Tag Archives: Focus

What Did You Learn today?

One of our core needs is to grow.

Growth comes from:

  • New stuff.
  • Old stuff with a new perspective.
  • Something completely out of left field.
  • Mistakes that show you why or how something didn't work.
  • Words that had the opposite effect from what was expected
  • Words that had a different effect from your expectations
  • Feedback both good and bad.
  • Reading
  • Listening

Nothing here about talking.

What else? This is just a teaser?

WHAT DID YOU LEARN TODAY?

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Bringing up Children V’s Being a Good Salesperson?

Have you ever thought of the similarities between these two? Between children and customers?

Just as an example:

Try shouting at a baby/child to make him/her do something.

Try shouting at a customer to get him/her to buy your goods/services.

Same result?

Why's that?

Your comments please.

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The Successful Coach Magazine

Woo Hoo. Yippee and all that jazz. Another publication under my belt.

This time an article in a magazine.

Here is the link.

June Issue - The Successful  Coach Magazine

It is the first in a series of 8 articles covering the topic of retirement / retrenchment (Laid off for my American readers) which leads up to the generation of a life plan and a set of SMART goals. Stay tuned to see the rest of them.

Comment if you will.

That link again.

June Issue - The Successful Coach Magazine

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Jillian 21 – A Tall Ship

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

Sea Fever by John Masefield -1902

The Enterprize

This was as true for Jillian much more recently than when it was written.

Tall Ship Enterprize
The Enterprize Tall Ships Festival in Hobson's Bay

She had ventured on a voyage from Melbourne to Hobart (Tasmania) on a tall ship, 'The Enterprize' a wonderful replica of the ship on which the first settlers to Melbourne travelled.

Wikipedia tells us a little about Mr Masefield - Born in 1878, died in 1967. He left boarding school in 1892 to train for a life at sea, and to break his addiction to reading, of which his aunt thought little. He found, though, that he could spend much of his time reading and writing Later as his love for story-telling grew, and as he listened to the yarns told about sea lore, he continued to read, and felt that he was to become a writer and story teller himself. Sorry Aunty.

 While the poem was not quite the Ancient Mariner it truly resonated with our Jillian on that voyage. You see all the passengers were expected to perform shipboard tasks as much as the crew.

Tiller

tall ship tiller
The Tiller on The Enterprize

 And one lovely night Jillian found herself at the tiller (this ship did not even have a wheel - a bit early in maritime history for that - but who's quibbling - the tiller still had a kick), steering on a compass heading as instructed by the 1st mate. She was joined at her lonely task - the only other person on watch was a lookout on the front of the ship (bow) - by the Captain.

"Of course" I muttered. "Once a Siren always a Siren."

Advice

"Anyway," she said, giving me the evil eye, "He told me to check that I had the correct compass heading and then look up and forward. For a star. Find one that lines up with a part of the ship and keep them lined up as best you can. For at least a few hours that will be as good as anything and much less to-ing and fro-ing will occur. A compass heading, he told her, will require constant vigilance and many, many corrective actions making you very tired and not in the end being all that effective, or comfortable for the rest of the crew and passengers. Hmmmm, perhaps that was what brought him out of his bed and up on deck in his PJ's", Jillian mused.

It was good advice, but made me recite that stanza of the poem over and over. I couldn't remember any more," she said.

Memories

There were many other memorable events and sights on that cruise if you can call it a cruise.” She said. And she went on to mention some of them. Not in any particular order. But she was not the most logical in her memory, our Jillian.

  • Fishing from the back of the boat and eating the catch for dinner that night. Awesome.
  • A bay where we anchored which was so still that I couldn’t tell where the water ended and the sky began.
  • Container ships passing in the night looking like cities speeding over the horizon.
  • Crew members (and a few intrepid passengers - not me) swimming with dolphins as we sedately sailed along in the sunshine.
  • The stars. Oh the stars. How can there be so many?
  • Being rocked to sleep every night. Well every 6 hours as we all had to be on watch - 6 hours on 6 hours off.
  • Being woken up after 2 hours sleep when it is raining so hard you couldn’t see; and blowing so hard the bow of the ship was dipping under the water; and being expected to go out on deck to help pull sails down, and tie them up. NOT.
  • Being so seasick the first 10 – 15 hours of the voyage you wanted to die.
  • Gliding majestically under full sail down the Derwent River in the sunshine towards Hobart in company with a large number of other tall ships and boats of all kinds. (Going to the Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart.)
  • Using very sharp meat cleavers in the galley while the ship was rolling sideways such that the rails on the deck were almost touching the sea. AGAIN NOT.
  • Being on deck working the sails when the wind, rolling and pitching were such that we had to be shackled to lines (ropes) running along the side of the ship from front to back. VERY FRIGHTENING.
  • Working the tiller (steering without a wheel) when it was so rough the tiller had to be secured with many ropes and a block and tackle was required to move it in any direction – and even then it required more than two of the real crew members to move it.
  • The sun. Inside or outside, arms covered or not. But always the hat, which had to be tethered to your head like those old lady librarians glasses.
  • The tranquillity. Oh the tranquillity. When the sea, the weather and the captain all agreed we needed a break and it was calm and beautiful. Wondrous.

Yep. It was hard work. And I paid more than $1,000 for the privilege,” Jillian mumbled.

But, did you enjoy it?” I asked.

#ourjillian

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Jillian 19 – Best Radio Around

Ya just never know what Jillian is going to come up with next. Here's a story from a long time go which must have been a hoot.

I was at this party with my sister. She was a few years older than me (she was 14, I think, at the time), but it was a youth group party, no booze and kids my parents knew, so it was all right. Besides the olds were going out with my aunt and uncle and so sis had to baby-sit me and this was how it was going to go down. All good.

We were driven to this house in the suburbs and went inside. It was your typical young teen party – dim lights, loud music, a sort of supper of pointy sandwiches (with hundreds and thousands – we were all still supposed to like the stuff we had liked when we were 7), a few sweet biscuits, and some fruit cake. Plastic bottles of coke, fanta and lemonade with plastic cups. You know the story, right?” she asked.

I said I did. I didn't ask about the parents of the kids living in the house, or whose house it was. Seemed inappropriate.

Well, it wasn't all as mum and dad had thought, but I was hardly going to say a word. You don't look a gift horse and all that sort of thing.

Ya see, a few kids believed that Vodka mixed with lemonade – a lot of lemonade – didn't have a taste of booze nor the smell, so a few enterprising ones had managed to get hold of some parental vodka and fill up their own bottles with this concoction. Nobody would know, they thought. Sis made sure I didn't get any. Spoil sport.

The party moved into full swing a tad after we arrived. Bit of booze and the snogging began. It was really neat to part of this grown up stuff. It wasn't long before I couldn't find sis any-more, but not to worry.

What really got me was the music. It was coming out of the radio, really loud, but somehow not like normal radio, I couldn't tell what was different. At 8.00pm there was the Radio Network News. Pips and all. It seemed so right, but also wrong.

The main announcer was called Jim Post. He kept on saying 'This is your host with the most, Jim Post. The most hits, the most gossip and the most fantastic party vibe.' I think that was a new age word - vibe, I hadn't heard it before. There were a couple of other announcers, someone called Mike and another, John, I think. But there was definitely something weird.

The radio station was called 'Best Radio Around - Radio BRA' I thought that was funny as well as I hadn't heard of this station, and I listened to the radio a lot. We were in the early 60's here and there was not a lot else to do. 'Surf music' was playing. That was neat as well. My favourite”

A bit of history here,” Jillian said. “This was the time of The Surfaris, Jan and Dean, Duane Eddy, The early Beach Boys and even Chuck Berry. There were two Australian bands that became known in this genre as well. The Atlantics with their hit Bombora, and Col Joye and the Joy Boys. Their biggest hit in 1963 'Murphy the Surfy' was covered by The Surfaris a year or so later. Nuff history. OK?

I think what really got me was that every now and then someone would yell out a song they wanted to hear and nearly always, not long after, that song came on. Very strange.

But after I heard the name of one of my sister's friends called out on the radio, and some gossip about her new boyfriend I knew there was something I needed to find out. What was going on here?

I went over to the radio set and it didn't seem to be tuned to any station I knew about. But the sound was definitely coming from the radio speakers. This was intriguing. I couldn't figure it out. I had no idea, but there was stuff here I needed to know. Little detective Jillian?

A few moments after this my sister clapped me on the top of my head (I really hated that but it was her quiet way of saying 'squirt - You're the little sister' and asked how I was. 'Was I enjoying myself?' She asked.

'Too right, I replied. 'But what's going on with the music and the radio stuff?' I asked.

She laughed out loud, a bit too loud I thought, probably she had indulged in a little bit of the vodka drink. 'Don't ya know?' she said. 'It's not really the radio. It's a couple of our mates doing it all from the back bed-room. Come on Jillian, you are such a KID,' she said.

'I know,' I said. 'I ... ah ...  just wondered how it was all being done is all.'

'Come on – I'll show you,' she said. And we headed off down the passage to a room away from the lounge. I spotted a big hand written KEEP OUT sign you couldn't miss. She listened with her ear to the door and then tapped lightly on the wooden panel and said her name. The door opened a moment later and we walked in.”

This is my sister Jillian,” sis said.

To say I was gobsmacked would be an understatement. The room was totally full of stuff, and 3 older boys. Men really. I mean they were to me at my tender age.

There were a couple of tables in the middle of the room and two record players side by side with funny felt thingy's on top of the turntables under the records; 2 tape machines - 1 a cassette player and 1 was with reels. There was a transistor radio, several big boxes of records and cassette tapes, 2 or 3 pairs of headphones and 2 microphones on stick things covered with a foamy sheet of some kind. There was a funny kind of box thing on the table under the microphone with knobs and switches on it. And wires. There were wires absolutely everywhere. Everything was connected to everything else with wires - every bit of table not covered with equipment was covered with wires. And power cords and double-adapters were all over the floor.

This was so exciting. I had never seen anything like this.

Just then one of the blokes held up his hand to us and motioned us to keep quiet. He leaned forward towards the microphone and with one hand flicked a switch (the sound in the room of the music currently playing stopped suddenly) while his other hand was holding a record on the turntable of the record player to his right (I could see the turntable was going round, but he was holding the record still). What's that about? I thought.

He started talking. I was so excited I nearly wet my pants. Well maybe I did – a little.

Anyway, he said, and I'll remember it 'til I die.. 'Hey all you party goers out there, once again this is your host with the most Jim Post, and you're on the best radio around radio BRA. (only this time he said the word bra and smiled up at me).

We have a very special tune to play for you right now. This is a favourite of a friend of mine - Jillian.'

And I noticed he let go of the actual record which started to turn around. and wound one of the knobs. The music started as he finished speaking  my name and got louder as he turned the knob. It started straight away not after a few seconds like when you put a normal record on and it all sounded so professional.  Then he turned to me - to us.

'How are you cutie,' he said. 'You sister has told me a lot about you.'”

#ourjillian

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Check out AirBnB. It is awesome. A way to find cheap accommodation ANYWHERE

My apartment in Melbourne has just been listed on this fantasmagorical website. It is free to list and already I have a confirmed and paid for booking. I mean can it get any better than that?

Here it is. Have a look. Click on the image or the link to see the details.

216/416a St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

My Apartment!

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Jillian 17 – Humour (Again)

I couldn’t laughing2let it go. Seemed like a metaphor for all that we have lost in our modern world. Humour; laughter; funny. What does it all mean? Why do we have laughing groups in almost every country in the world? What is  all about?

Babies and children seem to smile and laugh at many things and often. I don’t believe that it is always gas. What changed?

I began to question Jillian about specifics. Could she tell me about times when she had laughed? When she had found something funny? 

It’s all about the unexpected,” she said.

I know,” I replied. “We already discussed that last time. So give me some examples from your life.”

After a few moments she began, “I remember one time, when I came home from work. I was living in this absurd studio apartment [she did the finger quote thingy] which was really the old front sun room of a pretend stately home – I mean it was a biggish rectangular room probably about 6 metres wide and 12 – 15 metres long and all windows across the front so very cold in winter and hellish in summer. It had a very dark black hole of a closet in the back corner which had a toilet and bath/shower. And there was a bit of a bench contraption on one side wall which had a small cooktop and a camp oven kind of thing for cooking. Room for a small fridge and bugger all space for storage of food and other stuff. Really primitive. Quite possibly not approved for letting out as anything other than a rabbit hutch I reckon

To be truthful,” she reminisced, “I think that, in itself, was funny, but that’s not the joke. laughing1

I had a couple of newly married friends from overseas staying for a few days – less than a week – as they were on a backpacking tour and wanted to get by as cheaply as possible. They had visited me at work this day to see how the other half lived, and as we arrived home we found all my possessions and their stuff on the lawn in front of the ‘room – studio’ and a note from the landlord saying he didn’t want a load of hippies staying at his place. Gave it and him a bad reputation.” [Was that funny as well?]

The shock. But then we peered into the window at the outrageous room we had called home, and the pathetic amount and type of stuff on the lawn and burst out laughing. It was really very funny. 

Thank God; amongst the, what amounted to detritus on the lawn, was a bottle of rather indifferent red wine and a few cracked and stained coffee mugs. We laughed and the three of us drank until it started to get dark and we all realized at the same time – we needed somewhere to stay the night, and I had to go to work tomorrow like I still had a place to live. The ridiculousness of this started the laughing all over again. But we were now out of wine. And that, of course, was NOT a laughing matter.”

Does that qualify?” Jillian asked. 

laughingI stopped laughing long enough to tell her it certainly did. The image of all that junk she called – well whatever she called it – spread all over the lawn and the three of them drinking red wine amongst it all makes me laugh now as I write this.

What happened after that is a fish of a different kettle and we may hear more about it in a later episode.

#ourjillian

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Success Unlimited – Mithra Publishing

Well it has finally happened. I am a published author. The book for which I submitted a chapter has been published.

I am one of about 12 writers whose contribution made it into the final cut. The book is now available for purchase.

You can find out more about it and purchase a copy from the link below.

I am soo excited.
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Jillian 14 – Wine Incident

Jillian 14 - Wine Incident

(For the beginning of these snippets please follow this link.

http://career-change-strategies.com.au/fun-training-offers/meet-my-friend-jillian/)

On one of her return visits to New Zealand when she was a bit older, Jillian spent a bit of time in WINDY WELLINGTON. (Remember the visit we spoke of when she was a sales person?) Well it was about a year after that. You might also remember we talked about an earthquake when she was quite young? That was in NZ too as you might imagine.

This incident is based on her life 'In Country'  some time after that.

Jillian had a fairly large number of close friends. In-spite of her frequent musings to the contrary - she is a very like-able woman and has very many really excellent qualities that she is the last person in the world to recognize. As a coach, I am remiss for not chatting to her about this stuff, as it can make a nice life quite unnecessarily negative.

Another story for another time.

Getting back to this one. Jillian had an uncle who was a priest. He lived in the Hawke's Bay region of the North Island in a monastery which was attached to one of the great and famous wine making establishments of the area at the time. The New Zealand wine industry is still even now quite young, but growing rapidly. Grapes were originally brought to the Hawke’s Bay region in the 1850’s by Catholic priests for sacramental wine. And the tradition was continued. Catholics are always attuned to ways of making money for The Church, as Sunday collections can be very fickle and there is a huge infrastructure and many religious (clergy, and teachers) to be supported. So why not?

“Why not make wine for sale to the general public?” they said.

Her uncle was, as it happens, the chief winemaker. A great job. And he was very passionate about it.

On this visit he was VERY excited about a new wine they had released in the last month or so. It was a Red, but when she told me this account, Jillian couldn't remember the name of it which, luckily is not all that important to this tale. She remembered tasting it, she was not a big red wine drinker - at this stage of her life being more partial to unwooded Chardonnays, but she said it was one of the best wines she had EVER tasted.

Some tasting links for your perusal.

http://winefolly.com/review/identifying-flavors-in-wine/

http://winefolly.com/tutorial/40-wine-descriptions/

“It had a large Rosehip kind of taste,” she said, “mixed with Chocolate and a hint of Cinnamon. It was also creamy, nutty and buttery.”

Not sure where the rosehip bit came from, rosehips are the seed pods for roses and these have a tartness that, I think, she didn't really mean. Probably some blackberry taste or something like that. (Editor Note).

As a chardonnay lover, she was probably picking up on the toasty. buttery flavours and creamy textures; as malolactic conversion which is normal for red wines. is used in this particular style of white wine more then any other variety.

Anyway. Bloody hell I get distracted easily.

To cut a long story short she was enamoured with the taste of the wine, and all the palaver her ecstatic uncle couldn't help regaling her with. She remembered it all; at least for a time.

Later that evening, back in Wellington a night or so before her return home to her adopted country, she had a group of friends join her for dinner. 12 in all. This from a woman whose suitcases have a better life than her? Go figure.

They were about to order a wine. Had had a few loosening up drinks and ordered food. Main courses only - they were watching their weight.

Jillian could not believe that the wine that had almost given her an O@#$%, (my word not hers - better not say that here), was on the wine list. She ordered two bottles for the table, as a start, explaining the story I have just told you. Her Uncle? Remember?

As was customary, she was invited to taste it. She asked one of her friends to do the honours as she was so excited by this turn of events. As the delight on her friend's face quickly became a grimace, Jillian grabbed the glass.

The taste was unbelievable. Unbelievably HORRIBLE. Only about 4 hours ago our Jillian had been tasting this wine and discussing its merits with the actual winemaker.

Very politely, she imparted this information to the waiter.

"Oh, I don't think there could possibly be anything wrong with this wine, Miss. It is only new and has just been put on the menu." he expostulated.

"Well, it is most definitely NOT what I was drinking this afternoon," she almost yelled.

A quick reality check of the bottle revealed we were talking about the same wine, same winery, and blow me down if Uncle's name was not on the bottle as winemaker.

"There." She said. "I was with HIM this afternoon (pointing repeatedly at the label), and this does not taste anything like the wine we were drinking. So please, if you are not prepared to replace it; can we talk to the manager?

The waiter brought the owner to the table. His misogynistically horrendous first statement - that the wine was fine and how would a woman know anything about wine anyway - was the final straw.

"OK, girls." she said. "This pig of a man has served us 'off' wine and now he has the temerity to insult me in front of my friends. I know another restaurant just a few doors down. Let's go there."

As one, they rose, fuming for Jillian, and turning towards the door - walked out. Jillian, like a General leading her army, led the troops forward; and they moved 'en masse' to the place down the road.

To add to the moment Jillian saw waiters bringing out the meals as they disappeared out the door.

Is there a moral here?

Probably.

More than one I reckon.

  1.  Think about the consequences of your words and actions. (1 bottle of wine v's 12 full meals?)
  2. Listen to what people are telling you.
  3. Never judge, in particular using stupid stereotypical unsubstantiated beliefs
  4. Be polite and always remember ‘respect’.

Funny just the same? You go girl. Jillian the great.

#ourjillian

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Jillian 13a – 2nd School Incident (Continued)

Jillian 13a - 2nd School Incident (Continued)

For the start of these episodes go to http://career-change-strategies.com.au/fun-training-offers/meet-my-friend-jillian/

“Where were we?” Jillian asked when we next met. “Think I left you on a bit of cliff, hanging on my every word?” She smiled. Guess our Jillian is beginning to enjoy this.

“Sir 2? Is that where we were? Where I left you? Sir2 sitting on his desk talking away quietly while we were all shouting at each-other?”

”Yes.” I said trying hard to get the same ferocious glare Jillian can conjure up at the sound of a hat dropping. I failed.

“He had this other infuriating habit of NEVER repeating anything he had said while we were shouting. So, of course we were once again all together shouting,' What did he say? What is happening?'

“Eventually we go the gist of it.

“We were going to 'borrow' tools; tape measures, string, chalk (we had no idea why we needed to bring chalk to school, but we didn't ask) shovels, rakes, spades, picks, some short sticks of wood, a small plank about 3 feet long and about 6 inches wide, and anything else we could find from our Dad's sheds. Someone was to bring a wheelbarrow. No one was to know. This was to be at 6.00pm on Thursday evening after dinner. Secret kids' business.

We were to assemble at the back gate of the school after telling our parents we were going to be outside playing (luckily the weather was good). Sir2 was going to let us know if the coast was clear, meaning all teachers had gone home

On the night. No one else knew anything and there were about 15 or more of us kids. It was the best thing. We were all so excited. We whispered although it was still light and we were outside where we were usually shouting ourselves hoarse, and there was no-one nearby to hear anyway. But it was a bit like 'The Secret Seven', or spies, or really neat stuff like that.

“Sir2 whispered too. He told us we were going to measure out a jumping pit, and a run-up, (he had the measurements on a piece of school notebook) and we were going to dig a long narrow pit about 1 foot deep. It was before decimal currency.

We started by hammering 4 little wooden 'pegs' he called them, into the ground. They made a rectangle. The string was to go around the pegs and when we covered it with chalk and flicked it at the ground it made a white line on the grass to mark the edges of the pit. Sir2 had to check that the angles were correct. The strings had to be 90 degrees – or something - so the pit looked good.

Who would have thought that all this stupid maths was going to be important?

But this was such fabulous stuff, I had no idea, how it was all going to work.

But in about 2 hours – all of us working flat out – we had our pit dug out. It was huge, About 20 or 30 feet long, I later learnt, and about 9 feet wide. We had to take all the dirt and dump it over the back of the field where there was a lot of other dirt so no-one would know. I love secrets.

The run-up went back another 100 feet, but luckily we didn't need to dig this. We just put a couple of pegs to mark the start. We also put our little piece of timber in the ground about 3 feet from the beginning of the pit, to mark where you had to jump from.

When we finished and were laughing and carrying on as kids will do, three big trucks pulled up to the back gate loaded with very little tiny chips of wood and sawdust.

We all looked at Sir2 and he laughed out loud, “What do you think the pit was for?” he asked.

Well we had no idea. But these 3 huge tip-trucks pulled into the school yard and tipped this spectacularly HUGE amount of wood bits into our pit. I had never been this close to a huge noisy smelly truck before . It would have been frightening, but there were younger kids there and that wouldn't have been very good.

That's when the rakes got used. We raked it all so the whole pit was full to overflowing and looked a bit like a huge mound in the town cemetery.

It was getting dark. So we stood back to look at our work. A couple of brave kids had a quick jump.

Our long jump pit was agreed a success.

We snuck back home and managed (most of us, I think) to get the tools back into the sheds without being caught. We headed back to our bedrooms and pretended we were studying. Whew. All hot and sticky. And dirty? You wouldn't believe?

The next day Sir2 was called into the Headmaster’s office to explain how a long-jumping pit had suddenly and magically appeared at the bottom of the school field. The rest of the kids were going crazy. We could tell them now it waslong jump us. We were so proud. One of my best moments at school.

I think Sir2 got into a bit of trouble. But we kept our pit, and some kids did all right at the school sports long jump as well.

It was a win all round. Sir2 was our hero.

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