To Greet or Not to Greet – ‘Why?’ is the Question!

Jo takes in the magnificent view of Perth

Jo takes in the magnificent view of Perth city

The young, respectable-looking couple bounced cheerfully up the gravel path towards us, chatting happily with each other and breathing in the delightfully fresh morning air of the Zamia Trail at Perth’s Bold Park. Their facial expressions changed however, from a contented beam to a poker face as they realised they were not alone in this urban wilderness.

My partner, Jo and I were out for an invigorating morning stroll in one of the City’s most beautiful walking trails, surrounded by spectacular, natural Australian bushland and we were descending down the path towards the young adults.

I could sense a certain uncertainty from them as to whether or not they would acknowledge our existence.

“Good morning” I said chirpily and smiled at them. I was proud of myself for getting out of bed to go and do a 5.1 kilometres walk.

The relief on their faces was palpable as they turned towards us and smiled radiantly back without breaking stride, in as perfectly synchronised a fashion as a pair of those bizarre swimmers at the Olympics. The only things missing from the display were the nose plugs and the speedo’s! They were very polite and seemed genuinely cheered that a complete stranger had taken a moment to greet them.

“That was interesting “I observed, deriving a smattering of amusement from my little social experiment.

“What do you mean?” asked Jo, somewhat bemused by my comment.

I had been inspired to conduct this exercise when a memory was jogged in me by a middle-aged gentleman (older than me obviously!) I had said good morning to him only minutes before and he had completely blanked us. Jo had theorised “Maybe he didn’t hear you or maybe he didn’t speak English, or maybe he was just a rude bxxxxxxd!”

The beautiful Hyde Park in Perth

The beautiful Hyde Park in Perth

“That reminds me of something I was pondering a while ago at Hyde Park” I replied.

A while back I had got into a routine of going for very early morning walks around Hyde Park in Perth. That’s when I began thinking about a strange phenomenon that I had noticed.

When you encounter people out walking or jogging early in the morning, most of them it seems, give you the kind of greeting normally reserved for old family members you haven’t seen for years, often accompanied by a weather report.

“G’day mate!” they’ll bellow, “Lovely day for it, eh? Think we’re past the worst of the rains now.” They’re always glowing with positivity and energy, as if there’s some kind of secret battery charger hidden in the bushes next to the lake that they plug themselves into, to start the day beaming. Even the joggers wearing earphones will nod and grin as they bounce past.

Then I noticed that when I walked around that same park later in the day, hardly anyone will move their head, nor will their face crack. Very few will acknowledge you or say hello, unless…

You say it first. If you smile and say hello, in Perth at least, most people will as a minimum, nod and possibly smile. Some will even speak to you. That’s because on the whole, Perth is a friendly city.

I’ve also conducted this experiment overseas, and the one that really blew me away was in England. In London, down South, if you speak to someone in public, especially on the Underground, they will assume you are either (a) an unpredictable nutter or (b) about to mug them. Either way, their initial reaction is often very defensive, and that’s in the daytime. In Manchester, up North, you couldn’t shut them up! If you spoke to a random stranger there, they’d tell you their life story. Now I know where my Mother got it from!

The great ocean views make you smile at Bold Park (Rottnest Island in background)

The great ocean views make you smile at Bold Park (Rottnest Island in background)

 

I realise that some of it is down to population size. Those of you who may remember the ‘Crocodile Dundee’ movies would recall that when the hero, Mick Dundee walked down the street in his Aussie Outback town, everyone knew each other’s business and they all said ‘G’day’ to everyone. When he travelled to New York in the movie’s sequel, it was comical when he walked through a massive crowd trying to say ‘G’day’ to everyone he met until he became overwhelmed.

Some of it may also be a cultural thing. Some nationalities have a culture of being chattier and more open than others. I found that very interesting when I owned a backpackers hostel business for fourteen years.

 

 

One thing I have reaffirmed everywhere though is that a smile is universally understood. A nod with the smile is respectful and polite. Combine those two with a genuine greeting and positive body language and you may just make a new friend. Ignore people or put up a defensive or even hostile countenance and they will mostly ignore you. If you DO make the effort though, you may notice an increase in your own energy.

So there you have my quirky ramblings. The question for you is, ‘To greet or not to greet?’ Don’t grin too hard or people may think you a grinning idiot, but smile warmly and authentically, and the world smiles with you  🙂

Jobs or Opportunities

Jobs or Opportunities

Jobs or Opportunities

The nature of work in today’s society has changed, probably forever. A human resources recruitment manager commented at a seminar that I attended a year or two ago that “Any job that you have in Perth these days is only as secure as a month’s notice.”

Now of course you can argue that there are exceptions. I’ve heard it said by many that it’s extremely difficult to be fired from a government job, short of committing murder, but even government departments have cutbacks and redundancies.

The point that this person was making is that the days of working somewhere your whole life and being presented with the gold watch to commemorate a lifetime of service, are over. Instead, we are judged far less on the basis of longevity in the role, but rather on results and on our career development initiatives.

My own sister recently had the experience of doing a government job on a short term contract. Towards the end of the contract she had to apply for the job she was already doing, believing she had a good chance of staying on as she had been commended by superiors for doing a good job. Someone from outside the organisation got the job, someone not only younger, but who had also gained extra qualifications. So even though they knew that my sister was already doing a good job, the interviewing committee were willing to replace her with someone who was an unknown quantity. To add insult to injury, my sister than had to train the incumbent to replace her. It wasn’t the girl’s fault, she said, so she did her best to train the lady as well as she could before leaving.

So how does this impact on our attitude towards the nature of employment as a concept?

Vocational training has improved

Vocational training has improved

One of the things that has impressed me is the improved nature of vocational training. It has become less about passing or failing, or what grade you got. Rather it has become about gaining competency and keeping ‘at it’ until you do. I’m generalising here, but it seems it has also become expected by employers that employees will actively seek to improve themselves and to gain new skills and knowledge so as to continue to remain more employable and to become a more valuable asset.

The most ironic twist is that whereas it used to be highly regarded and imply traits such as loyalty and reliability to stay at the same company throughout your career, it is now regarded by many employers and their recruitment managers as instead revealing traits like being unadventurous, unambitious, unwilling to learn new skills and knowledge or even risk-averse.

Therefore you could conclude that if you want to develop a career for yourself, YOU have to take responsibility for that development. You can no longer wait for the right boss to notice your good work and offer you a promotion. You have to be willing to make changes and to take risks. You have to learn how to market yourself as an asset to a potential employer.

Furthermore, if you have that extra bit of courage and are willing to take a leap of faith, there are even more opportunities than ever before to start or buy your own business. The risks of failure may be higher, but so are the rewards if you succeed. Here’s a thought though…

The risks of not doing something to promote yourself or to take charge of your own destiny are far greater.

'Knowledge is power' - but only if used!

‘Knowledge is power’ – but only if used!

Unless you seek new skills, knowledge and experience you will become the one they replace. Unless you build a resume to include a variety of positions and different experiences you may become obsolete.

If however, you look for ways of monetising your skills and knowledge, more than ever before, thanks to the improvements in communication and remote access via the internet, you can actually take that plunge and work for yourself, on your terms. The only thing stopping you, is YOU.

I’m a firm believer that every setback creates an even greater opportunity. Granted, sometimes that may not be immediately apparent, such as when you’ve just had your confidence knocked by being made redundant or told that your contract will not be renewed. With the benefit of hindsight however, or with the input of a business coach or life coach, that opportunity may soon become apparent.

As a Perth-based business coach myself, I have personally helped people who have been made redundant to start their own business and rise like a phoenix from the ashes, determined to prove their old boss wrong. As a life coach I’ve also helped people reassess their skills, knowledge and more importantly, their values. That can sometimes lead to a change in direction that is more in alignment with their sources of inspiration.

In the past some people would say, “I can’t risk that – what if it doesn’t work? How will I pay the bills?”

In today’s world of perhaps ‘four weeks’ notice’, is that question as relevant as it used to be?

Is this change in concepts a bad thing? I would answer, “No, it’s just a different thing”.

Do your best in every job or business - make every day a 'Win-Win'

Do your best in every job or business – make every day a ‘Win-Win’

Am I encouraging disloyalty? No, not at all. I’m saying that if you do a job for someone, do it as well as you possibly can. Be as good an employee as you possibly can – in fact, go the extra mile, do more than you are paid for (not to be confused with becoming a martyr!). I’m saying be professional and do your very best. Notch up some achievements in the role that are a win-win for you and your employer. One day you may need a reference. Who knows, you might even buy the company! While you are there, become an asset and learn new skills and knowledge. Read more and go on vocational courses.

If instead you take the leap of faith and start off in business, first do your homework. Ideally speak with a business coach, either call me or another coach that you know or who is recommended to you, but definitely seek advice and set it up properly from the start. That will increase your chances of success dramatically. Ideally, make sure you have some money saved as a fall back, in case your business takes a while to get going. If you can ease into it with a part-time job while you build it up, so much the better. It is always better to have more than one source of income in this brave new world.

A job may or may not be there waiting for you but opportunity is all around you. The questions are, “Are you noticing the opportunities and are you willing to take action towards achieving them?”

My closing thought to leave you to ponder today is, “How would you like your life to be and which job or business would best help you transform that vision into a reality?”

*****

I’m Tony Inman, a business and lifestyle coach and author who specialises in helping business owners and executives to be more successful and to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. If you’d like a chat about your situation, feel free to contact me via my website or by leaving me a message on (08) 9328 2203.

Success can be found in the Little Commitments

Robertson Park trees

Robertson Park trees

“I wonder how they sleep at night?” I pondered. As I entered the beautiful Robertson Park in North Perth, where the ancient trees have watched serenely over several generations of less becalmed humans, I smiled at the bright blue skies of another dreamy, Western Australian Spring day. I was greeted by a discarded plastic bottle and a piece of paper rubbish, yet only several metres in front of me, I noticed a rubbish bin.

Realising that the poor litterbugs responsible must have been so worn out by their amble through the park that they hadn’t been able to muster up the last morsels of inner strength to crawl those extra few paces to toss their droppings in the receptacle provided, I decided to rescue their spiritual souls from the crippling guilt they were no doubt feeling and to do the job for them.

I was reminded of an old Buddhist friend of mine who had made it a daily ritual to pick up at least two pieces of rubbish and dispose of them. We cannot control the actions of the rest of the world’s population, but we CAN each do our part.

As I recommenced my daily ritual of going for a walk, to ensure at least a modicum of exercise to break up my sadly sedentary routine, I reflected on how small, regular commitments are in fact the key to success.

Success has a multitude of definitions to suit each individual, yet one concept links those definitions – that is the concept that success involves the fulfilment of our own unique values.

If you value money, then the attainment of wealth may satisfy your requirement; if you value cars, then owning that red Ferrari may allow you to be the king of the road; if you value family, then having them close may be the key; travel may tick your box – you get the idea.

If other people value different things to you, as many surely will, then that is their gig. ‘Judge not, lest you be judged’ or to use another cliché, ‘Live and let live’.

A Black Swan family at Hyde Park

A Black Swan family at Hyde Park

In saying that, I couldn’t help ponder at why someone would drop rubbish in such a beautiful park when there was a bin only a few steps away, but there you go – one of my values is about respecting the beauty of the environment where I have chosen to reside and which I share with my neighbours. I was brought up to believe that it’s courteous and respectful to go and put your rubbish in the bin. Perhaps these people had no such guidance from their families. In Australia we are very fortunate that it’s one of our national values to keep the place clean. Not everyone complies of course, but I have been shocked when I visited places like Bali or English train stations – the contrast is staggering!

Here’s a thought for you to consider, however: if you were to adopt a daily routine of picking up just two pieces of rubbish each day and putting them in a bin, the ripple effect could be huge.

Imagine therefore, if you could make a small commitment to two little actions each day or even to two little actions relating to a particular goal or idea each week, the change you could effect over a long period would literally blow your mind.

For example, reading two chapters of a book each day might average out to reading a book each fortnight, or 26 books over a year. I read somewhere that the average Australian reads one book per year after leaving high school. If that were true, then in theory you might be gaining knowledge at a rate that is 26 times faster than the average Joe!

Hyde Park, Perth

Hyde Park, Perth

If you walked two laps of the park each day that would be 730 laps each year. If you called two extra people each day that would be 730 contacts you might never have made. If you made eye contact and consciously smiled at two extra people each day, you would begin a wave of joy. If you committed two acts of kindness per day, you could help a community.

Success is not so much the mountain to climb that we might think. Rather, it is a collection of small, daily decisions that we make and act upon to support our core values, for in doing so we become a person whom we and other observers will value.

Until next time, remember to seize the day 🙂

Tony Inman

Business and Life Coach at Club Red Inspiration

The Aircraft Behaviour Phenomenon and How That Mirrors Life

Coach Tony Inman talks about behaviour on aircraftThe big commercial jet screeched on the bitumen, then rumbled off the runway, slowing as it turned to taxi to the disembarkation gate at Perth airport. The stewardess made the usual announcement about keeping your seatbelts fastened and not switching on mobiles until we were inside the terminal building, yet even before she had finished, even before the seatbelt sign had pinged above our heads, you could hear the rebellious clicks of unlocking seatbelts.

One of the reason’s I haven’t done as many of my usual blogs on this site recently is that my girlfriend, Jo and I have been away having too much fun and living the dream! This landing was our sixteenth flight in 31 days as we returned to Perth from our South American adventure, taking in such sights as Macchu Picchu, the Amazon jungle, the Iguazu falls, Rio de Janeiro and Chichen Itza.

On all sixteen of those flights, this same phenomenon occurred. I’ve always been fascinated by people’s behaviour, long before I began life and business coaching. The passengers in the aisle seats would leap up from their seats to grab their hand luggage from the overhead lockers and squeeze their way into the aisle if possible. Those passengers in the middle seats would try to get their bags as well, but even if they couldn’t, they then stood in a hunched position with their heads pushed up uncomfortably against the bulk head in a tortuous position, remaining that way by their own volition for several minutes. Those people stuck in the window seats looked pained and frustrated. Their faces had expressions as if to say, “What am I going to do? I’m stuck! What if I’m stuck on this plane forever?”

Flying over the spectacular Andes

Flying over the spectacular Andes

There are always the irritating people too – the ones with an annoying cough – the sort where you think a lung is about to come up; or those who sneeze repeatedly on the people around them, leading you to wonder if this is the flight that is carrying the latest pandemic virus, the one on which you should have worn an unfashionable breathing mask or perhaps not even have boarded. There’s always at least one person having an unnecessarily loud conversation on their mobile phone, blaring out to all the disinterested people around them what they plan to do for the rest of the weekend. Plus of course there’s always at least one screaming child whose ears hurt as they pop and they can’t understand why.

As you all finally shuffle impatiently down the aisle, you notice one or two passengers who have chosen to remain in their seats. “What’s wrong with them?” you think. “Why don’t they want to get off? Are they retarded? Everyone’s getting off!” Even if you offer to let them out into the aisle, they decline with a knowing smile. Those strange people are the very same passengers that you later see passing you in the next queue at Customs. “How did that happen?” you ponder. “Is there no justice?”

To add insult to injury, those same people again are the ones whose hold luggage comes out first! You see them casually sauntering away, without a care in the world, while your bags take an eternity. In South America, most of the time, the bags would be split between a couple of different trucks, so one bag might come through straight away and the other might be the very last to appear on the conveyor belt. There’s always that anxiety when you’re wondering if yours is the one that fell off the back of the truck and got lost that day, followed by huge relief as you spot it in the distance.

Then you see a sniffer dog heading for your luggage and you begin to wonder if some drug lord has chosen your very bag in which to stash something unsavoury! “Phew!” you thinks as the dog wags its tail and toddles on past.

Then you spot one of the passengers who had stood with their neck squeezed against the bulk head and you wonder, ‘I bet they have a sore neck tonight. Why did they do that?’

So I began wondering about this whole travel behaviour pattern that I have seen repeated on almost every flight I’ve ever taken, and I have taken a lot over the years. “Why do we do the same thing that everyone else does?”

Is it because people are afraid of flying and they can’t wait to get off the plane? Is it because they’ve been sat in a confined space for too long and they just need to stand up, so desperately that they will hunch even more uncomfortably than if they had remained seated? Neither of those make any sense, because we all know that you’re going nowhere until the crew opens the door, and that can sometimes take a while. Or perhaps they are in such a huge rush to get on with their ‘busy’ lives and they think that by standing uncomfortably and looking impatient, somehow the crew will magically beam them off the aircraft?

Mayan ceremony - travel provides fantastic opportunities to study human behaviour

Mayan ceremony – travel provides fantastic opportunities to study human behaviour

Some passengers, when made to wait more than a few minutes become increasingly agitated and even rude to their fellow passengers or the crew. Others become gallant knights, helping the elderly by passing down their heavy bags from the overhead lockers. The frailest on the plane always seem to have the most luggage. How does that happen?

Another thing I noticed is that no matter how many times the crew come around collecting rubbish from people, as you exit the aircraft you will see mounds of garbage throughout the plane, and the worst section is the one where the passengers have paid the most to be there. Is it some kind of rule that first class passengers have to make more mess than economy passengers? Is it a measure of your importance that you have to leave more mess behind as some kind of status symbol?

Human behaviour is learned by observation, duplication and repetition or by simple survival instinct. If there was an emergency disembarkation, they’d be acting on survival instinct, meaning they’d probably be pushing others out of the way in their quest for personal survival. It would actually make more sense for the disembarking to be done the same way as the boarding – a few rows at a time, with everyone else remaining seated until called. Admittedly, there has rarely been a problem with aircraft at the end of the flight, but in reality you are still surrounded by aviation fuel and inflammable materials. If there were to be a stampede, then it would be safer with the bags still in their lockers.

So how does this behaviour manifest itself in the rest of your life? Are you operating on survival mode and irrationally reacting to external events? Are you simply following learned behaviour patterns and going through the motions? Are you just doing what everyone else does because that’s the way you think it’s supposed to be? Or are you living your life on purpose and steadily working towards pre-determined goals in congruence with your values?

Where we wanted to be - the Mayan wonder of the world at Chichen Itza

Where we wanted to be – the Mayan wonder of the world at Chichen Itza

In Earl Nightingale’s famous speech on ‘The Strangest Secret’ he explained that “Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy goal or ideal”. If you are exactly where you want to be, doing exactly what you want to do and living life exactly as you want to, then you are already a success, no matter what anyone else thinks!

If not, then you will most effectively unleash your creativity if you invest the time to reflect on what your values really are, the kind of person you really want to be and what you are willing to do to make that happen. It’s not always easy to be so reflective and so creative – sometimes people are stuck or are overwhelmed by the challenges they face. That’s often why they talk to a coach or seek a mentor like me, to help figure out what they really want, both in business and in life and to devise effective strategies for ultimate success. When is the right time to figure that out? It’s as soon as you are ready – ready to move away from the pain of overwhelm or from being stuck; and ready to move towards the joy of fulfilling your creative potential. Where you are today is a result of the choices you have made in life so far and the resources you have made use of. Where you may be tomorrow depends on the choices you can make and the resources you invest in from this point forwards.

Until then, I hope that you make each day the best day it can be for you and for those around you.

 

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Let Your Light Shine

Nelson Mandela - Former President of South Africa

Nelson Mandela – Former President of South Africa

“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Nelson Mandela

From his 1994 inaugural speech

(written by Author Marianne Williamson)

President Mandela’s speech captivated the world.

As a man who spent 26 years in prison for speaking out against the racist regime of apartheid in South Africa, he did not speak of revenge for the injustice – he simply promoted peace and harmony.

He encouraged people to overcome their fears and be the best they could be.

So the question is ‘ Are you allowing your light to shine or are you letting your fears get in the way?’

Food for thought!

Here is the full speech:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is written within us.

It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

 

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Xhosa pronunciation: [xoˈliːɬaɬa manˈdeːla]; born 18 July 1918) is a South African anti-apartheid activist, revolutionary and politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, the first to be elected in a fully representative, multiracial election. His administration focused on dismantling apartheid’s legacy, and cutting racism, poverty and inequality. Politically a democratic socialist, he served as president of the African National Congress (ANC) political party from 1991 to 1997.

Image and background information courtesy of Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela

How About That For A Leap Of Faith?

Felix Baumgartner took a giant leap of faith

Felix Baumgartner took a giant leap of faith

For English speaking people, the name ‘Felix Baumgartner’ sounds a little quirky, which fits quite nicely with why his name will be remembered for a very long time.

Millions of astonished TV viewers around the world watched as the 43 year old Austrian thrillseeker took a huge leap of faith to plummet over 39,000 meters (128,000 feet) from his helium balloon above the Earth.

This was no random act of attention-seeking frivolity, however.

In making the jump, Felix became the first human being to break the 768 miles per hour sound barrier in freefall.

In fact he reached a top speed of 1,340 km per hour (833 mph).

“If something goes wrong, the only thing that might help you is God. The only thing that you hear is yourself breathing.”

said Felix before making the world record jump.

The risks don’t even bear thinking about. Had Felix’s specially designed $235,000 pressure suit failed in the stratosphere, his blood would have boiled.

Had it failed during freefall, his heart would have stopped and his eyeballs would have burst.

The bottom line is that failure would almost certainly have meant death.

The obvious question people asked Felix was “Why did you do it?”

“For the same reason people climbed Mount Everest.”

This record breaking leap of faith also provided vital scientific research as mankind continues the quest to explore life opportunities beyond Earth.

Will you venture into the unknown?

Will you venture into the unknown?

Baumgartner was covered in monitors that will provide invaluable information for scientists and spacecraft designers, who need safe escape options for passengers in the future, about the effects on the human body.

It did not escape my attention that Red Bull sponsored the Stratos capsule from which Felix jumped. They are making a habit of supporting adventure sports and are a great example of how companies can align their effective marketing with missions that advance humanity.

I don’t get the impression that this will swell Felix’s head too much though, as he made this wonderful comment:

“Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you really are.”

It makes you think though doesn’t it.

If Felix Baumgartner can take a leap of faith like that, with those kind of potential risks, where in your life might you risk taking a teeny bit bigger leap of faith?

Food for thought!

Have a great day 🙂

To the rest of the world watching…

Oprah Winfrey loved Australia

Oprah Winfrey

“To the rest of the world watching, you have got to come to Australia,” said Oprah Winfrey during filming of her show from the Sydney Opera House in December 2010.

The Queen of Entertainment summed up her experiences Down Under with a huge thumbs up for the Lucky Country, when she screamed to her audience of 6000 guests at Oprah’s Ultimate Australian Adventure show, “I love Australia, I love Australia, I love Australia,”.

Oprah Winfrey has been reported to be one of the richest, if not the richest, and most influential women in the world today.

Love her or hate her (though I find it hard to imagine why you would), she has been, and continues to be, one of the most profoundly inspirational characters of our era.

Like most high achievers though, Oprah has an amazing story – one that has shaped the great charismatic figure though hardship and struggle.

Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood. She experienced considerable hardship during her childhood, including being raped at the age of nine and becoming pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy.

Oprah receiving a peace medal from President Obama

Oprah receiving a peace medal from President Obama

Sent to live with the man she calls her father, a barber in Tennessee, Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19. Her emotional ad-lib delivery eventually got her transferred to the daytime talk show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place she launched her own production company, Harpo, and she became internationally syndicated.

Credited with creating a more intimate confessional form of media communication, Oprah is thought to have popularized and revolutionized the tabloid talk show.

By the mid 1990s, she had reinvented her show with a focus on literature, self-improvement, and spirituality. Though criticized for unleashing confession culture and promoting controversial self-help fads, she is often praised for overcoming adversity to become a benefactor to others.

From 2006 to 2008, her support of Barack Obama, by one estimate, delivered over a million votes in the close 2008 Democratic primary race, to aid his achievement in becoming the first African American President.

Oprah’s programmes have made her an iconic figure across the globe and along with her work for charitable institutions, she has been acclaimed as one of the greatest philanthropists in American History, if not World History.

tony-sydney-harbour-bridgeTony’s Viewpoint: I am always fascinated and inspired by people who overcome adversity and pursue their dreams with single-minded determination – especially when the achievement of them is of such incredible benefit to so many other people in the world.

To think that your own vision for your future can impact so magnificently on the lives of people you may never even meet, is truly uplifting.

In Oprah’s early days, she used to annoy me when interviewing, because I felt that she wanted to answer her own questions before her guests could! Since then, though she has learned so much and helped so many, she is amazing.

One of Oprah’s key messages is that it is really important to find time to relax and nourish your spirit. If you need any help with finding work/life balance, feel free to contact me via this site.

The Shoe Salesman in Africa

 

A Shoe Salesman in Africa

The Shoe Salesman in Africa

It’s all about perspective…

There’s a timeless story about a shoe salesman, whose Company one day decided to give him a new opportunity. They sent him to Africa to launch their new product range.

He was very excited to have been chosen for such a promotion, but within a week of arrival, he was on the phone to his boss back home, sounding very dejected and disheartened,

“Boss, I’m sorry, but you may as well bring me back home. This is a complete waste of my time and the Company’s money. No-one wears shoes in Africa!”

The boss agreed to let him come home, as he didn’t want unhappy staff.

He decided however, to give another of his salesman a try instead.

Within a week, the second shoe salesman was on the phone to his boss, barely able to contain his excitement!

“Boss, this is amazing! Quick – send me more shoes! Give me everything you’ve got – no-one wears shoes in Africa!

Tony Inman Tony’s View:

The moral of the story is that we can all choose how we look at things in life. Some of us get bogged down in the problems and the obstacles. The go-getters see only the opportunity and the prize. It’s never too late to change your personal filters!

 

 

On a positive ‘foonote’, whilst looking for a photo for this post, I found a heartening story from Shannon Cook of CNN:

 

 

Blake Mycoskie asks "What's afoot?"

Blake Mycoskie asks “What’s afoot?”

 

 

Step into Blake Mycoskie’s shoes for a day, and you might wind up feeling enlightened. Not just because the shoes he wears are incredibly lightweight, but because they transport him to regions of the globe where footwear is a rare, precious commodity.

 

So what are these magical slippers? They’re called TOMS, and they’re the foundation of Mycoskie’s one-for-one business principle: for every pair of TOMS sold, the 32-year-old gives a pair to a child in need.

The idea came to Mycoskie — who calls himself a “serial entrepreneur” whose first company was a laundry business he started in college — while he was vacationing in Argentina. He says he was overwhelmed by the sight of children living without shoes. But instead of simply starting a charity, he decided he could better serve by launching a for-profit business.

 

Tony’s Take-away: Look at ways of helping others and you will simultaneously help yourself.