Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Don't waste your money sending calendars to your clients, unless...

Do you send your client a calendar every year?

To maximise your investment in this marketing activity, buy a packet of gold star stickers (or similar) and do the following:

1. Put the star on a date in the calendar.
2. In the cover letter add "You may have noticed I have put a gold star on 12 March.  I will call you on this date to organise a convenient time to meet and discuss your ..."
3. Call the client on this date to grow your business.
4. Measure your success.

This approach does 3 things:
1. It creates an expectation with the client.
2. It makes you do what you say you will.
3. It reinforces your integrity when you do what you say you will.

This year invest in your calendars to create activity & deliver tangible results.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Quantum of Solace - no spoilers!

The latest James Bond movie continues where Casino Royale left off. I suggest watching Casino Royale before watching Quantum of Solace so that you are familiar with the story & characters.

Make sure you show up on time - one of the best action sequences is the beginning.

You may be a little disappointed if you are expecting this movie to be as good as the last - but this James Bond is raw and intense with lots of blood.

It's a full on experience - so stay alert to keep up with the action. Just expect more of a Jason Bourne experience, rather than a traditional James Bond film.

Enjoy!

Lay blame or accept responsibility

Australia thought they could just show up & win the Rugby League World Cup, but fortunately New Zealand had different plans.

Rather than accept defeat gracefully, the Australian coach, Ricky Stuart, decided to blame the referee.

New Zealand has been in a similar position of blaming the referee when the All Blacks were eliminated in the playoffs in the Rugby World Cup after France scored off a (suspected) forward pass.

Laying blame is one of the most disempowering activities we can perform. If we want to move forward & grow, we are better to accept responsibility, learn and then move on.

There will always be someone or something to blame - or we can accept responsibility & move on, a better, stronger, more empowered person.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

When a brand sells out

I read an interesting post about the James Bond movies and some overtly placed product brands. You can check out the whole post at: James Bond Brand Shaken by Product Placement.

I was disappointed by Ford & Sony's placements in Casino Royale and thought that they tarnished their own brands, but also the good name of James Bond. Having said that, I was surprised that product placements have been a regular feature of James Bond films for many years.

I would be interested to know Ian Fleming's views on product sponsorship, after all I'm sure the brands he mentioned in the Bond books did well as a result and why shouldn't Fleming be rewarded for their success? A branding dilemma?

http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/877228/34841063

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sales Success

In his book, Sales Success, Robin Daubney makes some interesting observations about highly successful salespeople. They all have a very positive mental attitude. He quotes a study that attributes 94% of success to a positive mental attitude and only 6% on aptitude or ability.

Top earning salespeople were analysed and they found that they:
- Had high levels of determination
- Had strong self-discipline
- Had a great desire to succeed
- Worked hard
- Had good health

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Local CARFT Show

I passed a sign yesterday advertising a local craft show.

In fact I probably passed hundreds of signs, but this one stood out in my mind. Why? Because of the spelling of "craft". I am sure this was done accidentally, but it was actually effective because it made it stand out.

I'm not advocating going out & misspelling signs, but our brains are obviously programmed to pick up things that aren't right. Maybe it's something to help our ancestors spot the prowling lion on the African plains!

I guess if we want to stand out we need to be unexpected & different!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quick & easy cannelloni recipe

This is perfect for dad's to cook when mum is away. It quick, easy & cheap.

Ingredients
Chicken, cheese (ricotta, feta, tasty), cannelloni, pasta sauce, spinach, oil.

I cut the chicken in small pieces, cooked it, added the spinach.

I then added the chicken & spinach with a can of pasta sauce, tub of ricotta cheese, some feta cheese & grated tasty cheese (but I think other varieties of cheeses would work well) and mix it all together.

Get the kids to stuff the cannelloni tubes (straight out of the packet) & lay them in a roasting dish. Drizzle with oil (I used rice bran). Cover with another can of pasta sauce, grated cheese & breadcrumbs.

Bake for 35 minutes on 155C or until pasta is cooked.



Serve with salad. My kids loved it & I enjoyed it because it was easy, delicious & the kids ate the lot!

What are you in control of?

What are you concerned about? The economy, global warming, investment markets, the election? What can you control? Your appointments, your attitude, motivation, and helping the people you are talking to.

Stephen Covey, in the first of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Be Proactive, writes about the Circle of Influence which sits inside the Circle of Concern. Basically, encouraging us to focus on what we can control. An example would be if you were concerned about world hunger. You can’t save the world, but by
buying a goat for a family in Kenya, you can influence some change.

I encourage you to focus on what you can control and not to get distracted by all the media “noise”. There is a lot of opportunity to help people protect & create financial security for their future. Ask key questions to find out what is important to the people you are talking to, then give them what they want.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sicko - Michael Moore (warning - some spoilers)

Lets start by saying this is a biased view of the American "health" system, however even if part of what is in the movie is true, it should sound a warning about a system that needs its' own health check.

It's interesting to see how the wealthy companies are pulling the politician strings and we see who is actually creating government policies. It does make a mockery of what we thought was a democracy.

I was touched by the Cuban scene where the participants were able to get better treatment in Cuba.

Moore also looked at other health systems including France, UK, Canada and Norway. He was also biased by not looking at what didn't work so well in these systems. For instance, New Zealand's health system is far from perfect, however compared to American standards, there is no way I want to be sick in the US. I am happy to have private healthcare to look after my family if the public system doesn't deliver to expectations.

With ageing populations around the world there will be continued pressure on health systems as demand exceeds supply. However with scientific advancements we should see an increase in medical care. The ageing population will also be a large portion of the voters and will have a larger say in determining health policy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Free cure to overcome the embarrassment of being bald


It was devastating to be told that I was going bald at 17 years old. I sometimes wonder if it was the stress of this news that hastened the follicles being washed down the drain in the shower.

Being a teenager in the 80's I grew up wanting to be like Thomas Magnum from Magnum PI. It was difficult coming to terms that I was more likely to star as Higgins.

Although I had anticipated that I would inherit the baldness gene from my grandfathers, it was still difficult to come to terms with going bald. I tried a few home remedies which didn't work.

What changed was my attitude. Rather than hiding my baldness, I embraced it & cut my hair short. At one stage I shaved my head, but my pasty skin made me look ill, so I stick to stubble now.

I also chose not to use hair regrowth formulas or a wig or toupee. So (in my mind) I choose to be bald. Taking control of my baldness gives me a feeling of power & control. Rather than changing my head, I changed my attitude & feel comfortable with my baldness.

Organ donors

Some countries have a higher organ donor rate than others. In New Zealand 2 of the major issues seems to be that the next of kin are too emotional to make decisions and medical staff are not always comfortable asking permission.

I wonder whether a special donor tattoo could be developed and hygienically applied to indicate whether a person is an organ donor?

This could certainly increase our donor rates.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Catchy & inspirational

Kevin Roberts from Saatchi & Saatchi has written about Lovemarks & sisomo.

My 11 year old son introduced me to a fabulous ad from Discovery Channel that embraces the concepts of Lovemarks & sisomo. It engages the passion of the presenter with the passion of the viewer and we are given an insight to the world that the presenter loves.

I love the world too!


Monday, August 4, 2008

The story of food

Tonight I got to share the passion of Martin Bosley. He spoke of his love affair not just for food, but the creation of a dish that has a story.

He knows the people that catch the fish & his dishes do justice by bring together tastes & textures that delight the palate.

His 7 tips for meal time:
  1. Create ceremony & occasion - even if its just once a week.
  2. Nobody needs an excuse to dine out.
  3. Be passionate about local food.
  4. Provide exceptional service.
  5. Use authenticity as an edge.
  6. Be innovative.
  7. Be a passionate ambassador.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Book review: Advance to go - collect $1 million

I first heard about Kirsty Dunphey's story on a newsletter I subscribe to. I was intrigued to find out how someone so young could make so much money so quickly.

Kirsty's first book is a mix of her own story, her experience and the lessons she shares about being successful.

I found the writing style made the book easy to read. Including inspirational quotes, checklists for buying property and lessons on customer service made the book appealing to a broad range of readers.

What did I get from the book?
If I was starting in property investment or starting a business, the advice in the book is valuable as a starting point where Kirsty shares her experiences and techniques for success.

One of my favourite chapters included great marketing techniques that don't cost a bomb. She introduced me to a new acronym - RED (Rip-off, Expand, Duplicate) for finding something that already works for others. Examples of things that work include:
  • Hand-written thank you cards.
  • Recognising good service.
  • Remembering the wine drinkers.
  • Never forgetting the kids (or pets).
  • Delivering stress relieving pizzas.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for an inspirational story that had me wondering why I hadn't achieved what she had at the same age and then asking myself what's stopping me now?

I will be giving it to my kids to read!

For further information click here

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Not all apples are the same

If you go to a supermarket or green grocer you will notice that not all apples are the same. There are apples for eating and apples for stewing. Of the eating apples you will notice that there are different types with different tastes. Some apples are of a better quality than others while there are also a few rotten ones & the odd one with a worm or two in them.

So when we try & compare “apples with apples”, we shouldn’t just compare them on price.

Many other products are similar. When comparing products it’s important to understand the benefits and not just compare products on price, because (like apples) some are better than others.

Next time you compare "apples with apples", make sure your clients know about the quality of what they are getting.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I got wowed!

Today I received a package that I had ordered from Kirsty Dunphey.

It cost nothing to address it to me with the title as "The Awesome..." but it made me feel like a million dollars (is that how she got her first million by the time she was 23?).

They also included a mobile phone sock & a CD, but it was the title that made this package memorable.

It made me think how I can make my clients feel extra special ...

Friday, June 20, 2008

The stress of it all

I set my self a goal with a reward & a consequence.

Now that I've achieved the goal, reflecting on what motivated me, it was definitely the thought of having to deal with the consequence of burning a rugby jersey I loved.

Sure I could've reneged on my deal with myself, but living with the fact that I didn't stay true to my word would be worse.

I can recommend this strategy for goal setting & will definitely use it again.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Carrot or stick

Listening to a speaker recently, he suggested that we don't just set SMART goals - but also have a reward & a consequence.

This idea resonated with me - and scares me a little.

We had to set a goal to achieve by 2 July.

I going to write a book that I've been putting off for ages.

If I send it to a publisher by then I will buy myself a nice pen. If I don't I will burn a favourite rugby jersey (which I definitely don't want to do). Yes, I am motivated to get the book to the publisher!

If you are serious about your goals, I recommend rewarding yourself & giving yourself a consequence to encourage you to achieve the things you want.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Peanut butter sandwiches

At a meeting recently, a business speaker told this story...

A workman sat down for lunch with his workmates and open his lunch box. "Peanut butter sandwiches again" he announced.
"Why don't you tell your wife you want something different" offered a workmate.
"I make them myself" said the workman.

This story made the room laugh, until the speaker suggested that we are often like the workman who want to change but never make the effort of changing.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

MDRT - Wellington - 24 April 2008

The Million Dollar Round Table is an organisation committed to the sharing of information and ideas. Our meeting in Wellington was full of excellent ways to improve business.

Walton Rogers - First Vice President MDRT
  • Learn by teaching.
  • Customise every customers solution.
  • Learn to listen.
  • Develop an agenda for every meeting including 3 blank items at the start.

Neil Kendall - Tupicoffs

  • Make a meaningful positive difference for clients.
  • Make sure business cards have a clear name, number & e-mail address.
  • If you're not in your client's mobile phone you're not in their lives.

John Shackleton

  • Focus on motivators (rewards & consequences).
  • Use visualisation.
  • Manage self-esteem.
  • Set precise & SMART goals.
  • Work towards your goals minute after minute, hour after hour.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Don't lose weight

That was the advice of John Shackleton at a session I attended today.

His advice was to focus on the desired outcome, not the negative process.

For instance, he suggested that losing weight was the process that people needed to go through that resulted in them looking slim, and that looking slim or fitting a certain clothing size should be the goal.

In other words, focus on the gain, not the pain.

Monday, April 14, 2008

How much should be spent on marketing?

The amount doesn't actually matter, the fact there is a plan does.

According to Kevin Roberts from Saatchi & Saatchi, some of the most creative marketing is done on the lowest budgets .

Whether the marketing budget is $20 or $200,000, the creative juices get flowing. I am always amazed how much can be achieved with very little, and sometimes I am amazed how little is achieved with huge expenditure.

Where I live there is a well known Real Estate company called Tommy's. Tommy was telling me about his marketing where he gives away $1,000 every month. He hands out 10 x $100 notes each month to random people as he explains who he is & what he does. A great way to get people talking about him!

A business person paid $500 to sponsor the player of the day award for a whole season for an entire football grade.

I love good news marketing stories and seeing examples of simple sales successes.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

CFP International Forum - 8 April 2008

It was interesting to get a perspective of where New Zealand is positioned on the international stage of financial planners at the recent forum in Christchurch.

The forum had representatives from Australia, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States in addition to attendees from other countries.

The number of Certified Financial Planners (CFP) has grown from 42 in 1973 to over 111,000 in 2007. New Zealand has 397 CFPs.

David Strege - United States
I enjoyed listening to David Strege who spoke about becoming a lifetime trusted advisor.

He shared the formula for calculating trust:

Trust = (Intimacy + Credibility + Reliability) / Self-orientation

Clients rate each of these values on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 is the lowest, 10 is the highest). The maximum score is 30.

For example if Intimacy is 7, Credibility is 9, Reliability is 8, and Self-orientation is 2, then Trust is rated (7+9+8)/2 = 12.

Further information is available at
www.trustedadvisor.com

David also made the comment that money itself is worthless, unless it is spent on something that is of value.

John Holland - Securities Commission
It was interesting and comforting to hear the commission talk about the approach they are taking to work with advisors to protect investors. He referred to an
illegal investment in 2001 as the reason for the disclosure regime.

Group panel discussion - Interesting points
Australia's main issues are:
- Regulation & licensing.
- A product-based (rather than advice based) system.
- Clients paying fees vs companies paying commission.
- Business costs.
- Recruitment, remuneration, retention and succession.


South Africa's main issues are:
- 48 million people, but only 5 million tax payers.
- Upfront vs renewal commission.

United Kingdom's main issues are:
- Strong sales focus from product providers vs advice focus.

United States main issues are:
- Regulation.
- New clients.
- Time management.
- Lack of effective regulation despite state licensing.
- Costs (5% spent on rent, 7% spent on regulation).

Hon Lianne Dalziel - Minister of Commerce
The minister's full speech is available on her
website. Note her final statement where she will keep repeating the need for investors to be wary of dealing with anyone providing financial advice who is not a member of a professional body.

The timeframe for regulation was 2010. Members of professional bodies should feel confident about the changes. The goal is to grow investor's confidence.

Further information

You can find out more about the Financial Planning Standards Board at
www.fpsb.org

Copy of the slides are available at
www.ifa.org.nz under the members section.

Recent article entitled Australian advisers do it better

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Country of contrasts


While travelling through India, this shot of a satellite dish next to rounds of cow dung on the roof of a house illustrated the contrasts of the country.

The modern technical age, next to the traditional, sustainable and recyclable past.

I was impressed with the tolerance the people showed to each other and to the blend of cultures in the face of a new fast-paced world.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Indian Motivators


The snakeboats are huge with over 100 people on each one. There are 5 people steering, 100 paddlers and 5 motivators.
I was impressed with the idea of having these motivators throughout the boat to get the best out of the paddlers. I wonder what would happen to workplaces if they employed motivators to help get the best out of staff?
We got to row with the locals & even though I didn't understand a word they were saying, I was motivated by the noise, whistling and enthusiasm.
Check out the video for a taste...

video

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Insurance in India


On my recent trip to India I thought about insurance & how it works.

This picture of a farmer taking his produce to market led me to think about the early types of insurance, where farmers would share their produce on different boats, so that if one sank, no single person would lose their entire produce.


This is how insurance still works today - where we pay a small amount to protect a much larger amount.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lesson from India about happiness


I just returned from an amazing holiday in Incredible India.

It was more than a holiday - it was an education.

The country has so many contrasts - rich & poor, beauty & filth, however it has an underlying message of tolerance & happiness.

One day I was staying in a palace watching a worker scare away pigeons. Yes, that was his full time job - banging a sheet with a stick to scare the birds. First I thought what a meaningless job it was, then I reflected on what he was doing. Walking around a 6 star garden, keeping it beautiful for the guests to enjoy. I have a feeling he took pride in what he achieved.

Another day we called on a village that looked like a shot from a Save the Children campaign. It was run down & dirty, however they were thrilled that we called in to meet them.

It reminded me that happiness is not about what I have, it's about how I choose to be.

Friday, February 29, 2008

What do you get when you combine passion, vision & expertise?

This fantastic presentation introduces the extraordinary World Wide Telescope to your desktop & makes travel back in time possible.

Watch this video from TED


Sunday, February 24, 2008

It's not alway what you say - it's how you say it

A gravity coffee billboard has a dig at the quality (or lack) of a well-known international coffee chain.

It's an excellent example of how a well developed advertising campaign can capture peoples attention and convey an effective message.

Friday, February 22, 2008

What is copywriting?

It's easy to get caught up using jargon when we are too close to our own industry.

Recently I've been helping develop material about insurance and its been an excellent learning curve as I create & then edit information so it is easy to digest.

I have recently been reading about copywriting which I find interesting, but what actually is copywriting?

It seems to be a catch-all to describe a range of writing.

In my view, good copywriters should be able to describe who their target audience is, what issues they are experts in solving and how they can develop effective solutions.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

What is success?

I felt despondent when I failed to achieve my goal of running 5kms in less than 25 minutes recently.

Today I decided to set new goals for my run.

Goal 1 - Run 8kms.
Goal 2 - Run the first 3 in less than 15 minutes.
Goal 3 - Say a cherry hi to people I saw.
Goal 4 - Feel good.
Goal 5 - Be in touch with my spiritual side.

I learnt that setting smaller milestone goals are just as satisfying as bigger goals.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Professional membership for Financial Advisors

On the 29th of February 2008, investment advisors in New Zealand will need to provide a Disclosure Statement before giving advice.

It's a good idea for advisors to be a member of a professional organisation.

There are a number of organisations to choose from. The links below take you to the membership application areas of each organisation.

Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (click)
Their website describes the organisation as the leading membership body for insurance and financial services professionals in the Asia Pacific region. Institute members belong to a community of more than 12,000 insurance and financial services professionals who are respected for their up-to-date skills and knowledge and integrity.

Institute of Financial Advisers (click)
The Institute of Financial Advisers' website states that they are the professional body for insurance advisers, investment advisers and financial planners. The Institute is an industry leader, representing over 1400 financial advisers throughout New Zealand.

Life Brokers Association of New Zealand (click)
Their website states that this organisation represents professional independent life insurance brokers in New Zealand and facilitates the professional development of life brokers and sets a standard of excellence within the industry.

Professional Advisors' Association (click)
According to their website, the PAA's primary purpose is to provide a full range of Professional Association services to its members (life insurance, investment and mortgage advisers).

Society of Independent Financial Advisors (click)
Their mission statement is to ensure members of SIFA provide the public with independent financial advice while upholding the highest professional and ethical standards.

In addition to these organisations, there are also industry bodies and associations.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Live while you're alive!

Peggy Bourne is best known as the widow of the rally champion Possum Bourne, who was killed in a car accident in 2003.

Today I heard her story about her journey.

A child growing up with missionary parents in Africa.

Her marriage to Possum.

Her life after his death and the struggle to cope to take back her life.
She shared some of her life lessons, such as:
- Acknowledging mistakes & moving on.
- Live while you are alive.
- The strength her faith has given her.
I really enjoyed her story & learnt to appreciate life a little bit more.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

The power of GOALS

The more goals I achieve, the more I believe in the incredible (& sometimes scary) power of setting goals.

For me, GOALS stands for:

G = GAME. It has to be fun, like a game.
O = OBSTACLES. I need to know what stands in my way.
A = ANALYSE. I need to know where I've been, where I'm going & how I'm going to get there.
LS = LASER SIGHT. As in keep focussed on my goal like a laser sight on my target.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Steps to success in 2008 and in life

The team from Red Hot Business Coaching spoke about it.

Rex Pemberton, the youngest Australian to conquer Everest, spoke about it.

The power of setting goals.

The really interesting thing is that they don't need to be realistic or achievable. They can be outrageous, unattainable and scary! The tougher the goal, the more inventive we become at how we might approach it.

So, step 1 is to set the goal.

Step 2 is to identify obstacles & develop strategies for overcoming them.

Step 3 was to know what we are passionate about because this will provide the fuel to attain the goal.

The next step was to develop the plan with milestones to achieve the goal.

Finally, get started! A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step - Lao-tzu

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A successful sales lesson

Like the bungy cord itself, which is made up of hundreds of small rubber strings bound together, the team at Taupo Bungy worked together to ensure a successful jump.

I can learn much from their smooth process that enabled me to achieve my goal of leaping off a platform 100's of feet above a river.

From the moment I stepped up to the counter, it was like a choreographed dance sequence. The guy behind the counter took my money, I signed the waiver & received an explanation that there was no refund.

When I got to the platform they rechecked my weight (in case I lost too much weight between paying my money & getting to the platform) strapped me in, double checked the binding and explained what would happen. They took me to the edge of the platform and it was as simple as smile at the camera, 3, 2, 1 BUNGEEEEEEEE.... and off I went.

Now, I expected them to ask me are you ready? Or are you sure? But they assumed that I paid my money, I wanted to bungy and their job was to ensure I achieved my goal.

How many times in sales do we get to the crunch question and the sale fails? I believe we would be more successful if we assumed that we are offering what the client wants and get on & do the business.

We can learn from this lesson and develop a process that ensures success from the start.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Travel tips for New Zealand #3 - Rotorua


Paradise Valley Springs advertises being able to pat lion cubs as its main draw card, however in my opinion the fresh water spring was the highlight.

Make sure you take a drink bottle so you can fill it directly from this amazing spring. The water is cold & so very fresh.
The animals are varied and interesting and you are able to pat many of them. You can buy a small bag of grains to feed the animals and trout as you walk around.
It's worth packing a picnic although a small cafe is on site.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Travel tips for New Zealand #2 - Rotorua

We were a little disappointed at the quality of the motel in Rotorua. Don't always believe what you see on the internet. The mineral plunge pool was more of a paddling pool. My advice is to do your homework first.

The first attraction we went to was the gondola & luge. This was a lot of fun & I would highly recommend it. The gondola provides some great views. The luge is a huge amount of fun, for all ages & abilities. It is very safe.

There are lockers available for your bags at the top of the gondola plus food and a souvenir shop. You can buy photos of yourself as you speed down the luge course or travelling in the gondola.

Best to go early in the day during busy periods as the course fills up but the lines were well managed.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Travel tips for New Zealand #1

I had an idea to share what we did & learnt on our holiday to Rotorua, Taupo & Auckland (North Island, New Zealand), so that others might also have a memorable and enjoyable experience. I'll post a few blogs over the next few days/ weeks.

We travelled by van, breaking up the journey with regular stops.

One of the best things we did was to give each family member (Mum, Dad, 2 girls & 2 boys) a sports bag. If something didn't fit, we didn't take it. This meant there was no excess luggage or cramped conditions in the vehicle.

When travelling in New Zealand in summer take:
Sunscreen
Sunhat
Sunglasses
Shorts
Pants
Tops
Socks
Swim wear
Enough underwear for the whole trip
Laundry bag
Camera
Journal or travel diary
Map
Drinks & nibbles
Good footwear

Tap water is safe to drink.

New Zealand is generally a safe country to travel in, but like every country has its criminal element. Lock valuables away and don't stray from groups late at night.

By planning ahead you will make the best use of your time in this beautiful country.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lessons my kids have taught me #4

I don't want to be famous.

I remember when my kids admired and wanted to be like Britney Spears but I look at the sad life that many celebrities lead and I wouldn't want to swap my life for theirs.

I read a great quote the other day which said that happiness is found in what you have, not what you want.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Lessons my kids have taught me #3

Sometimes my kids don't give a bugger (that's kiwi speak for (amongst other things) not caring what others think about you).

I like the way they are confident about who they are.

Sometimes I can be too concerned about how I think others might view me (especially the PlayStation tan look at the pool), but I try to learn from my kids & not care what I look like.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lessons my kids have taught me #2

“Be what you are. Give what is yours to give. Have style. Dare.”
Stanley Kunitz (1905 – 2006) American poet


This Christmas my youngest son gave the family gifts. I was most impressed with mine. It was a booklet containing 4 shoulder massage vouchers.

Rather than spending money on stuff I didn't need, he used his skills to develop a unique gift that he knew would be appreciated.

He taught me the best gifts are not usually the ones bought from stores.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lessons my kids have taught me #1

One of the best business lessons I was taught was at the end of our family holiday.

My 17 & 15 year olds decided a bungy jump at Taupo sounded like a good way to top off the holiday.

I thought if they can do it, I’m not too old to have a go (although I was upset I had to check the 41 to 64 year old box on the form).

It was an amazing sensation as I jumped off the platform & was thankful to the professionals who had secured me safely.

Afterwards there was a feeling that we really can do anything we set our minds to. The important steps are:
1. To set the goal
2. Work out how to reach the goal
3. Ensure the right team is in place to help reach the goal
4. Take the leap & get started on the goal

The lesson I learned was that I am capable of more than I thought.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Setting stupid goals

I don't know why I did it - probably just for the challenge.

3 years ago I set a stretch business goal - and I achieved it.
2 years ago I set a higher goal - and I achieved that too.

Last year I set a goal that was twice the previous year. I didn't need to, but I wanted to see what would happen. As I got closer to the end of 2007, I resigned myself that I would go close but wouldn't achieve the milestone.

But 3 days before Xmas it happened! I achieved the ridiculously high goal. I was thrilled (and relieved).

My boss is already talking about a 10 percent increase in business. I'm already thinking about increases in multiples.

I have learnt goals are truly powerful motivators.

I encourage anyone who wants to achieve success to plan for it.