The Power of Intention

The strength of your intention determines whether or not you cross the finish lineImagine that feeling you get when a plan you’ve had for a while finally all comes together. Sometimes the rush is so strong that it gives you goose-bumps. So, if it feels that good, why don’t we make it happen more often?

We often say to ourselves that life just got in the way; that there wasn’t enough time; that we didn’t have the resources; that it was just too hard; sometimes the rationalisations border on the embarrassing.

The difference between wishing for a thing though and really wanting it, until it possibly feels like a burning obsession, is that level of desire.

Desire is not necessarily a bad thing, or a lustful or greedy thing – it can be simply a non-negotiable self-determination to see a thing through; to do whatever it takes to make the idea become a reality.

The litmus test is to ask ourselves, “Am I serious about this? Is it merely a wish or a is it a serious desire?” Wishes might come true, but they rarely lead to the same commitment to action, and taking action is what brings about change.

Here’s the icing on the cake – the more you follow through with the little decisions, the more you believe in yourself and the easier it becomes to make your ideas take shape. That’s why winners become adept at keeping on winning.

What do You, Arjen Brandsma and Eleanor Rigby Have in Common?

'Would you like a song named after you?' asks life coach Tony Inman

Would you like a song named after you?

I’m guessing you may have heard of Eleanor Rigby? Her name is the title of a song written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon of the somewhat famous band, ‘The Beatles’. If you haven’t heard of them, please ask your parents!

I’m also guessing that you may not have heard of Arjen Brandsma? Who is or was he and what does he have in common with Eleanor Rigby?

I have to confess that all I know about Arjen is that he was a ‘Friend of Hyde Park’ in North Perth. I discovered that this morning when I decided to sit on a park bench and admire the beautiful scenery, the flowing fountain, the majestic trees, the ducks diving in the lake for food and the proud Black Swan parents shepherding their baby signets, whilst on my morning walk today. There was a small plaque bearing his name on the bench, but alas my efforts to discover anything more about this benefactor have so far drawn a blank.

It got me thinking though. I remembered the famous Scottish comedian, Billy Connolly telling us during his show in Perth that he has a special place overlooking a lake where he would like to have a bench named after him, so that fishermen for years to come could be spiritually joined with him as his ghost looks out at the spectacular vista.

'What purpose do you want to be remembered for?' asks life strategist Tony Inman

What purpose do you want to be remembered for?

The name Eleanor Rigby actually started out as Daisy Hawkins when Paul McCartney began composing a song one day at his piano. The song originally started with “Daisy Hawkins picks up the rice in the church”, whereas the name Eleanor was inspired by actress, Eleanor Bron, who had starred with the Beatles in the movie, ‘Help’. Rigby apparently came from the name of a shop in Bristol. McCartney later conceded that he might have subconsciously stored the name from having seen a tombstone in the graveyard of St. Peter’s Church in Liverpool, where history states that he first met John Lennon at a garden fete in July 1957. The gravestone belonged to a real Eleanor Rigby, whom researchers say, lived a lonely life, just like the lady in the song.

So what does this have to do with you?

Have you ever stopped to think about your legacy?

What will be your gift to the world to denote your very existence?

The obvious answer for most of us parents, is our children and hopefully our grandchildren. For some who achieve fame, their exploits may live on in the history books. Sports stars, musicians, authors, poets, politicians – all hope to make their mark on history’s page. Business moguls build hospitals and schools or perhaps their name adorns a library or is the title of a charitable organisation.

Is fame the most important legacy or just a means to be able to positively influence the world?

Is fame the most important legacy or just a means to be able to positively influence the world?

It’s clearly a human trait to want to feel special; to have a sense of purpose; that our life means something; that we matter now and that later on, when our human form has returned to dust, that we mattered.

I know that might all seem a bit sombre, because it means acknowledging our mortality, but here’s the exciting part of my ponderings today…

Assuming you’re still alive and kicking, you still have time to pull a metaphorical rabbit out of your hat. You see, you are the one who has control of your own thoughts and actions, nobody else – YOU.

So YOU can decide what meaning you wish to ascribe to your life. You can be a criminal and become infamous; you can be a leader or a teacher and become influential; you might be able to be a sports star, a writer or an actor, or follow any of the other pursuits that I mentioned before.

 

 

Proud parents with their legacy

Proud parents

Would you like to leave the world a memory of you?

In memoriam

A view to die for

A view to die for

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It all starts with how you think – how you think about the world; what you think of yourself and your capabilities and what it is that inspires you.

You really can make a huge difference with a bunch of small decisions. It could start with something as simple as the decision to go for a walk and admire nature, or the decision to help another human being in need. It could even start with a decision to smile or say something nice to someone and make their day.

If you haven’t yet come up with the grand design, maybe you’d benefit from a chat with a life coach, business coach or strategist like me (of course I had to shamelessly promote myself somewhere!). Until then, however, you can start with the small decisions. Never underestimate the power of small decisions to have a massive ripple effect. Those are the small dots we later connect backwards…’It was only after I decided to (this thing) that (another thing) happened’.

Whatever you’re doing with your life right now, I urge you to be happy and despite all of our human failings and setbacks, to decide to do your best to leave others around you feeling happier for having encountered you.

Even Eleanor Rigby’s sadness later brought joy to others in the form of inspired music. Arjen provided a bench for me to peacefully enjoy nature’s magnificence. What, if anything, will you do differently now?

Feel free to contact me for a chat over a coffee about what you would like to achieve and what strategies you need to help you get there. Telephone: 0419 860 382

Why Rupert Told Reginald He Should Be Grateful His Life Was Crap

Is your life tough? asks coach Tony Inman

“Life? Don’t talk to me about life!”

“My wife just left me, the house burnt down, my dog’s run off and I just got fired!” said Reginald, a miserable looking mouse of a man, his hair unkempt and his clothes crumpled, dejectedly nursing his beer in the darkest corner of the pub. His life sounded like a Country and Western song.

“Never mind mate. You’ve got to look at the positives and feel grateful for what you still have. A lot of people would love to be in your situation! You’ve just got to be more up tempo.” said his friend, Rupert, a man who had been unable to hold down a regular job, and who actually hated his own life, yet who also happened to be a recently qualified ‘success coach’.

Rupert had read ‘The Secret’ and was eagerly awaiting the definitely imminent arrival of his lotto winnings cheque in the mail. He was also a master of ‘positivity’ and spin. He had even had his social media image photo-shopped to make himself appear like a Hollywood star.

You’ve probably heard coaches like Rupert talking about the power of gratitude before, yet if you’re going through a difficult time when you hear that, it’s easy to understand why you might feel somewhat cynical about the well-intentioned advice. You might even tell Rupert to stick his advice where the sun doesn’t shine!

Now to go back to the example – it’s entirely possible that Reginald (a) had drifted apart from his nagging wife and despised her anyway; (b) never really liked his dimly-lit but fully-insured house; (c) never wanted the dog that had originally belonged to his wife and her former lover; and (d) hated that job and his bullying boss and had only just been offered better employment for higher pay, this very week!

bourbon-on-cereal

Are you feeling somewhat challenged by life’s disappointments?

It’s also possible that none of these positive slants existed and that Reginald has every reason to feel like putting bourbon on his corn flakes every day, just to numb the pain.

We never really know what someone else is going through. We can imagine what it might feel like. We can even sympathise with how we think it would feel if we were them, yet we’re not them. We don’t see the world exactly the same way as them and they may not have the same coping mechanisms as us, nor may they have the same strength of character that we believe we possess.

At the risk of sounding a tad ‘Rupert-esque’, it’s fair to say however, that there is always someone, somewhere, whose situation is a damn sight worse than yours. Nevertheless, if your leg is injured and it’s giving you a lot of pain, you can be told that another man’s leg was amputated or that yet another’s was badly burned and you can understand the difference between their plight and your own. You can even accept on a logical level that you should probably feel ‘lucky’. Yet despite this knowledge, it doesn’t stop the fact that your leg still hurts.

Now this is the point in my article where I ask you to indulge me for a moment. You can call me a ‘Rupertian disciple’ if you like, but just for a moment, consider this…

My delightful coach, who is absolutely beautiful both on the inside and the outside, is also a very smart lady. (Yes, even coaches have coaches! We know the value of it more than most.) A while ago, she told me to start a new habit that would have a very positive impact on my life. My coach advised me to get an empty jar and label it my jar of ‘gratitude and happiness’. She instructed me to develop the new habit of writing down each day on little slips of paper at least one, and preferably three, of the things in my life for which I could feel grateful or about which I could feel happy.

My Gratitude Jar

My Gratitude Jar

Knowing that my coach is a smart cookie, and with me being, at least most of the time, an ‘action-taker’, I did it. Now I can openly admit that I wasn’t disciplined enough to remember to do it every day, but whenever I did miss a day, I didn’t beat myself up about it. I just wrote something extra the next day. For example, I wrote things like, “I’m incredibly grateful for having a wonderful girlfriend” or “I’m so blessed to have such amazing children”. It could even be random things like, “It made me happy to give that shop assistant a compliment and to see by her smile that it had made her day.” I even wrote good things down on my crappiest of days. I even smiled at the irony of it sometimes, because yes, it’s true – even a ‘change catalyst’ like me has bad days too!

At the end of the year, I opened the jar and read all my little messages. All I could say was “Wow!” The impact was huge. Not only that, but my girlfriend said she would make it her goal to give me good reason to write even more sweet little messages about her, during the next year, which she actually did.

So, if you think you’re just feeling a bit down or that life’s not so special, give this a try – I promise you it works. If your life is really as bad as Reginald’s in my little story above, then maybe you do need to talk things through with an experienced coach, or a counsellor or a psychologist even. Sometimes life does hand us really tough challenges, it’s true, and sometimes you do need some external help to get you through it. If that’s the case, then let me encourage you to seek help without delay from the appropriate professional. (I fit the first of those descriptions, so feel free to contact me if you’re feeling stuck, or over-whelmed, or you just know that you could really benefit from having a professional sounding-board.)

I’ll finish though with this thought. Actually, it’s more than a thought, it’s commonly accepted as a proven fact by those who have successfully conquered many challenges in their lives… (and I can vouch for it myself).

“When you focus on the things in your life for which you can feel grateful and happy, you will automatically empower yourself to be better, to do more and to have better outcomes.”

~ Tony Inman, ‘The Change Catalyst’

If you don’t believe me, just try it for one month. I now write mine in a journal and that’s another topic for another day, but do whichever works for you. Do please let me know how you go and do remember to have an awesome month, filled with gratitude and happiness.

Overwhelm – Why it Happens and How to Deal with it

Do you find it all goes wrong at once?

Do you find it all goes wrong at once?

“Why me?” you shout loudly inside your own head. “Why am I in this mess and why is everything happening all at once?”

They are good questions, but do you stop your brain from whirring around in circles like a hamster wheel long enough to answer them?

Some people have a great relationship with themselves, while others don’t. Now that might sound really bizarre, but let me elaborate.

Firstly, you may be relieved to know that it’s quite normal to feel overwhelmed, especially with the pace of our modern world and the often unreasonable expectations that we allow society to place on us sometimes.

I find many of my coaching clients start off by engaging my services because they are simply swamped with everything that’s going on in their world. A lot of this is because they are unwittingly lumping all of their problems together as if it was one massive, all-consuming and life-threatening blob. I understand– I’ve been there myself.

Stress head

 

Part of why people struggle to deal with this tsunami of anxiety is that they haven’t learned how to ask themselves better questions. Another factor is that most people simply don’t think, and by that I mean that they don’t step back away from their crazy life and review it as if they had temporarily stepped outside of themselves. That’s one advantage I have straight away as their coach – I’m not them, so I can perceive it differently.

 

So let’s go back to the question of your relationship with yourself. Here are a few key questions:

  • Have you ever taken the time to reflect on who you are?
  • Have you thought about your own strengths and weaknesses?
  • Have you asked yourself ‘What are my core values?’
  • What do you like about yourself?
  • What do you dislike about yourself?

There are many more I could ask you, but that’s enough for now to make the point. The better you know yourself, the more resilient you become. That immediately means that you increase your ability to cope with stress and adversity, including a sense of overwhelm. It’s like putting on a life-jacket and sailing over the top of that tsunami I mentioned.

So part of dealing with overwhelm is realising that you CAN. Recognising your own capacity for having competently handled previous situations builds your confidence for dealing with this latest blob of yukky stuff.

Secondly, I’ll go back to an old tried and trusted question – “How do you eat an elephant?” Don’t worry I’m not actually proposing that you do! The answer though if you were to undertake that task, would be “A mouthful at a time”.

In other words, the reason you are often overwhelmed is that you are looking at ‘everything’ as one monstrous problem, when you’d be better served by breaking it down into bite-sized morsels. If you’re a visual person or a kinaesthetic learner (more attuned to feelings than images), write down your problem on a big piece of paper, then separate it out into smaller problems, even tearing off the separate pieces and moving them around on a table. If you’re a person who learns through audio, speak these problems out loud and ask yourself (and answer) the full range of five ‘W’’s and one ‘H’ question:

Who? What? Why? When? Where? And How?

Now here’s the secret gem that you deserve for having read my post today. Ask yourself this:

“What would be a better question?”

The key here is to separate the ‘problem’ into smaller ‘problems’, then examine them in turn to see what can be done about them.

Here’s another nugget – If they still seem like problems, ask yourself:

‘What lesson or lessons is the Universe trying to teach me here?’ and ‘How could this be seen as an opportunity?’

Going through those processes doesn’t always make the problems disappear, but it certainly helps you to look at them differently and perhaps to seek alternative resources. In the best examples, you can turn them around completely and wonder why you ever felt overwhelmed in the first place.

One family I started working with a while ago were in complete turmoil. They were trying to build their business but it seemed to be going wrong. They felt as if they didn’t really know how to run their business. They had staff who were not really the right people for the job. They were in the middle of renovating their home, whilst living in it, so they had builders and tradies coming and going. They had two very young children – you know how demanding that alone can be. They were battling and feeling chaotically swamped.

Do you see the glass as half-full or completely full?When I started asking them about their aspirations for the business, I continued to ask how that business would fit in the overall context of their lives. I asked them what was on their ‘bucket list?’ They answered with, “We don’t like to think about those things because we know we’ll probably never make them happen!”

Long story short, we separated the issues. We figured out a long-term and exit strategy, re-branded their business, recruited a new team, identified and worked on their skill-sets and rebuilt their self-confidence. Today they are way ahead of that dark day. They now have a swimming pool and play areas in their back yard for their children. They are taking holidays with their family and their business is in far better shape.

It starts with asking yourself better questions, like changing “Why can’t we have that lifestyle?” to “How could we make that happen?”

If you need any help with it, feel free to contact me via this website for a chat or call  0419 860 382. 

 

 

 

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  🙂

Do You Suffer from ‘If-only-itis?’

Do you ever ask yourself 'If only I'd..."At any dinner table, at any barbecue in Australia, or in any bar conversation, have you ever heard these words come out of your mouth? – “If only I’d…”

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, pretty much most of us have uttered these words in frustration at some point. We’ve all had that business idea we were going to start, that bargain property we should have bought, that person we ought to have spoken to; the list of ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’s’ is endless.

Equally, we may have the other list: the idea we shouldn’t have followed through with, the car we should never have bought, the moron we wish we had never dated. Our list of perceived ‘failures’ may equal or even exceed our list of perceived ‘successes’.

I use the word ‘perceived’ because it’s my belief that we are in a world of constant change, both external and internal. That which you perceive as a disaster today may just turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you! You may be fired from a great job today – ‘a disaster’, only to be offered a better one tomorrow. Suddenly the firing was no longer a ‘disaster’ but a life-changing opportunity. It’s all in how we choose to look at it and how new information and ideas can change our perception.

This may make sense to you intellectually, but then you might say to me, “Well, what about my Father passing away or my wife leaving me?” When you are emotionally distraught, it’s pretty hard to swallow the concept that this may yet turn out to be a good thing in terms of your personal growth as a human being. I understand completely and I’m not in any way belittling or demeaning the grief or pain that someone may be going through. I’ve been through enough myself to ‘get’ that.

What I am saying though is that we always have choices.

I didn’t choose for my wife to leave me, though in the end it was a relief for both of us. I didn’t choose for my father to die, though in the end I felt it was a relief that his suffering from illness was ended. I was devastated for a while and that’s normal. There is a time and a place for processing your stages of shock, denial, hurt, anger and eventual acceptance. That’s all part of being human. The key point there is that some things are beyond our control, like our mortality and that of our loved ones. That’s when and why we have to dig deep inside ourselves and remind us of who we are and of the incredible potential that each one of us has.

Each one of us is a miracle – just by the very fact of our existence. I’m not addressing religion here, just the nature of life itself. We all have an opportunity to choose, perhaps not everything that happens ‘TO’ us, but definitely ‘HOW WE RESPOND’ to what happens to us. Funerals, though they are about grief and loss, have evolved to remind us of the joy we can give each other – they have transformed into a celebration of the life of a human being and the way in which they touched the lives around them. That is a source of great comfort that helps ease the pain of loss.

We alone can choose how to respond

We alone can choose how to respond

We can either allow ourselves to be crushed by external events or we can choose to respond internally and bounce back, set a new course, learn from our experiences and create change.

There are enough examples all around us of people who have seemingly lost everything that they cared about, yet they bounced back. Why?

Perhaps it’s because they accepted that what happened, happened and instead of being stuck with the affliction or disease of ‘If-only-itis’, they chose their own response. They chose change. They chose life.

Nelson Mandela chose to forgive his captors after ‘losing’ 26 years of his life in prison with his crusade to transform a nation. Gandhi chose to fight occupation and perceived injustice with passive protest to transform a nation. Muhammad Ali gave up a world championship title, won in a ‘controlled’ violent sport, to oppose conscription to fight a bloody war against people with whom he had no personal conflict. With that decision he gave up everything he had fought for to stand for something greater – for his core values of peace and harmony in the world.

You CAN create your own ripple of change

You CAN create your own ripple of change

Your battles may be less dramatic or may seem way less significant to the universe. You may justify maintaining your status quo by saying that those people were exceptional. Yet, they were just people. Had they stayed ‘stuck’ and muttered ‘If only…’ we would probably not have noticed them. You may not believe it now, but you may be Just like them and your personal choices just might have a ripple effect beyond anything you have yet imagined.

If you know someone who is suffering from that dreaded curse of wallowing in ‘If-only-itis’, maybe you can help. Perhaps you can give them a call, possibly invite them somewhere that might encourage them, or simply be kind in whatever way you can.

If you are stuck, whether in your business or in your life, feel free to contact me for a chat, using the website form or by calling (08) 9328 2203.

There are always strategies you can develop and choices you can make. The world is changing constantly, with you or without you. Every setback, every challenge, every disaster, is at the same moment an opportunity to change, to cope and grow stronger, to evolve as a human being, perhaps to change other lives. You might not see that right now if you are stuck, looking at ‘If only…’

Change the thinking, change the words you say to yourself and ask yourself different questions. “Why, how and in what way could this ‘if only’ lead to something useful? How could this event turn out to help me grow and move forwards?” Remember that a choice to do nothing is still a choice.

Mother Nature does not allow a vacuum to occur. When one ‘thing’ is taken away, ‘something else’ will take its place. What the ‘something else’ is however, is up to you. You can repeat an old pattern that was familiar and comfortable, but kept you stuck, or you can shed that skin and grow a new and better version of ‘YOU’.

“Live life now”- Jeff Muir recommends Perth Self-Help Author Tony Inman

Conflict Resolution Expert, Jeff Muir recommends Perth-based self-help author, Tony Inman and has taken on board Tony’s advice to “Live life now!”
If you’d like to find out more about how you can design your life on your terms, contact Tony via this website or call (08) 9328 2203 for a chat.

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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