How Much Courage Does it Take? (WT428)

How Much Courage Does it Take? (WT428)


WT 428 How much courage does it take?

You know from the past few weeks that Ross and I have been travelling throughout NSW on a roadshow with the Association of Consulting Surveyors.

We had some time before travelling to the next town so we decided to explore. 

I just love being able to be spontaneous. We passed a sign on the road that read, “Bonegilla Migrant Experience”. Having worked with the late Dagnija (pronounced Dugnea) McGrath, Co-Founder of Kip McGrath Education Centres, who as a child came to Australia from Latvia and found herself in a migrant camp, I was curious to see for myself. 

Wow! The courage the migrants must have had to take on the journey to another country they knew nothing about with no more than one suitcase for their worldly belongings, just blows my mind.

It’s true, fear also played a major role, motivating them to leave their war torn countries, but it took so much courage to survive and thrive.

Families lived in two rooms in the old army barracks at Bonegilla (on the NSW and Victorian border). The rooms were not clad until the 1950’s and there was no heating or air-conditioning. 

Each morning residents had to queue to get into the ablution block. Hot water often ran out. The food was different to what they were used to and the only sense of control the women had was doing the family washing. Their meals were prepared for them and as Mrs McGrath once told me, because of her experience she could not line up for food in a cafeteria, etc. 

As we walked around the camp and talked with Alice, our very passionate and knowledgeable guide, I was reminded of what it takes to succeed in business and in life.

Alice told us that the new arrivals were terrified when they arrived by boat and were placed on a train (the red rattler) thinking they were going off to their death as happened to so many family members in Europe, only to find themselves at the end of the train journey in the middle of a large paddock in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. 

They were known as “Reffos”, (slang for refugees) and often experienced discrimination because of their situation and yet they survived and many thrived, including Karl Kruszelnicki AM, often referred to as “Dr Karl”, an Australian science communicator and populariser, who is known as an author and science commentator on Australian radio and television. Dr Karl came to Australia as a refugee and lived in Bonegilla for 3 months. During an interview with Anh Do, he recalled how, as a “reffo”, he had to walk to school in the rain whilst the other local kids would be picked up and driven.

So what does that have to do with you and business and life?

Firstly, acknowledge yourself for the courage you have shown to get to where you are now. Wherever you are in life or business, you have survived to this point. At times you would have experienced fear and would have dug deep to find your courage to continue.

Be inspired by the fact that we can overcome obstacles and that if you’re “doing it tough at the moment”, that there is hope. This too will pass.

Just as the migrants were courageous and brave, so too are you.

You Have to Trust (WT427)

You Have to Trust (WT427)


WT 427 You have to trust

This week presented two opportunities for powerful lessons about trust.

The first came as participants in my workshops reflected on their behaviours and outcomes for one of the games. Working in pairs, they competed against each other to produce a standard product in the shortest amount of time. The successful teams found that they divided the product into sections and delegated its construction to individual team members.

The not so successful teams tended to have both people working on the same thing at the same time.

The teams that delegated the tasks found that they had to trust that the team members would get their parts completed as efficiently as they could.

The game generated an interesting discussion around what it takes to delegate. For many bosses, delegation appears hard because they don’t trust their team to do the work as well as they can.

This can be easily overcome by having systems and processes in place and ensuring the team are trained. Of course, the manager has to be willing to let go as well.

The second point from the game included repetition. The teams had a number of trials before competing for the winning round. During the trials, the teams found that they were able to reduce the amount of time it took and in most cases they reduced the time by a whopping 75%.

Repetition leads to Mastery and Mastery leads to Trust and Trust leads to Delegation.

The second event occurred as Ross and I drove back from Woollongong to Newcastle. It was my turn to drive as we approached Sydney. Our GPS gave me instructions that I considered to be counter-intuitive. I was heading away from the signs directing me to Sydney.

I was nervous, and yet I trusted and followed the GPS and I was rewarded for doing so. We emerged on the motorway and completely missed the Sydney CBD, which is where we would have ended up, had I followed the signs and not the GPS.

How about you?

Do you trust your GPS?

Do you trust your team to get the job done or are you micro-managing?

Remember, your team want to come to work and succeed. You have to trust and let them do the work.

What is a Dollar Worth? (WT426)

What is a Dollar Worth? (WT426)


WT 426 What is a Dollar worth

I was shopping for some lollies (candy) to make up some party bags for some friends of ours who were visiting from the US.

As a Last Minute Lucy, you can imagine I didn’t have a lot of time to get the goods.

Standing at the register to pay, the lollies were advertised as 3 for $5 but the cash register showed $6.

The cashier called for help.

“It’s okay. It’s only $1”, I said. “I’ll just pay the $6.”

“No. No. If you’re entitled, I want you to have the $1”, he replied.

Inwardly, I groaned.

“Do you know what a dollar is worth to me in terms of time?” I thought to myself.

And there I stood for a full 10 minutes while he checked the price and fiddled around with the codes to save me a dollar.

Now I am not saying that money isn’t important and not to be conscious of what you spend and getting the best deal when you can, my point is that sometimes the Opportunity Cost is way more than the actual dollar cost.

In fact, in my recent roadshow of presentations with the Association of Consulting Surveyors, I include a session on “The 4 critical words to keep you focused and on target”.

The 4 words are “High Revenue, High Impact”.

Take a look at your work and all the tasks you do and ask yourself, for each task, whether what you are doing is “High Revenue or High Impact”.

High Revenue means the task is going to result in you earning high revenue, whether that be marketing activities such as speaking or actually doing the work or creating the strategies.

High Impact means the task is going to result in a big Return on Investment (ROI) for you or the business, such as training your team so you can delegate or creating policies and procedures that people can follow. 

This week I encourage you to ask yourself, “What is a dollar worth?” 

Take a look at your tasks and find a way to delegate or dump the ones that are not High Revenue or High Impact.

Where are the Cyber Police? (WT425)

Where are the Cyber Police? (WT425)


WT 425 Where are the cyber police

For many people, August 2018 has been a difficult month. Astrologers have warned of the tricky effects from eclipses as the energy for the planet shifts.

I was a little more than interested when I heard one Astrologer say that some of the effects could include cyber hacking because that’s exactly what happened to me.

I received a number of messages through my website from concerned people asking me to produce a receipt for a credit card charge that read “Shirley Dalton Newcastle”.

I was shocked. They weren’t my customers and I hadn’t charged their cards, let alone received any of the money. 

It turns out someone set up a bogus account in Stripe (like Paypal) using my social media details to verify the account and then somehow charged the credit cards for amounts from $799 to $1995.

As soon as I became aware of this I contacted Stripe to ask them to investigate. They don’t have a phone number you can find anywhere so it was all by email and very frustrating. They advised that I had to go to the local police and get a police report, which I did.

That still wasn’t enough to convince them. I contacted the ACCC, Department of Fair Trading and the Australian Cyber Security Centre as well as other departments and no-one seemed to be able to help.

Where are the Cyber Police?

I was beside myself. I had almost resigned myself to the fact that I couldn’t do anything about it until a representative from Stripe finally agreed to call me at 9pm. I have to say I was still sceptical that she was really a representative and not the scammer, however she gave me some details for the police and cyber security people if they wanted to contact Stripe.

Out of the blue I also received a phone call from an Australian Federal Police officer who informed me he would contact the victims and also the merchant company.

I have no idea what will happen with the investigation. I have no idea how much damage this has caused my business and reputation. What I do know is that it is extremely difficult to find and prosecute the people who do these things.

Where are the Cyber Police?

Truly, it’s a scary thing to find out your details have been used for something illegal and damaging to others.

You can’t be too careful with what you post or share. Just a few days ago Ross got a call from someone wanting to sell raffle tickets for a charity. He came and asked if I was okay to support the charity. “Yes, but you’re not going to give our credit card details over the phone are you?” I asked.

He shook his head, as if to shake his brain. It’s so easy to get caught with things like this and if you do it willingly or knowingly you are not covered by your bank. We were shocked and saddened to hear of an 80 year old couple handing over $15,000 believing they owed it to Centrelink and because they did it willingly the bank could not reimburse them.

It’s sad that we need to have cyber police and from my experience we definitely need to have a collaborative force with worldwide jurisdiction.

Until we get dedicated cyber police, be sure to check your accounts, your junk box and change your passwords – regularly!

Learn It With a Story (WT424)

Learn It With a Story (WT424)


WT 424 Learn it with a story

A friend of mine, Janet, recently enrolled in a program with Jim Kwik to enhance memory and learning strategies. Part of her homework was to teach someone what she was learning. Of course I was a willing participant, both from a learning perspective and also to support her and be her Accountability Buddy.

Since I too am required to share, I thought it would be a good topic this week. 

Here’s a little story I made up. Read the story and I’ll explain what it really means. 

“The SALT got poured over the chocolate coated MAGNUM icecream and fell into the TIN FOIL that was buried in the SAND. At night the glow worms glowed PHOSPHORESCENT YELLOW and stunk like BLEACH, which made us all go “ARRGGGHGHHHH”, until Peter came along with POTATO chips and chocolate MILK which was good for our bones. 


These words relate to the elements in the Periodic Table numbered 11-20. 

The trick with memory according to Jim and Janet is to make it relevant to something you know so you can remember it easily and to make up a story.

Salt – Sodium, Magnum – Magnesium, Tin Foil – Aluminium, Sand – Silicon, Phosphorescent – Phosphorus, Yellow – Sulfur, Bleach – Chlorine, Arrggghghhgh – Argon, Potato – Potassium, Milk – Calcium.

You could make up any story. Janet’s story was quite different to mine because she has different triggers.

It’s a cool little tip if you have to remember steps in a process or a list of items or even names. I’m still working on it for bigger chunks of information. I’m keen to learn so I can pass this to participants in my leadership program when they have to recite a very special poem.

Your homework this week is to give it a go. See if you can make up a story to remember the first 10 elements: Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Beryllium, Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine, Neon. As a hint, your story could include balloons and batteries or trees or diamonds.

See how you go.

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