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In our human form we perceive things through our various sensors and then try and make sense of them by defining them in some way.

Good – bad, right – wrong, soft – hard, round – square.

These definitions (beliefs) are based on our limited perception.

Based on our perceptions and definitions we then go about living out the fixation (or lie) of the underlying definition (belief) based on the original flawed perception.

Once you become conscious of the delusion and realise that everything is not as it seems, everything changes.

Once you see the code (to use the Matrix metaphor) you never see things the same way again. The illusion is shattered.

Our ego wants to make sense of the world. That’s its job. To keep us safe so that we can survive based on the illusion that we are separate from everything.

Conscious living is about seeing the truth and realising that you are the creator and that at any moment you are choosing your reality.

Letting go of the past is part of the illusion, as your memory of the past is a lie based on your false perceptions and definition at the time.

One of the most liberating experiences is to open your life to abundance and possibility and one of the easiest ways to do this is to start saying Yes to the universe.

Abundance and possibility is everywhere but for many people they don’t experience it in their lives because they don’t say Yes when it arrives … and it is always arriving.

But if you start saying Yes to the universe every time abundance and possibility presents itself, what happens when that possibility takes you off course?

Well that’s ok as well if you don’t have attachment to the outcome and you are more interested in the journey but you can also be selective about what comes your way by getting clear on your vision and what it is that you want to create and attract into your life.

When you live your life on purpose and say Yes to the universe the need to say No becomes more and more irrelevant.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things … your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions … and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else … the small stuff.’

‘If you put the sand into the jar first’, he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children.

Spend time with your parents.

Visit with grandparents.

Take your spouse out to dinner.

Play another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first … the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.’

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked. The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.’

Anonymous

My wife, Michelle, and I moved to our farm a few years ago. Michelle continued her corporate role, mostly working from home, while I took on the Mr Mum role so that I could spend more time with our children.

It didn’t take me long to learn that looking after two small children was a full time job.

At first I had this idea that I would home school as well. Hmmm … that lasted about a week. Thank goodness there was this cute little country school just 10 minutes down the road. Problem solved.

Initially it was a bit overwhelming to be honest. I had come from a pretty full on corporate role managing several companies and 50 plus staff.

You would think that looking after 2 small kids would be a breeze … but oh no! There was the shopping and cleaning and washing and hanging clothes out and bringing clothes in and folding and ironing and packing lunches and getting meals and washing up and school P&C meetings and girl guides and events and swimming lessons and piano and dancing lessons and playing and home work and and and …

I would fall into bed at night exhausted.

Suddenly I had a whole new appreciation for this role (here’s to all the mums … and Mr mums out there). It took me weeks (possibly moths) to find a bit of a routine. It all started to come together. I was able to drop 1 child at music lessons and then race around and do the whole week’s shopping in less than 30 minutes then run back and drop the other one off whilst I did the mail and banking and all those other chores. Efficiency was the name of the game if I wanted any time to myself.

I was loving having time with my children. We got horses and chickens and ducks and cows. We got a dog and built a tree house and went exploring and swimming in the dam and creeks. We went fishing and bike riding and camping. It was wonderful but there was little satisfaction in the Mr mum role and I began to wonder why.

It’s a thankless job. No one really says, “hey thanks dad for doing the shopping this week” or “thanks for washing my clothes for me.”

And what was even more discouraging was the fact that I never actually finished anything. Take the washing for instance. I would gather all the dirty clothes up and take them out to the laundry. Wash them, hang them, bring them in, fold and put them away. Job done. But no.  By the time I had done this, the washing basket was already full again. It never ended!!!

There was no sense of completion. No reward at the end of that job. No thanks. Nothing. Just another full basket of dirty washing.

After a while this became a bit depressing. This constant, thankless process that just never seemed to end. It felt like there was no success in what I was doing because it was never done.

At this point I had a chat with my wife who had been there and done that. I said that I felt like I was failing. She asked why and I said “because I never feel like I finish anything. I just get the washing done and there is another load to do.”

That’s when she reminded me that I had set my gauge for success on completion rather than on process. One of those aha moments!

I found the joy that was missing. It was in the doing not in the completing.

I remembered that success was not a destination.

It’s more a way of life, a way of being.  It’s how you show up in the world at each moment.

You know the Zen saying, “before enlightenment chop wood carry water, after enlightenment, chop wood carry water.”

After two years, I have shifted gears again.

I’ve established my mentoring and consulting business and I am working with some fantastic corporate clients.

Now I have an entirely new appreciation for the Mr mum role. I love the work that I am doing, I love spending time with my children and I really enjoy the washing and the cooking and the shopping and …

When I look back over the last couple of years, much of the inspiration for my new business actually came as I was hanging the clothes on the line, as I stood under the Hills Hoist with the sun shining on my face and simply disappeared into the moment.

I know how important it is to enjoy the journey, enjoy the moments.

After all, that’s all we really have.

 

“Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.”

Albert Einstein


When I was about 16 I had my first real business.

It was a video production studio on the Central Coast.  This was back in 1979 and the total set up cost me about $40k which was a lot of money back then (you could have bought a house for that much).

Not long after I set the studio up an elderly gentleman dropped in to ask me for help making a decision on what video camera he should buy (well, I say he was elderly, he was probably about 65, which doesn’t seem that old now, but you can imagine, for a 16 year old, it sure seemed that way!).

I spent several hours with him over a number of days helping him make a decision.

A couple of weeks later, he returns and wants some help choosing a video player.

Then, a few more weeks pass and he’s back to ask how to edit his home movies.

And a bit later, he wants some advice on how to use the camera …

He was a lovely old fellow and I spent a fair bit of time with him.

I didn’t charge him for anything, despite his offers to pay me.

Anyhow, fast forward several months and an opportunity comes up to pitch for a promo video for a local business.  The budget was about $30k, so it was a big deal.  I pitched for the work not really expecting to get the job, as it was for a club and I was under age.

Surprisingly, a few weeks go by and I get a call from the president of the club advising me I had won the job.

You can imagine how excited I was.

This was a big project with a real budget that would make a tremendous difference to my business.

The president went on to ask me if I knew why I had won the job.

Of course, back then my presumption was that I was the best person for the job, but to my surprise, this wasn’t the reason why I had won the business.

Turns out the old guy I had been helping for several months was the father of the president of the club.

Because I had decided to support this man get his home video studio up and running, I won my first major contract.

And then, after I delivered the video, I received a call from another major company asking me to pitch on yet another job.  Turns out the CEO of that business also sat on the board of the club!

Then after another few months I got yet another opportunity referred to me by another board member.

My business was off and running… all because I took some time and helped an old man with his video camera.

I could have just as easily fobbed this guy off, or told him to go and read some brochures, instead of taking the time to help him.

You never know who you’re speaking with or what the future holds.

Be present, be generous, be giving and let the rest take care of itself.

 

Edit suite pictured here was my second studio circa 1984.

Here are 23 ideas, many of which, to varying degrees, will accelerate the growth of your business.  Some of these ideas are simple and easy to implement.  Others are much more complicated and expensive. These are the top results from a recent Google search on How To Grow Your Business Fast.

The interesting thing about all of these ideas however, is that they all refer to the what to do or the how to do it but not the why.  I don’t mean why you need to do these things but the bigger why. Why you are doing what you do. Simon Sinek suggests that the reason many of the highly successful global brands are so successful is that they have figured out their big why. Apple figured out their why and became the biggest company on the planet and attracted a massive global tribe that resonated with that why.  So, what’s your why?

  1. Open another location
  2. Offer your business as a franchise or business opportunity
  3. License your product
  4. Form an alliance
  5. Diversify
  6. Target other markets
  7. Win a government contract
  8. Merge with or acquire another business
  9. Expand globally
  10. Expand to the Internet
  11. Give Stuff Away for Free, and Create a Buzz About You and Your Business!
  12. Innovate, Don’t Duplicate!
  13. Create a Company Culture to Be Proud Of!
  14. Spend more time in sales
  15. Be a niche player
  16. Launch a lead generation campaign
  17. Revamp your unique selling proposition (USP’s)
  18. Build your reputation
  19. Get connected
  20. Build an alliance
  21. Increase your price
  22. Be competitive
  23. Align Outcomes

This is a great Ted video worth watching – Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action.

There has been a great deal of research done into the different roles of Coaches and Mentors and I think you can simplify much of this as follows.

A coach is required when you would like to accelerate your action through someone holding you accountable around an agreed set of predetermined outcomes over a predetermined time period.

A mentor is required when you would like to accelerate your knowledge by tapping into someone else’s network, experience and wisdom.

Ideally, to achieve high performance, you would work with both or someone that is skilled in both areas.

A coach will use a range of processes, tools and models that have been developed to cause a specific outcome.

A relationship with a mentor is highly personal and based on the knowledge, network, experience and wisdom of the mentor.

I traveled to a small village near Ubud in Bali recently and found myself visiting a beautiful garden called Bali Pulina.

I had taken an early morning journey into the mountains to photograph the terraced rice paddies at dawn.  On the way back to my villa for breakfast my driver asked if I would like to visit a coffee plantation.  It was still early and I had time so, going with the flow, I ended up at this beautiful little garden in the foothills of Bali’s largest volcanic mountain peak, Mt Agung.

We parked just outside a stairway that seemed to disappear into a forest.  I walked up these stairs and found myself in an amazing food garden.  It seemed this jungle forest was all eatable.

My driver pointed out various plants that captivated my senses.  Cinnamon trees, cloves, vanilla bean vines, citronella and lemon grasses, ginger and an amazing array of other tropical delights.  The tastes and smells were tantalising.

Further into the lush garden I find yellow and red cocoa trees and coffee bushes.  I am then introduced to the Asian Palm Civet, an animal that eats coffee berries and digests the outer flesh defecating the coffee bean.  I was then told how this coffee, Kopi Luwak, was prized and fetched a premium price around the world.

Wandering further through the garden I was introduced to a small traditional thatched hut where various spices from the garden had been harvested and dried.  There was a wonderful little open fire on which washed and dried coffee beans had been freshly roasted.  The smell was amazing.

Around another corner I came to another hut in which water was being boiled and poured into sampling glasses that contained an amazing array of delicious coffee and tea blends.

By now I wanted to sample everything.  The smells wafting through the air were incredible.  I was introduced to each of the various samples and was told that everything was free.  All 8 samples including fresh roasted and ground coffee, ginger teas, vanilla coffee, chocolate coffee and fresh roasted hot chocolates.  If, however, I wanted to sample the Kopi Luwak it would cost 50,000 rupiah, about USD$5.00 for a small cup, which was still remarkably inexpensive.

Of course, by now, I wanted to sample everything and felt compelled to test the Kopi Luwak.

I was then invited down a set of stair to a larger room that sat perched on the side of a tropical gorge.  The vista that presented was breathtaking.  Distant groomed mountains, covered in rice paddies layered against an early morning sky and lush gardens, were spectacular.

The tasting plate arrives, beautifully presented.  I sit watching the view whilst sampling a delicious and aromatic selection of wonderful home-grown tropical delights.  Pure bliss.

Time slips away and I am carried back as I reflect on a people and civilisation that has farmed these mountains for centuries.  A beautiful and gentle people, that love to laugh and play and seem so generous in so many ways.

Finally it’s time to leave and I reluctantly wander down a little path that wraps its way along the cliff face back toward the car.

I round a corner and am presented with a small gift shop that contains beautifully packaged samples of all the wonderful delights I have just experienced.  By now I am ready to buy.  I am ready to reciprocate the generosity shown me, by purchasing a selection of spices and coffees for both myself and as gifts for my friends.

Everything was so well packaged and presented.  The entire morning had been a real delight. I was so happy to be buying little parcels from such beautiful people that had been so generous from the time I had arrived.

On the drive back to my villa I reflected on the morning.  It was such a wonderful experience and an amazing lesson on how to package and present a product and make a sale.

The slow reveal was so powerful.  By the time I had been presented with the product it was completely natural to want to purchase something.  The journey was all part of the sale and the law of reciprocity was so compelling that I felt obliged, but not obligated, to buy.

What products and or services do you have on sale?  Have you managed to find a way to present them to the market in a way that takes your client on a journey?  That tantalises their senses and compels them to want to buy?  The slow reveal can be an incredibly powerful sales technique.

I am reminded of a time in my advertising agency when we were pitching for a large account.  We used the slow reveal to build suspense and create the show by placing all of the pitch materials on the walls around our boardroom and covering them with paper so that the client couldn’t see anything.  We invited the client in for the presentation, spent time with coffee and cake and going through the campaign.  We went into detail around the target market and the story behind the visuals.  We discussed how, what we were about to present, had tested well and how we had chosen a world renowned photographer to capture and present the quality of visual that would help position the client’s product.

During the presentation the client became so excited.  They wanted us to reveal the visuals but we kept building the story, the layers until the client had, in their mind, already bought the campaign. We then began to slowly unveil the creatives, one by one, whilst continuing with a very compelling story.  By the end of the presentation the client simply had to have what we were presenting.  The slow reveal had again worked its magic again.

Sitting by the pool late one evening in Bali, I was reflecting on my journey and the constant questioning by my children, “Dad, when are we going to be there?”

My reply was always the same, “hurry up and wait”.

Have you ever noticed this when you are travelling? It’s all about hurry up and wait!

Quick, wake up, we have to get to the plane on time. Racing around. Final packing. In the car, racing to the airport. And then, out of the car and the hurried dash to the check-in counter and then through immigration and customs to finally arrive at the departure lounge where you sit and wait with everyone else that has just gone through this same crazy dance.

Waiting, waiting, waiting. Flight is delayed. More waiting and then the gates open and everyone hurriedly climb on board the plane only to sit there while you wait for the plane to take off. Sometimes this waiting seems to take forever. Flight delayed again! Waiting for clearance to use runway 223 …

Then finally the plane races down the runway and into the air you travel. Up and up. And then there it is again. The waiting.

You wake up to the captain announcing that you have started your decent and that you should fasten your seatbelts.

The next hurry up is about to hit. The plane lands and taxis to the arrival gate. Everyone anxiously waiting for the seatbelt light to go off and then the hurry up begins. Jump up, grab your bags from the overhead locker, stand up and wait.

Finally the aisle starts to move and you hurry off the plane to get to baggage claim, customs and immigration and then you wait while you are processed.

Out the other side, find a taxi and race to your hotel. Check-in and hurry to your room and then finally you can rest.

The hurry up and wait game has come to an end. At least for now.

It seems that life can be like this at times. It’s all about hurry up and wait. I certainly see it in business all the time. And if you understand this game it allows you to pace and position yourself so that you know when it’s time to hurry up and when it’s time to wait.

This pulsating theme occurs naturally in all areas of nature. Each time your heart beats, blood races through your body and then everything stops for a moment and waits for the next pump, the next big push.

I think this natural rhythm occurs in business all the time. Some entrepreneurs understand this rhythm and can judge when it is time to hurry up and when it is time to wait. Like a master surfer positioning himself for the perfect wave. He waits until he can see a set coming and then he hurries up to get himself into the perfect position to catch the wave. Then he waits for the wave to arrive and then he hurries to get on the wave so that he can enjoy the ride. Enjoy the blissful moment where all the hurrying and waiting comes together.

What are you hurrying to achieve in your business at the moment? Have you got yourself in the right position? Is it time to wait for the wave or go looking for it? Or, what are you waiting for in your business at the moment? Will you be in the right position when it arrives?

Hurry up and wait becomes effortless when you know the rhythm.

If you know where you are going and you know what the rewards are then it is much easier to hurry and get into position and then wait for the magic to begin.

Sitting here in Bali and watching my kids enjoy the moments has been magic. No more hurrying and only me waiting for them to get out of the pool and have some lunch.


I just spent the last 2 weeks securing assets for a new business venture.

You know, all those little things like web site domain names, Twitter and Facebook accounts and all those other incredibly important items that are so critical to the success (and ultimately, the sale value) of just about any business these days.

Naming, branding and positioning a new business venture can be challenging.  Just about every quality .com domain name seems to be taken, or at least has been registered by someone hoping that they might get to resell it for a profit.

The domain name that we wanted for our new venture had been purchased by someone who was sitting on it and hoping for a sale.  And, so began the negotiations and lengthy process of securing the asset.

Upon first approach to the owner of the domain name, they advised the purchase price was $3,880.00 – not negotiable!  I can see why so many people are just buying domain names and sitting on them.  Not a bad return on their investment considering it probably only cost them $7 to register.

Of course I wasn’t going to pay that much, so I went back with my counter offer and at the same time registered several other options.  They then came back with their “final” offer at $1,800.00.  Still to much, so I made my “final” offer and at the same time advised them that I had registered several other domain names that I was happy with.  They then came back and accepted my “final” offer.

Just a few days of negotiations and I saved several thousand dollars and managed to secure a domain name that was already registered.

Then the real fun began.  Transferring the domain.

In this technological age of online transactions, I would have thought that this part would have been the easiest part … but oh, no!

Escrow accounts had to be set up, special payment structures and faxed confirmations of credit details had to be provided.  A holding domain name host had to be established and each one of these processes took time and cost a few more dollars.  It was complex and time consuming but we finally got the name.  Worth it in the end!

But one of the interesting takeaways for me from this was how difficult the sale process was.  The barrier to entry was very high.  High cost, complex negotiation and a difficult and complex payment and transfer structure.  There were several times I seriously considered giving up.  After all, I had already registered several other names that would have done the job.

At the same time I was managing this deal, I also set up my one click purchasing with Amazon so that I could buy more Kindle books.  What a difference.  On the one hand, a deal that has taken 3 weeks and, on the other hand, a sales process that took 2 minutes to set up and that will only take one click from now on.

Which one are you?  How complex is your sales process?  What are your barriers to entry?  I reckon if it’s not one click, then you had better start reviewing it now, cause one click is the future!