Category: Smart Living

The great event – Invite only – Behave yourself

Leaders set the tone, cool, calm and deliberate.

I just finished a week of festivities to my daughters wedding.

The anticipation was great, the preparation was detailed and the execution was magnificent.

With over two hundred guests, family and friends coming in from all over and creating harmony throughout the day into the night seemed an impossible task.

On the day of the event, people were preparing the last minute touches, the bridal party taking their time to look picture perfect and they did. The marriage ceremony of mixed cultures made the hardest of us tearful and grateful, reminded of love and its intoxicating power.

In the evening it was time for family and guests to join in the celebration with plenty of food, drink and music. The speeches were being shared with more laughter and tears as loved ones open up to honour the new young couple. The last of the speeches was the groom, he stood up and kindly thanked and honoured all the right people. He then finished his speech with the most memorable words.

~ “We’re about to celebrate, eat, drink and dance for the rest of the evening so if there’s anyone that has any issues, please go for a walk and keep walking till you get out the gate and keep walking. Come back tomorrow when you’re all cooled off and have something to eat”

He shared those words with a soft tone and a spirit of love making sure that all the preparation, all the hard work was respected and to honour every person present. No one was going to hijack the evening and rob this community as well as the newly weds of their joy.

I believe society can learn much from my son in-law when it comes to notifying minorities seeking to pull apart a spirit of harmony and robbing many people of their labour’s of love, it’s not on.

As you can imagine, the evening flowed and the celebration was big, if there were any incidence, no one was effected.

Leaders set the tone, cool, calm and deliberate.

Perth, Sky’s the limit – A City Change within our reach

The anchor of a city is the promise it gives. Reshaping, rebuilding to fully appreciate what’s in our midst.

100,000 more residents, students and tourists filling the Perth CBD void, which is required to create an enviable vibrant global city.

Perth is Safe, Clean and open for business. What some call a boring City is what others recognise as opportunity personified.

If there was a time to move to Perth CBD, it’s now. The market has dropped to a level playing field and there’s opportunity everywhere for those looking to balance work and lifestyle.

There’s a growing trend for inner city living, to cut down on travel, to connect with culture and to free up valuable time.

Now is also the time to negotiate fantastic leases for start up businesses, now is the time to open that quirky restaurant, now is the time to create a smarter lifestyle.

Property developers and landlords are in the mood to give smart insensitive’s to continue their core businesses, which allows you to win at the beginning of your investment.

The greatest assets we will ever have is Time, Health and Optimism.

Don’t believe the spin doctor experts, investigate for yourself and create your own financial and lifestyle security.

My oldest friend – Half a century later

I met him through his brother when I was about five years old, he was one of the primary school’s fastest runners, him and the Aussie guy.

Mario being Greek was obviously was my first preference of who to barrack for, even at such a young age, we were tribal.

We’ve weaved in and out of each other’s lives and became quite close in our late teens with a church community being our common thread.

Then the fun stuff started, we both married to Aussie girls and and broke our tribal ways and we had three kids each around the same times.

Our families grew close and then separated by our work for many years, my family moving interstate, but we remained close in spirit.

Decades have past, five in fact and we’re closer now than ever and only in the last few months we’re getting to truely know one another.

It’s hard to explain but there’s something quite special when you can keep friendships alive for so many years.

We’ve both had the space to become whatever we’ve become, good, bad or indifferent and free of judgement.

I’m fortunate to have a number of friends around the world that remain true and even if a decade passes by, we just take off from where we left last.

I’ve never laughed so much as I have in the last couple of months with my friends that choose to keep the walls down when I’m around.

I honestly pray that you have such friends in your life.

At 12 my first boss treated me like a man

I wasn’t prepared and I learned quick.

pic taken one metre away from my first job at twelve years of age forty three years later with my cousin, my first boss, he was nineteen at the time.

I was given my one square metre of responsibility, all I had to do was answer the phone at my uncles fish & chip shop on Friday evenings.

How hard could it be?

I had to wear a clean white T-shirt, pants and covered shoes, not negotiable.

Everyone in the shop had to look groomed and clean. The cooks had white aprons like a five star restaurant and the men had a white hat slanted to the side. Not me, I was the apprentice at the phone and wasn’t to move outside my one square metre of space.

Answering the phone wasn’t that easy, I needed to speak clearly and listen intently to minimise mistakes.

Abruptly my uncle or cousin would ask what the order was and if it wasn’t clear, I got told to write clearer, listen more carefully, don’t assume. (My cousin and uncle weren’t interested in pleasantries, they just said what they thought)

As I mastered the art of answering the phone my confidence grew and I started drifting outside my one square metre of space, until.

One Friday evening while waiting by the phone I noticed a crackle of fish fell on the counter top from my cousin’s serving basket. The evening was busy, everyone was moving around behind the counter like ants. Cousins, Aunty, Uncle. After a couple of seconds I don’t know what I was thinking but I went to the counter took the morsel of fish crackle and ate it, thinking nothing of it and went back to my corner.

Within moments my cousin who was nineteen years old asked me to come to the back of the shop for a chat. He asked me why I ate the crackle in front of all the customers? (My cousin didn’t miss a beat, he noticed everything). I was gobsmacked, completely embarrassed as he continued to dress me down giving me my first lesson in customer service. My uncle walks by and affirms my cousins discipline, he being the master of perception is everything, image is everything when it comes to branding.

From that day you can imagine I quickly understood the value of discipline, stay within your space, master what you’ve been assigned to and don’t assume anything.

I earned my five dollars of a Friday evening and worked with my relatives for years learning many valuable lessons that I adapted to this day over four decades later.

Equipping the next generation with discipline mixed with empathy will go a long way.

I shared the above story today with my cousin while visiting the shop that we both grew up in. We laughed so much, he was surprised how much impact he made in my life.

A prisoners eyes – The prison bars aren’t the inhibitor

I was privileged to speak to about fifty young men aged between eighteen and thirty in a Perth prison along with prison officers and the prison director.

I also had a couple of construction site managers. an x-police officer and an indigenous leader come along for the ride.

These young prisoners are incredibly intuitive and they’re expecting yet another Do-Gooder program. Never underestimate Street-Smarts.

Why would I even be so optimistic or arrogant believing a thirty minute talk can make all the difference?

It all starts before the thirty minute talk. These young men have no idea who I am, many assuming I’m going to tell them what a gangster I was and now I’m here to rescue them from a cycle of crime.

Nothing could be further from the truth, I still don’t know the difference between a pot plant and a tomato plant nor do I have an interest.

What I did have in common with these young men was the feeling of being trapped, the feeling of being systemised and the lack of freedom.

The above smiling pic was taken in 2009, 1700 km away from my home in my mid forties in desperate search of escaping me. It’s the picture of a man that achieved all he dreamed of achieving. Married, father of three, owned a home, successful career and suicidal.

My life was completely disrupted on New Year’s Day 2010 at Trigg Beach, Perth Western Australia and the very concept of freedom alluded me until that very day.

Let’s go back to that prison talk.

One by one these young men walk into the small prison hall surrounded by guards. I greet each one of them at the door, shaking their hands and making eye contact with each one. It was important to me that I acknowledged each of them before my talk.

Every one of them broke my heart, every one of them grasping to have their own identity. Every one showed me the respect that I gave them, shaking my hand like a brother or a son.

I started my talk and as usual I divided the room, some felt they would try and disrupt me by laughing at the most inappropriate time. I welcome their mockery and then add heat to my message. The dissenters no longer mock and they looked curious.

I offered them no answers but promised them that the answer they are looking for is within them. The challenge was given to each one of them to rise up as leaders of the community, leaders of their family.

Connection was made, their attention was grabbed, no program was offered and I left them hanging.

When I opened it up for Q&A, I marvelled at the courage a handful showed by asking personal questions, even a couple of the prison officers lifted their hands in curiosity.

We ended the meeting and I stood near the door to say goodbye the same way I greeted them, reminding them of their individuality.

One by one the quietly whispered “When are you coming back, this is not what we expected?”

Later I found out that many of these young men talked about the atmosphere and content of the meeting, asking for our return.

Some minds experienced freedom if only just for a moment even behind prison walls.

I see the same look of those young men every day in the lives of young Proffessionals, students and the most successful business people in our city.

Freedom starts in the heart and no amount of outward success can help escape an entrapped mind.