positive experience each day? It’s such a simple concept but one I had never thought of, and the results can be fascinating, so why not give it a go? There is one particular article in this issue that has touched me immensely and no doubt will everyone who reads it. Julie Cini shares her heartbreaking, yet courageous and truly inspirational story of losing her two babies to Spinal Muscular Atrophy, as well as her husband in a car crash, all within just two years. Yet this brave woman has found a silver lining, starting a support network to help other families in a similar situation. Whenever we think life is getting us down and times are tough, it’s worth remembering stories like Julie’s and thinking, ‘If she is able to get through that and make a difference, I can too’. No doubt there are countless stories of similar women achieving amazing things in the face of adversity, and we’d love to hear from you. And what better time to celebrate women’s achievements than in conjunction with International Women’s Day on March 8. Our special feature this issue acknowledges all we, as women, have achieved since the International Women’s Day movement began almost 100 years ago, as well as highlights some key issues still facing us and what’s being done to improve them. Let us know your thoughts – what do you think women should be most acknowledged for and what are some of the challenges women still face that we, as society, could work on some more? Feel free to email me at I hope you enjoy this latest instalment of emPOWER and remember, life’s what you make it.

Rebecca Spicer Managing Editor

Rebecca Spicer

Editorial Assistant Tammy Warner-Wilson

Sub Editor Jo Hegerty

Graphic Designer Jeanne Wu

Cover Photography Photo by Christopher Kilkus at

Contributors Marilee Adams, Savleen Bajaj, Jeffrey Brooks, Tarryn Brien, Susie Burrell, Matt Catling, Tami Dower, Martha Follent, Dale Gillham, Jo Hegerty, Adriana James, Catherine Lezer, Margaret Lomas, Jacqui Manning, Dana Mrkich, Persephone Nicholas, Chris Rewell, Helen Rosing, James Short, Tammy Warner-Wilson, Emma Yates

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Printed by Webstar Print Distributed by NDD Published by Empower Publishing ABN: 66 127 020 115 Suite 6, Level 5, 15 Orion Rd Lane Cove, NSW 2066 P: (02) 9424 3999 F: (02) 9428 3199 E: Advertisers and contributors to emPOWER Magazine acknowledge they are aware of the provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 and the Trade Practices Act 1974 in relation to false and misleading advertising or statements under other unfair practices and the penalties for breach of provisions of those Acts. The publisher accepts no responsibility for such breaches. Opinions expressed by contributors are their own and not necessarily endorsed by emPOWER Magazine or the publishers. All material in emPOWER magazine is copyright and may not be produced in whole or in part without express permission of the publishers. ISSN 1835-8705 The paper within this publication is manufactured by Stora Enso, Veitsiluoto mill in accordance with both ISO 14001 and Environmental Management Audit Scheme (EMAS). These accreditations set strict guidelines related to environmental issues. Additionally this paper uses PEFC certified pulp which comes from sustainable forest and is CoC (chain of custody) certified.

We support recycling. Please don’t forget to recycle this magazine. February/March 2009


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Thank you for all the wonderful feedback on the magazine. Keep your comments and ideas coming. Email us at

I just wanted to write to emPOWER to thank you for helping me find myself again. I love reading magazines but these days they usually leave me feeling depressed about what I don’t have or can’t afford to buy. emPOWER, however, has the opposite effect. Two stories in the Dec/Jan 09 issue really struck chords with me – ‘Dear Diary’ and ‘Remember ‘you’ in Love’. As a teenager, I always used journalling as a way to clear my head, organise my thoughts and for selfreflection. However, when I met my husband I no longer had the time or space to write in my journal. Looking back, there is definitely a correlation between my escalation of personal discontent and me not taking the time to keep my journal. When I was pregnant with my first child three years ago, I became so sick that I couldn’t work or barely leave the house. In addition to no childcare or family close by, returning to work on weekends left me constantly drained and depressed. I felt like I had lost ‘me’ and didn’t know who I was anymore. I’m now pregnant with my second child and again too sick to leave the house. I could feel myself starting on that downward spiral again until I read these articles. I now write in my diary once or twice a day and I’m finding it so therapeutic that I’m happy and optimistic and I’m concentrating on the positives because I’m able sort out all the negatives in my diary. I haven’t felt like this in years! Thank you!

I stumbled across your magazine and I am writing to congratulate you on a wonderful magazine and website. It is refreshing to read something that is empowering and not full of doom and gloom and rubbishy gossip. It couldn’t have come to me at a better time as I am a business owner and a busy mother of three, so I think some of those articles are what got me through last week! Good luck with your success and I will be telling people about this great magazine.

I am a personal and career coach who has been reading your magazine over the last few months with great interest and pleasure. I have been impressed with the approach that you have taken and find the content very inspiring and informative. Many of my clients are now reading your magazine and are passing on the positive feedback to me as they find it a great complement to their coaching experience.

Cathy White, via email

Michelle McCartan, via email

I recently discovered emPOWER magazine and it was love at first sight. I’m going through a separation at the moment and sometimes struggle to stay positive, but reading your magazine has really cheered me up and taught me that attitude is everything. We wouldn’t appreciate the good times if it wasn’t for the bad times all of us go through occasionally. Your articles have inspired me to think more positively and to stop feeling sorry for myself. emPOWER magazine is a medicine that definitely works for me! Wendy Peters, via email

Firstly I would like to say congratulations on a brilliant magazine. It’s the only magazine that I read front to back, and then refer to it later. I am a manager of 10 people and last month I gave a copy of the Coaching Toolkit to one of my staff who is having trouble working out some personal goals. I used this toolkit myself and found it helpful in focusing on me (for once), so I thought I would get on board and empower other women too. I’m now even considering becoming a life coach myself. Thanks so much. Alison, via email

a beautiful fragrance gift pack valued at almost $140! The reader to send in our favourite letter will receive a decadent gift pack from The gift includes an orange flower scented candle made from organic vegetable wax ($55.00) and a 100ml Eau de Parfum ($78.00), both from Australian designer Lee Mathews. For more information visit MAIL TO: empower Magazine, Suite 6, Level 5, 15 Orion Road, Lane Cove NSW 2066; fax to (02) 9428 3199; or email

Jenny, via email February/March 2009


to our expert contributors Savleen Bajaj is an international success coach, psychologist, speaker, author, facilitator and consultant. She has spent almost two decades using cuttingedge technologies to accelerate human growth and enable individuals to unleash their true potential. With a deep insight into the principles for personal breakthroughs and holistic success, Savleen is passionate about supporting people to live their greatest life by transforming their visions and intentions into results.

Susie Burrell is one of Australia’s leading dietitians with training in both nutritional science and psychology. Susie balances her clinical work in weight management with consulting to key food industry groups and writing for both print and electronic media. Susie is based in Sydney but loves to escape the rush of the city to run around Wollongong’s beautiful beaches, spend time with her beloved burmese cats Henry and Charlie and reads anything she can get her hands on.

Emma Yates has been a qualified naturopath for over 12 years. She has a degree in Health Science and qualifications in medical herbalism, homeopathy, clinical nutrition and NLP. After working with hundreds of clients to resolve numerous health challenges, she now facilitates corporate workshops teaching groups about permanent lifestyle changes that will improve their health and wellbeing.

Chris Rewell is a leading image professional, respected authority and industry trainer, speaker, author and mentor. She is celebrating 25 years in the business and has just published the second edition of her book What colour am I? Through one-on-one and group programs including colour, personal style, wardrobing, make-up and shopping, Chris shows her clients how to take their look, personal skills and confidence to new and exciting levels.

Marilee Adams, PhD, is an executive coach, corporate consultant, professional speaker, and president of the Inquiry Institute. She has been using Question Thinking to lead individuals and organisations to greater success for more than 25 years. Her bestselling book, Change Your Questions, Change Your Life is a story about an executive coach who helps people transform their lives with Question Thinking.

Dr Adriana James is a certified master trainer of NLP and has earned international recognition in more than one field of endeavour. Adriana became aware of a phenomenon that sparked her intense curiosity about human potential back in the early 90s, and began her journey to become a leading authority figure in the field of NLP and time line therapy. Since then, Adriana has become a strong and positive role model for women all over the world.

2006 Telstra NSW Business Woman of the Year, Margaret Lomas is the best-selling author of six property investment books, the founder of Destiny Financial Solutions, and chair of the Property Investment Professionals of Australia. Margaret is a qualified financial and investment property advisor and a senior associate with FINSIA. She and her husband own 35 investment properties.

Jacqui Manning is a co-director of Mind Advantage, and also runs the Centre for Positive Change in Sydney. She is a psychologist, EFT advanced practitioner, NLP master, and specialises in teaching individuals and companies how to alleviate stress and anxiety to create more positive energy in their lives. She regularly appears in the media and is passionate about educating the public on the value of paying attention to their emotional health.

Dana Mrkich is a spiritual intuitive, author of A New Chapter (Zeus Publications), host of internet talk radio show Visioning the Dream Awake and an inspirational writer, speaker and teacher. She offers in-person, phone and email soul sessions to clients all around the world and holds a BA in Communications (Social Inquiry/Media) with qualifications in several healing modalities.

Armed with a degree in Human Movement Studies and trained in neuro-linguistic programming, James Short has been assisting people with their health and fitness for the past 15 years. As a leader in the industry, he is a board member of Fitness NSW and is the 2008 Fitness Australia Fitness Professional of the Year.

Catherine Lezer is a small business owner, property investor and inspirational speaker on the topic of women and money. Catherine has empowered thousands of women on investing and wealth creation through her Rich Chicks seminars and says, “Empowered women create miracles”.

Jeffrey Brooks is the director of Sydney Chiropractic Care in the Sydney CBD, and specialises in natural spinal health. He holds a bachelor degree in Human Physiology and a Masters Degree in Chiropractics.

Tarryn Brien, owner of The Happiness Institute’s eastern suburbs practice in Sydney, holds both psychology and commerce degrees. With many years spent in the corporate sector, she has implemented change management programs, developed and delivered training sessions and departmental strategies. Tarryn facilitates the Institute’s ‘Happiness – strategies for a great life’ course and offers executive and individual life coaching, group and corporate workshops.

Wealth Within chief analyst Dale Gillham is a bestselling author, keynote speaker and one of Australia’s leading investment advisors. He wrote the bestselling book How to Beat the Managed Funds by 20%. He also launched Australia’s first and only nationally recognised, government accredited Diploma of Share Trading and Investment course, providing students with a government-recognised accreditation at Diploma level.

A passion for empowering others led Martha Follent to found her coaching and training company, Creative Future Dynamics. With extensive experience in public and private health, business, management, coaching and training, Martha holds degrees in Speech Pathology and Audiology and she is a trainer of NLP, time line therapy and hypnosis. Martha graduated from NIDA with a Diploma in Directing and she is currently completing her PhD in Esoteric Studies.

Matt Catling is the founding director of the Your Future Now group of companies. He has been involved in the personal development industry for over 15 years, has run a number of successful businesses, and has assisted others to reach great success, such as listing in the BRW Fast 100. Matt is one of Australia’s most renowned presenters and performance trainers. He has trained more than 1,000 coaches and is a trainer in NLP, time line therapy and hypnotherapy, as well as being a Level 5 accredited master coach, master trainer and presenter, and he holds a certificate IV in workplace training and assessment.

February/March 2009


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Acts Kindness 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. Why not share yours with us – you could even win an Avon pack worth almost $150.

our favourite

ry suddenly and her passed away ve fat y m d 17 s wa I n Whe any people comforte the grief process m h ug ro d Th di y. dl lar cu cte unexpe n in parti pport, but one perso su d an s rd et. wo d rg r fo me with kin ething that I’ll neve and selfless it’s som at she th it bb ra something so kind y d a special to ha ne rri Co in us My younger co though she didn’t e saw my pain and Sh t. gh ni y er ev th slept wi lp me. Corrine y, she decided to he sa to s rd wo ht rig had never slept know the ourite toy that she fav r he e m ve ga d magic and came to me an ld me that he was to d an e m ed gg hu g as without, then she uld keep him as lon e then told me I co Sh . ep sle e m lp he would meant the world I needed him. this little rabbit that e ar sh to en os ch ought the She had e I knew that she th m th wi m hi g in ar to her, and by sh ail world of me too. — Rachael, via em

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see” – Mark Twain

— Lainie, via




Sometimes in th e morning whe n I’m on my w work, if I have ay to time and I see pe ople waiting at bus stop near m the y home in Bon di (particularly raining), I offer if it’s a lift to the loca l bus interchang somewhere en e or route to my dest ination. People often taken abac ar e k. I have given a few lifts to pe it always gives m op le and e a good feeling and an opportun have a chat with ity to a new person. I think it’s a rem that even in this inder big and busy ci ty of Sydney, pe still take the tim ople e to look out fo r each other. If act like this mak a simple es a positive diffe rence in someo day or week, I’m ne’s happy.

My parents are the ones who instilled in me the importa of acts of kindness nce and making a diffe re nce. Every day I try live by their exampl to e. Sometimes in bi gger ways, sometim tiny ways. I organi es in se Christmas wishin g trees in my work and I try and buy place one thing for a Wish ing Tree each pay, stock up if I see a or book or toy sale. It makes it so much ea at Christmas time sie r when funds are ru nning low. And rece whilst in London, ntly I was shocked by th e amount of homele so I practised som ssness ething there that I do often in Adelaid whenever I see som e – eone sleeping roug h I nip into the ne shop and buy a co arest ffee, or a sandwich , or a pie and offer it to them. It only takes what I would spen d on a cappuccino Just off the Strand or latte. there are some ste ps that are slightly the weather and of ou t of ten I saw the same person there each someone was there da y. If I would stop by th e fruit man at the Underground, buy St rand some fruit and offer it. I know how muc love fresh strawberri hI es, and I found ou t so did the young sleeping on the ste m an ps. — Alyssa, via em ail

“Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind” – Eric Hoffer
(1902-1983), Author and Philosopher

king About two weeks ago I was wal that would boy a through the city and I saw h a sign have been no older that 15, wit . I watched asking for food or spare change life at all him lay on the ground with no around. ple peo and the ignorance of the ked a little My heart was breaking. I wal and a drink further and bought him food out to him and took it to him. As I called h tears – wit d to look up his eyes were fille ing glad feel y tears of thanks. I walked awa that he was no longer hungry. — Renee, via email

In a park near our home a group of homeless men and women live under the railway bridge. Often my husband and I walk our puppy in the park and wave hello to them as we stroll by. On New Years day we were having a barbeque with friends in the park, and – recognising the homeless people we see under the bridge regularly – invited them to join us for lunch and a friendly game of football. The surprise and delight on their faces was the best reward of all! — Jessica, via email

parked my centre recently and I was at a shopping fore I left dn’t find my keys be car as usual. I coul e. I did what I d to using the spar rte so re d ha so e m ho t back to my ops and when I go sh e th in do to ed need ys are at Centre te saying, “Your ke car there was a no d not sure s quite confused an Management”. I wa me had actually went missing at ho how my keys that opping centre. ended up at the sh und my older couple had fo As it turned out, an of lock my car. ing out of the boot original keys hang at day and ed the car earlier th My husband had us e. tally left them ther must have acciden had made d grateful that they I was so relieved an agement so that I em to Centre Man the effort to take th ne steal the car. or, worse yet, someo ail didn’t lose my keys — Linda, via em


Get in on the Act

The reader to send in our favourite and most inspiring act of kindness will win a pack from Avon worth almost $150.

The winner’s goodie pack will include Avon’s Anew Clinical Thermafirm Face Lifting Cream ($59.99), Anew Clinical Eye Lift ($49.99) and the Anew Clinical Micro-Exfoliant ($39.99). Total Prize Value: $149.97. For more information, or to contact an Avon representative call 1800 646 000. Submit your Acts of Kindness through the website at, email them to or post them to emPOWER, Suite 6, Level 5, 15 Orion Rd, Lane Cove, NSW 2066.


Rebecca Spicer climbs inside the creative mind of crime writer and TV personality Tara Moss, and finds there’s more to this successful woman than meets the eye.


ara Moss is the 35-yearold blonde bombshell who for years adorned catwalks and fashion magazine covers, but is now more renowned for her fictional crime writing. The shift is so dramatic, I’m intrigued to find out what makes her tick. I meet Tara in the lobby of her new apartment building, Lumiere, in the heart of Sydney. With its sleek modern design, I’m a little in awe as she takes me on a mini-tour of her new dwellings. Confessing to unemptied boxes in her new apartment, we settle in to some comfortable lounges in one of the many quiet common areas in the building. Secretly, I’m also a little relieved, as I had read about her interest in pet snakes, and it would have been a little (okay, a lot) daunting to share a room with a six-foot black-headed python. Now with my focus on Tara, I realise she is a very different looking woman to the one I met only weeks before at a women’s event she

February/March 2009

was hosting. At our first meeting, Tara was ever the feminine beauty that had her on runways for the first 10 years of her working life. In a light Spring dress and legs for days, it was easy to realise her modelling routes. This time her natural beauty is complemented by some extra spunk and character I hadn’t seen before. She wears torn jeans covered by black boots to the knee, featuring a skull and crossbones, which she actually designed herself. I quickly realise this is one of her signatures as her ears are adorned with diamond, designer skull earrings and her black necklace hangs low with what appears to be charms attached, but are in fact different shaped bones. I then notice Tara’s tattoo for the first time. On her upper left arm is a beautiful quill and she needs to point out the upside-down skull in the centre. “It’s a personal thing and a reminder of how my creative self is what’s most fulfilling for me,” explains Tara. “I’ve got a dragon tattoo as well. I love tattoos. I love the self expressed externally.” Recognising there seems to be two sides to this intriguing and successful woman, Tara agrees she likes having both sides to her character. “I suppose I think the world is a bit more whole for me when I can experience both ends of the spectrum,” she explains. “So, yes, I’m a woman, I’m feminine, I’m soft at times, I am romantic, I have all the needs and


interests of a woman, but I’m also tough and tomboyish and adventurous and a little bit wild, and those are all legitimate aspects of who I am. I can literally go out with a SWAT team all day and then come home and put on a couture frock and go to a red carpet event and feel like I’ve just had the best possible day. I do believe in contrast, I think it’s really important, if that’s who you are. I think, to be able to engage with both parts of yourself that are traditionally masculine and feminine is really important.” I am now even more excited about delving into the varied personality that is Tara Moss.

A Happy Childhood

Born and raised on a small island in Canada, Tara admits to living a pretty sheltered, but idyllic life growing up. “I had a lot of fun in my childhood and I was quite fearless in some ways because I wasn’t exposed to the rest of the world,” she recalls. “There wasn’t talk of psychopaths and baddies and drugs, it just wasn’t part of my world. I got to be a tomboy and jump from tree to tree, climb onto the school roof and get into trouble and do all of those things you do when you feel invincible as a kid. In fact I probably dressed similarly to the way I am now. I used to always have holes in my jeans. These are real holes by the way, they’re not store-bought holes,” she laughs. Nevertheless, all of Tara’s novels to date (of which there are four and another is to

Photo: Christopher Kilkus @

be released in September) follow the crime genre, so I’m curious to know where this interest stems from. Without having a clear explanation, Tara says she recalls learning the alphabet from Edward Gorey’s humorous yet morbid Gashlycrumb Tinies, as well as racing home from school to watch Perry Mason with her father every lunchtime. “I think between those two elements, it might have begun this interest in the morbid. I was also reading Stephen King and writing Stephen King-style novelettes for my classmates when I was 10, so it was always an interest of mine to give readers a thrill and a chill up the spine. So it’s obviously been with me from a young age and I can’t really say why except that I’ve always felt comfortable with the morbid, and that’s definitely a very key aspect of who I am today.” Going from this to the perceived ‘glamorous’ world of modelling, Tara admits it was a “weird fit”. “Although writing was a passion of mine I didn’t have enough confidence to pursue it as a career, and by the age of 13 I didn’t show anyone any of my writing. I’d write every day for myself but I was old enough to worry about criticism and think I wasn’t good enough. “Then at 14 I got discovered as a model. It was a small town so they always had scouts looking around and being a 6-foot tall blonde at the time who was incredibly outstretched and skinny I was prime material for what they wanted on catwalks at the time. “I started modelling in Europe when I was 15, but I continued to rely on my writing to centre myself. It was a very personal thing for

me and I always wrote diaries and poems and just ideas and stories for myself. That was a way of keeping myself company when I was constantly on the road.” The same year Tara started modelling, her whole world changed. Her mother passed away and she decided not to return to school. “I’d already been through Europe, my mother had died from cancer, which had been a very life-changing thing for me, so I felt very different sitting in class with the other kids. I wouldn’t say I felt like an adult but I felt like I didn’t fit in, and I certainly didn’t feel like I had a childhood anymore.” Tara threw herself into the fashion world, experiencing the highs and lows of a modelling career. “It was challenging in some ways and not others,” she says. “It’s not an intellectually stimulating environment but it’s very psychologically hard and it involves a lot of loneliness and travel and a lot of uncertainty. It’s also exciting and there’s incredible moments, especially being from a small town. It was amazing to wake up and find myself on the coast of Spain doing a photo shoot. Modelling allowed me to broaden my horizons and see the world.” Modelling also brought Tara to Australia in 1996. “I came for work and I stayed because of love and I think it’s something a lot of women do when they travel – they’ll fall in love and change their whole lives, and that’s certainly the case with me. I have no regrets, I had a great time, and now I live in what I think is the best country in the world.” While the relationship ended a couple of years later, Tara had by then decided on a career change. “I wanted to get out of modelling when I was 19 and it took me six years because I didn’t have any other viable way to support myself, and I’m a big believer in financial independence for women,” says Tara. “I was modelling and trying to work out what my career change would be, and when I started writing my first novel at


A New Chapter

Tara started writing her first novel, Fetish, at 23 and it was published two years later. She says it takes a lot of motivation and self-discipline to write. In fact, as we chat, Tara is only weeks away from finishing her fifth novel, Siren, and while it seems like she’s got it all handled Tara concedes that, “What you see before you is a harried, deadlinetormented writer. I’ve got writer brain so it means I’m totally socially inept. I’m writing really long hours and towards the end of a novel, it’s always incredibly unhealthy. I’ve

February/March 2009

not yet been able to master the balance when I’m finishing a book but one month every two years of not being in my own body, but being in a book, that’s just part of the deal.” While for many the next big challenge after writing a novel is getting someone to publish it, Tara was fortunate to have won a literary award in 1998 for her short story, Psycho Magnet. “That’s how I got discovered by my agent who is still my agent today,” she says. Soon after HarperCollins signed Tara on to publish her works. Knowing I was going to meet Tara, naturally I decided to start reading her books, beginning with the first. Tara lets me in on the fact the protagonist remains the same through her novels so I’m officially hooked and wonder whether there is much of Tara’s own life and experiences throughout them. After speaking at length with her, I only need to get into a couple of chapters to realise there’s actually quite a bit of her weaved into the books’ characters. Tara even appears on some of the covers of her books,


Photo: Lucas Allen

23, I just decided to go for it. I said to myself, ‘I’ve always wanted to do this, I’m really going to do it and I’m going to take a chance’. Thankfully it paid off. Sure, I could have made a lot more money if I’d stuck with modelling for a while longer, but I can write until my brain gives out and that’s really important. I believe very much in a long-term, holistic view on life and my life has improved in numerable ways.”

all of which she designs herself. “There’s a lot of parallels but I wrote Fetish when I wasn’t particularly well-known and I didn’t really think it would get published. I just wrote what came out and I hadn’t really thought through the constant comparisons. I’ve taken things I can relate to and mixed them with pure fiction and imagination and research.” Research is one thing Tara takes very seriously, literally experiencing as much as she can before writing it into a character’s plot. Most recently Tara was set on fire and choked unconscious in order to accurately write a couple of chapters for Siren. Other research has seen her earn a Certificate III in Investigation from the Australian Security Academy, tour the FBI Academy at Quantico, spend time in squad cars, morgues, prisons, the Hare Psychopathy Lab, the Supreme Court and criminology conferences worldwide, take polygraph tests, shoot weapons, complete SWAT training, conduct surveillance with private investigators, pass the Firearms Training Simulator with the LAPD, fly with the RAAF Roulettes, and acquire her CAMS race driver licence. While she does a lot of this for research, Tara says this is about as much fun as she can have. “I’m very interested in experiential research and experiences in general. I’m not always able to use them in my novels but I’m always wanting to do new things – particularly taboo things. The more unusual, the more attractive it is for me.” I start to feel quite boring and unworldly now hearing all this from Tara, but she explains that doing something extraordinary is different for different people. “It’s not like I’m so tough or invincible or confident, it’s just that I know of myself that if I’m afraid to do something, I should do it and I’ll feel better once I have. This is something I know about myself so I’ll push that and encourage it.” She also admits to only ever taking “calculated risks”. One such risk (in my opinion) is sharing an apartment with a six-foot, black-headed python, but Tara describes ‘Thing’ (named after the Adams Family character) as the perfect pet. “I love my snakes, they’re just fabulous.” Having been hand-raised by Tara since he was a worm, she says Thing is totally non-aggressive and does have his own enclosure but is allowed to roam around the apartment about once a week. I’m still not 100 percent convinced. Given Thing only needs to eat every three to four weeks, she says he’s the perfect low-maintenance pet for Tara’s jet-setting

February/March 2009

lifestyle. While she’s an Australian citizen and calls Sydney home, Tara travels to LA every two months to work on some TV projects she has in the pipeline – one based on her own life as a writer and the other based on her books – and spends plenty of time back in Canada visiting family and friends or travelling to promote her books. While for some this might be taxing on relationships, Tara says she’s very lucky to have a lot of freedom in her life. “I can be anywhere and write, so I’m fortunate in that I can stay in constant contact with friends and family overseas.” And although she is currently dating, Tara was divorced two years ago and says, at 35, she’s never been more liberated in terms of her ‘self ’ and her lifestyle. “My life has changed a lot a few times. I’ve had several periods of evolving and the most recent one was certainly the most extreme, and I think the most rewarding as well. So it’s been, in some ways, a very difficult and heartbreaking experience, and in other ways a really liberating and huge learning experience, so I feel pretty happy with where I’m at.” In between writing, Tara has also hosted the international crime documentary series Tara Moss Investigates on the National Geographic Channel, has participated as a guest and panelist on numerous TV programs including MTV, Fashion TV, Book Television, Entertainment Tonight and The Panel, and is a regular commentator on the programs 20 to 1, and E! International’s ‘Sexiest’ series. She has


also conducted hundreds of talks at literary events, universities and corporate events, not to mention her commitment to charities, being a Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF and the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children. “I’ve been doing charity work since I was a little girl. My mum got me into it and I think it’s a good way to balance life,” explains Tara. Her books have now sold in the hundreds of thousands in 15 countries and 30 languages but she tries not to get bogged down with the numbers. “I don’t like to think about it too much because I think it interferes with the creative process,” she says. “I can’t be writing a book and thinking about my mortgage or book sales.” Nevertheless, according to the latest ACNielsen BookScan sales figures Tara Moss is officially Australia’s number one selling crime writer. In September last year she was also inducted to the Australian Walk of Fame, and was the first to be inducted for services to literature. Jokingly saying “they should probably call Tim Winton and get him on there,” Tara is proud of the achievement. “I never would have thought coming from a small town in Canada that I’d have a bronze star on a sidewalk in Surfers Paradise, Australia – it’s a great feeling.” So what else is in store for Tara Moss? “I don’t know and I don’t think I really want to know,” she says. Having a philosophy to live life to the fullest, Tara says she’s ready to embrace any opportunity that might come her way.

Photo: Sharyn Cairns

Age: 35 Biggest Inspiration? My mum, definitely. She was creative, strong, interesting, passionate, bright and a great mum. In her own way, she managed to balance her artistic side (sculpting and painting etc) with being a good citizen and being involved with charities and being a mum and wife – that’s pretty great. What Motivates You? Watching my mum’s fight for life makes me not take life for granted. I just think we’re here once and we better enjoy it while we’re here. That doesn’t mean I’m always happy with everything going on but I want to be engaged with the world, I want to be connected with experiences and that’s a huge motivation for me. I’m really interested in living outside the box. Biggest turning point? Winning the young writers award for Psycho Magnet because it was the first encouragement I’d had as a writer and as an adult. It’s what allowed me to finally move on from the fashion world and get into the publishing industry, which I had always wanted. Can’t live without? Friends. That’s pretty important. Little-known fact? I sign all my books with a skull and I’ve got a tattoo most people don’t know about. Also, if I wasn’t writing books I wanted to be a psychologist, which is one reason why I’ve given the forensic psychology PhD to my main character – it’s what I would love to have. Wildest thing you’ve ever done? Recently being choked unconscious was pretty amazing. It was the longest period of time that I couldn’t breathe, it was like drowning. It was hugely uncomfortable but when I woke up I felt euphoric and it was really creepy because it had this amazing physiological affect on me. Biggest life lesson learnt? Life is too short to live the same day twice and it’s also too short to be who other people want you to be, but it should also include generosity and helping people. The Dalai Lama has a great quote and that is “The meaning of life is to be happy and useful” and I think that’s great because it encompasses everything in a really simple way. That’s how I try to live my life. I don’t always succeed but I think it’s a really nice framework to look at things. Advice for other aspiring women? • Have fabulous, smart, supportive friends and support them in return. • Go after your own dreams rather than those that are imposed on you. • No-one gets anywhere in life being an island. We have to be engaged with the people around us and encourage people.

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February/March 2009

On the eve of the 98th International Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day, the outlook for women is radically different to what it was a century ago. Huge strides have been made in the areas of equality, choice and freedom of speech and yet, despite this extraordinary progress, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still more work to be done. Emma Gardiner takes a look at how far women have come, the key issues on the agenda and what is being done to address them.



Woman’s World


arch 8 marks the day when, in 1908, 15,000 female clothing and textile workers marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. Three years later in Copenhagen, Clara Zetkin, leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party of Germany, organised the first official International Women’s Day. Clara dedicated her life to equal opportunity and women’s suffrage and was instrumental in taking the cause to Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Denmark. By 1912, International Women’s Day was acknowledged by more than a million people in these countries and word spread quickly. Within a few years, International Women’s Day had become a truly global event. Western women have come a long way since that first uprising 101 years ago, enjoying greater independence, fair pay and the freedom to vote, but that doesn’t mean the agenda for equality has been shelved. Women might be making more money, but they’re still not paid as much as their male counterparts. We vote, yet men still grossly outnumber females in government and, while many women may work in more skilled professions, working hours are again creeping up to unmanageable levels. And that’s not to mention issues still faced by women in the developing world where they

are still doing it tough in sweat shops, the illegal sex trade and the front lines of wars. Australian women have the advantage of being part of a society that, for the most part, is religiously tolerant, sexually liberated and celebrates hard work and mateship regardless of gender. South Australia was at the forefront of the women’s movement, giving females the right to vote in 1894. Most of the other states followed suit in 1902. Indigenous women were not granted full suffrage until 1962, just five years before the referendum that recognised Aboriginal people as Australian citizens. Today, females outnumber males at Australian universities, there are two females on the bench in the High Court of Australia and Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister is a woman. Despite how far we’ve come, there is still debate around equality. One camp wants total equality for women: equal numbers of female leaders in industry and government, equal pay and an ‘industry standard’ approach to power and influence. The other claims this is the betrayed generation; that women’s uniqueness, in both the physical and emotional spheres, has been compromised by a misplaced desire to conform and compete in a world that simply doesn’t ‘fit’ women. However, both sides agree the key issues that need to be addressed are disparity in pay, the need for more women in leadership positions,


government-funded paid maternity leave and serious social and legislative progress in the areas of sexual assault and domestic violence. These are the issues that will be up for discussion on March 8.

Baby Steps The shoulder-padded power woman of the 1980s gave way to the laptop-carrying superwoman of the 90s, but where do career women of the ‘noughties’ stand when it comes to career versus motherhood? Norma Tracey, a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, says she regularly has women “crying on the couch” because they didn’t spend enough time with their babies. “These women have gone to work right from the beginning of their child’s life and then at 50 came to feel they had been robbed of these precious years. They missed out on being emotionally involved with their baby. Some women want to work and that’s their choice, but a lot of women don’t want to work and have to in this financial climate,” says Norma. According to recent research by The Heat Group, 55 percent of women believe Australia hasn’t come very far in the past 10 years in supporting working women with children; 84 percent agree with the statement, ‘All Australian women should have access to paid maternity leave’; and 82 percent think the government should encourage women to return to the workforce

Womens‘ Day

by making childcare tax deductible or giving them a tax break. Professor Catharine Lumby, director of the Journalism and Media Research Centre at UNSW and gender advisor to the National Rugby League says, “While workplaces have a long way to go when it comes to ensuring women don’t have to choose between having children and having a career, the government is implementing positive policies in a number of areas. The introduction of paid maternity leave is an enormous step forward and one that will be particularly important for women in lower paid occupations.” In September 2008, the Productivity Commission recommended that the government fund 18 weeks paid maternity leave and two weeks paid paternity leave, meaning that the $5,000 baby bonus will be axed and new mothers will be paid the national minimum wage of around $544 per week. The final report will go to the government on February 28. Motherhood is not the only lifestyle factor affecting working women. It’s also about juggling all areas of life, from family, relationships and social life to health, wellbeing and self. A recent survey conducted by Galaxy Research on behalf of Schick identified several key factors contributing

Julia Gillard is our Deputy Prime Minister and Quentin Bryce is our Governor General. Young women can now, more than ever, make decisions about what they think is important and pursue their dreams – whether they want to do something creative, athletic, scientific, have a family, be a part of the business world or a mix of all these things”. Despite this, recent research from The Heat Group found that while 44 percent of the workforce is female, only 8.7 percent of board positions and three percent of CEO positions are filled by women. The question is: why? Are men trying to keep women out of the top jobs or is the truth a little less obvious? Criminal lawyer Tennille Duffy, says, “In my profession, it’s the attitude of some women and men higher up the food chain that’s really frustrating. The men assume I don’t know what I’m talking about while some successful women have the attitude of, ‘I worked hard to get here so I’m not going to give you a hand up now’”. “The government has a range of initiatives to improve equality, but ultimately, it requires a shift in attitude from the entire community,” Tanya adds. Catharine Lumby agrees. “None of this can be meaningfully addressed by the government alone. Women’s issues are whole-of-society issues. We need a large cultural change that results in everyone owning

“Young women can now, more than ever, make decisions about what they think is important and pursue their dreams – whether they want to do something creative, athletic, scientific, have a family, be a part of the business world or a Tanya Plibersek, Minister for the Status of Women mix of all these things.”


to and preventing women in Australia from feeling their desired level of freedom in day-to-day life. At the launch of Schick’s Freedom in Your Own Skin report, host Tara Moss referred to the ‘superwoman conundrum’, whereby Australian women feel pressured to ‘achieve’ in a thousand different areas at any one time. A key finding of the survey was that a large proportion of women who work full-time (88 percent) reported that work sometimes impinges on their personal life, while 19 percent feel it always does. Stress is also a key contributor to feelings of constraint among the 1,252 women aged 18 to 39 surveyed. Almost all (95 percent) are stressed or worried at some time and one in five admitted constantly feeling this way. At the launch of the report, Nikki Hager, founder of Peep Toe Shoes, said, “The female workforce is stressed, overworked and burnt out”. To overcome these challenges, she suggests, “Be passionate about what you’re doing, stay positive and focus on each job at hand. Create to-do lists and remember to delegate – you can’t do everything yourself ”.

Moving Up Minister for the Status of Women Tanya Plibersek is hopeful about the future of women in leadership saying, “Women are increasingly represented in leadership roles.

February/March 2009


problems like domestic violence or work–family balance rather than seeing them as something women are left to deal with.” Despite the statistical realities of female leadership, recent research from Steps Leaders, an organisation that conducts training and provides mentoring for professional women, found Australians as a whole have more faith in female leaders. “We found that women are perceived to be stronger leaders in uncertain times for two key reasons,” explains director and general manager Gillian O’Mara. “First, there is a belief that women have the ability to lead people more effectively. The second is that women have greater capacity to manage with flexibility and have a stronger profile with respect to innovation. It is this blend of skills – people leadership and agility – that I believe instils confidence in women as incredibly strong leaders, particularly in challenging times.” One woman who has displayed extraordinary leadership skills is Australian Businesswomen’s Network (ABN) founder Suzi Dafnis. “Leadership is the key skill women need to harness,” she says. “The more female leaders we have, the more women will be able to overcome some of the issues facing them. It is not about gender, it’s about taking a stand and taking control. “At ABN, we realised that to become better leaders women wanted mentors and training. When we asked

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some successful female leaders what they wished they’d had access to earlier to become a good leader they identified role models and peers who could understand what they were facing, so we introduced forums and workshops for women to hone these skills,” says Suzi.

Cashing In “Women, on average, work 17 years less than their male counterparts and earn 84 cents in the male dollar,” says Gillian Franklin, managing director

scenario is that women choose to work, but don’t have to financially. However, it’s alarming how many women are in some type of debt (80 percent according to the Schick study), and it’s often personal credit cards that lead to trouble, particularly if the balances are not paid off each month,” she says. A mortgage, on the other hand, is good debt, says Mary, who believes property is one of the best vehicles to begin growing our wealth. “Schick’s research findings clearly indicate that

“Be passionate about what you’re doing, stay positive and focus on each job at hand. Create to-do lists and remember to delegate – you can’t do everything yourself.” Nikki Hager, founder of Peep Toe Shoes of The Heat Group. “This will result in women retiring without a great deal of resources, which will subsequently become a drain on society. This is an economic issue that needs to be addressed.” That said, things have improved dramatically compared to just 20 years ago. Most women have superannuation funds and there has been increased involvement in the property and stock markets, as well as entrepreneurialism in the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector. As divorce rates continue to rise, Schick’s report reveals women are finally realising how risky it is to depend on finding ‘Mr Right’ for financial security, and three quarters of the survey respondents consider themselves financially independent. However, the survey shows that women are managing their financial affairs with varying success. While 30 percent feel

although women today are more willing to manage their own personal affairs and make the kind of financial decisions their mothers and grandmothers would never have imagined, many are finding the responsibility stressful and overwhelming,” she adds. Mary suggests improved money management skills and tighter debt control will significantly help women feel more confident about managing their financial affairs. “And women need to educate themselves. They will feel more free and empowered when they know what they’re doing,” she says. So what of women taking matters into their own hands and starting their own businesses? Suzi Dafnis says, “Over the last 13 years I’ve observed the rise and fall of numbers of women getting into small business and I think the numbers are about to go up again as economic circumstances cause women to leave the

“Leadership is the key skill women need to harness. The more female leaders we have, the more women will be able to overcome some of the issues facing them. It is not about gender, it’s about taking a stand and taking control.” Suzi Dafnis, founder, Australian Businesswomen’s Network (ABN) they manage well, twice that number feel they could manage better, and a significant 16 percent admit they are having trouble making ends meet. Reassuringly, only five percent admit to still relying on their partner to manage their finances and just one percent are waiting for an inheritance. Asked what would make them feel most free, an astounding 65 percent chose never having to worry about money again, compared to 14 percent who chose good health, nine percent who selected never having to work again, and just seven percent said finding a soul mate. Personal wealth coach and author Mary King believes the findings are not surprising. “The ideal

February/March 2009

corporate world and start their own business as a result of necessity. “It’s a very exciting time. While much of the media is doom and gloom, the entrepreneurial spirit sees opportunities. Small business has the advantage right now of the ability to move quickly, to change direction and find a new niche.”

Seeking Justice Sadly, two issues facing women the world over are domestic violence and sexual assault. “Half of all women in Australia will experience domestic violence or sexual assault at some time in their life, and one in 10 will be sexually assaulted by a current


or past partner,” says Karen Willis, manager of the NSW Rape Crisis Centre. “There continues to be a considerable need to reduce and prevent violence against women by changing male culture and encouraging everyone to be ethical in their sexual behaviours. Support services and a positive criminal justice response when violence occurs are also essential.” Initiatives like White Ribbon Day (November 25) are key to raising awareness around domestic violence

morning tea where women get together to celebrate the progress of the women’s movement, there are plenty of ways to get on board. Karen Willis will be marching in Sydney, Tanya Plibersek will host an event in conjunction with the International Cricket Council Women’s World Cup in Sydney, and Catharine Lumby will be celebrating “the traditional way” by getting together with a group of female friends and dancing to Madonna. On a global level, International Women’s Day will

“As women, we’re constantly under pressure to achieve things in a thousand different areas. It’s time to address the ‘superwoman’ conundrum.” Tara Moss, international bestselling crime writer and television host issues, with organisations such as the National Rugby League providing support and disseminating key messages to the community. Beyond these issues, there remains the need to clear the murky waters of sexual harassment. Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick says, “Our research shows that sexual harassment continues to be a problem in the modern workplace, particularly because there seems to be a significant lack of understanding among both women and men about what behaviour constitutes sexual harassment,” Elizabeth says. A recent survey by the Australian Human Rights Commission found that 22 percent of women and five percent of men have experienced sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. However, when respondents who said they had not

be a public holiday in Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The tradition in these countries sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends and colleagues with flowers and small gifts. Those who would like to help women in developing countries can attend events throughout the week leading up to International Women’s Day organised by UNIFEM (, which raises public awareness of gender and development issues and supports regional programs through fundraising. The Australian Businesswomen’s Network ( will celebrate by hosting national and local events, and local and state governments have staged events in previous years, so check out your council’s website for details. In addition to the federal support shown by some

“Improved money management skills and tighter debt control will significantly help women feel more confident about managing their financial affairs. Women need to educate themselves. They will feel more free and empowered when they know what they’re doing.” Mary King, renowned women’s wealth coach and author experienced sexual harassment according to the legal definition were presented with examples, a further one in five said they had experienced one or more of them. “These findings highlight the serious need for accurate information about sexual harassment in the workplace – not just for employers, but for employees,” says Elizabeth.

Getting Involved This year’s International Women’s Day will be celebrated at more than 650 events in 55 countries. Be it a forum, debate, protest march or simply a


countries, many corporations have also begun to acknowledge International Women’s Day. For example, global consultancy firm Accenture supports more than 2,000 of its staff participating in leadership development sessions, career workshops and corporate citizenship coordinated across six continents. Why not chat with your boss or staff about how your workplace can celebrate the achievements of women on March 8? The official International Women’s Day movement will have a growing program of events as March 8 approaches so be sure to visit for the latest events and celebrations happening around the country.


Love air is in the

What better time of year than in the month of February to share some of our favourite quotes of love.

“Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition.” – Alexander Smith

“To be loving, you don’t need to have someone special in your life. The state of loving is special in itself. It needs no particular goal. No particular object. It’s a state of mind and heart. A way of being.” – Stephanie Dowrick

“One word frees us of all the weight and pain in life. That word is Love.” – Sophocles

“You cannot catch a child’s spirit by running after it. You must stand still and for love it will soon itself return.” – Arthur Miller

“I live for those who love me, for those who know me true.” – George Linnaeus Banks

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” – Oscar Wilde

“You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.” – Henry Drummond

February/March 2009

“Where there is love, there is life.” – Mahatma Ghandi

“Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.” – Henry Van Dyke

“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.” – Ivan Panin


“Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” – Robert Heinlein

“Anyone who chooses to live their life in loving can change the world.” – John-Roger


“Sometimes it’s a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence.” – David Byrne

In Focus

A matter of


Break away from unwanted thoughts, emotions and behaviours and create the future you want. Dr Adriana James explains how to achieve this using time line therapy.



et me ask you a question: Could your life be better? If you were to commit to enhancing the areas that are most important to you, could your life improve, maybe even dramatically? If you know there’s more for you, then you know what you’ve got to do. But what if you don’t? All of us have unwanted thoughts, emotions and behaviours that we want to get rid of. Maybe we have repeated thoughts like ‘I’ll never lose this weight’ or ‘I’ll never meet the right man to marry’ or maybe we repeatedly feel sad or get really angry and blow up at our spouse or kids. Maybe we have behaviours that we keep repeating, such as overeating, cheating on our spouse, gambling, or sabotaging ourselves just before a great success. We also have positive things we’d like to replace those unwanted thoughts, emotions and behaviours with. And if that’s not enough, we also have goals we want to achieve for our future. Maybe we want to retire in a few years but our finances look grim, or we want to get married but there are no prospects, or we want our children to be successful but we don’t know how to assist them. Time line therapy* is a simple and easy set of techniques that shows people how to eliminate those unwanted thoughts, emotions and behaviours, and how to replace them with positive ones. At the same time it gives people a very specific way to achieve goals in their future that may not look possible to achieve today. Time line therapy techniques were developed by Dr. Tad James in the early 1980s. At that time Tad was already a master trainer of neurolinguistic programming (NLP), and during his training sessions working with thousands of people, he noticed a common question that women and men asked equally: “When you really have a fear of failure, or fear of intimacy, or fear to change something in your career, or fears surrounding sex, or maybe even phobic fears like a fear of eating broccoli – if you can do something to change this so that it

never bothers you again, what would you do?” These questions provided him with the drive and motivation to create time line therapy techniques.

The Technique in Action Time line therapy can help people break through any obstacles created by negative thoughts, emotions and behaviours and create what they really want and deserve in their lives. Time line therapy techniques are based on your ‘time line’ with your entire history – your joys and fears, your happiness and sorrow, your loves and hates, your limiting and empowering decisions. Ask yourself: where is my past? And notice that you can actually point to a direction. It could be either behind you, or to your right or left or in some direction in relation to your body. Now do the same for your future. Trust your intuition. In fact, people often say “my past is behind me”, describing in words how they store time. This is the first step – discovering where your time line is located, and this allows us to store memories, from the past and for the future. Time line therapy is a creative visualisation technique – in other words, you see what you’d see if you could see. It’s a simple process that allows you to let go of all the negative emotions and limiting decisions from the past and create your future the way you want it. Basically, it allows your subconscious mind to disconnect an emotional charge on a certain string of events, thus allowing you to construct and create the future you want. Given time line therapy uses a variety of principles (quantum linguistics, time perspective change, inductive languaging to name a few), it’s beyond the scope of this article to explain every technique, however you can see a live demo on our website at A simple example, though, could be if you have ‘anxiety’ – a fear of the future – then it’s just a matter of floating over ‘now’


(of course, in your mind’s eye) and out into the future, to 15 minutes after the successful completion of the event you thought you were anxious about (emphasis on ‘successful’). When you turn around and look towards ‘now’, you’ll notice the anxiety disappeared. Why? Because, you are ‘after’ the event (so, no need for negative anticipation!) and the event was successful! This, among other techniques, proves that your thinking creates your reality – all over time. While this all might seem simple, it’s important not to try this on your own, and you should seek a trained time line therapist for assistance. Christine de Waart** from Perth experienced the benefits of time line therapy first hand. She is a vivacious, intelligent, cheerful and hard working woman. Before she learned time line therapy she was involved in two abusive relationships. Both relationships made her feel powerless and bad about herself. She had very low self-esteem as a result of these relationships, and she was quite overweight. She had no self-worth or clarity

her own company where she’s now earning five times what she was before and it’s growing rapidly. She became extremely empowered by using time line therapy. Life is truly fabulous for her now. She could have been devastated for the rest of her life, but pulled herself together and made it through successfully. Being able to let go of unwanted thoughts, emotions and behaviours and create the future you want is extremely valuable in every person’s life because everyone has something they want to get rid of. Look at celebrities such as Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan – do you think they really want to keep going into rehab over and over again? Or actors like Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe or Alec Baldwin... Imagine how embarrassing it was for Alec Baldwin to run his anger so out of control at his daughter for the whole world to hear? Do you think these actors who have repeated stories about their tempers really want to behave that way? No-one is exempt from thoughts, emotions or behaviours that they want to get rid of no matter how famous they are. It’s just a fact

Time line therapy techniques are based on your ‘time line’ with your entire history – your joys and fears, your happiness and sorrow, your loves and hates... of life. The good news is that using time line therapy techniques, people can really eliminate these things from their lives and create what they truly want instead. Stop and think about it for a moment – what would be the impact on you if you could release all of the anger/sadness/fear/guilt in your past memories while preserving the learnings from those events? What if you could go back and re-do any old decision that you made in the past, and decide in a new way that supports who you want to be now? With time line therapy, we also have the ability to reevaluate our past, and change any decision that limits us. To a certain extent our behaviour is guided by the decisions that we’ve made in the past. Whether conscious or unconscious, these decisions affect our behavior in the present. Finally, what if you had a reliable way to create your future the way you wanted it, and actually have that happen? * Time Line Therapy is a registered trademark of Dr Tad James and The Time Line Therapy Association ** Name changed for privacy

Dr. Adriana James is a certified master trainer of NLP and a leading authority figure in the field of NLP and time line therapy. Dr. Tad James personally conducts trainings in Sydney where he teaches time line therapy. To access time line therapy practitioners in your area please contact The Tad James Co. on (02) 9221 9221 or visit

February/March 2009



about the direction in her life and if you talk to anyone who has ever been in an abusive relationship, this is how most people end up feeling. Plus, she was supporting her two small children and was holding very low-income jobs. Christine was very capable, however the way she felt about herself prevented her from even trying to apply for higher income jobs. She felt like she had no way out, no way to be able to provide a future for her children, let alone herself. Christine knew she had to change a major pattern in her life but she didn’t know how. Time line therapy gave her the easy, clear and concise steps to release and let go of, forever, all her past traumatic emotions and beliefs about herself, which were the source of her unwanted thoughts and behaviours. She had a major breakthrough right away that broke this cycle of abuse with herself and others. As a result, she ended her abusive relationship and has not had another one since. She lost all the excess weight, which amounted to three dress sizes, regained her self-worth, and she began for the first time to feel like she had direction in her life. Christine developed

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From 60s-style coats to 80s-inspired jewellery, image consultant Chris Rewell reveals the latest trends in style and fashion for the coming seasons.


his autumn and winter, hemlines are going down, necklines are moving up, waists are accentuated and hair is getting bigger. Lean, shapely tailoring returns to work alongside strategically placed volume. The dress has dominated for some time now, but this season brings trousers back into the spotlight. Wide-legged, voluminous pants need to be paired with a structured, close-fitting upper garment, while the skinny trouser should be teamed with big or slouchy, oversized tops. Power dressing means ‘his gear for her’. Shapely, tailored jackets and sharp geometric lines add a warrior option to womenswear for winter, which is quite the contrast to our summery frocks and florals. Modern shoulder shapes look stronger, jewellery is pared down, neutral tones and quality hose all add precision and sophistication. This look is perfect for the pointy end of business and it slips easily into corporate evening functions with a change of earrings and a wonderful shawl.

stand-up collars, patch pockets, epaulets and pocket flaps. Add trims such as braiding, medals and brass buttons on both single and double-breasted jackets. We are also seeing a revisit to the 1960s with big coats and sweaters, smaller cardigans, thick tights and boots teamed with sheepskin coats and vests. There’s layering and plenty of 70s prints, especially paisley. Hems vary from knee-length to maxi, and waists are belted whether tops are worn tucked in or left out. Jeans are flared – think bell-bottoms. Dark romance joins soft goth as we see slithers of flesh peep through from black lace, tulle, chiffon and sheers. Add ruffles and feathers, chains and the crucifix, then team with skinny trousers in PVC or black leather, very high-heels, sultry eyes and a sophisticated attitude. For the night out, it’s bright and sparkly, with jewel colours of red, royal blue, purple, fuchsia and berry. Neutrals of cream, taupe and black ensure you have some pulled-back, more conservative colour options. Frocks have longer hemlines and higher necklines – all with cinched in waists. Try a few sequins or a fully sequined trouser with a frothy,

New Trends

Military elements will add flare to your new winter wardrobe. Look for detail such as

keypiecestoplaywiththisseason e Black,

skinny leather pants. white shirt or a bow-fronted blouse. e A suit to follow the tailored trend. e Knitwear – a neat cardigan, a slouchy pullover or a loose, lacy, cobweb knit. e The day dress – to the knee or longer in tartan, tweed or a Gucci-style print. e Trousers – 40s style (think, Marlene Dietrich), pleated and high-waisted. e The statement coat – from Mongolian shearling to military styles, tartan, tweed and trench. e Boots – thigh high and skin tight, knee-high with heaps of hardwear (buckles etc) and lacing, or ankle boots with fringing. e Flat pumps, bejewelled or embossed with heraldic emblems. Slightly e A

February/March 2009

extended toe shapes – and make sure you have toe-cleavage ‘to go’. instead think tartan, stripes, prints and two-toned Chanel-style. e Headwear – it’s the headscarf or the beanie. e A very chunky neckpiece – big, bold, brave and boisterous – definitely the thin edge of the 80s wedge happening here! e The statement belt on the waist – one or many, skinny or wide. e Chains – around the neck or on the waist with the addition of coins or a crucifix. e Brows are back, a la Brooke Shields. They’re thicker, stronger, longer and arched. Use a pencil to feather the colour on, then set using a small bristle brush. e Tights have something to say this season. No boring black,




sheer blouse. Sixties-style coat dresses in extravagant silk fabrics also star. Lace is also huge. Wear it delicate and demure, or structured and dramatic. Do tone-on-tone or team it with brilliant, jewelled colours, a la Prada. A lace evening bag is your hottest evening option. Feathers are also a special feature, primarily as a trim. The question is, how to maintain and clean them?

Favoured Fabrics

Plaid, otherwise know as tartan, worn in any colour combination you like, in any garment you desire, signals you’ve bought into winter 2009. Look for belted shirtmaker dresses, lumberjack plaid shirts, A-line skirts, wide-legged trousers, vests, overcoats, suits, long-line double-breasted jackets, cropped jackets with Peter Pan collars, and 70s-style

shifts with stand-up collars. Oh, and let’s not forget, tartan tights are a must-have this season. Tweed is the next big thing after plaid, both as a fabric and a story for winter. Look for 60s -shaped coats and dresses, man-style tailoring and sculpted, almost architectural creations. Team A-line skirts and widelegged trousers with English countryside inspired cardigans or Argyle sweaters for an aristocratic touch of the past, topped off with a head scarf – Queen Elizabeth being the muse. Chris Rewell is a highly regarded image professional, speaker, coach, trainer, author and mentor. She is the author of interactive personal colour book What colour am I? For more information visit



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thisseason’scolourpalette We’ve over-indulged in sugary, candy colours throughout summer 2008 and now designers have reigned in the sweet stuff to present a more elegant colour palette for autumn consisting of maroon, claret, khaki, olive, duck-egg blue (very pale teal), teal, terracotta and amber. In winter, white, cork, mushroom, cocoa, sienna, chocolate, navy, gunmetal grey and black offer the neutral palette we need for our wardrobe fundamentals. Not to be totally put out of the picture, Max Mara, John Galliano, Aquascutum and Versace pull some colour through to winter including red, blue, orange, purple and fuchsia – so you also have vibrant options for the season.


In Focus


Thy Self

Do you feel guilty taking time for yourself? Avoid trying things for fear of not succeeding? Compare yourself to others and fall short? Your self-esteem and self-confidence may need a makeover. Martha Follent shows us how.


ealthy self-esteem supports us to take our rightful place in the world. It tells me, ‘I am worthy and deserve to be happy’. Healthy self-confidence is belief in my capabilities to do what is important to me in life. To feel truly fulfilled, a basic requirement is to love ourselves. This motivates us to appreciate who we are, to take care of ourselves, to strive for what we want and to believe we deserve it, not at the expense of others, but because ‘this is who I am and what I am here for’. Self-love is directly related to our feelings of self-esteem and confidence. Low self-esteem can stem from childhood beliefs about deserving what we want. We may seem confident, but have inner feelings of powerlessness, which results in us sabotaging those very things we want because we don’t believe we are worthy of them. We may act timidly or even aggressively to mask our inner vulnerabilities. Low self-confidence, on the other hand, can see us give up on our dreams, finding good reasons why we can’t succeed. We may seem to have it all, but never realise our potential because we don’t believe we can. Take the following test to see how your self-esteem and self-confidence measure up.

1 When someone compliments me, I… A. smile and thank them. B. become embarrassed and contradict them. C. deflect it, they don’t really mean it.


At work I’m underpaid and unappreciated, so I…

A. research comparable jobs/salaries, outline my skills/contributions, ask for a raise and discuss rationally. B. ask for a raise but don’t believe I’ll get it. I 2 When I see a job I want and have the feel uncomfortable talking about my skills for, I… achievements. A. apply, expect an interview and expect to do well. C. do nothing. B. apply but don’t believe I’ll get it. C. don’t apply, I won’t get it.

seem interested, I…

A. feel excited and look forward to getting to know them. B. worry about the impression I’m making and hope I won’t blow it. C. avoid getting involved, it always ends badly.

February/March 2009



When I am in a group and a topic of interest comes up, I…

A. find it easy to respect and discuss others’ opinions and to voice my own. B. listen to others, but rarely voice my opinions unless I become emotional. C. take on others’ opinions, they usually make more sense than mine.


3 When I meet someone I like and they

The Results

Quick Tips for Self-Esteem

Mostly ‘A’s: Your self-esteem and selfconfidence is healthy. You say “no” when appropriate, you believe in your self-worth and have confidence in your capabilities. Mostly ‘B’s: You may not be doing what you want due to lack of self-confidence. Mostly ‘C’s: You may not believe you are worthy to do and have what you want. Fulfillment begins with a decision. Building self-esteem and self-confidence is a choice we make daily. It starts with paying attention to our thoughts, focusing on what we want and taking appropriate action. We can choose to take responsibility, become our own conductor, and create the life we want. We are all unique with individual gifts. If we don’t express them, who will? Why not start your journey to your best self right here, right now?

• Keep a journal. • List your unique qualities – reflect on one each day and be grateful. • List your beliefs about yourself. Do they support you? Choose one disempowering belief and for one week commit to flipping that belief to its positive and act as if that were true for you. See what happens. • Smile, give someone a genuine compliment each day.

Quick Tips for Self-Confidence • List the things you love to do. Each day select and do something small just for you. Each week/month select and do something bigger just for you. • Journal your past achievements. Add to it and review daily. • To feel confident in the moment, remember a specific time you felt really confident. Vividly see, hear, feel what you saw, heard, felt at that time, make the necessary adjustments to your posture and breathing. The feeling will flow from the vivid memory. • Create your personal dream board. Choose one dream, decide one small action you can do each day to lead you to your dream, and just do it.

Martha Follent is a coach and trainer who works with her clients to take their life to the next level. For more information, visit her website at

Absolutely Fabulous Colour & Style Michele Gillett and Sharron-Del Wakely have worked in education, training and the beauty industry. For twenty years they have provided advice, guidance and assistance on colour and style to people of all ages and from varied backgrounds. Having trained with this country's industry leader, "The Australian Image Company", Michele and Sharron-Del understand the power of image to influence people's perceptions of others.

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Being completely attached to your external life leaves you in a precarious place, while total detachment denies human desire. Dana Mrkich suggests striking a balance for inner peace.

February/March 2009

person is retrenched from their job. Having built their world on a foundation over which they had no control, this person’s world collapses. Over-attachment to the external is like handing someone else the reins to your emotional and physical wellbeing. When we are overly attached to the external, we place ourselves in the precarious position of needing a situation to work out the way we want it to, or needing a person to act a certain way, in order for us to be happy. We are all getting a lesson in this right now with the volatile state of the economy. If we let our moods swing up and down according to the movement of the stock market or interest rates, we are going to feel quite a bit of motion sickness!

Centre Yourself We are more likely to find true fulfillment in the centre, finding our way there by becoming centred. When we are in our centre, we don’t need to have something in order to feel happy or at peace. This doesn’t mean we become apathetic about life or fall into a passive way of being. Quite conversely, in this space, we feel more fully alive than ever before. We do all we can to make our dreams come true, while having an open mind and heart around the process and potential outcomes. We let go of our need to have things unfold a certain way, trusting that while we may not get everything we want when we want it, we will always receive everything we need, when we need it. We take back the reins of our physical and


emotional wellbeing, while surrendering to the higher aspect of ourself that always guides us in the best possible direction. Of course, we still have emotional responses to life’s experiences, but we no longer let those experiences determine how we feel about ourselves. We know that our true foundation, the one that will always be there for us, comes from our connection to our authentic self. We identify ourselves by who we are inside (‘I am strong, kind, generous, adventurous and capable’), rather than placing our sense of identity on external factors (‘I am married, I work as an accountant, I live in Melbourne’). How do you describe yourself ? What makes you who you are? As an exercise, write down all the ways in which you identify yourself, in the order of importance. The first third of your list is your foundation, so reading back through it, ask yourself, what is holding up your life – inner qualities that you can turn to during challenging times or external factors that can change at any moment? In what way would you need to rewrite your list to have as strong a foundation as possible? Dana Mrkich is a spiritual intuitive, radio host, author of A New Chapter (Zeus Publications 2008), and creator/teacher of Walking the Rainbow Path, an online chakra course. She offers soul sessions via email to clients all around the world. Email her at or visit



or years, self-help books told us that ‘happiness comes from within’, yet now the focus seems to be on creating as much success and abundance as possible in our outer lives. So which is it? Does happiness come from finding inner peace or will a new car and a soul mate put a permanent smile on our faces? I believe the answer lies somewhere in between, in a healthy place called non-attachment. Some people have found their inner peace by meditating in a space of detachment. This way of being goes along the lines of, ‘I don’t need a fancy home or loads of money to be happy. I can feel rich on the inside, even if I live in a cave with no possessions’. That’s all well and good, but how many of us can escape to a cave – or want to? This mentality also insinuates there is something wrong with having desires connected to the material world, or that genuine spirituality and physical comforts can’t co-exist. Others have found their happiness by immersing themselves in the material, becoming overly attached to the external. How they feel on the inside is completely influenced and determined by what is happening on the outside. They get their sense of safety, security and status from their job, relationship, house or car. The problem with this is that we cannot control the external. We have all seen what happens to a person – or have even experienced it ourselves – when their entire sense of self revolved around a partner or work, and suddenly the partner leaves or the

In Her Shoes

Hwhere ome is the Heart is

Persephone Nicholas meets Masallée Xiaopeng Ou, a sixth generation practitioner of Chinese medicine, and discovers that being at home in two cultures can deliver greater appreciation for both.

February/March 2009

culture. “Most people marry for love. It doesn’t matter if you can understand each other’s culture but if you understand each other you can stay together.”

Work Ethic Masallée is the sixth generation of her family to practise medicine and started studying with her uncle in China at 17. She graduated from the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) school at Tianjin University, has a Bachelor of Medicine, Acupuncture and TCM, and is director of the Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Society of Australia. She is also a member of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society and has been practising for more than 20 years. Masallée describes the strong work ethic underpinning Chinese society, passed down from generation to generation. Her father was a university physics professor, her mother a chemistry teacher and, like many Chinese parents, they prized academic success and self-reliance. “In China the government won’t pay you much. My parents taught me to look after myself. Working hard is always good – for the family and for the whole of society.” She says China is a strong country whose culture is based on agriculture rather than


trading. “That’s why people work hard and save money. Westerners sometimes don’t understand why we don’t like to take risks or borrow money, but our parents worry about 25-year home loans because they don’t know what the future will bring.” Masallée believes there is another reason the work ethic is instilled from an early age – strong competition to get in to university. The Chinese educational infrastructure is insufficient to meet the needs of the growing population. “Only 25 to 30 percent of young people can go from high school to university, so there’s too much pressure on kids,” she says. “In Australia, we keep kids happy, in China we keep them busy.”

Family & Religion As mother to two young boys, Freddie, three, and Wilson, seven, Masallée is well positioned



asallée Xiaopeng Ou loves Australia, but is proud to be Chinese. “It’s not only me, most Chinese are proud,” she says from the pristine consulting room of her new acupuncture practice,, in Sydney. Masallée sees no contradiction in being happy with her Chinese culture and living in Australia, believing that she and her family will maintain their cultural heritage wherever they find themselves. It’s now more than a decade since, at 28 and travelling alone, she left her native city of Tianjin, about 100km from Beijing. She hasn’t lost her Chinese accent and neither has she been disappointed with her new home. “Friends told me great things about Australia, that it was a fantastic country, a beautiful and relaxed place – and it was true!” she laughs. Masallée migrated to escape the stress of life in China. “I enjoyed the freedom to be myself away from the family. I started work when I was 23 and there was so much pressure, I came to escape the pressures of daily life,” she explains. Though she came alone, she went on to marry Jassion, a Chinese man from home, who joined her in Sydney where their children were born. She claims it was not important to marry a man from her own


to compare the relative merits of growing up in China versus Australia. She says her children have a strong Australian identity, but the family speaks Mandarin at home. “Chinese families are very close, probably too close,” says Masallée who suggests the strength of family ties is grounded in religion. There are many religions to choose from in China including Taoism, Buddhism and Chinese Folk Religion and it is quite common to combine beliefs and practices from more than one. Masallée says she is not religious, but has some values with religious origins. For example, she fully supports her husband’s commitment to his parents in China. He contributes financial support, which Masallée says is very important, and calls home each week. The whole family returns to China to visit them every second year. Her own parents are now retired and moved from China to live with Masallée and her family in 2008. Masallée explains that this is typical in China where even four generations may live together, sharing domestic work, including childcare. Her parents contribute by preparing the family breakfast and helping with the children. All three generations sit down to a meal in the evening between 7 and 8pm. “My diet is a mixture, around a third to a half is not Chinese. I love vegetables and anything not too spicy,” says Masallée. “Everybody eats the same thing at dinner time. Sometimes we have pasta or pizza, it’s not my parents’ favourite, but my kids like it.” One food enjoyed by all the family is moon cakes, which can be sweet or savoury and may contain eggs, fruit or meat. They are served for the Chinese autumn Moon festival that takes place on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, in accordance with the Chinese calendar. For this festival, it’s important that every family member is home for the night, and Masallée says even those who are overseas will try to make it back. The most important Chinese festival is the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, which will be celebrated this year on January 26 – by happy coincidence it falls on Australia Day. The Chinese follow a lunar calendar based on cycles and phases of the moon. This gives a variable number of months in a year since it is not evenly divisible by an exact number of lunations and, without the addition of

intercalary months, the seasons would drift each year. This results in a 13-month year every two or three years. The New Year festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month and ends on the 15th. This day is known as Lantern Festival. Masallée explains that it is Chinese custom to start celebrating on New Year’s Eve with visits to friends and family. Everybody dresses up. “We all have new clothes at New Year. When I was a child, everyone wore red and yellow, the royal colours, like the colours of the Chinese flag,” she says. “We decorate doors and windows with paintings that have a lot of red in them. They are supposed to scare monsters away and protect our children.” Some traditions have been sacrificed to the Australian way of life. “When I was a child we used to have firecrackers to scare away evil spirits, but we’re not supposed to here, they’re too noisy. Some people use electric ones.” New Year’s Day is a holiday and traditionally there is no cooking, but food is a priority the evening before. “We like to have some really yummy food, especially traditional dumplings and good quality wine.” The colour red is auspicious and is used for decorations as well as clothing. Red packets containing money or chocolate coins are traditionally given by adults to younger single members of the family or children. The packets usually hold specific amounts

of money reflecting the fact that particular numbers are considered unlucky or otherwise. Generally odd numbers are avoided since they are linked with money given for funerals but the number four is also considered unlucky because the word for four is a homophone (a word pronounced in the same way as another word but with a different spelling and/or meaning) for death. However number eight is considered lucky because the word for eight is a homophone for wealth. There are many other superstitions associated with the New Year period. For example, it’s important to start the New Year with a clean house, but the cleaning must be completed before New Year’s Day. Doors and windows should be opened to let in the good luck of the New Year and sweets may be eaten in order to bring a sweet new year. Sweeping the floor is generally avoided on the first day of the New Year as it is thought to sweep away good fortune. Black or white clothing are shunned as black symbolises bad luck and white is the colour of funerals. As Masallée prepares to celebrate the traditions of an ancient culture and the values of a young one on January 26, she reflects on her life and says she appreciates people here are flexible in their thinking. “Most Australians have open minds. Even if they don’t understand something, if you gently explain it they can accept it.” Masallée herself is a great example of the virtue she admires.

The Chinese Zodiac is determined by a 12-year cycle with each year characterised by an animal as indicated below. Each year starts from the date specified with the animals symbolising the characteristics shown in brackets. Jan 26, 2009 Feb 14, 2010 Feb 03, 2011 Jan 23, 2012 Feb 10, 2013 Jan 31, 2014 Feb 19, 2015 Feb 08, 2016 Jan 28, 2017 Feb 16, 2018 Feb 05, 2019 Jan 25, 2020

Year of the Ox (good leaders, practical and methodical, can be inflexible) Year of the Tiger (sensitive, emotional and loving but may be stubborn) Year of the Rabbit (affectionate, affable, helpful, may seem superficial) Year of the Dragon (enthusiastic, lively, popular, intelligent but can be a big mouth) Year of the Snake (romantic, wise and charming, can be mean with money) Year of the Horse (hard-working, independent and friendly but can be selfish) Year of the Goat (elegant, artistic and charming but prone to saying the wrong thing) Year of the Monkey (very intelligent and witty, always popular but may take advantage of people) Year of the Rooster (hard-working, shrewd and decisive but may appear arrogant) Year of the Dog (honest, faithful and loyal, prone to worry) Year of the Pig (intelligent, sincere and tolerant but can be materialistic) Year of the Rat (imaginative, generous and charming, may be quick tempered)

Sources:,, Chinese Culture Center (


In The Know

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

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fashion that fits Launched recently in Australia, is a UK-based e-boutique offering exclusive, designer womenswear in sizes 16 to 26. Clothing and accessories are available at affordable prices from leading international labels including Baby Phat, Loungefly and Mighty Fine. Shipping is charged at a flat rate and all items take only four to seven business days to arrive.

heavenly h 2 o Realising that Australians use tonnes of plastic in the consumption of bottled water each year, Clever Water has released MiniK â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a water cooler producing both still and sparking water that provides an environmentally sustainable and chic substitute to bottled water. MiniK can be plumbed directly to your home or office water main and is effective in reducing energy and plastic waste, not to mention the cost benefits compared to bottled water. For more info visit

February/March 2009


yoga for wellness Filmed on the beaches of Byron Bay, the new DVDs by Vinyasa yoga specialist Jessie Chapman feature flexible 30-, 20-, 15- and 10-minute class options. Radiance Yoga: Stretch & Open features classes suitable for beginner to intermediate levels with an emphasis on stretching and opening a tight neck and shoulders. Radiance Yoga: Strength & Balance focuses on strengthening the core abdominal muscles., $29.

Progressive Drinking Dear reader, There is more to a glass of organic wine than you think. Organic wine is a celebration, in itself, of a holistic and progressive world view. It is grown without the arsenal of chemcial pesticides and fertilisers that underpin unsustainable, "conventional" farming systems. The word "organic" comes from the idea that a farm, and indeed the world, can be understood holistically, not just as a biological system, but as one enormous selfregulating and productive organism. This means organic food and wine are in opposition to the industrial model of agriculture, which has become a "race to the bottom". Today we grow food of declining quality and nutritional value; we even grow genetically modified (GM) crops and eat unlabelled GM food. We ignore the continued loss of topsoil, water quality and biodiversity. We also have the average farmer working well beyond retirement age, whilst family farms are being corporatised and the the retail cartels and their own supermaket own-branded products become predominant.

Consuming organic is one thing you can do about this. When you buy through local farmers markets, locally owned shops, or direct from the producers, you are helping to redress this sad situation. In each glass of organic wine is a progressive message that is spreading across the world, and which challenges the global "race to the bottom". Now more than ever, we need to spread that message. As George Orwell said, "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." That is why, when you drink organic wine, you can call it "Progressive Drinking", and do it with conviction! As an active part of the organic farming movement, we hope that we can inspire you to do this. Please call us today on 1300 ROSNAY (1300 767629) to order a case. Organically yours, the Statham family, "Rosnay", Canowindra, NSW

Worn out after decades of heavy handed farming, overgrazing and overclearing, Rosnay was purchased by the Statham family in 1995. Over the next decade they applied biodynamic practices to heal the soil and replanted the land with vines, olives, figs and native trees. They founded a unique organic farming community called Rivers Road Organic Farms, which has four generations living on it. To find out more about Rosnay, visit or call 1300 767629 (1300 ROSNAY).




s Julie Cini and Ross Brownlaw dashed to Melbourne to see a specialist about their baby Montanna, they discussed the possibility she might have a disability. They were calm and accepting, figuring out ways to make their farmhouse in Heywood, south-west Victoria, more practical. Julie says, “The word death wasn’t even in our vocabulary. We didn’t even think of it until we were shuffled into a little room when they delivered the diagnosis – ‘Take your child home and love her until she dies. There’s nothing we can do’.” At three months old, Montanna appeared to be a normal baby, but Julie had started to wonder about her development. “At my mothers’ group, other babies were trying to hold their heads up, but Montanna would lie in my arms and not move,” she says. The diagnosis of Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1 (SMA) came as a huge shock to the first-time mum, now 34. “It’s like a plank of wood hitting you in the face, you just don’t think you’ll ever hear it.” SMA is a severe motor neuron disease that wastes away the muscles. There are four

February/March 2009

main types, classified by the age of onset and the severity, with Type 1 being the worst. “From that moment on, it was a huge learning curve. We had to learn to advocate for our child, to stick up for her, because the doctors just saw a terminal illness and didn’t want to help us,” says Julie. After the diagnosis, Ross trawled the internet searching for information and other cases of SMA, but Julie didn’t want to know about it. “I said, ‘This thing is not going to get my baby’.” It wasn’t until she started chatting to the mother of an SMA baby in America that she started to come to terms with Montanna’s illness. The disease was brutal. Unable to sit up or lift her head, Montanna needed to be turned every three hours. At five months, she lost the ability to swallow and her parents

A Second Chance Although Julie and Ross knew there was a one-in-four chance their next baby would have SMA, they wanted to move forward with their life together. “We’d spoken about having another child, it was on our mind a lot,” says Julie. She fell pregnant again at Easter, 2006, but then 15 weeks later, tragedy struck. “It was Ross and my seventh anniversary,” Julie recalls. “I was lighting a fire and I heard a massive bang. I told Billie [Ross’ eight-yearold daughter from a previous relationship] to stay inside and went out to the driveway. “The carnage was unbelievable, there was a B-double truck on its side and there was stuff everywhere. It didn’t dawn on me until I saw the back of Ross’ ute literally cut

“I never thought I’d be working in the field of grief, but this is where I’m meant to be – helping other families” had to learn to suction fluid from her mouth – and later her lungs. The slightest cold could kill her so Ross and Julie were vigilant about germs. Julie describes Montanna’s care as ‘astronomical’, saying, “How I ever did it, I don’t know. When they first showed us how to use the suctioning tube, I said, ‘I cannot do this to my child. I don’t want to do this to my child. I want to be her mum. But in the end, I was her mother, nurse, doctor and physiotherapist, and so was Ross.” When Montanna went into hospital on Wednesday, June 22, 2005, aged 10 months, it seemed like one of their many other


in half that I thought, ‘That’s Ross’ truck, where’s Ross?’ “People started to pull up and I saw Ross lying on the road about 50 metres away. He wasn’t moving. Then I saw the neighbour stop at his figure on the road and yell ‘Oh no!’ and then I knew Ross was gone.” The police later put it down to the sun setting behind a hill that caused Ross to turn in front of the truck. Julie sometimes wonders if Montanna caused the accident because she needed her dad to be with her. “It was hard when Ross died,” she says. “First I was devastated, but secondly, what was I doing wrong? I’d lost Montanna 11

Photos courtesy Julie Cini

The short lives of Julie Cini’s babies inspired her to start a support network for families of children with the same disease. Jo Hegerty tells her admirable story of enduring strength.

hospital stays. After a bad night, though, Julie knew things weren’t looking good. All Friday and Saturday morning, the tired and emotional couple “fought like cats and dogs” as Ross insisted there was more they could do and Julie begged him to let Montanna go. Finally, the nursing manager took Ross aside and showed him an x-ray of Montanna’s lungs. “You could see that her chest had caved in and her rib cage couldn’t support her lungs anymore,” recalls Julie. Ross said he understood and went outside while Julie watched Montanna. “I looked over and she just stopped. It was as peaceful as anything. I believe she was waiting for him to accept she was going to die.”

months before. I was pregnant with a very high chance of having a baby with SMA, we had lambs due in three weeks – I was like, ‘What have you left me with, you bastard? I knew you loved your kid, but I thought you loved me more!’” Zarlee was born on December 13 and shortly afterwards, Julie sold the farm and moved back to Melbourne with her mother. Zarlee’s blood was immediately sent away to be tested, but with her strong reflexes, things were looking good. “The paediatricians couldn’t see it, I couldn’t see it, she was kicking and screaming. I’m thinking, ‘This is awesome, I’ve got a perfect little baby’,” says Julie. “We had Christmas together, then on December 27, I hear car doors out the front of my house and along comes my midwife and the doctor. Then it dawns on me: ‘She’s got it’.” By six weeks, Zarlee was showing signs of SMA. It wasn’t quite as severe as her older sister’s, but as a Type-1 case, her life expectancy was less than 12 months. This time, Julie knew what was needed. “I was more proactive and could be more realistic,” she says. On June 25, the anniversary of Montanna’s death, Zarlee lost her swallow and Julie faced a major decision on her own. With a PEG feeding tube inserted into her stomach, rather than a nasal-gastric tube stuck to her face, Zarlee could enjoy a better quality of life. The operation was risky, but it was a success and Julie believes it made the difference that saw her survive to 12 months and 12 days. She died on Christmas day 2007 from pneumonia. “After Zarlee, I was lost again, thinking, ‘My God, what do I do now?’” says Julie. “At night, I’d jolt awake and shout, ‘I’m coming!’ then realise there was no-one there.” Well, not quite no-one. When Montanna was alive, Julie and Ross started talking to other parents of SMA children around the world and realised, “we’re all in this big mess together”. She and Ross decided to start a little community in Australia called the SMA Association of Australia, which by the time Zarlee was born had grown into a decent network. Today, SMAAA is a medium-sized organisation with staff and some wages for Julie, and she works tirelessly advocating for

(Opposite) Zarlee, just 24 hours old. (This page, top to bottom) Baby Montanna; Julie and Zarlee just before she passed away; Julie’s favourite picture of Zarlee when she was just shy of 11 months; Julie and Ross in happier times.

and supporting families with SMA children. “SMA is cruel, you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy,” says Julie, “but people are going through it every day.” Julie talks families through the disease and tells them about their options. She admits this is as much a part of her healing process as it is support for others. “I can’t – I just can’t – let those people feel that gut-wrenching helplessness I felt,” she says. She encourages people to persist with the doctors, even when they’ve given up, and she also helps raise money for families to buy equipment they can use to treat their sick children at home. “To me, that’s the best story in the world – to have a family back together. That’s why I do what I do.” Looking to the future, Julie would love to see the association grow. She is writing a book about her girls and does plenty of public speaking. On a personal level, she would like to see herself in another relationship. “People ask me if I’m going to have another child one day – I’d love to have another baby. I just want one that I can keep,” she says. “I never thought I would be working in the field of death and grief, but maybe this is where I’m meant to be – helping other families. Despite everything, I’m lucky to be the figurehead of an organisation. I’m now somebody’s role model and that’s pretty amazing.” For more information about SMA, visit


fact file Name: Julie Cini Age: 34 Achievements: Founding the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Association of Australia (SMAAA), and raising awareness for SMA. Biggest inspiration: My girls, I do this because I love them so much and I can’t forget them. My girls will live with me forever, I’m lucky that I get to speak about them all the time. Motivation: The need to help others, not wanting them to go through the hardship I did and to ease their burden. I want them to know there is someone out there to help. Biggest life lessons: Don’t take things for granted, they might not be there tomorrow. We all have choices in life, so don’t take no for an answer. Advice for other women: Never give up, follow what you believe in. Hold onto the hope that one day everything will be okay – although it might not be what you think is okay now. I give people that message all the time, if you hold onto the hope that your child will get through this, then they’re going to live longer that expected. They might die in the end, but it’s the journey and it’s the hope that one day we might find a cure before they die.

Family Ties


family O

ne of the great marks of maturity is to accept that there is no such thing as ‘normal’ when it comes to families. Yet often, the compulsive habit of idolising other families that appear perfect from the outside seems like an ordinary and harmless activity. But comparing and contrasting your family to others creates the illusion that you, personally, are either inferior or superior. The desire to compare stems from insecurity and a strong need for reassurance and acceptance – you begin to define and feed your sense of self in relationships to other people. Unfortunately, this process will only make you feel lacking in some way, increasing feelings of guilt, envy, hostility, anger, depression or inferiority. If you took the collective strengths of other families and compared them to your family’s weaknesses, how do you think you’d size up? This would be the perfect recipe for a drop in self-confidence. Remember, the grass always seems greener on the other side. Happiness comes from within and not from fulfilling the perfect family image that you hold on to. Although you may think it is happiness you are searching for when you wish you

February/March 2009


had a better family, it’s actually your self-esteem, level of self-acceptance and your self-worth that you are looking to verify. Healthy comparisons are not bad. They can help to highlight areas that might need strengthening, but regularly assessing your family’s worth – whether it’s their talent, characteristics, social standing, physical attributes or material wealth – can lead to dissatisfaction and negativity in your life. Furthermore, when you compare your family to others and see yours as having less quality, then you deny all of your own, as well as your family’s, unique gifts, talents and strengths. Another thing to remember is your value as a person has little to do with what type of family you have or come from. Gina, a client of mine, had friends who came from very affluent families. She kept comparing her family’s worth with theirs. She couldn’t help but feel different to them and that they were an entire class above her. As a result, she became unhappy with, and resentful of, her own family members. She began to unconsciously punish them for not being like more affluent families. Together, we worked successfully to break her habit of comparing and transit to a place of love and acceptance. As she began to experience a paradigm shift through coaching, she realised that her comparisons


You can’t choose your relations, but they are an important part of you, says life coach Savleen Bajaj. Learn to stop comparing your family and start accepting them – warts and all.

Family Ties

failed to honour the uniqueness of her family members. Below are some strategies that helped motivate Gina to break free of comparisons.



Increase Your Awareness Be mindful of your inner dialogue. This helps to quell the criticism that manifests as a result of comparison. Note each time you feel ashamed of a family trait or get jealous of someone else’s family. Bring these thoughts to the forefront of your consciousness and write them down. Putting a positive spin on negative thoughts can help you feel confident, satisfied and empowered. Reframe Your Statements and Increase Acceptance Recognise what’s really troubling you in the moment of comparison. Transform each negative into an action-oriented statement. The solution is to start accepting things you can’t change and setting realistic goals for the things that

you can. Use affirmatives such as, “I choose to accept my family the way it is.”

3 4


Give Your Family More Credit The grass in your own backyard may be greener than you believe. Pause and recognise the heart, intelligence, imagination and colour your family members add to your life. Focus on their strengths and celebrate them!


Shift into a Perspective of Gratitude Take a few deep, cleansing breaths, letting any tension in your body leave on the out breath, slowly shifting into a perspective of gratitude. Begin counting and being grateful for all the things you have in your family circle. View your family members as special people or friends. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude can take the sting out of seeing how others are ‘luckier’. Accept Imperfection Deal with the reality of imperfection

on both levels – intellectual and emotional. Learning to accept your own weaknesses and shortcomings will make you more accepting of the imperfections of your family members. Focus on the Journey Don’t focus on how your family ranks in comparison to other families. You are not in a competition. You are on a wondrous life journey and your family shares a significant part of it with you.

Savleen Bajaj is an internationally respected leadership authority, human behavioural expert, success coach, professional speaker, psychologist, author, facilitator and consultant. She is the founder of the Lotus World Centre for Personal Intelligence. For more info, or to subscribe to her newsletter, email or visit

The pelvic floor makes up a significant piece of your body’s core. The foundation for all movement, balance, stability and flexibility begins in the pelvis. It controls our lives by determining how comfortable we are with exercise, coughing, lifting, tampons, sexual intimacy and much more. 7/10 women have disorders of the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor supports the bones in the spine; structures the abdominal cavity; controls the passage of urine and stools; facilitates the childbirth process; and contributes to a woman’s sexual pleasure. In childbirth, the pelvic floor can become overstretched, lax, or torn, and the muscular hammock can no longer provide support, which may result in:

urinary incontinence Irritable bowel symptoms • constipation or incomplete bowel or bladder emptying • diminished sexual satisfaction • painful intercourse • inability to use tampons • sagging or prolapse of the uterus, bladder, or rectum • low back or lower abdominal pain • •

Dr. Kegel discovered in the 1940’s that you strengthen the vaginal muscles by resistance strength training, squeeze-and-hold vaginal exercises known as Kegels. What many of us don’t realize is that Kegel’s positive research was based on squeezing against resistance. To get the most out of these toning exercises, it is best to use a vaginal resistance device that provides the help needed to strengthen the pelvic muscles. Exercises should commence prior to childbirth and recommenced 6 weeks after birth. Orders taken by mail/ phone/creditcard/paypal/cheque/cash.

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Environmentally Friendly If you’re not achieving your goals, look around you, says Matthew Catling. Surrounding yourself with inspiring, successful people will change the way you act and, ultimately, help you get results.


our environment can inspire you to reach great heights of success or inspire you towards mediocrity. We even have a term for the latter, which is ‘tall poppy syndrome’ – if someone around me is succeeding then it is my job to cut them down to size. So what do I mean by your ‘environment’? First and foremost, this would be your family or spouse, then we could expand it out to your social groups or your friends, followed by your work environments, all the way out to the different clubs or community groups you’re involved in. We could even go as far as saying the books you read, the television channels you watch and the radio stations that you listen to are also influential environments. From a personal development point of view, your environment is important as it creates your values and beliefs, which then affect your behaviour, or the actions that you take, in every area of your life. Based on the values and belief systems you take on board at the unconscious level, your environment will dictate your results in life. Think of it this way, James Packer would have a different set of values around money compared to a young man in Ethiopia, and he would have been conditioned to expect a certain level of income and lifestyle. Expectation is the key – when you expect a certain outcome, it is a different level of certainty, or a value. These are the things we hold dearest to ourselves and because they are so congruent, our

February/March 2009

behaviour automatically rises to meet those expectations. I believe looking at your environment is one of the most important tools when setting a new goal. The first question is this, ‘Has anyone in my environment achieved this goal? If not, what do I need to do to attract someone in my environment that is already achieving the success I want?’

Like Attracts Like Our values can change as we get older. You may notice that friends start to drop off and you attract new people into your life with similar values and goals. When I do coaching or consulting, before I even ask questions about a person’s life, I can get virtually all the information I need just by looking at their environment. It tells me about their values, beliefs and unconscious decisions because you must have a certain set of values and beliefs to be producing that outcome. Some people say to me, ‘I am really excited about my new goals and aspirations to create wealth or improve my health, but if I change my lifestyle, my friends won’t support it and I don’t want to lose their friendship’. Remember, you don’t have to disown your friends if you don’t want to. Sometimes it’s a natural progression to outgrow friendships or to move on, but it’s not necessarily essential. What I suggest to my clients is that they expand their circle of influence and allow some new people into their environment. By opening up your circle of influence, you will attract some new relationships


that have the values and belief systems that you aspire to have in a particular context (business, career, wealth, health and relationships), while maintaining the current friendships you have. A mentor once said to me, “There are three rules in life: the first is to agree to disagree, the second is to maintain friendships, and the final rule is to not waste good worry as you may need it for something more important later”. I believe it’s very important to maintain friendships, but if someone in your environment is a dream stealer, just don’t tell them your dream – speak about your dreams with someone who will back you 100 percent. Get a coach and have them be part of your environment and make the dreams happen. When you achieve the goals or you prove your commitment to your goals, you might find the people that were originally judging you are the ones that become your biggest supporters.

Vision & Commitment Unfortunately, a lot of people shrink instead of grow due to wanting everyone around them to feel secure. Marianne Williamson summed it up in a speech that she wrote for Nelson Mandela titled Our Deepest Fear. She said our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, but more powerful beyond measure. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people around you feel secure. When you light that fire inside of you, you inspire others to do the same. There is nothing more magnetic than someone who



is aligned with their purpose and doing what they love. You will notice the great leaders and philosophers of our time automatically attracted opportunities due to a clear vision backed by unshakeable commitment. The first step is to get clear on an inspiring vision. Write it down on some paper. Think, what am I passionate about? What do I love doing? What contribution do I want to make? Then put it all together, get as specific as possible and put a timeframe on it. Once you have this vision, look at your environment – is there anyone around you living this right now? If not, where can you find people like this, which environments do they hang out in? In the next week, work out how you can put yourself in those environments. Set an outcome that in the next month, you will have a coffee, or whatever you drink, with five people that have achieved your vision, something similar or are on the way to achieving it. A lot of people ask me, ‘Why would someone who is successful want to hang out with me?’ My answer to this is that there is always a win–win situation. Think of ways

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of helping them first, let go of what you want, let go of status – they’re a human being as well and you’re just building a friendship. One core human need is love and connection, and while we live in a fairly disconnected world with fast-paced technology and lifestyles, people are craving connection. In fact, I often play a game in my seminars where participants build rapport with another participant unknown to them, and I find that once people are able to create a connection they don’t want to let it go. So maintain friendships, think about what you have in common and start from




that place. Agree to disagree and expand your surrounding influences to include people who have the values and belief systems you need to take your life to the next level of success. Matthew Catling is an accredited master

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Am I Bisexual ? on with them as normal, so their sexual gratification could go both ways. The hunting men, however, were so focused on their job that they put all their energy into being successful at bringing home the kill and sexual pleasure would have been a distraction. Perhaps our ancestors’ ways have remained a little with women today, so it doesn’t shock

gay, however she had strong feelings for the women in her life. We talked about how there are several different parts to deciding your sexual identity and looked at who she was physically, emotionally and sexually attracted to. Because she hadn’t had any sexual experience, Lisa hadn’t fully explored in a real way her own sexual identity. We looked at ways she could become exposed to lesbian and bisexual social groups so she could try it out in stages that felt safe and comfortable. She took the journey slowly and started by finding some online support groups where she could talk to

us if a girlfriend reveals a crush or we find that we’re having our own sexual fantasy about the girl next door. Your sexual identity is a part of you so it’s important that you feel comfortable in your skin. Assuming your sexual preference is for men when you are really questioning this is selling yourself short. You should take the time to explore so you have a better chance of making the right decision. A past client of mine, Lisa* came to me because she was convinced she was a lesbian. However, she had not experienced any sexual contact with a woman before and had very limited experience with men. At 23, she was confused. Her church said it was wrong to be

other people who had been through a process of sexual discovery. Gradually, she started socialising with lesbian women to see how it worked for her. Only when she had done that for a while did she start trying physical contact with them and found her path. Without doing her own investigation in a way that suited her, Lisa may have taken a lot longer to really find out who she was sexually. It can seem frightening to act on desires when they seem different to what you expect for yourself, however what’s important to remember is that you are truly honouring your whole self by finding your sexual identity and will live a life where you ‘know’, instead of just wonder. * Name has been changed for privacy.

Being true to yourself means getting to the heart of your sexual preference. Psychologist Jacqui Manning looks at the importance of self-discovery.


ou’re finding yourself thinking about your best friend in a way that surprises you. You’ve always had a deep connection and a great time together, you share lots of laughs, can talk about anything and even have the same taste in clothes and music. Now, however, things have shifted. You find yourself lying awake at night wondering what it would be like to kiss her – or even what sex might be like with her. You’ve always talked about boys together, so what does it mean? Are you bisexual, or even a lesbian? The straight (pardon the pun) answer is complicated. After all, women tend to feel really comfortable around their girlfriends and it’s normal to be touchy-feely with your pals. We see each others’ bodies at the beach and as we’re getting ready for a night out – and many women hug and kiss their girlfriends frequently. Growing up, it’s commonplace for girls to give each other massages and tickles, and games often revolve around touch. Our sexual identities take time to evolve and settle, sometimes years. Some people don’t have a clue about which ‘team they bat for’ until they actually try it out, and that’s why sexual experimentation often becomes part of the equation. These days, it’s hard to pick up a magazine without getting the impression that, in the celebrity world at least, anything goes.

Is it the same for guys? Not entirely. Men often feel rather disgusted at the thought they might be attracted to other males and they can’t even discuss the idea, but women seem generally more accepting. The ‘taboo’ just doesn’t seem to exist in the same way. That’s not to say that women are more predisposed to lesbianism, but they may be more accepting of bisexuality. Some theorists have even suggested this acceptance has evolutionary roots from hunter/gatherer times where women, children and the elderly were often alone for weeks while their men went and hunted. To satisfy their libidos, they’d turn to those around them and the only partners available were women. When their blokes returned with their kill, sex would continue

February/March 2009

Jacqui Manning is a psychologist and co-director of Mind Advantage, a centre for positive change based in Balmain, Sydney. For more information, or to subscribe to the Mind Advantage Oracle newsletter, email, visit or call (02) 9810 1478.



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Money Talks N

egotiating a relationship requires many tricky conversations, including talking about money. For many couples, the money chat proves problematic, however, with today’s media using phrases like ‘financial crisis’, ‘share market crash’ and ‘recession’ with alarming regularity, there has never been a better time to get a handle on yours and your partner’s financial situation. If it feels like you constantly argue with your partner about money (or lack thereof), you’re not alone. Having worked with thousands of women on their finances, I find this is often one of the most common issues to arise. We all have varying values about, behaviour with and attitudes toward money because, like many things, we learned from our parents as we

were your responses and how much did they reflect your own thoughts around money today? Many of us saw our father earn most of the family income and make many of the major decisions about money, while mum stayed at home, handling the family budget. So the boys in the family ‘learned’ to be providers and decision-makers, while girls ‘learned’ to budget and wait for money to come to them. These days, mindsets about money and the roles men and women play in the household have shifted. Women are much more financially independent, many couples are living together before they’re married and traditional views about a household ‘provider’ and ‘keeper’ rarely apply. So throw men

The best place to start is for you and your partner to tell the truth about where you are at financially right now were growing up. As adults, even though times have changed, we tend to replicate what we saw growing up, unconsciously playing out these same patterns. If these patterns differ from that of your partner, disagreement will arise. Finish these sentences with the first thing that comes to mind: • My first memory of money is… • Mum thought money was… • Dad thought money was… Now have your partner answer the same questions about his/her parents. How different

February/March 2009

and women into a relationship and drop the topic of money in too, and things get a little complicated. When issues arise around who pays for what and how the household income should be spent, couples can find themselves torn between the traditional roles they witnessed growing up and financial independence. While we love our partners, money can easily become a source of resentment and frustration. I find many couples give up on the money discussion and end up deciding that if they


had more money, this would stop the arguments and solve everything. Surely a bigger house would help? Or a new car or a trip to Fiji? Their focus is now on how to earn more money, get a promotion or get a bigger bonus. But it doesn’t solve the problem. The reality is, money – or lack of it – is not the cause of the problem in relationships, it is the result. We assume that more money will fix everything – wrong. The real problem is that we are living out unconscious patterns about money. In any relationship there are two people with different patterns, both trying unconsciously to create the same financial conditions they experienced as children. Men tend to be naturally interested in money, as the unconscious pattern of ‘being a good provider’ drives them. But doing this alone within a relationship is a heavy burden and most men would be absolutely thrilled if their partner was interested, educated and empowered about money too. Barbara Stanny writes in her book Prince Charming Isn’t Coming: How Women Get Smart About Money, “We need to recognise the truth: no-one will do this for me”. But for women who still think, ‘I need to be taken care of ’ or ‘this is my partner’s job’, it’s vastly more complicated. In this case, it may feel like your relationship has failed because you are doing the ‘man’s job’. Women experience guilt, because it can feel like we are betraying our mum’s or parents’ way of life. Also it feels like the end of a dream, like the ideal vision of


It doesn’t take a financial crisis for money to cause a rift in a relationship. As Catherine Lezer explains, preconceived ideas and attitudes can get in the way of a financially empowered partnership.


‘family’ has been lost. Suddenly no-one is taking care of you and you feel alone, or even unloved. Complicated creatures, aren’t we? Surely, I hear you ask, as adults we can go beyond this childhood programming? The good news is, yes of course we can. Like anything, it takes effort and education. There is an abundance of good-quality courses and books, and no shortage of professionals such as accountants, financial planners, counsellors and mentors willing to steer you in the right direction.


Create Change Now

There are many things you can do yourself and with your partner to fix the rift between you caused by the topic of money. A good starting point is identifying your thought patterns around money and understanding that your current situation is different from that of your parents’. Now you know your patterns have been running the show, you have a choice. As Oprah says, “it all starts with the decision”. You can choose the comfort of your patterns and chaos of financial disempowerment or choose to empower yourself, your relationship and your family using money as the tool. This is not to say everything will be smooth sailing – you will feel uncomfortable for a while, but this is a sure sign of growth. The mistake most people make is they think

feeling uncomfortable is a bad thing and they should stop. But you now know this is just the old patterns popping up and saying, “this is not how I was taught”. Some people find it very helpful to write in their journal about money, especially when thinking about family money patterns. A great question to ask yourself each day is, ‘what do I need to do today to increase my/ our wealth?’ Just write down whatever pops into your head. Be the one who starts money conversations at home. If you find this challenging or emotional to begin with, write a little note to your partner explaining what is going on for you. The best place to start is for both you and your partner to tell the truth about where you are at financially right now. Write down all the things you own and put a value on them and write down all your debts – find out the exact amounts – and the payments. Write down your net (the amount you get in your account after tax) salary also. There is no format or right or wrong way – just get it down on paper the best you can. Do this together. Be vigilant for the old feelings of blame or frustration and if these arise, go for a walk, a drive or yell into a pillow until you feel you can calmly look at these figures. Your next task is to talk about your financial dreams and goals for the next five years. Let your imagination go and talk, talk, talk. Again if emotions arise, go for a


walk to calm down and come back to this at another time. Get these down somewhere so you can look at them frequently to remind you where you are heading. There is no particular way this looks. It can be words on paper, a dream board with a collage or a multimedia presentation on your computer. Creating a joint future full of shared dreams and common goals will empower your relationship and family on all levels. Education is the next step. Don’t worry, you don’t need a financial planning degree to become wealthy. Just read something every day about money, that’s all you need to do. Set yourself a 30-day challenge and see what happens. There are courses, seminars and books you could gravitate to, but in these 30 days, you are mainly exploring if there is any resistance or old patterns popping up. Include your children as much as possible, they need to learn about the value of money too, and they may as well learn it from an empowered you.

Catherine Lezer is a small business owner, property investor and inspirational speaker on the topic of women and money. Catherine has empowered thousands of women on investing and wealth creation through her Rich Chicks seminars. For more information visit

Check it Out Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve tried a range of products and services to bring you something new, fun and indulgent. Here are some of our favourites.

Vodafone Blackberry Bold

BABOR Balancing Salt Oil Peeling

Bring your mind, body and soul into harmony with this intensive oil-based body exfoliant, formulated with neem extract and ginger lily from India. It smells delicious and works to remove dry skin cells and revive tired skin, leaving it smooth and even. ($69; 1800 139 139)

We jumped on the blackberry bandwagon to try the sharply designed Bold. It has a host of features to help you make the most of your time, including a two-megapixel camera with flash, built-in GPS receiver and wifi, integrated organiser, WordTo Go and SlideshowTo Go. ($999, 1300 300 404)

Molton Brown Yuan Zhi Sleep Mist

Enjoy some well-deserved beauty sleep with this relaxing sleep mist containing essential oils of lavender, bergamot and ylang-ylang, which promote inner peace and encourage restful, healing sleep. ($64; (02) 9150 0590)

Brown Brothers Moscato Rosa Organic Yoga Facial at Del Aqua

We adore a pretty pink drink! Drier than the original white Moscato, but with the same fizzy, fruity taste, Moscato Rosa is a fresh, light-style wine that goes down a treat at any special occasion. ($16.50)

Go to heaven and back with this decadent 60-minute facial. Combining yoga therapy and products from the Priori CoffeeBerry range, it offers a holistic experience for the entire body. The yoga facial includes stretching and yoga-style massage, as well as a complete face and hand treatment. ($160, (02) 9247 9677)

Cheeky Food Group Weekend Cooking Classes

After one of these fun, interactive classes even the most inexperienced chef will delight in their newly-found cooking prowess. Cheeky classes aim to increase your kitchen confidence and knowledge by giving you all the tips and tricks of the trade. We learnt how to make an impressive entrĂŠe, main and dessert, all of which have been a hit at the dinner table! ($130; 1300 785 365)

February/March 2009


Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s On Make connections with like-minded women at these upcoming networking events taking place around the country.




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Spotlight On...




If the thought of colonic therapy makes you squirm in your seat, it could be time to reconsider. Tammy Warner-Wilson discovers why a healthy colon is a girl’s best friend. environment, relaxing with the sound of soothing music and the scent of burning oils. Angela asks that all new clients allow extra time for their initial consultation so she can explain what the therapy involves before starting the treatment. “I like to make the client feel comfortable and answer any questions they may have. Usually when people arrive for their first treatment they are a little bit anxious, but after a 15-minute chat at the beginning, they relax,” she explains. Keen to know what lies ahead, I perch myself on a chair and listen as Angela discusses the function of the colon and the process of colonic therapy. “The colon is at the end of the digestive process, so it is responsible for eliminating huge amounts of waste and toxicity,” she explains. “Colonic therapy is firstly about re-hydrating the wall of the colon, and secondly about getting it to cleanse itself.” Angela uses a closed colonic system, which means there is no odour whatsoever.

the flow of water is released and the muscle pushes the debris out.” So why would the average person seek out colonic therapy? Angela explains it can assist with ailments such as diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, headaches and fatigue. Specific benefits for women include the relief of yeast infections and premenstrual stress, but it’s important to note the treatment is not suitable for pregnant women in their first trimester. Those considering colonic therapy should explain their medical history to the therapist beforehand to confirm the therapy is appropriate. Overall, colonics can inspire better health and wellbeing, says Angela. “Detoxifying and cleansing the colon will increase your metabolism because your body is not overloaded,” she explains. “You are more careful about what you put into your body when you see what comes out. And, with the benefit of increased energy and vitality – because your body is less toxic

The Fun Begins

“Colonic therapy is firstly about re-hydrating the wall of the colon, and secondly about getting it to cleanse itself”

Racing home on a Monday afternoon, I take care to have a shower and change into casual clothes before walking the short distance to Angela’s clinic. She welcomes me with a smile and leads me to the therapy room attached to the back of the two-storey terrace. Performing a quick survey of the light and airy room, I nervously eye the colonic machine I am soon to be acquainted with. My angst soon dissipates as I settle into the

A small rectal tube attached to two separate hoses is inserted and water is then introduced under very low pressure. There are two definite motions of water – an infill followed by a release – and this is done multiple times throughout the treatment. “With each introduction of water you get a higher level of hydration along the colon wall,” Angela adds. “When you reach a high level of hydration in any one area,

February/March 2009


– you are going to be inspired to eat better food and exercise more regularly.”

Up Close and Personal Finally, it’s time to begin my treatment. Angela departs momentarily while I duck into the bathroom and remove my clothing from the waist down. A few minutes later I emerge into the empty room and make a beeline for the therapy bed, wiggling



ave you ever pondered the inner workings of your body’s waste disposal system? Personally, I have always been quite content to remain in ignorance of such processes. Most of the time, my colon and I have co-existed in harmony, enjoying a mutually beneficial relationship whereby I make an effort not to consume junk food on a daily basis in return for a colon that functions regularly. However, when the opportunity arose to write about colonic therapy and experience it first hand, curiosity inspired me to volunteer. Despite feeling slightly anxious about what I’ve got myself into, I book an appointment with Angela Stapleton, owner of aptly titled Insides Out. I discover that some preparation is required before colonic therapy. In the days leading up to my treatment, I should try to abstain from large quantities of alcohol, caffeine and refined sugar. I am also instructed not to drink any liquids a few hours before the appointment to ensure I don’t have a full bladder, or eat, as it will raise my blood glucose levels.

Spotlight On...

around on my back to get comfortable with a towel. Angela arrives back at my side and starts the colonic system sitting next to the therapy bed. The treatment begins with the insertion of the rectal tube and, much to my relief, it’s only mildly uncomfortable. When I gently roll onto my back once more we’re ready and rearing to go. Water starts to filter through the machine, making its way through the hose and into my body. Staring up at the ceiling as I adjust to the odd sensation, I notice a large skylight directly above. It’s relaxing to look out at tree branches swaying in the breeze while water flushes into my colon. Angela massages my bare tummy with essential oils, tracking the flow and pressure of the water with her hands and helping to dislodge any built-up waste matter along the colon wall. Not all therapists will use this technique. “Having had numerous

colonics myself, I find it is an imperative part of a successful colonic,” says Angela. “It relaxes the person and also helps to emulate that muscular motion and get it working.” The rising pressure in my colon makes my stomach feel bloated and I start to feel anxious. The colon muscle is contracting against the incoming water, pushing me to the brink of no control. Guided by the pressure gauge on the machine and feeling my stomach to assess if something is ready to ‘shift’, Angela knows that I can take no more and slowly releases the water through the waste disposal hose, taking all manner of things along with it. I am given the choice to view the waste matter as it is released through a small viewing screen on the machine. I’ll admit that intrigue got the better of me and I couldn’t help but catch a glimpse. Throughout the next forty minutes the process is repeated over

and over again, and up to ten litres of water is pumped into my body. When the session is finished, I bid farewell to Angela feeling ‘lighter’ and slightly energised. No aftercare is required, but Angela recommends I have a nutritious dinner and a good night’s sleep. In the days that follow, my tummy feels tender, but I notice a greater awareness of what I put into my body and make a concerted effort to exercise. When I catch up with friends for dinner they comment that my skin appears to be glowing, and I wonder if it’s because of the toxins removed by the colonic. While it’s not for the faint hearted, I am pleased to have experienced colonic therapy and dispelled some of my own misconceptions. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not embarrassing, disgusting or excruciatingly painful. Instead, colonic therapy provides an opportunity to gently cleanse your body – from the inside out.


the facts on colonic therapy Origins: The use of enemas was first recorded in the Ebers Papyrus, an Egyptian medical document dating back to 1500BC. In ancient times, people conducted colonic treatments by standing in a river and inserting a hollow reed into the rectum to induce the flow of water. Growth: Colonic therapy has been in vogue at various times throughout history. In 17th-century Paris, it was common for people to have up to four enemas in a day, believing the cleansing process was essential to overall wellbeing. In the early 1900s, American doctor John Kellogg administered colonic therapy on up to 40,000 patients suffering from gastrointestinal disease. The success of his treatments made the therapy extremely popular until the 1940s when laxatives became more available. The growth of alternative medicine in recent years has seen colonic therapy become a sought-after treatment once again. Methodology: Colonic therapy is a water-based modality that aims to hydrate the colon and eliminate built-up wastes and toxins. Two different methods are available – a closed colonic system, or an open colonic system. When using the closed system, a small rectal tube is inserted, followed by the filling and flushing of water in and out of the colon. Massage techniques can be used on the stomach to dislodge toxic waste matter attached to the colon, and the debris is then washed away through the system’s waste disposal hose. Therapists practising with the open colonic system have a treatment table with a built-in basin connected to the sewerage system. Water is introduced to the colon via a small tube, and (in comparison to the closed system) all water and wastes are eliminated naturally. Duration: Sessions are approximately 60 minutes and include a 40-minute treatment and short introduction and debrief afterward. Three sessions are recommended to cleanse the entire colon, which is approximately 150cm long. Cost: Angela charges $120 for an initial consultation and $95 for each follow-up treatment. No health rebates were available at the time of writing. Qualifications: Colonic therapy can be taught as an internship or at certificate or diploma level. More Information: To locate a therapist in your area, visit Angela Stapleton of Insides Out can be contacted on 0414 811 993 or visit


What’s on the box Understanding food labels is crucial to making the right choices. Dietitian Susie Burrell demystifies the facts and figures on the side of the box.


earning to read labels is one of the most useful nutritional skills we can have. The mandatory (and sometimes tiny) nutritional panels featured on all packaged foods in Australia contain vital information including details of the food’s ingredients, and the kilojoule, carbohydrate and fat contents, all of which enable you to make informed decisions about what you put into your mouth. While nutrition labels may seem confusing, the good news is that you really only need to know a few basics to make a balanced and well-informed decision on the nutritional quality of the foods you are buying. Here’s a rundown of what it all means.

fibre as well as sugars (both added and naturally occurring). Aim for 30g to 45g of total carbohydrates for main meals, and 15g to 30g of total carbohydrates for mid-meals.

40 to 60 grams of fat in total each day. While the total fat section includes all types of fat found in the food products, individual food labels will also include saturated fat listed separately, and some foods may also include a breakdown of the total fat found in the product such as trans fats, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, even though it’s not compulsory to do so.


saturated fat

Refers to the amount of both naturally occurring and added sugars in the product. For this reason, the sugar content of products that contain dried fruit may be disproportionately high.

This is the type of fat that increases blood cholesterol in the body and needs to be kept to a minimum intake. Aim to keep this type of fat to maximum of 10-15grams of saturated fat in total each day. When checking food labels, aim for less than 10 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams.

total fat

Refers to the total amount of all types of fat in the food: saturated, trans, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. The average adult female will need just

total energy

Refers to how many kilojoules (and calories – 1 calorie equals 4.2 kilojoules) are in the food. The average adult female will need between 6,000 and 8,000 kilojoules each day. Protein

The amount of protein the food contains. Protein is used in the body for muscle growth and repair, and is believed to help keep us feeling full. Animal-based foods, including meat, eggs and dairy, as well as nuts, will contain larger amounts of protein than non-animal foods. Aim for 5g to 10g of protein for snacks and 10g to 20g of protein for main meals. carbohydrate

Refers to the total amount of carbohydrate in the food, including sugars. Carbohydrate is the main source of fuel for the muscles. The ‘total’ carbohydrates includes dietary

February/March 2009


dietary fibre

Bread, breakfast cereals and other plantbased foods may also include the dietary



Living your best life is easy with the

Tips for Label Reading fibre content of the product. Adults require at least 30 grams of total fibre each day. sodium

This is one of the chemicals that makes up salt and is used to describe the amount of salt in the product. Adults should aim for less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium each day. Packaged foods, including noodles and savoury snacks, may contain up to 1,000 milligrams of sodium per serve.

Susie Burrell is a qualified consultant dietitian. She can be contacted on email, or visit

• Aim for less than 10g saturated fat per 100g . • Aim for greater than 3g total fibre per serve of bread and breakfast cereal. • A low-fat product has less than 3g fat per 100g (net weight) • Less than 10g total fat per 100g (net weight) is usually a good choice. • Look for less than 10g total fat per 100g for meat and dairy foods. • Aim for 30-45g of total carbs for main meals. • Aim for 15-30g of total carbohydrates for mid-meals. • Aim for 5g to 10g of protein for snacks. • Main meals should contain 10g to 20g of protein.

‘Keep this cut-out in your wallet as a friendly reminder while shopping’


ingredients insight

While the nutritional label provides the nutrient composition of the foods we are purchasing, all packaged foods must also feature an ingredient list, in which ingredients must be listed in descending order of weight. For example, if the first ingredient listed on a food is sugar followed by butter, the food is unlikely to be a particularly nutritious choice. Checking the ingredient list is also a great way to weed out diet nasties, such as palm oil and hydrogenated vegetable shortening, as well as various preservatives, colours and artificial sweeteners that you may prefer not to consume. If you cannot be bothered looking at nutrition labels, a very simple rule of nutrition thumb is, the fewer the ingredients, the better the product is likely to be for you. Many of our packaged and processed foods are packed with fillers, thickeners, colours, flavours and preservatives. While these additives may not be doing any damage, they are perhaps not what you really want to be loading your body with. While the food supply in Australia is regulated by Food Standards Australia New Zealand, there may be a number of reasons for which you choose to eat or not eat certain types of additives, preservatives or artificial colours or flavours. All packed foods will list the type of additive, be it a preservative, colour or flavour as well as their corresponding number. To determine what this number actually is will require you to look it up on the Food Standards Australia website at For those who manage allergies, eczema or food intolerances, or if you simply prefer to consume minimal amounts of food additives, spending time researching the different types of food additives may be well worth it.


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Sweet Sweat P

icture this: it’s a hot, steamy afternoon and you’ve just finished a long lunch. You get up to wave goodbye to your friends and there is a big wet patch underneath your arm – oops! You quickly retract your arm with embarrassment, hoping no-one saw, and wish you hadn’t worn that top… Don’t worry, you are not alone. Many women have this experience on a daily basis. Here we are going to find out the role of sweat, or perspiration. Are you sweating too much or not enough, and how can you get it under control? Maryellen Luchetti, one of the US’s leading dermatologists, clearly defines sweat: “Perspiration is the process of fluid removal through sweat glands in the skin. It occurs in response to heat, strenuous exercise or emotional stress. Both the process and the fluid can be called perspiration. It occurs in millions of sweat glands located near the skin’s surface over almost all of the body. Sweat is carried to the surface of skin by tiny ducts that attach to the pores (tiny holes in the skin).” Sweating is our body’s natural way of regulating its internal temperature. And, as we all have different temperature gauges in our bodies, we all sweat differently. When our bodies sweat, the tiny beads of water evaporate on our skin, cooling it and removing any excess heat. It is like our own in-built air conditioning unit. Since we all have different internal air conditioners, there are some factors that

February/March 2009


can cause us to sweat more than others. These include certain foods (especially chilli), medications, hormone levels and illness. Sweating is also a way for the body to rid itself of toxins, and when these release, they can have an odour attached to them, which may not be pleasant. Therefore, a change in dietary intake, increased fluid (water) or awareness of certain medications that you take can help to decrease the smell of body odour and the amount you sweat. Excessive perspiration (called hyperhidrosis) is generally not serious, apart from the embarrassment factor. However, if you are sweating excessively and have a fever or another underlying medical condition, a visit to the doctor is a must. But, what if you are a non-sweater? Is your body already ultra-cool? Little or no perspiration (anhidrosis) can be quite serious. If the body cannot cool itself naturally (and sweating is a natural occurrence, don’t be ashamed), it can lead to hyperthermia, or overheating. However, if the body’s temperature continues to rise, further complications can result, such as heatstroke. If this is you, go straight to your doctor. To maintain a nice balance and keep your internal air conditioner running efficiently this summer, consider the following tips: • Drink plenty of water – our body loses fluid all day long, which we have to replace. Drinking an average of two


Perspiration is a natural and essential body function, but why? And, is it possible to sweat too much or not enough? James Short has the answers.

litres of water each day will help you keep your fluid levels up. • Set a goal of 10 glasses of water per day – two at breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. • Avoid or minimise caffeinated drinks (tea, coffee, cola). Caffeine is a diuretic, which causes you to lose water through increased toilet visits. The rule of thumb is for every caffeinated drink, have an extra glass of water to replace the fluid lost. • Sip water regularly during exercise – before, during and after. Maintain constant hydration levels, as vigorous or

extended bouts of exercise causes the body to lose water. • Limit outdoor activities to the cooler parts of the day when temperatures are lower. • Wear cotton clothing that is loose fitting and cooling. These tips will help you keep cool and assist with your internal temperature gauge. Remember, sweating is a natural part of life, but if you’re worried about how it might affect your social life, just keep that extra deodorant stick handy and keep the water flowing.

James Short is a fitness expert, presenter, trainer and coach. He is the 2008 Fitness Australia Fitness Professional of the Year. Contact him at

If you’re ready for a new journey... we’ll show you how to get there!

1800 722 076




Chocolate cake and chardonnay with the girls are great, but down time and a well-balanced diet are the key to boundless energy, says naturopath Emma Yates.


omen typically ask themselves ‘why am I so tired?’ on a daily basis. Beyond serious health conditions, there are a number of reasons why. Sure, lack of sleep is an obvious reason, but we need to take it a step further to ask why that’s happening in the first place and how we can take responsibility for, and begin to change, that. We often feel bombarded with the demands placed on us from family, work and friends. If we don’t have clear boundaries of where we finish and everyone else starts, we can start to feel overworked, run down and tired. Sometimes getting your energy back is about putting yourself first and making healthy mind and body choices – and don’t underestimate the long-term effect of not giving your body time out. Consistently pushing ourselves when we aren’t equipped nutritionally is what sets up the patterns of ‘dis-ease’ that can lead to ongoing problems with energy. We should be able to wake up energised, feeling ready to greet a new day. Our body is a sophisticated piece of equipment and by listening to its subtle signals of need for rest, movement, thirst and hunger, or recognising when a situation is draining our energy, we can start to retrain ourselves to not be in energy deficit.

Our Energy Bank

February/March 2009


How often do you look back in regret at an empty plate as your pants are popping and say, “I wish I didn’t eat all that, I feel sick”, or get to Monday after your plans to have some time to yourself fell apart when a girlfriend rang with a crisis so you commiserated with her over a bottle of wine instead? Or the gym gear you pulled out on Friday night is still where you left it on Monday morning? These are just three easy examples of ‘you’ being way down your own list of priorities and subtly sabotaging your energy levels. While sometimes a huge piece of chocolate cake, a debriefing session with a friend or saying “no” to the gym can be therapeutic, if the choices we make are continually at the expense of you feeling great then it’s something worth reconsidering. If you get to Monday having had some time to yourself at the gym, seen a great movie with a girlfriend on Saturday night and shared the cake, you



still got the company, the taste of chocolate and burnt the kilojoules to boot. The idea here is to ask yourself a simple question before you make even some seemingly simple decisions: will this give me energy or take it away? You can apply this to any situation – work, family, food and even fun. Our energy levels are like a bank and being frugal and protective of your energy is important because being in energy deficit is no way to live! Relaxation is important for recharging your batteries. Choose your solution – is it yoga, walking, popping on a medication CD for half an hour and taking the phone off the hook? Whatever it is, make a commitment to regularly take time out doing something that gives you joy. Don’t forget to move – exercise oxygenates the tissues, builds muscle and is great for our mental health. To get the benefits of extra energy it needs to be regular and not overly strenuous. You are your only competition, so remember to push yourself a little more every time to get the extra energy benefits. Maybe it’s a solitary exercise just for you or maybe doing something with your partner or girlfriend makes for a healthy energy boost.

Optimal Nutrition It’s no secret that we are what we eat, so our nutrition will play a huge role in how energised we feel. We know we feel so much better when we are eating well. But why? Our body is a miraculous machine that is ultimately a mixture of cells doing complex chemical reactions. Every organ is made of cells performing specific functions. Nerve cells conduct electrical impulses, pancreas cells secrete insulin, liver cells manufacture bile to emulsify fats. All of these functions rely on chemical reactions, which rely on vitamins and minerals for optimal performance. These are best obtained from healthy foods, however, a multivitamin and mineral formula for women offers nutritional insurance. Make sure your choice of multivitamin contains iron, as low iron levels are a well-known cause of fatigue, and B-vitamins. These are used in the chemical reaction that releases energy from food. Eating to maintain energy should include plenty of fresh produce because the more processed a food is the more it is depleted of vitamins and minerals. Always choose wholegrains, as the B-vitamins are in the outside of the grain and when the grain is processed, or made white, the B-vitamins are removed. Mix up your grains by trying

10 tips to increase energy


2 3 4 5 6 7

8 9 10

Practise saying ‘Thank you for the offer, but if you need an answer right away it will have to be no. However, if you can wait until I can check my schedule, I may be able to attend/ help you with that/take on that project’. Do a weekly shop. Don’t pop into the supermarket after work and grab something easy on the run. Healthy eating requires planning. A good-quality vitamin and mineral supplement for women should include B-vitamins and iron. Eat more fruit and vegetables. Fresh is best – think fruit for snacks, a salad and some vegies with dinner and you’re covered. Get moving – there is a direct correlation between the amount of muscle we have and the amount of energy we have. Cut out extra sugar and caffeine. The energy you get from these sources isn’t long-lasting and it also affects sleep patterns. High levels of stress has detrimental effects on our energy levels. Learn to manage stress with regular meditation. Our energy will be directed towards things we enjoy instead of managing situations. Reduce alcohol consumption. While it may help you fall asleep it has been shown to disrupt the deeper sleep states preventing us from feeling refreshed on waking. Get yourself into a routine. Sticking to a regular routine with your new high-energy strategies will help you to maintain optimal health and longevity. Develop a good relationship with your doctor and if your energy levels don’t return to normal ask for a blood test. Common issues affecting energy may include low iron levels, thyroid problems or blood sugar issues, which may all be picked up in a simple blood test.

Emma Yates BHSc ND is a qualified naturopath with over a decade’s experience. She is available for consultations and corporate speaking engagements. For more information email


something new – organic rye bread, spelt pasta, brown rice, quinoa cereal… Something different every week means more variety in nutrients for your cells. Fruits and vegetables have not only been shown to add longevity because of their ability to prevent disease, but they are great for keeping your energy levels up. Leading health authorities recommend five to nine servings a day. Don’t be conservative here, try for nine. A serving is about half a cup of salad, so with a big salad for lunch, some vegetables at night and fruit for snacks, you can easily reach the quota. Avoid sugary drinks because what goes up must come down. Soft drinks are loaded with sugar and when we consume that much our body pumps out insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. This leads to an inevitable crash in energy. Think lean protein sources for muscle and cell repair. While carbohydrates give you energy, protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids, which build hormones, make neurotransmitters, support immune function and repair muscles. Protein can also keep the blood sugar levels balanced. Fish is easily digested, organic eggs are easy in a salad or in the morning for breakfast, grilled organic chicken is great at night or as leftovers, tofu can be bland if not prepared with some flavours, but it’s great in an easy curry, and when using red meat always opt for lean varieties. Finally, keep some filtered water handy. Having a healthy and balanced diet should help you balance the energy books.

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GREAT READS Enjoy some time out for yourself with these new motivational books.

The Little Big Book of Love Edited by Lena Tabori & Natasha Tabori Fried Welcome Books, $39.95

The Little Big Book of Love is an anthology of love and romance designed with more than 200 nineteenth and early-twentieth-century illustrations. Including everything from novel excerpts by renowned authors, to love letters by historical couples and recipes and treats to share with your loved one, this gift book promises to remind you of the simplicity and importance of love, just in time for Valentines Day.

You Sexy Mother

Business Stripped Bare

A life-changing approach to motherhood

Adventures of a global entrepreneur

By Jodie Hedley-Ward Exisle Publishing, $29.99

By Richard Branson Random House, $35

You Sexy Mother attempts to redefine what it means to be a stay-at-home mum and invites you to look at your role as a mother in new and empowering ways. Author Jodie Hedley-Ward documents her own journey through personal diary entries, and includes inspirational stories of transformation from other women she has met.

Ten years on from the success of his first book Losing My Virginity, Richard Branson has released his newest title Business Stripped Bare. Revealing the secrets of his success, Branson shares his experience in various industries and sectors, and provides advice for every businessperson – whether starting out or running a large multinational corporation.

An introduction to my teachings and philosophy Edited by Rajiv Mehrotra Hay House Australia, $26.95

In My Own Words is a simple and comprehensive guide for lovers of Buddhist philosophy and those who would like to learn the foundational building blocks of the religion. The book brings together extracts from His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s writings on various topics and explains the elements of Buddha’s teachings.

February/March 2009

The Next Property Millionaire Take the challenge

By Toney Fitzgerald & Dave Dorian The Next Property Millionaire Pty Ltd, $29.95

Whether you’re starting out in property investing or have a small property portfolio, The Next Property Millionaire includes techniques and step-by-step strategies that promise to help you increase your wealth, build a substantial property portfolio, enjoy residual income and be financially free.



In My Own Words


should I stay or should I go E

ver find yourself dreading Mondays or watching the clock, willing the day to pass by more quickly? Everyone’s been there from time to time, but if it’s happening frequently it may be time to ask yourself some tough questions. Whether you want your dream job, are looking for a better work–life balance or simply need a challenge, the beginning of 2009 presents a good opportunity to reassess the future of your career. The thought of changing careers – or even changing jobs – can be daunting, and often this is because we don’t know where to start. Here are some simple guidelines to help make this process a little clearer.

Step 1: Analysis According to Laura Bobendrier from the Channel 3000 Career Center in the US, at least once each year it’s important to reassess the future of your career – are you happy in your current role or do you feel stagnant? Consider what your career path looks like and whether you want to progress internally or with an external company. If you are feeling unhappy, Laura suggests asking yourself questions such as, what’s wrong with your job? Is your boss too demanding? Is your work unfulfilling? Are you bored or burnt out? Is the money just not worth it anymore? Do you just need a vacation or a talk with your boss to correct the situation? By taking the time to evaluate your current career situation you are better able to decide whether to stay where you are, make an adjustment to your current role or make a complete change. Many people change jobs every two to five years. “It’s natural to feel restless once the challenge of your job becomes routine,” says management coach Lyndsay Swinton. But don’t ignore the possibility of talking to your boss about your career development. Your

February/March 2009


manager may be willing to give you more responsibility and new tasks within your current role. However, if you do decide a career change is needed, step two involves a process of self-assessment.

Step 2: Self-assessment One of the most important and often overlooked steps in a job or career change is understanding yourself better before jumping in. Any change needs to be consistent with your true values; if it isn’t, you’ll soon find yourself back at square one. Spend some time honestly evaluating your priorities and values, looking at how they apply to your relationships, health and emotional wellbeing, your finances, personal growth, career and recreation. It’s also important to consider the bigger picture before deciding to jump ship because when one area of our life isn’t working it can impact on the others – is your career the area that’s not working or are other areas of your life affecting your job satisfaction without you even realising it? Once you’ve worked through this, create a picture of your ideal job – is it a total change or one that affords you a better work–life balance? Ask yourself what you exactly want from your new role and describe this in as much detail as possible. At this stage, it’s important not to impose any limits – start with your ‘ten-out-of-ten’ situation. If you are struggling to imagine your perfect job, it may be helpful to cast your mind back to a time when you felt you were at your best. What kinds of activities were you engaged in, what characterised that period – were you constantly learning? Did you have a very strong team? Your answers to these questions may help shed some light on what you love doing and in which conditions you thrive. Other questions to consider are: • What kind of job would make you excited to


Stop thinking about a career or role change and take some action. Executive coach Tarryn Brien describes the two-step process that will see you in a rewarding and fulfilling role.


leave for work on Monday mornings? • What matters most to you in a work environment? • What kind of lifestyle do you want? • What salary would support this lifestyle? • Do you prefer working alone or in a team? • How much variety and responsibility do you want? Answering these questions will enable you to better explore all options available and make more informed choices. After answering these questions and exploring your options, the next hurdle is looking at any negative self-talk, such as “I can’t do this, because…” It’s usually fairly easy to come up with reasons why not to change and we are quick to doubt ourselves and our abilities. Because of this, we often feel trapped by our circumstances. Spend some time jotting down some of your self-imposed limitations, then challenge these and realise negative self-talk can get in the way of us taking

responsibility for the things we do have the power to change.

Ready, Set, Go Now you have worked through your current situation, evaluated the bigger picture, worked out where your career fits into your overall life plan, thought about your ideal job and challenged any self-imposed limitations, it’s time to take some action. Get out there and do your own market research by reading up on, and talking to, people in the industry or company you are interested in. While this may sound scary, remember most people are happy to help and share their experiences – and insider’s knowledge can provide much needed insight into the day-to-day realities of the role. Consider whether there is anyone else who

can help you with this decision and what your next steps need to be to make the change. Making a career change can be daunting and often involves a lot of hard work and tough thinking. But consider how positive and enthusiastic you would feel if you worked in an area you were passionate about. Also think about the drawbacks of not making any changes – such as killing time in a job where you find yourself clock-watching and wishing the days away. Lyndsay reminds us, “It’s never too late for a career change. Before he taught himself how to paint, Vincent van Gogh was an art dealer, schoolmaster, student priest and missionary. Indeed, he was well into his thirties before his artistic talents were recognised. Not too shoddy for a mid-life career change!”

Tarryn Brien is practice owner of The Happiness Institute in Sydney and offers corporate and individual coaching sessions, programs and workshops. She can be contacted via email at or phone 1300 733 743.



“Get excited, get involved and get results!”

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR FUTURE High Five Principles of Career Development: 1. Change is constant 2. Learning is ongoing 3. Focus on the journey 4. Know yourself, believe in yourself and follow your heart 5. Access your allies

Go to for career events, information, resources & free stuff

Daydream Believers


magine running your own business; being the master of your own destiny, not having anyone else to answer to, coming and going as you please, enjoying the unadulterated fruits of your labour… Well, what better time to start making this a reality than right now? To begin with, however, it’s important to know, while positive thinking and determination will be a great start to entrepreneurial success, it won’t all come delivered to you on a silver platter. The first few years of starting your own business are – almost without exception – hard slog, but the rewards can make it all worthwhile, says Owen Joyce, managing director of small business coaching consultancy Australian Business Review. “Being in business, doing something you are passionate about and having customers purchase your goods and services is a great feeling. As the business grows, having others do the work and earning an income well in excess of what you could earn working for someone else is also a great feeling. But all of this comes at a price,” he cautions. “When starting a business, you will need to do a lot of different jobs and work very hard. The first year or two of a new business can often mean long hours, a few hiccups, a dose of stress and one or two sleepless nights.”

February/March 2009

We took notes from three women who have made the successful leap from employee to employer.

the franchise way Cookie Man franchisee Joanne Griffiths, 38 (pictured, right), knows all too well what Owen is talking about. She bought the Cookie Man store in Sydney’s Carlingford two years ago. Joanne initially joined the company to help out the owner, who had just had a baby. Five months later the store came up for sale, so she decided to take the plunge. “I spoke to my husband and said, ‘Look I think this is what we should do. Let’s just take a chance in life and see where it goes’,” she recalls. Having managed the store before buying into the franchise, she certainly wasn’t jumping in blind. However, she wasn’t entirely prepared for the commitment owning the business would involve. “I knew it was going to be a lot of hard work, but the first year was a killer,” she admits. “I put in a lot of hours and a lot of seven-day weeks.” All that hard work is now paying off. When Joanne and her husband first bought the store, it was the worst performer in the Cookie Man chain. Back then, there were 49 stores and Carlingford was number 49. Now there are 56 stores and at the time of writing, Carlingford holds pride of place at number one. “When we bought it, everyone kept saying, ‘What are you doing? You’re buying a donkey’. But I just saw it as a challenge,” Joanne beams. It’s this determination – combined with a solid focus on “good old-fashioned customer service” – that has helped Joanne turn the Carlingford store around. “I love to succeed in anything I touch,” she says. “Everything I go into I really like to push it to the limits and see how far I can go.” Joanne also attributes her success to the backing of the Cookie Man franchise. “You receive a lot of support from head office, they’re only a phone call away and if you ever have a problem with anything you can ring and get assistance straight away,” she reports. “Being with a franchise group and having that support rather than being just a cafe down the road makes it a lot easier, plus, being a franchise, you’ve got your branding out there already so people know the product.”



Every issue

online aspirations For 37-year-old Natasha Zurnamer (pictured, right), going out on her own was the only way to realise her dream of creating a job website specifically for the fashion industry. Natasha launched Ragtradejobs. com in November 2006, and by June of the following year it had become Australia’s number one fashion job site. Since then, she has created two spin-off companies –, for the cosmetics industry, and SMS ME JOBS, a service that allows jobseekers to receive alerts and apply for positions via their mobile phone. From an early age, Natasha had plans to run her own business – and she knew that it would not be product-based. Growing up as the daughter of a restaurateur solidified her resolve. “I saw that if my father’s restaurant wasn’t busy, he could never budget for the amount of food required. So things would go to waste and he would lose money. Yes, he did very well, but I could see the downfalls of working with a perishable product. It was my vision that I was going to do something that was consultative.” Although she had worked in fashion since her early twenties and had built up a strong network of contacts in the industry, Natasha still remembers the trepidation she felt about leaving her job as manager of business systems for Seafolly Australia swimwear. “It was a big step to go out of very well-paid employment in the fashion industry to starting my own thing,” she remembers. “I left a six-figure salary and I remember looking at my group certificate the year after and it was nowhere near what I had earned when I was working in fashion. But was I happy? Absolutely. Was I on my way to something that was going to be amazing? I knew I was, but it was still an enormous decision to leave the comfort zone of being employed and having a regular salary.” Natasha realised, through an earlier stint of working from home after the birth of her first child, that her business needed to be based in an office. Being disconnected from the workplace had left her feeling isolated and depressed. “I know some people who very successfully work from home, but I just couldn’t put the blinkers on,” she confesses. “I had to get out of the home space and be in an office environment in order to get the creative vision happening. When I was working from home I didn’t see people, I didn’t interact, I didn’t get to go out and buy a sandwich at lunchtime and admire someone’s shoes or pick up a magazine – just those little things that put you in the world. Working at home, it didn’t matter if I stayed in my pyjamas all day – no-one saw me. I just wasn’t in the right headspace.” Now a world away from those times, Natasha has her sights set on global domination. At the time of our interview, she was busy preparing for a trip to London and the US to meet with major corporations to discuss licensing her SMS ME JOBS technology. Among her scheduled appointments was one with the London 2012 Organising Committee. As we discuss her impending travels, it is clear that her confidence in SMS ME JOBS and its potential is absolute. “I really think that this platform is more than incredible, and if the meetings I have lined up in the next three weeks are anything to go by then Australia is going to be very proud. This technology is going to be at the forefront of the biggest job sites in the world,” she states, without the slightest hint of doubt. Indeed, doubt is not something Natasha makes room for in her business plans. She is adamant that conviction is the key to entrepreneurial success. “You need to create the vision and then go for it,” she implores. “If you question the vision, don’t do it!” According to Natasha, that vision does not necessarily have to be complex, it just has to have a useful market application. “If you’ve got a practical mind, the sky’s the limit!” she declares.


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Women’s Business

selling a service Penny Spencer, 44 (pictured), has taken Natasha’s philosophy one step further – quite literally launching her business into the cosmos. In November 2006, her company, Spencer Travel, became one of just nine travel agencies in Australia to be officially granted the status of Accredited Space Agent for Virgin Galactic. The first civilian space flight is expected to take place in early 2009, carrying Virgin chief Sir Richard Branson and his family. It doesn’t take long to work out why Penny’s company made it onto this highly exclusive shortlist. Her enthusiasm for the Virgin Galactic project is palpable. So will she be going to space herself ? “Oh, definitely!” she replies. “When the time is right, I’ll definitely go.” Just in case you were wondering how much the hottest air ticket in town would set you back, it’s a cool $260,000. Aside from an obvious passion for travel, Penny’s success has been built on a wealth of industry experience. “I started in travel when I was 18,” she explains. “I worked my way up from stamping brochures to managing an agency at the age of 31”. Then, after 15 years of working for other people, she decided to forge out on her own. “I’d learnt a lot from a lot of people I’d worked for – good and bad – and I just wanted to do it my way.” The philosophy behind Penny’s success is simple: have a map. “At the end of the day, it’s like anything, if you don’t know where you’re going, you can’t get there,” she contends. “I do a lot of planning, I set a lot of goals. I also really believe in building relationships because I think in this day and age that really counts. People can go on the internet and get a lot of faceless information, but at the end of the day, if we can’t give our clients something really unique – something they can’t find through Google – then why would they use us?” Something like tickets to space, perhaps? “Yes, that’s definitely something they couldn’t book over the internet!” Penny laughs. Not surprisingly, the company’s space accreditation has attracted considerable media attention, however, Spencer Travel was already firmly on the honour board of standout travel agencies before this latest headline-grabber. Among its many accolades are its invitation-only membership of the Virtuoso group of travel specialists, which represents the top one percent of travel agencies worldwide, as well as its Qantas Platinum Club agency status – comprising Australia’s top 100 travel agencies. And as if that wasn’t enough, last year Penny was one of three finalists for the Telstra NSW Business Woman of the Year award. Her other main piece of advice to women thinking about starting their own business is to self-educate. Even though she had been in the travel industry for 15 years before opening her own agency, she insists that there is always more to learn. “I think it’s really important to be out learning about other businesses and meeting other business owners,” she says. “I’ve had mentors and I’ve joined lots of different business groups so I can run things by other CEOs and MDs. Sometimes you can think you’re on your own and then you start talking to people and they say ‘this is how we handled it’. You are very much on your own if you don’t get out there, self-educate and meet other people in business.”

balancing act One of the challenges facing just about every woman who runs her own business is finding work–life balance. It’s a quandary that Joanne, Natasha and Penny – all mothers of young children – have had to deal with. For Penny, the answer was to put one day of the week aside for family. “I have Mondays off and that’s regardless of whatever’s happening,” she says. “So from Tuesday to Friday from nine to five, I’m focused on my business. On Monday, it’s my family.” For Natasha, it’s been about learning to let go and delegate tasks rather than trying to do it all herself. However, as Joanne points out, switching off is often easier said than done. “Being your own business owner, I don’t think you really have a day off, it’s always on your mind,” she says. “You just have to try to find a happy medium between your family life and your business life – even if your business does follow you around all day.”

Can Contact February/March 2009

REALITY CHECK Before you dive into your own business, there are a few things you should consider:

1 2

What kind of business are you thinking of starting? Some businesses can be run from home while looking after the kids – but many can’t.

Is it better to start a business from scratch or buy an established one? There are hundreds of existing businesses for sale that already have customers, systems and processes, staff, websites etc. This might be a better option.

3 4

Do you have the skills required to run a business? Unless you can afford to bring in other staff, you need to be a ‘Jill of all trades’.

How will you fund the business? You need to carefully plan how much you’re going to need to get the business off the ground and keep it alive long enough to let people know about it. For a small business you should have at least enough capital to pay your expenses for six months.


Do you have enough information? Talking to a mentor can be beneficial. Business books, workshops and seminars are also widely available. A book well worth reading is Good to Great by Jim Collins (HarperCollins, 2001). Although it’s about big business, the principles are powerful and can be applied to small businesses.


emPOWER help to support your charity?

Does your business have a good purpose? If the purpose of your business is primarily to make you money, you might find it hard to get others to align with you. If your purpose is to make a difference in some way, that will be a different story.

Source: Owen Joyce, Australian Business Review (

Tammy Warner-Wilson on (02) 9424 3919 or email 70

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Wealth Creation



bricks & Mortar There are dozens of rules for successfully buying property. These are some of the key points Margaret Lomas suggests we keep in mind: • Do not buy property on a gut instinct or a tip from a mate. • Do not take advice from the people selling the property. • Be sure to ask the right questions and realise these questions have nothing to do with the physical appeal of the property. • The property next door or down the road may not be right for your investment goals. • Never buy property just to cut your tax bill – you may be careless and your net position may be worse than it was before you bought the property.

February/March 2009


n previous issues of emPOWER, we have carefully considered what is required to prepare for building wealth. So far, we have considered spending plans, your attitude to risk management and had a look at different ways you can invest for the future. Those of you who are familiar with my work will know that, while I am a financial advisor, I have a particular affinity for property. I own 35 properties and have been buying them for the past 10 years. However, just because I like property, doesn’t mean I buy it with any less care and attention than I would any other kind of investment. Buying property successfully and commencing a portfolio that caters for your retirement is a huge process that deserves not only your time and care, but commitment to education. In all the years I have been involved in this area, I have never seen a property fail an investor – it is usually the investor who fails as a result of poor choices. There are dozens of lessons to learn and an abundance of information to discover. To start, it’s important to learn more about how cash flows on a property investment, and the possible outcomes you will see if you buy a property.

Negative Gearing Most people have a basic understanding of ‘negative gearing’ or have heard the term before. When you borrow money to buy a property, this is known as gearing. When the costs of the property, including the interest on the loan, are greater than the income you receive from it, this is then known as negative gearing. When you make a loss, you are allowed to claim a tax refund. The refund is equal to your marginal rate of tax. For example, if expenses exceeded income by $100 a week, and your marginal rate of tax is


30 percent, you would receive a refund of $30. This helps you to keep the property, as this tax refund essentially covers some of your expenses.

Positive Cash Flow Property Sometimes you may be lucky enough to buy a property where the rent return is more than the expenses. This could be because the rents are high or because the expenses are low, possibly because you had a large deposit and your loan interest is small. Either way, this is called a positive cash flow property. For example, your expenses may be $220 a week, but the property may fetch $240 a week in rent. The difference of $20 is then taxed at your marginal rate of tax (30 percent for this example), which would be $6. You get to keep the $14 left over. The greater the difference, the better, and you can then use this extra money to repay the debt faster. Of course we would all buy property like this if we could, but with interest rates a little volatile, they are very hard to find. However, rents are also increasing and there is constant talk of lowering interest rates, so it’s worth watching this space. Another thing to think about is that if you buy a property that was built after 1987, as well as claiming the actual costs of keeping it you can depreciate the loss in value of the building, fixtures, fittings and furniture. If the property you buy has a building valued at $150,000, for example, you can make an additional claim of 2.5 percent ($2,250) of this value every year for 40 years. You may also claim the fixtures and fittings, such as lights, blinds and carpets, at varying rates, but usually at about 15 to 20 percent of their value each year. A property with good depreciation claims can give you an extra $50 to $100 a week back in your tax. In some cases, this


Wealth creation expert Margaret Lomas explains one of the fundamentals of property investment – cash flow.


Wealth Creation

cannot only assist you to pay the loss, it can be more than you lose, and you can keep the rest to make extra loan repayments. To find this type of positive cash flow property, it is worth getting your hands on a good property investment guide or book to learn more about depreciation and how to do the calculations on any property you may be looking at. Overall, I suggest you know yourself and your own financial circumstances, and become educated about property investing. Arm yourself with the knowledge to ask the right questions. In coming articles we will explore the techniques you need to invest both well and successfully. We will explore the most efficient ways to structure property, and learn the more complex details of tax law so that you, as an investor, can create an income for life and take responsibility for where you ultimately land financially.

Margaret Lomas is a qualified financial and investment advisor and is the director of Destiny Financial Solutions ( She is also an author and chair of the Property Investment Professionals of Australia.

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Wealth Creation

The of Share Trading You don’t need an economics degree to buy into the sharemarket. From the basics of the stock exchange to the golden rules of trading, analyst Dale Gillham shares his knowledge.

whereby buyers and sellers are brought together to trade shares at current market prices. Prices are based on what price buyers are willing to pay (the bid) and what price sellers are prepared to sell at (the offer). In simple terms, orders are placed with SEATS and filled once a match between buyers and sellers is established.

more than 1,500 on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), how do you know which to choose? All too often, people feel like the job is too big and that it will take up too much of their time, which explains why many investors are happy to hand over control of their investments to others. But this needn’t be the case. The list of stocks you select for your portfolio will depend on the time you have available, your resources and the goal of your Golden Rules In my experience, most people spend more portfolio. That said, I recommend that most investors don’t stray too far outside the top time deciding what to eat at a restaurant here are numerous ways to create 150 stocks on the Australian market for the than they spend selecting which shares to wealth, and share trading can be one of the simplest and most cost-effective buy, so for this reason I always recommend following reasons: investors consider the following golden rules: • The stocks are highly liquid. In other words, ways to get started. Just about anyone can use the sharemarket there is a lot of buying and selling taking to build wealth, as long as they have a basic place in these stocks every day. Rule 1: Irrespective of the amount of understanding of how it works and how to money you have to invest, you should • Stocks from the top 150 are generally buy and sell shares. The following introduction always take the same amount of time profitable businesses with some of the best will be a good starting point, and continued researching your options to ensure you are managers in Australia, providing stability in self-education and research will help you get the protecting your capital on each and every the growth of the company and the share most from your investments long term. occasion. price. Put simply, a share is part ownership of Rule 2: You should always aim to have • They generally pay good dividend yields a business. A company can raise money to between five and 12 stocks in your portfolio, with good tax credits attached. A dividend finance its business by ‘going public’, which although my preference is closer to five. yield is the dividend shown as a percentage means being listed on a stock exchange and The trick is not to have lots of stocks with of the last sale price of the shares. issuing shares to investors. By paying for the small amounts invested in each. You only • Reliable information about these stocks is shares, investors buy part ownership of the require a small number of the right stocks much easier to obtain. company’s business and become a shareholder with larger amounts invested in each – this • The chances of any one of these companies in the company. actually lessens your risk and increases your going broke is very small. You may remember the movie Trading returns. • These stocks will produce good returns over Places with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd. Rule 3: When you purchase stocks, never a 10-year period. At one point Billy Ray Valentine and Louis invest more than 20 percent of your total Winthorpe III are in ‘the pit’ at the New York capital in any one stock. If you invest in the Venturing outside the top 150 stocks will not Stock Exchange, madly buying and selling sharemarket you need to accept that some only increase your risk level but the knowledge shares on the floor as if their lives depend on stocks will fall in value, however this rule you require to successfully manage the risk will it. This is how all stock exchanges operated in will help reduce your exposure to risk while be greater. Australia until the introduction of the Stock allowing you to achieve good returns, simply Unfortunately, a common misconception Exchange Automated Trading System (SEATS) because you are minimising the amount of for newcomers to the sharemarket is that in 1987. This computerised system superseded capital you could lose at any one time. buying these types of stocks is too expensive the open outcry system that limited the extent and that buying cheap stocks is the best method to which stocks could be traded efficiently. for achieving higher returns. This belief not Choosing Stocks Like all markets, the Australian stock only costs you money, it hinders your ability to Identifying the right stocks to place in your market is driven by supply and demand, portfolio can seem like a daunting task. With generate profits because you are investing your

February/March 2009




Wealth Creation

faith in speculative stocks. In other words, you are speculating that a cheap stock will perform better than a solid ‘blue-chip’ stock. In reality, you want to buy quality stocks, not quantity, because this is where you will, for the most part, get the greatest returns. In fact my research suggests that if all you did was buy and hold the top 10 shares in the Australian market for 10 years, your portfolio would average a return of at least 12 percent per annum.

Getting Started One of the most common questions I get asked is, “How much do I need to start investing in the sharemarket?” You can begin investing with as little as a $1,000, although you will want to develop a savings strategy so you can build up your share portfolio until you hold at least five stocks (shares in five different companies). Because of transaction costs (the cost to use a broker to buy and sell shares on your behalf), I always recommend that the minimum amount you should allocate to a particular stock is $1,000.

Once you hold shares in a minimum of five stocks, you can begin to increase the amount of shares you hold in each company. If you sell a stock, reinvest the capital from the sale into another stock, as well as any savings you may have accumulated to increase the amount you are purchasing. Gradually your position (the amount you hold in any one share stock) will increase over time, rather than the number of stocks you own, which will ensure you are able to manage your risk. Once you have organised your finances and decided which shares you’re interested in buying, you will need to stockbroker who will act as your agent to buy and sell shares listed on the ASX. Broadly speaking, there are two types of brokers – the full-service advice broker and the discount broker. Full service brokers don’t usually charge for the advice they give, but you will pay higher brokerage fees when you buy and sell shares because of the time and costs involved in researching the market and

examining your personal needs. They can cost anywhere around $100 per trade, while discount brokers simply act on the instructions you give them, and usually charge from around $35 per trade. If you are new to the market, I recommend you use an advice broker until you develop the knowledge and confidence to buy and sell shares. A good advice broker will also help answer any questions you have when starting out. If you already understand how to buy and sell shares, discount brokers are likely to be more suitable. In my experience, if you decide to invest in the top stocks in the Australian sharemarket and take a low-risk methodical approach to investing over the long term, you will achieve your financial goals. Obviously the more knowledge you acquire, the more confident you will be, which will lower the risk you take when investing in the sharemarket. For free online fact sheets, seminars and resources, check out the ‘Education’ section of the Australian Stock Exchange website at



All Ordinaries Index (All Ords) Measures the level of share prices at any given time for a sample of major companies listed on the ASX to determine the overall performance of the sharemarket. Bear Market When share prices are falling sharply. Blue-chip stock Shares in a company that are highly valued. These types of companies are known for their ability to generate solid profits in the good times and hold up in the bad. An example of a blue-chip share is one of the four major banks. Brokerage The fee paid to a stockbroking firm for buying or selling shares. Bull market When share prices are generally rising. Buy and hold An investing strategy based on the historical tendency of the market to rise over time. Capital The initial funds invested. Diversification Spreading investments over a variety of investment categories to reduce risk.

Dividend As a shareholder you are entitled to share in the company’s profits or earnings. Companies pay dividends from their net earnings and are usually expressed as a number of cents per share. There is no requirement for companies to pay dividends from earnings. Some companies might choose to reinvest the earnings back into the business. Equities In sharemarket terms, this is a synonym for shares and represents part ownership of a company. Listed company A company that agrees to abide by the ASX listing rules so that its shares can be traded on the stock market. Portfolio A term used to describe a group of assets held by an investor as a whole. Securities A general term used for all shares, debentures, notes, bills, government and semi-government bonds, and so on. Volatility In general, volatility is a measure of the tendency of a security to rise or fall sharply within a short period of time

Dale Gillham is the co-founder and chief analyst of Wealth Within, a specialist sharemarket educator and boutique investments company. For more information visit


In Pursuit

Rare Gem Network marketing might be one way to grow wealth but, as high-flyer Angie Somers-Nilsson reveals, it has a lot to do with creating freedom as well. She shares her story with Rebecca Spicer.


rowing up in a rough area in Sydney’s western suburbs with new Australian parents, Angie Somers-Nilsson didn’t have a lot of self-confidence as a child. “It was more survival mode,” she recalls. This is hard to imagine as a vivacious Angie bounds into the meeting room of Amway’s Sydney headquarters for our interview. She’s confident and so friendly we end up chatting for hours about her journey from humble beginnings to financial and business success. Angie explains how she never had the opportunity to go to university or pursue a ‘chosen’ path. “It was never discussed. I just did what everyone else did and went to secretarial college.” Angie worked for the one company for eight years but always knew she had something else inside of her bursting to be revealed. “I just didn’t know how or where to apply it,” she says. That ‘something’ presented itself when a truck driver spoke to her about a business project he was working on. “I ended up going to a meeting in his house to see what he had to offer. It was a group meeting with

February/March 2009

about 10 people. I thought it sounded great and signed up straight away.” This was Angie’s first introduction to the now global giant Amway Corporation. Even though she registered, she did not get started straight away, mainly due to lack of exposure. “This is quite common. Often people hear about the Amway business briefly and, like anything else, unless you research properly, meet people who have succeeded and, more importantly, take some basic steps to start, it’s easy to miss the opportunity. This almost happened to me!” A number of years later, Angie overheard a conversation between two of her flatmates discussing the need to diversify and set up a business. “I piped in saying ‘I’ve got a business’. But when I tried to explain it they just ignored me.” This was enough to spark some tenacity in this once shy secretary. “Determined to prove it, I rang the truckie and asked if he was still involved in Amway. His wife came over and explained the marketing plan again and that was when I registered for the second time, at age 25. “This time, within two weeks, I attended a big seminar with thousands of


people and I heard success stories from people with all types of backgrounds and professions. This gave me enough confidence to take the first few steps to get the business going. A quote I always use is one I heard during a seminar, which is, ‘Your past is not your future’ – that was something that inspired me early on.” While preconceived and ill-informed ideas exist about what network marketing actually is and how it works, Angie admits when she went to that first presentation all those years ago, she’d never heard of Amway, had never used a product and didn’t know what network marketing was. She had no opinion of it other than what was being presented to her, and it looked like a way she could develop something of her own. “I knew someone was going to help me and there was a system in place, so why not give it a go?” Of course, not everyone had an open mind like Angie and many people had opinions. “I had to learn to handle and overcome their objections,” she recalls. Angie is animated as she describes how excited she was by the opportunity in front of her at the time, so I’m not surprised any negative reactions were taken as a challenge to her, rather than a setback. Objections generally came as people assumed Amway was a pyramid business, and this is something Angie stresses the company is not. By joining Amway she became an independent business owner (IBO) and essentially there were two ways she could earn income. Firstly, by selling the Amway products and services, of which there are now hundreds of products, from jewellery lines, cosmetics and skin care to health supplements, grocery lines, and services, such as insurance and home loans. And secondly, introduce other people who wish to develop their own business. “Whenever people get involved in the business, they register to obtain an IBO number and become part of what we call a ‘line of sponsorship (LOS)’. Within a LOS there are people who have succeeded and achieved a high level in the business. We call these levels Platinum, Sapphire, Emerald, Diamond, Executive Diamond, Double Diamond, Triple Diamond, Crown and Crown Ambassador. Each level is determined by how many Platinum and above groups they have developed. “What’s exciting is that it doesn’t matter who you join or when you get into the

In Pursuit

fact file

she needed to grow her self-esteem and belief in the business. “In the first month I must have listened to about 30 CDs (or then they were tapes) about the business and other success stories, and I also tried all the products, so I could get some belief and confidence in the quality of the product. I also attended seminars and met quite a lot of successful people from all different backgrounds. “Also, within our organisation – or LOS – we have principles of success (a strategy) on how to develop the business, so I really studied that.” With knowledge in hand, Angie then had to jump in the water and swim. “When you take action, that’s when you learn the most,” she says with raw conviction. “I got out there and started showing presentations straight away. I would invite a

Angie’s Keys to Success • Seek mentors and positive role models. • Associate with other successful women for inspiration. Remember,

Photos courtesy Angie Somers-Nilsson

we become like those we associate with. • Set short-term, medium- and long-term goals in all areas of your life. • Develop a good work ethic. • You can change your life – the secret is in our daily habits. Read daily from a positive book, or magazine like emPOWER. • Listen to motivational CDs. • Start thinking and realising that anything is possible. • Learn to bounce back quickly from setbacks and disappointments. • Everyone has self-doubts, stepping out of your comfort zone builds your self-esteem. • Start a simple savings plan and become financially astute. • Above all, love life and cherish your relationships. business, you can build a bigger business and earn far more than the person who introduced you. You don’t make money by bringing people in, you only make an income when you develop turnover within your organisation by helping others succeed. It’s a win–win and a really fair system, the person who does the work earns the rewards.”

Going for Growth In the early days, Angie had two key goals: replace her income as a secretary and stop having to get up at 6am. This was good motivation but she knew that to get started

number of people around to show them the business concept and products. “As people join the business, we spend a big part of our time helping them get started, depending on what they want to achieve. Some register purely just to buy the products at wholesale or retail them. The beauty is that they have the option.” Angie learnt early on that good leadership and people skills would be crucial to her success and just spending a couple of hours with her I realise how engaging and contagious her excitement and positivity can be. Within just four months she had achieved her first goal of ‘21 percent’, which is the start


of Amway’s Platinum qualification. Platinum these days equates to earning approx $2,000 to $3,000 per month, plus an invitation to a free leadership trip and some extra cash bonuses. She left her job after she replaced her income and continued to develop her Amway business, “and sleep in until 9am each day”, she laughs. Within six years Angie had built her business to a point where she had six people in her organisation who had reached Platinum. This gave her ‘Diamond’ status within Amway, meaning she was earning anywhere from $160K, plus business class trips each year and cash bonuses. This, Angie says, was one of her biggest milestones because not only was she beginning to feel financially free, she was also able to consider a lifestyle balance as well.

Going Global The same year Angie achieved ‘Diamond’, Amway were looking to expand into different countries and she decided it would be a good time to reinvest and expand into overseas markets. “Amway would say they were going to open in X, Y, Z countries that year, and we would start introducing people to the business here in Australia who had that cultural background. They would learn the system and get involved here, and some of them chose to move back to those countries. They would talk to their friends about the business, and we would go there when the company opened, have a seminar and talk on stage to show them that it’s real. “Over the next eight years, every few months I was on a plane travelling to three countries in 10 days and that was really exciting. Amway then became more established in those markets and the organisation I’m a part of developed training systems to support our network globally. This then gave us, as Diamonds, more time to personally mentor our key leaders in Australia and globally.” Growing the international side enabled Angie to reach the Double Diamond level in Amway 11 years ago, which is a huge achievement in the industry. While she is still a Double Diamond today, the size and success of her business has continued to grow. Asked how many people she now has in her global organisation, Angie isn’t able to say exactly, “but it’s hundreds of thousands,” she offers humbly. What’s more surprising is she is able to manage all this from her

In Pursuit

An Investment Choice Asked why she thinks this type of wealth creation has worked for her, Angie says, “I think it’s about lifestyle. Everybody works so hard in their normal careers and we’re all trying to juggle family and kids. With the economy the way it’s just gone, we’re not as secure in shares and property anymore, so the whole idea is to diversify and develop a secondary source of income, and that’s what attracts most people to this business. The biggest plus is Amway’s 50-year global success

February/March 2009

Fact File

Name: Angie Somers-Nilsson Role: Global business owner and leader in the Amway business Biggest Inspiration: I’ve always been inspired by listening to people’s success stories and how they overcame adversity and succeeded anyway. There are so many outside our industry too, such as Oprah and Lance Armstrong who are amazing. Charities: We personally sponsor 10 children through World Vision and the organisation we are part of is one of their largest corporate sponsors, with more than 6,000 children in Africa, Asia, South America and Europe sponsored monthly by IBOs. There are other projects like the Ambassador School in India where hundreds of street children now have a home and school. Amway also support many charities globally, in Australia our local charity is Freedom Wheels. You think you can’t do a lot as an individual, but collectively we can really make a difference. Most memorable moment: Speaking to an audience of 45,000. I used to break out in a sweat just presenting a report to my boss at work. It’s a huge fear I had to overcome but I think you change when you’re helping other people realise what they can do too.

backing us. There’s minimal capital to start, it’s home-based, part-time, with unlimited income potential and you can develop a willable business asset. “While this has afforded me a lot freedom, at different stages I’ve had to put the time in. When I had a full-time job I treated it like a tech course and just turned the TV off and did meetings at night. So initially I didn’t have a lot of balance. “Once I reached Diamond, I realised I’d never have to work for anyone else, but then I did reinvest into the business to set up the international side, so I was travelling, doing meetings and reaching new levels, but at the same time still able to have a quality lifestyle – going to the gym, having eight hours sleep and keeping healthy.” As a Double Diamond, Angie has enjoyed the luxury of all-expenses-paid first-class business seminar trips to exotic locations each year, with limos to the airport, all paid for by Amway. “So for me personally, and I’d say for the majority of Diamonds in the Amway business, it’s not really as much about wealth, it’s more about lifestyle, quality of life and having great relationships. And I think, ultimately, that’s what we’re all looking for.” An eye-opening moment for Angie was when she was able “at a moments notice”


to take her mother to a cancer clinic in Mexico. “Having the time, money and freedom to just book a business-class flight and take that journey together; that was eight years ago and mum is doing great! At that time the news was devastating and the prognosis very bad. I would never have been able to do that if I wasn’t in the position I’m in.” In order to grow her wealth Angie has dabbled in shares, property and some other projects as well, and while she’s had some wins, she’s also had some losses. She believes it’s much better to focus on your core business and diversify in a sensible way. “And I think if you’re going to do anything that’s high risk, only ever do that with money you’re happy to lose.” Having just married her partner of six years, Carl Nilsson, Angie has also become an official “bonus mum” to his two daughters and the couple are now partners in the business. “Now I have a family, we’re setting up for Triple Diamond, Crown, and Crown Ambassador. So we are continuing to support the growth of our existing leaders and at the same time are in the process of developing new leaders here in Australia and globally.”

Photos courtesy Angie Somers-Nilsson

Sydney home with one part-time assistant. “The only reason I’ve been able to do that is because we’ve set up the infrastructure, and a lot of it now takes care of itself,” she credits. While there are higher bonus levels to aim for in Amway – in fact some of the people Angie has introduced have reached the same level as her or higher – Angie’s strategy has been to help her existing groups succeed and move them to the next level, rather than just keep introducing more groups. “There are people in my business earning more than $1 million a year. So by helping others achieve Diamond and beyond, your business becomes extremely secure and continues to grow and that’s how it’s duplicated. It is a leadership-driven business.” Angie attributes her success to being good with people, staying motivated and focused, and having a thick skin. “It’s being able to relate to people. If you become more impressed with them, rather than trying to impress them, that’s what works. People really don’t want to know how great you are or what you’ve accomplished. It’s nice to hear a success story but it’s about empowering other people – that’s the only reason I’ve reached the level I have. “On the other side of the coin, to this day I still read motivational success books and listen to CDs. It’s like food, you’ve got to keep replenishing yourself, because it doesn’t matter who you are, life happens to everybody at any level of success. So it’s about keeping yourself fuelled, especially when you don’t feel like it. “Work ethic is also really important. It’s like anything, if you want to be successful, you’ve got to put the work in. And don’t be too concerned what other people think. Learn to have a thick skin and a soft heart.”

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extend yourself H

ave you ever watched a dancer or yoga teacher in action and been amazed by their incredible agility? Actually, we are all designed to have wonderfully flexible bodies, the problem is that our modern lifestyles involve more sedentary time than ever before. As a result it’s easy to lose flexibility and end up with tension and stiffness, restricting the body’s movements and posture. There are solutions, such as supplementing our lives with activities that restore flexibility. Stretching is a good, quick, easy, cost-free way to welcome flexibility back into your life. It’s a great way to counterbalance the tension that builds up with hours on the computer. Although there is a lack of research on stretching, some of the reported benefits include increased flexibility, improved range of motion for the joints, a better posture and relief from stress and tension, and I can certainly speak from my scientific, clinical and personal practice. There are two main benefits of regular stretching. One is the great feeling. Flexible muscles and joints feel supple and energised compared to stiff, tense joints and muscles, which tend to feel heavy and draining on the body. The second major benefit is stress release from getting rid of muscle and joint tension. This can lead to a solid sleep at night and a sense of calmness through the day. Anyone can stretch and any time is a good time. A good strategy is to have a session in the morning as a whole-body wake-up routine using short stretches of only a second or two, and then in the evening with longer stretches of 10 to 60 seconds to promote relaxation. You can stretch anything that moves – all the joints and muscles of the body love a stretch. The most important areas are often the larger postural muscles in the legs, hips and back. Make sure your stretches feel good – don’t force anything. Flexibility will come with practice. Remember, you are stretching, not straining. It’s meant to be gentle, easy and

should feel good. If you feel pain, stop. And don’t bounce into a stretch, it’s not necessary. Try this morning routine as a stimulating wake-up session, holding each area at your comfortable end range for only a few seconds. 1. Stand and stretch arms up to ceiling. 2. Squat down with knees apart and gently lean forward with your hands on the ground, elbows gently pushing the knees apart. 3. Keeping hands on the floor, straighten your legs halfway and point your bum up to the ceiling, stretching the lower back and hamstrings. 4. Sit on your calves with shins pressed to the floor. 5. Stretch your body to one side and then the other. Gently rotate with spine twists on each side. 6. Take neck forward, back, then side to side, then gently rotate left and right. In the evenings, hold your stretches for 10 to 60 seconds to relax the muscles more. 1. Stretch hamstrings by sitting on the floor and stretching one leg out at a time and bending the body toward that straight leg. 2. Squat (as above) to get a good release in hips and lower back. 3. Kneel on one knee (with a cushion under for comfort) and step the other leg forward so it’s at a 90-degree angle with your foot on the floor. Gently push hips forward, feeling a stretch deep in the front of the hip (psoas muscle). Since time is often short, I recommend combining stretches with something you normally do. It’s easy to stretch and read a book or magazine. Have a little routine for watching a favourite TV show. Start with something simple and learn new stretches as you go by taking a class, searching the web or simply by experimenting. Keep in mind that all activities have inherent risks of injury if done improperly or if there is an underlying condition. Practise safely. If you have pain, stiffness or tension in your back or neck, then make sure you get it checked with a chiropractor.

Jeffrey Brooks is the director of Sydney Chiropractic Care and specialises in natural spinal health. Contact him on (02) 9222 9997 or email



As chiropractor Jeffrey Brooks explains, you can bring lightness to your movements, relieve tension and sleep better with some simple stretches.

coaching toolkit Coach yourself to success

FEB / MAR 2009

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, – Nelson Mandela but rising every time we fall” There are so many examples around us, things we see and do every day, demonstrating the power of this quote. Every evening we walk into our houses and switch on a light bulb and in that moment we have an awesome example of failure, persistence and success. In inventing the light bulb, Thomas Edison failed at it more than 10,000 times. When asked about his failure, he replied, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. Likewise, at 65, Colonel Sanders developed a recipe for fried chicken, when most people that age are thinking about an easy life in retirement. In trying to sell his recipe, more than 1,000 restaurants rejected his offer. On his 1,009th sales visit, one restaurant finally said yes and today the Colonel Sanders brand, KFC, can be seen in most countries. I’m certain that at the point of each small (and large) failure, both men experienced disappointment, frustration and perhaps even embarrassment. But they got up and kept going and they are perfect examples of what is possible. If you are a Rocky Balboa fan, you’ll probably be familiar with the scene where Rocky is saying to his son “It ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward… That’s how winning is done.” Priceless. The fact is that disappointment, making mistakes and failures are a part of life. If we aren’t making mistakes and getting things wrong, we aren’t learning. If we’re not learning, we’re not growing and if we’re not growing, we’re dying. Nothing in this universe stops, everything is moving and we’re either going forward or backward. So, if these things are a part of life, the best we can all do is to learn how to effectively deal with

a disappointment or failure, let it go and move on. This is certainly not something that I have conquered, on the contrary, disappointments can really effect me but I have a few techniques that reduce the amount of time I spend dwelling. Firstly, I think it’s important to acknowledge the disappointment. After all, most likely you’ve been excited about the prospect of achieving something and then it hasn’t worked. You may have told friends and family what you were doing and feel some embarrassment now about your failure. Allow yourself some time to be disappointed and sad but it’s important to make this time finite. For example, you may say to yourself, ‘I’m going to give myself until the end of the day to be sad and then I have to move on’. During that time, make a list of all the ways the failure or disappointment has affected you. What does it mean for your life? A relationship failure, for example, means that you might be single again, you may be lonely, you have to get back on the dating scene and so on. A business failure may mean you have to get a job again and people may look down on you. Breaking a diet may mean that you won’t fit into your wedding dress and you’re wasting money at the gym. Once the time is up indulging in your disappointment, it’s time to get moving again. At this point, make the decision that what has happened has happened and you cannot go backwards, so you need to plan a solution or way forward. What do you need to do now to resolve things, put yourself in a better frame of mind and rise up? Next, make a list of the positives that have come out of the disappointment or failure. You may need to really push yourself to see them but list at least three things. For example, being single again definitely means that you are now available to meet someone who is much better suited or it could be a perfect time for you to rebuild your relationship with your ‘self ’. Having found the positives in the situation, give yourself some acknowledgement. After all, you are doing what many people don’t, you have taken the hit, are picking yourself up and moving forward. Lastly, take action. Do at least one thing that signifies to you that you are moving on. Write ‘that’ letter of goodbye, apply for a new job, go back to the gym. You can do it!

Helen Rosing


Good Ouestion Executive coach Marilee Adams reveals how we can transform our lives by changing the questions we ask ourselves, and others.


earning how to take advantage of the unique power of questions, especially the ones you ask yourself, provides a simple and practical path for successfully creating the life you want. If things aren’t working out as you would like, you’re probably asking yourself questions that are holding you back, or missing the best ones to propel you forward. It can be transforming to ask a new question with the power to help you successfully reach your goals. A new question can liberate a new possibility! Given that questions drive thoughts, feelings, and actions, they undoubtedly drive results as well. Based on this insight, I created a system of skills and tools called Question Thinking (QT), which helps us use questions to more successfully approach virtually any situation in your life. QT can literally put focused and effective action into your thinking, and can help you create a strong foundation for making wiser choices. A situation in my own life helped me appreciate the role of questions in changing lives. I was on the phone with my PhD advisor, eagerly anticipating his positive feedback on some work I felt great about. Instead, I heard him say, “Marilee, this is not acceptable”. My stomach did a somersault. Did I hear him right? In those days, critical comments often left me in tears. But at this moment, something amazing happened. Instead of the old tearful reaction, I became curious and

February/March 2009

solution-focused and asked him, “Okay, how do I fix it?” An observer part of me watched all this and asked incredulously, ‘Was that me? What happened? How was I able to switch my mood so easily?’ Eventually I discovered that what had happened was a fundamental change in the kinds of questions I usually asked myself. The old over-sensitive me asked mostly worried questions, such as ‘Does he like and approve of me?’ and ‘What did I do wrong?’ The new stronger me had started operating out of calm, productive questions

“A new question liberates a new possibility” like, ‘How can I make this work? What can I learn?’ and ‘What’s possible?’ By changing the kinds of questions I asked, I changed my own life. Since then I’ve used the QT method to coach individuals, teams, and organisations to make their own powerful positive changes. It’s all based on first becoming aware that the questions we ask ourselves have the most impact on our thinking and decision-making. Think about how you decided what to wear today. You went to your closet or dresser (or maybe even the floor) and asked yourself questions like ‘Where am I going today? What’s the weather? What’s comfortable?’ or even, ‘What’s clean?’ Then you answered your questions by doing something. You picked


up some clothing and put it on. You are actually wearing the answer to your questions! To appreciate how powerfully questions can affect us, pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and ask yourself the following questions (I suggest reading them out loud): • Whose fault is it? • What’s wrong with me? • Why am I such a failure? • Why is everybody so stupid and frustrating? • Haven’t we already been there, done that? • Why bother? How do you feel? If you’re like many of my clients, these kinds of questions – I call them ‘Judger questions’ – are likely to make you feel tense, depressed, hopeless and helpless, pessimistic, negative, or not good enough. Judger questions, which originate in our ‘Judger mindset’, are blame-focused; they lead to automatic reactions, negative outcomes, and win–lose relating. Judger questions get you stuck and make things difficult. Now pause again, take another deep breath, and ask yourself this second set of questions (again, try reading them out loud): • What happened? • What do I want? • What can I learn? • What’s useful about this? • What is the other person thinking, feeling, and wanting? • What are my choices? • What’s best to do now? • What’s possible? Now how do you feel? Open? Lighter? Upbeat? Curious? More energised? Optimistic? Hopeful? I call these kinds of questions ‘Learner questions’ and they

originate in our ‘Learner mindset’. Learner questions lead to thoughtful choices, constructive solutions, and win–win relating. Learner questions create paths to success and satisfaction, even under tough circumstances. Try this exercise. Think of a current challenge in your own life, at work or at home or elsewhere. I suggest grabbing a blank piece of paper and writing this challenge down in big letters at the top of the page. Under this challenge make two columns, one for Judger questions and one for Learner questions. Now ask yourself Judger questions, such as ‘What’s wrong’? and ‘Whose fault is it?’ Notice your answers. Again, writing your answers down can be very helpful. Then ask yourself the Learner questions: ‘What works?’ and ‘What am I responsible for?’ Write down your answers to these questions as well. Now compare. Which set of questions creates roadblocks and which opens up alternatives for successful resolution? Which set of questions gets you stuck in the spin cycle and which creates possibilities? Which sets you up for failure and which leads to success?

Learner v Judger Now that you’ve had a chance to explore how questions from these two mindsets

affect you, you’ve probably noticed some real differences. Given that our mindsets are so influential, let’s take a deeper look at how powerful they indeed are. Studying a chart that contrasts the two mindsets (such as below) makes it easier to discern the difference between them. Please remember, however, that the terms ‘Learner’ and ‘Judger’ refer to mindsets, they do not refer to people. Every one of us has both mindsets and always will. That’s just being human. Developing the skill to intentionally choose which mindset to operate out of at any moment is what makes all the difference. Notice that the Judger mindset has two faces. It can be turned against your (Why can’t I ever win? What’s wrong with me? Why am I so stupid?) or it can be focused against others (What’s wrong with them? Why aren’t they pulling their weight? Why are they always so dumb and irritating?). The Learner mindset helps shift how you think positively and productively about yourself, as well as how you think about anyone else – colleagues, boss, spouse, friends, children, or others in your life (What do I want? What happened? What are the facts? What are they thinking, feeling, and wanting?).


What’s wrong? Whose fault is it? How can I prove I’m right? How can I be in control? Why is that person so clueless and frustrating? How could I lose? Why bother?

What works? What am I responsible for? What are the facts & big picture? What are my choices? What is the other person thinking feeling and wanting? What’s useful, what can I learn? What’s possible?


Learner & Judger Questions


Judgemental (of self and/or others) Reactive and automatic Know-it-already Inflexible and rigid Either/or thinking Goal: to be right Personal perspective only Defends assumptions Possibilities seen as limited Primary mood: protective Future: recycled version of past Relationships: win-lose

Accepting (of self and/or others) Responsive and thoughtful Values not-knowing Flexible and adaptive Both/and thinking Goal: to be curious and learn Considers perspectives of others Questions assumptions Possibilities seen as unlimited Primary mood curious Future: filled with possibility Relationships: win-win



Learner & Judger Mindsets

QT In Action When Linda first came to see me for coaching, she was terrified about getting fired from her job as a stockbroker. Until six months earlier she’d been doing well at helping her clients and she was also scoring lots of new ones. Linda was then informed she’d have to share her office with a new broker. John spoke loudly when she was on the phone, spread his papers all over the office, interrupted her by punching her in the arm, and generally made her life miserable. She tried to ignore him so he wouldn’t get under her skin. That obviously didn’t work since her sales were plummeting along with her confidence. It was only a matter of time before she either quit in frustration or got booted out the door. When I asked, “What do you ask yourself when John is bothering you?” Linda replied, “What’s wrong with me that I can’t shut him out?” and “How can I keep things peaceful around here?” Like many women, she did everything she could to avoid conflict and stand up for herself. You can probably see how her conciliatory behaviour was a natural result of that question. I call that a troublemaker question and it was about to cost Linda her job. Linda needed new Learner questions if she wanted a different result! Here’s what she came up with: ‘What do I want?’ and ‘What do I need in order to be successful?’ Those questions helped her see what she needed to do differently. She followed through, took constructive action with John, regained her self-confidence, and learned some important life lessons. She was thrilled with her results. So was her boss. Linda brought in three times as many sales the following year! You can do this too. You can learn to identify when you’re asking Judger questions and switch to Learner ones instead. Remember that great results begin with great questions. You really can change your questions and change your life!

Marilee Adams, PhD, is an executive coach, corporate consultant, professional speaker, and president of the Inquiry Institute. She is the author of bestselling book, Change Your Questions, Change Your Life. You can download a free colour copy of The Choice Map, which illustrates Learner and Judger questions, from Marilee’s website at


I’ve always had low self-esteem and take things people say to heart, and it takes a long time to let go of a comment or criticism someone has made. How can I get past this because it is starting to affect me more than it used to. Help! – Amanda


There are lots of different strategies for improving one’s self-esteem but, to begin with, answer the following questions to help add some clarity to what you’re experiencing: • What sort of comments or criticisms seem to impact you more than others? • What’s happening in your thoughts at those times? Are you being fair in your thinking? • In the past you appear to have found ways of eventually letting go of the criticism. Could any of those strategies be used now, and be improved? • You mention it’s affecting you more than it used to. Do you know when this changed? What was happening then? What is the affect on you now? • Have you considered speaking with an appropriate professional, such as your doctor and/or a counsellor about how you’re feeling? Now here are some general tips about accepting comments and criticisms: • Criticism is simply feedback and information. Choose your attitude that best supports the acceptance of information and allows you to objectively process it. • Listen to the feedback. The person providing it has taken the time to share what they or others feel, and this may be important to them to share. Honour the relationship and accept that this may be quite difficult for the other person. • Check your body language to ensure that it is ‘open’ and that you make eye contact with the person. This can have a positive impact on how you accept the feedback mentally and emotionally. • Restate the critical feedback to ensure you understand it correctly. This includes paraphrasing any emotional comments the other person makes. • View the criticism as an attempt to solve a problem or turn a particular situation around. It’s not a personal attack. • Thank the person giving you the feedback, regardless of whether or not the feedback itself is uncomfortable to hear. • Focus on the potential solutions to the situation. • Ask for time to consider the feedback if at the moment you are feeling that it’s too difficult to be objective. Source: Noel Posus is a master coach with 20 years experience as a professional educator, coach and author. He is the founder of coaching business and Incredible Awareness (

Ask a Coach


I’m feeling like there is a block between myself and finding out what I really want to pursue in terms of my career. I’m 26 years old and I want to start doing something I enjoy and that resonates with what I’m all about, which is helping people. There are so many things I’m interested in that it’s overwhelming. Money is a factor as well, as I can’t afford to study full-time. Do you have ideas to help me get clear and find some real direction? – Alexandra


To create a career that resonates with who you are, it is essential that you take a talent-based approach to your career search and become aware of what is influencing you and what drives you to take action. It starts with discovering the core ‘you’ through self-discovery. Once unmasked, your journey continues with specific career exploration and identification of a career that allows you to make good use of your unique talents. Finding career direction is a process. The more effort you put into the planning, the better your results as you end up with a clear sense of direction. Here are some tips to get you started: • If you could be in a fulfilling career without regards to money, time, or education, what would you do? What do you want to accomplish? What motivates you to choose a certain career path? Why? What kind of person do you want to become? • Brainstorm and use your answers to identify your top three talents. • Make a short list for yourself starting with “I want to be…”, then prioritise the list so that it aligns with who you are. • Perform career research on your shortlisted choices. This will help you reject several possible careers and narrow down to one. • Discover what makes you unique – talents, passions, values and guiding principles. It is wise to identify your top values and to test your potential actions/decisions against them. • Set some goals and develop an implementation plan that will allow for the gradual transition from where you are now to where you want to be. • Write down the steps you need to take or the things you need to accomplish, in order to get there. What qualifications and experience should you get? • Chunk-down your goals into smaller parts and get out of overwhelm. Accomplish them one at a time. Source: Savleen Bajaj is an international success coach, psychologist, speaker, author, facilitator and consultant who works with her clients to achieve personal breakthroughs and holistic success. Visit her website at or contact her on (03) 8802 7983.

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I have always known that I wanted to be an actress, but never really did anything about it besides acting lessons and some ‘extra’ work, because I have no confidence in the way I look. I am eastern European and despite people telling me I am very attractive I just can’t see it. I know I can be good at acting but I am scared and feel like everyone is better than me and that I don’t deserve it. I will be 25 next year and I am moving to Melbourne for a new start. I want this so bad, but I just don’t know how. – Eliska


It’s wonderful to hear that you’re so passionate about your goal for being an actress. It can’t be overstated how important that passion is to keep you inspired toward achieving what you want. Here are a few approaches you may want to explore: • Focus on developing your craft. Regardless of what you may or may not think of your appearance, or what any casting director may be looking for, you’ll need to be continually working on and improving your talent in acting. A key strategy to consider is creating your professional development plan which could include further acting courses, working with an acting coach, networking in the right places and learning as much as you can from as many sources as possible. • Appreciating all you are mentally, emotionally and physically. You have many gifts, as do all of us, and it could be beneficial at this time to take stock of your abilities and qualities. You could create a personal and professional inventory where you list as many things as you can think of about your mental, emotional and physical skills, attributes, achievements, lessons learned and even the opportunities for improvement (but start with the strengths first). This could be something you work on with a mentor, acting coach or life coach. Remember that you have many ‘looks’ you can create as you develop a deeper understanding of different character types you can play, so it may be helpful to work on accepting and appreciating the versatility you have in your own physical appearance, as well as mental and emotional variety. Consider the acting technique of standing in front of a mirror and showing yourself what ‘unconfident’ looks like. Then show yourself what ‘confident’ looks like. Notice the change in posture, facial expressions, etc. • Learn to accept others’ opinions as being valid to them. If others think you’re attractive, discounting what they say means you’re also discounting the real impact you have on others. You may find that you start to accept and believe in yourself more if you took some time to really explore how other people see you and the impact you have on them. Accepting feedback well is going to be a crucial skill for your acting career, so now may be an ideal time to focus on developing this further. As you are about to begin your new start in Melbourne, it could be crucial that you develop a holistic plan about your personal and professional development and to engage people and resources that will help you achieve your ultimate objective. If you’re still unsure what to do next, possibly the first step is to look for a mentor in the acting community to help guide and support you.

Source: Noel Posus is a master coach with 20 years experience as a professional educator, coach and author. He is the founder of coaching business and Incredible Awareness (


Firstly, I just want to say I love your mag! I am 30 years old, have been married for one year and have a beautiful two-year-old daughter. My husband is in the army and in six years we have moved five times. I have had several jobs, mostly in retail and hospitality, I have always been a people person but I am no longer satisfied with sales positions and am looking for more. I am currently a stay-at-home mum which I love, but I am also finding it difficult having started over again in a new city a year ago. I do get myself out there and meet people, but it takes time to establish close relationships with people. I really want to be a productive member of society but my confidence is low and I am really afraid of not succeeding. This is preventing me from starting anything – what if I don’t finish what I start? I really want to feel proud of myself and accomplish ‘something’. Also, although I have been participating in bootcamp three mornings a week, I am piling on weight, in fact 10kg in the past 12 months, coincidently since moving to Adelaide. I am so ready for a change in myself and I really need it. – Sez


Firstly, thank you for sharing so much with us about your journey to date, where you’re at now and your current thoughts about the change you want for the future. And because of the depth of what you’ve shared, there are a number of areas to explore. One of the key messages you’ve shared is your desire to be a contributor. It may be useful to explore what your contribution is now to ensure you’re not under-valuing what you do and provide. An exercise to help here is to create a list of what you contribute to your daughter, to your husband, to the household, to friends (past and present) and to yourself. Some of those lists may be easier than others, and I suspect you’ll find that the contribution you make is actually pretty large. You’ve also shared about what you’re doing for fitness and your concern about energy and weight. Have you considered speaking with your bootcamp trainer about this and also your doctor? There are likely to be key questions that you and they could be discussing which could help identify some longand short-term strategies to address your health goals. The next major element is the combination of ‘what next?’ and developing confidence. This may be a bigger topic than we can adequately handle here. That said, here are some things that could help you get started. Complete the ‘Set Your Goals’ exercise in this Coaching Toolkit. As you set and achieve goals in various areas of your life, this can have a positive effect on your self-confidence, so you may want to start with a few relatively easy-to-achieve objectives and work through them. This could also help you practise finishing what you start. As you work through the small goals, you can continue to explore what some of the bigger goals might be for you. Could you see any benefits with speaking with a career advisor or coach to explore various career options, including those which could allow you to work from home? Is there anything in particular you might like to study which could also support a new career path for you? Sez, it’s easy to see the readiness in you for a change and that’s great. Now, it’s time to identify the specific changes and develop the plans to get there. Source: Noel Posus is a master coach with 20 years experience as a professional educator, coach and author. He is the founder of coaching business and Incredible Awareness (

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Coach Yourself

live your best life







Use this goal-setting tool over the next two months to achieve your goals and improve your 0 social finance social life. Our step-by-step guide will help you get the most from your coaching sessions.



ily m

ily m




ne r



ne r




week 1 10





el w





/ ss ne er si re bu ca

/ ss ne er si re bu ca


Firstly, mark on your calendar the dates when you are going to have your personal coaching sessions at weeks 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8. Write the dates next to each week below and commit to begin your coaching on the start date. 10



Set Your Goals

self Welcome to your first coachingself session and congratulations for taking the first step to improving your life. 10 10 In this first session you will be setting two or three inspiring goals for different areas of your life. Using the coaching models provided, complete the exercises for: family partner partner • Where are you now? • Where do you want to be? 5 5 • Create your goals self


















s/ eser sin re bu ca







Where are you now? 0 finances

Where do you want 0to be? finances





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. business/career



partner 10



A ‘10’business/career means you consider that area is perfect and a ‘0’ means major improvement is neededspirituality . finances



eg. wellbeing 7




5 8


Imagine your life with these results


3 4


business/career 10
























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. wellbeing business/career











Coach Yourself

Areas of life: self



This is your relationship with your ‘self’. Consider how much love, appreciation, acceptance and respect you have for yourself. Do you feel 100 percent happy and confident with who you are, or could this improve?

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

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.



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 you feel?

Similarly, this area refers to how you feel about your relationships with friends and your satisfaction with your level of social/fun activity. Again, provide an average rating of your relationships and social activity.


This is your overall sense of wellbeing and how you feel about your health & fitness.

business & career

This area considers the level of success and/or fulfillment you feel in relation to your business, career or current employment situation.

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

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.

E p s cific Meaningful insPiring pOsitive it! oW En pr sent Realistic

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


Coach Yourself

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. It is .............................. and I feel so .............................................. and .............................................. [Date] [Emotion1] [Emotion 2]

What you want to achieve

I/We................................................................................................................................................................................... I/We................................................................................................................................................................................... I/We................................................................................................................................................................................... Now I/We........................................................................................................................................................................... and I feel............................................................................................................................................................................. [Emotion3]

Why you want to achieve it




of March It is the 15th el excited 2009 and I fe We have and optimistic. sit for our saved the depo We have been first house. d a mortgage an approved for r ok for ou we can now lo Now we can perfect home. family and I finally start a g ly amazing livin feel absolute use. in our own ho

Goal 2

It is th e 30th of Febr 2009 an uary d I fee l so ha and prou p p y d of wh at I ha achieved ve . I have reached goal we my ight of 60kgs a I look nd fantastic . I am healthy fit, and have so muc more en h ergy. No w I can into tha fit t sexy b lack dre and I f ss eel fabu lous.

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

February/March 2009


Coach Yourself

Goal 3

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 goal-setting process – visualise your goals as if you have already achieved them. In your mind, create a visual picture of you achieving your goal – think about where you are, what you are doing, what you are saying, who is with you and, most importantly, how you are feeling.

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 Actions


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


Coach Yourself

Making it Happen (cont.)

Goal 2 Actions


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Goal 3 Actions


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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.

February/March 2009



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.


week 6 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 everyday.

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 everyday. 3. If you’ve achieved your goal, get ready to set some more goals and start again at Week 1.

If you’ve felt over the last few weeks that you need some more support, you may wish to consider seeing a professional life or success coach. While this model is a great guide, nothing will ever replace the power of sitting one-on-one with someone who can support and guide you to achieve your goals. If you are looking for a coach, check out the ‘em Directory’ at, or you may also consider posting a question on the ‘Ask a Coach’ page on the website.


“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough” – Og Mandino (1923 - 1996)



Terry-Lyn says:



Julie Pember was unhappy in many areas of her life when she met life coach Terry-Lyn Stevens on a course in Melbourne two years ago. Terry-Lyn has since helped Julie, 34, get her life back on track – she is healthy, has a great social life, and a year ago set up her own coaching business.

Julie says:

I was in a bit of a rut. I’d returned from overseas to do a job I didn’t like in a town I wasn’t happy living in. I wasn’t very healthy at the time, my energy levels were low, I had a meagre social life, I lacked confidence and was procrastinating about certain things I knew needed change. Terry-Lyn and I had a face-to-face session after we met at a training course in Melbourne, and then a few sessions over the phone while I was back in Queensland. When I moved to Melbourne, we continued to meet in person. We looked at clarifying what it was I wanted in all the different areas of my life. I got some real clarity around what it was I actually wanted so I could focus and set real goals around that. One good thing Terry-Lyn did was get me to look at why I wanted to do those things – the values behind wanting them. We did a matrix of what I had in my life that I want to keep, what I wanted but didn’t have, and what I didn’t want and did have. That got me thinking. I found it challenging

February/March 2009

to go through, but I use this all the time now when I’m evaluating a decision or revaluating where I’m at. One of the biggest changes I made was with work–life balance. I was working lots of hours and going home, thinking about work. Now I’ve got my own business and I have a life. I have friends, weekends and a great social life. I learn Spanish and do all sorts of things – the change has been huge. Another change is in my energy levels – my health wasn’t at its peak, I had allergies and a lot of issues. I worked on diet, expressing myself more and having confidence in myself, and with that work–life balance, I’m fitting in the gym, pilates and fitness. Now my health doesn’t seem to be a problem. Terry-Lyn and I are working on the little things that come up at the moment as I expand my business. They’re not issues, more little projects I’m working on. I’ve been able to continuously use Terry-Lyn’s strategies to help me identify where I’m at in different areas of my life.


When I first met Julie, I got the sense she was very stuck, and wasn’t sure how she could actually change. She was talking a lot about wanting to change her career, not being happy with where she was. She contacted me not long after we met and asked if I’d coach her. Like a lot of people, Julie had goals and dreams, but there was always a ‘but’ or a ‘should’ or an ‘I’ve got to’. When someone expresses that language, my ears prick up. I offer my clients a 16-session program and Julie took that on. Over eight months I got her to explore where she was at, where she wanted to be, and then to look closely at what that vision entailed. Then we worked backwards, implementing the steps to get there. After that she went on a maintenance program and now we still meet, but not as regularly. In the very first session we went through what I call the wheel of focus, looking at different areas [very similar to the goalsetting model in this coaching toolkit]. We looked at health and fitness, finances, work and career, hobbies, personal relationships, friends and family, and spirituality. Then we actually identified where she was with those components and where she wanted to be. For example, on a scale of one to 10, Julie’s health was a four, which is very low – I put anything under five as something to pay attention to. She wanted to bring it up to an eight or nine. What I loved about working with Julie was that she was upfront. She recognised that she was stuck and wanted help. She was always completely honest. If I said, “Why don’t we try this way?”, she would say, “Oh no, I’m not comfortable with that”. I also learn from Julie. Maybe coaches don’t admit this, but we learn from every session – in discovery. I call Julie my gold-star client because she’s still moving forward and creating a great life. She’s committed to her life and I really admire that about her. – As told to Jo Hegerty

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emPOWER Magazine - Feb/Mar 2009  

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