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.

What to Do When Your Coffee Machine Dies and Other First World Problems…

 

My friend - the coffee machine

My friend – the coffee machine

Life as we know it has changed forever…Yes that day has come, and all too quickly I might add, when my coffee machine has inexplicably stopped working, right in the middle of making me a delicious and much-needed mocha.

I was counting on that mocha to give me inspiration for my next blog when suddenly I realised that it had!

This particular ball started rolling when I saw an invitation from Carmel Boutchard to like her FB page (Symmetry). An article caught my eye (source: http://www.boredpanda.com) because it was about how we ‘Western World dwellers’ find it so easy to whinge about the awful things that have simply ruined our day.

The comments ranged from complaining about having to wake up for the ironing lady who hadn’t arrived to waiting for 15 mins in a salad bar queue only to find they had run out of cous cous!

I loved the complaint about the ignomy of having bought a toaster only to find that it didn’t have a bagel setting while another complained in disgust about the quality of the massage she had just received in Indonesia.

So what do you do when your coffee machine dies?

 

Well I for one, realise how bloody lucky I am to:

(a) have a coffee machine in the first place

(b) live in a nice home with working electricity that can power a coffee machine

(c) have an income stream that allows me to afford such things

(d) live in a country with an economy that rewards effort

In other words, remember to count your blessings!

Some people have to be the ironing lady because that’s the only work they can get; some people don’t have supermarkets, let alone salad bars or cous cous; some people couldn’t afford a toaster and don’t have electricity; while some people have to give numerous massages to fat, ungrateful holiday-makers just to scrape enough money to keep a roof over their family’s head tonight.

Other dramas I have whinged about recently myself include: having our air-con pack up on a 35 degree day; the pool at our strata complex being out of action for several days; and my car being on its last legs!

So how do we snap out of our First World pity-party?

One of the things my coach got me to do last year was to start a jar of happiness and gratitude. Trust me when I say that it is a very rewarding exercise.

Jar of Happiness & Gratitude

Jar of Happiness & Gratitude

You find an empty, clean jar to keep on your desk and every day, or as often as you remember, write little notes of gratitude for the things in your life that you appreciate or that have made you happy. When you get to the end of the year, you open the jar and read all of the messages you have written to yourself. This simple exercise makes you happier and more appreciative of your life with each note, each day, but reading the whole lot together is a really uplifting treat for your soul.

When I read some of them to my girlfriend, Joanne, she said “My goal is to make sure that there are even more of those notes about me next year”.

 

 

Perhaps we should all make it our goal to impact positively and with kindness on the lives of more people we encounter, each and every day.

I’ll leave you with that thought  😀

'If Life's Worth Doing, It's Worth Doing Well'

Tony Inman’ new book

 

 

Until we meet next time – here’s a quick reminder that my latest book is now available for pre-order, ready for release very soon. It’s called ‘If Life’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing Well – Finding Sane Fulfillment in an Insane World’

 

What Will Your Legacy Be?

Monty Python made a movie about it

Monty Python made a movie about it (Image courtesy of Monty Python)

‘What is the meaning of life?’ is a question mankind has asked ever since Mr Neanderthal had too much time on his hands around the late night cave fire. But what is your answer, specifically for you?
It’s probably still a question that most of us ask of ourselves at some point, perhaps when things have gone badly – a loved one has passed away, a marriage has broken up or a career has ended abruptly?
All too frequently though, it is filed in the ‘too hard’ basket, because in reality none of us can solve such a big conundrum on behalf of mankind.
But what of those people who seem to have figured something out?

There has to be a better legacy than mayhem

Suicide Bomber Training School – Image courtesy of www.StrangeCosmos.com (cartoonist unknown)

 

Sure there are the religious zealots, who have surrendered their lives to a perceived higher power. We’ve seen the potentially lethal results of unquestioning commitment to someone’s interpretation of what God/Allah/Jehova (substitute your preferred version there) says we should do with our lives. If a person decides that being a suicide bomber is the thing they want to be remembered for by their loved ones, then who am I to argue with them. That’s nothing new by the way – people have fought to the death in the name of religion for millennia. My choice would be something more people-friendly than that.
I loved Dr Demartini’s story, where a scroll was made in his honour, featuring much of his life’s work – his teachings, and it was placed inside the sealed vault at Vatican City to be opened and read by future generations in a thousand years’ time. That made me go “Wow!”
So, one answer would be that your life’s work might be kept and referred to by future man. Your name would be spoken, just as the names of greats like Gandhi, Da Vinci, Socrates and Darwin have been revered.
It’s certainly a factor in why I recently wrote my book, ‘If Life’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing Well’. I’d like to think that somewhere, a long way away, perhaps many years from now, someone might read it and be inspired by it in some way. I might never even know about it, but just the possibility of that happening is a cool concept for me.

 

Tony, Kim and Craig Inman

My daughter, Kim and son, Craig

In truth though, I was already a lucky man long before I burned the midnight candles required to complete that project. One of my greatest legacies is my family. Not everyone has offspring, but I have been blessed with a son, a daughter and now a grandson. I hope there will be more to follow!
My parents had four surviving children, ten grand-children and around about twelve great-grand-children. Now that’s definitely a legacy. It’s something unique that defines your existence in this realm.

 

Perhaps what matters more, however, is not just whether you created new life, but how you lived your own.

Did you live it in pursuit of your dreams or did you just exist? I know that to some people my whole ‘Living the Dream’ maxim might seem a tad corny – especially to someone who’s slogging away just trying to feed a family and pay the bills. Most of us have experienced that at some point in our journey through life. The point is though, that merely existing is only a stage we pass through. If we get our act together, we will, and do, come out beyond that tunnel and into the light. So, if you were able to wave a magic wand, what life would you really like?
I’m not here to give you the answer – merely to prompt you to think about your own answer, because thinking about it is the starting point to creating it.
Until next time, ‘Seize the day!’

 

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

What Goes Around…

Inspirational Video -What Goes Around Comes Around (Or As You Sow, So Shall You Reap)

This is a short clip that shows how a simple act of kindness and human decency can have a ripple effect that is truly astonishing.

You may have seen those bumper stickers that say ‘Magic Happens’ – it’s up to you – ‘Make it Happen!’

Check out Tony’s book on ‘How To Get A Bigger Bite Out Of Life’

Seizing The Moment

Inspirational Video – Jason McElwain (AKA J Mac)

The story of how a young man with autism, known to his friends as ‘J Mac’, seized his moment of opportunity to consolidate his position as an inspirational legend.

No matter what challenges you face, if someone else believes in you and gives you the opportunity and the encouragement to shine, seize that moment and allow the diamond inside you to sparkle for the world.

‘Believe’ and your dreams can come true! To read more about J Mac click here.

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.